Monthly Contributors 2017-09-07T10:18:40+00:00

Monthly Contributors

Jenny Albers

Jenny Albers lives near Denver, Colorado with her husband Luke, her 6 year old daughter, and 1 year old son. She is also a mom to two babies who are with Jesus; one who was lost due to an ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks, and baby Micah who was delivered at 20 weeks due to preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM.) Along with her husband and daughter Annabel, Jenny welcomed her rainbow baby, Aksel, home in July 2016. She has found healing through writing and feels called to bring awareness to the topic of pregnancy and child loss. She can be contacted by email.

Cheli Blasco

Cheli Blasco is mom to three sons and one daughter, Luna, who died and was born at home in a beautiful and loving birth that was both heart-wrenching and healing. Originally from Argentina, long-time resident of NYC and currently living in Spain, she is a doula and birth advocate.  Cheli also writes for Mirar al Cielo and has self published a book of essays and poetry in Spanish Para Luna, de mamá. She writes for PALS with the love and help of her youngest, a wild little rainbow.

Kristi Bothur

Kristi Bothur is a wife, mother, educator, blogger, and freelance writer. She has seven children – two on Earth and five in Heaven. She and her husband Eric founded Naomi’s Circle, a faith-based pregnancy and infant loss ministry, as a result of walking the road of first and second trimester pregnancy loss, as well as the journey of pregnancy after loss. Kristi is a contributing editor of the ebook devotional Rainbows and Redemption: Encouragement for the Journey of Pregnancy After Loss and a co-author of Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother. She has been a guest blogger on Grace for Moms, the MOB Society, and Still Standing, among others. She is passionate about helping women find their spiritual footing when life’s messes catch them by surprise. She believes in being real with God and with each other, and refuses to give wishy-washy answers to nitty-gritty problems. She reaches out to bereaved parents through the Naomi’s Circle ministry, through her writing on the Columbia SC Moms Blog and Mommies with Hope, and through her personal blog, This Side of Heaven. Kristi lives in South Carolina with her husband and living children, where she homeschools, is active in her church, and embraces the life that God has given her.

Heather Butler

Heather Butler is a proud Colorado native and a mountain girl through and through. She is married to her best friend and lumberjack of a husband. They have 2 daughters (who are by far the coolest little people ever) and 1 on the way. They also have 2 precious heaven babies who were lost in miscarriages at 13 weeks and 5 weeks. Although all too brief, their little lives continually reveal a lifetime’s worth of beauty and truth. Through their entrances into heaven, Heather found her calling and passion in life-to walk alongside other women in their journey of loss and healing-and is currently writing her first book on the topic. Heather shares her adventures as a wife, momma and woman on her website, Faithfulness Declared.

Alexis Marie Chute

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning artist, author and filmmaker. She resides in Alberta, Canada with her husband Aaron and their three living children Hannah, Eden and Luca. Her second-born, Zachary, died at birth from a random cardiac tumor in 2010. Alexis Marie wrote a memoir called Expecting Sunshine about her pregnancy that followed. Through vulnerability and poetic language, she revealed the anxiety-filled anticipation of having a baby after losing a baby. While pregnant with her fourth, Alexis Marie created Expecting Sunshine Documentary to support bereaved yet growing families and educate the public of what pregnancy after loss really looks like. Alexis Marie has her Bachelor of Fine Art in visual art from the University of Alberta and her Masters of Fine Art in creative writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Photo Life Magazine named her an “Emerging Canadian Photographer,” Avenue Magazine included her in their round-up of the Top 40 Under 40, and she was the recipient of the John Poole Award for promotion of the Arts. Alexis Marie was featured in print and video as a Mother-Expert in Today’s Parent Magazine’s Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss awareness campaign, which won first place at the 38th Annual National Magazine Awards for Best Editorial Package on the Web. Alexis Marie is a highly regarded speaker and has presented on art, writing, bereavement and the healing capacities of creativity around the world. She is widely published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines and her artworks on loss, healing and resiliency have been exhibited across North America. Wanted Chosen Planned is Alexis Marie’s blog about life after the loss of a child.

You can follow Alexis Marie on Twitter at both @_Alexis_Marie and @expectsunbook, Facebook at both Always Alexis Marie and Expecting Sunshine, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. She can be reached by email, and you can see her work at her websites Alexis Marie Chute, Alexis Marie Art, Alexis Marie Writes, Wanted Chosen Planned, and Expecting Sunshine.

Lynzee Febbo

Lynzee Febbo is a wife and mother of two angels, Matix Jack and Tegan James. She lives in Rexburg, Idaho with her loving husband and cat. She is currently a Nanny to three little boys and blogs at Tiger Stripes and Lemonade. She loves swing dancing with her husband or any other kind of dancing, as well as singing and crafting. After suffering the loss of her twin sons to stillbirth in August of 2016, and a early miscarriage in April of 2017, she and her husband are finally ready to try again for their rainbow baby. Through her losses, writing has been the best creative outlet and her own way to “give back” to the loss community that has been so loving to her throughout her grieving.

