Life Touches Life Readers Write to Lorraine

Life Touches Life readers have written to Lorraine to share their own stories and tell her how much the book meant to them. Following is a sampling of letters and e-mails Lorraine has received.

(Note: Lorraine has a profound respect for the privacy of those who choose to share their grief with her. No letters are posted on this web site without receiving the permission of the letter writer first.)

I recently concluded reading your book--Life Touches Life. I am so sorry for the lost of your daughter, Victoria Helen. Your book helped me immensely and I wanted you to know that. I cried when I read the last page. It didn’t end like I wanted it to. It made me feel the cruelty and sadness that stillbirth causes again. On March 6th of this year, my husband and I learned that our 2nd son was dead--at 38 weeks gestataion. Charlie was born on March 7th--it appeared to be an umbilical cord accident and perhaps also a smaller than should have been placenta. After we lost Charlie, my husband devoured books on stillbirth. I needed the first 5 or so months to just process what happened, and tend to our 3 year old son, Jay. I just recently, in the last month or so, began wanting to read stories about the experiences of others. Thank you very much for sharing your story.

Amy Bilyeu

I just wanted to write to you and thank you for your book, Life Touches Life. I just finished reading it and I have more peace in my heart today than I have had in a while. Three years after the birth of our first son we were thrilled to finally be pregnant again. (I have struggled with infertility all along). I took the test just before Christmas 2003. I made sure I was eating right and exercising.

We had heard the heartbeat three times before 18 weeks and I was excited and apprehensive about the upcoming ultrasound. We were finally going to find out if it was a boy or girl. We went into the hospital for the ultrasound early April 7th. I noticed how quiet the technician was, but it had been a long time since I’d had an ultrasound so I didn’t notice what she had noticed on the ultrasound. After taking some measurements she excused herself.

I naively asked her the gender of my baby. I will never forget the frightened look on her face. She came back in a few minutes and told us that our doctor was waiting for us. On the way over to his office reality set in. The ultrasound tech had not been able to find a heartbeat. I was just 20 weeks and four days along when the doctor told us that our baby had died. I was induced that night and at 3:54 am April 8, 2004 I gave birth to our stillborn son. He was so tiny... only 7½ inches and 3 oz.

We named him Angel. His cord had gotten twisted and had clotted off. Our dreams and our lives were shattered that day. It has been just over six months now, and while I have some good days I am still struggling with my grief, and I feel very alone. Your book touched me... reached out to me in a way nothing else has been able to. I found your book today while searching for something to help move me toward healing. I have felt stuck for a few weeks now, but some of the insights in your book have given me some things to explore. Thank you so much for writing it. I know you are probably busy, and probably get many letters like this one, but I just wanted to share my story with you like you shared yours with me. I feel bonded with you even though we have never met. I hope you don't mind that I am attaching a sketch and photo of my Angel.

Thank you again.
Jill Young
Mommy to Christopher (4 years old) and Angel (born still April 8, 2004)

Dear Mrs. Ash,

I’m writing this email tonight, much to my own surprise, it is not in my character to write emails to perfect strangers. However, today I sat on the floor of my local bookstore, searching desperately for something to ease my pain, and as I did my final sweep of the tiny section on grief and loss I came across your book.

I sucked in my breath when I read your title, never did I imagine I would find a book directed right at me. Tears poured down my face as I read your words, and while I am nowhere near even understanding what peace could ever feel like again, I was comforted with the knowledge that I am not alone in this horror.

I am only 2 weeks into the depths of this overwhelming grief that came into my life so suddenly. My second child was born still on May 29 (her due date was June 2 -- we both share the same timetable of pregnancy and loss). There was never any indication that anything was wrong with my Ella, and like you, I was lulled into a false sense of security because she passed all her medical checks with flying colours.

It never occurred to me that something like this could happen, and I am left here empty and alone without my beautiful child. So much of what you wrote in the initial chapters spoke to me on such a deep level. I sincerely wish that I felt that spiritual connection with Ella as you did/do with Victoria, but I still feel so empty, and I feel as though she is so far away.

I hope that I heal as well as you did, and I hope in the days and months to come I can reread your book and continue to gather comfort from it. It does shock me how little is said on this subject, I feel like an invisible member of society.

I could go on forever, but I will end here. Please know that your book has touched me, and Victoria has touched me and our family. I am living here in Calgary, Alberta Canada, so please know that your message is far-reaching. I hope to find some local support here, and I will use the websites you mentioned to see what I can find. Please take care, and thank you for your book.

Angela Tolton

Hi Lorraine,

On August 15 my husband and I lost our first born daughter, Samantha Lynn. We had a healthy pregnancy and no indications of any problems. We went into labor Saturday evening and stayed home until the contractions were four minutes apart. When we arrived to the hospital they connected us to the monitor and they could not find her heartbeat. We didn’t panic inititally as they had had a hard time locating it just the week before due to the position she was in. However when our midwife came in and could not find it or sense any movement, we could see the confusion on her face. You see, we had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years and finally were successful last fall. We were all very excited. This couldn’t be happening to us. We did everything right, how could this be? An ultrasound confirmed no movement or heartbeat. We were in shock, completely devastated. I was horrified that my little baby girl was dead inside of me and I would have to deliver her. My parents were upset they did not do a c-section; however, now understand why they did not.

