Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Grey Area: Pregnancy Loss 20-24 Weeks.

Image from Google

The grey area. That's where us parents of babies lost between 20-24 weeks live. We don't fit into any box. Our babies are not legally classed as 'stillborn' but in my eyes you don't have a funeral for a miscarriage. Our babies were born either naturally or via c-section, more often than not on a delivery suite, just like those at full term. Yet there is no legal record of them ever existing. We didn't get a birth or death certificate and we didn't get to register Jonah. I was 17 days away from viability, 17 days away from being able to document that our baby was a part of this world. That's why for me, it's so important to keep saying his name. 

Losing Jonah so close to the 24 week mark is incredibly tough. Being so close to a big milestone, actually felt achievable despite a difficult pregnancy. I know the chances of survival at 24 weeks are slim, but it would have given us some hope. It would have meant Jonah would have been delivered earlier in the evening and I may not have had to endure such trauma from excessive blood loss. 

And then there is the practical side of losing a baby before 24 weeks. I carried Jonah for five and half months. That took it's toll on my physical and mental health.  The anxiety around this pregnancy was beyond anything I'd ever experienced. My bump was getting bigger and bigger and therefore making an impact of my hips and back. I then gave birth via a c-section and had major abdominal surgery. Yet I wasn't entitled to any maternity leave, not one day. 

I spend my time trying to find a group that I belong to. It turns out, I don't really belong to any. Losing a baby between 20-24 weeks is rare, in fact it's less than 2 in 1000 pregnancies. Then I add the hysterectomy factor in - that's even less people. I have yet to find anyone in the UK that has been through a similar experience. My grey area, gets even bigger. 

I can't join in conversations about the relationships between siblings. I can't discuss how many children I'd like to have in the future. I have to walk away when I overhear conversations about pregnancy or newborns at play groups. I so desperately want people to know I've given birth and had a baby this year, but of course, nobody ask about him. But why would they? They don't know he existed. I'm now the mother that avoids conversations at toddler groups and hangs out with the grandparents where it tends to be a little 'safer'. 

I can't enter discussions about rainbow babies or pregnancy after loss either. I don't belong in the group of ladies trying to conceive after the unimaginable. Every bit of hope was taken from us, when my womb was taken. We're stuck in this no man's land, just trying to survive.

Maybe one day the grey will become a little clearer and we will finally belong somewhere. But for now we will continue to try and find the club we belong to.

A little link to some research and advice for pregnancy loss between 20-24 weeks.

Katie xx

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