Thursday, November 10, 2011

Infant Loss-- It Isn't Contagious.

"Life asked Death .
Why do people Love me and hate you ?
Death replied Because you are a “Beautiful” Lie.
And I am a “Painful” Truth .

Infant death has always been a taboo topic. Especially if the death occurred inutero. Babies are the next generation of life, babies are pure and new so no one wants to face the harsh reality of infant loss. I have a friend that is like my Muslim "mother" who had a stillborn baby several years ago ( probably before I was even born not sure tho). She wasn't able to hold her baby, see her baby, have pictures of her baby. It was as if the baby never existed. When I lost my baby she shared with me how hard that was. Things really are not much different today. Infant loss makes people uncomfortable. Way moreso than any other type of death. 

I recently dealt with a situation on a facebook page where a woman was extremely upset that I called my stillbirth a successful VBA2C.  She states "But I never understand why you have to always insist that you had 3 successful VBAC's when you really had two." I am not really sure what she wants me to call it to be honest. He came out of my vagina, no uterine rupture, and despite the dystocia I am the one that birthed him. There was no medical assistance and there were no broken bones which is often the case with a shoulder dystocia. My body birthed him. It is not an absolute that the shoulder dystocia was the cause of death especially since heart-tones were lost before the head was born. There is a big possibility the shoulder dystocia was related to the baby already being deceased. Either way it goes there are way too many other factors that could have been involved in the why and how of my son's death.

I don't even think it is a matter of me calling it a successful VBA2C, I honestly think it has a lot more to do with the fact that people do not want to face infant loss, even indirectly. This became more clear when she said this to me "Michelle, that is, unfortunately, the one time that you can question the term born....because he wasn't living." You see mothers of stillborn babies, we aren't supposed to acknowledge those precious lives. This is not a new attitude and it has nothing to do with whether it was a VBA2C birth or not. It has to do with people's inability to address their own fears about life and death. My infant loss isn't going to make you lose your baby. It isn't contagious. Me talking about him and discussing his birth will not magically make the same thing happen to you!

"I carried you in hope,
the long nine months of my term,
remembered that close hour when we made you,
often felt you kick and move
as you slowly grew within me,
wondered what you would look like
when your wet head emerged,
girl or boy, and at what glad moment
I should hear your birth cry,
and I welcoming you
with all you needed of warmth and food;
we had a home waiting for you.

After my strong labourings,
sweat cold on my limbs,
my small cries merging with the summer air,
you came. You did not cry.
You did not breathe.
We had not expected this,
It seems your birth had no meaning
or had you rejected us?
They will say that you did not live,
register you as stillborn

But you lived for me all that time
in the dark chamber of my womb;
and when I think of you now,
perfect in your little death,
I know that for me you were born still;
I shall carry you with me forever,
my child, you were always mine,
you are mine now.

Death and life are the same mysteries."
-Leonard Clark


  1. That lady, arguing with you over terms, is an asshole. How dare she even argue with you at all? It was your birth, and your baby's death; and to have her argue back surely does speak volumes of her own inability to accept infant death, doesn't it? ((hugs)) and <3 I love your blog. :)


  2. Beautifully written, Michelle!


  3. Medically , it is considered a completed(thus successful) vbac. The baby dying is a separate issue . Is the c section successful if the child dies at birth ? , Would someone say she had an unsuccessful cesarean? What would that even mean?The mother doesn't walk around with a gaping unsewn abdominal opening. The cesarean itself is successful .I am sorry there seems to be confusion. Perhaps this woman's comments reveal more issues than she should be discussing with strangers?(That's a joke, folks. I know we are all discussing subjects mostly with strangers here on the internet)Sincerely, babz covington

  4. Um, yes, that would be considered an unsuccessful cesarean birth! Are you even kidding?

    I think most of us worry when babies die- we worry that it is not taken seriously enough. But we each have to judge that individually for ourselves; I'm certainly not judging Michelle in her feelings!

    much love, Emmanuelle

  5. I dunno. People are uncomfortable when you talk about a baby that has died. If I say I have 4 children and one who passed away the mood always changes to a very awkward vibe. No one wants to really hear about it. This is my own personal experience with loss.

