Hello, we would like to post this on the Pregnancy & Infant Loss forum. You are welcome to use our names and e-mail id: Jim & Annette Polar, Jpolar2@new.rr.com
3 weeks ago, our third child was born on March 2, 1996. We were ecstatic when that pregnancy test showed a positive last Thanksgiving morning. That came to a crashing halt on Friday, March 1 when a routine ultrasound revealed no cardiac activity. "Fetal demise," they call it. So, the next morning, I took my wife back to the hospital where they induced labor. 10:00pm that night, our daughter was born after growing for 5 months. She was our flesh and blood, beautiful to us in every way. But she would never cry, never open her eyes, never know the love that awaited her. Don't ever let anyone say lightning doesn't strike twice. Because 18 months before, on September 3, 1994, my wife gave birth to our second child, a boy, also born still and silent of a drug induced labor after succumbing to "fetal demise." We have a 3 and a half-year-old daughter named Sasha. Hers was a difficult pregnancy riddled with problems many steps of the way. We were fortunate, though, to be blessed with a healthy, vibrant child that continues to be the sunshine of our lives every day. When we decided to have a second child, we embraced each and every checkup where the report said the pregnancy was progressing normally, and all was fine. On September 1, 1994, 5 months into that pregnancy, my wife went for her regular checkup. No heart- beat. 2 days later, we returned to the hospital, where labor was induced. 12 hours later, she gave birth to our son Matthew. A post-birth exam revealed possible umbilical cord problems that hinted at a cause. It took a year of recovery before we decided to try to have another child. My wife changed doctors to a high-risk specialist, and she was soon pregnant. Another spotless pregnancy, month after month of encouraging news. UNTIL, March 1, 1996 (exactly 18 months after Sept. 1, 1994). A routine ultrasound found no heartbeat. This time we waited only 1 day. The following morning, we returned, and the rest, as they say, is history. We now have 3 children, 2 of whom no longer exist in this world. The same umbilical cord problem appears to have reared its ugly head, with a strong possibility of fetal-maternal hemmorhage. Why are we meant to suffer? Only someone who has gone through this experience can possibly know what we feel like. Society as a whole still does not accept the fact that a stillborn child is a death in our family. This month, we buried our daughter, Caitlyn Jean. Does the fact that her heart ceased to beat before she emerged demean her existence? Our tax and insurance regulations certainly point to that. When our son, Matthew James, was born without a heartbeat on Sept. 3, 1994, we were devastated. While barely recovered from that, we were dealt another hammer blow when we found that the overwhelming majority of dependent life insurance policies, including our own, do not cover children until 10 days after birth. Live birth, that is. Not only did we lose our son, but we then faced a financial crisis trying to bury him with dignity. To compound matters, we again faced this at tax time. The tax law states, "You may not claim an exemption for a stillborn child." All this talk about FAMILY VALUES, and they don't value a baby as a part of our family. Now, lightning has struck us twice, and we face this same crisis again, with no insurance coverage or tax benefits to assist us. Can we ever expect this to change? When will society begin to value our children based on their existence, rather than whether or not their eyes will ever open? Contact with our legislators has netted little response. They have things they consider more pressing, like keeping Bill Clinton in the White House, or who is the only candidate that can beat Bill Clinton. We don't expect someone to return to the Capitol, bang their gavel, and transform the tax and insurance codes. All we ask is that these laws and regulations get some serious review. A kinder, gentler nation needs to take a closer look at its future, and who that future will include. This time, we had the necessary finances to say goodbye to our daughter in a dignified manner. But, for every couple like us that can, how many more are out there that can't?
Jim & Annette Polar
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