Saturday, September 28, 2013

October Donation - Mothers Enduring Neonatal Death

I know that inside this crazy world we live in that every person walking this earth has their cross to carry. Everyone's trials and tribulations are all equal in our eyes, just very different to the person experiencing it. Those of you who know me, are my friends, or who have read my poetry are aware inside my life I've had my own troubles in the form of infertility.

April 3rd, 2007 my husband and I lost our first child, Elizabeth. I was 16 weeks along when we had to terminate the pregnancy. It was confirmed that she was a girl and her body wasn't developing. She was missing her skull. I had started to miscarry but for whatever reason my body couldn't carry it out so we went to several specialists in Houston who all informed us our baby girl wasn't going to get to meet her parents.

I never thought there could be something so hurtful happen to me in my life. I was young; I had no idea of the intensity you feel when you love a child, until that first moment I realized I was pregnant. This little being inside me changed me very existence the moment we knew of her. I had sworn it was a boy in those first days. Well for those 16 weeks, until we were told differently. My whole pregnancy was strange. I kept telling my doctor that something was wrong, something felt off. He kept assuring me everything was alright and it was just first time jitters. 

How wrong he was....

A piece of my soul and my heart died on April 3rd. A part of me I will never get back while I walk this earth. Sadly, Elizabeth was just the first. We had three more miscarriages in the next two years following her death. Each time another piece of me broke away and by the end of 2009 I never wanted to be pregnant again. I still debate this inside my head on a daily basis. 

However, this is about my survival, mentally and physically.

When I lost Elizabeth I had no one to really turn to (in my eyes.) My family hadn't experienced this before, as I'm the eldest most of the things happen to me first between myself and my brothers. My parents never had this happen to them, neither had my step mom or my best friend. My Aunt turned me onto this support group. Mothers Enduring Neonatal Death. MEND. 

I was scared, going to a group of women to talk and cry about my daughter - this seemed odd to me. But I went anyway. The support I gained from these other women who actually knew my pain, knew what it was like, knew how much my heart was shattering each day, they saved me. They made me feel normal.

That year, we participated in a few things with the Houston Chapter. The October Walk To Remember was moving, very very moving. We were given angel ornaments that we put into the tree with Elizabeth's name on it. We still have it, it sits inside my glass case year round as a reminder of her spirit still with us. She even has a stocking I got for her for Christmas.

MEND saved my life, they were amazing. They taught me to cope, to keep caring, and to have hope. Even if my hope isn't so strong, I still hold onto threads thinking one day we will be blessed with an angel on earth, instead of in heaven.

On the first anniversary of our baby's death they sent a single rose. The hardest part about losing a child before it has come into this world is you feel like people forget they existed. Unless you experience this kind of loss, you don't usually acknowledge it. That's the hard part for me. Mother’s and Father’s Day, April 3rd, I always feel like my husband and I are forgotten, and our daughter. Along with the other three babies, are never remembered when other family members who have passed on before us are.

That's why it is so important that organizations like MEND exist. To help mothers and fathers learn that its okay and we will live through this heart ache.

For those of you who enjoy poetry, Whispers in the Dark contains several poems by Stacy, Teri, and I for our unborn angels in heaven. We love all of them and will know they live on through us, even though they are not here on earth to share in their world.

October is Neonatal Death Awareness month. My parents raised me knowing it’s important to give back to your community so this year I want to give back to the community that helped keep me afloat during the worst year of my life.

A portion of each physical print book sale I have from my website inside the month of October is going to go toward MEND. They are funded by donations only and every penny goes to helping a mother or a father deal with their grief. I hope that by doing this, I can help some other woman who feels alone and helpless know that she isn't, that life will eventually come back to normal and her soul will mend itself. 

My print books are all priced at $10.00 plus shipping. For each book purchased, $4.00 will go toward MEND. 

If you would like to purchase one of my books please click on this link. If you would like to contribute to the Donation fund, you can email me and I will help you coordinate.

Thank you in advanced for helping me give back to an organization who have saved so many women.


  1. Ashley, thank you for sharing this, I already think the world of you, but your words your strength and courage. You inspire! <3 - Lyn