To my PAL Moms

What is pregnancy after loss?

I’ve had this marathon analogy in my head. Which is kinda ironic because I’ve never actually run a marathon. But to me pregnancy after loss or “PAL” (there’s an acronym for everything) is like this…

You trained for your first marathon (months and months of training) – midway through the actual race you trip and fall and can’t finish. You’re injured. In pain physically and mentally, so incredibly disappointed that despite all that prep and getting halfway through it, it all went to shit. You’re left thinking…”where did I get wrong?” but the loss goes deeper than not finishing the race. You feel sad, angry, defeated. So many other people finished, why not you? You try to pick up and move on – but the moments surrounding your injury haunt you. You tell yourself you will run a marathon again but now there is something in the back of your mind saying, “but will you ever finish?”, “will I always come up short?”, “what if I get hurt again? I don’t think I can bear more pain.” To say you’re unsure of yourself is an understatement.

Somehow, after some time of healing, you get back on the road. You’re starting from ground zero. Your body is tired. You haven’t run a mile in months, let alone multiple miles. Your body feels slow and uneasy. You try to focus on what’s right in front of you. You try not to think about the “what if I fail” thoughts – but they creep up. It’s literally the mental battle of your life. Physically, you’re impressed that your body can endure so much but mentally, you wonder if you can take anymore. But you do.

Ok, so this is my analogy, you get it. I guess it’s pretty clear…at least to me.

After we lost Charlie, I took some time (6 weeks) off of work – during this time I planted some wildflowers with my Dad. When they finally bloomed, it brought me some much needed joy. I’m planning to get a small wildflower tattoo one day and now you know why.

Being pregnant after we lost Charlie was hard. And actually, getting pregnant again wasn’t easy either. We ended up doing a round of IVF to have Calvin. Which is a whole journey in itself. And super f’n ironic considering we got naturally pregnant with Charlie.

Once we were pregnant, I was “happy” yet terrified. It was a day-to-day thing, sometimes hour to hour. Including telling myself often “you are pregnant right now. Everything is ok.” That was an important mantra.

The scans were the hardest. If you know our story, you know the floor dropped out for us at our anatomy scan. To this day, I do not enjoy ultrasound pics – so if you show me one, I’ll feign delight but secretly coil inside. Our 16-week early anatomy scan with Calvin was the biggest – as this was the point where the doctors said they’d be able to tell if anything was going awry but at least this time it’d be 4 weeks earlier. I could barely speak in those scans. Thankfully, I had the same wonderful tech for each of my scans {her name is Amber}. I remember one scan – she seemed a tad quiet, and I thought “he’s dead, isn’t he?” how’s that for a horrible thought? But once the floor drops out, it’s hard not to think of the worst-case scenario happening again. I was often preparing myself for the worst. When a scan went well, I’d marvel that the drive home felt like such an ordinary day. Just another day after an appointment which was such a stark contrast to that one appointment now almost 2 years ago when a seemingly ordinary day turned extraordinary in a blink.

It was a blessing in disguise for me that I was pregnant during the pandemic – I was able to hide my pregnancy for quite some time. I didn’t need to travel for work. I could lay low. I went to every appointment alone – which I know is actually awful for most pregnant women but for me, I had tunnel vision – I was ok being alone if it meant my baby was ok. I was ok if my MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor was there by my side. His name is Achilles and he’s truly an amazing human. The gratitude I have for his care cannot be properly put into words.

Telling a pregnant woman (or partner of a pregnant woman) after loss that “everything will be fine” is hardly a helpful statement. I get it. I get the power of positivity. But the fact is, that’s simply not how it feels after you’ve been through a loss. What is better to say? How about: I am here for you. I am saying prayers for you and your baby daily. Something to acknowledge that it’s not easy but you are there with them regardless of outcome (which is ultimately out of anyone’s control – no matter how many people might think or tell you otherwise).

People often call me strong. On one hand, I appreciate it – I mean, would I rather be called weak? Obviously not. But once you’ve been through a trauma, the “you’re so strong” phrase can be numbing. What choice do I have? One of the hardest things about loss is that the world keeps on spinning while you’re practically frozen in time. The carousel of life keeps turning and you’re literally like, “wait, can we just pause for a minute? Something profoundly awful has happened.” But that’s not life.

This might seem like an oddly joyful pic given the above paragraph – but I often think of this photo with the whole carousel analogy. The summer after we lost Charlie (the summer I should have been in my 3rd trimester heading towards his due date in early Aug), we tried to “make the best” of things. We made a trek to Storyland in NH. Although so much felt so heavy, we had a great time. That’s Nick (my husband) on the carousel – behind him, is my Dad holding Ellie as she sits atop one of the horses. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard to carry on, but we did, and we made some amazing memories that summer that I will always cherish.

