Scary Shit Series – Stillbirth

Not that long ago, stillbirth was an easier topic to talk about. At the turn of the century infant mortality was so high that if you lost a baby at birth (or shortly thereafter) you weren’t the odd man out. Everyone knew someone who lost a child, heck, some parents didn’t even name their children until they hit a year because odds were they wouldn’t make it that long.

So clearly that has changed and stillbirth is less common. That’s great, but the downside is we are less comfortable with it because it’s less commonplace now. It also doesn’t help that it’s shitty, and sad, and scary and devastating so we just keep it on the down low because there’s no point in scaring expectant parents. Hey, I’m all for keeping it upbeat but if it does happen we’ve now added a layer of taboo to that loss and pain.

While stillbirth rates have plummeted over the decades, approximately 1% of babies in the U.S. are born still which is still pretty up there. It’s actually 10 times the number of babies that tragically die of SIDS.

So let’s just get this shit done and lift the tarp on this scary topic.

When a baby dies after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is called stillbirth. Anything before that is considered a miscarriage. (Note: it looks like the U.K. considers the 24-week mark the change in definition).

In most cases, stillbirth occurs before delivery and less often during labour. The cause of stillbirth is often linked to placenta issues, infections, chromosomal disorders, blood clots, umbilical cord accidents or chronic heath issues in mom – like diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, etc. – but sometimes they just don’t know why a baby is born still.

It’s usually picked up at an ultrasound appointment or by mom with a sudden drop in fetal movement.

There’s really no way to prevent stillbirths, which is probably another reason why there isn’t much “awareness” around it – there’s no point in printing pamphlets if you can’t do anything about it. If you are having a high risk pregnancy some doctors will suggest you doing a daily kick count, but even that is debatable on how well it works considering you have to notice the decreased movement, get to a healthcare provider, have them agree that something’s wrong, then take action. That’s a lot of steps to happen in a really short window.

If you are told that your baby is no longer viable, you will more than likely be advised to give birth vaginally through an induction. As heartbreaking as it sounds, it is still safer to give birth vaginally than a c-section regardless of the birth outcome.

Most hospitals and healthcare providers have a protocol when dealing with a stillbirth, however, it’s still your birth, so you certainly have a say in how things play out.

This cheat sheet that Samantha Durante put together after she lost her daughter, Alana, at 39.5 weeks is truly incredible and a fantastic resource if you or someone you know is going through a loss.

Baby’s Delivery

What to bring:

  • A good camera (seriously!  You’ll regret it later if you don’t have one!)
  • At least one nice outfit for baby

Who to invite:

  • Anyone particularly close to the baby (e.g., grandparents) who might want a chance to hold the baby while s/he’s warm (the baby will look and feel just like s/he’s sleeping at first)
  • A professional stillborn photographer from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

What to do:

  • Have the birth you were planning to have (i.e., if you were going to birth vaginally, don’t ask for a C-section unless it’s medically necessary.  You will be glad later to have honored your child with the birth you wanted to give her/him, and it won’t be nearly as traumatizing or terrifying as you imagine – most mothers describe their birth experience as unexpectedly beautiful, even knowing that their baby wouldn’t be alive when s/he arrived)
  • Hold your baby and spend at least a few minutes in awe inspecting every inch of his/her wonderful little body
  • Kiss your baby
  • Tell your baby how much you love her/him
  • Call your baby by his/her name (and ask everyone else to do so, too)
  • Take lots and lots of photos – of you and your partner holding the baby, the baby on his/her own dressed and undressed, all the little details like his/her hands/toes/ears/etc.  (You’ll want to be able to see your child in detail later, and may want a posed photo of him/her alone to use on a birth announcement.)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for (or insist on!) more time with your baby.  You probably need more time than you think – consider bathing your baby, posing him/her for more photos, or just having him/her stay in your room with you for a while so you can talk.
  • If desired, baptize your baby (even a layperson’s baptism may bring you comfort later on) or ask for a priest/pastor from your church to come do a reading/blessing for your baby

