This is such a painful subject that the conversation is often avoided and yet it occurs far more than most people realize.
This is my story…I hope in some way it will help others in similar situations.
I’ve given birth to 2 stillborn children: one at 7 1/2 months gestation and the other at 8, both due to Placental Abruption (the placenta tears from the uterine wall causing the baby to lose it’s oxygen supply). I have two angel babies and even today not a single day goes by where I don’t think about them. Stillbirths are a reality, and we need to talk about it…
Stillbirths Are A Reality, And We Need To Talk About It…
I lost my son, Ty Jameson when I was 18 years old. The day started out as a normal day: house cleaning, grocery shopping, the normal daily duties…until I felt major pains. I was pretty sure I was going into labor and went to the hospital, thinking nothing of it. I was excited to meet my new baby. The nurses hooked me up to monitors, frowned and then called in a doctor. Then there were 3 doctors. Soon, the room filled with technicians, doctors, nurses…completely crowded and chaotic. Of course I’m freaking out and screaming, “What is going on?”
A nurse matter-of-fact replied, “There is no heartbeat.”
I had no time to process this information before, Boom! I was rushed into an emergency c-section in hopes they could save him in time. When I awoke, I was told that he was born without a heartbeat but they had resuscitated him. Unfortunately, without oxygen for so long there was no brain function and he couldn’t breathe on his own. The full scope of the situation still had not hit me. Eventually I was able to go see him. There in a small incubator with tubes coming out of every part of his body, lay my baby boy. He was so tiny…so helpless. I myself wasn’t yet an adult…just a teenage girl looking into an incubator with my baby attached to every tube known to man, unable to breathe on his own. It was a living nightmare. Worse, it was hell.
For the next two days I had neurologists coming in to tell me that Ty’s brain function would never return, I had to make the choice to remove his life supports or keep him on them until his organs could be donated. There truly is no easy way for a anyone to ask you to donate your child’s organs, I really feel for them having to be in that position to ask..but this is no choice anyone should have to make, especially an immature 18-year-old mom. And as I look back now, I know I made the wrong one. My one and only regret – one I live with every day – I did not donate his organs.
Once his life supports were removed, I held my son until his heart stopped beating. Oh, how I wished I could breathed life back into him. I would have given anything. That was in 1992, Ty would have been 25 this year.
Three years later I got pregnant with my daughter, Kendra Jean. Doctors had assured me that Ty’s case was one in a million. So, I went in to my pregnancy with Kendra, excited and happy for my rainbow baby. Every appointment was perfect, growing normally, heartbeat active, the perfect pregnancy. On my 8th month check up, with a good bill of health, I headed home. Four hours later, I felt labor pains. I thought to myself, “8 months it could really be time.” We grabbed my bag and headed for the hospital.
The hospital from our house was a good 30 minutes drive and not even 10 minutes in I felt what I thought was my water breaking… I reached my hand down to feel and when I looked, my hand was covered in blood. Then another gush and another. My hands started to tingle and curl as though I had lost function in them and I became faint…The blood still gushing, I remember telling my husband at the time, “Pull over, call an ambulance, something is wrong.” I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in the hospital with my mom standing over me in tears.
So very gently she told me, “She didn’t make it.” All I could do was cry. No, No, No…not another one of my babies…Why? Kendra would have been 22 this year.
I believe that in our deepest darkest moments we find that one thing to hold on to for hope. For me, it was God. I’m not going to preach, but I am going to say that it gave me solace in knowing that my babies are in a perfect place (my beliefs). We want what is best for our children and at the time of my life God knew it wasn’t with me. Painful? Yes, but it helped me to let go of guilt for things I had no control over and it gave me comfort.
After Kendra I was told not to get pregnant again. That this would happen again. I believed them.
Apparently God did not. In 2000 I unintentionally got pregnant again. I can’t say I was unhappy, but I was literally terrified. This time getting the best specialists and obstetric team available, I prayed. I prayed every day that God allow me this child. After months of bed rest, daily non-stress tests for 3 months, 2 amniocentesis and a scheduled c-section, Amanda, my perfect rainbow baby, was born. My prayers had been answered. Even the doctors admitted it was a miracle. That first cry was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard and one I will never forget.
Amanda will turn 17 this year and I have raised her knowing all about her brother and sister and what a miracle she is. The loss I feel for my angel babies is always there, but I’ve lived by a few rules since their deaths. I wish I could give you words to take the pain away, but there are none…I’ve just found a few ways to ease it a bit.
1. Live a life that they would be proud to say, “That’s my Mom.” Live for them.
2. Be the best Mom I can for my daughter.
3. NEVER EVER lose hope. No matter the odds, never lose hope…. Miracles do happen.
4. Talk about them, talk about your situation. You’ll be surprised to find out how many families have gone through similar things. Talking about, while painful and hard, helps us heal and it helps others to heal as well.