I never truly believed that we would find out why Lauren died. Only when we first went into the hospital did I think we might be told why it happened. Or how it happened. But after the initial tests, even before I had delivered Lauren, I suspected we would have no answers. I knew it for certain when one of our doctors – Dr. Hirayama – came into our room for the first time since I had been admitted and explained to us what would happen.

From the initial examination (the ultrasounds, the blood test), no one could say why Lauren’s heart had stopped. Physically, except for the stillness of her heart, she looked perfect. No infections, no physical distress, no outward sign of any reason why a perfectly healthy baby should die suddenly. Dr. Hirayama gave us a list of what might have happened, and he took great care to tell us that it was nothing we had done. “You are healthy,” he told me; I liked Dr. Hirayama because he always tried to explain as much as possible in English for me. “Everything looks healthy. Right now, we don’t know why.” And then he explained that we might never know. He asked if we wanted an autopsy, warning us that it might give us answers but it might not. We agreed to it. He told us that, even after all was said and done, there was a good chance Lauren’s death could go unexplained. Before that moment, I had never known that it was possible for a full-term baby to die and to never know why.

The tests revealed nothing. No cord accident, nothing wrong with the placenta, no indication that Lauren had been in distress. Even the concern about her heart being too big led to nothing. Lauren appeared perfectly healthy, just as she had throughout the pregnancy.

At first, I has a hard time accepting this. Even knowing what I do now – that about 40% of stillbirths have undetermined causes, even after extensive tests – I still sometimes feel this need to understand what happened to my daughter. But as time passes, I’ve felt this need wane some. I have come to feel that there is something far more important to know: it’s no one’s fault. Nobody caused this to happen. More importantly, we can’t go back and change it.

I refuse to play the blame card. The loss of a child can tear a family apart. It’s all too easy to give into the anger and the frustration and cry out, “It’s your fault!” It feels so much better to have an explanation. People need to have a reason for what happens in their lives, and in times of trial and hardship, it’s easier to point the finger at others. I could do it myself if I really wanted to.

Why didn’t Geordie take me back to the hospital as soon as I voiced my worries? Why didn’t he listen to me? Why didn’t he protect Lauren the way he said he would?

Why didn’t the doctor realize something was wrong that Thursday afternoon? Why did no one tell me how important it was to do kick counts and keep track of her movements? How could they be so irresponsible? Didn’t they care? Didn’t she matter?

It’s his fault; it’s their fault. Someone has to be at fault. They caused this to happen. I could blame them for taking my daughter from me.

Some days, I want to. I want to point fingers and blame others and demand an explanation for what happened to my baby. I want to know the reason; I want to know that this wasn’t just some accident or fluke. I want to have someone to turn my anger and confusion on, even if it is only myself.

But to lay blame on anyone is futile. Lauren’s death was not Geordie’s fault, nor was it the doctor’s. Nor is it mine, though I am far more willing to blame myself than anyone else. I carried her, and I knew her rhythms. I should have known that something was wrong, and I should have insisted that we do something about it. If I had pushed hard enough and demanded we go back to the hospital that Friday, Geordie would have taken me, and they might’ve been able to save her. If I had followed my instincts, my daughter would be with me, and my living nightmare would belong to another me in another universe. If I had . . .

But no. I cannot live with “ifs.” Under other circumstances, we might have been able to save her – but we might not have. We don’t know when she died or what killed her. Even Friday may have been too late. Even if the doctors had caught her in pre-death distress, she might still have been lost. She could have succumbed to the stress of labor or to the shock of major surgery. Life might have seeped out of her no matter what steps the doctors took to stop it. That’s just the way life goes; even if you do your best and have the odds on your side, you can still find yourself on the losing side. You don’t win them all, because fairness has nothing to do with it.

So, I do not lay blame upon Geordie. I do not blame the doctors. I do not even blame a god for “mysterious plans” that took Lauren away to a heaven I don’t believe in. I do not demand a reason, because I know one may never be found. She died; that is all there is to it. She died because life is a delicate thing, an intricacy that often defies human understanding. Life is a secret, as is death. Perhaps in the future, humans will learn why death creeps in upon perfectly normal, healthy babies, but until then, we must only acknowledge that life cannot be explained.

Life merely is – and sometimes, inexplicably, it is snuffed before it has even had a chance to burn.

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