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Sep 11 2014

My Sister’s Stillbirth

By at 4:13 pm

stillbirth

On October 31st, 2012, I awoke to a phone call from my sister. “I think I’m going to have a baby today. Maybe baby!” I pretended to be calm and collected and told her I would be right over. She only lives five minutes down the road.

When I got to my sister’s house, her curly-headed 2-year-old Rachie greeted me at the door with a big grin. My sister was trying to stifle her own excitement, knowing that while she had been having steady contractions since 3 a.m., birthing is unpredictable–it could be an hour or a day. As we watched television, she wiggled around on the birthing ball, shifting positions, walking around, breathing deeply as her contractions rose and fell. I was mesmerized. This woman before me, sister of my blood, seemed elevated with grace and knowing even in the throes of her primal ache. What a great laborer, I thought to myself enviously. I wish I could do that.

When it was almost noon, we noticed that the contractions were coming a bit less frequently than the morning. “When they get back from the store, Rachie will nurse,” my sister said confidently. “That will get the contractions going again.”¬†Sure enough, the arrival of her big girl sent strong clenches through her uterus as we awaited the midwife. Not just any midwife, but the woman who had gently steered and caught¬†my son and both my sister’s older children. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 4 2013

Should a Mom Be Jailed for Her Own Stillbirth?

By at 9:44 am

woman in handcuffsAs I enter my final few weeks of pregnancy, I sometimes worry about ordering a cup of coffee. Too often, the barista responds, “Decaf?” or a stranger within earshot wonders aloud whether I’m “allowed” to drink that.

It’s not just coffee. When I was pregnant with my daughter, a waitress balked at my husband and my order of labneh, and a co-worker expressed shock that I was eating sushi (never mind that I’m vegetarian, and the sushi in question involved avocados and cucumbers). Read the rest of this entry →

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