According to the Center’s For The Disease Control’s Website (and hopefully *crosses fingers strongly* my future employer), about 1 in every 100-200 births in the United States results in a stillbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million stillbirths occur yearly worldwide. The numbers for neonatal and postnatal deaths run into the tens of thousands.

Those numbers seem large to me, but even after having to take a statistics class to get through nursing school I can’t say that I’m much of a numbers person. The Daver, he likes numbers, which is why he’s off saving the world, one string of code at a time, while Your Aunt Becky sits here, mouth breathing and occasionally wondering aloud, “Is the INTERNET working?”

Numbers aren’t my thing. People are my thing. 1 in 100-200 sounds like a hell of a lot bigger number when you attach faces to those numbers. Faces, stories and names. People. My friends. My nieces, my nephews, their parents. Tables forever missing one. Lives cut short. Unlived.

Still born. Born still.

My friends. Their children.




Baby JP




Isabel Grace


William Henry









Olive Lucy

Seth Milton

Abigail Hlee

JoeJoe Sherman

Baby Nick

Gabriel Anton



Devin Alin

Jacob and Joshua

Baby K, Gabriel Connor, Christian Elliot and Andrew


Baby Kuyper

Mara S.

Nathan Michael


Timothy, Taea, and Thomas

Kyle S.

John Addison

Raime, Elora & Connor

Ava and Nathaniel


Micaela, Angelica, and Frankie

Donald Angus

Baby Cline

Addison Hope

Ryne Moyer

Marcus Reeves

Julian Ulysses



Sean Isaac

Jessica Anne

Paul James

Ashlynn Brooks

David Lee

Babies Boone

Olcott-Lueke angels

Baby A and Baby B twin girls

Baby Girl B and Baby Boy A

Becca’s Twin Siblings


Kaitlyn Grace



Robert Daniel


Josie Ree Smith



Samuel and Amelia

Draven Fredrick

I’ll add names to this list so if you’d like me to add a name, please don’t hesitate to email me becky (at) dwink (dot) net or leave me a comment.

At 7 pm tonight, October 15th, A Day To Remember, I will burn a candle in memorium and I encourage you to do the same.

Dona nobis pacem.

(give us peace) Lord, give us peace.

84 thoughts on “The Could-Have-Been’s

  1. (tears streaming) That is so sad, and it makes me realize, even more, how lucky I am to have healthy children. I worry all the time about the baby I am pregnant with now (healthy so far), but I know I can’t live in fear. My heart goes out to these families and all the others that have suffered this painful loss!!!

  2. I have three of my own. Timothy, Taea, and Thomas. I will always remember them all, and hold my baby Dylan a little more tightly as I remember his little brothers and sister that are no longer here.

  3. Heartbreaking. Just about the time when we started trying to get pregnant for the first time, it seemed that everyone around us was having first-trimester miscarriages. I was terrified we’d be hit, too. Luckily, we had 4 happy, healthy, full-term pregnancies….but those who aren’t so lucky are constantly in my mind.

  4. When I began reading your blog, (sometime last year I believe), I remember you dedicating a post to those tiny lives cut short.

    Really nice you bring attention to this. The numbers are staggering!!!

  5. My youngest stepdaughter was conceived not long after I met my now husband (that’s it’s own story) and there was a weekend when they thought they lost her. Not good and when I look at her sweet face, despite the many complications of her parental situation, I am glad she turned out ok.
    Nice post, Becky.

  6. Two years ago on Monday I found out our baby wasn’t going to be. I miscarried him or her 5 days later, at 10 weeks. The most heart wrecking, and one of the most life changing things that ever happened to me. I had seen a couple of days ago in a comment that the clown baby mama was your friend, and I wanted to send you an e-mail to ask for the address of her blog. The number of babies who died at the end of 2007 in that list makes me think you may have a good reason to know them. And I’m sorry if you do 🙁 We used to have a support group at the old Baby Center, called Base Camp. I am still in touch with those ladies today (about 20 of them) on daily basis, and they became some of my best friends.

