Tag Archives: miscarriage

Sunday Surf

I hope you enjoy this week’s Sunday Surf, the best of what I’ve read this week.

Babywise is Not the Bible. Parenting by the Law or by the Spirit? – “You do not have to answer to Gary Ezzo or anyone else. You do have to answer to God. You don’t need Babywise, you need the Holy Spirit.”

It’s OK, just not in public – “I don’t know why people get so weirded out about praying out loud in public. Maybe it’s the thought that faith is such a personal thing. Maybe it’s the fear of imposing one’s faith on another, one who may or may not want to be exposed to faith-matters.”

Try Again – “When we make mistakes, even if it comes to the point where he feels like spanking is his only option, that doesn’t mean he’s stuck parenting that way from then on.  We will encourage each other to “try again” to break the old patterns ingrained in us from how we were parented.”
 
Avoid Green Guilt and Do ONE Thing – “Let’s ease the anxiety and focus on what you can do.  How about the motto:  ‘Do One Thing.’ Doesn’t that sound simple?  Just ONE thing!”

Get Jealous? – “I want to be able to give a straightforward answer when asked if Sparky and Spunky are my only or if Sparky is my oldest. I don’t mince words about it for the most part, but it makes people very uncomfortable.”

via e-mumshop.com

The Gift of Milk- “I felt like I had a superpower. Nursing our babies is kind of magic. After years of nursing my now-weaned children, I still marvel at the basic premise: growing a baby simply on the nourishment that our own bodies provide!”

That Psychology Today Blog May Say Black Girls Are Ugly, But My Baby Knows Better – “I came across this poem, written by my beautiful, chocolate drop, Mari. She is, simply, amazing, and her words assure me that no matter what idiot tries to make her think she’s a lesser than, the work Nick and I are putting in to remind her she’s the straight fire is paying off.”

So What Exactly Is Instinctual Breastfeeding? And How Old Is Too Old? – “The problem, in my opinion, is simply the way America views breastfeeding.  Giving expectant moms a list of the benefits of breastfeeding is nice, but we need to start making it more socially acceptable.”

Early Parenting Choices: Sleeping and Nursing – “So a message to those parents that are confused about what the right choice is –  follow your gut.  If listening to your child cry makes you cry – pick him up and hold him. Do what you feel is the best and natural. Don’t let anyone else make these important choices for you.  Your child is depending on you and only you.” 
 
International Day of the Midwife – “And then, with relief and wonder I thought, “Thank goodness the births of my children were not like this.” And I felt terribly sorry for the many many women who experience their children’s births the same way I experience the dentist.”
 
Baby food. Excuse me while I get up on this soapbox…. - “Does this imply that other commercially marketed baby food is not real food? Absolutely. Because it’s not.”
 
It’s really quite simple… – “So when I ask myself if, as a parent and a wife, I am acting as Christ would act, I don’t need to look very far. He Loved me so much that He died rather than require me to face the punishment I deserved.” 
 
Top 10 Things Breastfeeding Advocates Should Stop Saying – “Breastfeeding is the biological norm.  Anything less is inferior by default. “Best” conjurs a notion of something that only a select few can achieve and sets formula up as the norm; we want to talk about breastfeeding as something that’s achievable for almost all moms.”
 
Husband vs. Children?- “I think that this whole child-centered vs. husband-centered premise is a false dichotomy that completely lacks balance and perspective. Why must it be an either-or situation to begin with?”
 

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Becoming Crunchy, Karen’s Healthy Lifestyle,The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama Eve, Momma Jorje, One Rich Mother, Greener Cleaning Moms, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


A Miscarriage Poem – Thoughts on Four

In honor of National Poetry Month, here is a poem I wrote for the PAD challenge.

Mockingbird in the cherry tree

Image by Vicki's Nature via Flickr

You started out smaller than I could see.

God knit you perfectly.

We saw your tiny heartbeat, white on the screen.

Perfect.

Then the day came. The doctor wanted to take you from me.

But she coudn’t.

Only God could.

We saw you. Almost smaller than we could see.

But we saw.

Your eyes. Your hands. Your feet.

I’m sure I saw your smile.

Perfect.

We buried you under your tree.

It’s blooming now for you to see.

If you were here, you’d be past 3.

Four years.

We celebrate you on earth, but one day we will celebrate you there,

perfectly.

 


Sunday Surf for week of March 20

I got carried away again this week so we have another mega links Sunday Surf.

Food and Recipes

Celebrating 20,000 Hits: Interview with Christine Ortiz of “Milk & Honey Organics” – For those in the upstate SC area, check out this interview. I have tried out this service yet but really want to and found the interview interesting.

