There’s a number I’d like to share with you all today:

Twenty-thousand three-hundred and seventy-seven

20,377 is a pretty big number to me and just a few hours ago, it seemed a whole lot bigger than before. Since Jensen was born forty-one weeks ago, twenty-thousand three-hundred and seventy-seven babies have been stillborn.

Let that really set it.

That’s 40,754 mothers and fathers that have lost their children and 163,016 grandparents who have lost their grandchildren. Just in forty-one weeks. 

The absolute crazy thing about that number is, it grows by 71 each and every day, in the United States alone. (I read this statistic today from stillbirthday.com.) Even more bizarre before Jensen was born, I didn’t even realize that stillbirths still happened. I honestly thought that is was just something that happened in the medieval period. That sounds very closed-minded and uneducated, but I literally did not know. I knew people who had miscarriages, but I only thought it happened within the first trimester or at the very latest twenty weeks. I didn’t realize babies died, until mine did and it completely flipped my whole entire world upside down.

Through my entire grief journey, I have wanted people to, one, know Jensen and how much he means to me. Which, by the way if you haven’t noticed, he means everything to me. But, I’ve also swore to myself and Jensen, that I would speak up about stillbirth. I want this taboo topic to be talked about. There is NO way seventy-one babies in the United States should be dying every day. I know that these parents have done nothing wrong to cause this, believe me. But there has to be something more we can do. People, like Danielle before Jensen, should know stillbirth happens.

Babies die.

Parents grieve, hard.

Lives change forever.

‘But Danielle, no one wants to talk about how babies die. It’s too sad.’

Yes. It is sad. Losing a child is a tragedy no one should ever go through, but I’ve lived forty-one weeks of this life after loss. There’s people that have lived this life for way longer than I have and there has been seventy-one sets of parents who have entered this new life. That’s the reality. Our world isn’t all rainbows and puppies. It sucks. Life is hard and although there is no way to prepare for giving birth to your lifeless child, it should at least be talked about. Those babies deserve to be talked about and much, much more.

I urge you to take one day and put your timer on for every twenty minutes. Each time you would press to shut that alarm off, another child has died. Another mother’s dreams have been shattered. Another father will try to comfort his partner. Another family effected by something some people don’t even know happens any more. The seventy-one times your phone would go off through the day would really set in. For every chime means another angel will get his or her wings.

This isn’t meant to make anyone feel extra sad or to make anyone feel bad. It’s the truth and the hard statistics. To be quite honest, it’s horrible to be on the wrong side of it. Being that one of seventy-one a day. It breaks your spirit. Just knowing those numbers, I don’t know how this world can absorb all that pain and heartbreak day after day.

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Happy forty-one weeks in heaven Baby J. You made it to St. Paul, Minnesota today to play in the snow. Make sure you send Kristyna a big thank you sign. I think you would have really liked the snow and would have eventually thrown snowballs at me every time we walked to the car. There’s no snow here today in Ohio, but I’m sure you’re getting whatever you would like in heaven. I wish you were physically here with me. I miss you. I love you.

Stillbirth Remembrance Day.

Jensen has taught me so much in the time he was with me and after. He taught me a new kind of love and appreciation for life. My time with him brought me so many smiles and tears. I learned Jensen would much rather have a gallon of chocolate milk instead of water. He most definitely would have been a night owl who slept all day. His stubbornness even inside my belly made me laugh. I could go on and on about all the things I learned about him and how it effected me to this day. Even though he didn’t take a breath on this earth, he still lived. My little guy was a person who had his own emotions and personality. He’s the amazing, little baby that I would never been able to dream up. Jensen is my son, my first-born boy.

His death taught me others.

In fact, I learned that September sixth is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. That’s today, which falls on his twenty-second week. If you hadn’t noticed, a lot of important dates fall on Tuesdays this year. Honestly, before Jensen’s heart stopped beating, I didn’t realize what a stillbirth was. I mean, some part of my brain knew babies died and they were still. History documents so many women and families having multiple stillbirths, but that was way in the past. In my mind, it didn’t happen with all this technology we had or in this time. A baby’s heart just didn’t stop beating. No matter all these horrible things that can happen during pregnancy would never happen to me and my baby. Until it did.

Those words still ring in my ear, “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat, you need to go to the hospital.”

Then the, “Do you understand what this means?”

I wish I could go back to this moment and scream at the doctor. No. I didn’t understand what that meant. How could he die? I just saw him dancing around on the screen four days before. He was just moving the previous day. It hit me as we drove over to the hospital that I’d have to go through labor and birth my son. Just as we practiced, but he wouldn’t be there. Instead of the screams, there would be nothing but silence. Some part of me believed the ultrasound machine was lying. That he would come out screaming and just faked everyone out. He didn’t, the room was silent.

Our time at the doctor’s office and the hospital still hasn’t come back to me; well not fully. I do remember being home the week after his funeral and it was the first time I looked up stillbirth on Google. What I found was so surprising. One in one-hundred and sixty pregnancies end in stillbirth. That’s a huge number of babies dying everyday. It’s another mom and dad losing their child. Another childhood that won’t be lived. A mom who feels like she’s unable to grieve the loose of her child because stillbirth is so taboo. Death is so taboo, yet it happens to so many babies before they’re even born. Yet, we’re told to ‘get over it’ and ‘just have another one.’ Jensen was not a statistic. I’m not a statistic. We are both human beings. Our lives have a purpose and we’re not defined by death. This happened to me and my family, but we’re not just this number in a study.

On this Stillbirth Remembrance Day, I remember Jensen and all his friends in heaven, just as I do everyday. Our angels are not just a number in a scientific study. Their lives are so meaningful and our motherhood is real. Don’t ever forget.

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I made this for Jensen. The modern wreath and his name are written in his colors, navy blue and orange. Triangles represent the shapes that flooded his nursery. He is remembered and honored everyday. My son will never be a statistic. His life will always be celebrated. I love seeing Jensen’s name and today I want to reach out to all my angel mom friends and ask if you’d like me to do a wreath for your angel. To see their names and remember they are not a statistic. My heart goes out to you mommas on Stillbirth Remembrance Day and everyday.

*Edit: currently not making name wreaths due to my schedule.*