You are currently viewing Episode 90 – Preventing Stillbirth with Ana Vick

Episode 90 – Preventing Stillbirth with Ana Vick

Did you know that there are simple ways you can prevent stillbirth? In today’s episode we are learning what they are and how to advocate for yourself in a pregnancy after loss. 

We also give great tips about how to share this life saving information with everyone you know. 

Ana Vick is an advocate for change through education, government and medical reform. You are going to feel so inspired by her passion and her story.

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Music by ZingDog on Pond5


Welcome. I am so excited for everyone to get to know Anna Vic, and she is. An amazing advocate for silver earth prevention and so many other things. Anna, welcome. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be here and share some of my story and what we’re doing with Kush for Empowered Pregnancy, and I feel like I’m everywhere these days.

Yes, you’re a busy lady doing so much good work. Why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re doing with Push Pregnancy? Well, I’m a mother of three. I have, my first child is Naomi, and then our son Owen, who unfortunately was born still. And then I have our Rainbow baby, which is Jackson.

I actually am a stay-at-home mom at the time, um, of my loss actually. Is when everything kind of shifted in my life. I’m sure many people can relate to that. It kind of changed my worldview and just what I wanted to do with my time. And so from 2015 on, I haven’t really worked full-time. I’ve had a job here and there.

But it always kind of goes back to me feeling like I want more time with my kids at home. And it’s worked out that way for me. Thankfully, my husband’s a realtor now, so we’re pretty flexible and both of us are home with covid, uh, quarantine mode, trying to be safe. So, uh, we’ve been home in North Carolina now for about, what, three years really not doing much.

It’s given me a lot of time though to be home and spend that time with the kids, but also really focus on our charity. Yeah, and tell me a little bit about that. So, I’ve always been involved with charity after losing Owen. I did March of Dimes first because obviously when you look it up and try to find anything on stillbirth, there wasn’t really much at the time.

And that’s one of the biggest organizations. So I actually did one of their walks. I, uh, raised quite a bit of money right away. A lot of family was supporting us. And then I was there and I felt really out of place because they’re celebrating the success stories. They wanna talk about all the NICU babies that are saved and everything, which is wonderful.

But I still thought like, well, I’m not really helping with Stillbirth here. Like, they weren’t even discussing that at the time. So then I started looking at more like, who else can I help? And I stumbled on Star Legacy Foundation at the time. Then I did actually help. Launch a chapter in Los Angeles where I was and we did do a nice walk with a lot of families and raised some money for them.

And then I had to move actually. So I went up north with my family and spent some time with my grandma before she passed and my husband shifted careers cuz we were both in entertainment and I actually was a catering director too when Owen passed away. So everything changed, like I said, and then I went to the Bay area.

So I left the whole Star legacy scene and. Uh, continuing on, I, I just thought like, even with that, I, all I did was raise money for them. I really didn’t feel like I was an active, you know, change maker. I wanted to do something really, I wanted to see people talking about stillbirth, and I wanted it to kind of start to see a decrease in the losses.

I know that the way that they were doing it, trying to get research done and everything, it can be a really slow process. So at some point last year, actually in January, so. A big group of us were starting to talk and we just felt kind of unaligned with them for other reasons as well. And we just decided we should start our own.

We need to do this and we need to do it our way and we need to be vocal. And we’re very, all of us are very upset, angry at the system that basically has failed us all. Cause there’s a lot about stillbirth prevention we’ve learned that can be done, that’s not being done. And even in just like basic education on field movement and things that are not being done at it.

A single hospital or doctor’s office and they should be done. It should all be done the same. So, uh, we all are starting that up together. We founded it and then in May, I believe is when we got our 5 0 1 through C, but we already had our big event, which was our symposium. A lot of researchers spoke there and we had a lot of families come in and pro uh, medical professionals that listened.

So I think we got a lot of information out. Everyone was really excited. But you know, our big thing is, To do things very in your face, like, I dunno if you saw a onesie walk in New York City. Yeah. That was kind of like a big awareness thing. We wanted to show 900 onesie on a clothes line, which is like, I think it was over three city blocks.

Once they hung it up and they all held onto it, I wasn’t able to go out there, but a lot of our families volunteered to hold the lineup and just march through New York City with them to show every year 900 babies are still born there in that city. So people would stop and like, what is that? Ask questions.

And people were just shocked. They didn’t know. Like they’re like, what stillbirth? What is that? Or that still happens, or, What did the mother do? They just assume it’s something really rare and maybe just happens in like some extreme situations. But you have people that were holding the, and they were like, no, it happened to me and I went to all my appointments.

