She Was Still Born

I have been trying to find the mental fortitude to write our youngest daughter’s birth story for five weeks. I want the details down before I forget them. I feel sure I may have already forgotten some things, but those are just the little things, nuances and comments made in that first endless week.

I have learned very quickly that after that first week or two after a child is born still, people don’t really want to hear about it anymore. It is such a sad and nonsensical thing, that a baby would die for no clear reason, and most people would rather not think about such unpleasantness. I am no longer asked how I am doing by most of the people I know. I have heard, “but it’s been a month, don’t you feel any better?” by a well-meaning friend. I do not feel better, and I do not want to forget a moment of this wonderful child’s existence.

The story is not short. It is not happy or uplifting.

Our daughter was stillborn at 42 weeks 3 days. She never opened her blue eyes. She never cried. She never nursed at my breast or grabbed her daddy’s finger with her chubby hand, but she was still born, and she deserves to be remembered forever.

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I had been having contractions on and off for several weeks. Sometimes they were only slightly painful, coming every 10-15 minutes and lasting 20-30 seconds. At other times they were intense enough to need to breathe through, coming every 5 minutes and lasting a minute or so. Each time I was sure “this is it” and each time the contractions would slow down and then stop completely while I slept, only to start again the next afternoon. I made sure to drink a lot of water and orange juice, thinking that the contractions could be a sign of dehydration and wanting to be sure that wasn’t the case.

I reached the 40 week mark on June 14th. I was thrilled to have made it to my due date, feeling a little arrogant about how the doctors had said I would “never carry a baby to full term”, but also feeling ready for our baby girl to make her appearance. We had read all of the research that shows that 40 weeks is just the average length of a normal pregnancy — anything from 38 to 42 weeks is considered in the normal range, and I know of several women who have had their babies at 43 and 44 weeks. We weren’t worried.

Our baby was moving a lot throughout the day and night, kicking my rib cage with enthusiasm and wedging her little head so far down into my pelvis that I felt like I was going to squish her when I sat down. At 40 weeks, I was dilated to 4cm and 100% effaced. The contractions continued daily, and we felt like any minute they would evolve into full blown labor.

At 41 weeks, I was still 4cm and baby girl was at 0 station. We discussed induction but decided against it. I wanted a vaginal birth after cesarean very badly, and pitocin is generally contraindicated in a VBAC, particularly when the mom has a “special scar” like I have (an inverted T incision from Addah’s birth, which basically means that my uterus was cut both low transverse and vertically). It’s been 9.5 years since she was born, but I still didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with uterine rupture.

By this point I was very uncomfortable and ready to not be pregnant. I cried one night that I just wanted to go have a c-section, just so I wouldn’t be pregnant anymore. I didn’t really want that, not then and not looking back, but when your hips and back are aching with every movement, you start to feel a little irrational. David and I had a long soul-searching conversation over the course of a couple days and decided that, since baby girl was still fine, with a great heart rate and passing every kick count, we’d give it until 42 weeks and then reconsider the hospital induction. We felt very good about this decision, having weighed all of our options.

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 28th, the day that I hit 42 weeks, we made the decision that if I was not in “real labor” by the next night, when the girls were supposed to go to their dad’s house, we would go into the hospital for a medical induction. We didn’t make this decision based on any worry about the baby’s health, as she was still kicking quite exuberantly in her very tight living quarters. We made the decision because I was uncomfortable and oh-so-ready to meet our baby.

I woke up on Friday morning to contractions, but this time they felt different. They were more painful, radiating from back to front and sometimes down into my thighs. I told David that I was pretty sure these weren’t going to stop. They felt more real than any of the other times. I was able to manage them fairly easily at this point. David went to work and I went through the motions of my day, stopping to breathe through contractions when necessary.

At one point that morning, I remember telling Addah that her baby sister has hiccups, and remarking to David that it feels very strange having hiccups in one’s vagina.

The contractions slowed down that night but never stopped completely. The next day was much like the one before, painful contractions but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was very excited, getting the last of the baby things in order, picking out her first outfit and debating about which blankets matched which outfit the best.

By Saturday evening, the contractions were coming much closer and more intense. I told David that “we’re going to have a baby tonight”. I wanted to sleep while I still could, to conserve energy for the birth to come. I would wake up to breathe through a contraction and then fall right back asleep. I slept this way all night, fitfully but still getting some much needed rest.

I woke up on Sunday in real pain. It didn’t feel like the labor I’d been having, and it didn’t feel like the way countless books and birth stories and friends have described labor. It was pain and it was harsh. I couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, couldn’t lay down, couldn’t make it to the bathroom without help and I felt like “if this is what labor really feels like, I give up”. I told David that something felt wrong, that it hurt too much and I needed to go to the hospital NOW.

He grabbed my purse and the diaper bag. Lee’s husband Benjamin helped me into their minivan and we sped toward the hospital. Each bump on the (under construction) interstate felt like I was going to split in two, and the 10-minute drive felt like it took hours. David parked in front of the entrance for Labor & Delivery, grabbed a wheelchair and helped me into it. We went upstairs and were asked to wait “just a moment” in the waiting room, while they made sure they had a room available for us. Those five minutes sitting in the wheelchair in the waiting room were awful… I was crying… I just wanted the pain to stop. They didn’t even feel like contractions that stop and start anymore… just pain that wouldn’t end.

We were taken to a room and the nurse hooked up the heartbeat and contraction monitors while the billing lady took my insurance cards and information. I was asked if I wanted to attempt a VBAC and I said “yes, I wanted to go natural but I think I need something for the pain… not an epidural but something because I can’t handle this”. The nurse said “sounds good, we’ll get you something as soon as we get the monitors up and running”. A different nurse came in to check my dilation and said I was “5cm, 100% effaced, baby is at +1 station”. I felt amazed… they were going to “let” me have a vaginal birth without arguing that a cesarean would be a better option!

