1 in 160

She is not snuggled in the Boba wrap I purchased off of a Facebook swap and sell in the parking lot of TJ Maxx. 

Advertisements

One in one hundred sixty. That is how many babies are stillborn in the United States each year. That is 0.00625%. That is 23,600 hearts that stop beating prior to birth. That is 23,600 grieving moms. Per year.

I didn’t know any of this until my second daughter became that statistic. It never crossed my mind in the 40 weeks I carried her in my body that she wouldn’t survive. Stillbirth–the death of a baby in utero beyond 20 weeks gestation–that is something that happens to other families–not mine. After all, I’m a college-educated woman. I don’t smoke or use drugs. I abstain from alcohol while pregnant. I took vitamins before I got pregnant and continued taking them throughout my pregnancy.  I don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure. I had already delivered one healthy child. I planned my pregnancy, this baby was wanted. And surely if a baby is wanted by her family then she should live.

There are a lot of things that really stink about one’s baby dying. There’s the obvious one–my baby is not here with me. She is not snuggled in the Boba wrap I purchased off of a Facebook swap and sell in the parking lot of TJ Maxx. Then there are agonizing questions like should we bury our baby or have her cremated? If she is cremated do we keep her or scatter her? What can a person really say at a memorial service for a baby who never took a breath? How can I possibly write my daughter’s obituary? These are the pieces of infant loss that scream in one’s head. But there are also whispers, quiet reminders of this living nightmare. Silent tears when a Pampers commercial comes on. Watching other moms cuddle their (living) babies. Toting 40 weeks of baby weight without a baby to show for it. Feelings of phantom movement inside my belly. Turning maternity leave into bereavement leave.

One thing that surprised me was how common stillbirth is. Yes, it’s only one out of one hundred sixty births per year. But that is 23,600 hearts that stop beating prior to birth. That is 23,600 grieving moms. Per year. I have had a number of people share with me that it happened to someone they know. Their mom. Their sister. Their aunt. Their friend. Themselves. In sharing this with me, I realize that I am not alone. And if this has happened to you, please know that you are not alone either.

Ten days after I delivered, I attended a local support group for parents who have lost an infant. A week later I received a card in the mail from the only other mom who attended that night. I will leave you with this excerpt from her note “I wanted to remind you that I am still standing and I know many women who are also still standing–not necessarily because it was easy or because we wanted to–but because it is the only choice we have. And it is worth it.”

Are you and your baby a 1 in 160 statistic? Do you blog to heal? I would love to hear from you.

12 thoughts on “1 in 160”

  1. Everything you say is spot on, I can’t write it like you. But I feel every word in my bones. No one knows this experience, unless we find ourselves here. “Maternity leave as bereavement leave”, I would never have thought I would have my own story.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your story is heartbreaking. I’m sorry first for your loss and the pain that must come with it.
    The healing you are going through, and the healing you are promoting in others by sharing your story is brave and I’m sure recognized by those who are experiencing it with you.
    I’ve never lost a child, so I can’t begin to imagine the way you feel. I lost my husband to Suicide last year and the shock, pain, anger associated with his death have left me bed ridden often. I imagine you’ve been in the same place at times. Hugs.
    Keep writing your story and Sharing your experiences. You express yourself fantastically through your words.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I do blog to heal. I never quite knew what a blog even was before this nightmare. But now it helps so much.
    My son Oliver was born just shy of 37 weeks on April 6 at 12:31pm. My first pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I love him so much, I miss him so terribly. I have found so much comfort in the words of other women, like yourself, who know what agony this is. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. I haven’t read it all yet, but I will and I will remember and honor her with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry for your loss of Oliver. It truly is a horrific pain. I’m glad you found my blog and I hope that as you are reading through it, you find some things you can relate to. You are not alone and just know that even if sometimes you feel crazy, like you’re losing your mind, that is grief and grief is born out of love.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s