Bacon Irish Soda Bread – Unusual bread recipe

Making Lunchtime Fun: Muffin Tin Meals! – I’ve heard of this idea before and love it but still have yet to implement it. Guess I’m just lazy?? I even have a nibble tray so I’m set. Maybe this week will be THE week.

Seriously Eating II: 94 Recipes from Serious Eats’ Healthy and Delicious Column – The title says it all

Dehydrating the Days Away – Funny post about dehydrating food. I have good memories of my parents doing this when I was a kid, especially my dad’s beef jerky.

Finding Better Health Through a Traditional Diet – Another great post from Natural Parents Network about what a traditional, real food diet is

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins – A friend brought me muffins like these after I had my daughter and they were fantastic!

Easy Breakfast and Lunch Ideas – Loved all these ideas!

Healthier Nachos and Green Brown Rice - I have never heard of green rice before. I totally want to try this.

Miscarriage

The Other Side – Sad story, recounting mourning with a friend through her miscarriage

Sound Bites from a Miscarriage Journey – Having been through miscarriage myself, I can truly relate to and appreciate this post

Moms Supporting Other Moms

Please Think Before You Comment – A mom of a nursing toddler gives some thoughtful advice

Let’s All Try Not to Be Jerks – Great post about how moms need to support each other

Lactivism, Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula And Mothers At War - This one goes hand-in-hand with the “Please Think Before you Comment” post above

Childbirth

Birth Without Fear Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Scared – Although I can honestly say that birth did not scare me, I really, really liked this post a lot.

An Alternative To Perineal Massage For Childbirth Prep – Good info to keep in mind for my next pregnancy

One Response to ‘Eww! Birth is Icky!’ Squeamishness – I really appreciated this post about birth, sex and breastfeeding.

Parenting

Feeding to Sleep - My sentiments exactly!

Attachment Parenting Series: Beware of Baby Trainers – Some solid information that explains this “Baby B” of the AP style

Carseats – Lots of great links and info about the recommendations for rear-facing and booster seats

Shepherding a Child’s Heart: a review by Anne Sokol - Great review on the reasons this book is concerning

Eco-friendly Stuff

Sarah’s Stitches Wet Bags - I hadn’t heard of Sarah’s Stitches before and enjoyed learning about them in this review

Homemade Cleaning Spray – Good stuff and piggybacks nicely with my green spring cleaning tips!

Check out Adventures in Mommyhood, Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries, ChildOrganics,Cloth Diapering Mama, Fabulous Mama Chronicles, Hobo Mama, I Thought I Knew Mama, Mama and Baby Love, Mama Eve, Maman A Droit, Momma Jorje, Monkey Butt Junction, Motherhood Moments, My Inspired Baby, Navelgazing, and The Parent Vortex for more Sunday Surfing!


Miscarriage: My Story (Part 2)

*All excerpts taken from my private, online journal*Flickr user mimbrava

Oct. 16th, 2006, 9:04 pm
“I still have not miscarried yet.”

I left off Part One with a letter to family and friends explaining our wish for a natural miscarriage. I was really hoping to go this route. The other options were not something I wanted. But I was scared and honestly didn’t know a lot about miscarriage. The night before I wrote the above I had been up with excruciating contractions from 12:30pm-6:00am. It was the worst pain I’ve ever been in. They were long (a minute at least), they came quickly, on top of each other (sometimes 15-20 seconds apart). There was no letting up at some points. Five hours of this. Five hours of me begging my husband to somehow make them stop. Five hours of unrelenting agony and the heart weariness of knowing my child was dead and there was no happy ending.

I actually still got up that morning and went to work on an hour’s sleep. God gives you grace and you do things that aren’t natural but make weird sense at the time. They sent me home, of course. They gave me a week of bereavement leave. Wow. I needed it and they knew that. It was a gift.

That night I had more contractions, 3 hours worth but the intensity wasn’t as bad and it was more manageable.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this though. I don’t want to have hours of contractions every night. I still have passed nothing… This just seems cruel of my body to make me go through all this pain and have nothing to show for it.”

On October 17, I made a decision that I wish I had not made. I decided to go to the gynecologist’s office. I wanted the miscarriage to happen. I wanted to know I was making some progress with the contractions. Mostly I wanted to start the healing process and I couldn’t do that until the baby had passed. I think I somehow thought the Dr. was going to be reassuring. I was very wrong about that. Instead of being reassured I was bullied and made to feel incompetent. The Dr. kept calling my contractions “cramps” and said there was no way I could handle a natural miscarriage or a medically induced one. He said it was irresponsible of me to let this go on and that I needed to schedule a D&C right away. He also criticized me for not having a Rhogham shot yet.

