Stillbirth? And how did you deal with it?

April - posted on 02/27/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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When I was 20 I got pregnant and the pregnancy ended at 33 weeks in a stillbirth. We had already had a name for our daughter and her room was set up. We were ready to have a baby. But, when she stopped moving and I went to the hospital the ultrasound showed that she didn't have a heart beat anymore. They made me deliver her as if she were alive still. It was the worst thing in the world to go through! We had her cremated and had a ceremony for her. Just wondering how other mothers have dealt with this. I started drinking a lot and my boyfriend and I broke up. He wasnt a very good guy to begin with so I guess us breaking up was ok. :) Now, I am 25. I am married to the most wonderful man and we have a son. His name is Conor and he is 15 months old now. Why did you have a stillbirth? Ever get any answers? I didnt really get a good answer to what happened to my baby girl. I think it was the docs fault (which is a whole other story that i can't go on and on about) I even had an autopsy done and didn't get any answers. They said that everything looked fine. But, the doc I went to actually got fired and sued by many people in the area for malpractice and he's no longer around here anymore. I have RH Negative blood ...i never got the rhogam shot and they never tested my exes blood type or anything. I think that had something to do with it. I didnt even know that there was a risk with my blood type and didnt know what my blood type was until after I had lost the baby. The doc never even mentioned it and said less than a week before I lost the baby that I had a perfectly healthy baby in there. ...*sigh. Sorry, this is going on forever. Just had to let it out.

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Carrie - posted on 02/27/2010

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THIS MIGHT HELP YOU-If you're Rh-negative, there's a good chance that your blood is incompatible with your baby's blood, which is likely to be Rh-positive. You probably won't know this for sure until the baby is born, but in most cases you have to assume it, just to be safe.



Being "Rh-incompatible" isn't likely to harm you or your baby during this pregnancy, if it's your first. But if your baby's blood leaks into yours (as it can at certain times during pregnancy and at birth), your immune system will start to produce antibodies against this Rh-positive blood. If that happens, you'll become "Rh-sensitized" — and the next time you're pregnant with an Rh-positive baby, those antibodies may attack your baby's blood. Fortunately, you can avoid becoming Rh-sensitized by getting an injection of a drug called Rh immune globulin whenever there's a chance that your blood has been exposed to your baby's blood.



If you're Rh-negative and you've been pregnant before but didn't get this shot, another routine prenatal blood test will tell you whether you already have the antibodies that attack Rh-positive blood. (You could have them even if you miscarried the baby, had an abortion, or had an ectopic pregnancy.) If you do have the antibodies, it's too late to get the shot, and if your baby is Rh-positive, he's likely to have some problems. If you don't have the antibodies, then the shot will protect you from developing them.



What are the chances that my baby and I are Rh-incompatible?

If your baby's father is Rh-positive — as most people are — you have about a 70 percent chance of having an Rh-positive baby. So if you're Rh-negative, it's likely that you and your baby are Rh-incompatible. In fact, your healthcare practitioner will assume you are, just to be safe. There's no harm in getting the Rh immune globulin shot, even if it turns out that it wasn't necessary.



Of course, if your baby's father has been tested and found to be Rh-negative, too, then your baby will also be Rh-negative and you won't need the shot. But if your baby's father is Rh-positive (or you don't know whether he's positive or negative), you won't know your baby's Rh status for sure until his birth unless you have an amniocentesis, a test that examines fetal cells from the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in your uterus.



On the other hand, if you're Rh-positive and your partner is Rh-negative, you might have an Rh-negative child. Fortunately, there's no need to worry, because it's extremely unlikely that your baby will be exposed to your blood and develop antibodies. It almost always happens the other way around. How could my baby's blood leak into mine?

Normally during pregnancy, your baby's blood stays separate from yours and very few blood cells cross the placenta. In fact, your blood is not likely to intermingle in any significant way until you give birth. That's why Rh incompatibility is usually not a problem for your first baby: If your blood doesn't mix until you're in labor, the baby will be born before your immune system has a chance to produce enough antibodies to cause problems.



However, you'll need a shot after the birth if your newborn is found to be Rh-positive. If you were exposed to Rh-positive blood during delivery, the shot will prevent your body from making antibodies that could attack an Rh-positive baby's blood during a future pregnancy. (Your delivery team will take a blood sample from your newborn's heel or from his umbilical cord just after he's born to test for several things, including Rh factor, if necessary.) Without treatment, there's about a 15 percent chance that you'll produce antibodies; with treatment, the chance is close to 0 percent.