Leaving the Hospital

Don’t leave without:

  • Something that touched your baby’s skin (hat, blanket, one of the outfits s/he wore for photos, etc.)
  • Baby’s footprints and handprints
  • The nursery card with baby’s weight, length, time of birth, etc.
  • A lock of baby’s hair
  • The names of the nurses/doctors who witnessed your baby’s birth and cared for you and your baby afterward
  • Clear instructions and a contact person on how to retrieve any photos taken by the hospital (e.g., on the wheel-under photo machine or on their own cameras, etc.)
  • Clear instructions about how and when to get the results of your baby’s autopsy and who to contact with questions or for a status update
  • Clear instructions on who will be handling your baby’s remains (funeral home, crematorium, etc.) and how, and contact person to make arrangements for a memorial service

Memorializing Your Baby

Find ways to remember your baby and incorporate him/her into your life:

  • Hold a memorial service for your baby just like you would any other member of your family (e.g., a Christian might choose to do a traditional wake/funeral mass/burial).  You’d be surprised how much comfort this will bring you and your loved ones, and how eager others will be to see/touch/meet your baby.  It will also feel good to plan a nice event honoring your child.  If someone delivered a eulogy, be sure to save a copy of it
  • Consider choosing a charitable organization that people can send donations to in your baby’s memory in lieu of flowers/gifts
  • Record your birth story while it’s still fresh.  (You’ll go over it a million times in your head and will eventually begin to second-guess yourself, so get all the details down before you forget any of them – the human memory is notoriously unreliable!)
  • Build or purchase a nice keepsake box to put all your mementos from the hospital in, along with ultrasound printouts, photos, cards, flowers, etc.
  • Purchase and wear a piece of jewelry with your baby’s birthstone/name to remind you of him/her every day
  • Fill out your baby book
  • Print your baby’s photos and pictures from your pregnancy and create a scrapbook or timeline poster detailing all the time you spent together during your baby’s life in the womb and after his/her birth.  (Note: there are organizations like that will retouch your baby’s photos for free – see Heartprints, AngelPics)
  • Get birth announcements printed and send them to your loved ones, or post a digital version online along with your birth story
  • Plant a tree/bus
    h in your baby’s honor.  If possible, choose one that will flower/bloom around your baby’s birthday
  • Hire a portrait artist to paint/draw a portrait of your baby, perhaps smiling and looking up at you
  • Write your baby a letter and tell him/her about all the dreams you had for the future and how much s/he will be missed
  • Order a Molly Bear teddy bear weighted the same as your baby
  • Don’t rush to put away (or give away!) all your baby’s things or have other people do this for you before you go home.  Take your time and put/give them away only if and when you decide you want to
  • Create rituals/traditions to remember your baby on certain dates or at holidays.  Some ideas: celebrate his/her birthday, hang a stocking or ornament for your baby at Christmas, light a candle for your baby on October 15th Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, etc.
  • Ask your friends and loved ones to refer to your baby by name and tell them it’s okay to bring him/her up in conversation
  • Read stories from other parents who lost babies to remind yourself you’re not alone (Glow In the Woods is a good place to start)
  • Use a scanner/camera to create electronic copies/photos of all your keepsakes and store them on multiple computers (or better yet, in the cloud) to make sure they can never be lost, even if something happens to the originals
  • Whatever else works for you!  There’s no right or wrong way to remember your baby

I obviously found Samantha’s story heartbreaking but I also found it incredibly insightful, honest and beautiful:

 “The problem is that for most people (my husband and myself included), you can’t trust your instincts when your baby dies.  What you’ll want to do is withdraw, hide behind your shock and your terror, do whatever you can to escape from the nightmare facing you.  But what you’ll need to do is be present – be there for your baby, feel your grief, live this experience, and remember it – as hard as it may be.”

You can find the post in its entirety here.