I was humiliated, broken and defeated. I sobbed all the way home and laid on the floor at home for awhile wishing I could just die. The very thought of having my child ripped from my body was the ultimate horror. But the Dr. had said my cervix was hard, thick and closed.

“I made the decision to just go ahead and get the D&C…because he scared me and I don’t want to go through this for weeks on end. I am really, really upset about doing it though and really scared. I am having it done tomorrow at 1pm. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

“I kept thinking while I was waiting how it wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was supposed to have my baby in a birth center with no IV’s and needles and drugs. But here I am, with everything I didn’t want and no baby to come home with.”

But in spite of all of that, I was relieved when it was said and done. I thought we could finally get some closure. I thought the worst was over.

“I felt such a wave of relief that it was finally over.”

I also had another reason to have a sense of relief. It was our prayer that we would be allowed to keep our baby. We had plans to bury it under the tree we were going to plant as a remembrance. We had been told by our Dr. this would not be possible. But that turned out to be untrue.

“They let us take the baby home. I didn’t want to look. I have read enough to know what the procedure does but we did want to have a baby to bury. [My husband] was ready to fight for them to let us keep the baby because our Dr. said there was no way we could. But when the Dr. came in that was going to do the procedure she said that our Dr. had said we wanted to keep the baby and that was no problem and they would give us a container to take home. I could see the relief spread over [my husband’s] face. Keeping the baby was just as important to him as it was to me and that comforted me.”

I wish my story ended here…but it doesn’t. Part 3 to come later.


Miscarriage: My Story (Part 1)

On October 12, 2006 at 7:10 pm I wrote in my online journal

 “We lost our baby. :(“

No one ever wants to have to write that. No one ever wants to lose their baby but yet it happens all the time to people all around you. You most likely don’t even know. It isn’t something most people share or talk about. But it’s real and sad and scary…and absolutely devastating.

I want to take the time to tell you my story. I feel it’s important to share, to remember and to bring awareness to miscarriage. I write this to let others who have been through this know you aren’t alone. There are many of us out there who share your grief, your sorrow, your loss. It is painful to relive it, but it is also important for me to remember. My child was a real human being even if he never lived outside my womb and we love and miss him every single day.

I kept an online friends only journal at the time so I have a record of all that occurred and my thoughts and feelings as all of the events were taking place. It’s a very raw, unedited account. I will be pulling out excerpts from it but mostly retelling the story now, 4 years later. I will be doing it in parts just because it is a long story.

Everything started just fine, just like any other pregnancy I suppose. After two months of trying, we were pregnant! I had morning sickness, exhaustion, all normal stuff. I had seen my midwife and things were going along normally until September of 2006. I had some spotting, just barely. Still, we were concerned enough I called the midwife. She suggested an ultrasound so we went on September 11, saw our baby, heard the heartbeat and were on cloud nine! The baby was measuring right on schedule but it looked as though I had placenta previa and that is what I was told probably caused the spotting. Still, this was not a big deal. It was the first trimester and I was told most likely the placenta would move by the second trimester.

Fast forward to October 11. More spotting (still very little though) and cramping. This had been going on for a couple of days. I remember being at my cousin’s visiting her new baby. I mentioned the spotting and cramping and my cousin, aunt and mom thought I really should call the midwife. I honestly wasn’t too concerned but thought I would just to be on the safe side. I came home that night and called her, feeling kind of badly that I was bothering her for nothing most likely. She had me take a warm bath and some calcium pills and said to call her if that didn’t stop the cramping. It didn’t. We scheduled another ultrasound. Really, I just thought it would be neat to see the baby again. I never was even worried that something was wrong.

Here is an excerpt from my journal written on October 13:

“So they did the ultrasound Thursday afternoon [October 12] and Josh [my husband] thought the baby looked really small for me being at 12 weeks so he asked the doctor what the baby was measuring at. When he said around 8 weeks we knew something was wrong. We told him that was what I was measuring a month ago when I came in. … the baby was measuring [8 weeks, 3 days] when it should have been measuring [12 weeks, 4 days]. There was no activity, no tiny white heartbeat and when he turned on the sound there was nothing.”

Nothing could have prepared me for that moment. What mother thinks she will lose her baby? What mother expects that? I knew though. I knew when I saw our baby measuring what it was a month ago. How could you not know really at that point. Strangely I kept hoping the Dr. was going to tell me it was a mistake, that I was wrong but I knew. I knew.

