Dad to Nathan William
December 18th, 2009
New Cumberland, PA
For many years my wife and I have been trying to have kids. We went to fertility doctors and my wife was diagnosed with PCOS which damped our spirit. We didn't give up and kept on trying. After a while we figured that it just wasn't going to happen. We went through a very rough patch in our relationship and even separated for a little while due to differences of opinion. We needed time to figure things out and if being married and having no children was right for us. We realized that our love was all that mattered and reconciled. We decided that it was easier to just not talk about having a child and we we about things without question.
Time went on and we thought everything was normal. My wife was getting irregular menstrual cycles, which is common with PCOS it's normal for a woman to miss her period. Ever since she was diagnosed this had been the norm. Months went by and then my wife realized that she had missed 3 cycles in a row and to us that was out of the ordinary because it was usually every other month that she missed. At that point we took three home pregnancy tests, all of which turned out positive. We called the doctor and scheduled a blood test to confirm. The blood test was scheduled for two days later.
The morning of the blood test, my wife was experiencing slight cramping, it wasn't severe and we thought it was just her body adjusting to the new life inside her. A few hours later I was taking a shower and my wife came into the bathroom with a horrified look on her face. I looked down and saw that her pants were soaking wet. I asked her what happened and she told me that she thought her water had broken. I thought to myself that it couldn't be possible, we had just found out that she was pregnant two days earlier and it was too early for her to have the baby now. At this point my wife started to have contractions and we knew we had to get to the hospital immediately. I called 911 and had an ambulance come.
We were transported to the hospital and the doctors examined my wife's condition never letting me into the room. My wife was scared to death and they didn't care that she wanted her husband, the father of this child who was in dire straights, in the room. My wife called for me, but the doctor still refused to let me in to be by my wife's side. The doctor came out and confirmed that her water had indeed broken and that she was in labor and that she was 26-28 weeks along and that there was no heartbeat. They moved my wife to the maternity ward. After being there for little more than an hour and a half, my wife gave birth to my son, Nathan, he was born still.
They admitted my wife for observation and they sent a social worker to talk to her about what just happened. Normally, when a woman has a baby the father is given some form of identification so that it is known that he with the mother and baby. I was given nothing to confirm that I was a daddy. The social worker talked with my wife and simply avoided acknowledging that the father, me, was there too. I was treated as if I didn't matter. I had just lost my baby boy and no one cared about how I felt.
The next day more of the same from everyone we encountered at the hospital. I understand that what happened to my wife's body was very traumatic and she needed special care to heal. What I didn't understand was the mental aspect. I wondered if anyone cared that I was in pain. I wondered if this was the way all men were treated after an event like this. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. Everyone asked me how my wife was doing with the loss, but no one asked me how I was feeling. Other than my wife and a few close family members, it seemed like no one cared that I was grieving. Unfortunately, I found out that most men are treated the same way I was and it made me very angry.
Since this happened, I've found that it's status quo to be concerned for the mother, but it's taboo to be concerned for the father because the man is supposed to be the strong one. For the last ten months, for the most part, my wife has been asked to go to functions about stillbirth and infant death. My wife has been comforted by many, many people, mostly women, who understand her plight; but when it comes to me, a father of stillborn loss, there's virtually nothing out there.
Hopefully, now that my story has been told more men will come forward and tell their stories. Ladies, please tell your men that there is someone out there who has been through this and is willing to listen. I am an advocate for all men, women, and children. I want to be a voice for the men of stillborn and infant loss. The loss of a child doesn't just happen to women, it happens to PARENTS, mothers and fathers. It's time for that to be acknowledged and for both sexes to be treated equally when something like this happens.
Thank you all for reading my story.
You can contact Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org