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.
Secondary infertility can occur as a result of illness, certain types of lifestyle choices, or by damage to the reproductive system.
This is her story.
I know, you read that title and are all “whaaa??” Unfortunately that is what happened to me after my fourth and final pregnancy. I’ve been pregnant four times and have one living child.
My first pregnancy was completely uneventful and totally successful. I gave birth to a wonderful baby girl in May of 2006. She is the light of my life and it goes without saying that I love her more fiercely than I’ve ever loved anyone.
My second pregnancy, in June of 2007, ended in a “planned” termination. I chose the word planned because it was a decision that my husband and I made together. It was undoubtedly the hardest decision of my life. I had to do what was right for me and my family at that time in our lives.
My third pregnancy in December of 2010 was my first ectopic pregnancy.
I started spotting four days after I got a positive home pregnancy test. I called the doctor’s office and for the two weeks following that positive pregnancy test I went every other day to the doctor’s office for a blood draw to check for increasing hormone levels and for intermittent ultrasounds to try and find the pregnancy. My levels increased, not at the normal rate but they were increasing. However, in all the ultrasounds that I had done the pregnancy was never found.
Late one Saturday night I began to have severe cramping and went to the ER right away. After thorough exams and an extremely painful ultrasound it was determined that I was going to need emergency surgery. Right then. At 3:30 in the morning.
I was alone and scared. A few hours after the operation, when I was in a not so drugged state, I was told that my body was trying to expel the pregnancy and I was beginning to bleed internally from the damage. The result of the surgery was not only the loss of my third pregnancy but the loss of my right ovary and fallopian tube.
My fourth pregnancy in August of 2011 was my second ectopic and final pregnancy. Again like the first ectopic I starting having severe cramping a couple of weeks after my positive home test and headed to the ER. Unfortunately the timing of this couldn't have been worse; the day I went to the ER and found out that I was again having an ectopic pregnancy was the due date of the baby I lost from the first ectopic in December.
Fortunately this ectopic was found right away on the ultrasound that was done in the ER. Since this pregnancy was found and could be clearly diagnosed as an ectopic I did have the option of receiving an injection to terminate the unsuccessful pregnancy. The doctor and I chose the shot because of the fact that another surgery could be risky and I stood a chance of losing my remaining tube.
In hindsight opting for the shot was by far, for me, the worst decision. After receiving the shot I had to have weekly blood draw appointments at my doctor’s office to make sure the hormone levels came down to zero. I went to these appointments for seven weeks after the shot was given. Each week was a reminder of the failure of my reproductive system. The failure of myself as a woman.
A few months after my second ectopic pregnancy I elected to have an IUD placed. After the placement a routine ultrasound was performed and my doctor found something “odd” near my remaining ovary.
After an additional ultrasound was performed four weeks later it was determined that I had a couple ovarian cysts, that we would keep an eye on them and that they would probably go away. They didn’t go away. Seven months later I found myself faced with the decision of having surgery to go in and clean out the cysts. My doctor and I were hesitant to go the surgery route because of the risks. I ultimately chose to move forward with the surgery as I just wanted this nightmare to be over.
As a result of the operation in May of 2012 a damaged - damage sustained from the previous ectopic pregnancy - portion of my remaining left fallopian tube was removed. The portion of the remaining tube was “clipped” off as they would do in a tubal ligation. My doctor knew my wishes going into surgery and she did discuss this with my husband prior to completing the ligation and I am glad that she made that final determination.
I ended up not having ovarian cysts but rather small pockets of damaged tubal tissue that had filled with fluid. Those were also removed.
It took a total of five years to get here but I am now at a point in my life where I will no longer be able to have any more biological children. I never thought this day would come. Even as a child I dreamed of being a mom to many children. Adoption is not totally out of the question but for now I need time for my soul to heal.
What I do have now are answers and closure. This door has closed but perhaps another one will open. I can take this information and move forward with my life and be the best possible mom to the one child I do have.
Twelve years ago, my life changed beyond recognition.
On a December evening, my first born made his way into the world, roughly 36 hours before he was scheduled.
I was a 17 year old senior in high school, a month from graduation, when I discovered I was pregnant. Looking back, that should have been a clear sign that nothing would go as planned.
Plans for graduation parties and senior trips were halted and altered. Summer plans for moving were put on hold. Even birth plans were altered when we found out Little Man was breech. We charted a new plan, scheduling a C-section for the morning of Little Man's grandfather's birthday.
He decided he wanted to be early.
On an icy Saturday when I should have been going to see "Dude, Where's My Car?" in theaters, I instead headed to the hospital. My water had broke and contractions I hadn't prepared for had started.
As he's done repeatedly in his life, Little Man started the party early then delayed his entrance. Nearly seven hours later, I heard his first cries. Because of medical complications (I never do anything half-assed) it was nearly another six hours before I was able to hold my sweet darling without assistance.
From his very first moments, he was an easy baby.