I’m like a upper middle class woman. Like all this stuff, like the misconceptions around stillbirth are pretty much like it only happens to poor people or people who don’t do the right thing. But you know, it can happen to anyone unfortunately. And so I think just having that information out there and people like.

Really seeing it like how many babies, and that’s just in one space. We’re losing 23,000 at least in the United States every year. And I think people just quietly go away after a loss or just so traumatized and heartbroken. And a lot of times you don’t even have an answer, so you blame yourself or you don’t know what more could have been done.

My doctor told me something times healthy babies just die. And I had that for years. No answers. And I just kept thinking, no, there has to be a reason. I kept Googling every night. There has to be something that they did wrong or that was missed. And then I finally got Dr. Kleinman’s report, which I did last year, which um, they can do after the fact on the placenta.

And he told me it was cord compressed. So now I actually have an answer. But even that for me is like, great, I have that, but what more could have been done or should we be doing? So I’m still searching for answers in a sense. So what’s the mission then of push pregnancy? Well, of course we want to end all preventable, still bursts.

The point is that not all can be prevented. Unfortunately. There will be some accidental deaths, but there is a vast majority we feel, I think it’s the number around, I wanna say 25% or so that should be able to be decreased right away with what we know is being done in other countries, like the UK and Scotland have protocols now that are showing that decrease.

So we really wanna get us to that level. And then eventually more because we are funding research and we actually just today am so excited the Rainbow Clinic launched in, uh, New York City that we actually helped. First of all, I wanna shout out to Faye Sheridan and Chase her husband, who actually had this dream of a rainbow clinic in the United, and they got it to happen through us and through, you know, everything that they did fundraising, all the families really in our group have been like so instrumental.

We actually did a rainbow clinic, a training, which anyone can. Actually access, if you like, if you’re a provider or you know you wanna talk to your doctor about learning about this, you can go onto our website, push and find some of that information and we’ll get some of the training that they’re already doing there in Mount Sinai.

Today was our like big day. We’re just so celebrate. Sorry right now because we know after loss you need a special care and they’re gonna do like above and beyond. And we really, really, really think it’s gonna help save more babies too. That’s amazing. And yeah, I, I love what you said because I have been around the lost community for nine years and I have seen other countries really pushing, like you’re saying, and I think Australia as well, really pushing to.

Implement these protocols that do save lives. And it’s like, why aren’t we doing it here? So I think I love how outspoken you guys are and Yeah. That you’re just here saying enough, like, we don’t, we don’t need to do this anymore. So I, I had a question for you as you were talking about the Rainbow Clinic too.

Most of the people listening here have already had a loss. Pregnancy after loss can be really scary already. So when we talk about stillbirth and stillbirth prevention, how can we feel empowered instead of more scared? Yeah. It’s so crazy because they put in the blog post a picture of my son, uh, Jackson, my rainbow.

And I still like, it’s so hard. Thinking back to that pregnancy, for me, I haven’t even shared that much, but I started to put a little bit on my blog this last year cuz it was so traumatic. You go through it like every moment you’re just like, oh my gosh, is this gonna happen again? And especially in a case of pregnancies like mine, where.

I didn’t know why the loss happened and then my new provider didn’t do like a deep delve into like trying to figure that out. I was so scared. I thought anything can happen to this baby. And actually that’s one of the things that Mount Sinai will be doing is making sure they kind of diagnose, first of all, what’s the problem?

Like what happened in the private pregnancy so they can really create a plan. And tailor the care to that PA patient, not just, oh, well this time will be better. Like, that’s pretty much what your doctors will tell you, like, it’s not gonna happen again. You’re like, how? How are you guaranteeing me this? You don’t know.

So I actually was very scared. I did like everything, like visualizing, praying. I actually ended up with the high risk situation, so we had to get a cerclage in at the 20 week mark. And thank God I had a really great high risk doctor at this time. Thanks to unfortunately losing a child. I now got better care, but he was able to keep that baby in for me and I had to be on bedrest for 17 weeks at home and get like a lot of help from family with my other daughter and everything.

So it was a hard time for me. And the only thing that really helped me was first of all understanding, like kick counting better. I really learned about that like. You need to know the normal for your baby and not just, you know, rely on what other people are telling you all the time. Like babies do not slow down and there’s not a set number that you need to get to.

