Every day in the United States alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
This is Ruth's story:
i don't have any leather pants to strap on, as i have been invited to do on the homepage, but i'm gonna share my story. i'm 37 years old, happily married, and the proud mother of three (living) children.
last year, almost this exact time of year, i found out i was pregnant with our fourth child. the news came as a bit of a surprise, as i was on the pill, and we'd thought we were "done" - our kids are 12, 10, and 8.
after the initial shock wore off, we were thrilled. it was going to be so much fun this time around, knowing what we already know about having kids and whatnot. all the stress of just keeping the little buggers alive and well until they started school was behind us. we could relax and just enjoy having a little one to hold and snuggle.
at our 20 week ultrasound, we discovered that it was a girl we named ruth, and her umbilical cord had only two blood vessels instead of the usual three.
the doctor explained the problems this could cause, and after educating ourselves about the risks involved, we felt confident that we could handle whatever GOD chose to bring our way. her due date was set for january 11, 2013. because mine was considered a high-risk pregnancy, i had weekly ultrasounds scheduled for the last two months of the pregnancy.
on january 2, just nine days before our due date, my ultrasound revealed that there was no heartbeat. ruth was dead.
i headed to labor and delivery to be induced. early the next morning, I delivered my baby girl who had already left this world.
the pain and shock have been enormous. i am so grateful to my husband for being my strength over these last 4 months. he lost a daughter too, but somehow he manages to rise above his grief when i need him.
our families have been wonderful, letting me grieve in my own way, never judging, always loving. we never did find out what happened; why she died. now the big question is, do we want to try for another baby? we know we can't replace the one we lost, but it just seems so sad to end our baby-making years with a tragedy.
if anyone reading this is interested, Jason Collins, MD of knoxville, tennessee is an ob-gyn studying the causes and risk factors for stillbirth. i was able to get in contact with him after losing ruth, and discovered that this tragedy is all too common: every day in the united states alone, 26 babies are stillborn.
i'd become concerned during the last few weeks of my pregnancy that the baby wasn't moving enough, but when i contacted my doctor, i was told that it was fine; babies slow down as they get bigger.
listen up, everybody! babies DO NOT slow down. all pregnant moms: do a kick count. be a pain in your doctor's ass. drive the nurses at the hospital crazy. do whatever it takes for that little one.
s/he is counting on you.
GOD bless all of you who read this. GOD bless ALL the unborn babies.
thanks, the band, for letting me have the floor for a moment.
Some mom I am...
I am the worst kind of mother. I have given up on life.
How many times have I tried to end it?
One is too many. But three times was not enough.
(Third time was not the charm...)
Now, I am just content for survival's sake.
Just content. Not happy.
I do things simply because I have to. Because it's what's best
For my family.
I justify, I explain, I
Have simply settled.
Because I know I am nothing now.
I'm no example. No role model.
I don't even pray anymore.
I simply don't know what else to do.
I am not the mom I want to be.
Not the mom they deserve.
Some mom I am.
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
I quit drinking seven months ago.
Actually, it was 217 days ago if you want to get specific.
I wasn't a fall down drunk all the time. I reserved my drinking for the evenings and the weekends. I usually waited until my child was in bed. I usually drank with other people.
I graduated both high school and college with honors, all while drinking. People knew I attended classes hungover but no one ever said I had a problem. I have successfully held down jobs all while drinking. I had more than my fair share of liquid lunches and still managed to not get fired. My happy hours after work went on too long and by sheer luck I never hurt myself or someone else or had a run in with the law.
I stopped drinking when I found out I was pregnant. As soon as I was done nursing I started drinking again. I was sober for about a year. Aside of that year, I hadn't been sober that long since I was 14 years old.
Last summer, I made a complete ass of myself with my drinking.
I took risks I shouldn't have. I drank alone often. Most mornings I'd think about how long it would be until I could drink again. I'd wonder if I could drink during the day and be okay to pick my son up from day care. I came dangerously close to drinking at lunch. I arranged sitters so that I could drink to excess and not have to worry about parenting getting in the way.
