It’s sad but it’s true, and a hard lesson to learn for those who experience it. A positive pregnancy test does not always end with a happy, healthy baby 9 months later. In fact, 1 in 4 pregnancies in Canada end in miscarriage and 1 in 6 Canadian couples experience infertility.
So this brings us to present day...
This current miscarriage might sting a little more than our last one because it follows an initially successful IVF treatment. Going through 3 years of infertility, with only 2 pregnancies and 2 missed miscarriages, is not an easy road. Being pregnant or experiencing a miscarriage for 80% of 2017 is not fun, especially when you have no baby to show for it. Life isn’t always fair and not every infertility road has a happy ending - at least that's how we're feeling at the moment. IVF is not always a miracle solution as miscarriages are just as likely as they are with a natural pregnancy. This is the unfortunate reality that I’m trying to accept right now.
No matter how hard we work, we cannot control our life when it comes to fertility. This has been a hard lesson to learn, since my husband and I have been people who have been told and who’ve learned that when you work hard, and if you work hard enough and for long enough, you can achieve your dreams. Unfortunately it seems that this is rarely this case with infertility and recurrent miscarriages. Or maybe we are just jaded and in a negative space at the moment... But these are our current sentiments. Unfortunately, words of hope and prayers get wasted on us at the moment - we feel we are more resilient and prepared when we are realistic and prepared for the worst. All we need is for people to say “that really sucks”. At this point in our lives, words of encouragement or hopefulness are more hurtful than they are helpful because we feel that we can not realistically live up to those hopes and prayers. Sometimes I miss our past happy-go lucky, everything is sunshine and butterflies, younger selves...
Other than the physical challenges of pregnancy and missed miscarriages, the emotional rollercoaster can be rough. Due dates like October 22nd and June 16th will always be difficult for us. Pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and even socializing with our peer group often surrounded by their babies is very difficult. We often feel left alone or left behind to fend for ourselves. And thinking about trying again is not as easy as it might initially seem. This will likely involve more testing from our fertility clinic in hopes to ensure I don’t have scar tissue or complications from the procedures I’ve needed to treat our missed miscarriages, genetic testing to see if these two back-to-back miscarriages are just bad luck or if there is another problem going on, a frozen embryo transfer (or a final 3rd transfer - we only had 3 embryos from IVF), and the stress and anxiety of it working or not working - all of these processes and scenarios are equally stressful for different reasons and this process can take months.
Although this miscarriage this time might have stung a little more because it was after IVF, at the same time, it was a tiny bit easier because I was empowered. I knew what resources existed in my community to help me get through this and I knew what to expect. I was not alone and I had knowledge. Knowledge really is power. This was the exact opposite experience I had with our 1st miscarriage. At that time, I felt like I was in the dark and our medical professionals didn’t provide us with any information to support us.
I have been volunteering for the Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau this year. In case you don't personally know me, I’ve been the one behind the computer - taking care of most of our website and social media. And if you attended the Run, you probably met me at our Run Registration during race kit picks ups or on the day of the Run at our registration booth! I can truly thank the Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau for arming me with this power of knowledge, this sense of pride, and this feeling of community. Without the Butterfly Run, I would not feel as strong as I do under these circumstances. It is for this reason that I’m choosing to share our story. I hope that by sharing our story, another person might feel less alone in their journey.
Because of the positive experiences Ive gained through the Butterfly Run, here are some scenarios you might consider if you're going through something similar to me. These are just suggestions, based on what I feel has helped me quite a bit this year:
My hope is that no other people feel alone, afraid, or in the dark when they miscarry or find out that a miscarriage is imminent.
Also, I wanted to caveat this post, or end this post rather, with saying Im sorry if I share my feelings bluntly or if they are not the most positive thoughts at the moment... I don't mean to share these negative sentiments to offer the cruel realities of infertility and miscarriage (perhaps the first half of my post was a little dark and dreary). If you are going through this, or something like this, and feeling hopeful or positive, I do not want to take that away from you. Please continue to feel anything you are feeling! Every journey is different, and our feelings can change throughout this journey. Unfortunately, my personal feelings are not as positive at the moment, but I still feel they are important to share. By sharing these feelings, I do not want to take away your hope, but if by chance you are also feeling something similar to me, I would like you to know that there is someone who you can relate to.
If you're interested in reading more about our journey, here are some other stories/snipits I've shared during our journey (writing and sharing has also been helpful for me):
XO Thanks for listening! And hugs to you if you’ve been through or are currently experiencing infertility and/or miscarriage. It’s not an easy road but hopefully we can make it a smoother and clearer road together.
Well, its the weekend everyone! If you're planning to head out to treat yourself to some coffee or baked goods on Saturday or Sunday, we'd encourage you to stop by 3 Sisters Bakeshop & Gourmet Creations to pick up a latte and pair of butterfly wings ($30/pair with proceeds going to Aaron's Butterfly Run). The coffee is worth a little trip (if you don't live in the Alta Vista area) and these wings are just too cute to pass up for a little child who likes to play dress up!
