This is a very difficult subject and I hope I don't upset anyone by posting it here.
When I was 15 my sister was stillborn. It was an uneventful pregnancy (mum was 32) and she was lost in labour. She was healthy but her heartbeat dipped and they couldn't act quickly enough. Obviously it was horrific.
I am now 38 weeks pregnant with my first child.
It should be a very happy time but I can't stop thinking about something going wrong.
It has been an uneventful pregnancy (no morning sickness etc) but I imagine the worse every single day, and have since the beginning.
Every time I try to talk about it to people they try and shut me up and reassure me that it won't happen. Or they seem upset and I end up changing the subject. My boyfriend has been very understanding, but I can tell he gets upset when I talk about it.
I tried to quietly discuss it with the leader of our babyclass group (after all the other pregnant mums had gone) and she reacted angrily.
The doctor was more understanding but basically fobbed me off.
I just wish I could enjoy these last few days, but I am so scared. I am not scared of labour, just of losing the baby.
I just don't understand why no-one ever mentions stillbirth when you are pregnant - I have had so much advice about preventing SIDS. Not mentioning it is scaring me more than if I knew what the risks were.
Does anyone have any advice? I would like to know if there is anything I can do to reduce the risk.
Also I hope it's ok posting here when other people might have lost their babies, I didn't want to post on the pregnancy board as I don't want to freak pregnant people out.
I don't have any first hand experience but didn't want your message to go unanswered. I take your concerns very seriously and I am sure others here will too. Why don't you have a look at count the kicks website for some practical advice? www.countthekicks.org.uk/
I also don't have direct experience of this - it must have been so awful for your mum and you and your family . But I did have this fear very strongly through the later stages in my pregnancy. I also found that no one really wants to discuss it, as obviously no one wants to think it will happen to them, so it can be very isolating. I'm sorry that you've had a negative reaction from people like your antenatal teacher - our antenatal teacher did cover this, upsetting as it was, as preparing us for stillbirth/neo natal intensive care was part of the course. I've found out since from talking to my sisters/mum/friends that this fear is more common than I thought, but perhaps the fear is that if you speak about it you'll "make" it happen (completely irrational I know but I certainly wasn't particularly rational in the later stages of my pregnancy).
But my own baby's heartrate also dropped during my labour with him - I was induced at 42 weeks and went into hyperstimulation. The midwives (in particular) and doctors were fantastic and he was born safely by c-section. I didn't even know how dangerous it was until my 6 week check with the consultant. So I wanted to reassure you that things like this are usually picked up by monitoring and the vast majority of babies are born safely and happily.
puree thanks for that link - what a great charity.
My baby was stillborn at 24 weeks last year. Hardly anyone wants to talk about it even now. I find that very hard to deal with. Stillbirth is something that affects 11 parents per day in the UK which is one of the highest rates in the 'developed world'. It's almost like a dirty secret and I find it heartbreaking that people don't realise that the baby I lost is just as real to me as my DS.
Even saying that, it is VERY unlikely to happen to you. Please have a look at the countthekicks campaign website, they're fantastic. Keep repeating your fears to your Drs and MWs.
I'm sure you're going to go on to have a happy and healthy baby but the health professionals should not be dismissing your fears.
Thanks very much for your responses. I've been counting the kicks religiously, I hope that helps.
I understand exactly what you mean Browncoats about it being a 'dirty secret', people just didn't want to talk about my sister after she died, but to us as a family it was no different to losing any other child. I always count her when people ask how many siblings I have, but if they question me further just say we lost her when she was young. There is a gap in our family where she would have been, which isn't replaced by her 'younger' sister.
It is nice to know other pregnant women worry about this too, as in my experience no-one talks about it. I know I am worrying too much, I just don't have the innocence that other first-time mums have. I have drank so much orange juice checking the baby is just sleeping that I am sure she/he will come out orange!
Are you particularly worried about the time while you're in labour? IMO, and what I'll be pushing for, the best thing to do is to have continuity of care from a MW who stays in the room with you most of the time and monitors the baby every 10 or 15 minutes with a sonicaid or Pinnard's. CFM should, in theory, provide an even better solution in terms of monitoring, but it relies on someone actually looking at the trace and interpreting it correctly - and it may impact on mobility in labour. So I'll be after a more old fashioned solution, but one that at least has some guaranteed human involvement!
I think once you've been touched by stillbirth (or MC, or anything else going pear shaped) its very hard to maintain that blissful ignorance that many first time mums get to enjoy. I managed it with DD1, but DD2 died in-utero at 36 weeks and I've had 3 early MCs as well. Any future pregnancies won't be nearly as relaxing. My sister has no children of her own, but she's seen what's happened to me and to other friends. If she does go on to have a child, she won't feel very relaxed about it either. You're not worrying "too much" - you're worrying based on your family history. Its much easier to maintain the belief that "stillbirth is so rare you don't need to worry about it" if no-one talks about it, but once its happened to someone near you that belief breaks down a bit!
Have you talked to a consultant or a senior MW? If its really bothering you and you need someone to go through the data and explain the risks, those people should have access to that information and ought to be prepared to go through it with you. Especially if you call and ask for an appointment specifically to discuss it. I'd probably go for a consultant MW or Supervisor of MWs, just because I've found MWs to be generally more open to discussion and consultants a bit more dictatorial - but, as always, it depends on the individuals involved. If you really can't get any joy within the NHS you could organise a consultation meeting with an Independent Midwife - it'll probably set you back about £50 but might be an alternative.
Having your baby die is something no-one wants to think about. But once you are thinking about it you deserve to be listened to.
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