I’ve been able to be strong because of the many resources I have access to. You can call this privilege because it is. Good insurance that afforded me therapy, medications to better cope with the trauma. An incredible network of family and friends who have held me up. Financial means to take time off of work after my loss, as well as afford IVF (with some insurance coverage). Believe me, I don’t shortchange myself and my efforts but I can also recognize where I am fortunate based on where I live/who I am. This is why I share my story, why I push for people to share (if they want), because it raises awareness and reduces shame/secrecy around an all-too-common situation. I believe it will help in a bigger way.

I am here on the other side of PAL – with a beautiful baby boy (and another beautiful baby boy forever in my heart). In many ways my heart is stronger and more grateful than it’s ever been, but it is also different, and I still deal with the aftermath of our loss. It is imprinted in me and that’s ok. To my fellow PAL Mom’s, I see you. You’re not alone. We are stronger together.

To share your story…

I was up around 330am this morning…this is not new for me…and I’m not complaining…especially now that I don’t commute into the city for work. I don’t have that “oh no, I have to be up, nicely dressed, and on a train in just a few hours” reaction. Phew. #pajamasallday

I grabbed my phone and began to scroll (not a healthy early morning habit, I know). I saw the post about Chrissy and John and their baby boy, Jack. Like many others, my heart aches for them reading the news. I looked at the raw pictures. I’ve read many comments since then on their story…and some of them are so negative. Are people more negative lately? Are there more trolls active than ever? Or, am I just gravitating to those comments? I don’t know. But because of this I feel compelled to share something today…

I remember vividly the days leading up to our loss – when we learned about our son’s fatal anomalies…I was shocked. I liken it to hell on earth. I felt so isolated. Like an alien. What was a miracle baby story (much like Chrissy and John’s son; conceived naturally, not through IVF) was suddenly taking a terrible, life altering turn. How could this be? What did I do wrong? I really felt like I must have done something terribly wrong for things to turn out this way. It’s an isolating experience. There were nights that all I could do was lay in bed with Nick and cry.

I will always be grateful for a small group of people who showed up for me during this time. People who had walked a similar path. Suddenly, I had a lifeline. Someone who could give me some sense of what to expect.

Did you know your milk comes in (even if you lose a baby before 24 weeks, I was 21)? I had no idea. But I was able to somewhat prepare myself for both the physical and emotion pain of my milk coming in despite not bringing a baby home. Sports bra, ace bandage wrap, and laying in bed for a few days until my milk went away. In some ways, I felt like my body failed me, failed us, but in others, it was as though it was still going through the natural motions. It’s maddening.

Did you know that you have to decide end of life/death care? I know, horrible to think about. You can gasp and say “I couldn’t imagine.” But this is life, it can be so cruel and suddenly you need to make these types of decisions. Decisions you’d rather never think about but sometimes you have to. Thankfully, I had some preparation for this – to be prepared to sign our son’s name on funeral home paperwork, to decide how we wanted to handle his remains. It’s horrible to even type about. But again, this is life. We decided to cremate our son, Charlie. Everything was handled by a very compassionate funeral home. As some of you may know, we waited a few months and then on what would have been Charlie’s due date, we spread his ashes at the beach near our home. There is no right or wrong way to handle these things. Everyone’s situation is unique. But I can tell you, if there is someone you can talk to who gets it, it makes a huge huge difference.

Ellie last summer @ “our beach” {Egypt Beach in Scituate}

Why am I sharing all this? Because, I was hurt by the fact that Chrissy and her husband have received such negativity for sharing these raw moments. This type of thing happens every day. It’s awful. But to me, it’s important to talk about these things so others can feel less alone. I hope all the love and support that exists out there for them is all they feel right now. They deserve only compassion. As a fellow “loss parent,” I thank them for their strength and willingness to share their story. I will say a prayer for them and their precious son, Jack.

Link to some resources:

  • I learned of this organization earlier this year– I didn’t know about it when we went through our loss – but want to share with others.
  • Another local support group resource:
  • I also found Facebook groups and individuals on Instagram who have been such a support; you can search certain keywords/hashtags such as: infantloss, tfmr, pregnancyloss, stillbirth, miscarriage etc.

One year out…

One year ago…

There is part of me that can’t believe it. Time has gone by both quickly and slow, depending on the day. I’ve never been a big fan of April. I associate it with gray skies and dreariness. After losing Charlie last April, I was ready to delete it permanently from the calendar. But the thing is…my Dad’s birthday is April 17th. He’s a pretty special guy so there is no way I could wipe out his birthday month.

