by Robin Lentz Worgan
In 1988 President Ronald Reagan deemed October National Pregnancy and Infant Loss month. That date was almost 30 years ago and already 20 years ago I lost my darling, silent Margaret to stillbirth.
When I look back to that many years ago, I feel happy about the progress that has been made to raise awareness about baby loss as well as to create various ways to better support parents of infant and pregnancy loss. When I gave birth to Margaret, there were no birth certificates for stillborn babies, but now there are.J There were no inventions to allow families to hold babies for a long amount of time. Margaret had to be pried out of our arms after a short two hours holding her, but now with the invention of the cuddle cots, a cooling system that helps preserve the skin of the babies while their parents grieve, that time can be lengthened up to 4 days. These cuddle cots are being bought as fundraisers and installed in hospitals here as well as overseas. They allow the parents to share their baby with other family members including siblings and grandparents and they allow the parents to spend more time with their baby before saying a final devastating good bye.
Recently kick counting apps are being developed to help prevent stillbirth and the most exciting (and gut wrenching) research that has just come out of Australia is the possible development of a test that could alert doctors when a baby is in “grave danger.” Professor Roger Smith hopes to be able to design a test to help figure out if a mother’s placenta is aging too fast by seeing if her enzyme level is elevated. If it is, he hopes to create something to give to her that would slow this process. How many broken hearts would stay whole and how many little lives would be saved??