You need to know what your baby normally does daily and then obviously be an advocate for your child, which we all try to do. But I think in the moments of. Going in to tell your doctor and you’re like, oh, something feels wrong with this. And then they check everything and they tell you it’s fine. You don’t really think like, oh, I should keep pushing for more here.

You just assume that they know what they’re doing. This is their job, and what, well, I guess they’re right, but after losing Owen, I was like, No, like I actually had one time when this happen with Jackson, I was like, there’s something going on. I think I have an infection. And they would test things and they would come back and say, no, everything’s fine, Anna, don’t worry.

And I came back and we were going pretty often with this high-risk doctor. So I came back in and I was like terrified. I was crying. And the woman. Who was like, his assistant doctor was like, well, what more can we do? And I said, well, is there nothing else you test? And she’s like, well, if it make you feel better, I’ll run this one for the G B S infection, but we don’t think you have that.

You’re probably fine. I was like, yes, please just do everything you can. Like at this point, I really was scared. I thought I was gonna lose him because your body and I was just having a different discharge and I knew, I was like, the smell smells like an infection. Like, I don’t know. Calling me the next day and she said, you were right Anna.

You have the G B S infection. If you take this medication, everything will be fine. I was scared outta my mind and I was like, are you kidding me? I was like, okay. So I took the medicine and I thought to myself, had I not lost a win, I would’ve backed down when they started telling me that everything was fine and I would’ve known, and G B S infection is super dangerous, both for you and the baby.

I could have had another still. Yeah, so I’m like, in my mind, like I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. I was like, I have the best high-risk doctor in the area. I love him to death. Very smart man, very diligent. And even him, he would’ve missed this. But this is something I and my body, I knew my body and I was like, no, no, no.

And so, I just tell everyone, if you’re pregnant and you’re worried about anything, just speak up and do not back down and just keep going in and get tested. And if you feel like you need to stay overnight on a monitor, do it. You tell them, I’m not reassured. Like if your baby’s movement is different one day you need to go and ride away.

And if you’re there and they’re, oh yeah, heartbeat’s fine. Well, let’s do an N S T now. Let’s make sure that’s fine. Or B p p, like push them to do everything possible until you’re reassured. And if you’re not be like, I’m still not reassured, I’m still worried that the movement hasn’t returned to normal.

And then they’ll, they’ll be required to keep you there. And I would do that. I’ve learned it’s that serious. Yeah. And I think that part of advocating for ourself is kind of hard, but when you’ve been through what we’ve been through, You gotta do it. And I think it helps to think that you are on a team with the medical providers in your life.

Like we all want the same result of a healthy baby. So even if they’re pushing you off, I mean sometimes it can be a little adversarial. I think if you’re really not clicking with your doctor, like get a different doctor, but also just be like, it’s okay to speak up. Like the worst thing that can happen.

From speaking up is really nothing’s wrong. You went through some tests and stuff where I think we know that the worst thing that can happen from maybe not pushing it is losing another baby, which none of us wanna do. Right? But at the end of the day, they’re not the ones that are gonna suffer if this goes wrong.

Yeah, because number one, there is no way for you to hold anybody accountable. Most states have laws against suing if your baby didn’t breathe. So they pretty much are off the hook. If this goes the worst case scenario and for you, you have that lifetime of grief and everything, think about it like this is your child.

It’s already your child. I mean, we all know that unfortunately, after loss, but during the pregnancy, Even. You really have to fight to protect them and it, it sucks like you said, to feel if there’s any bit of like pushback, but even my doctor wasn’t doing it in a mean way. They were just sure of themselves and I was like, no, but I’m sure of myself more.

They’re not in your body and they’re not with your baby daily. Like they might do their weekly check even once a week. N S T, that’s only telling you your baby’s okay in that moment. So you need to continue checking on movements. If you came back from an N S T the next day and you still feel something’s wrong, you should still go back in.

And a lot of people don’t realize that cuz they think, oh, the NSC was fine yesterday, or I have an appointment tomorrow, I’ll just wait now. We all know now like you need to just get back in there again cuz the baby could get in a bad position or whatever’s going on in there is now showing signs again and you’re feeling it.

Your body, the baby’s moving differently in there. And I think we don’t wanna be overreacting. Especially again, if it’s pregnant after loss, you’re already feeling anxious. You’re like, am I just being anxious or is something really wrong? And I think just trusting yourself and. Going for it. Like I had, um, my last pregnancy was super high risk and had a whole lot of things going on, and I ended up.

