Trigger Warning: This article discusses pregnancy loss
“Your baby has a condition that is not compatible with life.” 11 words that every parent dreads to hear at their routine ultrasound. But 11 words that are said way too often.
For one very brave mother, these 11 words meant she would be giving birth to her daughter much earlier than intended and that her baby would be born still.
The beautiful little girl in the images above and below has fetal hydrops.
This is a condition in which large amounts of fluid build up in a baby’s tissues and organs, causing extensive swelling (edema). While the survival rate varies depending on the severity of the condition, even with treatment, the survival rate for the baby is low.
One website states that only about 20 per cent of babies diagnosed with fetal hydrops before birth will survive to delivery, and of those babies, only half will survive after delivery.
In the instance of the baby below, the rate was 0%.
The power of saline
As Orange County Midwifery writes:
Instead of falling into fear with the strong recommendation from the OB, she trusted her intuition, she let her baby pass on her own time and birthed her into the same place that she originally intended … at home.”
This mother had read a story about another little girl who was born still. The mother found a way to preserve her little body for a little bit longer by using a saline bath.
On the day this mother gave birth, she prepared a saline water bath and was able to keep her little girl with her just a little bit longer – to take some photos, to cuddle her, and to say goodbye.
Saline water [can] mimic the amniotic fluid that baby had just come from. The process of her little body decaying was halted. With changing the water every 6-8 hours, they were able to see their baby unfold… the redness of the skin, the peeling skin, all stopped.”
‘I wish I knew’
This story was shared on a Facebook page and, as expected, was flooded with an outpouring of support and “I wish I knew.”
As one mother wrote, “I regret every day listening to the nurse saying that maybe I wouldn’t want to look at her. And I was afraid and agreed.”
In Australia, over 2,000 babies are stillborn each year – that’s six babies a day. Even more babies are born before the 20-week mark where they are not considered stillborn yet.
So many mothers go through the birthing process and don’t have a chance to properly say goodbye. Perhaps they are afraid to look at their babies. Perhaps the hospital suggests they don’t. Whatever the case, so many parents don’t get the proper chance to say goodbye.
But, through the process of a saline bath, mothers may be able to stop time for a few extra hours or even days, allowing them the time to say goodbye to their babies that, for whatever reason, grew their angel wings sooner than expected.