Breaking this morning, Jack Osbourne and his wife Lisa Stelly announced a devastating miscarriage of what was to be their second child, a baby boy. The couple already has a 4-month-old baby girl named Pearl Clementine, and Lisa was in her second trimester. Lisa’s message about the miscarriage on her blog explained that this was “by far the hardest thing either of us have ever had to go through,” but what exactly does it mean to have a late-term miscarriage?
Late-term, according to Parents, refers to any pregnancy between 14 and 20 weeks. The symptoms are consistent with those of early-term miscarriage, which include severe cramping and bleeding.
Causes of a late miscarriage vary, but may have something to do with developmental issues with the baby, such as a heart defect that could only surface once the heart has taken the time to form. Infections within the womb could directly affect the developing baby, or could cause a leak in the amniotic sac. Since Lisa had successfully carried a baby before, problems such as a weak cervix or a divided uterus are unlikely.
Besides the physical problems associated with a late-term miscarriage, there are strong emotional ties that are broken as well. Early on, one could argue that a miscarriage is easier to handle because family or friends may not even know about the pregnancy, or you haven’t begun to show yet. Those social connections with the baby as well as physical cues create a stronger bond than you might think. One of the telltale signs, besides a growing belly, of a baby brewing is kicking or movement. This can be one of the most difficult sensations to lose when a mother suffers a miscarriage.
When the miscarriage is confirmed, the next step is to remove the fetus. Baby Center says that parents may have the option to see, touch, or hold their baby if they choose, but this is a purely personal option. Parents may choose to get footprints, handprints, or even a lock of hair from their baby as well. The hospital may provide a birth certificate if the parents choose, and there may be a small funeral held upon request.
After this, the next step is to have testing done to determine the cause of the miscarriage. A biopsy might be done on the baby and/or a post-mortem examination of the mother might be done. The mother should expect some cramping and bleeding for a few days. Her doc may put her on medication to stop milk production if the emotions and struggles with detachment are too severe to allow nature to run its course.
We felt like as much as pregnancy is talked about as a happy time in parents’ lives, a devastating blow like a miscarriage or a stillbirth (loss of a baby after 24 weeks) can be that wrench in the emotional high that is never discussed. Many women don’t expect it, don’t plan for the worst, or don’t know where to go or what to do if this tragedy does happen to strike.
For this, we applaud Lisa for stepping out and sharing her experience with women. It’s important to know that miscarriages can happen with pregnancy number one or eleven, in a healthy or unhealthy environment, and with a woman of any age.
Please feel free to share your experience below. We would love for this to become a place for women who have shared in this experience to gain support and for those who haven’t to gain knowledge.