Also, if you’re looking for pregnancy loss cards, these ones from Dr. Jessica Zucker go above and beyond the usual clichés if you want to check ’em out.

wonderful-4


Some other great resources are:

And please let me know of any other resources, book lists, groups, etc. and I’ll add them to the list.


Listen, your odds of having a stillbirth lie somewhere between unintentionally poisoning yourself and being be eaten by a shark (I’m serious), so this isn’t something that needs to be at the forefront of your mind. But we do need to be more aware of stillbirth (all of us) because it makes us better at helping, listening and empathizing with people going through one.

 

If you’re reading this because someone you know lost a baby, one of the best things you can do is simply be there. Suffering a loss like this is not only devastating, but it can be really isolating too. No one wants to say the wrong thing or ‘intrude’, but for the people suffering the loss, that kind of abandonment just makes their journey that much harder. Listen to them closely (none of their feelings are wrong), try not to fix it (because you can’t) and follow their lead. Here’s what one of my readers told me:

“I would say the best way to approach someone, is to simply do just that. Approach me. Cards have been nice, Facebook, text message, a phone call (a little harder cause you actually have to talk back,) a simple hug and “I don’t know what to say”. I cannot stand when people just ignore what happened. It happened, it totally sucks, but don’t ignore me. Don’t be “afraid” I don’t have a disease and I won’t bite. If you make me cry, well, I will. If you cry, well, you will. The hardest is when people just stare and don’t say a thing.”


A special thanks goes out to Samantha and Alana, Jaime and Little Nipper, and Kathleen and Henry for all their help and guidance.

 

 

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93 Comments

  • This is incredibly helpful. Thank you for shining some light on what most see as an off-limits subject.

    We’re now 25 weeks with our first child, Penny Rose. We learned at 20 weeks that she has severe Turner Syndrome and the doctors expect her to pass any day now.There’s nothing that we can do to change the outcome, but it’s so helpful to hear how other moms have coped with such devastating loss.

  • Beautifully written. I like her advice about a hug and "I don’t know what to say." I haven’t lost a child, but I have grieved a parent, and I saw that lots of people stayed away when they didn’t know what to say. If you don’t, say that. It tells them, "I recognize that the magnitude of your loss is indescribable and that nothing can make it better." I always think that "I don’t know what to say" is actually an incredibly empathetic statement.

  • Thanks for your post. My 3rd son was born still at almost 37 weeks. No complications no warning an otherwise normal healthy 3rd pregnancy. All of this advice is great. I wish more people would read it and realize it really can happen to anyone.

  • THANK YOU!!!! My daughter was stillborn at 38 weeks 3 years ago tomorrow. I also lost her 3 brothers earlier in pregnancy. Thank you for talking about this. All your advice is spot on. If this horrible atrocity happens to you, hold, hold, hold that baby. Spend time with him/her. It’s scary, hard, and painful but I swear you will regret it if you don’t.

    Thank you for helping shine light our babies.

  • I want to put in a good word for kick counts. I lost my son at 31 weeks gestation. I went in to my midwife after feeling no movement, and it was too late. I had felt decreased and different movement with him the 2 days prior, but was told by so many people that you feel less movement towards the end. First, not true, and second, I was no where near the end, but listened to them over instinct. Plus, I had a textbook perfect pregnancy, and never thought it would happen to me.

    Fast forward 2 years, when I was 28 weeks pregnant with my daughter (coincidentally with the exact same due date as my son). I started doing kick counts twice a day at 28 weeks (after loosely monitoring kicks before that), and at 28w5d, got only 1 kick in an hour. I called L&D, was told to come in, and she was found to be non-responsive on ultrasound. She was delivered after 45 minutes of watching her lay motionless in my body and resuscitated at birth. She is now a thriving 5 year old.

