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I had a stillbirth at 38 weeks. How am I supposed to move forward?

"Selling Sunset" star Maya Vander searches for understanding in the wake of heartbreak.
Maya Vander stillbirth
Maya Vander had expected to bring her third baby home this month.timnewman / Getty Images stock

It’s been one week since my son Mason was stillborn at 38 weeks

At that point in my pregnancy, I was at the doctor every week for a checkup. Until then, everything had been going exactly as planned. My hospital bag was packed, and my husband and I were ready to welcome our third child. 

I have two other kids, and I know how these appointments are supposed to go. Blood pressure, check for dilation, put the doppler on my belly to hear the baby’s heartbeat. It should sound like horses racing. But I heard nothing. 

In the ultrasound room, everything was quiet. I had a bad feeling. 

Baby Mason had no heartbeat. 

I asked the doctor, "What do I do?"

I asked the doctor, “What do I do?” I had to go to the hospital to deliver the baby. I called my husband to tell him the news. He had COVID-19 and couldn’t come with me. I went home, got the suitcase that I had already packed and drove myself to the hospital. It was like I was on autopilot. I just needed to get it done. 

After giving birth to my other two children, I knew what to expect in terms of the process. I delivered Mason vaginally, as I had the other two. But the outcome was so different. Those were such exciting times, so special. This time it was so painful, so hard to understand.

Vander with her children.Courtesy Maya Vander

 

My husband couldn’t be there for Mason’s delivery, but the hospital did allow him to come and hold Mason and say goodbye. We were both devastated. 

I saw Mason at the funeral home — we are having a burial for him. He looked so perfect, fully formed at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. I just kept thinking to myself, “What the hell happened?” I’m trying to process this all, but none of it makes any sense. We don’t have any answers from the doctors. We may never know what happened. But the burial will be closure in some way for us, a chance to show Mason how much we love him, no matter what. 

I'm trying to process this all, but none of it makes any sense.

It’s such a strange time for me. Sometimes I’m OK, and then something will trigger me and I’ll break down. I still have to work. I can’t just vanish. I had planned to wrap things up at work and then take time off for the baby and the holidays. My clients still need me. But physically and mentally, I am not in a good place. 

My husband and I are trying to lift each other up, to move forward. We’ll probably go to therapy to better understand the grieving process. Maybe that will help a little. Right now, I spend a lot of time reading all the messages I’ve gotten from women since I posted on social media about Mason. 

One thing that gives me hope is that many women in a similar situation have gone on to have more children. I was very much ready for a third child, and now there’s a void. But they give me hope. 

Season 5 of “Selling Sunset” will feature me very much pregnant. There was even a baby shower scene, although I don’t know if it will make the edit. I think that would be hard to watch. 

If there is anything good that’s come of this, it’s that I’ve seen how very kind people are. The love and support we have received has been amazing. My house is filled with flowers and food and toys for my other kids. My DMs are filled with messages of support and love from women everywhere. I want to thank everyone for reaching out. It’s so good to know we are loved. 

As told to Genevieve Brown