Imagine what it feels like to be told your once thriving, healthy, kicking, active baby has no heartbeat for no apparent reason after a beautiful and flawless pregnancy.
Imagine the shear panic and horror surging through your body when you realize your baby is no longer moving. You are 38 weeks pregnant and the thought of your baby dying inside of your body before he or she was born never entered your mind. Those things happen to other people, to sick babies, to moms whose pregnancy had issues. It wouldn’t happen to you.
You go to bed one night with your baby moving around, but when you wake up he or she is now gone.
Imagine what it is like to know your body is where your child died. You’re a walking death bed and that reality will never escape your mind as long as you live.
You’ve carried life 6 times within your body, but you’ve also carried death within your body where your sweet child died. You carried that sweet baby for nearly 20 or so hours after he died and before he was born.
You labor for 9 full hours after being inducted to give birth. You labor next to other women giving birth, hearing their babies heartbeats through the walls. Your baby isn’t even monitored because there is no reason to have that band on your very pregnant belly. Your baby has no heartbeat. Your room is silent with only your sobs to be heard.
You know the entire time your going to give birth to your baby you so carefully and lovingly carried for 9 months AND your baby would never try to breath the moment they are born. His birth would be so silent it is deafening. The only cries heard in that delivery room are your own tears and scream as you witness the birth of your baby who is so limp and lifeless, but yet so beautiful because he is yours. You’ve waited for his birth your entire pregnancy but you never imagined or dreamed his birth would be the end of his life. His birth would also start a clock for the only time you’d get with him and it becomes the beginning of the end. You’d thought you’d have a lifetime with your child, but now are left with mere hours to fit all those memories
Imagine the mental trauma you experience almost every single night when you lay down in your bed. The bed where your baby died within your womb and you were completely unaware of his passing. The womb that was suppose to keep him safe. His umbilical cord, the lifeline that gave him life is also what took his life in the matter of moments.
Imagine replaying the moments you had in that bed every single night when you go to bed and every morning when you wake up. The bed where you frantically tried getting your baby to move. The bed you laid as you desperately tried finding his heartbeat with a doppler, but all you were met with was static and silence instead of his steady galloping heartbeat. The bed you laid in when you knew deep in my soul the silence heard on that doppler meant your child had died. This trauma and reality is one you never get over and replays in your mind every single day.
Imagine frantically driving for 30 minutes to get to the hospital hoping they could perform an emergency c-section to save your baby from dying. You cling to hope and pray the most honest and fervent prayer of your life. You are pleading and begging for God to save your child from death. Imagine having that prayer never being answered and the answer you receive is “No”.
Imagine driving on that same highway almost daily. Each time you drive on it you have flashbacks of the shear terror you experienced that morning. Imagine never being able to drive on that highway without being right back in those moments of shear desperation.
Imagine begging, pleading, and praying to God to not let your baby die. You beg him to take your own life instead. Imagine pleading with God, who you know could save your son, but your reality is that a miracle wasn’t provided for you or him. God didn’t answer your most desperate prayers. God didn’t intervene. You never prayed harder in your life and you had enough faith that a miracle could be performed. You prayed even harder and all day long while you labored that the doctors were wrong and your son would be born crying and alive. Your prayers still went unanswered and your child died.
Imagine being a woman of faith and yet feeling absolutely betrayed by the heavens and left alone by your Heavenly Father.
Imagine hearing others tell of their miracles and how they just prayed so hard and a miracle was performed for them. Imagine hearing others claim a miracle was performed because they had enough faith and prayed hard enough. You had plenty of faith. More faith than you can express that God would not let your child die and perform a miracle. Hearing those words from others cut you to your core since they are essentially saying your faith was lacking or your prayer weren’t earnest enough for God to heal your child and save his life. They are essentially saying a miracle wasn’t performed because your faith wasn’t anough and neither were your prayers.
Imagine having your child’s 4 older siblings come to the hospital to say hello and goodbye to their baby brother. This occasion was suppose to be pure bliss, but now it’s replaced with screams and cries of agony from 4 shattered siblings.
Imagine the trauma your husband experienced telling your children when they arrived at the hospital that their baby brother was born, but he had died and wouldn’t be coming home. Imagine having that memory etched in your brain for the rest of your life. Knowing you crushed your children’s hearts and souls in that moment and are helpless to fix their pain.
Imagine trying to be strong and not crumble to pieces when watching your children enter the room where you lay with your baby and watching your living children be with their sibling who has passed away. You knew their worlds have just fallen apart and you can’t do anything to repair or fix their pain, instead you have to sit idly by and watch this nightmare unfold.
Imagine tring to remain coherent and put together in front of your children in order to save them from further heartache, when all you want to do was slither away and wake up from this hell.
Imagine the sobbing and sleepless nights that you now have in the days, weeks, and months after the death of your child. You not only have these nights, but all of your family members have these nights as well. An entire family deep in grief.
Imagine the cruelty of giving birth to a fullterm baby and instead of having your newborn baby to care for postpartum you are left with the blanket he was wrapped in to hold, rock and cradle in the middle of the night while you sob uncontrollably. And you are left doing this every single night for weeks and months on end.
Imagine coming home to a house full of your child’s belongings. Imagine walking through the door to your home without your baby in your arms after just giving birth to him 13 hours prior. Just 30 minutes prior to you coming home you had to hand over his perfect little body to a nurse so she could give him to the funeral home who came to the hospital for his body. Your sweet baby who was in a blue smocked gown, white crocheted hat and swaddled in a beautiful little white crocheted blanket.
Imagine having to physically hand over your child you thought you’d take home. Handing him over 12 hours after giving birth knowing you would never hold your baby again. Imagine sitting in a funeral home picking out a little white casket, the only bed your son would ever lay in, just one day after his birth. Imagine trying to find worldly possessions to give to your son so he could have a piece of his family with him forever. Imagine seeing and holding his perfect little body resting in that little white casket 3 days post birth and knowing you’ll never set eyes on his precious face again after the funeral is over.
Now imagine this not being something you have to imagine because it’s your daily reality. This is my daily reality. I have actually lived through each of these moments, and nightmares. These are just a few of the moments I live with each day.
This is what Stillbirth is. A little glimpse of what moms who have experienced stillbirth go through.
This is also just a small glimpse of the daily grief and trauma I live with. This is a small dose of the daily flashbacks, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, longing, wondering, grief, and questioning of could I have done more?
These are the memories and experiences that swirl around in my brain every moment of the day. I wish other people knew what this all was like, but yet in the same breath I’m so glad you don’t because that would mean you’ve experienced this nightmare too. This nightmare of having a child die and living without them. And not only live without them but having to unwillingly be an active participant in their birth and death.