Feticide. One of many medical words which I wish I knew absolutely nothing about. Feticide is a medical procedure to stop your baby’s heart from beating before inducing labour 48 hours later.
This involves a procedure in a specialist fetal medicine department where a doctor will give you local anaesthetic then inject through your stomach to stop your baby’s heart from beating. Thirty minutes later you will reenter the room to be scanned to confirm the procedure has worked. This is then followed by taking a tablet called Mifepristone to block the action of progesterone which is needed to maintain a pregnancy. 48 hours later you are admited to labour ward to be induced. This procedure is used where a pregnancy is being brought to an end after 22 weeks gestation.
I have written this as fact but what does feticide really mean? What does it really mean for the parents? It means the worst possible choice even though you don’t have a choice at all. It means for the mother to consent to end their precious babies life. It means for the father that they have to watch as their partner goes through this horrendous procedure that will ultimately end their babies life. It means an overwhelming guilt that you will hold forever even though you had no choice. It means emotional pain like no other. It means saying goodbye to a baby that you wanted more than anything. It means your life and your family life will never ever be the same again. It means watching helplessly as your partners soul is destroyed.
This procedure is not something which is just handed out. It is only permitted for women who are carrying a child with a fetal abnormality and can only be performed at a hospital with a fetal medicine department. In our case Poppy had abnormalities of her brain. Each scan we had, additional abnormalities were found and our MRI confirmed these and more. To be faced with a decision where the kindest act you can do for your unborn child is to let them go is a decision no parent should ever have to face. Ultimately for us we had no choice, Poppy’s abnormalities were so severe she would not have survived. Her abnormalities were so severe that we were actually told the 24 week cut off point did not apply to us and at any point if we continued with our pregnancy we would be able to bring it to an end. This in itself speaks volumes to the severity of our precious Poppy’s abnormalities.
But having the facts presented to us made the decision no easier. There will always be a what if even though we knew that there never could have been a what if. Our hearts will be forever broken or should I say shattered.
If you need additional support:
Arc – Antenatal results and choices.
Petals – The Baby Loss Counselling Charity.
Tommy’s – Baby Charity – Together, for every baby.
Sands – Stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
All content is my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experience from my own journey of baby loss. This post may contain affiliate links, please see the Copyright and Disclosures page for more information.