I said I would contribute today. But, I secretly didn’t want to. Then, as the day approached, I really didn’t want to…and I cried every time I sat down at my computer. The voices in my head said that I didn’t have anything to offer this year. They also told me that I was tempting fate by actively participating in a day that brings about so many emotions…especially this year.

I got my little girl to bed last night, rolled my giant belly up to the desk and stared at the screen forever. I could cry openly because the hubs was out on the tractor, helping bring in the harvest. I knew that he would freak if he saw me…telling me that I ought to just bow out this year.

I had no one to talk to, or so I thought. My ever protective old cat sat next to my legs and stared at me with pity. I couldn’t come up with anything to say, or write. My head just spun with all the said and unsaid things that have been part of my life since loss first touched me. I got really quiet, and listened to my dryer spin and dishwasher hum. Then, on cue, she spoke to me. The wee one who has taken full residence inside since last February, nudged, kicked, and rolled. The one who is due to join us before October ends, the one who we never thought was possible. The one who has a sister to love her here, and four more siblings waiting in heaven. She has made me ache and laugh and cry repeatedly these past weeks as our time draws near. As scared as I am to talk about her, in fear that I could also lose her, I am so honored to talk about her. I am so in love with her. I am so afraid of her. I am so thankful for her. She brings so many emotions because I know fully well that if her Heavenly siblings were here…she would not be.

Pregnancy loss has been a part of my life for almost 10 years now. It is something that I never thought would be a part of our marriage. Yet, it has been for 2/3rds of our life together. Some have criticized me for being so open about my personal experiences. Thankfully most have been supportive and encouraging. My goal has only ever been to encourage those who have experienced loss, perhaps be the one person in their life who has told them that their grief is real and that the life they carried mattered as much as any other.

There are so many people I need to thank for their support over the years. Unfortunately, some came to me in my time of need and I didn’t get their names. Others, I have tried to thank in person or in writing. Sometimes it was just too hard, but I thanked God for them in my prayers.

To the labor and delivery staff at Mary Lanning Hospital in Hastings, I thank you for saving my life after my ectopic pregnancy in 2006. I give thanks to everyone who gave the blood I desperately needed. I am so grateful for the doctors and nurses who came and went then, and again after our second loss in 2006. Then, there were the family members, neighbors and friends who came to see me, encourage both of us, and just be there. These same friends were there to rejoice with us when our miracle daughter came in 2008. Fast forward a few years to when we tried and failed at adoption. The same friends and family members listened and offered encouragement when things did not go well. We then transitioned to infertility treatments that brought two more pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. Again, the same family was here for us, and new friends stepped forward since we had moved home. I received wonderful care through our losses from the kind staff at Jennie Melham in Broken Bow and also the clinic in Omaha.

When this journey began again early in the spring, the same family and friends again came to our side to support us through this entire journey. Random phone calls and FB messages, and gifting of things for this baby have truly blessed us.

I realize that I carry this baby with yet another unknown outcome. And, I would be telling a big fat lie if I said I was not fearful of losing her in the final moments. My faith is deep, but it does not always conquer the fears that linger. One thing that is assured, is that the people who have been here for our family will be here for us, always.

So, as I light my candle tonight to remember all the little ones who left us too soon, I also light it to remember those who have been a light in my life. Near and far, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, I remember you, and I thank you. 

Last, but not least, I thank my husband and partner of almost 15 years. He won’t read this, at least he won’t let me know if he ever does. If not for him, I would not have survived this roller coaster. He is my rock here on earth. I love him more each day.

If you feel led to pray for us as delivery day approaches in the next few days, I would be sincerely appreciative. God bless you.

Beacon Insurance

Leah Peterson

Leah Peterson is a native Nebraskan, living on the ranch her ancestors homesteaded in 1878. She and her husband Matt, met at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and returned to the ranch in 2012 after working and living in Central Nebraska the past 12 years. They are parents to two daughters, Maggie and Lucy. Leah has an undergrad degree from UNL in Communication Studies, and a MA in Leadership from Bellevue University. Aside from her work at the ranch and opportunity to be a stay at home mom, she enjoys writing, photography, community involvement, spending time with friends and family and trying new recipes in her kitchen. Leah published her first children's book in 2011 titled "An Apple for Dapple" and enjoys traveling throughout the state to share her book with children and raise awareness about the importance Agriculture in Nebraska.