I honestly thought the chances of stillbirth were 1 in a million, not 1 in 160 (Archives)

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I honestly thought the chances of stillbirth were 1 in a million, not 1 in 160

Miranda's maternity photo. Miranda is wearing a pale pink form-fitting lace dress. She is sitting on an outdoor chair in a grassy backyard and is looking down at her belly while holding a flower (Modern Lux Photography)

When I was overdue, this is what I wish I knew

I think back to the times I heard the common saying, “Babies come when they’re ready.”
I was educated and I felt informed, and somehow this statement slipped through my radar, but it’s not true.
10% of all babies are born prematurely. And worse than that, 0.6% are born dead. MY son was born dead.

I constantly wish someone had told me stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I Wish Someone Had Told Me Stillbirth Was So Common

I was educated & open to new information, & I thought I knew everything…And then the nightmare that is stillbirth rose up & broke me. Despite my curiosity, I was hit by the fact that NO ONE in my world had thought to tell me that stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON. 1 in 160. It’s a freaking emergency.

"1 in 160" feels like such a small number until you put it in context. For the parents of a stillborn child, 1 in 160 will always be one too many. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Stillbirth is NOT “Rare”

At current rates of 1 in 160 pregnancies, stillbirth is NOT rare. The fact is, you already personally know at least one person in your life who has experienced stillbirth. You likely know many.⁠

Cliff overlooking the ocean on a clear day (Miranda Hernandez)

Survivor’s Bias

Now imagine I took this example of reckless behavior and used it to justify drinking and driving? Imagine I said that because I did it and I was fine, then of course it must be okay for others to try. This is called survivor’s bias.

Sunset over the Bay of Islands, New Zealand (Miranda Hernandez)

Tone

There is a subconscious, and in some places, even overt “war” going on between midwives and physicians, and it really needs to stop. I truly believe if either set of my providers had swallowed their pride and explained that sometimes, neither nature nor medicine are completely perfect, then my son would be alive today.

Sunset over Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Stillbirth and Statistics: What Does it Mean to be “Rare”?

I think the problem with using words like “rare” in place of actual numbers is that it’s a description that renders those numbers abstract. Our brains are so unused to thinking about statistical concepts that we classify these things as either likely, e.g. I’m likely to have a flat tire at some point in my life; or practically impossible, e.g. I will never win the lottery. But we do a really poor job of thinking about all of the possibilities that lie in between.

Orchid cactus flowers in the gardens at San Juan Bautista

Dear Nature-Based Childbirth Educator

Dear Natural Childbirth Educator, I always considered myself part of the natural community, and this is why I followed you. I read the traditional books, but your words were more comforting. I only wish you would have talked about stillbirth, because until it happened to me, I had no idea.

Ruins of Cannery Row 1, Monterey, California

Necessary Fear

There really never is an appropriate time to talk about tragedy. There really never is a time when the innocent are ready to listen. And that’s sad, and it’s also wrong. Because death isn’t the thing that only happens to other people. Tragedy isn’t the thing you can ignore and it won’t hurt you.

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