We were broken, completely broken. There is no other way to describe it.

I had planned on a natural birth so that is the way I wanted to miscarry as well. Our midwife had told us the options, told us to think about how we wanted to proceed and let her know. I already knew what I wanted before she had even told me the options. But what we want is not always what we get. I had a very long road ahead of me.

Here is an excerpt from the email we sent to friends and family:

“Thank you for your prayers and calls. We can definitely feel them and are thankful. We have peace about this but of course we are still incredibly sad. We named the baby Shannon since that could be used for a girl or boy.

Tonight we went to a ceremony in Simpsonville for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day which is October 15th. On September 28th of this year a house resolution was passed by the house of representatives to make October 15th officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was a candle lighting ceremony and was very healing and we were both glad we went. (My parents went with us also.) It was good to talk to and listen to other people who had been through the same thing even if I didn’t say much.

Shannon's Tree

Our biggest request right now is that I would pass the baby soon and while I am at home and not at work. We chose to have a natural miscarriage rather

than a D&C. I know that physically the miscarriage will be a lot more painful (I am told I will have contractions and it will be similar to labor) but emotionally the D&C would be a lot harder on me right now. If, at a later

time, it is necessary because I don’t pass everything, then I am willing to do it, but since my body is already in the process, I would like to give it time to do what it is supposed to do. I started having contractions today but then they stopped. The waiting is a little frustrating but I am willing to be patient.

We plan on planting a tree in my parents yard that will bloom in late April when the baby would have been due. We want a way to acknowledge the fact that this baby was real and we felt this was a special way to remember it, and watching the tree bloom and grow every year will be a reminder of our baby growing up.”

Read Part 2

raising-an-obedient-child-is-not-my-parenting-goal


How Motherhood Came to Me

This is a story I wrote for Mothering Magazine’s Writing Into Motherhood writing workshop. Since it is no longer available on their website, I decided to post it here.

An hour after birth, at the birth center

The first time I saw her face I didn’t believe it. Maybe I still don’t in a way. She swam up to us and I turned around, looked at her father, my husband, in disbelief. She’s real, she’s here, she is the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe she’s mine.

Through the years I had told myself that I really would never have a child. Even all through my second pregnancy, even after we had passed through the time our first child had died in my womb and we were in unchartered territory, I still wouldn’t, couldn’t believe this day would come. And I guess, in that raw moment, my first emotion was shock, disbelief, even in spite of all the facts and evidence to the contrary.

The moment I knew my first baby was dead was almost not real, but at the same time very real. The doctor who performed the ultrasound wouldn’t tell us. He knew, but he wouldn’t tell us. What he did tell us was he hoped everything would be okay.

We were in the car when we found out for sure. My midwife told us over the phone. We were parked right in front of the building, where anyone coming out the double doors could see us. We cried and cried and grabbed onto each other feeling the grief full on. Then the numbness set in, the reality, the phone calls that had to be made that were too painful for me to make. I couldn’t say it outloud to anyone yet, couldn’t admit it. I had my husband do it. He broke down on the phone.

My baby, the baby that was still inside me, no longer had a tiny beating heart. It was still.

I cried every night for weeks, clinging to my husband, his arms always around me. We stayed at my parents for a couple days. It was the place we drove to after the ultrasound, needing to drive somewhere but unable to go home. I couldn’t go home yet. The books, the stretch mark cream, all those reminders lying around, would torture me. There was no way I could face them. My husband kindly removed the evidence before I went back home.*

And then there was the waiting. When would my dead baby leave my body? It was 6 hours of the most horrible pain I had ever experienced. The pain was like a vice grip around my uterus squeezing and there was so little time between each squeeze; 6 hours of unrelenting pain and still nothing. I remember feeling so — I can’t even describe it — like I wanted to come out of my body, telling my husband to make it stop, make it stop, make it stop. We were up all night. I had gotten about an hour’s worth of sleep when the alarm went off. My mind said “need to go to work”, and so I did. It seems insane now, but I needed something that made sense because my world was falling apart. They graciously sent me home with a week’s worth of bereavement pay. I’ll never forget that kindness.

I ended up needing 2 surgeries. The miscarriage went on for 2 months. It was a living hell. But God provided us with a beautiful miracle in between the 2 surgeries. My baby, my teeny tiny, not even-as-big-as-a-penny baby, did come out naturally*and we saw him and we got to bury him. I still don’t know how it happened, but what a rainbow! What a merciful and loving God to give me the desires of my heart in that raging storm. The worst part of the surgery, the part I abhorred, hadn’t even occurred. My baby was whole, not ripped from me as I had thought.

