Today I shared something about Matthew on my old Facebook page (which I will be shutting down within 24 hours). Hopefully 236 random “friends” are now more aware. (Yes, I can be pretty freaking impulsive.) So far, the feedback has been supportive, and no one has said anything dumb, and some have even opened up about their own losses.
Copied from Facebook:
Today I had a wild hair and a flashback of my old Facebook login and password. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been here, and I won’t be here for long. It’s hard to revisit my old life – the one I lived before my world came crashing down. But, in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and my much loved and missed first child, Matthew, as well as my treasured bereaved parent friends and all of their children gone too soon, I figured I’d share Matthew’s story outside of the baby loss community with whomever I’m connected to on here (I don’t remember), as awareness only comes from sharing outside my world, which has become much smaller these days.
I was 32 weeks, 4 days into my textbook pregnancy when Matthew died. One day I noticed I hadn’t felt him move in several hours, so I checked into the hospital. They found his heartbeat immediately, kept me overnight for some mildly concerning variable decelerations, but for 13 hours assured me that he would be okay and even encouraged me to go get breakfast the next morning. As soon as I sat up in bed on the morning of July 13, 2015, his heartbeat flat-lined. They called code blue and performed an emergency C-section and tried to resuscitate him, but failed. Matthew was completely healthy – he died from a true knot, plus two neck wraps in his umbilical cord.
Since Matthew’s death I’ve learned how isolating and misunderstood this tragedy and this grief can be. As if losing your child isn’t enough, this loss slowly rips through every aspect of your life – it changes, or fucking destroys, nearly everything. Life can be rebuilt, but the rebuilding process is excruciating when many days you wish you’d died on the operating table too. And this pain will last a lifetime – it’s been over one year, and not one day (or probably one hour) goes by without me thinking of my precious first-born. So it is appreciated when people speak his name.
I’ve also learned that stillbirth and infant loss is not as rare of an event as medical professionals would like to portray. Umbilical cord issues can be seen on ultrasound, but it isn’t part of United States standard of care for doctors to look for these issues, so instead they look the other way, to avoid legal liability (patients can’t sue for something that’s missed if doctors aren’t supposed to be looking for it) and to avoid “scaring” women.
But the truth is, in the United States 1 in 150 babies, or ~24,000 babies each year, will be stillborn or die shortly after birth. ~48,000 bereaved parents will leave the hospital empty-handed. Most of these babies are completely healthy and within days of meeting their families. It is a tragedy too devastating for words, one that doesn’t discriminate.
You can read more about Matthew here:
I’m sharing because 1 in 150 babies die and will continue to. I’m sharing because 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in loss (this statistic includes miscarriage). I’m sharing because 1 in 8 struggles with infertility. I’m sharing because women need to know to advocate for themselves during pregnancy, as doctors are usually just playing the odds with their care – no one should be completely blindsided by this tragedy, experiencing it having never known the importance of performing kick counts, having never known it was within the realm of possibility.
I’m sharing because this is an all-too-common tragedy in an all-too-tragic world. I’m sharing to let someone out there know he/she isn’t alone.
Mostly, I’m sharing for Matthew.