    Do kick counts work? Not always. And you are so right that even if you do them, will a healthcare provider listen to your concerns, have you come to the hospital and monitor you appropriately? Unfortunately probably not as thoroughly as I was (I was actually almost sent home after an hour of monitoring at L&D because all seemed fine, but then she started to have heart decels, and I was put on oxygen and wheeled in to see my perinatologist, who did the final call for her delivery). But did they work for me? Yes, yes, yes. Miraculously, they worked for me, and I always want to share my story because if just one other baby can be saved by it, I hope to make that happen.

    • Thank you for sharing this! There are a bunch of debates about kick counts so I was hesitant to even mention them. Plus, I don’t want any woman feeling guilty because she didn’t do them or feel like she "missed" something. I’m so happy that they worked for you!

  • I dont know one women who has suffered a still birth that wasnt having a healthy pregnancy. Me included. Most if the time you dont get a warning. I’m over joyed for friends that get pregnant but now part of me will always hold my breath for them. ( for annoyed mama). Your mil knows what it is to come home empty handed to a house full of shower gifts. The thought of you going through that may be too much for her. Be gentle with her. It may be out of love that she is behaving this way even if it doesn’t seem that way. Having said that, don’t let it steal your joy because the fact is all we have us today, all of us. So no matter what could happen you should be focusing on enjoying your pregnancy each and every day. Just because something bad can happen (to any of us at any time) doesn’t mean we lead our lives as such. Joy in today. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

  • My first and only child was a stillborn. I was full term and she died during delivery. Before this happened to me, I had never even heard the word stillbirth. Thank you for breaking the silence.

  • I wish I were aware of all this when we lost our baby girl 40 years ago. I only have one picture of my precious baby from the funeral home. She was taken from the hospital before I could hold her. I know your post will helps many many families.

  • Thanks to all of you for posting here! I can only imagine that knowing there are other people that have gone through this is comforting for those who are going though it too. I really appreciate you taking the time to share.

  • Thank you for going there, my daughter Lorena Ruth Coker was stillborn on February 23, 2014.
    Again Thank you.
    From Lorena’s Mommy
    (Angie Coker)

  • Thank you for this! We had a stillbirth on Oct 6 2011. I went in for a routine ultrasound on The 3rd and was told she had no heartbeat. I gave birth to her with only my husband there. Opted for no memorial service as it was two weeks after my baby showers.
    I have plenty of regrets especially not holding her and taking photos of her. I was thinking of others instead of myself and our beautiful daughter.
    I hope more people will realize that it is really common. In fact 1 in 4 pregnancies will end this way! I only knew about sids before this time! there was no reason why after 37 weeks my baby died.

  • I really appreciate you trying to shed a light on this taboo subject. My son was stillborn at 38 weeks over four years ago and no you never get over it. I just wanted to point out though that there are 70 stillbirths in the US alone each day, so the chances of this happening to someone you know or even yourself are greater than you think. I thought things like this didn’t happen until it did to me. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right when you are pregnant, don’t back down or feel silly for pushing your doctor or hospital to do an ultrasound. I learned that the hard way.

  • Thank you so much for posting this article. I lost my daughter Rose to a stillbirth in January or this year at 33 weeks. She was alive at my OB appointment on a Friday and gone on Sunday. The autopsy showed she had a brain tumour, and died of cancer. We were so in shock, we had no time to plan or process what to do or what we wanted done after she was born. I wish I had a list like this to go by, as I have many regrets from that day. Much love to all

  • Thank you for posting this. Four months ago at 37 weeks I delivered my third child, first son sleeping. It was the most devastating experience. This article had me in tears. It was spot on. You never hear about still birth, until it happens to you or to some one close to you. Now I am in a group full of woman and men, to many, that have experienced what I have and, not to scare, but some more than once.
    No one seems to know what to do or say. You did this article so tastefully, thank you.