For more info, check out our previous post about the butterfly wings.
Thinking about subsequent pregnancy after loss? There is an event coming up in June in Toronto about subsequent pregnancy after the death of a child.
Come and learn more about this topic with Alexis Marie Chute, bereaved mom, artist, and author of "Expecting Sunshine" - a book she has in print as of April 2017 and a film by the same name.
The June event will provide you with increased knowledge as well as a chance to sit with other parents who are:
When: Saturday, June 24th, 2017 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Where: Peter Gilgan Research and Learning Centre (event room 1) at 686 Bay Street in Toronto
Childcare will be available for your children.
Please invite all who matter to you as this topic is important to be supported in!
RSVP by June 17th to email@example.com or by calling (416) 813-6782
Yesterday, Rachel and Rob Samulack (parents of Aaron Samulack and coordinators of Aaron's Butterfly Run) had the opportunity to talk to CTV Ottawa about the Perinatal Loss Bereavement Support Group at Roger Neilson House.
Here's what Rachel and Rob have to say about their experience with the Perinatal Loss Bereavement Support Group:
"You are my angel, my darling, my star... and my love will find you, wherever you are."
- Nancy Tillman, Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You
For other perinatal loss resources in Ottawa and Gatineau, in addition to Roger Neilson House, check out the Resources tab on our website.
All proceeds from Aaron's Butterfly Run will go to Roger Neilson House.
Hello, I'd like to start by introducing myself. My name is Rachel Samulack and I am the mother to 3 children, but only 1 is here with me today. On June 19, 2016, I lost my son Aaron 100 minutes after birth. My husband Rob and I are organizing Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau in his memory. If you would like to learn more about Aaron and our time with him, you can read his story here.
Today, my son Aaron would be 10 months old. These milestones are hard. I think about all of the things that Aaron would be doing at 10 months old. He would likely be crawling all over our living room and eating all of the crumbs off the floor. He would have lots of teeth to try all sorts of new food as summer arrives. If he were anything like Gabriel at 10 months, I would be exhausted because he would still be nursing like crazy at night. Now I am exhausted because I am back at work, juggling work/life/being a wife. I would be washing double the amount of cloth diapers. Yikes. These milestones are hard. Some months, I completely forget and other months the 19th hits me like a brick wall. Last week also marked the due date of our first baby who we lost at 10 weeks in September 2013. Pregnancy and infant loss just suck.
The loss of Aaron has shaped the way that I think about the future and the present. I watch the children of friends who are the same ages as my two little ones. I watch their interactions with curiousity and amazement. I feel sad for Gabriel because I know how much fun it is to play (and fight) with younger siblings. I get sick of hearing "Oh, you have lots of time" or "Don't worry, you will have another one." I am so grateful for Gabriel, my lovely, wonderful little boy. However, Gabriel does not replace the loss of Aaron and the expectation that I had for our family when I found out we were expecting Aaron. As Aaron's one year birthday approaches, I have to figure out a way to mark another milestone. A milestone celebrating the joy of his life and the sorrow of his loss. Joy and sorrow are now firmly intertwined in my life. How do you mark these milestones? How do you celebrate your babies who are no longer with us on Earth? I would love to hear from you with the ways that you celebrate your butterfly babies.
To help make the silent auction a success, we are looking for donations of items to be included in the silent auction.
Can you help us out with a donation of a product or service from your business?
Proceeds raised from the silent auction will be used to cover costs including race signage, kits, and food for the runners and walkers, among other costs. Your donation will also leverage the efforts of hundreds of individuals and families in Canada who are working to ensure that all parents have support during and after pregnancy and infant loss.
Your donation could be something as simple as a gift certificate to your business. All donations are greatly appreciated!
If you're able to donate to the silent auction, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your consideration and support!
Some of you may know Nancy Ann Kerrigan as the Olympic figure skater, and others may know her more recently from Dancing with the Stars. This week, Nancy opened up about the 6 miscarriages she experienced over 8 years while trying to expand her family... check out this article to read more.
Thank you Nancy for sharing your story.
On Friday April 28th, 2017, Aaron's Butterfly Run is hosting Ottawa and Gatineau's 1st-ever film night and panel discussion for pregnancy and infant loss.
What's happening at the event?
Who should attend?
Would you like to do more?
We hope you can join us to raise awareness and support those who've experienced pregnancy and infant loss in our community.
For more information, and to RSVP to the event, check out the Facebook event page:
The Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) network is an excellent resource for those going through this type of loss.
On October 15, 2016, PAIL posted an article about Rachel and Rob Samulack's experience with perinatal hospice and the story of their beloved son Aaron.
The Spring 2017 issue of "From Belly to Baby Quarterly Prenatal Journal - the Ottawa Edition" published an article about remembering butterfly babies. This article shares information about Rachel and Rob Samulack's personal experience with perinatal loss and Aaron's Butterfly Run in Ottawa/Gatineau on October 14th, 2017.