Erin Kuhn-Krueger

Erin Kuhn-Krueger is a 5x miscarriage survivor (including a daughter, Baby Krueger, at 16 weeks 6 days), and a 2x stillbirth survivor (twins, Sarah and Benjamin, at 20 weeks 5 days). After her 4th loss, Erin created the blog and resource portal, Will CarryOn, for those experiencing baby loss, and learning to live and survive life after loss. She writes from the heart, touching on oft-taboo subjects, showcasing the struggles, determination and hope that have kept her (and her husband) together, and moving forward. She believes the more people talk about baby loss, the less alone those walking a similar path will feel.

Erin received a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication from Drake University where she studied advertising and marketing. She uses her personal experiences and marketing background to shape her advocacy work and community outreach in the adoption, loss and infertility arena. In addition to her writing, Erin also works as the Community Outreach Director for The Blossom Method, a center providing therapeutic support and counseling for infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, baby loss, pregnancy after loss, postpartum depression, and more.

Erin and her husband, Aaron, live in Chicago, and are parents of a son, C, by way of domestic adoption (May 2013), and another son, J, after successfully carrying a pregnancy to term (August 2014). You can find her on Twitter, and follow Will CarryOn on Twitter and Facebook.

Katie McKenzie

Katie McKenzie lives in rural central Ohio with her husband Jesse and two daughters, Charlie and Evan. A year after she had their first daughter in June 2014, she and her husband began trying to conceive again. They experienced 3 first trimester miscarriages in 8 months. In May 2016 she found out she was pregnant again and gave birth to their Rainbow in January 2017. She wrote about her pregnancy in a blog, and has began to continue to write about her everyday life, now as a mother of two. You can visit her blogs, Life isn’t always Rainbows and A Princess and a Rainbow. Katie is a Registered Nurse who currently works on a postpartum unit. After her own experiences with loss, Katie has become passionate about speaking out about miscarriage and ending the stigma that comes with it.

Kristen Paul

Kristen Paul currently lives in Southern Maryland with her husband Darrell and their three cats Zoe, Orson, and Mr. Mustachio. After discovering that their failure to conceive was due to both female (PCOS) and male (a large pituitary tumor that had disrupted the normal hormone production necessary to allow for the formation of sperm) factors, Kristen and her husband were elated when – after 8 months of treatment for Darrell’s tumor – they became pregnant in March 2014 on their very first cycle of IVF with ICSI. In June of 2014, they were thrilled to find that they were having a healthy baby boy; after a perfect anatomy scan at 20 weeks, 2 days gestation, they expected to welcome their son in early December. Just 10 days after the anatomy scan, Kristen – experiencing mild spotting and the slightest backache – went to the emergency room, where it was discovered that she was completely effaced and dilating rapidly. Despite every intervention possible, she delivered their son, William Edward Paul, just over 6 hours after arriving at the hospital; at just 21 weeks, 5 days gestation, weighing a single pound and measuring just under eleven inches in length, he died moments after birth. After being diagnosed with cervical insufficiency, Kristen had a transabdominal cerclage placed in late December of 2014, just over two weeks after their son’s due date. In March 2015, Kristen underwent a second fresh IVF/ICSI cycle, and she and Darrell were blessed to become pregnant again. Currently 12 weeks pregnant, and with her due date just over a year after her previous one (Will was due 12/7/14, and the baby they are affectionately calling SmallPaul until they know his/her gender is due 12/12/15), she and Darrell are doing their best to balance mourning the loss of their first child less than a year ago and the excitement – and fear – of being pregnant again. Kristen may be contacted at kristenannpaul@gmail.com.

Rebecca Markert

Rebecca Markert lives in Verona, Wisconsin, with her husband, Mike, and their three living children, Dexter, Audrey, and Owen. She gave birth to her first child, Lily, on Mother’s Day 2010 after she went into preterm labor at 20 weeks. Rebecca had a septate uterus, which put her at risk for preterm labor and an incompetent cervix, among other things. Lily was a beautiful baby girl with her daddy’s nose and her mommy’s feet. She was stillborn. She was proof that love at first sight does exist. After another high risk pregnancy, Rebecca welcomed her rainbow, Dexter, in 2011. During her second pregnancy after loss, Rebecca realized how anxious and fearful she still was and sought out other women expecting again after loss. She, along with four other courageous mamas, formed the Rainbow Pregnancies of Madison group, which supports women pregnant after loss. Rebecca is still the facilitator of that group, which meets monthly and has an active, private Facebook page.

