Jan 15 2012

Year Two

January 2012 marks the two year anniversary of Grieve Out Loud.

I can remember our premier like it was yesterday. We weren’t entirely sure how people would find us, or if this would even “work out” — but we felt such a need and deep desire to help others who have experienced the kind of losses we had. We put together an elaborate resource page and created a unique Pen-Pal Program that has become an entire project all of its own.

We’re humbled by the families we have helped throughout the years.
Helping has always been our mission.

Today, on our two year anniversary, we are asking for your help.

We are asking you to please consider a donation to keep our website live. For the past two years our domain space has been graciously donated to us. We will lose our site come January 31, 2012 if we do not find a new provider.

If you would like to see us stick around and continue to help families, please consider a donation today.

Donations can be made through PayPal or mail (address available upon request).

Thank you in advance for your support. Regardless of the outcome, we will keep you posted on the fate of our organization.

Jun 16 2011

Good Grief!

Erica McNeal is one amazing gal! Not only is she a babyloss mama five times over, she is also a multiple cancer survivor. She found the strength to publish a reference guide entitled Good Grief! and we are honored to share her journey here. She hand-crafted a special note just for you.


I knew I had a high-risk pregnancy.

I was prepared my cancer may return while pregnant and was ready to face those potential complications. However, I was not prepared for an unknown factor that would force my body to go into labor at eighteen, twenty and ultimately twenty-two and a half weeks gestation.

I had been placed on bed rest for three months when a sub-chorionic hemorrhage threatened my pregnancy. At my eighteen-week visit, during an ultrasound, the technician could see that my cervix was already dilating. I was given medication, but went into labor two days later.

I was already 3.5 cm dilated when the hospital doctor’s saw me. I pleaded with them to do everything in their power to keep me pregnant. With a triple threat of drugs and my body nearly shaking out of the bed, my labor stopped. My contractions went away and my cervix closed. I was completely shocked – I didn’t even know that was possible!

About one and a half weeks later, I went into labor again and repeated the same procedures, breathing a sigh of relief when the labor easily stopped.

But on June 11th, 2007, my labor picked up again. A friend took me to the hospital and I told my husband not to worry about leaving work. I had every expectation the doctor’s would be able to stop my labor again.

But, I was wrong.

By the time I had gotten to labor and delivery, my cervix was gone. I was already 4 cm dilated and there was nothing my doctor’s could do. The only thing keeping my little girl from coming into the world was a pessary that my doctor’s had put into place just weeks before.

With my husband rushing to the hospital, I had to make a decision no parent should ever have to make: my life or hers?

My doctor’s feared I may have a rare condition called “placenta accreta” where the placenta burrows deeply into scar tissue. Since I had a previous c-section, and everything else had been ruled out, the fear was that my uterus could rupture after delivery when the placenta naturally pulled away from the uterine walls.

The only problem was the hospital we were at did not have the medical facilities to care for a baby as small as our daughter was. I would have to be transferred to another hospital forty-five minutes away by ambulance. There was a very real possibility I would deliver her in the ambulance and if my uterus ruptured, there would be nothing the ambulance staff could do for me. I would die!

I understood the great potential for severe medical conditions for our baby girl. I understood she would have less than a 1% chance to live and I understood she could only live for a few hours. But, against my doctor’s advice, I told him I wanted to be transferred to the other hospital. I felt like if God wanted to give this child life, who was I to take it away?

I signed the transfer paperwork and everyone walked out of the room. While my friend was in the hallway, frantically trying to reach my husband, I prayed silently.

“God, if the end result is going to be the same, whether I have her here or there, please let me have her here!”

I don’t even think I said, “Amen”, when an immediate peace came upon me. I knew I would not make it to the other hospital. As I called for the nurse, my contractions went immediately to thirty seconds and my husband came flying through the door.

Not even five minutes later, Kylie Joy was born. She was beautifully perfect, my tiny little 15 oz, 11-inch baby girl. She had little tufts of brown hair, a cute little button nose and long legs. She was absolutely gorgeous.

As we held Kylie as she died, my husband and I began to grieve all of the hopes and dreams we had for our family. The daughter we would not be able to hug and kiss whenever we wanted; the little sister to our living daughter, who was so excited about her new best friend. The little girl whose hair we would never braid, or watch play sports, or walk down the aisle on her wedding day.

Kylie lived for eighty minutes, but her short life and ultimate death rocked our worlds.

The first year grieving Kylie was the most difficult year of my life. I was a hot mess, working through the extreme guilt believing that I had killed my own daughter. Sometimes there were no words to express my emotions and I would simply cry. At times I wanted to be by myself, other times I needed so desperately for someone to sit with me in silence. I even needed to laugh occasionally! What I needed changed constantly on my unpredictable journey of grief!

Even now four years later, I struggle! I miss her. I miss what our family could have looked like. I still grieve the broken dreams, just mostly in silence now. I still get teary-eyed on her birthday, when I hear another child with the same name, and at times when my living daughter talks about how much she wants a sister.