  7. I have four beautiful and healthy girls. The oldest is 27 today. I had no idea there was “A Day to Remember”.
    How lucky am I that it falls on her b-day so I will always be able to recognize it and to remember that there but for the grace of God…
    I have friends that have experienced this profound loss, and my heart goes out to them and everyone else this day and always. Sending peace, love and light.

  8. This day makes me so sad. All that heartbreak, seems so unfair. It also makes me love all the people who support the ones who need it so badly. My thoughts are with everyone who needs it today and always.
    *HUGS to everyone*

  9. This is amazing.

    I’m all a mess today, apparently, because I’m crying at Christmas music and now this.

    I had a miscarriage. At 8 weeks. It was very very early, but still a loss. That said? I have 2 healthy (if not nutty) boys and can not even imagine the grief that these mothers, and their families, feel. The pregnant woman feels that baby for so long, bonds with that baby, and for them to be taken before you even get to know them. Sigh. My heart breaks for all of those lost too soon.

    Thank you for this.

  10. Oh, my heart. Thank you for the tribute. This day is so hard, thank you for sharing this with us all.

    Baby Cline left our family on July 27, 2009 at 10w4d.

    I miss my baby every moment of every day.

  11. Thank you so, so much Becky. Today also recognizes neonatal death; I couldn’t find recent stats, but according to MoD, in ’02 there were 19,000 neonatal deaths in the US. (that’s on top of stillbirths. Tough math.) And as someone above said, statistics are pretty meaningless unless you’re the number “1” on the left side of the colon.

    I’ll be lighting my candle tonight. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that others remember her, too. Much love.

  12. Sean Isaac <3 … and Jessica Anne <3 who also represent about a dozen miscarriages between my now-18 year old daughter, and now-5 year old son.

  13. I can’t imagine the torment a mother goes through knowing her baby is gone and still having to deliver.

    My best friend’s sister lost her little boy Caleb the very night before she was to be induced due to issues with the umbilical cord.

    Also, my cousin Stephanie lost her baby (not sure what name they chose) at about 8 months.

    While I can’t say that I was very close with either of them I feel for them, and their angels will never be forgotten.

  14. A few years ago I would have thought, “No. Aunt Becky must have accidentally added a few zeroes to that number.” But after losing a baby and talking with the women I work with, I learned that 5 out of 6 of them had suffered the same type of loss at some point in time. That is a LOT of loss. And I didn’t know it until after it happened to me and THEN they opened up to me.

  15. My mother had a stillborn child but he did not have a name. I always feared that- what could be worse? And I have been so blessed for all my children to be born healthy.

  16. Please add my sister “Becky”. Everytime I think of that, I am reminded of how strong my Mom is.

    Thank you for reminding us all to count our blessings.

  17. My brother

    Julian ulysses,

    my mother has had many misscarrages and still births, some of which I’ve had to hold her hand through.
    I’ve held her while she cried and feared in my heart that I was fated the same pain that she’s had too much of.

    but to me, this one was different, this one was special.
    he was my twin, and the only one of the “Could-have-beens” that got a name.

    my mom has 4 children now, spread throughout 20 years and over 22 pregnancies,

  18. I’ve had four miscarriages and the pain of that loss is awful but I can’t even fathom what it is to have a stillborn. I smock teeny tiny gowns and donate them to local hospitals for the babies who don’t survive. People think it’s macabre. I think the parents of those angels deserve the best. I pray with every stitch that having something beautiful that fits their child will ease their pain at least a little bit.

      1. Katy, I tried to reply on your blog but I’m not a member of the right blogs-
        what I wanted to say is that what you’re doing is a good thing. Please don’t stop because some people think it’s macabre. It must be a very thankless thing to do, the parents (understandabley so) probably have too much on their minds to even think about thanking or rewarding you, but I know that the clothes you make must make such a difference. These are their children and they do deserve clothes. What I mean to say is good for you. Keep it up 🙂

        1. Thanks, Emma. Sorry it wouldn’t let you comment! Nah, no one will scare me off of wee care. I will admit that before I had my daughter I would have thought it was macabre too. We received several things people had made the various times Alice was hospitalized her first year. Even coming in to see her wearing a new hat brightened our day. I still have everything we were given and they all mean so much to me, even five years later. It meant a great deal to me that a stranger was willing to take the time to make something for *my* child, even if they had never met us. So, smocking is my way of paying it forward.