And as difficult as last year was, there were many beautiful moments, particularly watching Ellie Sue grow. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of that. Even though for a good portion my heart was deeply aching.

What I can tell you a year later…

A mother/a couple who loses a baby does not forget. The world moves on but the fact is, your heart is never the same. No one ever got to meet this child but we had hopes and dreams and plans for him. All those things we suddenly had to let go of. We suddenly had to accept he would never be in our lives on this side. I remember in the early days I would go for short walks outside….it was all I could do to work off my anxious energy. I would think about how it was going to be impossible to carry the weight, the reality of the situation. How does someone do it? Bit by bit, I guess. Through the help of many people.

I’ve come to accept that this is a fact, a reality in our life. I still feel angry sometimes that this happened to us. But a tragedy like this really forces you to take a step back. I have …and I’ve looked at my life and realized as “unfair” as this felt/is, as painful as this will always be, I am fortunate for the life I have. For the friends and family who have carried us through. For our beautiful Ellie Sue.

I’ve also had to accept that sometimes you don’t get answers. You hear a story like ours and you think “oh no! What happened?” It’s human nature to want an answer. Was someone sick? Was there an accident? Did they know something was wrong? Etc etc. No. In our case, we have no answers for Charlie. Our doctors told us, although these things rarely happen, when they do, half the time they have no known cause. I remember our doctors telling me “this is nothing you could have predicted or prevented.” I wanted, I needed to know the root cause…but they had nothing…despite all the most advanced testing the best hospitals could offer. No answers just that sometimes nature goes awry. That has been both a really difficult and somewhat freeing pill to swallow. There is not always an explanation or clear answer. I think this is how many people feel when tragedy touches their lives. Why us? Why then? Sometimes, it’s just bad luck? Believe me, it’s very difficult to accept that we lost our son because of bad luck. But I’ve found trying to mull it over in my mind to try and find answers I truly don’t have, is probably one of the most depressing and draining exercises.

So yea, one year ago…the floor dropped out. I spent six weeks out of work. Two of those weeks I could barely eat or sleep. I went from a very pregnant looking 5+month pregnant woman – to a shell of myself. Somehow, Nick and I rallied through the storm. Ellie was truly the only light I could see sometimes. Both new and old friends legitimately came (and continue to come) to my rescue and for that I will always be grateful and feel lucky.

I can say that I feel much better now but I will never “get over” or “move on” from this*. Charlie is a part of our life, a part of our story. I have been able to make space for this truth. Oh and by the way, this means you can say his name to me. It actually feels quite peaceful {and yes, sometimes sad, but that’s ok} because it recognizes our truth, it acknowledges him.

I have found ways to share our story that has both helped me heal and connected me with other women who have walked a similar path. I have forged friendships and bonds like I’ve never known before. Despite all the heart ache there is hope and lots of love.

It’s interesting to be writing this in a midst of a global pandemic/quarantine. Damn you, April. But next week, no matter what, I’ll celebrate my Dad’s (70th) birthday.

I received this hand painted votive (made by a student at Fontbonne Academy) through an organization called Hopeful Connections. HC is a local pregnancy loss organization. They aggregate local events, resources, and support groups for grieving parents and families. Receiving this candle in the mail (around Christmas no less) was one of the more touching gestures. We keep this special votive right in our kitchen windowsill.  I’ll link below to HC.

After we lost Charlie, so many people reached out with support and sympathy. I kept every card, every small gift box. I packed his ultrasound pictures here, Ellie’s “big sister” onesie, and a few other pieces of paperwork. I haven’t been able to look at this for a year but Nick and I went through it yesterday. We will always be grateful for all the support we received. If you sent a note or any form of sympathy, please know we kept it (in some form) and hold it close to our hearts. 


Picture from a special event I had the opportunity to speak at. Surrounded by incredible medical professionals and two fellow “loss Moms” who I now consider friends. We shared our experiences and aimed to connect with one another, including how we can give back to the medical community who carried us through one of our most difficult journeys.

*one of my favorite videos on grief. I’m now a huge fan (find her on Instagram @noraborealis) of Nora McInerny. she’s amazing and has written a few great books.