That year, the year 2006, was one of the worst of my life, but it was what I had to get through to get to the birth of my baby girl 3 years later.

If you would have asked me in my teen years if I thought I’d have children, I might have said no. I was just not maternal in any way. I’d never changed a diaper or babysat. I didn’t hold other people’s babies simply because I never had a desire to. I just didn’t get the way other women loved babies.

I was also terrified of childbirth. I once said, “Why can’t they just knock me out and take out the baby?” How I got from there to here took many years, but started with the pill. I always knew I didn’t want to take the pill, but was never really sure of an alternative. I remember thinking that there had to be a natural way to prevent pregnancy, but all I had ever heard of was the rhythm method and I knew that that didn’t work. So I starting taking the pill in the months before my marriage.

I stumbled upon some information about the Fertility Awareness Method and finally found what in my heart I knew had existed all along. I found a group of women online who used this method and formed friendships with these women I still have to this day. It was through them that I discovered a different approach and attitude toward birth.*

They led me to Henci Goer’s A Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, and my life was changed forever. It was the catalyst I needed to finally make the decision that my birth would not be the conventional hospital experience. My birth would be just that: MY birth on my terms.

And it was. I loved her immediately. I was in a swirl, a fog. as she was laid on my chest, as I cradled her tiny, vernix-covered body. This little girl was very real and she had been wanted for so long, even before I knew I wanted her myself.

She came out screaming, which was unexpected, but makes perfect sense now. I always heard water babies were calm, but calm has never described my daughter. She came on her due date, right in the beautiful sunny spring morning hours. I had labored all night without even realizing it. It felt like time stood still.*

Labor was smooth, steady, quiet, peaceful. Warm water, dim lights, soothing voices, calming hands. It was the aftermath that was unpleasant. The bath water was red, too red, and our hour together felt too short and not as private as it was supposed to be. Something was wrong. There were needles. Why where there needles? Why weren’t we alone?

I remember telling my husband I wasn’t done yet. I knew I had to be stitched up, but I didn’t really have any idea how true that was. One moment my midwife and my husband were lifting me up to walk to the exam room. The next, I was back in bed, but had no idea where I was. Is that my husband? Why is his face so close? I asked him where I was. And then I started to remember. I had had a baby. I was at the birth center. Something was wrong, but I didn’t understand what. I heard the midwives say they needed to transfer me to the hospital. I told my husband I was scared. I still didn’t understand. Later I was told that I had passed out and had a seizure when they tried to move me, but to this day, I have no memory of that. My husband didn’t leave my side. We rode in the ambulance to the hospital.

I didn’t get to hold my baby much. I wasn’t with her and this fact still kills me. The ambulance ride was strange and not part of the plan. I had had too much blood loss. In the end, I needed 2 blood transfusions. Barely holding my baby for her first day of life was beyond horrible to me. It took me awhile to bond with her and to nurse correctly since I didn’t hold her most of the day. If only I could do that part over again, I would have insisted that I hold her.

Breastfeeding was rough at the beginning, but I am so glad I persevered. When I heard my baby cry, I dreaded the pain of feeding her. I dreaded the struggle of teaching her to latch correctly. Thank God for my mother, Jack Newman and the La Leche League. They got me to the place where I am today. Now nursing my baby is one of the joys of my life.

Night nursing is especially precious to me. I love having her so close to me at night. Sometimes I gaze at her sleeping and try to soak her in. I know soon that she will be across the hall, sleeping on her own. But for right now she needs me. She wants me. I know too quickly she won’t be my baby anymore. Already she’s toddling around, terrorizing my house. But at night, she is still. She is quiet. She still enjoys turning around after nursing and snuggling next to me. I always thought by now I’d want her in her own room, but instead I find myself dreading that inevitability. I treasure this precious gift God has given me.

Kwanzaan cherry tree

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering before my baby girl, but I do. I remember my baby in heaven, buried beneath the Kwanzaan cherry tree, the baby that my husband makes sure to tell our daughter about every night. I remember that I should have a 3 year old this spring, too but that wasn’t to be. That baby will always be asleep.

Maybe losing a child that you never got to meet makes you more attached to the one you have or maybe this is how I would feel even without the miscarriage. I will never know. I do know that I want my lost baby but there’s no bringing him back, and that another baby can never replace the one you lost.* I know I love my baby girl with all my being and don’t care if that means I’m more “mother” now than anything else. I won’t apologize for “losing” myself to motherhood. On the contrary, it is with motherhood that I have found myself.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.