I started to scare myself.
I thought about drinking and wanted to be drunk all the time. The only thing that stopped me is the shame of everyone finding out that I'm an alcoholic. I can barely type those words; I have yet to say them out loud to anyone. But it is who I am and it was getting really hard to keep hiding it.
So I quit drinking. Cold turkey. Just like that.
But I miss it.
I miss being drunk. I don't know if I can do this for the rest of my life. I want to drink so badly tonight it hurts.
I don't know how to live sober.
I'm afraid to tell people just how bad my drinking was because they will think I'm a bad mother, a bad person. Or they won't believe me because I seem put together. Or I'll be held accountable and be judged if I slip.
And I really, really feel like I'm going to slip.
I thought I'd be less scared of myself if I got sober.
Why am I still so scared?
When is this going to get easier?
Okay, maybe not.
The fact that I love my husband deeply might cause problems.
And I noticed you already had a wedding band (don't ask me why I noticed, I just did. I was single for a long time, sheesh). But there must be some way to show the world how deeply I esteem you. How deeply I appreciate you. You have made our family so happy. You are one great doctor.
Are you all wondering whether I've had liposuction? Or maybe if my colitis has been cured? Or that I've grown five inches? No. Dr. Adler is neither a plastic surgeon nor a gastroenterologist. Dr. Adler is a pediatric neurosurgeon.
Last month when we brought Lovebug in for his 12 month check up, his pediatrician was worried about his head shape. Specifically, that the plates might have fused too early. Unfortunately, we were moving less than a week after the appointment so we had to get it checked out in New Jersey.
The pediatrician here was also concerned. He wanted us to see a neurosurgeon - to skip the in-between step of the neurologist altogether. Naturally, our insurance is not accepted by most doctors in Bergen County. The ones that did accept our insurance could see us in October.
By that point, I had done some research. While Lovebug's head did not resemble any of the misshapen heads of babies with craniosynostosis, I was still worried. If they did not fix it soon, there could be pressure on his brain. The pediatricians had barely talked to me about anything else, like his behavior and whatnot, so worried were they about his head.
So between my mother talking to her doctor, a doctor he knew (and his kind appointment maker) and me talking to my insurance company, we found a pediatric neurologist. I made the regular pediatrician give us a referral to the pediatric neurologist.
Yesterday we went to our first appointment. Dr. Adler came out to the waiting room and brought us back to the exam room himself. He was warm, kind and clear.
He chatted with Lovebug and felt his head.
Dr. Adler explained everything in layman's terms and even offered to show us pictures of babies with real problems on his computer. We declined, having already seen them. The bottom line was that while the space between Lovebug's skull plates may have fused early, this had not affected his head size (which is very large, to tell the truth), his head shape, or his behavior (since he walks, talks a bit and does not have seizures).
Dr. Adler declared him perfectly fine.
After imagining MRIs and CT scans, rounds with specialists and surgery, yesterday's appointment could not have gone better. But if something had been wrong, you can bet for damn sure that I would want Dr. Adler to fix it.
I wrote this post nearly 6 years ago. It was the first time I shared something that really worried me publicly on the internet. I will always appreciate the kindness that my few readers showed me back then. Even though I can barely remember the worry and anxiety I felt back then, I still remember the kindness. I hope that anyone contributing their stories to Band Back Together gets to feel what I feel about this post: grateful for the kindness and barely able to remember the pain.
An estimated two million people deliberately cut or injure themselves.
This is her story, and she needs our support.
Some days I wake up feeling mean and hateful and angry and tired. I'm not allowed to hate anyone in my life. Thus it makes sense (I guess) for me to decide to hate me. I'm a mean and hateful person. I deserve to be hated.
Today I wish I could cut. I wish I could beat my head on concrete. I don't want to teach my children to do these things any more than I want to teach my children to be mean and hateful.
Today I've got nothing to give. They don't really care. They will still be demanding every five minutes all day long.
I don't know how to be nice today.
If you or someone you love feels the urge to self-injure, please call the National Self-Injury Helpline at 1-800-DONT-CUT (366-8288).
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