Tuesday, April 1, 2014, is forever imprinted on my brain and heart. I woke up that morning anxious but hopeful. We were 20 weeks pregnant with our first child, and there had been concerns about the baby’s lagging growth since our nuchal scan at 11 weeks. Two weeks earlier, we had an amniocentesis to see if we could get some answers. The previous Friday, our OB called with the results. The amniocentesis was perfect. No triploidy. No other genetic abnormalities were found. That weekend I felt the baby kick for the first time.

We got ready and headed into the city for a fetal echocardiogram and an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist then a follow-up ultrasound with our maternal fetal medicine specialist.

The tech performing the fetal echocardiogram didn’t say much. When she left to get the cardiologist, my husband and I joked that the baby wasn’t cooperating. The cardiologist came in very somber and said she needed to take a look.

She placed the probe on my belly and said, “I’m not seeing what I need to see. I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

Our OB came to the room and escorted us by the back stairs to an ultrasound room that had been cleared for us. That scan confirmed what the cardiologist had found on the echo. Our baby had died. We went to our OB’s office to sit and process and decide the next steps. We decided to be induced later that day.

On our way home, I made a few phone calls. I called my mom first, but she was in a meeting and didn’t answer. I called work to let them know I wouldn’t be in. Then, I called my cousin’s wife who had been holding my hand through this whole pregnancy. She is a doctor and also had very high-risk pregnancies. After hanging up with her, we arrived home to pack our bags. I sat on my bed, unable to move, and my cousin texted, “Is this an April Fool’s joke? Please tell me it’s a joke.”

I texted back, “Oh, how I wish it was. This is the cruelest April Fool’s Joke.”

Our son, Patrick, was born at 8:49 AM the next morning.

Lloyd and Valerie with Patrick Lloyd Meek

Author’s Personal Collection/Valerie R. Meek

Looking back, I’m so glad he wasn’t born on April 1st. I’m glad we had the separation between the day we found out and the day he was born. And, honestly, I’m glad he wasn’t born on April Fool’s Day. He’s not a joke. He’s our beloved and missed son.

So, imagine when I returned to Facebook to find that people had posted fake pregnancy announcements as April Fool’s Day jokes.

My heart was broken, and on the same day I found out my son had died, people were joking about being pregnant.

Since joining this club of loss parents that no one wants to know about, never-the-less join, so many have shared how painful and triggering this popular April Fool’s Day joke is. Many take the day off of social media on April 1st because it’s so prevalent–so prevalent that, honestly, it’s overdone and not even funny. And though we know it’s not intentional, it’s hurtful for so many.

Pregnancy Announcement - Skip the Fake Pregnancy Announcement

Adobe Stock/irena_geo

So, before you think about posting this overdone April Fool’s Day joke, think about the friends and acquaintances in your community who are…

…finding out their baby no longer has a heartbeat.

…laboring with their baby who has died.

…struggling with infertility.

…staring at yet another negative pregnancy test.

…planning a funeral for their baby who died.

…leaving the hospital with empty arms.

…sitting in the specialist’s office finding out their baby will not live.

…having a D&C after experiencing a miscarriage.

…finding out their IVF didn’t work.

…deciding they cannot take any more heartbreak and loss.

…visiting their baby at the cemetery.

…staring at a positive pregnancy test, hoping this one might live.

…grieving the loss of their baby.

…struggling to celebrate their pregnancy after loss because they are terrified.

Many suffer in silence. You may think you don’t know anyone going through this.

But, one in four women will experience pregnancy loss. One in eight women will experience infertility. You know someone. Skip the fake pregnancy announcement this April Fool’s Day.

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