Since a small number of Rh-negative women (about 2 percent) somehow develop antibodies to their baby's Rh-positive blood during their third trimester, you'll also be given a shot at 28 weeks that covers you until childbirth. And you'll need a shot any other time that your baby's blood might mix with yours, including:

• If you miscarry



• If you have an abortion



• If you have an ectopic pregnancy



• If you have a molar pregnancy



• After an invasive procedure, such as an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS)



• If you have a stillbirth



• If you have an external cephalic version (ECV)



• If you have suffer an injury to your abdomen during pregnancy



• If you have vaginal bleeding



If you find yourself in any of these situations, remind your caregiver that you're Rh-negative, and make sure you get the shot within 72 hours.



How does the shot prevent me from developing antibodies?

The Rh immune globulin shot consists of a small dose of antibodies, collected from blood donors, which kill any Rh-positive blood cells in your system and then prompt your immune system to develop its own antibodies. The donated antibodies are just like yours but the dose isn't large enough to cause problems for your baby.



This is called passive immunization: For it to work, you need to get the shot within 72 hours after any potential exposure to your baby's blood. The protection will last for 12 weeks. If your practitioner suspects that more than an ounce of your baby's blood mixed with yours (say, if you've had an accident), you might need a second shot.



You'll get the injection in the muscle of your arm or buttocks. You may have some soreness at the injection site or a slight fever. There are no other known side effects. The shot is safe whether your baby's blood is really Rh-positive or not. What will happen to my baby if I develop the antibodies?

First, keep in mind that this is highly unlikely if you're receiving good prenatal care and are being treated with Rh immune globulin when necessary. Even without treatment, your chances of developing the antibodies and becoming Rh-sensitized are only about 50 percent even after several Rh-incompatible pregnancies.



If you didn't get the shot, though, and you became Rh-sensitized and your baby was Rh-positive, he would probably develop Rh disease (hemolytic disease). Your antibodies would cross the placenta and attack the Rh factor in your baby's Rh-positive blood as if it's a foreign substance, destroying his red blood cells and causing anemia. The disease can cause problems ranging from severe newborn jaundice to brain damage or, in extreme cases, even miscarriage or stillbirth.



Once you're sensitized, you have the antibodies forever. And you produce more with each pregnancy, so the risk of Rh disease is worse for each subsequent baby. While healthcare providers try to screen and treat as many women as they can reach, about 5,000 babies still develop Rh disease in the United States every year.



The good news is that doctors are finding new ways to save babies who develop Rh disease. Your practitioner can monitor your levels of antibodies and keep tabs on your baby's condition during the pregnancy to see whether he's developing the disease. She may check on the condition of your baby's red blood cells using Doppler ultrasound or amniocentesis.



If he's doing well, you might be able to carry him to term without complications. After birth, he may be given an "exchange transfusion" to replace his diseased Rh-positive red blood cells with healthy Rh-negative cells. This stabilizes the level of red blood cells and minimizes further damage by antibodies circulating in his bloodstream. Over time these Rh-negative blood cells will die off and all your baby's red blood cells will be Rh-positive again, but by that time, the attacking antibodies will be gone.



If your baby's in distress, he might be delivered early or given transfusions through the umbilical cord. The survival rate for babies who receive a transfusion while in utero is as high as 80 to 100 percent, unless they have hydrops (a complication caused by severe anemia), in which case the chances of survival are about 40 to 70 percent.

Stephanie - posted on 03/11/2010

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I am so sorry to hear about your little one, My fiance and I went through a similar situation almost. We had the shot you talked about and did everything right just like you. We went into our 38 week appointment. I had been in labor for 3 days the night before our check up my son seemed to stop moving. I freaked out and called everyone doctors, nusrses, hospital nurses and was told it was normal he was just preparing to be born. It wasn't at our 38 week check up during a stress test we couldn't find his heartbeat. As we all laughed and thought he was just in a strange position we walled to ultrasound to see where he was. It was then I knew. Everything went quiet. I asked my nurse if he was moving. She started crying and said hold on honey we are looking. I freaked out and had her get my cell phone. I was crushed, angry and confused all at the same time. My son was gone. It took us six years to battle infetitlilty finally we won without any medical intervention. I had my son. We were so happy and so in love with out baby. I choose a c-section and had him that night at 38 weeks old. He was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. He looked just like his dad. Everything I hoped for. Only I wanted him to cry or to move or open his eyes. He didn't he was gone. Our baby who we tried so hard for was now gone. There are times I wonder how to do this. How do you go on without your child. Some nights i though it would be nice to be where he is. However I know I could never put my mother through what I feel right now. I just miss my son so much. You are supposed to bring them home and put them into a bassinet but instead my son came home in an urn. How crule life can be. I am so sorry about your child. I know what happend to mine he was to active and he cut off his blood and oxeygen supply. I dion't know how terrible it would be to not know. Most important is to never blam \e yourself or anyone who loved your child. If the doctor messed up then go for it. But always take the time to remember you are a mom and you did bring a beautiful baby into this world. That is what keeps me going. I don't know if having someone to blam would help or make it worse. I don't know why we lost our precious children. But we did. The pain is terrible and the missing of your child is masive. I wish you the best and if you choose to have another child I will pray for that child.

