Trigger Warning: Pregnancy Loss
In honour of the third annual Butterfly Run Vancouver, presented by National Bank,, taking place on October 2, we are amplifying the stories of community members who have experienced pregnancy loss to help reduce persisting stigmas and bring attention to the cause.
Today, Lindsay Pleskot is sharing her experience with losing her first son Theo and how years later he continues to show up in her family’s life.
“In 2017 we got pregnant with our first baby. Being a mom was something I had dreamed of my whole life and as soon as we saw that positive test, I began to imagine my life as a mom to the sweet babe growing inside. We would eagerly await each appointment – sighing a breath of relief, excitement, love and every emotion possible as we’d hear that beautiful rhythmic heartbeat come to life through the doppler.
Before our 20 week ultrasound we had decided we wanted to find out the sex. We stopped at a little bakery on our walk up to our appointment and asked if they’d be able to help us in making some cupcakes that we would later have, just for us in a private moment as we learned more about the little soul soon to be joining our family.
As was standard with these ultrasound appointments, my husband Meik had to wait outside the room until the initial scan was done before he could come in and see the progress our little babe was making. I remember thinking it seemed like the ultrasound tech was taking a lot longer than usual and even mentioned to Meik afterward, but we shrugged it off and went about our day.
That evening we got a call from our midwife and I could instantly tell something was wrong. She told us on the phone that our baby had been diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia. We had [several] questions, but all she could tell us was that we needed more testing to find out what this would mean.
The next week was the longest of our lives as we waited for our appointment for an extensive ultrasound that would help us determine next steps. We tried to stay positive and came out of that appointment with the best news possible. It was a misdiagnosis and everything was totally fine. The flood of relief was like none I had ever experienced.
For the next 7 weeks we carried on in bliss thinking we were the luckiest parents to be, but I started to feel like I was feeling less movement. I mentioned it to my midwife, not thinking much of it as I truly didn’t think we had anything to worry about at this point. She asked me to do a kick count when I finished work so I wrapped up for the day, and followed her instructions. After about an hour I hadn’t felt anything so we called her over. Still convinced he was just having a sleepy day I remember joking around and sharing with her that we had finally landed on a name, Theo. I remember it like it was yesterday when she told us she wasn’t picking up a heartbeat but not to panic, let’s go to the hospital and check things out.
All I could focus on was, ok it’s going to be ok, one foot in front of the other.
When we got to the hospital they rushed us up to labor and delivery and after not being able to pick anything up on the monitors the OB was called in for an ultrasound. I will never forget the words, I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat.
I think it was at this moment that I went into shock. I remember looking over at Meik and thinking he was going to pass out.
I was induced that night and we spent the next 2 days in the hospital before I delivered our sweet baby boy Theo On January 31st 2018. It was the most beautiful and painful moment of my life all wrapped into one. That day I felt like a mom and I knew that, while Theo wasn’t going to be able to be here with us earthside, his impact and presence and the love he brought into this world wouldn’t be less for it.
While the days and months that followed were the most difficult I have ever experienced, I was surprised to find there was still so much love and beauty in the moments we got to share with Theo and that is the one constant that has remained.
Theo will forever be our first baby and a huge part of our lives. It has been almost 4 years now. One of the most comforting things I now know is that he will never be forgotten as he continues to show up in unexpected ways. When a hummingbird flickers for just a moment longer than you’d expect, when the sun catches the water in just the right way, when I feel a wave of emotion flood over me and let myself surrender. Theo is in all of these moments reminding me what life is really about and that love can truly transcend anything.
We have since welcomed our other little guy into our family, Wylder Theo Pleskot. To this day both of my boys are my greatest teachers and I am so grateful to have the opportunity and privilege to love and learn from each of them in their own unique ways.
While I don’t believe you ever “get over” loss or grief, I do think you continue to work through it. It has a strange way of delivering little gifts along the way and shaping who you are. I am forever grateful for my lessons from Theo and the love he continues to shine into our lives.
Despite 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage or loss, it is still an incredibly stigmatized topic. This can make the experience isolating for many parents, sometimes causing them to not receive the care and community support they need.
The Butterfly Run Vancouver believes that being a bereaved parent is a path that no one should have to walk alone and is dedicated to making a difference. Organized by families who have experienced loss themselves, the event brings together hundreds of people in BC each year to raise awareness and funds for those experiencing pregnancy loss, infant loss, or infertility.
Funds raised in 2021 for BC Women’s Health Foundation will help create innovative reproductive mental health resources dedicated for women and families experiencing loss.
Learn more and donate to this year’s event at butterflyrunvancouver.com.
Read other stories of pregnancy loss:
- Nicole’s story with recurrent loss and her advice for others
- Lisa’s story of miscarrying twins and finding a way to carry on
- Abby’s story of miscarriage and her rainbow baby
- Eudora’s story of losing Joen and how she is keeping his memory alive
If you or someone you know needs support related to pregnancy loss, please find information and resources here: http://www.bcwomens.ca/health-info/pregnancy-parenting/miscarriage or contact the BC Bereavement Helpline at www.bcbh.ca