Peanut with Adrian's Elephant

Cranky

Parenting, even parenting after loss, isn’t just sunshine and roses. It’s reality too. And I love this little girl with every piece of my soul, AND I feel overwhelmed sometimes.

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View from a butterfly cut-out, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

AdrianJamesHernandez.com Official Comment Policy; aka Things not to say to or about a Bereaved Parent

Grief is awkward, and so when we encounter someone in grief, we often feel the need to say something — anything at all — just to fill the void. These things are almost always said with good intentions, and so often grievers are asked to understand these intentions when words fall short. We certainly try.

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Waves on Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

I Fail at Grief Olympics

What I found most interesting in my interactions with all of them, was the amount of commonality in our experiences. In how much I could identify with experiences I had previously thought were just mine.

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Books on Pregnancy and Baby Education (Miranda Hernandez)

Requests of a bereaved mother for all prenatal providers

If a patient is at particular risk for stillbirth or other difficult outcome, ensure they understand what that means. Do not reassure them that “everything will be fine”, especially when higher risk exists. DO discuss specific risks, & actions they can take to be on guard and/or mitigate them

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Found art of the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

From one mother to another: A letter to the pregnant mother from one who is bereaved

The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child.

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Sunset over Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Stillbirth & Statistics: What Does it Mean to be “Rare”?

I think the problem with using words like “rare” in place of actual numbers is that it’s a description that renders those numbers abstract. Our brains are so unused to thinking about statistical concepts that we classify these things as either likely, e.g. I’m likely to have a flat tire at some point in my life; or practically impossible, e.g. I will never win the lottery. But we do a really poor job of thinking about all of the possibilities that lie in between.

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Flowers on the California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Things We Don’t Want to Be True

I think we subconsciously want all parents to be superheroes. My peanut has a scratch on her forehead right now, from where the family puppy accidentally nicked her, and this scratch, though tiny, makes me feel terrible.

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Draft email (Miranda Hernandez)

Two Birthdays

Almost three years ago, we both were pregnant. I didn’t realize at the time how closely we aligned. I think I thought about saying something then, but I didn’t. No excuses this time. And then your son was born, and my son died. 

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Adrian and Elephant

A Letter to My Son on His Second Birthday

If they asked me to describe you, I would start with your eyes. I never got to see your eyes, just your long eyelashes. If they asked about…

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Peanut's feet with Adrian's Elephant (Miranda Hernandez)

First

Peanut wasn’t my first pregnancy. She’s the first that a lot of people know about here. She’s the first one to receive a birth certificate, the first to draw breath and scream. I moved shortly before I started trying for her, and most people here didn’t know my history. I think many just assume.

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Peanut and Adrian's Elephant (Sarah Perry Photography)

13 June 2019

A little over 13 months ago, and just by chance on Mother’s Day weekend, I made my first attempt at having a second child. That attempt was unsuccessful,…

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Miranda with Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid (4th Trimester Bodies Project)

Third Mother’s Day

Happy Mothers Day

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Daisies in San Juan Capistrano, California (Miranda Hernandez)

From one mother to another; a letter to the recently bereaved

You may find comfort in books or support groups. You may find comfort in therapy. These things are very individual. I never read books, and support groups were overwhelming to me in the beginning.

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Ariel view of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

More Than 8 Things

That last line has been tugging at me. It sounds so simple, but it’s really not. And this is why I ultimately decided to respond.

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Fog on the ocean in Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Sometimes I DO want to give up, and you can’t fix that

I know this isn’t universal, but there’s something that bothers me about this common sentiment of “keep going” or “don’t give up”.

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Full moon

Midnight

Every so often, when I’m snuggling Charles, I think of my son, and how things ought to be. It’s April now, and two Aprils ago I was hugely pregnant. I didn’t know it yet, but I was having a little boy.

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Trees along the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago

Pregnancy After Loss; A Parable

Now imagine one day you were crossing the street, and you were hit by a bus. No warning, no notice; you were completely unprepared. This is obviously something that’s possible, but not the kind of thing that happens everyday. Not to most people.