Anne Mathay

Anne Mathay is the former Development Director for Pregnancy After Loss Support. She has struggled with infertility for the last five years, along with a miscarriage in 2010 and the stillbirth of her son Henry in 2012. In April 2014, Anne and her husband welcomed their rainbow baby. Since her losses, Anne has become active with many organizations that promote healthy pregnancy, loss and awareness, and children’s health. She has found her voice through Knocked Up And Down, a blog that chronicles her struggles, triumphs, and hope surrounding pregnancy and parenting. Anne lives in Delaware with her husband, daughter, and dog. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Amanda Ross-White

Amanda Ross-White’s first pregnancy ended in the stillbirth of her twins, Nathaniel and Samuel, in 2007. Since then, she has had two miscarriages, and two successful pregnancies, her daughter born safe in 2009 and her son in 2012. While each was emotionally stressful, developing pneumonia and spending 5 days in Intensive Care while 28 weeks pregnant with her son was physically stressful too. She is currently writing a pregnancy guide for women like us, and would love your input! She is a regular contributor to Still Standing Magazine, and you can also bore yourself to tears with her academic writing here.

Natesha Strader

Natesha D. Strader is a Virginia native. She lives with her husband of six years and their three beautiful children: Elijah, Remon, and Michaela. Natesha has a strong passion to see women of all walks of life uplifted and walking out their life’s purpose. She has dedicated her time to supporting women within her city via small group outings. Natesha believes that “through our life experiences as woman we can come together and encourage each other”. In her second year of marriage, she and her husband experienced an ectopic pregnancy, which devastated the family. However, that did not prepare her for the miscarriage they experienced two years later at 8 weeks gestation. The miscarriage left the family brokenhearted and Natesha wondering why that could happen. After toiling with the loss and lack of support and bouts of depression and anxiety, Natesha knew that she could not allow another woman to go through a miscarriage alone. After years of going back and forth, Natesha, along with the help and support of her husband, decided that for the time being they would focus on their children and the many gifts already given to them. She doesn’t consider the decision a complete loss but just a pause in this chapter of her life. Natesha is excited to be a part of the PALS team, as she has dedicated herself to not see anyone go loss alone.

Trish Taylor

Trish Taylor, a native Floridian, lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son. She is a woman of faith and teaches teenagers at her church. She’s a dedicated mother to her children. Her step-daughter Makenzie was born May 19, 2009. Her first biological daughter wound up living her full mortal life in her mother’s womb; Joislen Grace Taylor was born into eternity on August 16, 2015 after a 40-week healthy pregnancy for unexplained reasons. Trish’s rainbow baby, Dwayne III, aka “D3”, was born September 19, 2016. She is a veteran and is passionate about advocating for women’s health. She is pursuing her career as a labor and delivery nurse with doula bereavement training. Trish works alongside local hospitals in San Diego to bring about necessary change to better accommodate grieving families. She writes moving pieces inspired by her faith and her endless love for her daughter on her blog Our Journey with Joisey.

Elizabeth Thoma

Elizabeth Thoma lives in the Bay Area, California, with her husband, Chris, and two cats, JJ and Pepper. She found out she was expecting their first child Mother’s Day weekend, 2014. With mild symptoms and no significant early warning signs, they adjusted to pregnancy and eagerly planned for their growing family. At the second trimester anatomy scan, they found out they were having a son and that he had an abdominal wall defect, an omphalocele. Ever the planners, Elizabeth and Chris prepared themselves and their families for what the omphalocele meant in a best-case scenario, and some of the possibilities that couldn’t be diagnosed in utero. Their son, Oberon, was born six weeks early and had his omphalocele surgery within his first twelve hours of life. The surgery went well, but Obie was having trouble breathing. At first, the doctors thought it was related to his large tongue, one of the many indicators that he had Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. When Obie was one week old, the doctors told Chris and Elizabeth that somewhere along the line, Obie’s brain stopped developing. While they could control his seizures somewhat with heavy medication, Obie’s brain would never develop and he would not be able to walk, talk, or even communicate. At this point, they decided to switch Obie to comfort care and try to take him home from the NICU. They successfully broke out of the NICU and Obie rode home in an ambulance. Bringing their son home brought much comfort to their family. Obie passed away at home in his daddy’s arms at 33 days old. Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with their second child a week after Mother’s Day, 2015. While she is hopeful for this pregnancy, she is also anxious to pass some big milestones since no one – not the NICU doctors, not the perinatologists, not the OBGYNs, not the geneticists – knows what caused Oberon’s issues. Since they don’t know what happened, it’s hard to estimate the risk of recurrence. Her second baby is due in January, 2016. Elizabeth and Chris blog at about their family at Our Little Beastie.