David was sitting by my head, holding my hand, both of us as excited as children at Christmas. We were about to have a baby! The nurses were using a handheld doppler to find the heartbeat, and it seemed odd that it was taking so long. They said that “maybe it’s because she’s so far down in your pelvis” and brought in an ultrasound machine and tech. A couple minutes went by and the tech said (very cheerfully), “we’re going to have the doctor come take a look”. I was still in pain, trying to focus on the baby and on David, not paying a lot of attention to what the nurses were doing.

The doctor came in and began the ultrasound. After a couple more minutes, David and I looked at each other and the realization that there was a problem began to dawn. I said, “can you not find her heartbeat?” and the doctor said “no, here is her rib cage and there is no heartbeat there”.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl. I felt cold, lost in some surreal nightmare. David ran to the bathroom and collapsed to the floor, sobbing. The nurses and tech disappeared from our room. The doctor said “I’m so sorry”. David asked if he could possibly be wrong, that maybe he made a mistake. The doctor said that there are no guarantees in life and that there was a chance he was wrong. I asked “how quickly can you get her out?” and he answered “with a cesarean, we can get her out right now”. I said, “then do it, get her out now”.

All thoughts of my much coveted vaginal birth after cesarean were gone from my mind. If a cesarean can save my daughter, do it and do it immediately. Cut me from stem to stern if that’s what it takes for my baby to be okay. But of course, I realized later that the doctor must have known he wasn’t wrong, that our baby was already gone.

Over the next 15 minutes, I signed a consent form, was shaved and prepped for surgery, and had my blood typed. David changed quickly into blue paper scrubs and we were whisked down a hall full of the sounds of babies crying. Once in the operating room, a spinal was administered and before David was even in the room by my side, the surgery was in progress. I was crying, but still believed absolutely that they were wrong. I would hear her cries any minute. She might need some help, maybe she’d need to go to the NICU, but she would be fine.

The smell of infection filled the room when our doctor opened my uterus. David stood and watched as the doctor pulled our daughter from my body. He looked down and said, “she’s pink, they’re working on her” and again I thought that she would be okay, they would fix her. The operating room was silent, but for the radio playing on a far shelf — the line “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” from Semisonic’s “Closing Time” was playing as my husband looked down at me and shook his head slowly.

I began to sob in earnest and the anesthesiologist, with tears running down his own face, gave me “something for anxiety”. The nurse called David over and handed him our beautiful daughter, Clara Edith. He brought her to me and I touched her cheek, still warm from my body. I wanted to hold her so badly, and I was assured that they would take pictures of her right then and bring her to me as soon as I got out of surgery. David handed her back to a nurse and she was carried from the operating room.

It took almost an hour and a half after Clara was born before the doctors were done cleaning out all of the infection in my uterus. I was told that my bladder had to be peeled off of my uterus and that I had “a whole lot of adhesions that needed to be removed”. I was taken back down the hall of crying and healthy babies to a room at the end, where my husband and I waited for our lifeless daughter to be brought to us.

An hour after the surgery, a nurse brought in a cart with a white basket draped in a hospital blanket. She asked if I wanted to hold her and I said that I did. She laid my baby girl in my arms and told us to take as long as we needed.

Our Clara looked just like David, but also just like Lakin and Addah. Her hair was dark, like her oldest sister’s had been at birth. We had expected a blond baby, like David, Addah and I had been. Her dark hair made it worse somehow, because she reminded me so much of Lakin, my first baby. Her fingers were longer even than her sisters’ had been and I remarked that “she has artist’s hands”. I lifted an eyelid to see that her eyes were bright blue, like her mama and daddy. I placed my hand on her chest and begged her to breathe. David held her little hand and we clung to one another, trying to figure out how we fell into this terrible nightmare and hoping beyond hope that we would wake up and our sweet girl would be alive.

We held her and told her how much we loved her for a long time. Our families did not know that we had gone to the hospital, so for a short time, it was just the three of us and we did not have to share her. The horror of sharing the news with our families would come later but for now, we tried to memorize every detail of this beautiful and wonderful child that we had waited and wished for.

Finally, we handed her back to the nurse. I felt lost, utterly lost. What does one do in this situation? What the hell happened? David and I were devastated. We alternated holding one another and and staring at one another in stunned silence, still trying to begin to process the previous three hours.

I didn’t think at that time that I would want to hold her again after that first time, but David’s mom wanted to see her late that night, and when the nurse brought her back to our room, I had an overwhelming need to have her in my arms. I broke down completely at that point. I sobbed, feeling my heart break into pieces all over again. I am very grateful that Lee was there by then to hold and comfort the two of us.

The next week was a haze of physical and emotional pain, visitors and phone calls from people who don’t know the right things to say (because there is no right thing to say), repeating this story over and over, and long sleepless tearful nights with nurses who I used like personal therapists. My blood pressure was dangerously low and I had a raging infection that threatened to take my uterus before it finally came under control. I came home on Friday, July 6th. I left the hospital clutching a soft pink bunny, the one that my Papa gave us at our baby shower, instead of our baby girl.

I sleep with that little pink bunny still, 5 weeks later. I don’t sleep as much as I used to. The tiniest things can trigger a major meltdown. David and I feel very alone in our grief and sadness, though we know now that 1 in 115 pregnancies end in stillbirth. I am consumed with guilt and “what if” scenarios that play on constant repeat in my brain.

What if we had decided to medically induce at 40 weeks? What if we had decided 41 weeks was our limit? What if we had gone on to the hospital as soon as those contractions started on the Friday before she was born?

The doctor said she had been gone between 1 and 3 days. I know she had hiccups on Friday morning. After that, I was having contractions and I could have sworn she was still moving and kicking on Saturday night, but I couldn’t swear to it. I was in labor and thought that any slowing in movement was because I was in labor. She died sometime between Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. The doctor’s theory is that my amniotic fluid level dropped drastically and she passed and ingested meconium, which poisoned her and ended her life. Her decomposition was already advanced enough that it had to be at least 24 hours, so I was told. Her death caused the uterine infection that made my labor go from normal labor pain to excruciating pain overnight. I was told that if I had waited another day to come in, I would have lost my uterus and possibly, my life. We were told that it was nothing we had done, that it was nothing we could have predicted, not to feel guilty. Still, those feelings persist.