15 Comments

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Kelly - posted on 03/01/2010

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I'm so sorry to hear that! I couldn't imagine what you are going through. I have a friend who went through that twice! If you ever need to just vent, message me! I'm a good listener

Cassandra - posted on 03/01/2010

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I am also RH Negative, I knew I was because my mother had it wrote down in my baby book from when I was born! The first time I was pregnant I told the doctor I was RH Negative but they didnt feel I needed the shot right away and could wait until later in the pregnancy. I ended up losing my first baby. With my second baby I got the Rogam shot every month, sometimes 2 shots in one month. Now my second baby (Haiden) is a healthy 3 monther! He was born 6 weeks early due to placental abruption, spent one week in the NICU then came home with me. My son and I are both VERY lucky to be alive. They also told me that I had 2 healthy pregnancies. Even with all the technology now-a-days they arent 100% sure.

Pam - posted on 03/01/2010

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I never experienced a stillbirth but I did have many miscarriages so I know how you feel about the not knowing. But as far as the RH negative I'd like to clarify that if that is what had caused your baby to be stillborn you would have needed a lot more treatment than just the two shots during your next pregnancy because you would already have all the mixing of blood and antibodies in your system. So your body would have noticed the "foreign being" in your body and would have attacked it a lot sooner. I know this because my aunt and I are both RH negative as well and as I had the shots she did not and her first baby did die because of it (the doctor back in the 50's didn't test her blood type) and she was never able to carry another baby to term even with the help they had at that time (she eventually adopted 2 children). I have asked her about the still birth (she lost at 35 weeks) and what she told me is you never forget you just have to accept, love your lost child, love your new children and know that you did nothing wrong. Good Luck and I hope this helped a little to ease your mind.

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i lost my lil girl when i was 24 almost 3 1/2 years ago i was 21 weeks prego had her name n started to shop i also had to deliver normally my water broke n had contractions but my now ex husband left the room n me there by myself to do it. they said i have an incompetant cervix but 6 weeks later they told me i may have lost her because he cheated on me n gave me an std that they said could have done something to the baby. needless to say he was a piece of crap he wouldnt even talk to me for about a week afterwards then would never answer me or mention anything about her as if she was never here to begin with. wow this is making me upset and angry all over again its still hard for me to deal with it never goes away i still think about her everyday u just try n learn to deal with it

Stacy - posted on 02/27/2010

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I read all the comments from the other moms, I dont know what to say besides I just want to give you a big hug from a mom to another mom. My daughter is 17 months old and was born with hydronephrosis of her rt kidney so im always worrying about her.

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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I have learned to accept what happened. I still think about her everyday and i'll look at pics of when she was "born". And I believe that everything happens for a reason. I'm sitting here watching my son eat lunch right now and if none of that would have happned in the past I wouldnt be sitting here with the most amazing little boy in the world right now. Oh, man, all this baby talk is makin me want to have another! uh oh. ha ha Thank you everyone for the info about being RH negative. some of this i did not know. Thank you everyone for listening too :)

Natalie - posted on 02/27/2010

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I'm so sorry you had to go through that! It's really weird that your Dr didn't say anything about you being Rh negative. I'm negative as well and my hubby is positive and both of my kids are positive as well so i got the shot during each pregnancy and then after birth.
It's not likely that this is why you had a miscarriage though because of you being Rh negative. The first pregnancy is usually safe, even if the baby is positive. It's the future pregnancies that are at risk if you do not get the shot. Because as soon as your pregnant again your body can reject the pregnancy....
I do not know why people have still birth or miscarriages...
It's sad... sometimes i feel that it's just not the right time for the parents to have the child or there was some abnormality that wasn't caught in ultrasounds... for whatever reason, you have to focus on the present and not the past.

