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‘The worst heartbreak imaginable.” Kansas City stillbirth mother turns pain to power by empowering others to advocate during pregnancy after a former NFL cheerleader dies of childbirth complications

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‘The worst heartbreak imaginable.” Kansas City stillbirth mother turns pain to power by empowering others to advocate during pregnancy after a former NFL cheerleader dies of childbirth complications

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – Days after a Chiefs cheerleader died post-childbirth, mothers who share similar stories of stillbirth pregnancy say they’re trying to take their power back.

 

 

“Losing a child is the worst heartbreak imaginable and no other child could replace the one you lost,” said mother Erica Bailey.

Bailey’s home is plastered with photos of what appears to be a picture-perfect family.

“Normally you have your baby crying and it was silent. The only cries were from us,” she said.

There are photos of a mother, a father, and two children, but only she knows the full story. The full story includes a child who isn’t pictured.

“This is my son Rhoan. This was right after he was born. He was seven pounds, six ounces, and he looks just like his daddy,” she said, holding a photo of her and her husband holding a lifeless child in the delivery room.

Her first child Rhoan Osbourne was born on March 5, 2020, as a stillborn baby.

“Every year as the day approaches it’s just a heaviness,” said Bailey.

It’s something she never saw coming with a seemingly normal pregnancy that doctors told her was low-risk. That’s until her last trimester when she noticed a change in her baby’s movements.

“At the time, I was not educated on stillbirth. I had no idea that it was even a thing that could happen to me let alone this far into my pregnancy,” said Bailey.

She says no one on her care team alerted her something was wrong and feels the stillborn birth could have been prevented.

“I definitely believe it’s a system failure. The way our healthcare system is, especially with prenatal care, we’re treated like delicate little flowers who can’t handle information when we should be empowered,” said Bailey.

Bailey is turning her pain into power through her organization Count the Kicks by helping educate other mothers so they can advocate for themselves during pregnancy.

According to Count the Kicks, the stilborn rate in Kansas is 5.32 per 1,000 births. In Missouri, the stillborn rate is 5.71 per 1,000 births.

According to Nurture KC, there are 35 deaths per 100,000 births in Missouri. Missouri’s mortality rate for Black moms skyrockets to 65 deaths per 100,000 births, a rate that is double the state rate. Black moms are dying at triple the rate as White moms in Missouri.

“I wanna share as wide as possible so we can save as many lives as possible,” said Bailey.

Count the Kicks is a public health program designed to help mothers track the stages of their pregnancy and educate them on what they’re experiencing. The ultimate goal is empowering them with the tools needed to advocate for themselves when under the care of medical professionals.

“If you go in and they check you or they brush you off and they tell you everything’s fine, and you don’t feel right, don’t go home. Stay there because it could save your baby’s life and it could save your life too,” she said.

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