Letters to the Editor - Dec. 21

December 21, 2011

Pregnancy/infant loss more common than many know

To the editor:

Each year, more than 700,000 women experience pregnancy loss; 26,000 of them lose their babies after the sixth month of pregnancy, and 20,000 babies die every year in their first month of life.

My baby was one of those numbers. I delivered Bentley Charles Nalley on Oct. 18, 2011. I arrived at a routine appointment, weeks away from delivering, only to discover I’d just begun my worst nightmare. When I was 38 weeks pregnant, my baby died. Up until the day my doctor looked me in the eye and said these seven words, “Stephanie, I’m sorry, Bentley’s heart is not beating,” I had your perfect, textbook pregnancy. I’m 24 and healthy. I had no reason to think anything would go wrong. Things like this just don’t happen to healthy, normal people like me, I thought.

But I was wrong. Pregnancy/infant loss is more common than I ever imagined, and it does not discriminate. It affects women of all ages, of all races, of all walks of life. It’s not just something that happens to “other people.” It can happen to anyone.

Hundreds of thousands of women go through the death of their child every year, yet no one talks about it. Because it’s become such a taboo, “hush-hush” subject in our society, women are often forced to suffer in silence. Alone. We’re told to “get over it” or “try again,” but I can tell you from experience, losing your baby is not something you just “move on” from. It’s impossible to move forward and heal without talking about the experience, and without the support of others.

A recently launched website called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope ( gives women like me a chance to share their stories of pregnancy/infant loss. Each story is categorized by type and stage of loss, subject and city/state, so that other women who have recently experienced a loss can find stories similar to their own. So that they can know they are not alone.

It is our hope that by telling our stories and showing our faces to the world, taboos will be broken, lines of communication will be opened and healing can begin for the 85 women in this country who go through the pain of finding out their child has died every hour of every single day.

One in every four women will experience pregnancy/infant loss at some time in their life. Even if some don’t end up experiencing it themselves, someone they know — their friend, their sister, their coworker — will.

Stephanie Nalley

Veterinarian granted my Christmas wish

To the editor:

I only had one wish for Christmas. That was that our sweet dog Skippy be with us at Christmastime.

You see, he has cancer. He had a large tumor that was causing him pain and pushing on his colon, which was causing other problems. My regular vet said they could not do surgery. I would have to take him to a specialist in Frederick. When you hear the word specialist, you know immediately the price will be outrageous.

I thought veterinarians were supposed to help your pets and not refer them to specialists. After all, why do we pay good money to them when we take our pets for an office visit? The price of an office visit is about the same that people pay their doctors.

Some people may have put their pet down, but I could not do that for a very special reason. This dog was a gift from someone special. We just could not give up without at least trying everything we could do to save him.

I had given up hope that I would be able to get the surgery which would could prolong his life a little while longer. We began to sell things on Craigslist.

Someone had told me about another veterinarian in Hagers-town. I decided to take him for a second opinion. And I am glad I did. That day, I walked into the other vet’s office, it was the best thing I could do for Skippy. You don’t get pushed in and out the door. He takes the time to explain everything. He treats you like family. And that is exactly what pet owners need.

I have never been to a veterinarian who cares about people and pets as much as he does. He gave me hope that I would have my sweet dog with me a little while longer. I was told he needed surgery right away and that he could do it. He was able to remove the large tumor that was causing Skippy so much pain and discomfort.

Bad news is the cancer had spread, which I guess I knew in my heart. I had done a lot of research on the type of cancer he has. I don’t know how much longer we will have Skippy with us. But I was able to get my Christmas wish. We will have Skippy with us this Christmas.

I cannot even begin to thank this doctor for what he has done for us. And I know he will be rewarded one day. So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my new veterinarian and his staff for giving me my Christmas gift.  

Dixie Saunders

The military needs modern aircraft

To the editor:

West Virginia veterans concerned about our national defense agree with Sen. Manchin that Washington must rein in spending, even from the Pentagon budget. But with Iran’s potential nuclear threat and the prospect of renewed terrorism, military readiness cannot be compromised.  

Even Sen. Manchin would agree that our aging Cold War-era weapons systems must be replaced with modern aircraft like the F-35 fighter, for example, to advance the U.S. into mid-century. Keep America strong with responsible budget management along with a well-prepared armed forces.

Sgt. S. Cotten
Charleston, W.Va.

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