Friday, April 6, 2007


Carin Dhaouadi and Halo Golden have established this blog to share information about the status and progress of the New Mexico Missing Angels Bill.

Missing Angels are babies born still. Stillbirth is defined as an unintentional, spontaneous fetal death occurring after 20 completed weeks gestation or over 500 grams.

Currently (early April 2007) when a child is born still in this state, the hospital or health care provider is required to fill out and send in a Report of Fetal Death. According to state statutes, this form is for statistical purposes only, and the Department of Vital Statistics is only required to keep it for one year. After that it is destroyed. (Although we have been told that they are generally kept for a few years for various reasons.) There is no individual permanent record of our children. They are a statistic only.

Our goal is to change the statute. We want a individual permanent record. We are seeking to create that in a database to be maintained by the Dept of Vital Statistics. It would be similar to the database that is currently maintained in regards to live births and post-natal deaths. The hospital will still fill out the Report of Fetal Death, but that form would be used to permanently "register" the fetal death. From that registration families will be able to request a Certificate of Fetal Death.

However, since our babies did not *just* die, we are also attempting to create a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. A birth certificate, but not a certificate of live birth. The CBRS would not count in the statistics for live births. It would not convey any of the rights that come with a certificate of live birth. The CBRS is not meant to recognize life; it is meant to recognize birth. Despite the fact that our babies were born still, they were still born. Each of us had to endure labor and delivery as any other mother has done. We have all had to recover from that birth. No one should be allowed to tell us that we didn't give birth simply because we didn't come home with a baby in our arms.

Why keep the Report of Fetal Death? If you have ever seen one, you will know that the RFD contains statistical information that is crucial to researching and understanding stillbirth. Information like: estimated gestation, estimated fetal age, when prenatal care was started, how much weight was gained, various risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, drug consumption), etc. Without this information and the understanding that comes from it the statistics will never change.

What about us? What about those who have already lost a child this way? Will we/they be able to get either or both of these documents? Yes. We are making sure that the legistlation that is passed is retroactive for those families who wish to request either or both. You will, however, need to provide proof of your loss. That proof can be either a copy of the Report of Fetal Death or the appropriate medical records indicating a stillbirth or fetal demise.

The current statutes in New Mexico are, in the most polite terms, inadequate for both families and the state. The recognition and validation that these simple documents offer families can make a huge difference in the healing process.

No one should ever have to lose a child. It is wrong of the state to denigrate or dimiss that loss.

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