I read a HuffPost article about a woman in the UK who shared her story of losing her daughter at 38 weeks in the womb. So far along in your pregnancy, a lost of a fetus at that stage is a stillbirth and no longer considered a miscarriage, because the baby will have to be medically delivered either by c-section or induction.
Having a stillbirth has to be the most devastating. Most miscarriages happens in the first few months of pregnancy, in the first trimester, and usually because of some chromosomal defects where the embryo just wasn’t viable for survival. It’s why most women had traditionally waited until the 3-month mark (or after the first trimester) to announce their pregnancy.
A stillbirth is when the baby would have been medically able to survive birth, but for whatever reason died in-vitro; the woman in the article said she found out after she noticed she hadn’t felt her baby moving in a few days, and when she went to the hospital, the doctor confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat.
I can imagine the immense guilt she must have felt. After all, at 38 weeks the baby could have been delivered, and she probably played it over and over in her head why didn’t she go to the doctor the first day she noticed the baby’s movements had decreased — it’s especially hard when you’re so far along too, I mean, some women naturally go into labor at 38 weeks!
Most women don’t even think about the separation of stillbirths and miscarriages, instead thinking that the two different medical terms are exchangeable… but they’re not. I think that’s why the article effected me so much. Even at 34 weeks, a whole month earlier, she could have saved her baby. She would have been in the NICU, but she would have been born… and that’s the hardest part, thinking of all the “what if-s”, and what you should have/could have done.
I think mostly, when the end is so near, you don’t even think about something so morbid and negative as your baby dying inside of you. Instead, you’re inching towards home-plate; you’ve got your hospital bag packed, you’re seeing the doctor every week (or every two weeks) — how can something happen when you’re getting checked by the doctor every week in the last month, right? Yet, it does happen, and sometimes it’s very sudden.
Grieving is one of the hardest emotional moments to overcome. I was very sad when I read her story. It made me miss my husband so much since he’s out in the field and won’t be back until I either go into labor or the day before my scheduled c-section… but sometimes when I feel like this, I just need him around to hold me.