A few days ago, I received an email from my cousin's wife's sister (follow that?) that originated from a woman whose daughter had been born sleeping. She was passing along information regarding stillbirth and some of that information, I had been planning to post here but hadn't fully gathered my thoughts, the research and the links.
After Abbey died, I discovered that there was a big push within the community for acknowledgement that these babies, our babies, really did exist. Many states issued a death certificate without a corresponding birth certificate. How can a person die if she never existed? Massachusetts was a state that offered a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. A lot has changed over these past 7 years and now we want more for our babies and for the future. Why did my baby die and what can be done to prevent this from happening to another family?
- There are no national standards for reporting, tracking or researching stillbirths.
- Reporting stillbirths is not required in many places.
- There are no national standards for informing parents of their options. Because there are no national standards that would assist parent(s) in making an informed choice, it is easy for doctors to influence decisions at a time when parents aren't thinking clearly.
- FMLA does not apply to parents of a baby who has been stillborn.
- There is no significant research being conducted as to why at least 25,000 to 30,000 babies are born still each year in the United States.
There are people working to change this.
The Sudden Death Data Enhancement & Awareness Act. We need you to tell your representative that this issue matters to you. It's very easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. Click on this link - it will take you to a page with more information. Click on the first link, then the button for individual and then complete the form.
Farley-Kluger Initiative to Amend the FMLA. FMLA does not extend benefits to employees that have experienced the death of a child, regardless of the age of the child. Currently, most employers offer a few days of bereavement leave. Another quick and easy petition can be found HERE.
Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research and Dignity Act. This was recently passed in New Jersey and is most definitely a step in the right direction. It would be great if we could have national standards and not those specific to certain states.
The doctor on call when I arrived at the hospital responded to my question of what could have caused my baby to die with, "Did you take any drugs?" It made me feel that my daughter's death was my fault and I can't tell you how much I wanted to rub that piece of paper with the results of my blood work into her smug face. The doctor, who delivered Abbey and then went on to deliver my triplets, was very kind while being very matter of fact. He offered and suggested that an autopsy be performed even though the results may offer nothing. He also ordered additional blood testing to see if they could find something within me (and not "drugs") that could have caused her death. This should be standard. All options should be known.
Ultimately, Abigail's death was classified under "unknown causes."
Please note that some of this blog post was plagiarized but it was done so with good intent.