Sisterhood of Angel Mama’s Magazine | Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Edition October 2022
Grieving Our 40w Stillborn Daughter
Written & Photos by Stephanie Loversuch
The day my daughter Margot died hit me to my core being. She was part of me, she was part of my body. I couldn’t focus on healing straight away because I had a task in hand. I had to give birth to her. When your Child dies you are sent home, you walk through the pregnancy unit with swollen eyes and face with a full-term bump and you drive home to your home that has been primed and prepped for a new arrival. The pram still in the hallway and the perfectly stocked and decorated nursery down the corridor from your room.
You then stay home until your induction date. How do you eat or sleep when your daughter is dead inside of you? knowing you need the strength to give birth so you force feed yourself one half of a sandwich in 3 days. No sleep or food for a 3 day period and then, I am in labour. I have to face birth and then the next step, I have to face seeing my daughter, the daughter we had wished for, but it won’t be all smiles and celebration because she has died. The perfect bundle of joy enters your life And you are surprisingly filled with love and pride at your achievement.
You have gotten through it and you’re still alive. You admire her every feature but she has started to deteriorate already and you will never get to witness all of her features, you’ll never know her eye color or the color of her hair, or the sound of her cry. But you are happy and devastated in the same breath, you get to meet this baby you’ve imagined a whole life with and have prepped for months nurturing this little girl. But in a cruel twist of fate you don’t get to keep her. You have to cover her up with a blanket and hand her to a midwife who will take her to the morgue.
We spent our time on the maternity unit discussing post mortem and funerals while I’m still wearing my labour stockings. Then I get an infection and my heart rate spikes and my blood pressure rises and my infection markers are doubling quickly. Your own life being in danger too and you’re not sure you even care. The feeling of losing my daughter rocked my entire being. My soul left my body and it hasn’t returned. I still find happiness and laughter in each day but I have no spark. I have lived my life in survival mode. I’ll eat and I’ll drink but motivation to do much else has been almost 0. The sun still comes up and goes down, people still wiz past your house they still announce their own celebrations but you sit there on the sidelines pretending none of it is happening.
I created my own bubble and it has saved me but it has also caused me secondary losses. I have lost friends and family because they become impatient and can you blame them? They’ve never experienced a trauma like it, of course they expect you to be fine by now. But my entire nervous system has changed, I do not function the same. Even if I wanted to, I can’t. I’m convinced people look at me like “ that’s the girl whose baby died, she must have done something wrong to cause it, her baby must have had a condition to die, healthy babies don’t just die” but you know what. My healthy baby died. She was always on track for growth, she always had a “strong little heartbeat” until she didn’t anymore. She had absolutely nothing wrong with her and there was nothing I did that caused it.
At 35 weeks her placenta became infected, she stopped growing and then she died. She clung on for 5 more weeks because she is our little fighter. Knowing what I know now, I would have pushed for more, pushed for more monitoring, told those midwives who dismissed my concerns on movements to shove it and came in anyway. Ultimately I feel I could have done more and I feel that guilt everyday. I should have known that her movements were passive, but I’m a first time mum and no one has ever told me babies still move when they’re dead. No one has ever told me that stillbirths occur on your due date.
Thank you to those who have acknowledged how hard it has been, sometimes that is enough. For those who have expressed that they still think of us, it really means the world that there are those that still hold us in their thoughts.