Thursday, 18 June 2015

Because You’re There For Me Too

In  her first blog for Sands, Annika shares her precious babies and how the Sands online support assisted her in her grief.

"Sands gave me a safe place, an online haven where I could openly grieve 
my little babies and talk about our fears of infertility. "

I have a beautiful son. He is almost five months old now! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by but I could just stare into his blue eyes all day, every day for the rest of my life. But becoming parents was a long, and emotional journey for us as there were four who came before him.
Four tiny babies who graced this earth for only a brief moment in time. Some, only days, others only weeks. We discovered that the endometriosis I had been dealing with since I was 11 was the cause of our losses and so I underwent surgery at the end of 2013 to remove it. We went through all of this in a city where we had no close friends, and we had no family. 

Annika's Angel tattoo in memory of Baby Pearce
The devastation of losing our biggest baby who stayed with us until only 6 weeks and 1 day was overwhelming and inescapable.  I felt alone, lost, and ripped from motherhood. I tried to find local support groups, anything in my city it help me through the grief but unfortunately I could find nothing available. My loss was too early you see, and therefore I felt that our little baby was insignificant.

Looking back, it is clear that I had mild depression for the better part of 18 months. I couldn't let the pregnancy go and was continuously counting down until the due date, October 25th 2013. My body was empty, but my mind carried on ticking off the milestones as they came and went. It was exhausting. During that time we saw two more positive pregnancy tests which faded until they too were gone.

I tried to reach out to friends and colleagues but was told countless times that “it wasn't like I lost an actual baby”, that I “needed help” when all I wanted was a hug, that “it was for the best” and that I was just being “impatient”.

I believed them of course. My babies were barely babies. I hadn't lost a “real” baby. I hadn't gone through labour and delivered a still baby. I didn't have a name for them, didn’t know if they were boys or girls. I never saw any of them in any ultrasound. I felt so ashamed for grieving the loss of my babies when I was grieving something that was never really there in the first place. It was very confusing and depressing and I struggled, still struggle with these thoughts.

There were three people who I could talk to about my loss at that point. My husband, my Mum, and someone who unexpectedly has become one of my closest friends. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be in my grief journey, but I am certain I wouldn't be where I am today.

A little over a month earlier she lost her daughter at 39 weeks. She lost her baby girl. She held her daughter in her arms and said hello, then goodbye. But she was the ONE person who told me that mine were real babies too, that they were little lives, not little losses. She was the person who introduced me to Sands.

Sands gave me a safe place, an online haven where I could openly grieve my little babies and talk about our fears of infertility. Speaking with women who had lost babies at all stages of pregnancy and during the neonatal period opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed and it was full of people who just had so much love and support to give, even in their darkest hours. The members of Sands brought me out of a bad place and they gave me hope. But most importantly they gave my babies' little lives recognition. Without any pictures, or proof of ever being pregnant, even for the shortest of time, they still recognized my tiny babies and continue to do so.

The members of Sands are an inspiration. Because of Sands I now have some amazing people in my life who will no doubt always be in my life. And while I can't begin to understand the grief of losing a baby at later stages of pregnancy, even as I watched my closest friend go through exactly that, I am better equipped to give advice and support to them too.

My son is asleep as I write this. There isn't a moment when I am not grateful for the baby we were able to bring home. There are times when I am sad, where I imagine the little people who would be playing in the living room with my son, but I can imagine them and smile through the sadness instead of cry. I am at peace with my losses now and I feel so lucky to be where I am today. Through my son’s pregnancy and with other subsequent pregnancies I know I will continue to have support, and be able to provide support to others. It really doesn't seem enough to say this, but ‘thank you’.

To read more about my journey through miscarriage, TTC, and our rainbow’s pregnancy please visit my blog page at:


If you require support after reading this blog please contact
Sands on 13 000 72637

Annika Pearce

My name is Annika and I am a qualified Ambulance Paramedic living in Canberra. I love to be there for others and biology and pre-hospital medicine are a passion I share with my husband, Ben. The light of our lives, Henry, was born at the end of 2014 following a succession of four early miscarriages due to endometriosis. Our biggest Angel, Baby Pearce, who I carried for only 6 weeks at the beginning of 2013 has become the source of my inspiration for blogging and developing a Canberra-based online support group for women who have experienced a pregnancy or neonatal loss. My hope is to create a local support network, where we can share and be there for each other, as Sands created for me. As we begin our journey of conceiving our second rainbow there is still fear, but also hope and excitement.  
You can read Annika's personal blog here

Thursday, 11 June 2015


Rashida's precious daughter turned two during March.  In this blog she reflects back to the time her daughter was born.

     "On her birthday, I sat on the bed by myself and I took out the special 
keepsake box that we got from the hospital. " 

I’m a busy woman. As a business owner I’m always on the go and I also have an 11 month old baby girl who keeps me going, but on March 19th, the day my angel was born sleeping, I slow everything down a little bit. That day brings about a time of reflection and remembrance for me.  Setting aside that time is important to me because the reality is as time goes by and you begin to heal from the heartbreak of loss, have more children, and juggle everything from chores to your career, the details tend to fade with time; and I don’t ever want to forget. 

This year my baby girl would have been two years old.

On her birthday, I sat on the bed by myself and I took out the special keepsake box that we got from the hospital. The box itself has a special place with her name and details of her birthday including the time she was born, how much she weighed and her length. In the box there is a journal and little momentous like her blanket, baby bracelets, and a picture of just her tiny little toes (because I knew that would be all that I could ever handle and the memory of her beautiful face as I held her is forever etched in my mind), and a postcard of a teardrop on a leaf symbolizing both the intense suffering of loss and hope for the future.  

This time of reflection not only serves as a remembrance of my baby, but is also a reminder of how strong I am and what I have the ability to deal with. At times when life feels overwhelming or I’m afraid, I look at that box; especially on her birthday. I realize that I no longer have anything to fear and there are bigger issues than the little nuances that plague us all day to day. It shows me that because I’ve already been through one of the worst things that can ever happen I will get through whatever I am going through. Her memory reminds me that I am a survivor (of preeclampsia/HELLP Syndrome) and I’m still alive and thriving.  

Her memory also makes me grateful for the child I have now because I know that I would not have my experience now as a mother without the one I experienced with her. I’m so appreciative of my angel for making space for her sister to come into this world.

That is why I celebrate her and commemorate her. Whether that means just spending some quiet time alone in prayer and appreciation, releasing a balloon or lighting a candle I make sure that I take a little bit of time out of my busy schedule.  

We do it for every other holiday. In my house, holidays are a big deal and birthdays are no different. By definition a holiday is simply a day set aside by custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of significance.

Losing my child is one of the most significant events that has occurred in my life to date and for me that means setting aside some special time to remember her and show appreciate for what her short presence in my life has helped me to become.

Happy, Happy Birthday baby girl!

If you require support after reading this blog please contact

Sands on 13 000 72637

Rashida McKenzie
Rashida McKenzie is the Founder of High-Risk Helpers, a maternity concierge service for expectant mother's experiencing high-risk pregnancies that result in bed rest. She is also the mother of a baby girl named Maya (who was born after 22 weeks of bed rest) and an angel who inspired her to advocate for pregnancy loss awareness. To learn more about Rashida or High-Risk Helpers, visit