  • Thank you for posting about this important topic. Another great resource is the film "Return to Zero" which my husband wrote, directed, and produced and is based on our experience of having a stillborn son, Norbert, in 2005. The feedback is that it has been incredibly powerful and healing for parents who have experienced the death of a baby as well as empowering because it gives their story a voice. http://www.returntozerothemovie.com

  • Amy, thank you for sharing Samantha’s story. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, stillbirth is all too common, and yet here are few resources and it is not discussed openly, further isolating the mothers who go through it. After losing my daughter to stillbirth in June, after a perfect pregnancy and with no cause found for her death, I launched Mommy Interrupted, a community on Facebook where we post information and connect mothers via email for peer-to-peer support. The main site is a placeholder as we grow services and resources, info below for any moms who want to connect. Thanks again for addressing the loss community, Pregnant Chicken was my favorite blog during my pregnancy, and it means a great deal that you’re raising awareness for something I hadn’t known about until it happened (unbelievably still) to me and the beautiful moms I’ve come to know.
    http://www.facebook.com/mommyinterrupted
    http://www.mommyinterrupted.org

  • I just ran across this post thanks to pinterest and I’m so glad to have found it. I’m currently almost 24 weeks pregnant with a little girl and we found out about 3 weeks ago that she has a birth defect with no treatment available that means she won’t make it after she’s born. Basically, she’s on "life-support" while she’s still inside of me, but once she’s born it will be like removing life-support, we don’t know how long we’ll have (if she is still alive when she is born since there is also increased risk of stillbirth), but it’s unlikely to more more than hours if we’re lucky. I’ve been trying to think about things that I want to make sure we have and do while we are with her and had some ideas, but the list and information above is a huge help in trying to prepare for this. I’ve also been writing on my blog about my experiences and processing and grief (I’m a counselor by profession so it helps me to have an outlet) and I linked to this post a part of my post about supporting the grieving, hopefully that is okay!

  • Thank you for posting about this topic. Most blogs just skim over that this happens, so when it does, it makes it seem all the more unfair, unexpected and horrifying, since no one ever talks about it. When I was pregnant with my son, I read your blog religiously with my head in the clouds, never thinking I’d lose him. I lost him at 22 weeks (he was perfectly healthy, i went into pre term labor for no found reason) and it was (and still is) the most traumatizing experience of my life. I am now 24 weeks pregnant with his little sister, (after a year of fertility treatments) and being pregnant after such a loss and a struggle, is equally difficult and terrifying. One of the hardest parts is dealing with people who just don’t understand – one baby doesn’t replace another. My son will be a part of me always and he will be forever missed by our family. If I am lucky enough to bring home his sister alive, it will be very bittersweet, as he will always be missing from our lives and each milestone with her will remind us of what he never got to experience. People never think it’s going to happen to them. I wish they’d realize, it can happen to anyone, at any time. It happens to more people than you think. A healthy event-free pregnancy that results in a living baby is a gift that so so so many women take for granted.

  • Thank you and thank you for saying her name. It’s important for me for people to recognize her and understand she was someone, not just "a baby."

  • I lost my baby at 38 weeks and 4 days. My dr. had scheduled our induction for April 3rd, last week, we were are so happy and excited. Then they hooked me up to the monitor and they couldn’t find my Scarlet’s heartbeat. She stopped moving a few days before but everyone I knew was telling me that was just her getting in position. Most of these things on here the hospital room care of and did/made for me which I’ll always be grateful for. I regret not going to the hospital to check things out when my alarm bells were going off. And I regret not spending more time with my baby before the funeral home took her. When she was put in my arms I didn’t know what to do. Now I wish I had covered her in all the kisses I could and now it’s too late. It’s only been a week but it hurts so bad. I’m supposed to have a baby crying for me but I dont. And She was so darn cute, unbelievably beautiful and everything in me hurts because I want her so bad.

    • I am so, so, so sorry for the loss of Scarlet. One week in is horrific, I’m 3 years and a couple months out from the loss of my son and it’s more manageable and bare able, even though I never wanted to be. There are great resources out there, blogs to read which will help you feel less isolated.

