As I was surfing the ‘net last night I stumbled upon an article on labor and delivery statistics, written by some OB-Gyn. First off, I was floored to read that of the women who decide they want to “try” natural birth (i.e. no meds), most end up with drugs such as an epidural. Of the women who go into labor adamant about doing it natural, only about 50% make it without. Floored. Because I honestly didn’t realize so many had such a tough time. I won’t say my labor (natural) was a cakewalk, but it certainly didn’t feel nearly as hard as those statistics make it sound.

But the article got interesting, as it talked about labor times and delivery times. Apparently, for a first baby, it is not uncommon for women to push between an hour and three hours (and of course, they always say that many first-time moms have a labor between 16 and 20 hours). With second and subsequent children, that pushing time whittles down to between 20 minutes and 2 hours.

My labor with Michael was 5 hours, and my pushing phase lasted around 10 minutes. And it still wasn’t enough. Yes, I remain irritated by that little fact (and probably will be irritated by it for the rest of my life). I was the one they could see was made for this, who excelled at this. I was the one who who was the “sure bet,” the one they didn’t have to worry about.

But my son got stressed.

He panicked inside me at the very last moment and inhaled when he shouldn’t have.

And no one in that room could save him though they all tried so, so hard.

I remember, once, a long time ago, hearing a quote that said something along the lines of “when a woman is giving birth, it is then that she is closest to life and death.” As a girl, I thought that quote was a bit harsh, but looking back I see it so clearly. In childbirth, things can really go either way, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. No woman is guaranteed a baby to take home, even after the easiest pregnancy on record. Despite all our medical advances, nothing is a sure bet. All those numbers that run so rampant? As much as we don’t want to hear it, those numbers mean nothing. Our outcomes in most circumstances — life or death — are not up to us, though we and the medical community try so valiantly and so hard to make it otherwise.

It’s not up to us.

But I suppose that’s where hope comes in, that little, indomitable flame of spirit. We dream, we pray, we hope for the best. We believe that good things can come. And sometimes, against all odds, those little hopes come to fruition, in spite of the logic of numbers.

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67 thoughts on “Statistics

  1. Wow….I’m so sorry to read about your loss. Living in a developing country and fantastic healthcare it is very easy for us to to become immune and removed from the raw realities of the risks to a mother and baby during childbirth. A country like Ghana has a horrible statistic of 1 death in every 6 births.
    It’s shocking, but the fact is childbirth is a serious thing. What a mother and baby are trying to do is no joke, and certainly nothing to be taken lightly. I am so sorry for your loss, and hope you somehow learn to deal with your loss. I can only imagine the pain.
    Let your post be a reminder to everyone how blessed we are and not to take things like labour and birth for granted.

    1. You are so very right. After having faced this journey myself, my heart just aches for women everywhere that have to go through this. Losing your baby from complications during birth is NOTHING I’d ever wish on my worst enemy. 😦

      Thankfully, writing has helped me a lot, even though I am approaching a mere 9 months out from my loss, I feel remarkably well-adjusted. And that’s my advice to anyone who finds themselves in my shoes — find something that is constructive and helps you heal, whether that’s writing, music, dance, building things, volunteering, whatever. Find that thing and then DO it, for your own sake. I had decided right off the bat, before my husband and I ever left the hospital, I think, that I didn’t want to be the woman who was still in the throes of that worst part of grief ten, fifteen, thirty years down the road. And I took the necessary steps to help my heart heal. I’m glad I did. The hurt will never entirely go away, but I am no longer being held down by it. Everyone in this position owes themselves that.

      Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

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  2. My gosh, I’m so sorry to read of your loss. I believe your angel is with you still.

    I’ve been reading lots of stories online about what to look out for, etc, and although many of my friends think I’m just helping myself freak out in advance (I’m surprisingly calm still), but I do think that being forewarned is forearmed… although with that said, nothing can ever really prepare you for the ‘real deal’ right?

    I truly believe that He has a greater plan for each and every one of us… bigger and better than we could ever imagine.

    xx

    1. Congratulations to you. 🙂

      Forewarned is definitely forearmed, however, having been in this particular unfortunate situation, my only advice to you is this: don’t worry about being prepared for every potential eventuality, and focus on treasuring each and every moment, even when you’re puking your guts out from morning sickness, even when your hips or belly ache so much from growing that child. Treasure the little moments, all of them, uncomfortable or not, and embrace the miracle that is that little life. 🙂

      I truly do believe that God has a plan for each of us, and I am certain that my son fulfilled the one God had in store for him. That has given me a lot of peace about the matter.

  3. Thank you for sharing something I am sure is still painful to even think about. Please know that through sharing your loss, you have given me hope and courage to share my story. May your loss be the seed to your gain.

    Strength, peace, and love.

    1. I am so sorry to hear of the hardship you find yourself facing, and I pray that you cling to that courage and hope to talk about it. Talking about Michael, writing about him, writing about the experience have been invaluable to my healing process. Writing, especially, kept me sane during the worst months of it.

      Thank you for the good wishes, and know that I am hugging you in my heart right now. Hang in there. Don’t give up. Time won’t take away the pain completely, but it does ease the ache.

    1. Some people have said that I shouldn’t write what is so personal, but I find incredible healing in it. So many of these types of losses are silent, and it’s unfortunate because being able to talk about my son, being able to acknowledge that He LIVED, has been such a balm for my aching heart. I wish every mother-to-be that finds herself without a living child can have the courage and power to speak up. 🙂

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      1. That’s what writing is all about, it’s personal. Talking/writing about things can have so much power to heal. I wish no mother would ever have to lose a child. I can’t even imagine what that must be like.