Rachel Whalen

Rachel Whalen is a 32-year-old who lives and loves in the endlessly charming state of Vermont. She is a Kindergarten teacher, a wife to Mike, and a mother to Dorothy and Frances. The decision to become a mom was an easy one for Rachel, so she was devastated at just how difficult it was to achieve that dream. After two miscarriages, she became pregnant for a third time. Her third pregnancy went smoothly, until she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia at 28 weeks. At 30 weeks, Rachel became incredibly ill and was informed that her daughter no longer had a heartbeat. After a very traumatic delivery, Dorothy Grace Helena Whalen was stillborn on February 22, 2016. In July of 2016, under careful supervision, Rachel became pregnant again. Although it was an incredibly anxiety-filled pregnancy, Rachel remained in good health, and on March 19, 2017, Frances Michele Whalen entered the world. Throughout this entire journey, Rachel found comfort in sharing her family’s story on her blog, An Unexpected Family Outing. She also found solace while participating in various online communities for grief and loss, including PALS. While Rachel wishes that no parent ever know the pain of losing their child, she has made it her mission to share her story and let other parents know that they do not have to go through this journey alone.

Past Contributors

Jennifer Massoni Pardini

Jennifer Massoni Pardini is a longtime magazine editor and contributor who earned her M.F.A. in English and Creative Writing from Mills College. In 2012, she joined the pregnancy and infant loss community when she lost her first child, Lorenzo, when she was five months pregnant. Her much-loved, much-wanted baby boy was diagnosed with a fatal heart defect, and she and her husband chose to spare him the pain of the extreme measures he would have had to endure upon being born. She met him still over an hour that changed her life. Five months later, she miscarried. Her greatest forms of healing have been found in writing about her son, in solidarity with other loss moms, and in her own arms when her daughter, Hazel, was born safely in 2014. She has written about Lorenzo in The New York Times, The Washington Post MagazineSan Francisco Chronicle, Literary Mama, in the anthology Three Minus One: Stories of Parents’ Love and Loss, and on her website, which she has dedicated to helping other loss parents through their grief and healing. She is also completing a memoir about her journey. Today, she is honored to contribute to Pregnancy After Loss Support’s team of Courageous Mamas and share what pregnancy after loss has meant—and may hopefully mean again—to her. You may also follow her on Twitter and help her collect hearts in her son’s honor with the Chain-Link Heart Project.

Angela Riggs

Angela Riggs is a bereaved mother who has three children on Earth and one in Heaven. She and her family live in San Diego, CA where she works as a Human Resources professional in higher education. She is a dedicated wife, loving mother, daughter, sister, and friend.

Angela contributes as a PALS First Year Blogger who shares her thoughts and feelings as she continues down her parenting journey, focusing on parenting after a SIDS loss. In 2013, the Riggs family suffered the loss of their third child and only son, Leo to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Angela began writing letters to Leo the day after he passed away as a way to stay connected to him. Through these letters Angela has been able to freely express her grief, fear, hope, faith, and connect with others who have been through or have loved ones who have experienced loss. She invites you to read her letters on her blog SurvivingSIDS.

Saskia Volders

Saskia Volders is a 23-year-old living in Belgium indulging in all things art and parenthood. She and hubby expected their first baby, a girl, due on the end of June. At 29 weeks their love bubble burst when they found a brain anomaly and after weeks of waiting and testing they found out that she had a chromosomal disorder with fatal consequences. Being in Belgium a special meeting was set up and within 5 minutes doctors and jury gave their verdict that their little girl was better off in heaven. Both Saskia and hubby didn’t want their daughter to be in any pain so at 32 weeks baby drifted off to eternal sleep and received her name. Eleni was born, beautiful and still. Five months later they are pregnant again and thrilled to have Elli’s sibling, but also scared and uncertain in how this new journey will turn out. Saskia addresses her posts both towards her new baby Bubba that is due around end of May/early June and towards her grief for the loss off Elli. She has written about her journey on Our Wandering Story.

Catherine Keating

Catherine Keating lives in Seattle, WA with her husband Joe, her son Tucker and daughter Grace, and two wild and crazy dogs. She is an early childhood and special education teacher by training, as well as a certified Yoga Instructor. She began writing stories at a young age, always knowing she had a story to tell the world. When she lost her first two babies, she discovered what that story was to be – a story of finding joy again after loss. Catherine’s first book, There Was Supposed To Be a Baby: A Guide to Healing After Pregnancy Loss was published last year. In this PALS series, she will be focusing on ways in which the techniques she used for her grief, namely yoga, meditation, and finding joy in the every day, helped her to also navigate the world of Pregnancy After Loss. You can get in touch with Catherine at her website, There Was Supposed To Be A Baby or on her Facebook page.

Larissa Genat

Larissa Genat lives in Adelaide, Australia with her husband Marcus. Her firstborn, a beautiful girl named Ariella Jade, was stillborn at term in January 2013. No reason was ever found for her sudden death. After an anxious nine months, her son Levi was born safely just weeks before Ariella’s first birthday. The joy and healing he has brought to Larissa are immeasurable. She is now pregnant again and is finding it to be quite a different experience; this time hope is winning over fear. Her precious third baby is due in August. Larissa began writing shortly after Ariella’s death as a way of processing her grief and helping her friends and family understand what she was experiencing. You can read more of Larissa’s writing at Love Is Deeper Still and at Still Standing Magazine. You can also contact her on Facebook.

