1. That stillbirths still happen and I am not the only one (1 in 100)
When I was in the hospital after I had given birth, I wanted to run away. Run somewhere I didn’t know anyone and no one could find me. I felt so isolated sitting in the hospital bed, being able to hear all the women who were presumably delivering healthy living babies. But here I am, waiting for the coroner to pick up mine. It felt totally alone. I wasn’t though. There was women before, and there was going to be women after me. You can speak to your doctors or do your research online to find support groups close to you, and also I really recommend going online and trying to find forums/online groups for loss parents. In California I go to Hand of the Bay Area where I have met the most amazing parents, and heard the most beautiful and tragic stories.
2. Take pictures. Lots of pictures.
Yes! I can’t stress this one enough! Not taking pictures is one of my biggest regrets. The only pictures I have are the ones the nurses took an hour later, and those do not look like my boy. In the moment, when I was holding him, I just didn’t know what to do. I was in complete shock, I couldn’t believe that I was looking at my son.. I just didn’t think to take pictures. I wish constantly, that someone would of told me the importance of taking pictures immediately after your baby is born.
3. Spend time with your baby – dress him/her, bathe your baby, spend time together.
Another one of my biggest regrets. I remember when I joined Hand and hearing all stories online, it seemed that mostly everyone bathed their baby and put them in a sweet outfit before they went to the morgue. Again, something I really wish I would have done.
4. You are a mom. You count.
Your baby does not need to be earth-side for you to be a mom.
5. Hopefully your doctors will tell you this, but your breast milk will come in, and it will be very challenging and heartbreaking.
This was just another reminder that my son was not here. That I was not going to be breastfeeding, not going to have that amazing bond everyone always talks about. No, I am going to be painfully suppressing it, praying it just goes away. It was incredibly hard. There are moms who donate their milk, so if that is something that sounds appealing to you, I would definitely look into it.
6. YOU CAN STILL HAVE POST PARTUM DEPRESSION
Your doctors should tell you about this, and give you information (I received a pamphlet) about postpartum depression. It is very common and can be even more intense after you have experienced such a loss.
7. Angry, Depressed, Bitter – there is no wrong way to feel.
This is really important to me. Everyone was very supportive of me in the first couple months after I came home from the hospital, which was amazing. Once a few months had passed, and they were over it, I was expected to be too. No one could understand why after 6 months I was still reeling with the loss, why I was still so bitter and angry. But it was not their business, only mine. Even though I had some really bad days, those days led me here.
Having your child that you grew inside you, that felt every little kick, talked to, sang to, expected to watch grow for the rest of your life, die inside you is the most indescribably agonizing pain. What makes that pain even more excruciating is feeling alone in your experience and not having enough information. There are some hospitals who give out pamphlets and most have memory boxes and resources available to you, but I think it would be beneficial to have known this was a real possibility in the first place. Most of your adolescent years you are taught that if you even go near the opposite sex you will get pregnant. That having sex one time without protection is a guarantee you will be a parent for the next 18 years, but no one tells you how you might not be able to get pregnant, or if you do, your baby might die. No one tells you that. No one talks about babies dying, it’s taboo. It’s too sad, and unthinkable, except for those of us that have to live with the reality that our baby died everyday.
What are some things you wish you would have known?