He didn't cry, he whimpered. He slept so soundly the nurses even commented on it. Our only struggle was breast-feeding. Due to some fluke, he and I just couldn't make it happen. On day three we switched to bottles. And while I don't have anything against breast-feeding or mothers who choose that path, the lactation consultant who lectured me on all I was depriving my son of can kiss my ass. Little Man has thrived his entire life, always in the 90+ percentile on the growth charts and rarely sick, even with the common cold. (He clearly didn't get my medical genes.)
If I close my eyes, I'm still in that hospital bed, whispering sweet nothings to the most handsome baby I've ever laid eyes on. How twelve years have passed, I can't tell you.
I remember his very first smile (It was NOT gas, dammit!), the first time he opened his eyes to look up at me. I remember the first time he flopped over onto his tummy and that adorable Army style crawl he used to do. I remember when he used to get up on his hands and knees and rock his little bottom back and forth, trying so very had to get some forward momentum.
I remember when he turned into a monkey and learned how to crawl out of his crib and play-pen. I remember his first tentative steps at his Nana's house for his first birthday party. I remember how he loved Bob the Builder, Finding Nemo, and Spongebob. I remember each transformation his room took as favorite cartoons changed.
I've never been prouder of anything I've done in my life. He is the greatest part of me. I have twelve years of memories and I know there are so many more to make. And though I can't be by his side for all of them, I will always be here to listen as he shares them with me.
Thank you, my son, for changing my life. You save me every single day.
Band Back Together has been nominated for Best Group or Community Weblog in the 2013 Bloggies! Visit their site to vote and check out the other categories!
Trying to conceive a child should be one of the happiest times of a couple's lives, but for some it brings stress and heartache.
This is her story.
Pregnancy is a tricky thing really.
For some it’s wrought with stress from long before the stick shows two lines. For some of us, there is nothing joyful about trying to get there.
I have a child; one single beautiful wonderful child, who is the light of my life. I could not have envisioned a more perfect being when I thought about becoming a mother.
The road to her conception wasn’t easy. We struggled for well over a year to create her. Month after month, hoping, waiting, and trying. I became convinced that pregnancy tests were a farce; that never would I see two lines. For something I hadn’t always known I wanted I was sure having a hard time accepting that I might not get it at all.
It was awful.
I mean, it’s supposed to be relatively easy isn’t it? Two consenting adults proclaiming their sweaty love for one another during the window of opportunity should at some point result in a child, should it not? I mean, all of my friends and family members – and I do mean ALL OF THEM, have had not a stitch of trouble in that respect. Surprise pregnancies, first tries, initial “throw caution to the wind” stuff has left them all with womb fruit, practically immediately. So what the hell was wrong with me?
The medical professionals will tell you this is normal. That even a healthy couple takes 6-12 months to conceive, that this isn’t anything to worry about. Sure I suppose, but tell that to my heart, my empty aching uterus and my overactive frontal cortex.
The resentment that built from that time was suffocating. It wasn’t fair, no one understood, and I was alone. Even my husband didn’t know the extent of what I was going through. It was the worst time in my life. I thought.
You see, I obviously did eventually conceive. I don’t know if it was the position of the moon or the right number of gin and tonics but my husband’s swimmers finally broke through what I can only assume is my hostile uterus to create the world’s most perfect child. And we have contentedly lived there for quite some time.
Except now, a horrible thing has happened.
Apparently we are equipped with more than one biological clock, which I have to see is grievously unfair.
At some point, I started to feel that desire again; the one to make a child, and give my current child a sibling. I knew going into it that it would be hard. I knew that we weren’t hyper fertile, and I knew that soon I’d be back to the obsessive waiting, temping, peeing, checking, waiting, thinking, obsessing, peeing, waiting, waiting, waiting. I knew it all and yet, I allowed myself to feel a sense of hope. Maybe this time would be different.
Sure we were older, but our bodies had sorted it out before, so maybe they would remember. Perhaps this time it would work. Maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t spend two weeks out of the month waiting for one thing, to spend two more weeks waiting for the other, to have it all end in suffocating tears.
Sure, maybe, but no, not really.
So, here we are again, only this time, it’s arguably worse. All my friends are on baby 2+. They have lapped me, and beyond that, they are in my fucking face about it.
It’s so dark here. So very lonely. I don’t have anyone to reach out to. No one wants to hear me whine month over month about not getting pregnant. No one has time to listen, they don’t care, and frankly no one understands because I have a kid so I should A – be happy and B – there can’t possibly be a reason I can’t have another.
But I’m not, and somehow, there is.
Then there is the kid I have, asking why everyone else has a brother or a sister, asking me for one, telling me how good of a sister she would be.
And the thing is, I know. I know she would be, and she deserves to be, and I want her to be.
It’s just that I can’t seem to give it to her.
This whole process is wrought with ten thousand painful moments. The way my daughter fawns over new babies, the way my painfully fertile friends exclaim things about their perfectly timed children, the way people assume that the only reason I’m not pregnant is that I’m not trying.