A couple other resources:

  • Local organization for pregnancy loss:
  • A beautifully written book {An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination} about a woman who lost her daughter. I realize these types of stories seem “depressing” but if you’ve been through pregnancy loss it really helps to feel you are not alone. Elizabeth is an incredible writer and knows how to capture the many feelings and emotions so authentically

from the highest highs to the lowest lows

I told myself we would share the joy…which we did when we quite miraculously got pregnant for the third time (our first was an ectopic) when Ellie Sue was only five months old. It was surreal. Completely unplanned and totally unexpected. We were so excited. We waited the “standard window” before we went public. We made it way past the 12 week mark after all. {insert massive shoulder shrug here…boy, do I feel naive. I’ve learned that life has a way of doing that to you sometimes}

But now I feel like I need to share the other side of it…

We lost our unborn baby boy (who we named Charles Francis) at 21 weeks. I refer to the experience as…when the floor dropped out from under us. Because it truly did. We went in for our routine 20 week anatomy scan and the next thing we know we are sitting with the doctor, referred to Children’s Hospital, and from there it only got worse.

Instead of getting rid of the vases that came with the flower arrangements we got from family and friends – I decided to plant some wildflower seeds in them and place them by the creek in our backyard. I don’t know if they’ll grow but I’ll be sure to post an update pic if they do. It was also a nice project to do at the time.

This post is not to go through ‘what happened’ because what I’d rather do than re-live that piece* is to share some tools for how we are healing, trying to heal…


To hopefully help another couple who may find themselves in a similar place. Be it an early, late term, or stillbirth loss…those who suffer are not alone.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this roller coaster of “a journey to family” – it is that connecting and sharing with others makes us all feel less alone and helps with healing.

1 in 4 pregnancies result in miscarriage. Although, less than 1% result in a late term loss such as ours (so please, let this be a comfort to you who are worried. It is very unlikely to happen).

Dealing with a pregnancy loss literally involves so many emotions. Sadness, guilt, anger, disbelief, anxiety, fear, jealousy etc. all of them. I’ve told myself many times to “let myself feel my feelings.” Sounds cheesy but allowing myself to process is the only way. As our nightmare unfolded, I spent nights crying, hysterically. I had hours of pure distress…it all f&cking sucked but it has helped to have people who have reminded me all of this is ok and normal to feel. And ohh I felt it. I still do.

A few tools that have helped me – I am sharing in hopes they could help someone else.

A diverse support “team”:

  • Firstly and maybe the most obvious, a good, supportive medical team. Good is an understatement, I couldn’t think of another word. We are lucky enough to be in one of the best cities for medical care in the world. As unlucky and bitter as my heart felt during the heat of our loss and trauma, I reminded myself we are lucky to have had ready access to such incredible and compassionate medical care (not to mention insurance – which is seriously a whole topic within itself. Having the means to actually afford good care knowing how staggering our healthcare costs are, again we are grateful to have)
  • A therapist/psychologist – it is critical to me to have access to a professional I can talk to help process and heal. I am lucky to have someone I’ve known for years but ask your OB for a referral and someone who specializes in women/couples dealing with pregnancy loss. They will give you one.
  • A psychiatrist – which is someone who can prescribe medicine. There is no shame pursuing additional help if you feel you need it.
  • Friends and family – if people offer support (meals, dog walks, to run errands) do not hesitate to say ok. I know it’s difficult to accept help. But some of our lightest moments have been eating a meal from a friend. Not only does it remove the burden of cooking during such an emotionally and physically draining time, it also brings great comfort beyond just something to eat. Hard to put into words.
  • Someone(s) who can relate – be it in person or virtual. One of the harder things I had to do (believe it or not) was ‘unfollowing’ my August 2019 Babies Facebook group. Up until then it was a little outlet to connect with mothers from all over the world who had a baby due the same month. Suddenly, I didn’t belong and it’s not that anyone obviously said that – I just couldn’t be there anymore. So I left. It was hard. I wondered if anyone noticed but I couldn’t see anymore of those pregnancy posts – my focus was no longer there. So I guess my advice is, unfollow anything that is causing you pain. Maybe it’s a friend who recently announced a pregnancy on social media or a group you were part of; know that maybe one day you’ll reconnect but for now it doesn’t serve you. I’ve learned there are many online support groups out there for grieving parents. From forums to private Facebook groups, I combed through many and I am grateful those types of communities exist. You can find them and they can help.

