Last week, I began nonstress tests and biophysical profiles for this baby. Every week now, I will visit the perinatologist and be strapped to a machine for 30 minutes while they monitor the baby’s heartbeat and movements. If the baby isn’t moving enough, I will stay strapped to the machine longer. And if things still don’t look right, the baby might be delivered early.
Before I went back for the tests, I had to sign a form acknowledging that I understand that, even with the tests, there is still a 1 in 1,000 chance that this baby will not survive. A more rational person would look at that figure and see 999 living babies. All I could think of was that one.
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. About one in 10 pregnancies end in miscarriage. About one in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. I have been the one in both cases, so statistics no longer bring me any comfort. When you add up all the other women who have been the one, you have thousands.
Every few weeks, I receive an email from a stranger who has lost a baby. I am grateful if I can offer some small bit of helpful advice or comfort. This seems to be the only sensible thing I can do about Genevieve’s death, try to help those behind me, just as I was helped by those ahead. But I wish there weren’t so many behind me, that we could make this problem truly rare.
A candle burns in my front window tonight. For each candle that burns in a window tonight, each person who didn’t seem all that statistically significant, there is a story, and a missing baby who is loved beyond any quantifying or measurement.