Jessica - posted on 02/27/2010

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If you ever want to chat or need someone to talk or to vent or your sad need a shoulder, you get my drift... Im here Ill listen I think through this you have my email, ill give it anyways azaria_elijah_ethan@yahoo.com... send me an email and i will send you my number to incase you ever need someone to talk to who will just listen

Jessica - posted on 02/27/2010

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You can't question everything, everything happens the way god already planned it to... Nothing you could have done would have changed anything, and everything good and bad that has happened to you in your life has gotten you to be exactly where you are right now. This is how I look at everything in my past and I embrace even the loss and the bad cause those moments brought me here too... I lost a baby too, not as far along as you but still hard, you have the child already etched into your life... If I had that baby I would not have my Wyatt so, glad it happened no but I am okay with it... Let’s just say you had her here do you think you would be where you are now (not that you would have chosen to lose her) but he had a plan... just make sure you end up with her one day make that a goal in your life (not soon, lol) to get to where she is, talk to her every night before bed say a prayer so you feel close or get a bear, like a little girls teddy bear a put a necklace with her birthstone around it or something we don't want to forget her but don't want every moment to be consumed. You did everything right , you could not have changed anything, that was her day, as hard as it was there is no second guessing nothing anyone could have done would have changed it. The only thing we can do it control or change are reaction and attitudes to circumstances and obstacles in our lives. I will say a prayer for you and you daughter and son tonight, we love you, be strong!!! P.S I am rh- too, the way it works with the shots for your first one you really need to get it so that your body does not attack the second baby you get pregnant with, the first will be fine but with the first it will build the antibodies and the next time you get pregnant it will recognize it as foreign/disease and attack and destroy

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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Oh, and when i was pregnant with my son they did antibody screens too to make sure the levels werent getting too high. I just think it was the doctors fault for not taking all the precautions or even letting me know that there was a risk. People ask me why I didnt get a lawyer and sue him like everyone else around here did. I did, i went and talked to one but I decided that no amount of money was going to bring my daughter back and it could never replace her so I just let it go.

April - posted on 02/27/2010

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My baby girl ended up having positive blood and i know i have negative blood type. But, i did not know this through the whole pregnancy. The doc didnt tell me anything about it, I didnt even know that there was a risk. After i lost the baby the nurses and doc kept asking me if i had been pregnant before that and i kept telling them no (and i wasnt lying) they kept insisting that i had been pregnant before. That's when i found out about being rh negative and that there was a risk involved. They said that wasnt the reason why I lost the baby, but they couldnt tell me why i did. I did a lot of research about being Rh Negative. I got pregnant again 4 months later and had a miscarriage and had to have a dnc done.(it was with the same guy as the stillbirth) Then, I met my husband now and we had a perfectly healthy baby boy. I had the shots and everything and a different doc this time around. I think that the doctor I had when my daughter died failed to tell me about being RH negative and he never gave me the shots, never did blood work. He didnt do anything. He told me my pregnancy was normal. They think i was lying to them about being pregnant before I had lost my daughter. I wasnt lying. In my research I found that it is really rare to have the blood type affect a first pregnancy. Well, i obviously was that rare case. My sister also had the same doctor when my nephew was born and she didn't know she was RH negative either until she was pregnant with her second child and went to a different doctor. Also, when my daughter died in the womb I never had any bleeding or cramping or anything. Everything felt normal other than the fact that I hadnt felt her move in about 8 hours.

Carrie - posted on 02/27/2010

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I don't know much about stillbirth I've never had to experience that. I did however have a miscarriage, and we all know this is in the unknown. It must of been really hard for you I can't imagine as in my own way my DNC was a terrible experience for me. I am also an RH Negative person. They never tested any of my partners either when I was having babies, I'm not sure how they knew what to do, but they said it had something to do with mine and the baby's blood mixing together. They say it causes birth defects if it's not treated, I've never heard of their being death involved. I did recieve my shots, I got 2 everytime I was pregnant. You should've gotten those shots for sure if they were telling the truth about your RH Negative status. I'm sorry you had to go through all of that, and I'm glad that you now have a baby. Your answers may never be known, but in all of it there was a reason for it, god had plans for your little girl. I hope in time everything heals.

Nicole - posted on 02/27/2010

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So sorry for you. I just wanted to write to you but do not have any words of wisdom. Just know that you will be in my thoughts!

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