At 16, she was a high school graduate. At 17, she joined the U.S. Air Force. And at 18, she married the love of her life. Hilary served her country for 10 years and is now a proud mama and military wife. While life, for Hilary, 35, may appear idyllic from the outside, her journey to get here was anything but. She suffered silently through 4 miscarriages and a baby girl who was born “sleeping.” For Hilary, “finding purpose in the pain instead of searching for the reason,” brings her peace. And, she stands strong in her truth to be open and vulnerable about her losses to ease the isolation for other women walking a similar path.
Hilary so badly wanted a family, as she was estranged from her own. “I was definitely in a rush to create my own happiness,” she says. And, although she was young, she suffered so many miscarriages early on and was delighted when she finally became pregnant with a baby girl that she carried to term. But there was a tragic turn of events. She knew of her daughter’s diagnosis before the delivery – Trisomy 18. And, when Hilary went into labor, she was able to hear Ariana’s heartbeat through the fetal monitor. The contractions were too strong. Ariana was “born sleeping.” Hilary and her husband, Ralph, were given as much time with her as they needed. They bathed her, dressed her, took tiny handprints and footprints, and photographs. After four hours, they said good-bye. She went on to have a healthy son and knows that Ariana made her a better mother — one with more patience, who enjoys the little things — and for this, she will be forever grateful. But at the time, she felt completely alone. She felt lost without her baby daughter. And so, Hilary vows to be as open as possible about her journey so others also going through it will have a safe place to heal and share. And, for this, we are grateful.