      Good luck. <3

    • I am so sorry to hear about Scarlet (it sounds like her beautiful name matches her perfectly). I can only imagine the heartbreak and disappointment you must be going though right now. I truly wish you well and please let me know if I can help you find any further support.

  • Thank you. Thank you for posting this. I’m 15 weeks into a second pregnancy after my first, a beautiful little boy, was stillborn. I so often feel that I don’t belong on pregnancy websites anymore. It’s all too much, that myth that once you pass 12 weeks you’re home free. I appreciate the acknowledgement that stillbirth exists, the provision of resources, and most of all putting this in the light of day. The hardest thing after losing my son was feeling that I couldn’t talk about him. Thank you.

  • I lost my daughter at 25 weeks this past November. It was the worst experience of my life but I will be forever grateful for the care that Kaiser provided. I will say that though this was a great article, everyone is VERY different in how they handle grief. If the above listed items don’t seem like something you want to do (I wanted no pictures, and I did hold her but I don’t yet know still if that helped or hurt more) then it is ok to not do them. I think some of your feelings with those things will depend at what age the baby is when you lose him or her. And you and your husband don’t have to agree either, you both just need to respect each other and help each other through it. If he doesn’t want to hold the baby or take pictures, that is ok, you still can. I think sometimes people really want to help but don’t know how. So at work when I returned I emailed a coworker ahead of time asking them to email everyone asking them not to talk about it. Sympathy drove me COMPLETELY over the edge, still does, and I said in the email that I would not be offended, I just wanted to get through the day without crying. Eventually the coworkers I was close to I opened up to but it helped a LOT not getting constant comments all day and I think it helped my coworkers too as many thanked the person who sent the email saying they didn’t know how to respond when I returned. The bottom line is it is a horrible situation and you just have to get through it the best you can and lean on support. I am lucky to have family and friends who are all there and even if they just load the dishwasher it makes them feel better and you have one less worry so take the help where you can get it. My heart goes out to all others who are going through/have gone through this…

  • Thank you for this post. I just had a stillbirth at 26 weeks due to completely unforeseen medical complications. It is an incredibly isolating and life-altering experience and we had no idea how to navigate all of the decisions that had to be made (e.g., do we take photos, do we have a service, etc.).

  • Lovely post. A relative had a stillbirth at 37 weeks and while I think we did ok with her (we tried to acknowledge her grief and not ignore it like others in the family did), I wish now that we had tried to reach out even more. Any death is uncomfortable for many people, but I think stillbirth specifically is such a frightening occurrence, particularly for people who are new parents or planning to be soon. It’s so hard to put aside your own fear and really be there for the grieving parents, but it’s so important.

  • Thanks for posting this and for the wonderful way you presented this difficult topic. I would have never have thought this could happen to our family and when it did I was very confused on how to deal with it properly. This will bring your readers great resources on how to move forward during a difficult time. Thank you Samantha for sharing your story. To my granddaughter, Alanna, I miss you everyday.

  • My mother-in-law’s first child was stillborn, and although I can sympathize with her for her loss, she absolutely refuses to throw my husband and I a baby shower before the baby is born because she’s afraid we will experience what she had to go through. Her daughter, my sister-in-law, had promised to throw one for us instead, but upon hearing that a friend had lost their baby, called me and decided she wanted to cancel the shower just in case our baby didn’t make it. I just really don’t understand this, or why anyone would pose that to a happily and very healthy pregnant lady who has little to no risk of complications. Am I wrong for feeling this way? It really upsets me that I can’t seem to be joyous without them reminding me of their sorrow.

    • I know it must be hard and confusing, wanting your MIL to be happy for you and her future grandchild.

      But I can tell you from experience that you never just get over the loss of a child. I lost my first, Luke, at 39 weeks a year and a half ago. It was a freak cord accident that still doesn’t make sense to me. One day he was there, the next, he was gone. To watch–what you’d planned for your life–come crumbling down on you in an instant? It’s life-altering. I will never be the same person I was before. I’ve had my rainbow baby at this point, but I still think of losing Luke everyday. And each of us who lost a baby, especially if it was far along into the pregnancy, will carry that fear and darkness with us forever.