The only thing that brings David and I any comfort is knowing that Clara always knew how much we loved her and how much we wanted her. We talked to her throughout each day, and she would kick and punch at our touch on my belly. We sang to her. David would rub my belly every night and she would always get so active when she’d hear her Daddy’s voice.

She was loved, truly. The time she had with us was beautiful and we will never forget a moment of it.

I only wish that it could have lasted for longer. She lives, now and always, in our hearts.

Clara Edith Webb
Born still on Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 3:45pm
7 pounds 9 ounces | 20.5 inches
 
Clara, our stillborn baby girl 7/1/12
Memorial Ticker for Clara
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I'm Heather, a married mama of two teen girls, a stillborn baby girl (7/1/12), and a sweet rainbow baby girl (4/2/14). I've been blogging at The Destiny Manifest since 2001. I like to write about appreciating all of the beautiful little things that surround us, particularly in the face of grief, infant loss and mental health issues. Every day is an adventure!

Latest posts by Heather O. (see all)

  • Heather and David and girls,  Again I can’t tell you how sorry I am.  I can’t imagine your pain….Clara was a beautiful baby and she was so wanted.  As always my thoughts are with you. And there is no special time to get over something like this.  In fact I don’t believe anyone really gets “over it”  I think as time passes one learns to live with it and carry our loved ones in our hearts. But there is no time schedule.  Peace to all.  Ms Jackie

    • Thank you so much Ms. Jackie. I miss talking to you… it hardly seems like it’s been any time since I last saw you at UU, and it’s actually been almost 6 years. Hard to believe. I appreciate your love and caring more than you know. Peace and love to you, always.

  • Jessica B

    Heather, thank you for sharing your story. No words or comfort can make the loss of a baby right. I admire your strength to share your story and I know it will bring healing to other moms, like myself.

    • Thank you Jessica. It was hard to share… hard to relive it all in enough detail to do it justice, but I owe it to my little one to make sure she is remembered.

  • mamakatslosinit

    She is beautiful…I don’t have the words to express how sorry I am to read this. She is perfect, you deserve her, and this is not fair. 

  • Jen

    Don’t let anyone tell you what you should feel. I am sorry for your loss. She will always be with you. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • I appreciate that Jen… thank you for your kind words!

  • Samantha Van Vleet Lsp

    I am so, so, so, sorry for your loss.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. She is beautiful. Sending prayers.

    • Thank you so much Samantha.

    • Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Samantha.

  • Thank you so much Samantha.

  • I appreciate that Jen… thank you for your kind words!

  • Thank you Kat, I appreciate that. <3

  • Thank you Jessica. It was hard to share… hard to relive it all in enough detail to do it justice, but I owe it to my little one to make sure she is remembered.

  • Thank you so much Ms. Jackie. I miss talking to you… it hardly seems like it’s been any time since I last saw you at UU, and it’s actually been almost 6 years. Hard to believe. I appreciate your love and caring more than you know. Peace and love to you, always.

  • Crunchyrenee

    I’m so sorry for your loss, your baby was so beautiful.

  • Thank you for your thoughts and prayers, Samantha.

  • Thank you Renee.

  • Sarah

    Your daughter is beautiful and her name is as perfectly dainty and ladylike as she is.

    My heart aches for your whole family. I will never be able to understand the pain you are experiencing, but please know you are being prayed for and thought of often.

  • Thank you very much, Sarah.

  • I weep for your loss. Your daughter is perfect, and she was loved fully during her life. Nine months is a long time to feel another’s heartbeat, and she will beat inside you forever.

  • Ginger

    So beautiful and so precious.
    I agree, after 1-2 weeks, people seem to think you should just be “over it” as if that EVER happens.
    Thank you so much for sharing Clara’s story. Hugs & prayers…

    • Thank you Ginger. I am so sorry for your losses as well. I wish that no one had to feel this pain and grief.

  • Thank you Ginger. I am so sorry for your losses as well. I wish that no one had to feel this pain and grief.

  • Thank you so much Lauren.

  • seili wennam

    She is so precious. I’m so sorry that she is not here with you.

    • Thank you. I wish she were here too, so much.

  • Thank you. I wish she were here too, so much.

  • Heather, i do not know you but my heart aches and i am sitting here crying… i wish you all the strength, love and support that you need! words fail me. thinking of you, mama.

  • Thank you Sylvia. <3

  • Bethany

    Clara is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing her birth story.

  • Thank you Bethany. <3

  • Amy

    I am so sorry for your loss. I think you are very brave to tell your story.

  • Thank you so much Amy.

  • Oh my God. I had no idea you endured this. I am sitting here sobbing for you. What a horrific story that you wrote so beautifully. She is absolutely stunning…as are you.

    • Thank you Julie. It still feels like a nightmare that we can’t wake up from… I wonder if it always will? I appreciate you reading Clara’s story… I know it’s not an easy read.

  • Thank you Julie. It still feels like a nightmare that we can’t wake up from… I wonder if it always will? I appreciate you reading Clara’s story… I know it’s not an easy read.

  • This is truly heartbreaking and you’re right, there are no right words to say. I am so sorry for your loss and for your pain and hope that by telling your story with such candor, that you can help others.

  • Ddraig coch

    She is beautiful Heather.xx
    Don’t fight your emotions, realize what they are, they are your instincts as a mother wanting to protect a child that you could not protect because nature took it out your hands.xx

  • Having lost twin daughters myself who were born prematurely and both died, I have an understanding of your grief and I am so very sorry for your loss. The loss of a child is a grief like no other and difficult for people to truly understand unless you’ve been through it yourself. Thanks for sharing your story. RIP little one x

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Steph. Thank you for your words and understanding. They mean a lot to me. I wish you love and peace.

  • I am so sorry for your loss, Steph. Thank you for your words and understanding. They mean a lot to me. I wish you love and peace.