    To me this woman telling me what I should or should not call *my* birth is no different then someone saying I only have 4 kids not 5. Not acknowledging how he transitioned from my womb to out of my womb is (to me) the same thing as not acknowledging him at all. His birth was our last moments together so for me it IS important to remember how he got here and the emotions that came with it. His birth (and the entire experience really) was much deeper than I had a vba2c and he died. Anyone who knows me personally or who was directly involved in the journey knows this.

  6. Yes, I agree. If any of these people are telling you that you didn't have a child- that is ridiculous. i have friends that lost a baby, too, and I always try to remember her.

    really, all of this sounds like semantics. it's something that might not sound good when used in a broad sense, but it makes sense for each loss mom to decide what it means to her. None of it changes your story or your special memories of your little boy. ((hugs)) emmanuelle

  7. Michelle and I were pregnant together in 2005, her baby WAS born in October and mine in January. With all the talk in our community about her birth I was terrified for mine, and I was one of those people who avoided her. Ashamed to say I didn't support her at all- I stayed far away. At that point we weren't close however we knew each other and my selfishness was wrong I could have supported her but like many, I didn't want anything to go wrong with my birth and being around her would be a reminder of what could happen. Now Michelle and I are close and I have learned a lot from her. I regret not being there for her but I know that was not in Allah's plan. Now I have 2 children and our daughters are absolute besties! Looking back at my hospital birth experiences I didnt have nearly as hard a time however that is because I went along with everything they said- I didn't rock the boat, they used pitocin and I agreed- why would they do it if it wasn't best? After I had my son and he needed to be admitted to the NICU at 2 weeks old I found how horrible it could get when you go against the doctors orders (funny how they call those doctors 'ORDERS'. Needless to say Michelle has been through something no one should ever go through- she has come out with her faith in tact and Allah has rewarded her patience with 3 and Insha Allah 4 successful vaginal births! Love you with all my heart Michelle and this time around- I will be there to support you just let me know how, when, and where :)

  8. i love you sister, you are strong lady, a great and giving mother, a wonderful person and an inspiration for us all. your beautiful baby will meet you in jannah =D

  9. Ah, how devastating. And to have a mother who would argue that that wasn't a birth is tragic. She has obviously never experienced this pain or she would never have made such a careless, hurtful statement. You birthed a wonderful baby, and it hurts my heart that he was not bound to stay.

  10. One of my best experienced the death of her baby inutero (true knot)and her birth four days later and I will admit that since my baby was due less than 8 weeks later I was scared to death that the same thing was gonna happen to my baby. We had our daughters five months apart and our sons 16 days apart and our daughters have the same father. (I know weird) but since we were so in sync in every other day I will admit being scared. But that didnt lessen the fact that she had a baby, she gave birth regardless of the fact that her daughter died before her birth for someone to say she didn't or anyone else who had a stillbirth didnt give birth is unforgiveable. I would tell this callous and tasteless women to go F*** herself excuse my language.

  11. I'm sorry for you loss...and that people dont understand it. You had your baby and he will always be a part of you!

  12. I'm sorry for your loss. My cousin gave birth to her twins 2 days ago. One of them was a stillborn boy :( Everyone was so excited and now we're all devastated. I have had a close call with my third and I can't imagine where she is right now emotionally or mentally. We grew up like sisters and I live 1/2 a country away. My heart is heavy and breaking for her and her husband and their baby girl that survived. People can say the rudest things without thinking. I mourn the loss of her baby not as she would, but I still feel for her. People say to me, "at least she has the other one to look forward to watching grow up". I know they're trying to just help, but that's not really comforting and isn't exactly something I can say to her. Of course she has the baby girl to focus on and enjoy, but that does not take away the baby/person that is missing you were looking forward to missing. I haven't been able to sleep and I keep crying. I don't even know what to say to her beyond 'sorry'. It's the worst thing I could EVER imagine and it tears me up all over again when I think of it. :(