Aria Carlson

Aria Carlson is a wife, mother, artist, and a writer. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband and son. Five months after they were married, Aria and her husband were surprised when she became pregnant. In May of 2012, their son Toby was born. Aria struggled at first to embrace motherhood, since it happened earlier than she was planning; but her heart softened and her desires of being a stay at home mom to lots of littles began to blossom. After Toby’s first birthday, Aria and her husband were excited to learn that they were expecting again. Unfortunately the pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage. It was a difficult journey, but Aria found healing and courage to try again. In October of 2013, she became pregnant again. At 16 weeks Aria was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma and put on bed rest. At 18 weeks she was diagnosed with a partial placental abruption and told to continue bed rest. During her 20 week ultrasound she was told that the placental bleed was healing and was hopeful for a good outcome. At 21 weeks Aria experienced severe abdominal pain so her husband took her to the hospital. They were told there that she had experienced Premature Rupture of Membranes (she thought it was just bleeding from the hematoma/placental abruption) and that there was no more amniotic fluid. Aria and her husband fought to find compassionate care in an effort to save their baby. In February of 2014, their daughter Zuri Rose was born at 22 weeks 1 day; they had five beautiful minutes with her before she passed away. Now 15 weeks pregnant, Aria is trying to grieve with grace, while navigating the challenges of a pregnancy after loss. You can read more about her journey, and the many adventures as the mom of a toddler, on her blog The Suburban Hippy Momma.

Tara Holmes Williams

Tara Holmes Williams currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia with her husband Christopher, their rainbow boy Homer, and their sweet and gentle Goldador (Golden Retriever/Labrador Retriever mix), Lucy. After losing their first son and IVF miracle, Rowan Christopher, 8 days shy of his Christmas 2012 due date, the couple had an unsuccessful FET and IVF during the course of the following year. But Tara and Christopher chose hope over despair and launched a very successful GoFundMe campaign for one last try at IVF. At 43 years old, she gave birth to their rainbow baby, Homer, on October 26, 2014. To contact or to learn more about Tara, visit either of her blogs: Hope is Our Anchor or Inklings. She can also be reached by email at: hopeisouranchor@yahoo.com.

Megan Skaggs

Megan Skaggs is mother to identical twin boys, Will and MJ, and daughter Maci Jayne. MJ was born with a severe birth defect called a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) and passed away in her arms at 35 days old. Megan is currently pregnant and expecting her fourth and last baby in April 2015. All four were conceived after battles with infertility, along with a fifth baby who was miscarried after her twins were born.

Nicole McRaney

Nicole McRaney lives in Dallas, TX with her husband, Colin, and their two dogs, Molly and Charlie.  Since October 2013, she and her husband have experienced three early pregnancy losses.  The first, around 6 weeks, was determined to be ectopic.  The third, in January 2015, she carried for 8 weeks.  In the midst of the struggle and grief that comes with pregnancy loss at any stage, Nicole has found strength in sharing her story with others.  She believes that it is important that we share our stories of loss so that other moms and dads will know they are not alone.  In her work as a chaplain at a children’s hospital, Nicole puts that strength to use in comforting others in their own times of grief and struggle.  She uses her faith to explore the struggle surrounding grief, as well as the hope that often comes hand in hand with that struggle.  She writes about her journey through pregnancy loss, as well as discussions on faith, chaplaincy, and vintage sewing on her blog, Restless Weaver.

Elizabeth Schulmeister

Elizabeth Schulmeister and her husband were high school sweethearts and began dating when they were 14. They married after 9 years together at the age of 23 and a year later began making plans to start growing their family. It was a long a difficult journey to get pregnant but with the help of fertility treatments conceived boy/girl twins. Everything changed when the twins unexpectedly made their arrival at 25 weeks gestation. Two days after birth, their sweet daughter, Mary Glen, passed away leaving them heartbroken and trying to figure out this new life they were forced to live post-loss. Elizabeth began writing an occasional blog as a way to honor Mary’s memory and release some of the anger, fear and sadness at Finding Mary’s Way. Elizabeth is now expecting her rainbow baby.

Amber Combs

Amber Combs has come to find out that she is many things. She is a mother to fraternal girl/boy twins, Devyn and Jaxton, as well as a wife to an amazing husband who is the reason she is where she is today. She has two male dogs, Knox and Diesel, which are her best friends and spoiled way too much for their own good. Those dogs warm her heart so much. Her twins were born on Jan 1, 2013 due to Prom, major placental abruptions and sepsis. Her son, Jaxton, died after birth while she was still being closed up from a classical cesarean and her daughter, Devyn, died on Jan 2, 2013. All of this was caused from a virus in her first trimester in which she was misdiagnosed by 5 doctors. Her trust and faith in the medical community was destroyed once she found out from the autopsy why her babies died. Months after, she found MISS Foundation and they helped her and her husband get back on track with getting back to living. She has learned so much from this group of people and they have become her main support and a great group of friends. Without these people she doesn’t believe she would have survived the death of her children or have the courage to be pregnant again. She is currently in her second pregnancy, ironically due October 15, 2014, with another girl. The decision to get pregnant was extremely hard to make for the fear she had and the trust she lacked.

