Sometimes pregnancy doesn’t end in a living baby. And sometimes there is simply no way to know that there is any danger until after your baby has already died.
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’ve learned more about stillbirth and prenatal care in the years since then. I’ve learned enough to be angry, both at the things they said and the things they missed. They presented themselves as trustworthy and they weren’t. They presented themselves as comprehensive, and they missed things.
I was only 35 and I was sucked in by wanting everything to be natural, and you made me feel like I could trust you. You failed me, though. You allowed my child to die.
I chose to go overdue in my first pregnancy, believing labor was best when it happened naturally. These printable brochures talk about my experience.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I heard that babies come when they’re ready, and so I allowed my pregnancy to go overdue. I wish I had known this wasn’t always true.
The choice to be induced at the end of pregnancy or to use expectant management and wait for labor to start on its own is a complicated one. These are eight factors that should be considered in order to make an informed decision.
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.
I think people are conditioned to tell bereaved parents it isn’t their fault because they are worried. If parents blame themselves, what might they then do?
When I pictured this moment during our pregnancy, I had all the typical first birthday dreams. I thought about outfits, and cute party hats, and an elephant cake you would smash more than eat. I thought about family, and packed photo books, and maybe a few presents. But mostly just love.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back on my pregnancy and identify the signs both I am my providers should have seen before Adrian died. There were multiple problems that led to his preventable stillbirth.
I don’t understand it, little one. I don’t understand how you could be here, and then not. I don’t understand how you’re still in my belly, but you’re already gone. I don’t understand how the world makes sense anymore. I never got to hold you, and I miss you so much. My heart is broken.
My water broke in a gushing flood. I understood then what women meant when they said it felt like peeing. I looked down, expecting to see water pooling on the tile floor. What I saw instead was blood.
Adrian James Hernandez was stillborn on 30 June 2017 due to complications from undiagnosed preeclampsia. He was 9lb, 0oz; 22 in long and perfectly formed. He is forever loved, and forever missed.
I hate talking about these memories, because everyone is quick to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. Screw that! I don’t care about fault. I want to share my story. I want to remember the last week of my son’s life. I want to share these things that complicate how I feel about his death. I want to remember that this experience wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses. I want to remember what was real.