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The Magical Line at 20 Weeks

alec vanderboom

So there is this line in the sand called "20 weeks." If a child reaches "20 weeks" then they get a fetal death certificate. If they are 19 weeks, 6 days, they get no fetal death certificate. Because it's not a baby's body--legally. It's called "products of conception" or my favorite term "medical waste."

There are laws in place for cemeteries and funeral homes. Everyone politely assures me that they are sorry for my grief and they can do anything I need done to bury my kid as long as I bring them a "fetal death certificate." Which I kindly explain from prior experience that I can't not bring them. There is no way my HMO is signing a fetal death certificate because once again, I'm weeks away from the magic 20 week cut off date.

So I pulled out the big guns. I ask my parish priest to call the local Catholic cemetery and the local funeral home. Because I'm sick of crying today. He's my father. He can handle the calls. Because its going to totally suck to have a sweet Catholic Funeral Mass at my parish church and then have to go bury my kid next to the swing set in my backyard because once again, this miscarriage "doesn't count" as real.

It felt good to talk to my priest. We made a pack that we'd write down a protocol for how to loving deal handle funeral arrangements for very tiny members of our parish, because it's totally hard to cut through all this confusion and red tape while actively miscarrying your kid.

This tiny dead kid, Leo Benjamin, is a mighty lion. Even in death, he's got a job to do. It's an honor to be his Mama.