A set of questions pertaining to everyone who has suffered one or more losses--from chemical pregnancies and early miscarriage to ectopic and beyond to late-term loss and...here is where our language is lacking...death of a child soon after birth.
Actually, our language is lacking left and right. We use the term "failed cycle" to describe both the failure of IUI or IVF. But there is a key difference. With IUI, fertilization may or may not have taken place (obviously, implantation has not happened either, but that's a different story). But with IVF, an embryo has already been formed. You are, in a way, pregnant during every IVF cycle. It's just a matter of implantation. So what is the word to describe this type of loss?
What do we call that child who is born alive but dies soon after birth? We have another term--stillbirth--to describe a child who wasn't born alive, but why don't we have a name to honour those who are born alive and die soon after?
Are there words connected to loss that bother you--especially medical terminology (habitual aborter comes to mind just because those who haven't suffered a loss may hear habitual aborter and think it is something entirely different).
These next two questions ask how important is it to you (on a scale from 1--10) that people use the correct terminology to describe your loss?
1. How important is it to you that they differentiate and use the term miscarriage if the loss was prior to 20 weeks or late-term loss after 20 weeks (on a scale from 1--10; and explain your answer if possible)?
2. How important is it to you that they use the name of the correct type of loss (ectopic, blighted ovum, molar, chemical, stillbirth, etc)? Again, the scale is 1--10 and it would help if you could explain your answer.
Kotapress has a fantastic online dictionary concerning loss, but depending on your religious beliefs or how you view pregnancy loss, not all people would be comfortable with terms such as angelversary. I started using terraversy (a combination of terrible and anniversary--with obvious connections to the idea of in-ground imbedded in the word) to describe those terrible days--date of death or lost due date--just because it doesn't have religious connotations. And people process loss differently--I think it's important to be inclusive so that however you view your personal loss, you can still have language to describe what happened and how you feel.
A huge thank you in advance to everyone who has already helped me with this chapter by providing interviews or sharing your stories of loss. Writing this chapter...just sucks. Whereas in every other chapter there is an element of hope--yes, things can go wrong, but ultimately, there is hopefully a child at the end of the path--this chapter...well...I don't think I need to finish that sentence for you to know what this chapter is about. Thank you for being open to answering my dozens of questions--I want to get this right so that it serves the greater community and doesn't just speak to my personal experience. And some of these losses are outside my experience--such as late-term loss. And without your stories, I wouldn't be able to do this chapter justice.
More questions to come. This is just a week of questions, questions, questions. And feel free to email your answers directly to email@example.com if you don't wish to post them in the comments section.
Updated at 2:20 p.m.:
Joan added this question in the comments and I thought I would move it up here:
Do you differentiate between a chemical pregnancy and a miscarriage?
She explains: There seems to be disagreement even in the medical community. A midwife in my OB practice told me a chemical pregnancy "doesn't count" as a miscarriage. My RE said it absolutely does. Does calling it a "chemical pregnancy" make you grieve any less? In my case, I think it did, but losing the chemical pregnancy was much more painful physically than the miscarriage I had a year and a half later at 6.5 weeks. Go figure.