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Lawrence woman shares her experience to raise awareness on stillbirths ahead of Mother's Day

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Posted at 10:35 PM, May 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jenna Sheldon-Sherman and her kids love being on the move.

Movement has become important in their lives, and not something she takes for granted.

“In 2021, I was pregnant with a third baby boy who was born still, and that was really, obviously, very difficult,” Sheldon-Sherman said.

Stillbirths, defined as when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy, are common in Kansas.

CDC data says Kansas women lose 190 babies a year on average to stillbirth, which is higher than the national average.

Sheldon-Sherman says losing Zach doesn't mean he's been forgotten.

She says she and her other three children talk about him everyday and remember him through signs like butterflies and rainbows.

So it was fitting when a year after Zach’s stillbirth, Sophia Louise was born.

“When she came, and everyone was like, she's your rainbow baby," Sheldon-Sherman said. "I can just remember thinking that this could not be more fitting that I know that Zach picked her out and sent her to be with us."

When Jenna got pregnant with Sophia Louise, she started tracking her baby’s movement using an app called Counting the Kicks, which is a part of a larger awareness movement started by a nonprofit called Healthy Birth Day, Inc.

“Their baby's movement is an important sign of their well-being in the third trimester," said Kimberly Isburg, the communications manager for Healthy Birth Day. "That should be a common practice for every pregnancy, for every prenatal visit. We really want moms to know this so they can be aware and so more moms and babies can have healthy birth outcomes."

Sheldon-Sherman was able to safely deliver Sophia Louise after speaking up about her baby's lack of movement.

“I think it's important to be your biggest advocate because only you know your body, and only you know your baby when it's inside of your body,” she said.

As for the babies outside her body, they move with Zach in their hearts, taking him everywhere they go, especially this Mother's Day.

"I think Mother's Day is so much more meaningful to me now because I think of everything that moms go through to bring us into this world emotionally, physically, mentally," Sheldon-Sherman said. "It also gives me appreciation for people who are still trying to become moms."