  • Thank you so much, Emma. <3

  • Thank you for your words, Wendy. <3

  • Anonymous

    Oh sweetie, I am so so sorry. She was so perfect and beautiful. My first and only son was stillborn on October 20, 2011. It is so hard and only people who have gone through what we have can truly understand. I wish I could tell you that a year later everything is fine. But how could it be. Our children are gone forever before we even had a chance to say hi. You are right about the ignorance of many. Please, take heart and learn to listen to it and guard it. People can surely be careless, even cruel. It is lonely. But yet, in our immense sorrow and loneliness we can somehow find hope. Hope in the love that still brews in our hearts. Hope and faith that yes it does matter that we and they have been here on this eart for a reason. That we are here to comfort each other and brave the long nights and somehow find the strenght to wnat to long for the next day. It is messy, difficult, unbearable complicated – but I would never ever want to be the person I was a year ago. I would never be, becauseI have become a mother of my son.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. If you ever want to talk, please feel free to send me an email. It can be hard to find people who understand what a loss like this feels like (in “real life” anyway). Thank you for your words.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. If you ever want to talk, please feel free to send me an email. It can be hard to find people who understand what a loss like this feels like (in “real life” anyway). Thank you for your words.

  • jana

    Oh, Heather… I just want to reach through and give you a hug. What a beautiful little angel she is. Prayers to you…

  • Oh What a beautiful little angel. I’m truly sorry for you loss. I know just how much it profoundly changes a family. I’m glad that you are able to write about her.

    • Thank you, Rachel. Writing has helped so much in processing and dealing with this terrible thing. I am glad I have this outlet, as well as understanding people to talk to, who have been through similar situations.

  • I know you’ve probably heard the words “I’m so sorry for your loss” a thousand times, possibly to the point of them just sounding like words and little else, but I am truly, truly sorry… your story was extremely touching and I cried the whole way through. It is a loss that no parent should ever have to endure, and I’m sorry to hear that those close to you have been wavering in their support during recent times.

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story with us, I am sure that in doing so, you will help others make what could be a life-saving decision for their unborn child.

    Clara was absolutely beautiful and my heart aches for you… wishing you love and strength during these tough times. <3

    • Thank you so much for your sweet words, Olivia. I truly appreciate the love and strength that you’ve sent, and believe it or not, it does help me to get through many a difficult day.

  • Thank you so much for your sweet words, Olivia. I truly appreciate the love and strength that you’ve sent, and believe it or not, it does help me to get through many a difficult day.

  • Thank you so much, Jana.

  • Thank you, Rachel. Writing has helped so much in processing and dealing with this terrible thing. I am glad I have this outlet, as well as understanding people to talk to, who have been through similar situations.

  • Anonymous

    So sad

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  • Amy Wright

    I am so sorry you had such a short time with your BEAUTIFUL Clara. I lost 2 stillborn babies due to placental abruption (not nearly as far along as you were). It has been 11 years since I lost my Rebekah, and 10 years since David, and though the pain has dulled, it still hits me hard at times. And anniversaries suck. Give yourself a lot of grace – especially during July. I will tell you that the few days before – dreading the day coming – have always been much worse than the actual day. On the day, I take my only living child, Elizabeth, to the cemetery and we bring balloons and/or flowers for a birthday party of sorts. She is not yet four, so she doesn’t get it yet, but I want her to have always known about her brother and sister who wait for her in heaven. People will say stupid things, and I am sorry. People will try to rationalize why she died and it will hurt you. Again – so sorry. I love the picture of Clara – she is so very lovely. God bless you and give you peace. No one should have to bury their child and I know how much it hurts. She certainly felt your love for 42 weeks and you got to know her personality during that time too. I am glad you had that time and mourn for all the times to come that you will miss her. Amy Wright

    • I am so sorry for the loss of David and Rebekah, Amy. I appreciate your kind words and thoughts, and although I wish we didn’t both know what the loss of a baby feels like, and that we hadn’t met under these circumstances, I am glad to have met you. Thank you.

  • m.kalin

    This is still very new for you. My husband and I lost our Christopher at 38wks 2days, almost four years ago. It will get “easier”, but I have made up my mind that mothers who lose babies, or a child at any age, will grieve (to some extent), for the rest of our lives. I wish you the peace that can only come from God, and pray that you and your husband will always be the support you both need…as you have already seen, people don’t deal with it. They won’t deal with it, even if it hurts you more than talking about it. Love to you both…Clara is absolutely beautiful!

    • Thank you for your insight. I am so sorry for the loss of Christopher. I think you are right that mothers who lose babies and children will grieve for the rest of their lives. I cannot imagine a time when I will not miss and long for my sweet baby. Much love to you and your husband.

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  • I am so so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine your loss & your grief as I have a daughter that was born July 6th. I think I will never forget your story that brought me to tears. I will always think of your beautiful little daughter every year on her birthday & say a prayer for you. I just can’t imagine & I am truly very sorry for your tremendous loss. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Charlene. I will remember your daughter too, and I am sorry for your loss. xoxo

  • Kat Biggie

    She was so beautiful! We can never know the answer to any of those questions. I go over every decision and wonder too… if I had only done x, y, or z. We will never know. I am so sorry for your loss.

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  • Robbie K

    I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

  • ChristmasBear

    Clara is a beautiful baby, and I’m incredibly sorry for your loss. None of this was your fault.

  • Dawn

    I am so vey sorry for your loss, Clara is a beautiful angel now. I have a friend that lost her baby yesterday morning and my heart is breaking for her, I have not talked to her yet because she had said that she just needed time. I just did’t understand how you could go to the dr one day and everything be great and the next day deliver a still born baby,so I looked it up and that is how I came across your story, now my heart breaks for you as we’ll as my friend Ashley, I just feel so bad , I don’ t understand why the ones that will make a good mom looses them, so many baby’s are mistreated and abandon, and the one ones that will love them and give them a good home looses them. They say we are not to question why, but we do. Again I am so sorry for you loss. God bless you and your family

    • I am so sorry for your friend’s loss. If she needs or wants anyone to talk to in the weeks and months to come, please give her my contact information. The road ahead of her is a tough one, and she will probably question everything… I still do. You are a good friend to her, and good friends are invaluable on this journey. I will keep her and her baby in my thoughts. Thank you for your prayers and love, Dawn. xoxo

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  • Awesomemom

    That is so heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your loss. I will share your story and hope that it helps prevent something like that from happening to another mother.