People don’t understand, or maybe they don’t care. I don’t know if I’d care if I was one of the people who got pregnant bumping into her husband in the hallway one night. I don’t know if I’d get the crushing pain of seeing a negative test over and over if I’d literally never seen one myself. I don’t know if I would be able to listen to someone cry about something they want so badly, when I already had it.
The way I handle other people’s pregnancy news is also a bone of contention I have with myself. It’s just so childish and pathetic. Jealously over wanting something someone else has, tears over their joy, more realization that I’m alone. That is not what the forming of life is about. It’s not about me, or what I can or cannot have. It’s about a child being brought into the world, and a fully grown adult being unable to see that for what it is borderlines on the ridiculous.
The face of the matter is people aren’t maliciously trying to cause me resentful little panic attacks which later cause huge fights with my husband because the raw hurt feelings and confusion are simply insurmountable at times. They don’t know that flippantly asking my child if she wants Santa to bring her a brother or sister causes a domino effect of questions I can’t answer and tears I can’t explain.
They aren’t cruel. They are simply enjoying the life of people whose bodies work effectively, and their perfectly timed children, and their ignorance to the loneliness that is this world. And frankly I should be happy for them, but honestly I fucking hate them for it. Every single time.
Secondary Infertility is a grief that knows no bounds.
This is her story:
We started trying to get pregnant after a pregnancy scare.
My now-husband and I were newly engaged, my period was late, we were both convinced I was pregnant. Finally, I took a pregnancy test and discovered I wasn't pregnant. We were both disappointed, and decided to start actively trying to get pregnant. Our wedding was a year away, so we figured if we got pregnant within the next two months, the dates would work out.
It didn't happen
Three months before our wedding, we started trying to get pregnant again. A year later (ironically the month we'd stopped trying as I'd just started a new job), I finally got a positive pregnancy test.
I spent the first half of my pregnancy nauseous and vomiting. By the time I'd started to feel better, I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and spent the remainder of my pregnancy on bedrest. It didn't help that my OB was an idiot, however, my daughter was born at 38 weeks via c-section - we are both very lucky to be alive.
When she was four months old, I started to develop extremely familiar symptoms. I took a dozen pregnancy tests, all of which said I was pregnant. I hadn't even had my period yet - I was breastfeeding. My husband and I were absolutely shocked as it'd taken so long to get pregnant with our first.
My second pregnancy was much easier until week 30 when I, once again, developed pre-eclampsia Thankfully, I had an amazing doctor and while we were preparing for a very premature baby, I was placed on hospital bedrest and given medications to manage the preeclampsia. I was then able to go home (no bedrest).
My second daughter was born at 37 weeks via repeat C-section.
That was five years ago next month.
We've been trying to get pregnant for the last four years. I'd taken two rounds of the birth control shot after my second daughter was born. When I stopped the shot, my always normal and dependable cycle went crazy.
Sometimes it would be 28 days long, others 32 days. Once, I had a 40-day cycle. Every once in awhile, I'd miss a period altogether. My periods themselves have been fairly normal but that's the only normal thing about my cycle now.
Two months ago, after more negative pregnancy tests than I care to count - that's what happens when you never know when to expect your period - my husband and I decided to go see my gynecologist.
She sent him for a sperm analysis while I underwent blood tests and an ultrasound.
We'll be seeing her soon to find out the result of the tests, and likely begin to take Clomid to help induce ovulation. We can try two or three cycles with Clomid before she sends us into the city to a fertility specialist.
Today is day 34 of my cycle; two days past my longest average cycle. As usual, I was certain I was pregnant.
I tested today.
It was negative.
I don't know how much more heartbreak I can take.
We badly want another baby, it just doesn't seem like it's going to happen. I know that with treatment, we'll have a better shot at getting pregnant, that next month I could become pregnant, but today, I'm scared I won't have another baby.
My husband's work benefits will cover up to $15,000 in fertility drugs but no procedures, so if we want to get really aggressive, we foot the bill. We're not willing to spend thousands of dollars to maybe get pregnant. We have two kids to support, our futures to plan, so that isn't going to happen.
Nobody knows we've been trying to conceive.
We keep hearing "When are you going to have another?" or "Are you going to try for a boy?" It's knife to the heart every. single. time. We usually shrug it off and say "We'll see."
My mom has made it clear that due to my pregnancy complications, she doesn't think we should have another baby (even though it was only poor medical management of my first pregnancy that put us in danger). Knowing she's against this adds more stress - we don't want to hear her say that we shouldn't be trying, or that it's a sign I shouldn't get pregnant.
I know we already have two kids and I am so thankful, so blessed to have them, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt that we can't seem to add another child into our family. I want a big family; I want my kids to have lots of siblings to lean on, to grow up with, to support each other when my husband and I are gone.
This all feels so unfair.
Page 1 of 41