The middle child (syndrome): A psychological condition where a child, who is the middle one in between two siblings, feels left out
Today I’d like to talk about My Baby. My Baby who doesn’t always get a lot of airtime: classic middle child woes. Her little sister (who ended up being the oldest of the three. Just think about that – bizarre!) gets all the attention. James and I are both middle children, so we have a lot of sympathy for My Baby.
My Baby was our second baby and my second miscarriage. Shall I tell you my favourite thing about her? It wasn’t her crazy active movements, which I talked about in her story, that’s my second favourite thing. It’s the fact that she was the most beautifully photogenic baby. Of all the scans we’ve had (and we had plenty, seeing as we had so many scares with My Baby and Summer), My Baby’s is my favourite. The last scan was a beautiful photo. Most of my scans I was always so “I can’t see it!” – like Rachel from Friends. I so often struggled to see a heartbeat too – so thank goodness for James. But My Baby, wow, no problem with her last scan. It was beautiful. You look at it and think “that’s a baby”, no ifs or buts. Actually, there is a butt!
But here’s the thing, because she died at 11 weeks and one day, she doesn’t count as a baby. There’s no birth certificate. I’m intelligent enough to understand why things are the way they are (you can’t have a birth certificate if you weren’t born alive), but please allow me the rant.
The thing that really frustrated me about My Baby was her not being seen as a baby, yet still being seen as one. Bear with me. After I miscarried, we were asked what we wanted to do with her body. Note that the hospital never referred to her like this, as a body, she was always referred to as “the products of conception”, never as a baby. Yet, when I told them I wanted to bring her home and bury her here, woah! Shut the front door, now we have an issue, now she’s seen as a baby.
There were all kinds of rules and regulations to having a burial at home (which apparently very few had requested before, which must make me a bit ‘special’, but not in a good way), ranging from amending the title deeds of our home, to environmental health and safety. (I’ve listed the restrictions I was sent at the bottom of this blog. Please note that this is not a guide or up-to-date list, I just want to show how difficult it all was).
It puzzles me though, as I miscarried at home. If I hadn’t taken My Baby into the hospital, I could have buried her at home, as per my wishes. No one would have known, I would not have known it wasn’t allowed. Now, I do understand it: You can’t (and this is going to sound so crass, forgive me) bury babies all over the place (sorry!), but isn’t it strange that you’re told that they’re not a baby? They’re not given that title, but then they’re given the rights of a baby? I think that last part is the right thing to do, I think we, as a society, may be going wrong with the first part.
Looking at the task list, I caved and opted for a cremation instead. I never wanted to have a cremation for either My Baby or Summer. I just wanted to bring them home, whole. We did of course have the option to bury them at a cemetery, but I couldn’t bear the thought of a mass burial, or even a formal burial plot where I would visit them only infrequently, or when over time, they might never be visited. Cremation was the least worst option. It was the only way to bring my babies home.
I feel better for having spoken about My Baby, more fully, today. I know that I’ve felt guilty for not giving her a better name while she was here, and given that she was only ever “My Baby”, compared to the others, I don’t refer to her as much aloud. BoC is a cute nickname, Summer is a gorgeous name, but My Baby is one that’s embarrassing to say to other people. I often just say “my second baby” or “my second miscarriage” even though she’s arguably the most lovingly named.
The other thing I’ve felt guilty about, is her story. Her story on here is horrific, because I wanted to tell the bruth about miscarriage. But I don’t want her to be remembered in horror. I want her to be remembered as she was – incredibly active and incredibly loved. I was pregnant with My Baby on a Mother’s Day, I held a baby within me, on a Mother’s Day. And that is so special. Her siblings can’t make that claim. I can still feel the awe and warm glow we felt when we saw her Mother’s Day scan. It was exactly how I’d imagined a 12-week scan would be, even though it wasn’t and we had come in via the emergency room. She was a little show-off, a twirling attention seeker, just like me. Thinking about it, BoC and Summer were like their daddy in many ways, but My Baby? She was like me.
These were the home burial rules I was sent at the time:
- The person wishing to bury someone in the garden must own the freehold to the land and should check the deeds to ensure that there are no covenants in place that would prohibit burial and no council bylaws specifically prohibiting garden burials.
- They will require a certificate for burial issued by the Registrar of BDM / Coroner or in the case of a Non-Viable Foetus, the medical certificate from a licensed practitioner.
- A garden grave must be situated more than 10 metres from a dry ditch or field drain, 30 metres from standing water, at least 50 metres from a drinking water source, and be sufficiently deep to avoid the risk of accidental disinterment. There must be 1 metre of soil above the top of the coffin. The Family may need to contact Environmental Health to check that the location that they have chosen is suitable.
- It may be prudent to inform the local authorities just in case the burial is seen by someone who is not involved in the burial and reported as suspicious.
- It is also necessary to record the whereabouts of the grave and include this information in the deeds of the property under the Registration of Burials Act, 1864. A location map, the full name, date and place of death, and age must also be recorded so that any future owner of the land is in full possession of the facts.
- Unless restrictive covenants are put in place, future owners of the land could exhume the body, bury it somewhere else, or refuse access to the grave, all of which could cause distress to family members. Also, it is important to be aware that if the land needed to be sold at any point, prospective buyers might be deterred by the presence of a grave, meaning that the value of the property could be reduced.
- A future memorial may require planning permission, depending on the size (contact the local Planning Department for more information when the time comes). Also, the homeowner would be responsible for maintaining health and safety in relation to the memorial stability.