I know it is. Somehow. Nate and Sam died of hypoxia, and I worry that I caused it.
Because hypoxia means a lack of oxygen, here is the list of crazy thoughts in my head:
- My left hip hurt. A lot. It is probably arthritis. As a result, I often slept on my right side, even though all the pregnancy books tell you not to do it. Did sleeping on my right side kill my babies?
- Also, due to the painful hip, I took a lot of baths. As soon as I got home from work, I jumped in the bathtub. I added bath salts and lovely scented bubbles. I ran the water jets. The water was hot. Did the hot water kill my babies?
- I went to Denver. Okay, this is a little more far-fetched, but three months before they died, I went to Denver for a work trip. I spent five days in the mile-high city! Maybe the high altitude meant they did not get enough oxygen and died? Three months later….
- Speaking of work, I worked right up until I was 34 weeks pregnant! My job does not involve heavy lifting or being on my feet, I sit at a computer all day. But that does not mean I was not stressed out about all the things I had to get done before taking maternity leave. Did I somehow work too hard and kill my babies?
- Brie. I have a secret weak spot for brie. Smother it on French bread and I am in heaven. This is another pregnancy no-no, which I did anyway, because I love brie too much. I’m pretty sure the reason is because unpasteurized cheeses have a higher risk of listeria, and that has nothing to do with a lack of oxygen. Still, could this be the reason?
- I made a joke. Actually, I made lots of jokes. Sometimes I think I’m pretty hilarious. But when I found out I was having twins I was not over the moon, but instead a little freaked out. I made a joke in my e-mail to friends that I was stuck with twins because I could not send one back. Ha ha, looks like you can send them both back, the joke’s on me! Maybe karma killed my babies?
I could go on. In the nearly seven (yikes!) years since Nate and Sam died, I have had plenty of ridiculous reasons pass through my mind. I keep thinking of new ones. But I have to let them go. I have to. When blame and doubt creep into your mind, you have to remind yourself that you were doing the best you could with the information you had at the time. That’s all any of us can do. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful things. First, you have to forgive yourself.
Image by Hartwig HKD, used under Creative Commons Licence.
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).