I've been writing a personal blog about our loss of Henry and this is a vent I've been meaning to write but I think this will be a better place for it!
Modern medicine has given us several different terms to "define" the loss of our baby.
Chemical Pregnancy. I really despise this term. Technically a chemical pregnancy is a pregnancy that is usually lost before your first missed period or just after up until about five weeks gestation.
Why do I loathe these two words? Because I don't understand why it isn't called a miscarriage for one. If you google it, you'll find a variety of definitions. One place will say it's a pregnancy that never attached to the uterine wall. Others say it's nothing more than a very early miscarriage. If you weren't trying to conceive it's likely you would have never even known you were pregnant. But you WERE pregnant because you got a positive on your pregnancy test, right?!?
I think my experience with a chemical pregnancy has jaded my views on this. I'd had three positive tests in two days, two different brands of tests. But then I started bleeding and went to have blood work done. My test came back negative, no pregnancy hormone detected. I asked the nurse how I could have gotten those positive tests. Her answer? "You must have taken them wrong."
The other reason I find the term hurtful is because when you hear that you've had a chemical pregnancy what a lot of women are really hearing out of their doctor's mouth is, "Oh bless your heart, you thought you were pregnant! Nope, it was just a chemical pregnancy."
I feel like the term implies there was never a real pregnancy to begin with and that's just not the case. As soon as you see that test turn positive, you are imaging a future with that baby. But it's not just the "idea" of the pregnancy that you've lost, it's still your baby. Don't let the term scare you away from feeling that.
Miscarriage This term covers a LOT of territory. Anything from conception up until 20 weeks is a miscarriage. And my only beef with this word is that I feel like there's a society stigma attached to it. "Oh it was just a miscarriage." as if it happens all the time, is no big deal.
The truth? Sure, it's very common. But that doesn't mean it happens to you all the time. There's no "just" about it. You lost your baby, be it 6 weeks or 19. I find this to be true especially with earlier losses. They aren't supposed to be as devastating according to our society. It makes women feel bad for grieving. "Oh it was just a miscarriage, why are you so upset?" I have heard other mothers say people have said things like that to them.
Technically, Henry was a miscarriage because he was a few days short of 20 weeks. But you will never, ever hear me refer to that as a miscarriage. Why? Because the experience was anything but. I still had to go to the hospital and be induced. I had to give birth to my baby. I had to deal with breast milk that was made for a baby who was not here. The term miscarriage doesn't seem to do that any justice.
I suppose I am comfortable referring to Alex as a miscarriage as the process was natural and happened on its own. It was a very different experience. But I still feel that the term doesn't do it justice. I still buried my baby in the cemetery. It can't be summed up in one word.
I feel part of the reason society doesn't "get it" is because we as mothers aren't really comfortable talking about it. And why should we when we hear things like, "It was just a miscarriage, it's not like you knew your baby!" I think if more people knew what it was really like both physically and emotionally there would be a better understanding of it. And I think a lot of it also has to do with the way our culture values life in general.
I would love to hear your thoughts on some of the medical definitions and how you feel about them or how people have responded to you. Maybe I read too much into them but I have always felt that the entire experience is very downplayed by the people around us and it makes it hard to feel like you have a lot of support around you.
In general, I think the point I'm getting at here is that losing a baby is never something that can be defined by one or two words. To a mother, it is never just a miscarriage, it is never just a chemical pregnancy. It is never just an experience. It's a devastating, life changing event. I understand that our doctors have to use words to define what's happened physically but there's no way to define that emotionally and there's no other way to really communicate to others the difference.