The other one percent
I was going to call my blog “the other one percent” but my sons talked me out of it because of the social baggage associated with those words. I asked him what else I could call it and he came up with life and loss.
The reason I originally reserved that blog name/address is that 1% of babies die FROM NATURAL CAUSES* between 20 weeks gestation and the first 28 days of life. We in our culture love stats…they make us feel safe if we can just stay on the good side of the stats. As Elizabeth McCracken said in An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination “Once you have been on the losing side of winning odds, you will never look at statistics the same way ever again”.
I once did a lecture for Nursing students at a smallish private university “how many students go to school here? “About 2500”. “If one percent of them died each year, you would attend 25 funerals each year…at least a hundred before you graduated…does one percent seem like a lot now?” .
This photo is of one of my patients…you wont see many photos of my patients because its illegal and immoral to use the images without specific permission. His name was Paul and I worked with his family for the last months of his mothers pregnancy once we learned he would likely die at birth. He taught me that you NEVER really know what a baby will do at birth regardless of what the ultrasound shows…he had a life limiting condition (trisomy 18) but he looked so strong and had no cardiac or observable brain defects and he was gone in 3 minutes…we had planned Home Hospice care, we were all shocked that he died so fast.
* that brings up an important point… Our culture argues about abortion – a LOT. We argue about abortion SO much that if you were to gain all of your information about this topic form the media, you might mistakenly think that all perinatal deaths are from abortion. This leaves people thinking that if they don’t get an abortion , their baby will live for sure. This leaves people in a terrible state of shock when they do everything right and their baby dies anyway. Shock, terrible terrible incapacitating shock often follows. Even if we can take away the death and with it the inevitable sadness…we can share enough facts to cushion the shock and we can inform enough to lessen the terror. That is why I’m here.
photo by Rosanne Rainville
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