Hope For Chance {Guest Blogger}

Pink and Blue. You see these colors most often associated with the birth of a new baby. Adorable, pink, frills and bows for a sweet girl, blue hats and onesies for a bouncing baby boy. These colors also adorn the awareness ribbon for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

My name is Michelle Moskiewicz and I was brought into the world of infant loss on August 7, 2013. Chance, my sweet boy Chance was a wonderful, beautiful, healthy 20158299_10100673121551136_515744570_nbaby boy who was taken by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at two months and twenty-six days old. I guess it’s best to start from the beginning and work my way into that night and how we went about forming Hope For Chance, our non profit organization, that helps with families who have suffered from pregnancy and infant loss.

I found out I was pregnant with Chance about one month into my first deployment. According to the Air Force docs, I was just a little over two months pregnant. So, the Marine Corps sent me home.

 

Our pregnancy had a few complications, but Chance made his debut at thirty-seven weeks on the dot. He was a handsome chubby-cheeked boy who liked watching his dog and listening to “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Band (he wasn’t very fond of the Darius Rucker version). He was the piece of our family puzzle that my husband and I didn’t realize we were missing. With him, everything was as it should be. His blue eyes, blonde hair, and widow’s peak made him the spitting image of his father- which after being in active labor for sixteen hours I didn’t find fair, but he was perfect.

It was that night, no, early morning when our lives changed forever. My husband had woken up to go to the restroom and had stopped by Chance’s crib to check on him. I only remember his screaming for me to wake up and call 911. For the next five or twenty minutes (it felt like forever) I gave my little boy CPR while simultaneously praying to God that this was a nightmare. To this day, I can still remember the chill on his skin against mine. We followed the paramedics to the hospital and were told there was nothing that they could do, my baby was gone. We were able to hold him for awhile. We were able to kiss his tiny head, to smell his scent, to hold him in our arms. My heart and muscles still ache for that weight, for that smell, to look down and see him.

Almost immediately we were pushed into the Loss World. We were still driving home when we got a call from the hospital asking permission to use Chance’s heart valves. We went through an interview with the police, after they’d gone through our home, Chance’s things. They took samples of his formula, of our water, dirty diapers, his crib sheet. They were looking for a reason, a cause. I am so happy they did now that I look back. For an infant to be classified as SIDS there has to be no other cause of death plausible. Chance had been in his crib, on his back, with nothing else. They had no idea what killed my baby boy.20179905_10100673123542146_1794190815_n

Immediately I began researching SIDS and getting into contact with all of the major researchers in the United States and joining all of the support groups Facebook had to offer. It was there that I read the story of a family who, after buying all the things a baby needed, still owing the hospital for birthing because insurance didn’t cover it all, after only having her baby girl home for three days, lost her to SIDS. She couldn’t afford a service, a burial, or an urn. She got her daughter’s ashes back in a plastic bag. I said no. I told myself I would never allow that to happen to another family if I could help it. 20134865_10100673122569096_1879182236_nThat is the moment that Hope For Chance was born in my mind. Within four months, Hope For Chance was a 501(c)3 non profit whose goal was to assist families who had lost a baby (does not have to be SIDS) with the costs of services, burials, and cremation. We also donate funds to research for Dr. Hannah Kinney at the Boston Children’s Hospital, and every year we host the Run For Hope, an annual 5k awareness run to bring more awareness and education to what SIDS is, what it isn’t, and how families can keep their babies safe during sleep. Hope For Chance, in our short four years has been able to help several families across the United States give their babies a sweet goodbye.

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While every late night phone call and e-mail from a family in need or a funeral home does remind me of our own loss, it also reminds me that though he is not here in our arms, he is alive in our hearts and in the hearts of everyone that knows our
story and those we have helped. We will be remembering Chance’s fourth Angelversary this year in just under a month.

I would like to thank Kirstyn for allowing me to guest post here on BurritoBuzz. She and I were brought together by happenstance, through our losses. I hope that any mothers or fathers out there who have suffered the loss of a child, whether miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss through adult loss, know that you are not alone. One in four women suffer with you. We are the guardians of our children’s memories. Whether that memory be a positive test, an ultrasound, a first smile, the first day of kindergarten, or graduation. You are not alone.

-Michelle

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October 15th – Raising Awareness

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October is well known for being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and unless you’re a sufferer, you most likely don’t know that it’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared the month of October as the month to honor those who have lost their children. Furthermore, October 15th has been further distinguished as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” (Reagan)

6fe109a3d6500ba075228d45f23c5278The statistics revolving around Pregnancy and Infant Loss are absolutely devastating and most people have no idea how common it is until it happens to them or a close friend or family member. Every year, out of the approximate 600,000 pregnancies, almost 200,000 of them end in some type of loss either while pregnant, during delivery, or within the first year of life. TWO. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. And that number isn’t even totally accurate because a percent of those losses occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant.

My recent miscarriage (you can read about my story here) brought a whole new meaning to the month of October for me. So here I am, battling with my own emotions, again wanting to ensure that women know they’re not alone. I know how it is and I know how it feels. If it takes me having to slap my heart on my sleeve to help 200,000+ women feel more comfortable, then that is what I will do.screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-6-00-46-pm

“By keeping these discussions taboo, we rob people of the basic support and understanding necessary to deal with their loss. By keeping these discussions taboo, we force women and families to suffer in silence.” – Tara Moss

There are resources out there that offer support. You don’t have to remain silent. Don’t be ashamed to reach out and ask for help or to simply share your story. That’s what these organizations are there for, they understand.

On October 15th, from 7PM-8PM in all timezones, families will light a candle in remembrance of all of the sweet babies gone too soon. Joining in this National Tribute will not only help raise awareness but show support to those who you don’t know may be suffering silently.

Who will you be lighting a candle for? 

– Kirstyn