This morning, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across a post in the one IVF support groups that I stayed in. The person posting said that she had gone through a couple of egg retrievals and just one embryo transfer. That embryo transfer resulted in her getting pregnant and giving birth at 38 weeks. But… the baby was stillborn. There was no explanation for it. She had a smooth and straightforward pregnancy. There were zero signs of any dangers. Even during labor, everything looked normal, or so they said. She said that she was currently in therapy to process all of this, but she wanted to start thinking about next steps after her body healed.
She was debating whether she should move forward with the second frozen embryo or do another retrieval to bank more eggs. My heart ached when I read this post. It almost felt like she was someone I knew personally when I read this story. I felt so horrible and couldn’t stop thinking about it all day. Just the mere thought of having to go through multiple IVF cycles and then being nearly at the finish line… with no baby to bring home just hurt so much. I kept on looking at my own baby. And all day today, I cuddled a little bit more with her, I kissed her a little more, and I held her a little bit tighter. I tell her every single day before bed how grateful I am to have her. She is my most incredible gift in life. There is not a moment when I don’t remember this. I always remember these sad stories and think…. That easily could have been me. But it wasn’t. I was blessed with a successful IVF experience and a healthy baby girl. Not everyone is so lucky and fortunate.
Each year in this country, about 24,000 babies are stillborn. This number has been consistent every year for over 20 years now, yet little additional research and study is being done to solve for this. Yet somehow, SIDS deaths get far more research money and attention even though the number of deaths resulting from SIDS is about 2,000 per year — that’s one TWELFTH of the babies affected by still birth. I don’t understand why not more is being done to prevent stillbirths. I just can’t even begin to fathom the pain of that loss… of taking an empty car seat home from the hospital.