This past week I have been following the news about registering your baby if they are born before 24 weeks, and listened to MP Sharon Hodgson talking in parliament about her stillborn baby, who never received a birth certificate as she was born a couple of days before the 24 weeks.
Very much like Rhianna Lily.
If anyone has read this blog for a while they will know that the fact that Rhianna Lily was never given a birth or death certificate is a horrible twist of the knife for her Daddy and me. I am so pleased that this is finally being discussed in parliament and hopeful that this will change.
It doesn’t matter if you lose a baby at 5 weeks, 13 weeks, or 23 weeks (or later) that is your baby.
It is your baby from the moment you find out your pregnant.
Yes medically it is a fetus.
But to you and your partner its a baby.
Its your baby.
And even if you are a person that has already lost a baby, and are wary of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy it doesn’t mean you don’t plan, you don’t dream.
The moment you see two lines or the word pregnant on a pregnancy stick.
You are having a baby and you are a mummy.
And you love that baby, you don’t even think of the word fetus, its your baby.
You look at baby grows, beds, themes for a nursery.
You see baby things all around you.
And you decide what you like, you pre plan what you will buy when it is needed.
You think about names, you think about whether this lovely little baby of yours will be a girl or boy.
Who they will look like
Who they will take after
What their characteristics will be like.
All of this starts from the moment you find out you are pregnant.
The longer the pregnancy lasts the more you think about it.
You start to buy.
You start to plan.
It doesn’t matter whether you lose your baby at 5 weeks, 13 weeks or 23 weeks (or later)
Whenever you lose a baby you lose so much
You lose all your plans
All your ideas
Years of milestones
You don’t just lose a fetus.
You lose a baby
A baby that grows into a toddler
A baby that grows into a child
A baby that starts school
A baby that becomes a teenager
A baby that leaves school
A baby that falls in love
A baby that falls out of love
A baby that leaves home
A baby that learns to drive
A baby that goes to university
A baby that starts their new job
A baby that gets married
A baby that has a baby
A baby that grows old in front of your eyes
You lose it all
You don’t just lose a baby!
You loose a set of life times plans
That you have been planning for life for some, but even more so since you first saw the two lines or word pregnant.
When that loss is late on
You sit in a room giving birth to a silent baby.
You walk out of the hospital alone.
You pick out the tiniest of coffins.
One of the smallest coffins available.
And you stand at a graveside while your baby.
Your dreams and your future
Are lowered into the ground
Into the smallest grave you have ever seen.
And your heart is broken into a thousand pieces.
Yes your baby didn’t take a breath
She didn’t cry, she didn’t open her eyes
But you, her family and your friends stand and watch her tiny coffin being lowered into the ground.
Legally none of that matters.
Because she doesn’t exist.
She was born two days shy of 24 weeks.
So there is no birth certificate.
No death certificate.
And she doesn’t even have her own grave.
Because she doesn’t exist.
Instead her grave is her daddies, because what else does he have?
You felt your heart shatter in pieces.
You and her daddy both had to literally be held up as your baby is lowered into the ground.
But legally your baby daughter that you both so wanted and had planned your life around.
Is just a statistic.
Another 1 in 4.
And it isn’t fair.
None of it is fair.
Just because she was born at 23 weeks and 5 days.
She is a late miscarriage.
Not a legal stillbirth.
Even though you gave birth to a baby who wasn’t breathing.
Not everyone wants a birth certificate for their baby.
But a lot of us parents that have given birth to our baby that wasn’t breathing
Whatever their gestational age do.
Should we not be given the choice?
Should we not have the chance to have our babies recognised?
Grief is bad enough
When you are grieving and your baby isn’t even legally recognised it is a whole different ball game!