When Natalie Morgan went to bed September 10, 2015, she was more than 40 weeks pregnant and felt her unborn child kicking. The next morning, the baby girl was no longer moving. “I knew something was really wrong,” Morgan tells Us Weekly.
The 30-year-old from Winter Garden, Florida, shared what happened next in a devastating Facebook post that went viral with more than 408,000 shares to date.
“I couldn’t find the heartbeat on the home doppler. I just. I just knew. I didn’t want to know … I wanted to be mistaken, but I knew,” she wrote September 21, 2015. At the hospital, a doctor from Labor and Delivery confirmed Morgan and husband Brian’s worst fear: Eleanor Josephine had died.
Later that day, Morgan, who had had a complication-free pregnancy, was induced. After hours of painful labor, she delivered her daughter, Eleanor. “There was no reason to expect that first little cry from her. Instead it was me who sobbed. I begged her through my tears to wake up,” Morgan recalled in her post. “We bathed her, we brushed her hair, we held her, kissed her and told her how much we loved her. And I apologized over and over again for failing her.”
In her lengthy post, the mom of Alfie, 2, issued a plea to her fellow parents to treasure the moments they have with their newborns. “There will be times your child will scream and cry any time you try to put him or her down. Or they’ll cry even as they’re in your arms and you’ve done everything you can possibly think of to get them to stop,” Morgan wrote. “There will be sleepless nights, multiple diaper changes in a matter of minutes, spit up in your hair, pee on your shirt and poop in your hands, and again — so much screaming from the baby, and probably from you as well. Every time that happens, every time you feel frustrated and want to run away, please remember my story.”
After Eleanor’s death, Morgan worried that no one would understand her pain, which is another reason she felt compelled to write the piece and continues to speak out more than a year later. “When you lose a living child, you have memories, you have family photos, you have clothing that the child has worn,” Morgan tells Us Weekly. “With a stillbirth, I think people are like, ‘Oh, it’s sad,’ but it’s easier for them to sweep under the rug. I needed to explain the horror of what I lived through.”
When comforting a parent who has lost a baby to stillbirth, Morgan has some suggestions. “Don’t begin a sentence with ‘at least.’ People will say, ‘At least it happened before you got to know the child,’ or ‘At least it happened before you made memories,” she tells Us. “Neither of those things are true.”
If you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth and need to talk, call First Candle at 800-221-7437 to speak to a trained grief counselor.
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