          1. @Katy I’m planning to donate all of the small clothes and preemie hats I have from my kids (who were term, but small) to the NICU once I can bear to sort through them. I remember seeing Mimi in clothes and the normalcy of that made Dave and I feel just so good.

            So for us, buying and donating small clothes to the NICU is our way of paying it forward.

  19. When I had an early miscarriage at the beginning of 2005, I was the only person I’d ever known to go through that. Plus, since it was early, I felt like my grief didn’t “count” as much as others’. When I met other women who’d gone through that and got their support (and had the opportunity to offer my own), it made all the difference in the world in my own healing.

    I didn’t know there was such A Day to Remember, but I’m so glad. A chance to thank all the women who were there for me and to offer my thoughts and prayers to all the grieving families.

  20. I would ask you to add my twin siblings. They would be about 27 now, and every now and then I think about them and wonder what they would have been like.

  21. One sister lost four and one sister lost three. One of the kids was named after me. That statistic doesn’t sound off to me.

    Not too good to end before you even get started.

  22. Aunt Becky ~ Please add my son to your list Robert Daniel. He died 2 weeks before Christmas last year. He was 14 1/2months old. Thank you & thank you for today’s blog

  23. Two years ago I lost my child who I really thought was a girl. I was going to name her Ellery. Thank you for remembering her.

  24. Thankyou for doing this. I have never had a child, but even if I had I don’t think I would be able to comprehend the sorrow that these parents face.

    They matter. And they will always be remembered.

  25. I will never, never, ever forget the feeling of leaning down to pick something up off the floor at 40 weeks and 4 days of pregnancy and feeling a heavy, completely still weight in my stomach where there had been a squirming baby only hours before. She’d had a cord accident- I’d never even heard of that. Didn’t know it was possible. And I couldn’t ever imagine it happening to me and my family.

    Thank God, thank God, they got her out in time, and I would take a million of the awful month we had in intensive care above the alternative. But every single day I think about what could have been, and my heart absolutely bleeds for those who weren’t so lucky.

    I’ll light a candle tonight too, and thanks for bringing it to all of our attention.

  26. Brennan.
    4/6/04. 3 weeks shy of his due date.
    Amniotic band around the cord. Apparently pulled tight when he dropped. Felt him kicking a LOT on 4/5. Went in the next morning for a regular appt and they couldn’t find a heartbeat. Not amniotic band syndrome, which has a real dx code – just a lone loose bit of tissue floating around like a landmine. My MD later said the extra kicking was probably death throes. That was a nice image to be left with.

  27. I can’t even read this too closely today because I can’t afford to spend all day crying, but I am keeping all the families who have lost little ones far, far before their times in my thoughts and prayers. Bless you for bringing this to our attention, Aunt Becky.

  28. That is so sad…you would think that with technology today they would be able to do more about it. I should have an older sister right now named Cathy.
    I have a gift for you to celebrate your awesomeness…hop over to my blog and grab it 🙂

  29. I didn’t know there was a day to remember and I found out a day too late. But next year and many times before then, I will remember my sister’s baby, Josie Ree Smith. My sister miscarried at 16 weeks and had to go through “labor” to deliver her. I was in the room with her, I drove her home from the hospital, and I spent time with her in the weeks afterward. It still makes me sad and talking about it makes me cry.

  30. By Kathleen Bonnano

    Death Barged In

    In his Russian greatcoat,
    slamming open the door
    with an unpardonable bang,
    and he has been here ever since.

    He changes everything,
    rearranges the furniture,
    his hand hovers
    by the phone;
    he will answer now, he says;
    he will be the answer.

    Tonight he sits down to dinner
    at the head of the table
    as we eat, mute;
    later, he climbs into bed
    between us.

    Even as I sit here,
    he stands behind me
    clamping two
    colossal hands on my shoulders
    and bends down
    and whispers to my neck:
    From now on,
    you write about me.

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