If you had asked me this ten years ago or so I'd have probably given you an incorrect answer. Losing a child was something that was not on my radar even though my maternal grandparents lost a baby right after her birth due to what may be a similar condition as what we're experiencing and my paternal grandparents lost five babies to early miscarriages. My godmother had two stillborn babies. Since losing Wyatt I know of so so many more losses. I've made many friends through online support groups and boards and shared in their grief over the loss of their babies. I've learned of co-workers and friends' losses and other losses have occurred within my distantly related family as well. Myself, I have lost two babies, Wyatt to Potter's and an early miscarriage between my first two living children. Soon I will lose another. I know of losses at all stages of pregnancy and even early infancy and for all kinds of different reasons. I probably would not have known of many of these losses though had I not had my own. Pregnancy and infant loss is not something that people talk about. There are so many reasons why.
I took my middle daughter to the clinic yesterday for a nasty lingering cough. The nurse who took her x-rays was very excited to see my pregnant belly and asked if this was my second child. I froze for a second, unsure how to answer. For the past seven years it has just been easier to answer that "how many children?" question by referring to my living children, the ones people see. Since I go to the clinic often, I answered that this will be my fourth. Sometimes it hurts more than others to not mention Wyatt. It's not that I mind explaining that we had a boy as our first child and that he died. It's the look in other people's eyes, sometimes pity, confusion or discomfort. No one asks the "how many children?" question expecting to hear about death. Most families are blessedly untouched by an experience like ours, they don't know how to respond.
It makes me wonder how many times I have asked someone how many children they have and how many times that answer has not just slipped off their tongue because they didn't know whether I wanted to hear how many children they really had or how many children I could see that they had.