      So please try to be gentle with your MIL. She IS happy for you. I can guarantee it. But she’s also operating with a sense of fear that you can’t imagine until you’ve been through it. I blog a lot about my loss, and I recently wrote an entry that could apply to your situation, if you’d like to check it out…

      http://dearbabyluke.blogspot.com

      And thank you, Pregnant Chicken, for taking the courage to post about stillbirth. None of us ever believe it could happen to us. I was a reader of your blog before I lost Luke. And after, I felt like I had nowhere to fit in to the pregnancy communities online. I found my place, eventually, but it’s still such a taboo, don’t-talk-about-it-and-it-won’t-happen subject, that when it happens to you or someone you love, people truly don’t understand what to do. I’d highly recommend Still Standing’s website to anyone interested in learning more about our stories. And Glow In The Woods. The writers there truly showcase what it means to go through this heartache.

      • I agree with you, but additionally I would say that it’s still important to honour the baby at the current moment of its life. My MIL refused to get excited when we announced our first pregnancy because she had had 4 miscarriages in her time. Whilst I empathise with her, it was still an experience separate from hers, and I felt that even if I had miscarried the news should have been celebrated from the start. Otherwise it feels like the baby is just an object not to be humanised until it’s born and this does not sit well with me emotionally or morally.

    • having not gone through it yourself, and "assuming" it would never happen to you, is exactly why you can’t ever understand how your mother in law feels. For you to expect a woman who has lost her own baby to throw you a shower is incredibly selfish. Throw your own shower, or have a friend or family member throw it for you, jeez.

    • Although I don’t think preparing for the worst is the best way to handle this situation, neither is coming on here to bitch about her.

      I’m sorry that you can’t sympathize with these woman. It is hard for anyone to see joy when they have had their hearts torn apart.

      In this day in age you can throw yourself a shower, or wait till the baby arrives and have them at it.

    • If you want to have your shower, have your shower. But unfortunately "little risk of complications" doesn’t mean jack. I had little risk of complications…..until suddenly my daughter died.

      This probably hurts your MIL for than she will ever possibly be able to express to you. She may be trying to spare you the pain and anguish of potentially having to take down a fully stocked baby room. It is simply torturous. She’s terrified.

      I say if you want to have you shower go for it. Maybe you have a friend or someone to do it for you or throw it yourself. But just be gentle to your MIL and SIL. They are so scared and hurting and it will just never go away.

    • I was a happy and very healthy pregnant lady with little to no risk of complications, too. Until I wasn’t.
      A cord accident took my son and it can happen to anyone.

      Baby showers are something I will never attend again and, should I have a rainbow baby, will never allow to be thrown for me.

      You have no idea what it’s like to be given gifts in excitement and put a room together only to have to put it all away because the site of that stuff hurts your heart.

      And I hope you never do.

  • Thank you so much for including this topic on your wonderful site. I lost my daughter to stillbirth and the advice above is fantastic. My biggest regret was how scared I was of holding her – that I’d damage her further or that my warmth would cause her to decay before me. I wish I’d have taken more pictures (or known about Now I lay me down to sleep), or been able to bathe or dress her. I just gave birth to my son and felt the joy of holding him immediately after he was born. It pains me to think I didn’t do that with my daughter, and that she deserved it every bit as much.

    Anyways. Other good sites – Still Standing Magazine, the MISS Foundation (They have local support groups), Face of Loss. There is also a movie called Return to Zero with stillbirth as the main topic airing on Lifetime May 17th. Minne Driver and Alfred Molina star in it.

  • Thank you for this post. Bringing such a hard topic out of the closet was much-needed. It was also a good reminder about how fortunate I am to have a healthy baby.

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