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Catriona Harris Headshot

The Hard Questions

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A stillbirth is defined as a loss of pregnancy after 20 weeks. It was something I didn't realize happened with modern medicine. When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I had a conversation about somebody who had a stillbirth and both commented that we didn't realize that could happen. You always think if you get past your first trimester, you are golden.

My first pregnancy was perfect in every way. I had gotten pregnant with no problem; first try in fact. I had no problems, gained an okay amount of weight. In the last few weeks, I was over being pregnant and was walking a lot hoping to be one of the lucky ones to deliver early - just like most other women.

One Sunday night, when I was 38 weeks pregnant, I was laying down (eating ice cream) and I suddenly realized I hadn't felt my baby move in awhile. I called my husband to talk about it and we both agreed that the baby was running out of room and I'm sure everything was fine. The next morning, I was not feeling good about it. I still wasn't feeling movement, so I decided to go to the doctor.

The doctor assured me everything was fine and to "ease my mind" she would send me in for an ultrasound two days later. I went on with my life. After all, doctors know best, right? Two days later, at the ultrasound, I was told my son had died. It was one of those out of body experiences. All these years later, I can still picture the room, the way I felt, the barrage of nurses and doctors, the pregnant lady next to me on the phone with her plumber.

I was then induced, and spent 36 hours in labor. I delivered my baby like any other full-term mother; he didn't magically go away. And I had to bury him. Instead of finishing his nursery, I was planning his funeral.

In a few weeks, my son would be seven years old. My life is very different than it was back then. My husband and I went on to have two beautiful and healthy girls and we enjoy every moment of parenthood because we know just how precious it is.

What I learned from the experience is that women's instinct is a real thing....and you should trust it. I wish I had trusted mine. My life might be completely different today if I did. I wish I had pushed the doctor and demanded more tests immediately, while my son was still alive. My instinct told me to push, but I trusted the doctor. Doctors are human...doctors have distractions...doctors make mistakes.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Brady. I wonder if he would play with his sisters, if they would share the same cute nose, or if he would be a mama's boy. I'll never know those things. But I know that he is my son and that my husband and I talk about him all the time. If you know somebody who has lost a child, don't be afraid to ask them about him/her. More often than not, they'd love to talk to you about their child. Life goes on and time does, in fact, heal - but you never forget. I may only have two children in my house, but I have three in my heart!