Stillbirth: Scientists Search for Answers, Mothers Honor Memory

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Stillbirth: Saying Hello is Saying Goodbye

After a stillbirth, mothers still have to endure what could be hours of painful labor, "which adds some physical pain to the loss, and many hours to consider what this would have been like if the baby hadn't died," said Harms. "Saying hello to her newborn is also saying goodbye. The sadness is indeed profound."

Lowell delivered Reese by C-section the following day. The nurses asked if she wanted to hold her baby girl and have a photographer to take pictures. But Lowell was terrified.

"You get these horrible images in your head of what to expect," Lowell said. "You wonder, 'What does a dead baby look like?'"

Lowell decided not to hold Reese or have a photographer -- a decision she now regrets. But at the time, the grief was too much for her to bear.

"To be pregnant for nine months, to give birth, to see your child -- and then she's gone," Lowell said. "You grieve not only your baby, but you grieve what was supposed to be. You think about how she'll never be one, never be two, never graduate from high school."

Lowell found solace in blogging about her stillbirth, which connected her with other moms who shared her loss. One mom started Molly Bears, a non-profit organization that makes weighted teddy bears in memory of stillborn babies. Lowell's Reese Bear weighs 7 pounds, 14 ounces.

Mary Beth Lowell's "Reese Bear" weighs 7 pounds, 14 ounces, like her stillborn daughter Reese.

"When we got her in the mail, I picked her up and I thought, 'She's so heavy,'" Lowell said. The bear is one of many ways that Lowell, with husband Roger and their 3-year-old daughter Riley honor and remember Reese, who was "born into heaven" after 38 weeks.

"Even when you lose a child, I believe you're called to mother them in a certain way," Lowell said. "You do this by loving them and honoring them, telling your story, and giving back to the rest of the world."

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