by Carla Meyer
reprinted with permission
Wapakoneta (OH) Daily News
October 14, 2011
Today marks National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Cheyenne Phillips, 7, cleans her brothers’ headstone. Lance and Luke Phillips would have been 10-years-old in December.
One of every four women will experience the loss of a baby at some point in their lives, says the leader of a national organization.
With today marking the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a local mother is sharing her story, in hope to break the silence and taboo surrounding pregnancy and infant loss.
Leslie Phillips and her husband, Dave Phillips, Jr., moved to Wapakoneta in 2001, when Phillips was pregnant with twin boys. On Dec. 20 of that year, her sons were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) during a routine check up.
The syndrome occurs when blood moves from one twin to the other, which can cause complications in both infants, based on the severity of the transfusion.
The condition can be reversed and Phillips’s physician scheduled the procedure for the morning of Dec. 26. He was unable to perform the procedure prior to that date and no other physicians were available. He said there was no rush and it would be fine until the date of the scheduled procedure.
The condition rapidly progressed and Phillips went into labor on Dec. 23.
Lance Tyler and Luke Taylor Phillips were born on Dec. 25, 2001, and lived in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for one day.
“You cannot really put into words what kind of impact the loss of a child is on a family,” Phillips said. “We didn’t just lose one, we lost two at the same time and on
the most celebrated holiday of the year.”
Today, Phillips wants to bring awareness and remembrance to infant loss and end the silence.
“A parent’s biggest fear is that their child will be forgotten,” Phillips said. “Acknowledge the baby, no matter how short their life. Whether the baby died during pregnancy or lived a short time, the family lost a future and with it many hopes and dreams.”
Pregnancy and infant loss is an issue that is common, with one of every four women experiencing the loss of a baby at some point in their lives.
According to iamtheface.org, a website for infant loss, miscarriage and stillbirth awareness, the topic is rarely talked about, because it’s become such a “hush-hush” and “taboo” subject, often leaving those who experience it to grieve in silence alone.
When Phillips was grieving over the loss of her twin sons, she said there were no local groups to turn to for support, but it would have been beneficial to have one to turn to during this difficult time.
Ten years ago, support was limited, Phillips shared, but now there are many online support groups and social networking groups to turn to.
“It would have been beneficial to share with other families who have experienced the same type of loss,” Phillips said. “Not only that, but finding someone willing to talk to about it, whether it be family or friend, is nearly impossible. People are so uncomfortable with the subject and it is taboo in our society.”
Phillips said the experience has impacted the way she and her husband raise their 7-year-old daughter, Cheyenne.
“We are extremely protective of her and we value her life on a level that cannot be explained,” Phillips said. “There is no shortage of ‘I love yous’ or hugs in this household. We know that life can be taken away in an instant and we live each day to the fullest. “