For my husband, Mike, and I, the death of our son, Jack, was very sudden, completely unexpected, and we never got a chance to say goodbye or even hello. We never even got a chance to tell our little son how much we love him or see him smile. We grieve for the death of our baby but also for the death of the future with him - so many things we didn't get a chance to do or see or experience with him. The feelings of the parents after a baby is born still ranges among complete helplessness, shock, denial, rage, guilt, and overwhelming sadness.

Mike and I planned for, read about, and followed every single 'rule' for the healthy birth of our first baby, our son. There are countless notes in my doctors file where I had called in and had expressed concerns. I was that 'crazy mom' who triple checked everything. My entire pregnancy was perfectly normal and healthy; I never got sick and was able to stay active. No complications existed, according to my doctor; my baby always had a strong heartbeat. Yet, I went in for a routine visit, and instead of the news I was expecting, which was that everything was fine, the nurses couldn't find a heart beat. The doctor was called and we were informed that our baby, my son, had died. Even after reading all the pregnancy books, Mike and I didn't even know this outcome was a possibility for a 'healthy' pregnancy.

Later that night on 6/5/09, our doctor induced labor and I gave birth to Jack Alexander Scherer, the most beautiful baby I have ever seen. Jack was 35 weeks old, 4 pounds 6 ounces, and 19.5 inches when he was born. My husband and I got to take pictures with Jack, hold him, spend some time with him, and had him Baptized, which was heart-breaking, tragic, painful, and comforting all at the same time. The doctors didn't know what had happened at that point and told us, that despite the fact we are having an autopsy, we most likely would not be able to determine a cause for Jack's death. Since that time, Jack's autopsy report has come back indicating that Jack was a perfectly healthy baby boy. Along with that report was the overwhelming despair in realizing that Jack’s death could have and should have been prevented. Right now, I'm seeing several medical specialists for consultations, and I still have no definitive answers as to what caused Jack's death.

Mike and I are utterly shocked and devastated. Jack has given us a tremendous amount of joy in a very short amount of time and we are eternally grateful for the time we had with him. Throughout our grieving process, my husband and I have tried desperately to make some sort of sense or meaning out of this tragedy.  I have decided to focus on keeping Jack's legacy alive by looking into helping others.

I have been doing research on stillbirth and found that the knowledge among medical professionals, and also awareness with the general population, is just not there; yet, the horrific death of these babies occurs so often, approximately 29,000 annually in the United States -- one in about every 160 pregnancies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number is 10 times the number of deaths attributed to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which has been identified as a key public health issue, and four times the incidence rate of Down syndrome, for which prenatal testing has become standard. There has been very little research regarding the causes and prevention of stillbirth. I struggle with accepting this. Jack’s Defenders has been created in Jack's honor to raise money to fund more in-depth research, hopefully to lower the rates of stillbirth in this country. Jack’s middle name, Alexander, means “defender of mankind.” Please support Jack’s Defenders in never accepting the death of babies that should be prevented. To know that 29,000 families, yearly in the US alone, experience this tragedy, breaks the pieces of my heart that are left.