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Flowers at St Katharines's Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

My experience as a pseudo-rainbow baby

My parents never talked to us about their losses, and I blame their generations. (Publicly) holding onto grief was something that wasn’t done. And so this grief was whispered, held tightly under cover, impacts erased before they could be explored. But these erasers only took away the surface.

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Sunset on the California Coast

Strong

Many people told me I was “strong” when I was deep in grief. I think it’s meant as a compliment. It doesn’t help, though. I don’t feel strong….

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Understanding

When a grieving person tells you a comment is unhelpful, absorb it. Learn and ask questions on what you could say differently. We aren’t trying to shame you; we are only trying to educate. We know you don’t intend to be hurtful, and we want to show you a better way.

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Valerian flowers in Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Why I Track Fetal Movement Religiously with my Second Pregnancy

I don’t write this to be condescending. I write this because I unfortunately know. I know what it’s like to think everything’s okay, and then have your entire world fall apart. I will always wish someone had said these things to me. I will always wish someone had thought I should know.

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Orchid cactus flowers in the gardens at San Juan Bautista

Dear Nature-based Childbirth Educator

My son died almost two years ago. It’s taken me a while to be able to return to sites like yours. I see you spoken of so positively, and I am happy to see you have chosen to discuss stillbirth recently. I am asking you to continue.

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Fence on the shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago

Quora: Perspective of a Non-Believer Following the Death of a Child

After my son was born, the nurses asked if I wanted a chaplain to bless him. I thought about this for many hours. I knew it wasn’t something I could change if I chose not to do. But in the end, it didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t feel a loss for not doing this for my son.

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View of the beach in Monterey Bay, California

Pleasant Surprise

I didn’t start this website to be inspirational. I don’t think I have the market on stories of tragedy, or redemption. I wonder, sometimes, if my combative and rebellious nature is even useful. I still carry so much anger.

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Why Getting Pregnant Easily Isn’t a Gift

Statistics are funny. I really wish someone would do a study on the chances for real, taking into account the multiple factors that contribute to fertility. I still don’t know if I’m an anomaly, or if I just got lucky. I don’t feel lucky.

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Pier at Mission Bay Park, San Diego

Boomerang

Sometimes I see an idea that seems neat, but I’m not quite ready to implement it. When this happens, I often use an email reminder service to send it back to me at a later date. For the most part, it’s been pretty convenient.

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Pier in Paihia, New Zealand

A Letter to My Mental Health Coordinator

I don’t actually fault you for forgetting. I know you see a lot of people. I was a little impressed you remembered my name. But when you present yourself as a safe person, you need to actually be one.

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Waves in Monterey Bay, California

The Slowest Kind of Panic

I’ve been feeling funny all day. I can’t really put a name to it. Off-balance, yes, and a little bit sad. I’m still processing pieces of my last relationship.

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Stillbirth & Statistics (Old Version)

1 in 160. That’s the rate of stillbirth in America today. Other countries may be higher or lower, but most hover around similar points. 1 in 160. Less than 1%. Sometimes called “rare.” It’s interesting how we define “rare.”

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“If She Dies, I Die”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the most recent episode of Grey’s anatomy. There’s been a number of interesting storylines these past few seasons, and this was one…

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Bench on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Grieving Without God

One day, someday, I will die. I don’t know what will happen then, and that’s okay with me. I don’t need confirmation or thoughts of reunification. I don’t want to be told my son waits for me in the afterlife.

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Mount Douglas Park Trail, Victoria, British Columbia

This Timeline

I remember after he died, I kept thinking I was going to wake up one day and it would all be over. Like this was just a temporary place, and not somewhere I had to live forever.

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Echoes

I have a tattoo at the top of my right rib cage. When I was pregnant with my son, this was his favorite place to poke me. It started with his bottom; I would feel this hard, round pressure. I pushed back sometimes. It felt like a game

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It’s Not About the Sunscreen

I understood where the author was coming from; sometimes the minutiae of life is overwhelming, and the sunscreen issue was just the latest thing. But the article itself wasn’t about sunscreen. And that’s where it got derailed, because so many of the readers responded with recommendations on how to fix that one specific thing.