    • Thank you for reading and sharing, Awesomemom.

  • Jocelyn

    I am so sorry for your loss. This is truly heartbreaking.

  • Kory Oransky

    I am so sorry for the loss of Clara Edith. She is lovely in the picture you posted above. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for you and your family over this past year. Thank you for sharing your story, I know it could not have been easy to do.

    • Thank you so much, Kory. It’s heartbreaking to talk about, but at the same time I love to talk about her… it helps to keep her memory alive.

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  • Tanashia

    So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing Clara’s story. ~Tanashia

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  • Cyndi

    I read this after seeing your other post. The loss of a child at any age is all-encompassing and completely overwhelming. When I suffered my miscarriage, the night I found out, both my husband and I decided to drink WAY too much alcohol – to dull the pain, drown our sorrows – I don’t know what. We were three months along. I remember waking up on the floor, writing in pain – physical and mental. ANGUISH. So many of us don’t know what to say; I think a lot of us can’t bear to face the grief of such loss. My thoughts are with you during this time: a date, I’m sure, you’ll never forget. Even though I was only 3 months, I’ll still never, ever forget my “due” date: 1-21-12. I thought those numbers were so awesome, and symbolic. Sigh.

    • Thank you for sharing your story too, Cyndi. I am so sorry for your loss. You would think I’d know the words to make someone feel better, but I don’t. Just know I’m thinking of you and sending you love.

  • Jeannie

    Heather,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I join many others in saying that I am so sorry for your loss. I am 26 weeks pregnant with child number 2. I too have had a prior c section with a higher risk scar. I’m working with my doctor on allowing me to have a VBAC. I’m glad that in the midst of your sorrow you can lend insight to other women who need to make a decision. I go back and forth so much on whether to have a RCS or VBAC. I think there is never a right answer. I have been telling my doctor that if I go to 41 weeks and 1 day then I will be okay with surgery. I will think of your story and remember that nature doesn’t always bring us what we want. May time and remembrance of your moments with Clara bring you peace.

    • Thank you for reading my story, Jeannie! I wish you all the best for a safe birth and healthy baby.

    • Salesia

      PRAY….God will give you an answer about what to do. Keep on PRAYING….Amen!

  • Halle

    Surfing blogs and came across this – your story is so touching and heartbreaking at the same time. You’ve lived through every mother’s nightmare.

    Different people find solace in different things and this is what I think of daily – it’s been proven that the placenta is not impermeable and that cells from your beautiful baby cross over into your body while you’re pregnant. These cells are with you forever. I love knowing that part of the baby is always alive in you. I pray for strength and comfort for you!

    • Thank you Halle. I’ve heard that about the cells of each of our children crossing over into our bodies (and into future children). It’s a beautiful thought. 🙂

    • Clairessa Mack

      Halle, that is beautiful! What a wonderful piece of information to share. I hope all the ladies on here who have experienced this kind of loss will find some solace in that.

    • Salesia

      Halle-That is SO beautiful…I learned something new today! So every child does make us who we are. They help shape us into who God wants us to be.

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  • Dahlia

    Its not a goodbye its a see you later..im so sorry 4 your loss. I am 2 a mommy of a fullterm stillborn.My baby Angel would of been 6yrs old already. The cord was wrapped twice around his neck.I also live with the “what if” ..if I would of gone sooner to the hospital instead of waiting longer.I delivered him on his due date Feb.5..theres not a day that I dont miss him n wonder how he would look today.Our precious Angels are with god now..the only thing that gives me hope is I now ill see him again someday..theres a song by Kenny Chesney called “Who you’d be today”…lisen 2 it its a real nice song..God bless u n keep us all strong.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Dahlia. I wonder if I will ever stop questioning the “what ifs”. You have a beautiful way of looking at this terrible thing that we have been experienced, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. {{{hugs}}}

      • Clairessa Mack

        Heather, there is nothing you could have done differently, or you would have done it, without a doubt in my mind. You did the best you knew to do, with the best information you had available to you. I wish, even though we don’t know each other, that I could ease your suffering and comfort you somehow. I will remember you and your family in my prayers. I have never lost a child, and can’t imagine what you went through, and are still going through. But I believe in a loving God, who is now watching over your precious baby Clara, and I believe that same God would want you to know that you shouldn’t blame yourself.

    • Clairessa Mack

      Dahlia, I’m so sorry for your loss. I admire you and women like you who have the strength to even be vertical after something so tragic as this. May God bless and keep you!

  • Godfridah Mansha

    I was surfing the web to check to information about causes of stillbirths after full term because I gave birth to a stillborn baby girl on 15th June, 2013 after 41 weeks 3 days pregnancy. your story is very similar to mine except for I went for a normal virginal birth. This was our first child and my husband and I are devastated with our loss more especially that I had a great pregnancy with no complication, no infection or illness, normal blood pressure.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Godridah. Sending you so much love and hugs from across the internet. {{{hugs}}}

    • veronica herrera

      I am so sorry for the loss of your precious baby. I have lost a lovedone ,but not a baby, and know how much we love our babies. And our children. We collectively, through our sorrow, our tearsa and even fear, try again to be the parent we feel we were called to be. I believe they are with God. My deepest condolences. Ve, Colorado

    • Clairessa Mack

      I’m so sorry for the loss of your little one. Words fail me. I will pray for you and your husband, that God would comfort and console you.

    • Christina

      I too was searching…..I just gave birth to a stillborn baby boy on July 21, 2013 after 42 weeks. Our story is so similar. I wanted a healthy vaginal birth, he was our first child, no problems during pregnancy. No reason as to why his precious heart stopped beating. I hope you are getting support and are starting to heal. I don’t know you, but I do know your pain. Hugs to you and your husband.

