In the OBGYN world we describe a woman’s pregnancy history in terms of G’s and P’s. There is an alpha numeric code that tells the story- “GTPAL.”
G stands for gravida. It’s the number of times a woman has physically been pregnant.
T is for term- the number of term pregnancies a woman has had. Any baby born at 37weeks or after counts here.
P is for preterm births, those babies born after 20 weeks but before 37 weeks.
A is for abortion. This is a medical term, not a political one. Medically we call any end of pregnancy before 20 weeks an abortion. It may be spontaneous, aka a miscarriage. It may be elective, aka a termination. A also includes ectopic pregnancies.
L is for living children. No further explanation needed.
To make it even more confusing we shorten the the GTPAL to G_P_ _ _ _. In this instance G still stands for gravida and P stands for para- para meaning the number of births (term or preterm). It might be better to explain by example:
A woman who has had one term living child with no other pregnancies would be a G1P1001 versus a woman who has had one living preterm child would be a G1P0101 versus a woman who has had one miscarriage and no other pregnancies would be a G1P0010.
It can be used to describe a pregnant woman too. My friend who is pregnant for the first time is expecting twins. She is currently a G1P0000. When she has the babies, if she has them at term (fingers crossed) she would be a G1P1002.
So why does this matter?
As of late, I have recently added a new G to my history.
After Mabel I became a G1P0100.
After Felix I became a G2P1101.
I am now a G3P1111.
My loss story continues. I’m having a very early miscarriage. So early I barely became attached. But it has still stolen the breath out of me. Did I take five pregnancy tests just to be sure? Did I figure out my due date? Sure did. Think about maternity leave? Toss around baby names in my mind? Imagine telling Felix he’d be a big brother? Dream of a living sibling for me son? Did I get excited? You bet. So when it turned out to be just a shadow of a pregnancy, a whisper of something I’ve been wanting and trying for since Felix was born, I grieved. I am still grieving. I feel broken in so many ways, untrusting of my body, unsure of my ability to be happy. I know I will find my way out of this darkness- I have crawled out of deeper holes. But in the meantime, I will mourn my little whisper…