Josie and Jacob LeBlanc have been together since high school. They want to become parents but instead have thousands of others who have lost a baby due to a miscarriage. October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The couple wants to tell their story in hopes of a better understanding of what they are going through and other couples like them.

By Debby Schamber – For the Record
Across the U.S. expectant mothers will feel their baby’s first kick while others will listen to their newborn baby’s first cry. Others are not so fortunate since about 13 babies will be lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other unexpected deaths. More than 70 new parents on a daily basis will hear nothing but silence from their stillborn baby. In addition, countless lives will be lost to miscarriage.
October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.The movement was organized by leaders, of a nonprofit organization in Wayzata, Minnesota. Prior to computers, they phoned and wrote letters inviting groups and individuals from around the U.S. to join them in a letter writing campaign to Congress. Many organizations joined in the campaign. To celebrate the success, once the proclamation was signed by President Reagan, hundreds of bereaved families traveled to Washington, D.C. to march on the National Mall. They carried more than 500 baby quilts with thousands of babies names displayed. It was followed by the first Memorial Service for babies who died in pregnancy or shortly after and was held on the Capital steps, led by a team of special nurses from Oklahoma City, according to hopexhange.com.
Locally an Orange couple is mourning the loss of two babies due to separate incidents of miscarriage.
Josie, 23, and Jacob Leblanc,24, have been together since high school. They did not attend the same high school, but met when Orangefield High School played against West Orange-Stark in a football game. Josie spotted Jacob working in the concession stand. She set out to get his attention by purchasing items at the stand.
“I didn’t even want the things I got,” she said.
But, it was worth it. She not only got his attention, but they fell in love and got married in January 2015. Becoming parents would made the fairy tale complete. However, they lost their first child after 10 weeks and their second after only eight weeks of pregnancy. Their hopes and dreams of becoming a family were quickly taken from them. But, they are not alone since about 75 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester.
Unfortunately, miscarriages are a common occurrence. According to information from the March of Dimes, it is estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. Losses before a positive pregnancy test makes the numbers higher with 40 percent of all conceptions resulting in a loss. Generally, there are about 4.4 million confirmed pregnancies in the U.S. every year. of those up to one million will end in a loss. More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage, about 26,000 end in stillbirth, 19,000 end in infant death during the first month and approximately 39,000 end in infant death in the first year.
“Most people aren’t aware of what we go through,” Josie said. “To me, we are still parents.”
The couple misses the opportunity of what may have been. Together, they enjoy their time together and their two cats. The cats are “spoiled rotten.”
Jacob tried consoling his wife by celebrating Mother’s Day with her. But, Josie wanted nothing of it. She was not ready for this. However, she keeps the ultrasound picture of her first baby in a small card. She looks at it longingly. Her husband holds her hand and searches for the words to ease her pain. She admits they put on a brave front and act as though everything is alright.
“Nobody understands how we feel,’ Josie said. “It still hurts. It is like losing someone you loved. “
When pregnant, Josie said she did everything “by the book.” She took all her vitamins and listened to doctor’s orders with no heavy lifting. She catches herself patting on her “tummy” as if the baby is still there. When out in public and seeing other families together with their babies is tough for the couple.
Josie will endure some testing to see if the cause of the miscarriages can be uncovered. She hopes the issue will be resolved and someday she will become pregnant and carry the baby to term. Until then, the couple will save their money and continue to love unconditionally and spoil their cats.

About Debby Schamber