A Note To Self: This Mother’s Day

This post contains sensitive images, please read at your own risk. 

I’ll preface this blog post by saying that you may need a box of tissues. I often find myself hitting the delete button frequently, always second guessing whether or not I should share the bits and pieces of the legacy my stillborn son leaves behind.

**caption: Rainbow baby, Jaxon, reaching for his toy car. I refer to him as a rainbow, because they often appear after heavy storms. Hence, a beautiful baby after my stillbirth. 

While browsing through old Facebook photos on my personal profile, I ran across a few images of my second son, Jaxon. One of the photos was an image of him reaching for a toy car that was placed in the window. Another image showed him playing with a Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear, a character that carries such a sensitive and symbolic meaning in our family that I can’t help but to share.

**caption: Playing with the paws of Old Winnie. 

You see, Winnie the Pooh was my favorite character as a kid. There’s a special kind of nostalgia that swells up inside of me when I think of the stories A.A. Milne shared of a bear named “Pooh”. Well, I’m known for going against the grain and while everyone else threw baby showers of popular Nickelodeon and Disney characters, I couldn’t help to bring back those memories. So we scoured countless numbers of big box stores and online sites as if we were looking for treasure, trying to find Winnie the Pooh themed decorations for Melo’s baby shower. We were out of luck for awhile until we came across the Treasure Chest, the local crafts store that was stocked with lots of Winnie the Pooh items. Well, to make an already long story shorter, one day after celebrating the life, memory and tough days that lie ahead, our son Carmelo passed away. 

Fast forward nearly 2 years, and we’ve been blessed to have an incredibly intelligent and active rainbow baby by the name of Jaxon. Two years ago I didn’t think I’d be able to have another child, or have the perseverance to go through something similar. Going through a pregnancy where everything looks good and then suddenly complications appear and growth stops at nearly 8 months gestation. It’s a lot to deal with -mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. But —I did it. I persevered, pushed through and put all the doubt and fear aside —having faith despite the possible outcomes (one of the joys of being a slightly optimistic individual). 

I guess the point of all of this, is to tell the Moms, who like me, struggle on holidays like this that you’re a great mom. You may not get it right every time, second guess yourself often or even have days where you want to be alone. You may feel a void inside, or that you’re over feeling that void, but it’s okay. Because even when you don’t read them a bedtime story, tuck them at night, or give them a goodnight’s kiss —you’ll always be enough. You’ll always be the BEST Mom in the world to them, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Alway remember this, Happy Mother’s Day <3


Spreading Stillbirth Awareness

As many of you know, I am a mother of pregnancy loss and many of my family members, including my sister is a parent of infant loss. Stillbirth is still a very taboo topic and awareness needs to be spread about it. Many people are still not familiar with the term and instead, refer to it as miscarriage.

What is a stillbirth?

A stillbirth is defined as the birth of an infant that has died in the womb, after having survived through at least the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. According to national vital statistics reports, stillbirth effects approximately 1% of all pregnancies, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. CDC 

Why is spreading stillbirth awareness important to me?

My son Carmelo Sebastian, the name and inspiration behind Melo and Me Photography, passed away in the womb at 33 weeks 4 days. Medical professionals suspected Melo’s death was due to Trisomy 18 or 21. However, many medical professionals remain puzzled about the causes of other stillbirths. Although stillbirth can affect any mother, regardless of ethnicity, and age, some women are more at risk than others.  

Factors that may increase the risk of stillbirth are:CDC

  • African-Americans
  • Teens
  • women ages 35 or older
  • women who smoke cigarettes while pregnant
  • medical conditions (eg: diabetes or high blood pressure)
  • previous pregnancy loss
  • obesity
  • multiple pregnancies

However, despite knowing factors that may increase the risks, more research needs to be done. For women like me, who’ve experienced stillbirths, I find it extremely  upsetting that professionals have not included other factors (such as: pharmaceuticals) into their studies. I’m even more disappointed that many people are not aware of it at all. Shortly after Carmelo’s death, I notified my insurance provider to let them know that he had passed away. At that time I realized just how taboo it’s viewed as. I had to repetitively explain to the representative that my son did not have a birth certificate and why.

The bottom line is this —mothers of angel babies have a right to ask questions. We have the right to raise awareness about our losses, and encourage each other to speak up about topics like infant and pregnancy loss.

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day is October 15th, please consider lighting a candle. You can also show your support to Moms and Dads by donating to nonprofit organizations like M.E.N.D.. MEND provides support and counseling to parents who’ve experienced infant or pregnancy loss. Melo and Me Photography has decided to donate two portrait sessions to M.E.N.D. Houston’s “A Walk to Remember” on October 15, 2016,  in Carmelo’s memory.

If you are a parent of neonatal loss, and would like to attend a grief support group or counseling, please visit http://www.mend.org/. You may also show your support of Angel Parents by donating to organizations such as M.E.N.D. by clicking here or by visiting http://www.mend.org/donate-online/

Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I would greatly appreciate you sharing this blog post and our Facebook post with your friends.

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