  • veronica herrera

    Heather, your story was well written in that it was very well described, so much I could see the tears and feel your pain. I hope have faith that you will see her again. Remember LOVE IS powerful and love will never leave you, nor your beautiful Clara. I have a grown daughter and she had the cord around her 4 times and was a blue-baby,and I waited for her cry. Now as she is an adult, she seems to be the one child who breaks my heart, this story has inspired me to love her and appreciate her. I can hear your angel Clara telling us all to LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE and BELIEVE…God bless you Heathe a nd your family

    • Thank you so much for your words, Veronica. {{{hugs}}}

  • Haley

    I am SOO sorry for the lost of your sweet little girl! I came a crossed your story while looking for advice on whether I should get induced or be patient. This scares me because I am currently almost 41 weeks and have had the same on and off contraction and pain that you described. My doctor wants me to wait and I want whatever is best for my baby! But I do feel…concerned my daughter was born at 37 weeks and I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks, a month before I conceived this baby. I am soo unsure of what to do. I can’t even imagine what you are going through a miscarriage was hard enough and I couldn’t help but blame myself for that as it is. Again, I am so sorry for your lost and my prayers go out to you and your family.

    • Haley, has your doctor done a non-stress test or a biophysical profile of your baby to check amniotic levels and to be sure they’re doing well? It’s my understanding that most doctors won’t allow their patients to go past 41 weeks. I would ask how long the doctor wants to wait before inducing, and discuss with them your fears. It is your body, your baby, and your doctor should respect your fears and worries. At almost 41 weeks, I think it should be your call if you are ready to induce. I’m definitely not doctor… but I would discuss it with yours ASAP. I wish you nothing but the very best of outcomes for you and your sweet baby. Please feel free to come back by and let me know when your little one is born! <3

  • Sarah Puleo

    Reading this breaks my heart. I hope you are still healing and finding peace.

  • jais

    my sister-in-law went through some similar experiences…..unfortunately enough, it was her first issue. what is more unfortunate, none of her family members from her in-laws was with her, not even her husband. she actually went almost insane…… we could only console her through phone, but that was surely a hopeless try………
    fortunately, she’s pregnant again, and this time we pray and hope everything will be fine, and she’ll become the mother of a healthy child, who will make her forget some of her sorrows……

  • Clairessa Mack

    I am so, so, so sorry for your incredible loss. Thank you for sharing sweet, precious Clara with us. She will not ever be forgotten, and will surely live on in your hearts and your happy memories of the short time you had with her. May God bless you and your family!

  • Gabriela

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave. I wish you and your family the best, always. Keeping her memory alive is the most respectful and loving thing you can do for her.

  • Ann

    Thank your for sharing your story. My son Samuel was stillborn at 40 weeks, 3 years ago. We never found out why.Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, miss him. I think what hurts most is that but for a few very close friends it seems like people have forgotten him. Specially now I’ve had another baby. Only people that have gone through this can understand how we feel and how deep our sense of loss is.

  • Natasha

    So sorry for your lost. Tomorrow will be 21 years since my daughter was still born. I does get a little easier but right now reading your story I find myself crying uncontrollably. October will always be a bad month for me and the days leading up to the anniversary are the worst. I always feel this is truly a sadness I always carry inside and keep to myself. Reading your story moved me to tears, but gives me peace that there are others who share similar experiences and have made it through. I hope things get easier for you and just know your not alone. Keep your memories closest to your heart.

  • Jaime Maynard

    Just read your story while googling ideas for a jack o lantern for my stillborn son (December 24th, 2007, 42 weeks) I had to comment cause our stories are nearly identical (he was my first, not a V-Bac, otherwise so similar) His cause of death was deemed to be asphyxiation from low fluids (slow leak in amniotic fluid) I went through the same lack of in person support..people just couldn’t or didnt want to get it. Its been nearly 7 years and the pain is still raw..despite being lucky enough to have two beautiful angel babies since. Just wanted to reach out and say I understand and we are many who share these similar stories. Virtual hug to you and your husband for all you have been through.

    • Salesia

      I absolutely LOVE the idea of a Jack-O-Lantern for your son! I hope God keeps a Jack-O-Lantern glowing brightly for your son every night. AMEN

  • Laura

    My best friend has just been told her baby boy has died. She is 42 weeks pregnant and is waiting for induction. I haven’t seen her yet as I am giving her and her husband time to take the news in and be together. I googled still birth, not to understand, because unless you have been through it you can’t possibly, but so I know how to support them. I don’t know what I will say when I see them. I will hold her when she cries and listen when she needs to talk. Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story.

  • N3N3

    Omg I just cried reading this. I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t say I can relate or I understand because I don’t. I pray that you and your husband find peace in your hearts. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us it really touched my heart. You are a brave and strong woman!! God bless you and your family

  • Vicki Kimball

    I have been searching for answers and still have none. Our little baby boy Lane was stillborn on December 12, 2013 I was 38 weeks. I had and ultrasound on December 6 and everything seemed to be ok and there was lots of moving happening on December 8. The next day was Monday and I felt a little movement that morning then nothing else, this didn’t concerned because after a day of movement he was always quite for a time. By Tuesday morning there was still no movement so I went to the hospital and had a non-stress test they told me that they found the heartbeat and that he was sleeping and sent me home. So I went home and waited for him to wake-up, still no movement so back I went on Wednesday they still said that the heartbeat was there but the more I watched it and noticed that is was the same beats as mine. Knowing this could not be right I asked the nurse and she went to get the doctor, he came and did an ultrasound and then we were told that there was no heartbeat. Lane was born on Thursday night by C-section, he looked perfect now 5 weeks later we are still waiting for answers that I know may never come.

    • Margarita

      I’m sorry for your loss, my beautiful baby Sophia was born sleeping also December 12 only 9 days ago at 38w 4d my heart is shattered and i don’t know if some day i will find the strength to continue with my life without this pain that is killing me.

  • Amy able

    im so so sorry for your lost. i lost two babies. one was very early at 6 wks and another at 12 weeks. i have a baby who is 18 almost 19 months. she is well. and named her clara. maybe itll help you? she was born july 31 2012.

