Monday, April 30, 2012

Lia's story

I met Lia in 7th grade when we discovered our mutual love for the New Kids on the Block. (some things never change) :)  While observing what Lia has endured in the past year and a half, there have been numerous times when I wished we could go back to those simpler days when our biggest concern was whether Jordan or Donnie was cuter.

Lia at 39 weeks
On February 3rd, 2010 Lia and her husband learned they were expecting a baby due on 10-10-10. Lia’s pregnancy was uneventful and they were beyond excited. On 10-11-10 they went in for a regularly scheduled appointment, but this time things were different. The doctor could not find the baby’s heartbeat. After several frantic moments, they realized that their baby was gone. They decided to find out the gender. It was a girl.

Sofia's footprint
As if this wasn’t enough, Lia still had to deliver the baby. She was induced and 17 hours later Sofia Rose was delivered weighing 6lbs 15.6 oz and 20 inches long.  There were no clues to explain the cause of Sofia’s death, which is fairly common in these situations. Lia and her husband held Sofia and then had their family members come in so they could do the same. Lia said, “It is so hard to see a baby that way. She should have been crying, not us.”

When she first arrived at the hospital, Lia asked her sister-in-law to contact an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep that provides remembrance photography for families of babies who do not survive.  Lia had been doing some newborn photography as a hobby and had looked into volunteering with the organization a year prior. A photographer arrived shortly after Sofia was delivered and took some beautiful portraits that Lia and her husband cherish.

In the weeks following Sofia’s death, Lia started blogging about her experience. She found that it was not only a good way to share her story, but also to cope with her grief. Writing about her experience allowed her to work through some of her emotions and also helped friends and family gain a better understanding of what she and her husband were going through.

Lia and smiley Rose
Lia has been very open about her experiences and has found that that is not always the case. She said, “infant & pregnancy loss is such a quiet topic yet it seems so common the more I talk to people about it.” Lia got pregnant again several months after Sofia’s loss, but had a miscarriage in the first trimester. Happily, she and her husband welcomed a healthy and very smiley baby girl to the world on January 20 of this year named Rose Maria.  Now, when people ask how many kids they have or if Rose is their first child Lia always includes the babies they have lost because they are part of the family too. This often catches people off guard, but she has found that many people have had similar experiences. She hopes that her openness will help open dialog for others.

Family walking for Sofia
Lia’s openness and strength has already inspired many. One person on Facebook commented, “ have more strength than all of us put together I think.” Lia credits her faith, family, and friends for giving her strength and hopes to continue to help others. She hopes her blogs help mothers who are going through similar situations feel a little less alone and may write a book in the future. (I think she should!!!) She and her husband also participate in the March of Dimes March for Babies to raise money and awareness. In fact, this year’s walk was yesterday and little Rose was able participate!

Lia is very clear that the loss of Sofia will always be difficult and will never be forgotten. Her strength through everything she has endured has come from a desire to remain strong for their future.  “We wanted to have a family and while we will never get over our loss, we do want happiness and hopefully we will figure out how to balance it all.” She encourages others going through similar circumstances to be honest with themselves and not be afraid to ask for help. Lia also encourages them to set small goals for each day, even if it is just taking a shower. She found this to be helpful on days when she emotionally had difficulty getting out of bed. Lia said, Most of all, I want people to know that even though it might not feel like it at the time, they are stronger than they realize and they will make it through.” 

You can support Sofia Rose’s March of Dimes team by clicking here.

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