He wasn’t moving like at all. And I called, I live in like rural and so we have a teeny little hospital where I was doing my N S T, so I didn’t have to drive to the city. And they did the classic like, drink some juice and wait. Oh gosh. And, and I just was like, no. I hung up the phone and we drove an hour two.

The hospital where I was gonna deliver were like maternal fetal medicine. Like all of it was there and they admitted me. So I think that’s the difference. And what you’re trying to do too, is how can we change, like the landscape of prenatal care to listen to the mother and to mm-hmm. Take these things seriously and.

Yeah, I ended up in the hospital for like two weeks on bedrest and I had like preeclampsia and all these things. Wow. Which we already knew, but like the movement, I was so, but that’s the same thing. Like I knew because I was educated and I think that’s where the education and knowing mm-hmm. Helps you.

Because I knew that as soon as she was like, drink some juice, I was like, I’m done. Like I’m not, we’re not playing this. No. Thank you. Yeah. So. And Yeah. And that’s something where I’m like, in the moment I couldn’t go back, but I always think I’m like, I need to go and talk to those guys. Cause mm-hmm. It’s just like, just letting people come in, like just Right.

No deer actually have like no training because there’s no protocol here, by the way, in the United States for still birth prevention, which is what we’re fighting for as well. But there are people like the ER where I called in. They’re like, oh yeah, just uh, have a meal. It’s late at night, maybe. Really?

Your baby is sleeping, so just go ahead and have a full meal. Then count kicks for another two hours, then you can come in. I’m like, what? So I, that was when I lost my son. I already was feeling bad. I already had a feeling something was different and I had been gone all day. So I was just, Finally laying down at the end of the night.

But I already did this whole like, oh, I looked it up cuz no one’s ever educated me about stillbirth. No one told me anything. Not even about fetal movement monitoring or nothing. Cause I was this low risk pregnancy, but I ended up going on the internet trying to figure it out so late and I was like, oh, okay, just kick count for two hours and I get 10 kicks.

We’re all good. So I started trying to do that and of course I did read bad advice about. Drinking something sugary and cold and blah blah and all that. I did that and I was like, this isn’t working. So that’s when I called the er and so they still talked me out of going in right away. After I told ’em, I did all this already and I’m like, what is wrong with the system?

You should have told me, okay, you already did your proper kick counts. Get in here right now. But I, I don’t know if that delay would’ve made a difference for me, only because now that I found out it’s core compressions, it was done like probably by then, this was the kiss. Time, like actually, um, went into the surgery with him being alive and he didn’t make it.

Mm-hmm. But so the cord compressions happened for days prior, so who knows how much damage he endured, but it to some people, could be the thing that saves their child’s life. And we have a lot of baby safe stories on count the kicks, which I’m also going to be. Working with them. They haven’t announced yet, but probably by the time this is posted.

So I’m really excited about helping them because the information they’re sharing can really educate parents on how to properly kick counts. You need to know the normal pattern of your baby. You need to do this daily, twice a day, a good amounts, and starting around 26 weeks. If you’re high risk, low risk is 28 usually, or whenever you start to feel patterning, you can just go ahead and get the app.

It’s free. I think that having something like that is really just a great tool for you to know. I can confidently tell my provider that something’s changed. I could show ’em the graph and I can go in there and demand this and that to be done. Whereas when you just kinda wing it and you’re just like, Hmm, today’s a little different.

Like, you don’t have that. Yeah. You’re not feeling like you could really speak up and say something if they tell you everything looks fine. Well, and you might not remember the pattern. I feel like it’s kinda like when you track, when you track your period on an app, you’re like, oh yeah, that’s what’s happening, right?

Mm-hmm. But you can’t really remember month to month necessarily. But I think if you have that in front of you, you’re like, oh, this is different, or. Or whatever. So I think it’s helpful even for you to have some peace of mind and some information, like some data for sure. Especially if you have other children or you’re working, it’s hard to keep track of what you did and when you last felt.

And all this for pregnancy after loss. It’s really good too, because it’ll keep you from feeling too overwhelmed. Like you can have that continuous, I’m doing this every day, and it reminds you and you’re bonding with your child as you’re doing it, getting to know them, so, Uh, I definitely recommend that I, I’ve been posting about it ever since I even knew about it, you know, the last couple years.

And I’m not even till now gonna be officially a part of them. So I definitely love them. And they’re an organization also that was founded by brief parents as well. So it’s this something that means a lot to them. They’re saving so many babies and I wish everyone would have it. And that’s actually something that we’re also behind.

