Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Stillbirth Secret

I'm just angry right now. Angry all over again it seems. I knew I wasn't past the anger, that there is no 'past' any part of this grief. I guess it's just been awhile and I've grown complacent about it, and feeling it again both surprised and scared me.

So, this is an official rant. And it's a rant at the medical community.

Why the fuck do Drs, Midwives, OB/GYNs and even PERIs keep stillbirth such a giant fucking secret?!

Is it because they're ignorant? Is it because you don't know what causes it, and they don't want to have to say that? Is it because it's easier to play the odds that chances are, the mother you're telling that everything is going to be fine is not the 1/200 that will lose her baby to stillbirth?!

Because somebody OWED IT TO ME to tell me.

They owed it to me to tell me to trust my instincts, they owed it to me to tell me my risk of stillbirth (and that it was increased due to preterm labor), they owed it to me to tell me what they DON'T KNOW, not just what they fucking know.

Having Simone first, I know how inundated new mothers are about SIDS. They scare the fuck out of EVERYONE, all new parents. They risk the breastfeeding relationship due to their demonization of co-sleeping (an arrangment done in EVERY stinking culture since the beginning of time that is evelotuinary based (see Dr. McKenna at Notre Dame). This public health campaign is everywhere.

Back to sleep. Back to sleep. Back to sleep.

And the SIDS back to sleep campaign has been good. They've reduced the rate of SIDS by half.

And what's that rate? Well, before it was 1/5th of the stillbirth rate, and now it's 1/10th. So now, only 2500 babies dies from SIDS every year, and anywhere between 20,000 and 40,000 die from stillbirth.

Forgive me if it seems like I'm minimizing SIDS, I am not, it's tragic and awful, and even with my own experience, I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to SIDS.


Shouldn't I hear 5 times as many messages about stillbirth? Shouldn't I hear even ONE, just one message about the incidence and prevalence of stillbirth? Kick counts, eh? Fuck kick counts. Unlike the back to sleep campaign (and only the back to sleep campaign cuz the co-sleeping demonization is BS), kick counts are not evidence based. There is no scientific evidence that shows kick counts to save any lives. (and if anyone can show me different i'll gladly eat humble pie) Which brings me to the research community.

Where the fuck are you?! 20,000-40,000 babies are dying each year, 50% we have no fucking clue why. Where the fuck are you?

Which brings me to the March of Dimes.

Fuck you MOD.

You're supposed to be 'saving babies lives', and in your little bible of marternal child health, you don't even bother to mention stillbirth once. Not ONCE in over 100pages of statistics you fucking pukes.

This has got to change, as long as stillbirth remains the dark secret of childbirth, no one will ever do anything. I want to see goddamn billboards on stillbirth, I want to know that every pregnant woman talks about it with their provider, just like miscarriage, just like SIDS.


TSC said...

I'm doing research on SIDS and came across your blog. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. But, you asked an interesting question: Why so much emphasis on the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign. I think one of the possible reasons is that the Chairperson of the U.S. SIDS Task Force, Dr. John Kattwinkel, had a daughter die at the age of 3 days old in 1966. So, that could be part of the reason. The other reason is that both crib manufacurers and baby formula companies donate a lot of money to the SIDS Back to Sleep campaign because it cuts down on breastfeeding and co-sleeping and thus increases their profits. I myself had a similar experience with grief as you (except with someone my own age) and I found the books of Melody Beattie, John Bradshaw, and Stephen Covey quite helpful. Especially, Stephen Coveys audio book - the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (kind of weird that it helped me get over grief but it did - to each his own I guess). Homecoming by Bradshaw was good with dealing with grief and On Family by him was good with dealing with Life issues. For Beattie (who lost a 12 year old son to a skiing accident) I found Lessons of Love good for grief and Codependent No More good for life. All the Best!

Ebe said...

I rant and scream and cry with you, Trish. This just sucks.

Reading your post, it just brings it all back to the surface. The anger that NO ONE told me about the risk. NO ONE even told me to do kick counts. The rage that it keeps happening over and over again.

I don't understand.

c. said...

I feel as strongly as you do about this. I'm frustrated and so angry that stillbirth is shrouded in secrecy. It's shit. Awful and shameful that the medical community continues to hide away our deadbabies and our pain. Just shit.

I find TSC's comment very interesting. I have always said there is no money in dead babies and surely, the crib manufacturers financially supporting the Back to Sleep program only seems to reinforce my belief. That's shit, too, let me just say.

Roxanne said...

I think it's really because they don't know how to prevent it.

On one side you have a vocal group (of women) calling for less interventions in the pregnancy and birth process and then you've got OBs who are already castigated for doing unnecessary monitoring doesn't really prevent anything, etc....

What can be done? Especially when there is such a large percentage of stillbirths that are unexplained.

I agree. I find it frustrating, and I always hate being the downer who wants to bring it up. Nobody wants to hear it.

I was just having a conversation with a friend the other day who said women are educated about mainstream childbirth options (but not the less mainstream ones), and I said that's just not true. I don't think most women are really EDUCATED at all about pregnancy and childbirth and what can happen.