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                 "Clare's Nursery"
                 by Erin Fogarty Owen


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Read Stories

Read the stories of other bereaved parents as they celebrate their baby’s life and shed tears over what might have been. Healthy Birth Day is grateful for the honesty and candor so many bereaved families have shown in sharing their stories.

Losing a baby in stillbirth is a pain and loss that never goes away-----I also know from experience.

I was pregnant in 1977 with my first child and my due date was just a couple of weeks away, when I went in for my regular check-up and they couldn't find a heartbeat----then I was rushed in for ultrasound and given the devastating news about my baby (very clinically).  I thought my baby's movement had become less, but at that time everyone said "oh, they always get very quiet shortly before birth"…not true, of course. 

My husband and I couldn't believe it.  They sent me home and I went into labor the next day----delivery was so, so sad.  I was terrified---in my early 20's.  This was back during a time when everyone wanted to protect the mother, so I didn't get to hold my little boy (doctor thought it would be too painful for me).  My husband planned a small funeral, which I did not get to attend.  I was still in the hospital, and everyone thought it would be too painful for me…
As with other babies, my little boy was perfect, except the cord was tied around his neck rather tightly.  No other explanation could be determined. 
It took me four years to get pregnant again (I was just so obsessed I think with having a baby), but GOOD NEWS, I did get pregnant again and my tears turned to joy.  He was a gift---never taken for granted.  I think about my first child every day and always will, but was so thankful to have a happy, healthy baby----oh, he is now 27!
Your efforts in this [Count the Kicks] campaign are selfless.  Thanks for letting me tell my story from a 1970's perspective.

I lost my daughter in 2007 from a double true knot in her umbilical cord. I was 38 weeks and went in for my weekly appt. They rushed me in for an emergency c-section because they couldn't find a heartbeat. When I woke up I had two ministers standing over me. That was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life. The week before at my appt. the doctor said everything was awesome and she had a strong and steady heartbeat and that the ultrasound they did looked wonderful. I have two older daughters and I know from experience that the babies slow down during the last couple of weeks of pregnancy and so I didn't think anything of it when she wasn't moving around as much.
I am so happy you have started this [Count the Kicks] campaign to help other mothers to save their babies.

I have just learned of your [Count the Kicks] campaign today, and cannot say enough about how important this is.  I too lost a little girl- Ella Mae- on August 15, 2002.  It was my first pregnancy- I did not know what to expect, what to ask for or what to demand answers to.  I was completely unaware that stillbirth was even an issue to be concerned with.  I was 6 weeks from my due date, in for a regular routine appointment, and there was no heart beat.  Of course I was rushed in for an ultrasound, only to hear the unthinkable was happening to me.  After two long days in the hospital and nearly being sent home, I delivered my beautiful little girl.  She was very tiny, which should have been a clue that something was going wrong for a long period of time.  She was never very active, but again- being that it was my first pregnancy, I did not know what to look for or pay attention to.  I hope that many women see your posters and understand the importance of becoming familiar with the child growing within them. 
We had no answers and no support group to call upon.  Thankfully, we had many wonderful family members and friends to help us through our grief.  Your group can make a difference to those just experiencing a loss that are not as fortunate to have built in support.  6 years later, I still know the importance of having someone to talk to.
After nearly losing our 2nd daughter (emergency c-section at 33 weeks) I did start to demand answers.  After many tests and some speculating, the doctors determined that my body fights a pregnancy as if it were an infection.  I have an elevated ANA- Anti-Nuclear Antibody, which causes clotting and issues with the placenta.  I hope that CTK can bring awareness that cord issues are not the only cause of stillbirth.  What my daughters suffered was a sort of slow starvation. 
Counting the kicks is a great way to make women aware of so many things, making them more aware of their own bodies- as well as the one growing within it.  I applaud you for having the courage to make a difference.  What an important mission.
Thank you!!!!!!! 

I had started to notice 4-5 weeks out from my due date that the baby (our first) was slowing down. I would sometimes go hours between any type of activity - eventually I started to wake up at night and would grab a drink and wait for the baby to move again. I did mention it at my weekly appointments, but the baby had a steady heartbeat and my measurements continue to grow as expected. Similar to everyone else's story, I was told that it isn't unusual to feel less activity later in the pregnancy.

Monday, November 20th, 2000, three days away from my due date, I went in for my regularly scheduled appointment. It took the nurse quite awhile to find the heartrate, but eventually she did pick up something. (looking back they believe they probably picked up my own). The Dr. came in, told me everything looked fine and he would see me again in one week. I brought up again the fact I wasn't feeling any regular movement. He agreed to check the heart rate again. This time, he couldn't find it. They set me up for a non-stress test, still no heart beat. They sent me over to the hospital for an ultrasound, still telling me everything was OK. I called my husband and he ran (literally) to the hospital to meet me.

The ultrasound confirmed our worst fears. They started the induction that night. My husband went home to pick up the bag that had been packed for a few weeks. He wasn't sure what to do - he decided to take out the baby clothes thinking it would be too hard to see them. In the end that was a decision we regretted because we were not able to dress our daughter, Grace, in her own clothes when she was born two days later on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2000. Grace was 22 inches long and just over 9 lbs. The actual cause of death was never determined.

Today, a picture of the tree we planted in Grace's memory sits on my desk, next to the pictures of her three younger brothers. We were never blessed with a daughter again, but we are thankful for the few memories we have of her and know that a part of her lives on with her siblings.




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