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.
Feticide as fact…
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. After thirty minutes the Doctor re scans you to confirm that the procedure has worked. Mifepristone is then administered. Mifepristone blocks the action of progesterone which is needed to maintain a pregnancy. Labour is induced after 48 hours on labour ward. Feticide is performed when a pregnancy is being brought to an end after 22 weeks gestation.
What feticide truly means…
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. Then a father having to watch on 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. Feticide 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.
Feticide follows strict guidelines. 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 revealed more abnormalities in Poppy’s brain. Our MRI confirmed these and more. When 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.
A decision not a choice…
Ultimately for us we had no choice, Poppy’s abnormalities were so severe she would not have survived. Poppy’s brain abnormalities were so severe that we were told that the 24 week cut off point did not apply to us. If we were to continue with our pregnancy we would be able to bring it to an end at any point. This in itself speaks volumes to the severity of our precious Poppy’s abnormalities.
Seeing the reality of Poppy’s brain abnormalities did not make our decision any 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.
Please join Poppy’s journey on social media:
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.