Friday, July 7, 2017

And the Anger Resurfaces

I am finding myself very angry these days.  I am angry about so many things, and I really think the start of it came after we went to the Stillbirth Summit.  After learning about how countries are researching into the reasons for unexplained stillbirths and the things they are doing to try to equip women with warning signs really made me think.  Why are we not equipping women here?  Why are they not researching more and using some of the tactics that are bringing the stillbirth rate down in other countries? It's just not good enough.  I recently read the book "Ghost Belly," and the author had looked up the word "stillbirth."  This is what she found, "The medical community doesn't know much about stillbirths.  They haven't attracted much attention.  Data collection is inconsistent from state to state, but a common estimate is one stillbirth per 115 live births in the United States  There are roughly ten times as many stillbirths annually as there are cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Yet there are extensive public awareness campaigns concerning SIDS, while stillbirth has attracted very little attention from the medical community and the public is generally ignorant of it." (From Ghost Belly by Elizabeth Heineman). I repeat....this is just not good enough.  I take phone calls from parents who have had a stillbirth, and I know what is coming for them.  Why can't we do more to help try to prevent some of these from happening?  I realize we can't prevent them all, but they are learning more and more about them?  Why can't we watch women more?  Teach them more about the warning signs?  No one told me that an INCREASE in fetal movement was a warning sign..only a decrease.  What if I had known?  I know you will say...she had a life limiting diagnosis so she wasn't going to live long anyways if at all, but...I would have loved to have spent some time with my girl while she was alive.  Maybe I could have had I known.  Others could have known her alive, held her while she was alive.  I am the only one who knew her alive.  I grieve much harder than they do because of that.  They didn't form the same bond, but if they had met her when she was alive it might be different for them.  Grief might not be so lonely. 

My good friend is coming up on her daughter's fifth heavenly birthday at the end of this month.  I reread the blog post that I wrote when she was still pregnant with her, and I listed some warning signs(that I just learned about) that they were watching.  I just wish they would have done things differently.   It just makes me angry.  I realize I can't change the way things are done here, but that doesn't mean I can't be on fire about it.  Losing your child changes your life forever.  Not only does it effect you emotionally, but it will effect you physically too.  Grief takes a toll on your body.  Sure, as time goes on the grief lessens, but it is always going to be a part of your being.  You don't ever get over something like that.  It's a trauma that resurfaces every now and again with trigger points.  They need to do better for these families.  End rant..I think I just needed to write it out!  It's been over seven years, but the grief is still there.  Unfortunately that is how grief is.  It is a messy, long process.  It doesn't consume my thoughts any more, but every so often I have a bad day and that is ok.  I have learned that it is all very normal, and the probability that tomorrow will be better is very high. 

I am so very thankful for Emma's Footprints and for the beautiful people that I work with.  We have formed great relationships with the nurses, the social workers, etc.  These people are on the front lines with these families, and it is so good to know they are in good hands while they are in the hospital.  We have been very busy these past few months.  I can't say it has been easy, but I am so glad these families don't have to grieve alone.  It's a sad job, but the joy comes as you watch them begin to heal.  Grief is traumatic, but it can also show you what a strong person you really are. 

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