  4. good post…keep doing it…as I am new blogger I posted couple of blogs and not able to get that much popularity please visit my blog http://mindtechnorms.wordpress.com …please help me by reading by any blog (as I read yours) and try to find is there any writing issues or I’m expecting too early…your valuable comments will really boost my writing skills…

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, i know how hard that is. I lost my daughter in 2008 . She Passed away right after she waas born, and one of the worst things for me was leaving my daughter in the hospital. Instead of going home with my new baby i had to go to the funeral home to make arrangements.

    1. Oh, how I know what that feels like. 😦 I’m sorry, too, for your loss, and I hope that five years out, you find yourself in a better place than when you began this journey. *hugs*

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      1. I have found out that it never hurts any less, you just kinda train yourself not to think about it as much. This month is especially hard the 26th is her birthday she would have been six years old.

      2. That’s definitely right. I read somewhere that “grief is the act of loving someone who is no longer here.” I like that definition, because it doesn’t minimize the loss, and it doesn’t have the implication that you must “get over it” to be healed. You don’t “get over” loss of a child. But you DO learn to manage it. In one of my earlier posts on the topic, I wrote about how it’s like leaving the post office when you’ve been handed a ton of big, bulky boxes. At first you drop them and you can’t quite get them situated, but by the time you reach your car, you’ve figured out how to hold them and balance them and still do what you need to do.

        I’ll be thinking about you and your family this month. Prayers to you.

  6. I read this with interest because my wife and I had our third child by a midwife. It was a good experience and we would highly recommend it. No drugs. But there was pain.

    1. Yes, I think childbirth is supposed to be uncomfortable — I read once that it’s called “labor” because it’s work! lol. But overall, I found my birthing experience to be a pretty amazing one that I hope to have again… just with a better outcome in the moments following. 🙂

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  7. I am so sorry for your loss. When my wife and I had our first child, everything in the hospital went as we all had hoped and expected. But the second day we went home, he was having trouble breathing and we rushed him back to the hospital. I’ll never forget the doctor telling us we probably should leave, his lung collapsed and they could not get it inflated. We never left his side as he struggled to breath and somehow after five days of crying, his lung opened. We never want to go through that again. I know you will have better days ahead and you’ll bring joy to a little one in the near future. Our prayers are with you.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. When my wife and I had our first child, everything in the hospital went as we all had hoped and expected. But the second day we went home, he was having trouble breathing and we rushed him back to the hospital. I’ll never forget the doctor telling us we probably should NOT leave, his lung collapsed and they could not get it inflated. We never left his side as he struggled to breath and somehow after five days of crying, his lung opened. We never want to go through that again. I know you will have better days ahead and you’ll bring joy to a little one in the near future. Our prayers are with you.

  9. “But my son got stressed.

    He panicked inside me at the very last moment and inhaled when he shouldn’t have.

    And no one in that room could save him though they all tried so, so hard.”

    These words took my breath away. Beautifully written post about something more painful than I can imagine.

  10. In Kenya there is a tribe that has a very strange way of asking a woman whether she has had children…”have you died” that’s the direct translation. I worked in an NGO that sought to reduce maternal mortality in my Country. I traveled and witnessed many woman and children die in the process of giving life! It changed me! Something so amazing dancing with such joy and tragedy!

    1. It is really a tenuous time, and though, as a farm-girl, I learned a healthy respect for the gift of life at a very young age, I have so much more respect and awe of it now.

      I think you are doing a very noble thing, trying to help mothers and children. Blessings to you. ❤

  11. being pregnant myself at the moment, I am even more horrified by what you were going through, and still are – but please don´t give up hope. I´ve heard so many unbelievable stories when a couple did have they wished-for baby in the end……

    1. Oh Sabine, please don’t worry. Just treasure the moments you have because they are precious. Love the baby you are carrying, because it is worth it — no matter the outcome. Unfortunately, things like what my husband and I have faced do happen, but also keep in mind that you have a 95-97% chance that you won’t find yourself in my shoes. Hugs to you, and best wishes for a smooth, happy, healthy pregnancy, and a lovely child for you at the end. >

  12. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I know those are words that don’t begin to suffice in any way, no matter how hard any of us try. The 2nd of my 3 children was diagnosed a stillbirth at 6 months and we endured a grueling 72 hour induction that nearly broke me physically and mentally

    1. Sorry..I hit send by accident. 🙂 what I was trying to say was that as I lay there in the Labour ward hearing all these difficult yet happy outcomes of Labour and delivery, my heart secretly cheered for each and Emery mum and dad in there. They, thankfully, had no concept of how badly things could go, and I was glad for that. I pray each of them cherished every moment with those babies. Thank you for sharing your story. Can I just say that, hard as it is, the pain eases to a manageable degree over time. Live happy as you are able. Breathe. It as not as easy to die of grief as our grief makes us feel…so if you are going to have to live, don’t let this be your defining moment in life. There is so much more to come, and yes, you will smile, you will laugh, you WILL find joy again. long distance hugs, Dorreen (Mother Hen)

  13. So sorry to hear about your loss. We miscarried between our first and second and it was completely traumatizing to me for weeks. I can only imagine how much harder it would be if baby is lost at birth. I do believe He works all things together for our good (Romans 8). A verse that held me together through the darkest period of my life is John 16:33. There are trials in this life but He has overcome the world (amplified version says He has deprived it of power to harm us).
    I am glad you were able to find some peace through the situation.

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