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Ruins of Cannery Row 1, Monterey, California

Necessary Fear

There really never is an appropriate time to talk about tragedy. There really never is a time when the innocent are ready to listen. And that’s sad, and it’s also wrong. Because death isn’t the thing that only happens to other people. Tragedy isn’t the thing you can ignore and it won’t hurt you.

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California coast (Miranda Hernandez)

Please stop telling me everything is going to be “fine”

Please stop telling me everything is going to be fine. Because you see, I’ve heard those words before, from multiple licensed medical practitioners.

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The Story of Amy Anne

I still wonder, now, if Amy knew what was coming. She was already pretty attached to me. It was hard to say for sure. She and Saki liked to cuddle around my big belly on the couch at night. Some nights I would sleep there. Life seemed pretty good.

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Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid

My daughter is not a rainbow; My son was not a storm

When I chose to try for a second child, these feelings hadn’t changed for me. I wasn’t trying to replace my son; I was adding to our family. My daughter was going to be her own person, and I couldn’t let her be defined by who or what came before.

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Bay of Islands 2

Yoga on a Saturday

I remember those early days after loss, when I used to go to yoga just to cry. It was a safe, quiet space, and most people didn’t judge me. It was a release.

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Hard Day

I had a hard day today. It happens sometimes. I get scared. There’s nothing wrong, not really. Just a wordless feeling. It’s easy to be overwhelmed.

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Sunset in Victoria, British Columbia

Waiting Rooms

I remember that first waiting room afterwards, back in the hospital. I remember walking in, surrounded by people. They were pregnant and they were holding newborn babies, and I wanted to scream, “What is this nightmare? What happened to my life?”

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Adrian's Elephant and Peanut's Mermaid

8 January, 2019

I’ve always wanted a large family. My original plan had been to have my son and then foster older children. I’ve been a CASA before. There are so many teenagers who need love and a home. My arms and my heart both ache.

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1 January 2019

This has been such a long year, and every time I think I’m okay, I find new heartbreak; new fears. I also find new joy. Because the day before I said goodbye to Amy Anne, I took a chance on bringing new life into this world. And I am both terrified and ecstatic to announce that this spring, my Adrian James will become a big brother.

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Miranda with Adrian's Elephant during Adrian's Memorial on the California coast (@saltwaterandclay)

22 July 2018

Things have been hard. Life in general is hard, and I’m just floating through it. But there is still beauty in this world. And for that one thing, I can feel grateful.

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Adrian's Elephant with package of tattoo ink from Engrave Ink (Miranda Hernandez)

Friday the 13th

Last Friday the 13th was also the point of equidistance — as equally spaced between the day that Adrian died as that day was from the “beginning” (first day of my last menstrual period) of my pregnancy with him. I thought it fitting, then, that this was the day my tattoo artist had available.

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Daisies and Bluebonnets on Adrian's casket (Modern Lux Photography)

11 July 2018

One year ago today, I put on a black blouse and oversized skirt, tried to put make-up on my face. I should have known better. I never made it far into the day without tears.

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Trail in Pinnacles National Park, California (Miranda Hernandez)

Not Okay

The Miranda from a year ago is dead. She died with Adrian. And that needs to be okay. It needs to be okay that I am a different person, that the things that used to make me happy are now different. Permanently.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant on the California coast (Synch Media)

Second Eulogy

I spent three years preparing to give birth to my son. I read all the books. I made changes to my world. I did everything possible to ensure he came into a life designed to welcome him, a world completely filled with love.

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Miranda and Elephant on the California coast

A letter to my son on his first birthday

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Adrian's Elephant

28 June 2018, 8:55pm

I’ve never been the person who counted the days, and so the intensity of this month has been surprising. I’m feeling so many memories, like a full body…

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