Our midwife gave me pitocin to induce the labor. It was a very emotional and challenging experience; my labor lasted 12 hours and at 3:15 am Sunday we delivered our beautiful Samantha Lynn. Jean, our midwife, encouraged us to hold her and really recommended we do as well as other family members. Initially I was hesitant, scared, afraid. My husband, Christopher, who was outstanding in keeping me calm and focused, held Samantha for a long time. We do not have any definite answers as to what happened, but it appears our little gymnast got tangled in the umblical cord and it wrapped around her neck twice tightly—so tight Jean had a hard time getting any slack to cut it to allow the rest of her body to come out during delivery. I still see her soft precious face, her eyes gently closed, her crimson lips and soft skin. She was a good size girl, 20½ inches and approx. 8½ pounds. They didn't weigh her until hours later and she had lost lots of blood and fluid. Jean approximated she passed away sometime early day Saturday.

We are holding up the best we can. I tend to be quite tearful and running through the what if’s and why’s and my husband is quiet and concerned about me. We did read your book and found it right on. My parents also read it. No one told us this could happen, our hopes, dreams shattered in just a moment. I often feel sad, alone, empty, guilty and afraid. I know it has only been two weeks but it feels like a lifetime. Appetite and rest are not that great. I have no ambition to do much of anything and am afraid of going out in public in fear of running into people who knew we were expecting. Thankfully Christopher had two weeks off but has to return to work tomorrow. As for myself I am out the traditional 6 weeks for vaginal delivery but am already anxious about returning to work.

We have been doing a lot of reading, journaling, talking and walking. Any information or resources you may have to help us heal is appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it gives us hope and comfort that we are not alone.

With gratitude,
Chris Barcelou-Raymond & Christopher Raymond
In loving memory of Samantha Lynn Raymond August 15, 2004

I just this moment finished reading your book, Life Touches Life. I cried, I talked out loud, I ached and rejoiced with each page. I am the grandmother of a beautiful stillborn girl, Maddy, just this past November. As a way of trying to make sense of that which makes no sense and to give lasting meaning to her life I am writing a book about my grief journey. It is geared toward grandparents. Thank you so much for being willing to share your raw pain. I, too, have prided myself throughout my life on being strong, being tough; in the past six months I have redefined those words. In particular, your words on how easily the tears flow now touched me deeply, and validated my own feelings and beliefs. Victoria has been busy since November 12, 2003 showing Madeline around.

With great love, Nina Bennett

Dear Lorraine,

I have read, and re-read your beautiful book. Our little boy, Joseph, was stillborn this year on August 23rd. He had a fatal condition.

I work as a psychotherapist and have only just gone back to work, but am finding it really tough. I identified with so many of the words in your writing and I thank you totally for reaching out to other couples and families who lose a loved child, through this work of yours.

I feel like I want to focus myself to use my new self to be there for others, but I find I have lost confidence in myself for a strange reason. Initially, I found an immense strength after giving birth and a sense of the bigger picture, but now I find it slipping away from me at times. I find myself feeling angry with others, then angry with feeling this anger!!!

I live in London, England.

What I mainly want to say is how much your book means to me.

I send you and your partner love and blessings. I heard today that my sister in law is pregnant and yesterday of a close friend who miscarried, and the words below that you have written have helped me today

“Here is my place in the world—the void between the mothers of these two baby girls. I feel one’s pain as acutely as the other’s joy. I embrace both with the knowledge they represent the span of human experience and the faith that different blessings can flow from ach.”

All love and good things to both you and yours.
Maria Sutherland xxxx

Dear Lorraine,

Thank you so much for writing Life Touches Life. I just picked it up yesterday at the bookstore in a desperate attempt to feel just a little bit of hope, peace or something. This Thursday will be two weeks that my husband and I gave birth to our stillborn daughter Kate Morrison Beresford. She was born still at 30 weeks, 2 pounds 9 ounces and 15 inches long. My tears are hitting the keyboard as I type this e-mail. My heart is smashed and I feel so panicked. I really don't know if I can get through this. Sometimes with the help of my husband Chris, I feel I can but at other times, the grief is smothering and I feel helpless against it, certain it will swallow me whole. Please know that your book did help me. Whenever I have that book in my hand, I don’t feel so alone. I do plan on going to the support groups as soon as possible, but for now your book really did help. I have been devouring any and all info I can find on the subject on the Internet. I don’t know why but this seems to help for now. I’m sorry to pour my heart to you, a complete stranger, but yet I feel a bond with the words you wrote in your book. I hope to find even an ounce of the peace that you have found over time. Right now it is so raw it seems impossible to imagine. I began keeping a journal, something I have not done since college. Maybe one day I will find it helpful.

Krys Beresford

Hi Lorraine,

My name is Michaelle LeManne, and I am 30-year-old woman who lost her precious baby girl, Peyton Olivia LeManne, on January 15th of this year, just hours after she was born. Right up until my emergency C-section, the pregnancy had been beautiful, calm, and a blessing. After trying for more than 2 years to conceive our first child, it took my husband and I by surprise, as when we did conceive, it was at a point when we were taking a self-imposed break from regimented and scheduled sex, pills etc.

I am still deep in the throes of my grieving. My husband and I are seeing a counsellor from our local Pregnancy and Infant Loss Program every two weeks and attending monthly support group meetings. (The group is called Caring Beyond.)

At our last counselling session, our counsellor gave us your book. I have just finished it a few moments ago, and just wanted to thank you for sharing Victoria with so many. There were sections of the book in which my cries became audible, and there were sections in which I couldn’t help but smile as you voiced similar thoughts and feelings.

This is, I know, the most painful part of my life journey, and some days I can think of my daughter in peace and reflection, and some days the anger, bitterness and resentment bites hard. I don’t know if I believe in a heaven, but I hope that there is a place where angel babies like ours feel peace and contentment, and have the chance to love, laugh and learn.

Thank you again for Life Touches Life. It is encouraging to see the wisdom you have gleaned through the life and loss of your darling girl. I only hope my journey with Peyton evolves into something as gratifying.

Michaelle LeManne
Calgary, AB