Derek Larsen

Derek Larsen is a loving husband to his high school sweetheart, Carissa, whom he met as a sophomore and devoted father to his two amazing boys. While it took him 13 years to finally marry her and start a family, it was not long after the wedding that they were pregnant with their first child. An event they had literally fantasized about for over a decade, they expected a fairy tale pregnancy. It was quite the opposite. At 20 weeks, they were told that the pregnancy would not last and to prepare for the worst. The next month was a living hell, as they simply waited and hoped, until their precious Emanuel Robert succumbed to Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) and was stillborn at 24 weeks on 12/31/10.

After spending a career in advocacy and politics, Derek briefly considered starting a nonprofit to focus on outreach and policy for parents of stillborn children. However, he quickly realized that he needed to focus on himself and his family instead of putting energy into an activity he did not have the strength to maintain. After grieving together and hearing months of no real answers from doctors while fearing that IUGR would reoccur, they found the faith to try again. Even in the hospital on the day Elijah Monroe was born, Derek was just waiting for another dreadful loss.

Now in a new stage of grief, Derek is attempting to focus on using the loss of Emanuel to be an amazing and dedicated father to Elijah. Derek has presented as a keynote speaker at a conference for healthcare professionals on “A Father’s Perspective” and hopes to continue to utilize his experiences and share his journey while contributing to PALS as a grieving dad.

Jamie Gordon

Jamie Gordon lives in California with her husband and her son Samuel; her son Malachi resides in heaven. Jamie and her husband were married in the summer of 2010 and quickly wanted to expand their family. The following early spring, they were excited to find out they were pregnant. Jamie enjoyed a complication free pregnancy, which resulted in the birth of their first son by c-section at 39 weeks, whom they named Samuel. When Samuel was one year old, they decided they wanted to try for another baby. They quickly got pregnant, but sadly this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 13 weeks. Fast forward about 6 months: they were ready to try again. It took no time at all, and in September 2013 they were excited to find out they were expecting again, due June 25, 2014. Everything seemed to be going smoothly as the pregnancy progressed, but Jamie always felt “small.” At the 20 week anatomy scan, after learning they were carrying a second baby boy, they also learned there was some fluid around his heart. Her OB scheduled her for another ultrasound four weeks later. That ultrasound led to the knowledge that there were severe blood flow issues with their son’s umbilical cord, and he was diagnosed with IUGR. Jamie was admitted to the hospital and was told they would be there until their son was born. Jamie was 25 weeks pregnant. 3 days later, at 25 weeks 5 days, Jamie developed Class 1 HELLP syndrome, and her son, Malachi, had to be delivered immediately to save both of their lives. He was born weighing 1lb 1.8oz. He survived birth, but it was soon discovered that Malachi had a congenitally blocked bowel. This only added to his complications of such an early birth. Malachi endured multiple surgeries and was ventilator dependent. On July 12, 2014, 127 days after his birth, Malachi James passed away and entered the gates of heaven peacefully as Jamie and LaRon held him. Their hearts were shattered but they knew they wanted to keep expanding their family; they just needed a bit of healing time. In February 2015, they began to “try” and on May 20, 10 months after Malachi’s passing, they found out they were expecting and due January 27, 2016. As they tread the waters of grief and loss, they cling to the hope of new life. Anxiety and fear have their days as this is an extremely high risk pregnancy. But hope remains the victor. Hope is what they cling to. Hope that on a cold day in January 2016, their hearts and arms will once again be warmed with the breath of new life. Jamie has written about their journey with Malachi over at Wife. Mommy. Work.

Darrell Paul

Darrell Paul lives in Maryland with his wife, Kristen Paul, where he works as an engineer. After struggling with infertility, Darrell and Kristen were thrilled when their first attempt at IVF succeeded in 2014 with the conception of their son, William Edward Paul. They were absolutely devastated when cervical insufficiency resulted in William’s death on August 1, 2014. Since then, Darrell has struggled with the lack of resources available to grieving fathers. Darrell hopes that his perspective will help other grieving fathers. You can contact Darrell at darrellfpaul@gmail.com.

Meg Kant

Meg Kant lives in Sudbury, Ontario and is the owner of The Blissful Doula. She is a birth and postpartum Doula, Psychology Graduate, Wife and Mom to her son Gibson and her angel baby Zennon. After experiencing Pregnancy After Loss, Antenatal Depression, followed by the Beautiful Mess that is motherhood, she has become passionate about sharing her experiences–the good, the bad and the beautiful. You can follow Meg on Facebook and Instagram.

