How people describe second trimester loss or late miscarriage
Five people share their thoughts on how they would prefer their loss to be described.
In our survey on second trimester loss, we asked ‘How would you prefer your loss to be described?’. We share five of those responses here.
H gave birth when she was between 18 and 20 weeks pregnant. She wrote:
I honestly don’t know…by all accounts I gave birth to a still baby but didn’t technically have a stillbirth.
The word miscarriage just doesn’t accurately even begin to describe my experience. So many people assume you had a heavy period or a bit of bleeding, explaining that no, I laboured and gave birth, I held, cuddled and loved my sleeping but not living baby and cried an ocean.
The words are too traumatic to utter, and it’s too much to explain, yet if I said I had a stillbirth I wouldn’t have to explain, they would know or at least be able to guess the horror of what I went through.
Yet if I say it was a stillbirth it’s not technically true, I hate that what I feel best describes what I went through isn’t accurate. I just wish there was a name or a word that explains my experience without me having to explain it myself.
R lost twins, the first at 16 weeks and 5 days and the second at 17 weeks and 4 days. She wrote:
I think a baby born between 13 weeks and 23 weeks 6 days should still be considered a still birth. The mother still has to go through labour and delivery, deliver both child and placenta.
I think the word miscarriage takes away the pain and trauma the mother goes through when she loses s baby between 13 – 23 weeks 6 days. There is a baby at the end that can be seen, held and loved. The baby may be small but there have been babies born before 24 weeks to survive and live a normal life.
S’s baby died at 17 weeks. She wrote:
I do not like my baby being described as a ‘loss’. I did not ‘lose’ him. My baby died and therefore I am grieving, just as I would grieve the death of a child at any age. My baby was already part of my family. I am glad my care team acknowledged my baby by the name I chose.
The trauma I experienced was like nothing I have ever experienced – the emotional pain was unbearable.
C gave birth at 23 weeks. She wrote:
I describe mine as a stillbirth. I went into hospital and my labour was induced and I gave birth. My milk came in etc. Everything you would expect with a birth, in my opinion not a miscarriage.
I understand the science behind not being 24 weeks etc but it is so hurtful to describe what I physically went through as a miscarriage. I would even prefer the term late loss or something else but definitely not miscarriage.
I’m not entirely sure how we would want our loss to be described, but I would agree that neither “miscarriage” or “stillbirth” do justice to what we experienced. For want of a better term, ‘second trimester loss’ does at least distinguish the experience from an earlier miscarriage (painful as that may be for those who experience it).