I am often asked – How is Star Legacy Foundation different? I usually give a long-winded answer about our programs and amazing volunteers. Today, the answer that sums it up best is this: we believe we can do better.
When my son was stillborn 11 1/2 years ago, my doctor explained our loss to me with the words that ‘sometimes these things just happen’ and then she went on to say “the chances of this ever happening again are less than being struck by lightning twice in the same day.” I have talked to countless families since then who were given the same explanation or a variation of that concept. Maybe I’m stubborn, but I wasn’t willing to accept that as an answer. I am a nurse practitioner and live in the medical world and see amazing things happen every day. Some happen so often that we now take them for granted. We do surgery on babies while they are still in utero; we transplant major organs; we eliminate diseases that once caused epidemics; we cure cancers.
Why do we accept that healthy babies at a viable gestation with healthy mothers having healthy pregnancies can just die without any warning or notice?
I don’t blame my doctor for this explanation because I know it was the answer she was given at some point. During her training, this was the information provided to her. The lack of research and awareness perpetuates this lack of advancement.
I blame our culture for not asking more questions.
- We need to expect more research into this issue.
- We need to expect better care for our babies.
- We need to expect these children to be honored by trying to prevent others from the same outcome.
- We need to expect that families will have access to all the support and resources they need to navigate their grief journey in a healthy way.
- We need to expect that we can and will do better.
At Star Legacy Foundation, our focus is on research and education because that is what we need for our health professionals to know more about prevention and caring for families. We have high standards and expectations because we believe it is possible. Much of it is right in front of us, but we need to reframe what we value, how we view these babies, and how we can use our tools and resources.
Many other developed countries are seeing decreases in their stillbirth rates. It is possible. Some estimates indicate that the stillbirth rate could be cut in half by changing current protocols or utilization of resources. We don’t need a fancy, new, Nobel prize-winning, molecular break-through. In short – we need to value these babies and be willing to put energy into doing all we can for them. By cutting the stillbirth rate in half, there would be 13,000 more babies who go home from the hospital every year in the US. There would be 13,000 families who will enjoy the holidays this season through the eyes of a precious newborn child instead of struggling through the holidays with the heart-break of ‘what could have been’ or ‘almost was’. In five years, there will be 650 classrooms full of kindergartners who won’t be there without our efforts today.
It is possible.
Please join us in making it happen.
WE. CAN. DO. BETTER.