  • Melanie Dee

    Thank you for sharing your story so fully, and thank you to everyone who shared theirs in the comments. I am in the midst of searching the “Why’s” of loosing my first born during the labour… Kali was born still on the 6th of February, just a few weeks ago. It’s a very hard time, I keep searching the books and online for clues but I know it won’t help me through the grief. My husband and I want to try again as soon as we can and I hope that we can regain our confidence in our birthing choices: We were having the perfect pregnancy (every test perfect, 4w1+5d) and the labour was going so nicely at home, in the birth pool, with our support team, when there started to be trouble finding the fetal heart beat. There had been no meconium until then (my waters had released the day before nice and clean), then suddenly there was and we called for ambulance. The hospital is 15 minutes away by high way… they could have been much faster getting there, loading me in, they didn’t even use the siren and actually stopped at a light! No room was prep’d for C-section so they did a Vac. My mind keeps talking about all of the above but I think I know that she passed at home, before we really knew anything was wrong. Whatever the reasons, she is not here, there is nothing we can do but feel the love she brought into our lives and let out all of our tears when they come. Her beautiful face makes me smile everyday and I feel her strong energy with me. We had a service for her, most of our friends and family held her. We are parents now, and one day we will have a baby to shower with the incredibly love that Kali has taught us.

    • Desins

      Hi to all of you, I hope you are all surrounded by love in this time.
      Melanie, my baby died on February 8th of this year, two days after yours. I was 39weeks and 6 days. It was one day before her due date.
      I had an amazing pregnancy I had energy the whole time, she was always moving around and I had no worries. I had a wonderful midwife who was also the mother of my partner, so we were getting the best care and we were so excited. I had a visit with her at 6pm on February 7th, the heart was beating regularily and she was in position to be born. I went out for dinner with my boyfriend and then we went home and had a bath and watched a movie. I went to sleep at about midnight with a belly ache. I woke up at 5:30 am with a show, and mild contractions, we called the midwife at 7:00am and she arrived at 8:00am. By the time she arrived I was in full blown labour and was almost completely diallated, running around like a mad woman. She asked to check my cervix and my water broke, there was meconium, so I felt worried. She put the doppler on my belly in the place where my babies heart had always been heard before, and found nothing, she kept hearing my heart beating instead. An ambulance was called, I also live 15 minutes from the hospital. I began to push in the ambulance. When I got to the hospital they did an ultrasound and found no heart beat. I pushed for four hours, with no pain-relief knowing she was gone. In the room was my mother, my boyfriends mother, and my father. My boyfriend and I are also first-born babies. It was a devestating day. We are still wating for some tests to come back, but it is likely we will never know what happened. I am so grateful for the love she has shown my whole family, and I feel like a better person for her. It has been 2 months since Florence passed, and I still have not gotten a period, have you gotten yours? I am excited to have another baby. I still want to have a homebirth, but I feel too frightened, even though I know she died before our midwife even came and I wouldnt have even gone to the hospital until it was too late, because my labour progressed so fast.

  • donna

    Baby Clara was truly a beautiful baby…. Those who have not experienced the loss of a baby will never understand the heart break it brings. During my first pregnancy I wondered why the doctor kept having me come back every week instead of monthly like my pregnant friends. They explained to me they suspected my baby had died. This was in 1979 so technology wasn’t as advanced. After confirming that the baby no longer had a heart beat they gave me medication to induce a miscarriage. My body did not cooperate so I was induced at the hospital. I was devastated but became pregnant shortly there after and delivered a healthy baby girl who filled my world with joy and love. Three years later I was pregnant with twins. My pregnancy was hard as I was gaining 5 pounds of amniotic fluid a day and was huge. The doctors said I measured large enough to be carrying six babies and kept me in the hospital to do repeated ultra sounds in an attempt to find the other four. At 6 1/2 months pregnant I had a placenta abruption and began hemorging. The babies were born, the first taking 2 or 3 short breaths before dying the second had to be pushed from me. I was loosing a lot of blood and they needed to get her out asap. When I looked over at the nurse who was cradling my babies I actually thought they had survived and felt surprised they did not need oxygen. Later that evening my husband came to my room and told me the girls had died. The nurses brought them to us and we held them and loved on them. The hospital staff encouraged us to allow the hospital to take care of the burial as they were a Catholic Hospital, and no matter what stage of development honored life. Not knowing what to do we agreed. Upon my return home a neighbor at the end of the street delivered healthy twin boys and had two big blue bows attached to her mailbox. Every time I passed her house my heart broke again. My daughter who was 3 1/2 at the time started asking me many questions about where the babies had been buried and if I would take her to put flowers on their graves. Her questioning prompted me to inquire at the hospital to find out which cemetery they were buried. I contacted the cemetery the hospital directed me to only to find out that the hospital had lied to me. They claimed they did not want to admit they had “burned” my babies and thought by telling us they had been buried would satisfy our questions. Not only was I dealing with the death of my twins but also the harshness of what the hospital did. At night I would wonder if perhaps my babies were really alive but had been anestheised at the hospital so I would think they were dead, but actually were sold. I realize that sounds “crazy” but you do go a little crazy. Four years later I had a healthy son and 3 years after that another daughter. SO you’d think my story would end there right? Well no…my oldest daughter who made me happy during a time in my life that I did not think I could ever be happy again…died at 21 years old in a car accident. I think both losses are incredibly difficult…loosing a baby is loosing a dream, a hope for the future. Loosing a child is loosing a life. I try to imagine that my daughter is in heaven taking care of my 3 angel babies…. I’m sure once I go to relieve her she will be ready to hand them over to me.

  • Brandi

    What a beautiful baby girl! She is lovely.

    I also lost my full-term baby girl just a few weeks ago. She was only a day short of 38 weeks when she unexpectedly died. I was perfectly healthy, and so was she. We don’t know the reason and probably never will.

    I would never wish this experience on anyone, but it is good that we can support each other and share our stories.

