I Need To Know

Zak was delivered at 32 weeks gestation. He was measuring 36 weeks and if we had not turned off his ventilator when we did he would have been breathing on his own by the morning.

We turned his ventilator off as he had massive bleeding on his brain and they said he would have been a vegetable.

Its thought that he had a cord accident. The cord was not around his neck but the Dr’s seem to think he had a ‘kink’ in his cord or he ‘squashed’ his cord starving his brain of oxygen for an unknown amount of time. He was delivered when he was because the Dr’s didn’t think he would be alive the next day. After all we know now I’m 99.9% sure Zak would have been dead the next day and I would have delivered a stillborn baby.

I know we did the right thing. I don’t regret any decisions we made. But I have one question. Its a question that I think about ALL the time. I feel sick when I think about it but I need a answer and I need to know the truth.

I’m sure this is a question that most mothers of still born babies have asked. So if anyone knows the answer I would love to hear from you.

Are babies like Zak in ANY pain when they are still inside having that ‘cord accident’?? When a baby is stillborn, do the Dr’s know if the bub was in pain before s/he died??

This question haunts me EVERY minute of EVERY day.

Zak 3 days old

* Photo taken in the hours before Zak died. (3 days old)


11 Responses

  1. I know in my case, my doctor told me that she wouldn’t have been in any pain because it would have happened literally in an “instant”. She might have just “pinched” the cord or yanked on it just right and that was it. She was there one moment and then when the oxygen was gone, she was gone the next. The doctor also confirmed this when I delivered her because there was no “muconium” and she said when babies are “stressed” for any reason, they will have this first bowl movement. There was none in the womb and she didn’t have the movement until just after delivery (I guess the body does this on its own). So it must have happened so quickly that the body didn’t even know there was a lack of oxygen to respond to.
    Based on my Biology background and what I know is that the body cannot live without oxygen for very long–systems start to shut down and the brain goes pretty quickly. Just think of how climbing to the top of Mount Everst without oxygen kills so many brain cells. Also, in extreme situations (think of adults who have a leg severed or something—yeah that is extreme)the body’s flight or fight system kicks in and all the adrenaline and endorphins basically numb the pain receptors in the brain. A baby has all of these systems so I would think that you could be fairly certain that he wasn’t in pain. But I’m not a doctor. I”m just basing this off of what I know in other situations. Try not to beat yourself up too much. We have such a burden to carry. *hugs*

  2. Hmmm see this is my problem, Zak’s ‘lack’ of oxygen wasn’t enough to end his poor little life. It just gave him brain damage. there was also muconium when i had my c section. So I guess he probably was in pain and in distressed. I feel so sick.

    Thanks for being honest though.

    Hugs Brenda

  3. I don’t believe, despite what doctors say, we will ever know the answers to this question.

    When I lost the girls, I was so stressed about them feeling pain. As they were so very early, they would have died in the minutes leading up to delivery. They were alive in the morning- I know that for sure. My doctors assured me that they wouldn’t have felt a thing.

    when Piper & Laine died, this was the thing I stressed about the most. I had to hold them as they died, which took about 20 minutes. My dr assured me that they knew no pain – they didn’t seem to be in any pain – all we did was give them love.

    But, the question remains, doesn’t it? Do the doctors tell us they don’t feel the pain just to reassure us, or is it true? I don’t think that the presence of meconium can categorically state that Zak was in pain. Piper passed meconium on me, but she didn’t seem distressed.

    Jeez I wish I knew the definite answer….

    Hugs x

  4. This question haunts me as well. Both my boys died from infections (one bacterial, one viral), and I can’t help but think how I feel when I’m sick with an infection…

  5. I am so sorry you even have to think about these things.


  6. This question doesn’t haunt me anymore. I don’t know why. Maybe for him it was like just going to sleep. Maybe for him he went to sleep with the familiar sounds of your body in his ears and he just didn’t wake up again.

    After my extensive dead baby reading, I also think that cord accident is often given as an answer when the real answer is “we don’t know what happened – it may have been a cord accident but we can’t be sure”. Of course sometimes it’s obvious there was a cord accident.

    Like Patience, I also don’t think that meconium categorically means that Zak was in pain.

    “So if anyone knows the answer I would love to hear from you.”. No-one knows the answer.


  7. I agree that just the presence of meconium doesn’t mean “pain” but I was just saying what my doctor told me about being “stressed”. Babies that are born perfectly healthy sometimes pass the meconium and no one thinks edgewise. So it probably was one of those things she just said to me in the moment.

    No one will know the answer. After how many years we still don’t know how the baby’s brain works. What we do know is that it is different then ours. They have the equipment, but how they interpret the readings are completely different.

    I like what Rosepetal said about going to sleep with the sounds of your heart and the comfort of your womb. Like the curtain closing slowly after a beautiful play.

    I didn’t mean to make you sick. I’m so sorry.

  8. Sweetheart I am so sorry and I wish I could answer that question for you but unfortunatly it is one of the unknown things.

    I know when I was induced that that was the first thing out of everything on my mind as I knew she was alive right up until I gave birth. My thoughts were are these contractions killing her but was assured she wouldn’t feel anything. But your right how do we know.

    Sending you hugs babe.

  9. I have been offline for a few days so just catching up on the blogs. My heart totally aches for you and what you are going through right now. So many unanswered questions and taunting doubt. You poor thing, I hope you feel better soon x hugs x

  10. I forgot to mention how gorgeous the photo is, thank you for sharing it with us.

  11. Dear Brenda

    I am so sorry about your little sweetheart Zak.

    I was obsessed with the idea of Tanner in pain while he was denied oxygen. I WILL believe what the doctor’s tell me that Tanner died in the warmest and safest place and just went to sleep. I truly believe he may have been a little drowsy from the lack of oxygen never to wake up again. I cannot go on with life if I think he had suffered.

    As soon as Tanner died he woke up in another warm and safe place surrounded by wonderful things until I get there.

    Peace Love and Hugs from Above

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