For the first couple of years, we had no idea how our family and friends could come alongside our family. We were in the middle of a grief we had never experienced before and a pain we could not comprehend. We had no idea what we needed or what others could do to help.

At the same time, our family and friends wanted so desperately to help, but had no idea what they could do. They too experienced their own first time emotions as they grieved with our family. The problem was this caused a disparity; conflict and a lot of unmet expectations, on both sides.

While people meant well, sometimes their words came out wrong – very wrong! At times when the absolute most grace was needed, people rendered us completely speechless by their insensitive comments.

As I have supported many women through child-loss over the last four years, I have been shocked to find how common these hurtful words really are. This led to a desire to help fill the gap between people that are suffering that don’t know what they need and their loved ones that don’t know what to do.

My new eBook, Good Grief! provides tangible ideas of how to love someone going through unspeakable grief, through words and actions.

Words That Can Be Misunderstood: “At least she didn’t live long enough for you to get attached!”

Words That Encourage: “I don’t know what to say, but I love you!”

Actions That Are Intentional: Understand that the pain of grief can sometimes get in the way of grieving. Provide outlets for your loved one such as golfing or poker night for men and dinner or a spa day for women.

Until October 11th, 2011 all proceeds from the sales of Good Grief!, are going directly to families in the middle of facing their own difficult trials: A thirty-three year old woman battling a relapsed cancer and two families adopting high medical needs children.

What my family is attempting to do is less about selling an eBook and more about tangibly coming alongside these three incredible families. If I can provide some insight through times of tragedy AND help meet these financial needs, my perspective is that this is a win-win situation.

More information is also available at my website.


Thank you Erica. While we know your time is stretched so thin, you manged to write this beautiful piece. We wish you all the luck in the world mama!

May 24 2011

Give Back / Spread the News

Ready for our last opening?

We want Grieve Out Loud to be easily accessible to the families that need it. We want to spread the news of what we do and how we can help. If you know of ways that will help, perhaps this is the gig for you! if interested!


There you have it folks. Four different ways you can help Grieve Out Loud continue to grow and Give Back to our babyloss community. Here is a recap on openings:

1) Content Developers – helping us write material for Facebook, Our Online Support Group Meetings and GOL.org content.

2) Being a New Pen-Pal for families.

3) PR opportunities with helping us Spread the Word.

4) Plus the Open Call for any original content from our readers!

Thank you all for your time and interest. We look forward to reading your ideas and working with you all.

May 22 2011

Give Back / Open Call

As part of our Give Back Project, we are pleased to introduce our third volunteer opening. This one is special as it is an Open Call!

This is a golden opportunity for anyone wanting to Give Back. Basically you call the shots. Submit your original ideas and let us share your work here. This could be a project or organization you started in honor of your children, stories or articles you have written, artwork you have created, songs or videos you recorded, pictures you have taken — literally anything!

If you are interested in sharing your ideas here please with “Open Call Submission” in the subject line. There are no deadlines for this volunteer position, however we would like to begin sharing your ideas by the beginning of June.


We have one more announcement left! Stay tuned for more.

May 21 2011

Give Back / New Pen-Pals

As part of our Give Back Project, we are pleased to introduce our second volunteer opening: New Pen-Pals.

Our Pen-Pal Program is the most important aspect of what we do for the babyloss community. It takes a lot of strength and courage for families to reach out to us for help. It takes even more strength and courage to be a Pen-Pal. Think you’re ready for it?

While we all share the same ending — our lives, histories, and stories are uniquely different. We are looking to expand our Pen-Pal Database with families dealing with, but not limited to:

SIDS, Incompetent Cervix, Preterm Birth, NICU Families, Blighted Ovum, Father’s of Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Infertility Work-Ups and Families TTC after Loss.

Being a Pen-Pal is a very rewarding way to give back. Not only will you be helping others, you will be continuously sharing the story of your children.

For more information, or to sign up as a Grieve Out Loud Pen-Pal please send a message with “New Pen-Pal” in the subject line. Make sure to explain the type of loss you would like to represent in your e-mail. Please have your request in by Tuesday, May, 31st.


Still not your cup of tea? Still have more to announce so hang tight!

May 20 2011

Give Back / Content Developer

As part of our Give Back Project, we are pleased to introduce our first volunteer opening: Creative Content Developers.

We are looking to add some folks to help us with creative content development and writing in places such as our Facebook Page, Group Chat Session Topics, and GOL.org content.

What is going on in our community that we are not addressing? What do families want to talk about? What do families want to read about? By volunteering you would know some of these answers. Your content would help them feel less alone and more connected to the group.

This is your chance to share all your creative stories, ideas and projects with us! You could be writing the words you are reading right now.

For more information, or to sign up as a Grieve Out Loud Content Developer please send a message with “Content Developer” in the subject line. Please have your request in by Tuesday, May 31st.

Looking forward to hearing from all of you!


Not your cup of tea? Don’t worry we have three more volunteer positions that will be announced over the weekend. Stay tuned for those!