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Commons hears emotionally charged account of stillbirth

Commons hears emotionally charged account of stillbirth
From BBC - February 2, 2018

An MP wept as she told the Commons how not being able to register the life or death of her stillborn daughter has left her devastated.

Labour's Sharon Hodgson's daughter Lucy was delivered three days short of the required 24 week legal age to be considered viable.

Instead her records recorded the birth as a miscarriage, she said.

Tory Will Quince, whose son was stillborn, told her: "I think Lucy would be very proud of her mummy."

The emotionally charged exchanges came during debate on a bill to allow heterosexual couples to form civil partnerships, and for all stillborn deaths to be registered.

Many MPs were seen wiping away tears as Mrs Hodgson admitted that although her experience happened almost 20 years ago, she still found it very difficult to talk about.

Had her third child Lucy been born alive, she would have been incubated at 23.5 weeks, taken in an ambulance to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary's special care baby unit and "had the very best world class care", she said.

"She would have a birth certificate. She would have been celebrating her 20th birthday this year.

"But sadly she was stillborn. So no flashing blue lights, no incubator and no birthday parties. Ever.

"And I found out to my horror - no birth or death certificate. So as I held her in my arms and had to come to terms with that had just happened, I also then had to come to terms with the fact that unfortunately, she did not exist ...

"She was three to four days short of the required 24 week legal age to be considered eligible for a death certificate."

Mrs Hodgson said she was "further traumatised" when she discovered Lucy's birth had been recorded as a miscarriage.

"Because she was pre-24 weeks, she did not even get the dignity of being classed as a stillbirth," she commented.

'She does not officially exist'

The MP said Lucy was named at a blessing conducted by the hospital chaplain, and she was "buried in a tiny white coffin" in the same grave as her grandparents,

Government review

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