Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stillbirth

I have some more thoughts in my head that I want/need to write out. I honestly hate the word "stillbirth" for obvious reasons but here it is in my vocabulary. And it's not leaving.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was not a big fan of the doctor on call at the hospital when I arrived in labor. My contractions were all over the place, sometimes only a minute apart, but they were not overly strong and I was only dilated a few centimeters. Sunday morning arrived and that is when we met Dr. G.

Dr. G was everything I never thought I would want in an OB. Ironic because he was the one who helped us through everything in a professional manner. He cared. There was never any mention of drugs or of me not reporting that my water had broken (which it had not.) We had a new theory. Maybe the baby's cord was wrapped around his/her neck.

Abbey was born free of any cord entanglement. She was perfect in every way. Dr. G discussed having an autopsy performed to see if a cause of death could be determined and we agreed. There was a time not that long ago (and by that I mean in our lifetime) when autopsies were not offered. And even today, there are hospitals/doctors that do not explain to the grieving parents that this is an option. Or they just don't perform them. In the years since Abbey's death, I know that it has changed for the better but there is still more that can be done.

We agreed to the autopsy because I didn't want people saying, "Oh, there was probably something wrong with the baby." "It was nature's way." "It was God's will." I didn't want to live with that never ending question. I needed to know because in my heart, I knew that she was healthy and that something else had happened.

As much as we wanted an answer, an explanation, a reason, Dr G explained to us that they would most likely not be able to give us one and that this might be better because if they couldn't find a reason, then maybe, just maybe, it wouldn't happen again. There would be nothing for them to look for. And there wasn't anything. All the reports came back stating that she was a perfectly healthy baby who didn't receive enough oxygen at the end.

My blood work was normal except for a slightly abnormal reading of my ANA test, which is related to illnesses and conditions such as lupus. I feared that something was hidden that no doctor had discovered but with follow up appointments with my primary care doctor, I've been told that there isn't anything.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, I had been running a low grade when I arrived at the hospital in labor. I was treated for days with antibotics because of it. From being on the internet, I can see how it may have looked like there was an infection. But there wasn't. I'm assuming that this is why that doctor kept asking me when my water broke. WHEN IT HADN'T.

Abbey weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces but yet my placenta was small. Very small. Too small to have supported and produced such a large baby I was told. The hospital was perplexed. And so we are left with yet another question that no one will ever be able to answer. Doctors are very careful when talking theories. They won't tell you that something happened unless they know without a doubt that it happened. I am left to wonder if they didn't have all of my placenta to examine.

I recently came across a newish study that states that the risk of stillbirth increases after 40 weeks. As with every study, there are proponents and opponents. Those opposed argue that after 40 weeks, there are less women pregnant and therefore, the results are skewed. The study supposedly takes this into account already. Maybe one day when I have more time, I can link up the study and some write-ups. I find it all very interesting but I am, of course, biased.

(Sorry for another sad post. I'll post pictures of the girls tomorrow. That will make us all happy.)

13 comments:

Colleen said...

Don't apologize - your loss of daughter is part of you. That will never changed. Losing a child changes you forever.

Jessica said...

I can never imagine what you are going through, but I think you are the one of the strongest women I know just for sharing your story.

Melissa said...

I never comment on these posts. I never know what to say. It makes my heart sink to think about having a baby who never got to take a breath. I am so glad you can share what you have been through, I am sure it has helpped many people!

Blessed Rain said...

I'm sorry.

For your lose, for your pain, for no answers.

Much of medical science is still a big "maybe".
I doubt we will ever know everything there is to know.

Amy said...

It sucks that a perfectly healthy baby can just die before she's even born. It sucks that you guys had to go through this.

Becky said...

I am with you, I hate the word stillbirth also. I hate it more because the dr.'s didn't know whether to classify my son as a neonatal death or stillbirth and decided in the end to go with stillbirth. Hate that word so much.
I too was looking for an answer with the autopsy and also got no answer. It sucks knowing you will never have a reason for your babies death.

Laura and Wesley said...

I think its amazing that you are sharing your story and you should never apologize for not posting something "happy". I can't imagine all of the unanswered questions that you have and I am sure the pain will never go away, but you truly are an amazing person, and an even more amazing mom to your FOUR little girls.

Hope's Mama said...

"We agreed to the autopsy because I didn't want people saying, "Oh, there was probably something wrong with the baby." "It was nature's way." "It was God's will." I didn't want to live with that never ending question. I needed to know because in my heart, I knew that she was healthy and that something else had happened."

This was how it was for us as well. Though we did get an answer (infection, as my waters obviously had broken, I just never knew), and I can tell you, for us, it is just as awful as all the answer did for us was highlight how preventable it was. She should have lived. Just as Abbey should have.

You're right, we are getting better at handling these things in hospitals but we still have a long way to go.

Wiley said...

We didn't do any pathology because both the neonatal nurse practitioner and our OB thought it was clearly an umbilical cord accident. I wish I had a piece of paper that said that for some reason. Or even that I'd taken a picture of it for my mind.

Thinking of you and your whole family.

desarli said...

Sending you love and much respect for sharing your heartache with us, Sarah.

Angela said...

I cannot even imagine how you continue on in life after losing a child. I am struggling to GET pregnant, but I don't think that even compares to losing the baby that you carried for 9 months, named, decorated a nursery, etc. Let it all out. I've learned that the blog community (most of it) is a very supportive group of people. Some have even "been there." Please don't ever apologize for telling Abbey's story!

xo,
A

Chantel said...

I hate when anyone I know goes over 40 weeks. My co worker is 40 weeks and 4 days right now and I can barely look at her., I want to ask her if the baby is moving okay and everything but it is just too hard...

Just Me said...

I cannot imagine. And I commend you for being so honest in your posts...