  • kate

    i had a stillborn daughter 21 years ago normal pregnancy it was my 5th child first three normal delivery 4th emergency c section i was 42 weeks pregnant with 5th baby no pains just a show on the morning phoned hospital and told to go straight there as i could delivery anytime as it was my 5th baby got to hospital in about 20 minutes got monitored told baby had openecd her bowels qaited for over an hour for scanroom to open then took for scan nurse just turned to me and aid your baby is dead .had to deliver her normal it was so heartbreaking and still is 21 years later we will never forget her.i know your pain

  • Anna

    I’m so sorry to read this – my heart goes out to you and your partner and to your darling little girl. It’s such a mystery when our little ones are in the womb – impossible to know for certain what to do no matter what the circumstances. 9 months is a long time to wait when the baby is already so wanted, loved and cherished. My daughter’s birth was complicated – wonderful first pregnancy with attempted homebirth, but we ended up at hospital – the cord wrapped around her neck and me suffering from uterine atrophy and heavy blood loss. Reading your story and the responses below I realise more than ever that I am so very lucky to have her (and her me). I truly wish I could wave a wand and bring your daughter back into the world – for you and for us all. She is beautiful. Much love, Anna (and Jem).

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  • shanell evans

    My heart is so heavy right now my 17 year old daughter lost my grand baby the doctor told us there was no heart beat. It was one of the hardest things to tell my daughter that my grandbaby was still born inside her. I feel for you and can relate she is so beautiful, and applaud you for having the courage to make sure her death is not just a passing event but that her life had and has meaning today ,tomorrow, and forever!!! May the Lord keep you and your husband in his perfect peace..
    Ms. Evans

  • Jennifer Dunford

    Hello im so sorry to here this i had a baby girl back on Oct 18th 2011 she was at 39 weeks they had to do a c-section because my last one was. Well i was having alot of problems and i ask the doctor to take her a week before and he wouldnt well i went to c them the 17th that night i had to go into hospital to get my c-section well when i went and saw him he looked and look for the heartbeat finnaly he said oh i found it shes fine i didnt rly here it but didnt think nuting of it that nite i got to the hospital at 12am and was geting rdy for my c-section they look and look and got the outersound ppl to come up and she look and look and she said i be right back the doctor came in and said im sorry we cant find her heartbeat i about died i coulnt hold her till my aunt got there bc i was alone she was so pretty i named her Elizabeth Faith Dunford it still hurts somtimes and what gets me is that the usually doctor i saw ( the doc taking care of me was his assensant) told me if he knew i was having problems he would of took her the week before but thats the what ifs so i know how you feel and it sucks who do i blame?? Well just wanted to tell you my story thanks

  • Guest

    So sad. Thank you for sharing. Tears tracking down my cheeks.

  • Barb Heater

    Beautiful Angel, I feel your pain.

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  • Shannon G

    I’m sorry for your loss… Isn’t that what everybody says? I lost my Laney 2/6/15…it was a Friday. I was 38 weeks 2 days. Honestly, I am alive but I died that day. No one knows why her heart stopped. No one knows why she stopped developing around 33-35 weeks either. She was only 4lbs 6oz when she was born still. I hate Friday’s now. I’m sitting at home today (it’s Friday) and have been crying and distraught all day. No longer do my friends talk to me let alone ask how I am doing. My family seems to be moving forward and that includes my husband. I cry in my sleep according to my husband. I dream of that moment when the silence of her still heart was so loud. I dream of holding her and kissing her. In my dreams I am completely alone, it’s just me and my Laneybug. In my world I am alone in my unbearable sadness.

    Stories such as yours and the stories in the comments help because at least with all of you I am not alone…Forever loving and missing my Laney Carolynn…

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  • Margaret

    I feel all your pain. On August 22 1972 I had a still born son. He was very active during early labor then the left side of my belly got huge and the right side went flatter then he kicked and then died.
    After his birth I had two more pgs and I almost lost both my daughters one born Feb 25 1974 and the other on born Sept 19 1975. Thank God they survived.
    After a while I got remarried and my husband and I had a baby girl born April 11 1977. Her birth became another night mare from hell because she was also still born.
    After losing two of my babies to being still born I chose to never try to have more children. I knew emotionally I would never survive another birth that resulted in a still born .
    People say it gets easier as time goes by but even though its been many years since I lost my son then my daughter both August 22 and April 11th are still very hard and sad days for me.
    No one will ever know the emotional pain of carrying a baby to full term then coming home empty handed .
    Years later I was told I was allergic to the diet pop I drank and it infected my liver which caused a infection in my babies.
    Trust me time never heals the pain in my heart. Nothing ever will.
    I’m so sorry to hear of so many other people that have experienced this awful thing.

  • Joana Dougherty McGee

    What a beautiful little one. Awaiting your arrival with love.

  • Georgia

    Sweet girl. She was absolutely beautiful. I”m so sorry for your loss. I wonder how you are doing now. I found your page b/c my friend is just experiencing something similar so I googled. I’m thankful you told your sweet Clara’s story. She definitely deserves to be remembered.

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  • MrG

    A stillbirth. Devastating. Always painful.
    Even more so when the parents know they could have prevented it by following good medical advice.
    So sorry.

  • Elizabeth

    I too appreciate your courage to share your story. My dearest friend jus lost her baby yesterday and I found your article to help me understand. Thank you. I’m so sorry for your loss of your daughter. Your story is helping me understand how a perfectly healthy baby could die.

  • Am so sorry for your loss.
    We also lost our long awaited first born at exactly 40 weeks, exact due date on 22nd Feb 2016. My wife had a very normal pregnancy, nothing to cause an alarm, or a worry in fact we did not even want to scan since we wanted a surprise of boy or girl, but we all had a feeling its a boy since it was so active!
    We had been diagnosed with a bilateral tubal blockage and as we were scheduling to go for tubal cannulation a miracle happened and we conceived! This is after a man of God prayed for us.
    So when she went on labor, all seemed to progress as if everything is normal. Even the midwife who was a nurse did not think anything is wrong. Wife was at a health center. So at around 7 am, the baby was born after what seemed like easy labor of around 1 hour. But the boy did not cry, nor breath, nor move. Just born dead. Nurse said he had a short umbilical cord which they think made him die! Makes no sense to me though since I have never heard of such a thing.
    We went home empty handed asking God: Did you perform a miracle only to let us go through something worse than infertility?
    This thing though happens, it is the worst thing a mother can ever experience carrying a life a whole damn 9 months only to go home empty handed. Death is so cruel.

  • BroBettie

    Thank you for sharing your very personal life story. My sister in law just had a full term stillborn yesterday. Trying to understand the non-understandable. Thank you again.