The Title five does not have the word stillbirth in it, and that. It is actually funding for preventing childhood deaths. And of course we know stillbirth is the highest cause of childhood death above everything else. And actually, I think it’s three times the total of everything else like sids and crashes and cancer and like all the things that could.

Possibly happen to a child. So we were like, why is Stillbirth not in it? So thankfully Healthy Birthday is the organization that is putting that new bill up. It’s called the Paternal Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act, I believe. And so we’re really excited to back that because. For us, like just having count the kecks available, which would be able to be funded under that program in every state.

That would be amazing. And the funding is only just really to get pamphlets and flyers and stuff? Mm-hmm. To every provider. I mean, anyone in the world could already have the app and they have it in like 12 languages, so you should all go get it if you’re pregnant and start using it and tell everyone about it.

And. I think the number one thing, like we were talking is just to make you feel more confident and empowered about what you’re feeling and going into your doctor immediately, if you notice that change. For sure. Well, can you tell us just quickly, I know there’s so many things, but kind of what are the main ways that we can simply on our own change to prevent stillbirth?

Like kit counting is one of them. What else can we do? That to me, honestly is like our biggest tool because we’re not doctors. So unless you feel the change and you go in and tell your doctor and you’re advocating and you’re being very vocal about what you need, it’s really. Like, what else can we do?

Right? Uh, the other things we really do advocate for is measuring a placenta. If your provider’s willing to do that, it’s called an E P V. There’s a simple way to do that. Go to, um, measure the placenta’s website and look that up. It’s also on the push, uh, website and Dr. Harvey Kleinman, uh, design This way where you can actually measure placenta.

Through ultrasounds that is already being done at your appointments. And then they can see if your baby’s placenta is growing appropriately to the child’s size, which should be done because the placenta is the source of life for that baby. And if we’re at some point it stops growing, we have a lot of losses that are due to placenta problems, including a small placenta.

So that’s an area of medicine that is still lagging. We’re actually. Working with ACOG right now on meetings, trying to get them to have that as a standard of care. Because we don’t see why not. It doesn’t hurt anything to check that. A lot of doctors won’t do anything though until ACOG makes them or tells them.

It gives the blessing that this should be done. But there are some really amazing ones like Dr. Crad, and we have, of course Mount Sinai doing them for other pregnancies after loss. And your doctor might even do it. So why don’t you just ask, go ahead and tell him this, this, or you can print out, there’s actually a sheet.

Explaining it and then if they need training, Dr. Kleiman would be happy to get on a zoom with them. So those are two, placenta are a very high, uh, cause of stillbirth that are preventable. Yeah. And cord issues are the other. Of course, not everyone’s looking at the cord, but if you’re feel off or whatever, say I have you check the cord, like check the the blood flow and you might get pushback and whatever, but at least you’re trying, right?

So I encourage you always find out what feels different. Then look into it, see what else can be done. We all start to learn so much, unfortunately, after loss. So you probably already have a list of extra things you want them to do this time around. And I would tell you, take that list, have someone with you if possible, to advocate with you, back you up, and make sure you don’t leave till you ask all your questions and get them answered, and then you feel good and then you can go home.

But sometimes we feel so rushed in appointments and we just go with the flow, or we trust so much and that they’re knowing what they’re checking on. But you need need to also have. Them do what you say they’re working for you really. Yeah. Or you’re nervous in pregnancy after loss. So that’s what, when I, like, I coach pregnancy after loss moms, and I’m always like, you gotta write it down.

Mm-hmm. You have to bring a list because when you get there, there’s like, everything’s Yeah. You’re panicking. Yeah. So you gotta, um, have that. So just a couple other ones, like you talked about sleeping on your side. Mm-hmm. Um, oh yeah. That, that’s why I don’t really say that though, because I feel like I’m talking to the moms that probably now know this.

Right. I. Definitely didn’t know. Like I always, actually, I didn’t know about the side sleep thing. I always did that anyways for all my pregnancies. So now I still side sleep, but you do not wanna sleep on your back because that might cause problems with the flow to the placenta. And that’s been shown in studies over the other one.

Is there and measuring the cervix, I know is when you can do a little bit early, like more in the second trimester is just having them look at the cervix for, to see if it’s shortening or, mm-hmm. Yeah. And they might not do that in standard, a low risk pregnancy, so definitely mention if they’re not gonna check it.