Franchesca Cox

Franchesca Cox is a creative soul, often lost in words, paint and dirt from her backyard garden. She learned all about loss, and life after loss when she survived the death of her first child in 2009. Since then she has had the absolute honor of bringing two beautiful children into the world. Her last pregnancy spurred a book, Celebrating Pregnancy Again, into production, when she felt the need for an informal “guide” to surviving pregnancy after the loss of a child. She also founded Still Standing Magazine, a sister site to PALS in 2012 in her first daughter’s memory. She recently began her journey to a holistic lifestyle, and looks forward to sharing ways to focus your wild energy during PAL, center your emotions, find relaxation, find creative and simple ways to offer yourself much needed self-care, and celebrate this impossible chapter of your life. You can find her work, Wildfeathers Vintage on facebook, her blog and instagram.

Lauren

Lauren has walked the road of trauma and grief for years, mainly as a PTSD therapist and then most recently in her personal life after the loss of her adopted daughter through a failed adoption and then the subsequent stillbirth of her daughter Rhiannon at 39 weeks from a cord accident/cord compression in March of 2013. These losses also followed 6 years of infertility and failed IVF. She has been married to her husband since 2004.  She started writing on her blog JumpOverTheRainbow.com and at her Facebook page a few days after one of her most drastic infertility diagnoses, Premature Ovarian Failure and High FSH. Since that first post, it has been a way to process her experiences, all the ups and downs involved, as well as connecting to others on the same journey. She is currently expecting a little boy in August of 2014. Lauren writes to honor her daughter “Ree” and to make sense of the beautiful madness in the grieving process as well as maintaining sanity during pregnancy after loss.  Lauren focuses her articles on pregnancy after a loss through a failed adoption, miscarriage loss and loss through stillbirth, as well as parenting after those losses. The journey of infertility and decision to adopt/use donor conception which is another loss in itself even though it is also a new beginning.

Loni H.E.

Loni H.E. currently lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Matthew and their beautiful son Meyer. In addition to writing for PALS she is a contributing writer for Still Standing Magazine and was honored to have been published in the anthology Three Minus One: Parents’ Stories of Love and Loss. Losing her full term daughter Aisley in August 2012 during labor was the most painful tragedy she has ever experienced. Her love for Aisley has only grown since she passed away and she makes time to honor her often. Despite Loni’s grief, her dream of having a family never faded and after nine months she felt frightened but ready to try to conceive Aisley’s little brother or sister. Her second pregnancy was one of the most challenging, frightening and empowering experiences of her life. All the risk was worth it as she welcomed her beloved son, Meyer, into the world on January 8th 2014 (six days before her birthday). She hopes to help other women experiencing pregnancy after loss realize that they can get through this precious, sensitive, empowering time without letting fear paralyze them. Embracing and processing their fear can leave room for hope and help them trust again. She aspires to remind loss mamas that they are stronger than they know and are already amazing mothers. You can read about Loni’s journey at her blog  A Girl Name Kevin and her Facebook page.

Tricia Miller

Tricia Miller is the mother to four beautiful souls: three here with her, and one that shines with the sun and lives on in her heart. She loves on her three sons and is madly in love with her husband, Adam. Tricia welcomed their rainbow baby, Rigby Moses, on April 27th. He was born at home and delivered by his daddy because he was born a mere 81 minutes after Tricia’s first contraction. After closing her first blog, desperately seeking silence, she now writes the blog bohomamasoul. Tricia was also a contributor at Still Standing. She’s a SAHM that also has an Etsy store filled with vintage lovelies. You can find her on Instagram: @bohomamasoul, Facebook: Tricia Lee Miller, and on Pinterest.

Julie Landau

Julie Landau is the blogger behind Dear Ruby Mae, an online tribute to her daughter, Ruby, who was stillborn in May 2014 after a healthy full-term pregnancy. Written through periods of grief and triumph, sadness and hope, anger and determination, Julie discusses the hell of losing a child, but the importance of finding the beauty in everyday. It is her way of keeping Ruby a part of her everyday life while delivering an important message to other parents: you are not alone. She has a background in public relations and has worked in the social sector for the past 5.5 years. She is currently pregnant with her rainbow baby, another girl, due in April 2015 and lives with her husband in San Diego, CA. You can follow her work on BlogHer and Twitter.

