5 Things I’m Not Since My Baby Died

“1 in 4”: I couldn’t find a reliable credible source as to where this statistic comes from. The Pregnancy Loss Directory claims the “1 in 4” statistic applies to pregnancy loss at any gestation while this article asserts it is only for miscarriage (without defining the weeks of miscarriage, though commonly it is a loss before week 20). Regardless, I’m not 1 in 4. I’ve even found the name of this blog to be misleading, 1/160 refers to the statistics of stillbirth (intrauterine fetal death after 20 weeks gestation) in the United States (other countries categorize stillbirth at varying gestations). Our best guess is that Corva died around 39+5 due to a massive fetomaternal hemorrhage (FMH). According to this study, a woman has a 1 in 775 chance of a 39 week stillbirth. It’s thought that FMH may not be as rare, occurring in every 1-3 per 1,000 births (~1 in 500 births).

A Mother to an Angel: I don’t believe Corva “grew wings” when she died and transformed into an angel. I don’t assert to be an expert on religion and I don’t practice the Christian religion. However, if one does subscribe to Christianity, note that the Bible is clear that angels and humans are different entities and humans do not become angels when they die. This isn’t to say I am offended by angels. A friend of mine, who years ago had a 2nd trimester loss, sent me this figurine iaicixhzhw6ixysvykuv__51534.1549715191 and sent Astoria a Vermont Teddy Bear dressed like an angel. I also don’t care if other people believe their baby is now an angel and I’m not offended nor do I argue with people about if their baby is an angel.

“Over it”–even 21 months later: I think about my dead baby everyday. To those who respond with “ew, get over it already,” I challenge you to go a day without thinking about one of your children. Just push them right out of your head and your heart. Don’t give them a second thought. Impossible, isn’t it? This isn’t to say that I cry everyday, although lately I’ve had quite a few tears. And it isn’t to say that I ONLY think about Corva. Of course I have other things to think about. But she’s always there.

Replacing my baby: Here I am in the 3rd trimester, mere weeks away from delivery (although it still seems like months). The truth is, if Corva had lived I wouldn’t be pregnant right now–she was to be our last child. Pregnancy after loss is….complex. I find that I can’t succinctly put into words what tumbles in my heart. There is no reconciliation for wanting my dead baby to be here and also desperately wanting this baby to be born alive and to continue living for many many years.

Ungrateful: I know from first hand experience that life can change in an instant. I don’t take that for granted. I thank the universe every single day that Astoria’s heart continues to beat. In the middle of the night when she’s crawling in bed, between my husband and me, I don’t care (too much) that her feet inevitably end up in my face because she’s ALIVE. I put my hand on her chest and feel the rise and fall and I am SO THANKFUL. Every time I feel my baby kick, I say a silent prayer of thanks that this one hasn’t died. So while the world may look at me and judge me for my anger or my grief, know that I AM grateful for what I have. As Angela Miller says, “You better believe any bereaved parent in the world could school you in the art of being thankful.”


I Need You To Know That My Stillbirth Was Still A Birth — An Unexpected Family Outing

Chances are, even if you don’t know who, you know someone whose life has been impacted a stillbirth. If you are aware of this, then you probably know how important it is to acknowledge and honor the baby who was lost. You may have heard the parents ask for you to say their baby’s name […]

via I Need You To Know That My Stillbirth Was Still A Birth — An Unexpected Family Outing

***Trigger Warning***

***Trigger Warning***

 

Pregnancy after Loss AKA Why It’s Scary to Share Joyful News

So, I’m pregnant (see above). Other than a good handful of “loss moms” (mostly on Facebook), healthcare providers (everyone at my ob-gyn’s office, my dentist, my daughter’s therapist), and our immediate families–only about 10 others know (one of which is a friend/coworker who identified my pregnancy at 13 weeks–she pegged my previous 2 pregnancies also). My husband and I had a difficult time telling Astoria about this baby. Let’s just say it didn’t go great. And I waited until 21 weeks to tell my parents(!) and my boss. As I’ve been mulling over why it’s so difficult to share what should be joyous news, I’ve managed to come up with a few reasons.

Edited to add: This one is obvious and is related to the title of Trigger Warning–I’m ashamed that I forgot to write it. After nearly 19 months in the bereaved parent community, I know that pregnancy announcements can be difficult. Heck, I STILL struggle with pregnancy announcements and I’m pregnant. I doubt I will ever attend another baby shower and after Corva died it took me 17 months to hold a baby (and even then they were babies of other loss moms). Quite honestly, if it’s a fellow loss mom who is pregnant I don’t struggle but recently my college roommate announced her 4th pregnancy on social media and I had to unfollow her. I am also more aware and sensitive to those who have encountered the heartbreak of infertility. If you also struggle with pregnancy announcements, I am sorry if this post is difficult for you.

A. It could happen again

While the chances of this baby dying are low, the chances last time were also low. I was considered to be “low risk.” My blood pressure was normal, I didn’t have gestational diabetes, I didn’t use alcohol (while pregnant), drugs, or tobacco. Everything looked good. I had previously delivered a healthy baby at 40 weeks 5 days four years prior without any major complications. There was absolutely no reason to believe that my baby would die in utero. But she did. Research shows that once a woman has experienced stillbirth she is at four times greater risk of having another stillbirth. Fortunately, everything (once again), looks good for this baby and we have providers who are monitoring our progress more dutifully, but I still anxiously hold my breath daily. I don’t hold a lot of weight in statistics or chances as that really didn’t work out well for me last time.

B. Announcing this pregnancy invites conversation that I don’t want to experience

The conversation around most pregnancy revolves around excitement and happiness. I experienced this with my previous two pregnancies. And yes, I am excited and happy to welcome this baby into our family. However I’m also anxious (see point A). People typically ask about due dates (not something I want to share, I’m trying to be as vague as possible), gender (we do know the sex of this baby and have shared with some people but for a handful of reasons it’s a challenging topic), and names (see gender). Over Thanksgiving I managed to answer questions as briefly as possible and move the conversation away from my midsection. When I shared the news with my boss, I did reiterate (numerous times like a nervous lunatic) that we weren’t really sharing the news with many people. She promised to keep quiet (and I believe her completely) but she did ask what I’m going to do as I begin to show (more). I believe that some people will be oblivious, some people will just think I’m getting fat(ter), and others will suspect but have enough tact to not ask. At least this is what I’m hoping for.

C. Some people will assume that this new baby will “heal” our family

Let’s just make something clear right now: I think about Corva (and Astoria and this new little one) every.single.day. I know there are people out there who may think this is morbid or strange or believe I should just “move on” from such a tragedy. To them I ask: Do you think about your children everyday? How could a mother forget her child? I carried her for 40 weeks before she died and I delivered her in the same way I delivered my oldest daughter. Our third child is an addition to our family, not a replacement.

D. Some people lack tact

While most people were supportive after our loss and some continue to remember Corva with our family, other people weren’t/didn’t know how to be “there” for us during our grief. (Two of these people are my own parents which is why I waited so long to share our news with them. This has been a very hurtful scenario for me to navigate). If something DOES happen to this child (see point A), I assume those who failed to support our family the first time would continue in the same manner. Right now, my heart just can’t take that.  I want to avoid conversations (see point B) that invite platitudes and hurtful comments, even if unintentional.

And last, but certainly not least…

E. I fear my child will be forgotten

There are going to be people who, upon finding out about this third baby, sigh with relief and think such thoughts as now they can move on. (see point C). And while I will never forget my 2nd daughter, my baby who never took a breath, others will forget and never mention her.


What were the biggest challenges you had in your pregnancy(ies) after your loss?