But that got done for me at 20 weeks. Thank God they were able to resolve it. But sometimes, um, incompetent cervix causes losses at like 18 weeks or 16 weeks. Mm-hmm. So if you’re able to like, mention it around those appointments and see if they’ll go ahead and do it, then especially if you have any kind of different discharge or having a feeling of pressure or anything is happening different for you, then definitely see what you can get done sooner.

There’s no harm in having that done. Yeah, and it’s another one. It’s a quick like ultrasound. It’s not a big deal really. Mm-hmm. Obviously you’re not supposed to do smoking and all this stuff, but I don’t even like to say stuff like that because I feel like I haven’t met one lost mom who did that. And that’s the reason why it happens.

Yeah. It’s usually so many other things, but those are in studies of course, where uh, they’re, they’re kind of noted as causes of stillbirth and. We definitely wanna mention, obviously, but I don’t think it’s something that anyone here listening is doing. Especially if you’re trying for another, yeah. Okay.

So I have a question too about how do we share this with people in our lives? I know when we’ve been through a loss, every time we hear anyone’s pregnant or see someone pregnant, you’re kind of like holding your breath for them. But then we have this whole, I don’t wanna scare them. I don’t wanna be like that lady that’s always talking about babies dying.

So, How do you kind of, again, empower people to share these tips without kind of feeling as scared to do that? I think for me, that’s totally gone now because I think the benefit outweighs any kind of, you know, emotion it might bring up. So I, I know we’re all scared of sids. We all know about it now, but yet we know what to do.

We know how to properly put our babies to sleep without the blankets and not over swaddle them. And all we’ve learned, there’s all these prevention tips now. So yeah, we might be afraid, but now we know what to do to prevent them and that you see sids going down. We want this to go down, so we have to talk about it.

And people don’t know about it. They don’t even know it’s even a possibility. I had no idea I could have a stillbirth. I didn’t even know what it was or how, how I could prevent it, of course, because I didn’t know it was even around. So how could you just tell me all of a sudden, like all these things about it now that I was like, why didn’t I know this already?

It makes me angry. I wish I knew. I wish someone scared me. If they had scared me, maybe I would’ve been like running over there beforehand. You never know. Of course I would’ve been kick counting if someone had told me I needed to be doing it and why I was supposed to be doing it. I didn’t really do that because my son was so active all the time.

I just figured, oh, what’s the point of that? I, he gets 10 kicks in like three seconds. But see, I didn’t understand that. I didn’t know you had to know a normal for your own child and don’t compare it to this number that they say is the norm. So a lot of what we are talking about is all prevention. So I don’t see why we can’t share that.

I would think people will thank us later, even if they are scared, because there are a lot of saves. And actually we just had an interview on Instagram. With the mom who saved her baby because of kick counting. She was, uh, aware of Count the Kicks program. It was actually in her office, uh, spoken to her about, and then she read the stories about uni, a little baby that we must all know.

I hope I know. But, uh, her mother, Amanda, was posting about her stillbirth and how all this was happening. And so that actually became kind of like a voice in this other mother’s head. That stillbirth happens even for a high risk pregnancy that’s heavily monitored. It can happen. So she went in when she was feeling things were wrong and thank God saved her child who had like the cords, you know, wrapped around her neck.

She had, um, lots in the cord, everything like it could have been terrible, but she saved her baby. And I think it was thanks to those stories like we’re talking about, you need to tell your story. And I know for many of us it’s traumatic, but if you learned anything from it, That’s a way for your child to have legacy, which is what I do.

I want Owen’s legacy to be saving babies, and every time I get to talk about him, it makes me happy too. I feel like I can continue having him in my life in that way, but. Also knowing like it wasn’t for nothing. Like he didn’t just die. He lived, you know, he was inside of me for 31 weeks and five days. So we had a beautiful pregnancy.

And then, yeah, I got to meet him. I got to hold him, and he was beautiful and perfect, and I still am so proud to be his mother. And I want everyone to know about him. And I wanna know, I wanna know what happens. And so I didn’t know a lot about the what, right away. So it was hard for me. I couldn’t really share much.

I didn’t know what to tell people. And. How could they prevent it? Cuz I didn’t even know. But now that I know I’m not gonna shut up about it. There’s too much that can be done. We can prevent this. Yeah. Okay. So I have a question kind of on the, yeah. That side of, if we’ve been through a stillbirth. And now we know all these things that we didn’t know and we feel that guilt like I should have.

