Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stillbirth Outnumbers SIDS By 10 to 1

Midwifery Today has an article excerpt on their home page from Issue 74 of the journal of the same name. The article, written by Jeska Vannoy, discusses stillbirth, the lack of research into its causes, and the fact that the numbers of stillbirths are rising.

I find it so hard to accept that so little is being done to prevent and research stillbirth and its causes. Actually, I find it horrifying.

From the article:

"Unexplained stillbirth in late pregnancy is the single largest cause of perinatal death in the Western world. In the United States alone, approximately 39,000 babies of 20 weeks gestation or more died last year. Globally, 4.5 million babies never took their first breath. Sudden Antenatal Death Syndrome (SADS) has risen 20% in the last 10 years, despite "advancements" like 3-D ultrasound, increasing rates of labor induction and a rising cesarean section rate. These death tolls are estimates because stillborn babies aren't counted in any data on child death. Infant mortality rates in the US do not include stillbirth rates. Statistically, stillborn babies are not considered infants or children."

I also find it unfathomable that the 7 lb, 10 oz, 19.5" brown-haired baby boy who looked so much like my husband is not considered a real child. But I know that, for many people, Ben is simply a figment, a shadow, an almost.

But I did not feel him kick me for nine months, I did not hear his heartbeat, feel his hiccups, deliver him, to have someone tell me he was never real. I know differently. Had he not died, I would have carried him out into the world two days after his birth.

I wish the rest of the world knew that too.

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