Where did the Lucky Anchor Project come from?
We originally wanted to start a project that had the names of our children, Asher and Ezra. Unfortunately, they don’t really go together that well. Brittany associates Ezra with four-leaf clovers because he was born on St. Patrick’s day. Asher is associated with anchors because his room is nautical themed. Put the two together and we have the Lucky Anchor Project (Thanks to Asher’s Daddy). Both our children are represented by the symbols we associate them with.
We lost our son’s one month from each other and connected through a support group. We (and our husbands) became fast friends who bonded over more than just the loss of our children. The men bonded over the loss of their children only to then find that they were both avid gamers. We bonded over our grief, love of the Cricut machine, and so much more. We offer two different perspectives with our unique experiences with stillbirth and neonatal loss and the loss of a first child and the loss of a second. We knew that our different, yet similar, experiences would combine to make a wonderful, all-encompassing perspective to support all those who suffer through the loss of a child.
Asher’s story (Amy’s story)
My husband and I struggled for a year to get pregnant. After our year long struggle, we saw a fertility doctor and after five months of treatment, we were pregnant. Unfortunately, I miscarried that child. Immediately after my miscarriage, I got pregnant naturally with Asher. He was due on April 10, 2017, our rainbow baby. My pregnancy was uneventful with zero complications. On the morning of February 18, at 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I didn’t feel him moving. He always moved when I got up in the morning. I knew something was wrong. We called the on-call doctor and were advised to go to triage at the hospital. Once I got there they tried to put a fetal monitor on my stomach and found nothing. They rolled in the ultrasound and I stared at the faces of my doctor, my nurse, and the ultrasound tech, waiting for them to tell me he was ok. All I remember is my doctor turning to me and shaking her head. He was gone and our worst fears were realized. I was induced that afternoon and almost exactly 24 hours later on February 19 at 2:18pm, Asher Ray Lied was born silently into the world. He was 18 inches long and weighed 4 lbs. 13.2 oz., on his way to be a very big boy. With broken hearts, we said hello and goodbye to our precious boy on the same day. After a barrage of tests on both him and myself, Asher’s death remains unexplained.
I have been very vocal about our struggle with infertility, our miscarriage, and now the loss of Asher. Stillbirth occurs in 1 out of 160 births and many are unexplained. It is more common than people would think and it is something that should be talked about. Losing Asher has caused me to feel this compulsion to make his name and life mean something to everyone. Starting this project is a way to make something good come out of losing our son.
Ezra’s Story (Brittany) –
My husband and I struggled to get pregnant for a little over a year. In January 2015, I had a scheduled appointment with an infertility specialist which was canceled because I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Arya. I was induced at 38 weeks due to high blood pressure, which I think was only from stress. In June 2016, we decided we wanted to try to have another baby. In August 2016 I went to the doctor where they ran tests and told me that I was experiencing anovulation (which essentially means I was not ovulating). In October 2016, I was prescribed provera and clomid to try to get my body to start ovulating. On October 28th, 2016 I found out I was pregnant with Ezra. I was so excited that I actually ovulated and became pregnant on the first round of clomid. However, at 7 weeks pregnant I felt a gush of blood and thought that I was miscarrying my baby. I went to the doctor that afternoon and that was when I saw my baby kicking. At that ultrasound, I was diagnosed with a subchorionic hematoma (blood clot in between the gestational sac and uterine wall). After that diagnosis, I went in for ultrasounds bi-weekly. Throughout the first trimester, I was told I would most likely miscarry since the hematoma was bigger than the gestational sac. However, Ezra wasn’t giving up and by my 20 week scan the hematoma was small and sitting inactive. At that appointment, I was notified that I would no longer need to have bi-weekly ultrasounds because everything seemed fine. After that appointment, I felt so confident and scheduled my next appointment which would be in 4 weeks. I usually try to get a Saturday appointment but unfortunately they could only get me in on Friday, March 17th at 6:30 AM. I was upset that I couldn’t get my Saturday appointment, but I realized Friday morning wouldn’t be too bad. That Friday, I woke up early and left while my husband and daughter were still asleep. I walked into the quiet building and waited to be called back to be seen. There, I was told that they couldn’t find Ezra’s heartbeat with the doppler and that I would need to wait till 7 AM to get an ultrasound. I asked the tech to let me know if she saw a heartbeat as soon as she started. She looked at me and said he did have a heartbeat but there wasn’t much amniotic fluid and his heart rate was going up and down. At that point, I was rushed over to the hospital and had an emergency c-section due to placental abruption. When I woke up, my husband was sitting next to me and a NICU doctor came to talk to us about Ezra. She told us he was stable but they did need to resuscitate him after being down for 7 minutes. We then went to meet our little boy who was 15 oz. and 12.5 inches long. He was considered a micro preemie since he was born at 24 weeks gestation. The Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor came by to see us the day after Ezra was born and notified us that within an hour Ezra would most likely have been stillborn. We were so thankful that I had that 6:30 AM appointment because it had saved Ezra’s life. We had high hopes that Ezra would fight through this since he fought through a tough pregnancy and it was a miracle that he was alive. Since he was born so early, his eyes were still fused shut but we were able to see his little eyebrows move around when he tried to open up his eyes. We were able to feed him breast milk off of a cotton swab and we could tell he really enjoyed it. Late Saturday evening, we were told that Ezra wasn’t peeing enough and his sugars and sodium levels weren’t where they should be. Although we were told that the NICU is like a roller coaster. It can be scary and then other times it calms down. Early Sunday morning, Ezra developed blood in his lungs and there was nothing that the doctors and nurses could do. Ezra lost his fight on Sunday March 19th, 2017 with his mommy, daddy, and big sister by his side.