Sara Leffler is a Registered diagnostic medical sonographer. Her job at the Emergency room is to diagnose anything that may be wrong during a pregnancy. Becoming an ultrasound technician was something she wanted to do before she experienced her losses. After her loss, she still decided to do it. She is an expert in the field of pregnancy and infant loss not only because of her professional job but also because she has been on the other side of the screen and experienced both stillborn and two miscarriages. This is her story:
The doc she had during this time was amazing, but the nurses treated her with a slight disregard. One of the nurses, however, took pictures of her and Angelica so that she would have the memories of the baby she never got to bring home.
Sara said, “there was a shadow that kind of loomed over Christmas because of the hole that was created from losing Angelica. Until Haley (her rainbow baby) filled that void.” Haley was born Dec 22nd, 6 years after Angelica at the same hospital with the same doctor.
After the loss of Angelica, Sara went on to become an ultrasound technician. She didn’t realize at the time how much this job would affect her emotionally. However, being on both sides of the screen has helped her give comfort to others because she knows what they are going through. She gave one example of a mama that came in.
Miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant loss happen more often than most people realize. The saying is one in four women will experience pregnancy loss in their lifetime. Sara works at a local emergency room, and she says that she sees an average of 15-20 pregnancy losses in a month. That is almost 1 a day.
Mental health is a big part of pregnancy loss. Sara says that it is important to seek help when it comes to dealing with any kind of loss ranging from pregnancy loss to post-birth infant loss because having that support will help families get through the pain, loss, and void caused by it. “it’s not going to go away by itself, and seeking help is going to help you cope in a way that you won’t be able to cope without. You can’t do it alone. It takes surrounding yourself with people who are going to help you walk this path. Don’t do it alone. No one should have to do it alone.” She talks about her mental health and what she wishes she had done differently.
Post-20 weeks pregnancy losses are considered stillborn whether they passed away before or after birth. You can find stories like Sara’s all over the internet. Reddit has one story where the mom went through fertility treatments and made it to 24 weeks before finding out her baby had passed away between 20 and 24 weeks. @suzyqt10 said “She was moving, growing and 20 weeks in we found out we were having a baby girl. We named her after our mothers. Four weeks later there was no heartbeat. Our little girl had passed away. Because I was so far along, I had to give birth to her vaginally. Recovering was emotional and hard.” She goes on to tell the rest of her infertility journey and losing one of her twins in her next pregnancy.
LinkedIn has several groups with resources for parents who have gone through pregnancy loss, infant loss, or infertility. This includes anything from support groups like Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support INC to resource groups like Stillborn and Infant loss support. These groups provide support and resources as well as mental health resources.
Like Sara and the patients she sees daily, many women have or will experience some form of pregnancy loss. For those who have experienced it or may experience it, please don’t be afraid to seek help even from a friend or a church leader. Having a support system is a great way to help get through the hardest times.
If you want to check out a local support group, click here: Rainbow Babies Unite Support Group