Other resources that have helped:

  • A journal – one night my mind was racing with what I knew were irrational thoughts. The next day I had Nick pick up a notebook for me at CVS. The next night, back in a dark place (the nights are the worst) I got it out and just wrote – all my thoughts and feelings – and told myself maybe one day I’ll burn this f&kin thing but right now I’m going to scribble down all these repetitive, terrible thoughts so they fall out of my brain
  • I also dusted off this daily planner/journal called The Desire Map daily planner by Danielle Laporte. Each morning I fill out a page which includes writing down what I’m grateful for. It is a positive ritual to start my day. I recommend this journal regardless if you’re going through a difficult time or not. It is wonderful.
  • A book or something to turn to for support during quieter moments (aka a non-electronic). Reading was one of the things I leaned on in the earlier days. As an avid TV watcher, TV did not help me, I felt like I just stared at the screen. Even the real housewives couldn’t do it for me (and that’s says a lot). But a good book, it took me in and brought me peace and more productive thoughts. Below are a few I recommend.
  • Yoga and general movement – at first it was hard to be motivated to do anything. getting out of bed was difficult. But once I was medically cleared, I pushed myself to get up and move outside my house, even if for just 15/20 minutes.

How am I feeling today? It depends on the day and sometimes the hour. I’ve learned that grief is like that. Unpredictable. I am learning to carry multiple feelings around this experience – including gratitude (because there was so much good I experienced during this time, I cannot deny it) as well as a deep sadness, that I know might never completely leave me. Sometimes I can’t believe this all happened but I know we will move forward. We have vowed to honor Charlie by being a stronger family and remembering him in peace. We want to set a good example for Ellie –  that tragic things happen and we want her to know that it’s ok to be sad (and angry etc.) but that we can also carry on with love and light in our hearts. We will do it for Charlie and thank him for that gift. Even though he’s not with us physically – he’s here and we’re a better, stronger family because of him.

I want to thank everyone who reached out to us, be it a text, Facebook message, card, flowers, or any of the other gesture of sympathy and support that were shared with us. We are so grateful for all the support we received and continue to receive. I don’t think I could say thank you enough.

In yogi fashion, I’ll end with a Rumi quote: “the wound is the place where the light enters you.”  And I believe that now more than ever.

*one caveat being, if you or someone you know finds themselves in this situation, you can reach out to me directly and I will share whatever I can to help. It does help to talk with someone who has been through it.

Chapter Xx Surprise!

here’s the thing…if you’ve read our story, we struggled with infertility for years.

I remember vividly the day the fertility doc told us that IVF would be our “only option” for a biological child. I was pretty inconsolable when I first heard this news. I couldn’t go back into work that day. But yes, I moved on from that day and those feelings. I gained perspective – that we are in fact lucky to have had the option of and later the success through IVF. Hello, Ellie Sue!

When I took the pregnancy test less than a week before this past Christmas it was because I had some weird nausea and realized my period hadn’t come yet. I had only had one since Ellie. I didn’t expect anything to be like clock work after childbirth though.

I remember talking to my friend Carmen at work a few days earlier when suddenly a wave of nausea hit me…All I could think was – “oh no that stomach bug?!” I had to sit down. A little voice in the back of my mind said “this feeling is familiar…morning sickness?…” I shrugged it off. Until a few days later when I asked Nick to grab a pregnancy test at CVS while he was picking up last minute Christmas cards. I just couldn’t shake the need to triple check, as silly as it seemed for me. Nick didn’t think much of it all. If you’ve struggled with infertility, you’ve likely taken a lot of tests. They’re not that exciting anymore.

I’ll never forget when that line went solid blue within seconds. The bluest blue I’ve ever seen. Like blink ya eyes am I hallucinating blue. My first reaction “, what? Is this thing broken?”

I walked the test downstairs to Nick and said “look at this.” We just stared at each other and started laughing. And both kept repeating “no way, no way.”

Clearly this wasn’t planned. I mean, I didn’t expect we’d ever get pregnant on our own after everything we went through before. We were told we had a 5% chance to naturally conceive!

I spent days in a state of anxiety with mixed emotions. From…omg this means we don’t have to do IVF again!! Thank god! It’s a miracle!! To…omg, I don’t think my body is ready. I don’t think WE are ready for this journey again. What about Ellie? Does this take away from the time we planned with just her? It’s so soon to have another, oh my!! (They’ll be 14 months apart!) What about work? I feel like I just got back. Etc etc etc I had ALL the thoughts. My mind went wild. Once again, my body is not my own. Holy sh*t.

Am I happy? Of course. We always hoped for another child. We always hoped Ellie would have a sibling to navigate life with.

But really…it was the biggest surprise that all we could do initially was laugh and stare at each other in disbelief.

Even if this means our little family expands sooner than we anticipated, we are grateful. And since when have we ever been able to plan this stuff!?

here we go again!

Baby BOY Moore

Already have a name…

Charles Francis

Named after Nick’s grandfather and my Dad.

Lil Charlie 💙

Due early Aug

Pic below – Ellie thinks my big (yes already!) baby belly is hilarious. This is the cake I made to surprise Nick with the gender.