Mm-hmm. I could say that too. I think that if I would’ve been kick counting, like maybe I could have prevented Lauren’s death, which was we think like a partial placental abruption, but I was in that nesting mode and like we were busy and mm-hmm. You don’t notice the absence of kick. So if there’s a mom listening or any parents listening who are saying, I should have done something differently and now they have all this knowledge.

What would you say to them? Well, I obviously can sympathize with that, but for me, obviously it’s not our fault and we would’ve done everything possible had we been informed of that. And it’s not up to us. I think we did everything possible. I did all what everyone else probably did. I already had a child.

I already been through pregnancy and birth and. I was reading everything possible online, the books, everything. But if someone doesn’t warn you about stillbirth and what to do to prevent it, that’s not, in a lot of that’s reading. It’s not commonly spoken about in any kind of pregnancy book. If it is, it’s very brief.

And they mentioned the smoking, if you’re doing this and that, like I was gonna say like like deli meats, like we all know deli meats, but we don’t know Oh yeah. Like yeah. Other things that I mean, which isn’t, oh, even like cmv, we did a CMV awareness week where, One of the mothers in our group was just an amazing job taking over for us and posting everything about her pregnancy where she didn’t actually ever get warned and I didn’t.

I’m sure a lot of people don’t know about C M V that if you share like food with your toddlers or drinks or clean off their pacifier with your mouth really quick to give back to them and you’re pregnant, your other baby, your baby can contract A C M V and pass away and stillbirth, or it can lifelong issues like I think it’s hearing mostly.

So she unfortunately learned that the terrible way of losing her daughter. And so that’s something also you can look out for and think about if you have other children or you work, um, in a daycare type setting, you should wash your hands really well, you after changing and that kind of thing. But, so this is all stuff then unfortunately, it doesn’t really get told to you until you lose the child for that reason.

And then you realize, oh my God, why was, why? And I know that’s such a simple thing, right? And, but you can’t blame yourself for that. That’s not on you. I think that is part of the journey, and I love how you are so bold and you’ve got it in your mind that you. Believe in yourself and you believe in your message.

And even though, um, you lost your son, it’s not for nothing. And so I love that. And I think that’s why a lot of us feel so strongly cuz we don’t want other people to go through what we’ve been through. Mm-hmm. Well, and for providers, it’s not very many that they lose in their whole, even as their doctors be that they see a stillbirth right away.

And it might take a long time for them to even have one. And so you might be the only one that they’ve had. And so they don’t even know how to react like mine. Were just stunned, you know? And so they did nothing after too. Like they didn’t try to understand it with me. Like I was really hoping they would go through and find out like, what was it and don’t do that again, or like stop this next time.

But they didn’t. And so they’re continuing the care that they were giving me and that’s what really crushed me after, cause I said, Oh my God, I’m leaving this hospital and they’re gonna let this happen to another family at some point. So I am now on like a mission of stopping it everywhere. So like, they didn’t wanna listen to me, they didn’t wanna have meetings with me much, but I’m gonna make sure that eventually ACOG makes them do the things they should be doing.

Yeah. Amazing. Okay. I have one last question for you. I wanted you to just share for a minute if you would like to about your babies, and we talk a lot about their death and what happened when this community, we kind of tell the story of how they died, but do you have any moments in your pregnancy with Owen good memories, like cravings?

Anything that we would talk about with the quote unquote normal? Pregnancy or baby, something you could share about his life? The main thing for me, I remember him being super active all the time. That’s why the whole situation at the end was so like blatant to me because he suddenly stopped moving. But I always thought like, this little guy is gonna have me running around the house.

He’s gonna be so active. He was just always kicking up a storm and like he would definitely kick more when Josh would speak to him and my belly. Uh, so that’s why like the last night too, he tried to like, Put his hand on me and talk with him and like he, he felt him move, but you know, it was kind of like his last struggles.

But I definitely remember him being like a really busy little baby. I, I don’t have like the craving remembering things like I worked at the time so I was always running around and we went to like so many things. Like I actually made a baby book right after he passed cuz I felt like I needed that, I needed some closure and I wanted to like, remember all the good times.

Too. So we went to weddings and birthday parties and cool parties. I used to work at a lot of events. Uh, we got like all dressed up for different themes and stuff, and. I feel like he did have a happy life in there. I hope. Uh, I was very stressed with work though. I always think about it like, oh, I wish I wasn’t so stressed.

I probably sent him a lot of these stressed vibes. But of course we know stress doesn’t kill babies. But it just made me sad. Like a lot of people say, oh, he felt was love, but you know, of course he did only feel love. But he also feels me probably like pissed off at work once in a while that happens, but.

