This post was written by PUSH Changemaker Ana Vick as part of her "Changemaker Takeover" of PUSH's social media accounts the week of 7/5/21.
Just like many of the loss families I have come to know, we hadn’t heard about stillbirth before our own child died suddenly just before birth. In our case, we had experienced a completely healthy “textbook perfect” pregnancy until the night I went into the ER because I noticed a change in his movements. Owen Nathaniel Vick, our beautiful, fully formed 4 lbs 2 ounces, 18.5 inch long son, was born still after a traumatic crash emergency c-section performed as his heart rate rapidly dropped.
We were completely blindsided as this was the last thing we expected to happen just two months before his due date. It was as if this topic was completely left out of every pregnancy book or app I read in preparation for my pregnancies. Doctors also failed to ever bring up the risk of stillbirth or properly explain how to monitor fetal movement and why noticing a change in our baby’s movements was so critical.
If you compare stillbirth to other common causes of death of children it is by far the greatest number. —Ana Vick
The truth is most people assume stillbirth is a thing of the past. (We did, before it happened to us.) They are shocked to learn of a friend or family member who loses a baby in the final trimester of pregnancy as we all have held the false belief that there is a “safe zone” after the first trimester passes when we are out of the woods of the risk of miscarriage and can confidently share our news with everyone. Yet, 1/160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. Almost 24,000 babies a year in America. That statistic may not mean anything to you unless you’re that 1 that loses your baby, but if you compare it to other common causes of death of children it is by far the greatest number.
PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy created this graphic to show you just how staggering the
number of stillbirths that occur is in comparison to other causes of childhood death that you hear much more about. At least 25% of stillbirth deaths are preventable, including at least 47% of stillbirths at term. We aren’t showing this to scare you, but to spread awareness of the real risk. Awareness we hope will lead to families being more proactive in their care, so they will ask questions when anything seems unusual or abnormal (especially when it comes to your baby’s movements). Most importantly, we hope this will empower you to demand to be seen and heard when your intuition is kicking in.
Our son Owen would be six this October 3. We still don’t know the cause of his death yet, but
had we been better informed about monitoring his movements and had I known I needed to be firmer and demand care when I was at the ER in tears worried something was wrong, maybe he would still be here. I don’t want anyone else to live with the “what if’s” that burden our hearts.
We hope this knowledge will empower you to demand to be seen and heard when your intuition is kicking in. —Ana Vick
I hope you will share this knowledge with everyone and that together we can help save babies in memory of our son and all babies that should be in their families’ arms and not just their hearts. It’s time to break the silence and taboo of discussing stillbirth so the world can recognize this crisis and help us act NOW to fix what is broken in our system and make sure babies in distress make it home safely.
Thank you for all your support of our mission and for helping to amplify our voices because we are speaking for many other bereaved families and the babies that we represent too. Together we can reach more families and prevent stillbirth from destroying their lives. #UnitedWePush