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  1. Opinion

Bronwyn was the baby girl I lost in the womb

Here’s what readers had to say in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Ayana Lage, 26, and Vagner Lage, 27, pose with a sonogram of their unborn child. Ayana writes openly about going through a miscarriage due to the baby having a rare genetic defect. She wonders why more women don't discuss their miscarriages. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times]
Published Oct. 19
Updated Oct. 21

I lost my baby girl 26 years ago

I lost my baby. It shouldn’t be a secret. | Floridian, Oct. 13

Like Ayana Lage, I knew little about miscarriage before I suffered one 26 years ago. My first pregnancy had resulted in a healthy baby girl, and four years later, at 32, I had no reason to worry that my second pregnancy wouldn’t be the same. But just a few weeks after telling everyone I knew about my happy news, I went to see my midwife due to some spotting, and the ultrasound confirmed my worst fears. My baby, whom I’d thought to be about 11 weeks old, had stopped growing and was no longer viable.

My midwife told me there was no particular reason why this had happened, explaining that miscarriages occur in nearly a quarter of all pregnancies. In an age before social media, it was excruciating to have to keep repeating the horrible news whenever I ran into someone I knew. I recall many days lying in my bedroom window seat, crying and reading Maeve Binchy novels to distract myself. A handful of people sent generic sympathy cards, which I appreciated. But I felt so alone.

I wrote a poem to the daughter I’d never meet, Bronwyn. And I stumbled through the weeks following the miscarriage, knowing that I had to be there for my first daughter, who in her four-year-old wisdom wondered if her little sister hadn’t been born because “maybe she ate too much bubblegum” while she was in my tummy! Fortunately, I managed to get pregnant just a few months later, and delivered my beautiful little daughter the following spring.

If you know someone who’s gone through a miscarriage, let them know you care about them, let them know you are there to listen, send a gift card, flowers, food, or just a loving, supportive message. My heart goes out to all of you who have suffered such a painful loss.

Jennie Renfrow Ibarguen, Treasure Island

The pain of suffering alone

I lost my baby. It shouldn’t be a secret. | Floridian, Oct. 13

I lost my baby. It was in 1964, and they called it a spontaneous abortion because I was in my fifth month of pregnancy. My husband was in the military, and I was receiving care from the base hospital at Amarillo Air Force base. After a week of bed rest, I went into labor and gave birth to a stillborn child. I never saw the child and the nurses were vague about how the body was disposed of. They told my husband it had been a boy, but no one told me anything. I was placed in a women’s ward to recover. The first night a nurse told me that the other patients were bothered by my crying. I learned to cry more quietly. Your article gave me an opportunity to more fully mourn my child.

Sheila Kenny, Riverview

Defending insurers

Insurance delays are unacceptable | Editorial, Oct. 10

Mexico Beach, one year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Michael. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]

The Tampa Bay Times was right to highlight the needs of Hurricane Michael victims in its recent editorial. One year since the devastating Cat 5 storm, the wounds are still fresh. Recovery will take years. But the Times was wrong to imply that insurance companies are more concerned with making money than supporting Floridians. The facts tell a different story. There were approximately 150,000 Hurricane Michael claims filed, and the vast majority of claims have been resolved: 88 percent, according to the Office of Insurance Regulation. Insurers have paid out almost $7 billion in claims.

Of the 150,000 claims, 17,000 remain unresolved — it is important to clarify that nearly 10,000 of those unresolved claims are “reopened” claims. A typical reopened claim occurs when the homeowner discovers damage not included in the original claim. A smaller amount of Michael claims — 3,300 — are being disputed. Litigation can delay resolution for months or years. Contributing to delays may also be instances of post-Michael Assignment of Benefits abuse.

But is important to understand potential barriers that may force a claim to go beyond the 90-day “prompt pay” period. The Panhandle needs help rebuilding -— there are projects that demand tradesmen and specialists to help evaluate and estimate damages, and there are not enough roofers and contractors to rebuild quickly. A claim will remain open while a homeowner waits for a contractor, and will also remain open if the homeowner must vacate a home until contractors can repair it. We know claim filing does not stop when the wind stops — new claims from Michael may continue to come in up to three years after the event. Meanwhile, we will keep our commitment to rebuilding Northwest Florida. That work is not complete until every Hurricane Michael claim is resolved.

Michael W. Carlson, Tallahassee

The writer is president/CEO of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida.

Rebuild differently

The ghost town | Oct. 10

Since all has been virtually leveled during the hurricane that devastated Mexico Beach on the Panhandle, it seems it presents an opportunity to fall back and regroup. Redesign the community and rebuild it in a safer place farther inland and restore the beach back to its natural configuration, which would actually offer some protection from future visits of damaging winds and surf. Think of it as God’s gift of common sense to mankind’s intelligence; that is, do not keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Harold T. Sansing, Dunnellon

Mother Earth won’t wait

Vehicle pollution keeps growing | Oct. 15

Well, golly, gosh, gee, heck and really? Do you think the worsening pollution might have something to do with 1,000 people per day moving to Florida, unfettered urban-sprawl development, the love affair with rubber-tired vehicles and highways; or total lack of dependable, reliable, cost-effective public transportation; or the influence peddling of development and construction industries? If politicians thought beyond the next election cycle, Floridians might enjoy some relief from the worries of coming decades. But Mother Earth isn’t going to twiddle her thumbs, waiting.

Mike MacDonald, Clearwater

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