Yeah, we were just so excited to have him. My husband, oh, the gender reveal is one of our favorite memories where we didn’t know what we were having. So one of my friends put colored silly string in these bottles for us, and then we had all our family just spray us. And at first I couldn’t tell, the color just sprayed us and I was like, what is that?

It looked like white. Yeah. So it starts turning once it turns color, and we were, my husband started screaming, putting his hands up in the air, like We have a video. And he was like, yes, it’s a boy. I am like, oh my God, it’s a boy. We already had a girl too, so we were both really excited. Yeah, we look at those memories now, we’re like, wow, we really, really, really wanted him.

Like it just sucks, breaks my heart. And so that’s why it’s hard as a parent after loss, cuz now I have another boy and I’m doing all the first with him and it’s just, Makes me sad, like going to T-Ball with him like, well, I should have already done T-Ball for several seasons. My son would be almost seven this year in October.

So I just have to just enjoy and do everything I can to just be in the moment. But your brain is sometimes out there thinking about what you’re miss or what you have missed. And Owen was definitely very, very loved. His name’s Owen, Nathaniel, which is, um, little warrior gift of God. And that was just something that now Jackson actually has Nathaniel for his middle name too, so he can carry that.

But I always feel like I should have two boys and my girl. And the two of them would’ve been best friends. They’re only two years apart. So yeah, it’s been hard for me as a parent, um, missing him every day. I’m so glad you have those good memories and that you’re doing so much to honor him. And all the babies, like all of our, our babies, who I feel like are right behind us helping us.

Um, To move this work and to help each other and to save some babies and comfort some grieving hearts. So I wanna thank you so, so much for being here and for sharing all your knowledge and your passion about this. Can you just tell everyone where they can find you? I’m all over the internet with still my son.

That’s my platform. I do use TikTok now, even though I always said I won’t, but it reaches so many people and a lot of younger mothers. So I’m hoping to save tons of babies on that as well. And of course, push for Empowered Pregnancy. I manage a lot on that account. And we have the still Counts org, which is our, uh, sister accounts for everything supporting the lost community.

So we are gonna be posting a lot on there for families to connect and. Find support and also we will be talking more about our big push with, it’s our big march coming in October for pregnancy and infant loss awareness month in Washington dc. We’re gonna hopefully have 23,000 families, uh, or people joining us to represent the babies that are unfortunately stillborn.

Every year we’re gonna be pushing empty strollers all around to show the world really. We’re gonna have a lot of press, hopefully to. Bring attention to stillbirth and all the different, uh, groups that are joining us. We have tons of partner orgs already signed up. It’s not just our events, it’s actually a communal big events to raise awareness for stillbirth and to show like we all believe we should be doing more.

And there’s a lot of bills coming up that we’re supporting with that as well. So we invite all families to come make a trip and we’ll be there for the weekend doing a lot of fun things together as well. And there’s just more to come. Definitely excited to have you guys follow us and join the change makers if you like to volunteer.

We never, you know, request too much. If you wanna do anything, just let us know and you can attend our meetings. And I think it really does provide a bit of hope for families to have something they can be involved with that is change making in memory of their child. And they can talk about their baby and we all, you know, celebrate each other and our babies together.

So it really does help to have that. Yeah, I love that so much. And I just wanna add to anyone listening who’s like, well, I can’t maybe go to Washington DC or I’m not, I don’t have a lot of money. You can still make so much change. Maybe just posting on your social media about these tips or sharing or talking to people or talking to your local hospital or your own doctor.

Oh yeah. Like there’s so many ways. Like that you can get involved. And I think once again, once you wanna share it, cuz we just wanna help. So thank you so much. There will definitely be a virtual component for the march as well, so if anyone wants to just sign up to, you know, be in the loop of that, we want you guys to be able participate.

So most likely there’ll be like a photo you can post that will now be as like, Counting you as being there, and we’ll definitely be honoring your children as well when we’re marching and shouting from the rooftops. We want this to end and we, our children should be here too, but we’re gonna make sure that their memory has lasting.

Yeah, I love it. And I’m, I was just telling my husband, I was like, do you wanna go to Washington DC in October? So we’re gonna, we’re gonna look at it too. Yay. That’d be awesome. My husband doesn’t know if he’s coming yet because of Covid and the kids, but either way, I will be there. So I’m so excited to meet everyone in person and give everyone my love in person as much as I try to do it online.

It’s always different. Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you. Are you ready to take this work to the next level and truly find yourself?

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