Cortney Galster

Cortney Galster is the voice behind The Mommyhood Project, a baby and parenting blog that follows the journey of a working mom in the frigid tundra of Minnesota. In May of 2014, her world was shattered when she found out at 25 weeks pregnant that her sweet baby girl had passed away. She recounts the hellish experience of loss, while trying to balance her days with light and hope, on her blog. Cortney’s life was irrevocably changed on that fateful May morning and she now works to help support other parents through those moments of grief through her writing while also navigating the world of life after baby loss herself. Her days are blessed with her beautiful two year old son, Ricky, loving husband and she is currently pregnant with baby number three, due in April 2015. You can also connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

Libby Bianchi

Libby Bianchi is a wife and mother of 2 who lives in the suburbs of Washington, DC.  With a nursing background, she works as a telephonic wellness coach for her day job.  Libby’s first child, a son, Marco Luis, was born on 10/6/09 at 29 weeks.  Marco lived just 4 hours due to a rare and undiagnosed genetic condition.  After a very difficult 14 months, Libby was able to conceive her second child. She made it through her pregnancy after loss with a great deal of support from family, friends and support groups.  Her daughter, Lucia Elizabeth, was born full term and healthy on 8/2/11.  She and her husband Bruno are now expecting their third child, due in July! Libby began writing when she started a blog, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, 5 years ago while on bed rest and fighting to save Marco.  She has found writing to be extremely therapeutic in dealing with the grief of the loss of Marco, pregnancy after loss, and now parenting a living child after a loss.  Libby volunteers with Share Your Story, a support group through the March of Dimes.  She writes monthly as a contributor to Still Standing Magazine, which can be found here.  She is so very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the PALS project to provide support to those navigating pregnancy after loss.

Jessica Nelles

Jessica Nelles currently lives in Southern Ontario with her husband Stephen, her two fur kitties (Milo and Charlie) and her miracle rainbow Phoebe. Jessica and Stephen suffered the devastating loss of their first child, Tiberius “Ty” who was stillborn at 37 weeks on October 15th, 2010. 12 weeks after Ty was buried, Jessica and Stephen found out they were expecting again. On May 2nd, 2011 they learned the devastating news that their rainbow Jacob, had a fatal diagnosis. They chose to carry Jacob and gave him every possible chance. It was then that Jessica started blogging at Ty and Jacob Nelles (tyandjacobnelles.ca) to share Jacobs journey. At first, Jessica and Stephen decided they did not want to try again, they were going to start the adoption process a year or two later, give themselves sometime to get their feet back on the ground, but 9 months after burying Jacob, they decided that maybe, just maybe giving it one more shot was worth it. They both felt the reward outweighed the risk, and so their third attempt at bringing home a baby began. June 2012, Jessica and Stephen found out they were expecting. Albeit terrified and incredibly fearful of having to bury another child, Jessica and Stephen prepared for their baby’s arrival. In September they found out they were expecting a little girl whom they decided to name Phoebe. On January 8th, 2013, Jessica and Stephen finally welcomed Phoebe into the world. She was born alive and healthy. She is now a very vivacious little 19 month old and Jessica blogs almost daily about the challenges of parenting a rainbow amidst grief. In addition, Jessica is writing a book chronicling their journey.

Mel Scott

Mel Scott is an Occupational Therapist, Teacher, Life Coach and Writer. In 2008 she excitedly began her journey to motherhood. Sadly this ended in a missed miscarriage at 8 weeks. Falling pregnant again 6 months later, she immersed herself in her perfect pregnancy. Sadly her son Finley was born by emergency caesarean, in 2009 at 41+5 weeks pregnant. He didn’t wake up. Mel went on to fall pregnant quickly and her daughter was born, healthy and happy in 2010. Mel is passionate about writing about pregnancy after loss after struggling with extreme anxiety herself as she is the author of two books, After Finley a captivating, real time journal account of life after the loss of a baby and her second book The Fairy Caretaker gently, in an enchanting way, explains the death of a sibling and visiting a cemetery to young children. Mel also created registered charity Towards Tomorrow Together in the UK, providing support at a local level to baby loss parents. She also runs Finley’s Footprints, providing support, information and resources to people affected by the loss of a baby.  To date Mel has provided training to over 450 professionals about care after baby loss. Mel is passionate about speaking out about baby loss, and has created the annual awards event The Butterfly Awards to highlight the great work that occurs worldwide.  When writing for PALS Mel will share her reflections on her own experiences, as well as tips and strategies for managing and even enjoying pregnancy after loss.

Laila Bougria

Laila Bougria was born and brought up in Antwerp, Belgium, but will soon be moving to London to pursue new dreams and adventures with her family. She is software developer and photographer, but above all, she is a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, and last but mostly, a mother to two beautiful children. Her firstborn girl Sahar, was born on May 7th 2013 at 22 weeks gestation, after being diagnosed with severe hydrocephalus and therefore incompatible with life outside the womb. She stayed to say goodbye for a very brief moment and now lives in the hearts of her parents and family. Her little rainbow boy Ayden, was due just 11 days shy from his little sister Sahar, and arrived safe and sound into this world on September 15th, 2014. After losing Sahar, Laila started a healing journey through a blog at Loving an Angel instead, on which she shared grief and joy, sorrow and hope, fears and dreams. It was a bit quiet over there during her rainbow pregnancy, but she has now found her way back to it. She has been a guest writer on Lindsey Henke’s beautiful site at Stillborn and Still Breathing, and is deeply honored to share her experiences with our readers here. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, or through her blog.