I gave birth to a baby in the same room I had a stillborn
- I lost a pregnancy at 22 weeks. Soon after, I was pregnant again.
- I gave birth to my son in the same hospital room where my daughter was stillborn.
- I hope Chrissy Teigen’s pregnancy ends with a baby, but I also know all the feelings that go with it.
Chrissy Teigen is pregnant again, two years after the stillbirth of her child at 20 weeks gestation. She announced the pregnancy in a Instagram post showing off her baby bump.
I see her cautious optimism — the way the cheerful announcement is laced with trepidation — and I want to reach up to the screen and hug her.
Nine years ago, a few months after my daughter’s stillbirth at 22 weeks – my second late loss in two years – I found myself staring at a positive pregnancy test again.
Those two blue lines made me giddy with excitement, unable to wait the recommended 12 week mark before telling the world my news. But the pregnancy loss had taught me a hard lesson – once you announce, you run the risk of having to write that. other kind of ad. And you’re forced to experience your pain publicly to avoid triggering questions about how your pregnancy is progressing and others’ awkwardness at the heartbreaking response.
But an ultrasound showed I had to have twins, and news like that had to be shared.
I lived in a pendulum for weeks
Instead of posting it on social media, I emailed some friends and family, and everyone was happy with the announcement. We would finally be cleared for our other four defeats. The children we lost would never be replaced, but our family would now grow with the addition of a pair of “rainbow babies” – living children born after one or more miscarriages or stillbirths.
The joy of this news was tempered by the excruciating question of whether they would survive.
For a week or two, my days were a pendulum. One minute I was walking through the air, excited and hopeful despite our previous defeats; the next day I was filled with panic that the twins might not make it. I could never be fully happy because I knew how sudden a loss could be.
A respiratory infection brought me to the doctor, where an impromptu ultrasound showed that one of the twins had “expired”. It was the most confusing moment of my life. I mourned the death of one child while celebrating the survival of another.
I regretted sending an email to my friends
I immediately regretted having announced the pregnancy. The remaining twin would surely die as well. It was only a matter of time before I had to share the news of another loss.
For months, I sort of dissociated myself from the pregnancy. I went to scheduled prenatal visits full of hope, but calmed my excitement, feeling like a robot and expecting not to find a heartbeat. I prepared for the worst.
Halfway through, though I could feel the living twin move, I knew it wasn’t guaranteed – my stillborn daughter had been a baby shower girl, and that hadn’t protected her from death.
It wasn’t until my bloated belly started bumping into things – around 36 weeks – that I finally allowed myself to look down and connect with my pregnancy. I told the world through aerial views of my bump. But even then, pulling out the baby accessories I had put away after my daughter died only gave me mild pleasure. Writing a birth plan was a nail-biting exercise. The sight of piles of cloth diapers, slings and baby carriers, and the stroller I had hoped would take my daughter through the park seemed to taunt me.
Stories of short-term stillbirths from other mothers haunted me. The Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention said stillbirth affects one in every 160 births and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States.
Anything could go wrong at any moment, and I was powerless to stop it, no matter how badly I wanted the baby to stay.
I wouldn’t be convinced until I held a squirming pink baby in my arms – a tortured baby, ironically born in the same hospital room where a stillborn sister was born.
I support Chrissy Teigen and her husband, John Legend. I will hold my breath for them, wanting this baby to survive, but also knowing that no amount of positive energy can quell the bittersweet experience they may be having.