Sunday, June 20, 2010

To those little lost souls

As Father's day winds down and as I sit here cruising the Internet after an ill-conceived cup of coffee at 7pm, my mind keeps turning to the memory of two little ones who spent only a few short months in my womb. Part of me hopes that by finally writing these last two birth stories that I can finally heal the sadness that shadows me every day. Maybe by writing about them I can give them new life and free myself too.

Larry was an angel - He came and left without any stressful obstetric/maternal care interventions or choices. He gave me the gift of a natural miscarriage, one I knew was coming and for which I waited, confident after my vba2c in my body's ability to manage it. It wasn't exciting or pleasant, but in a way, I birthed him and was able to bury him. The completeness of this I found out later was really important.

About 10 months later, I was again pregnant. I felt fearful that I would lose this baby, Lucy, too. I went to see some midwives that I'd hoped would help me with a home birth for the next baby. Although I'd had a successful hospital vba2c, I really wanted to have a home birth but still, apparently this isn't a real option for women where I live.

At 10 weeks I asked for an ultrasound. I knew that something was wrong. As the technician did the ultrasound I could see a darling little fetus but I knew that she had already passed. The technician sent the doctor in to tell me, but I knew. I really wished I'd brought my husband with me...I was awash with grief.

I decided to once again wait for a natural miscarriage and told the midwives that I'd seek obstetric care if necessary. I went up to visit my family in Minnesota and cried for a week and begged my mom to keep my children another week. The night my husband and I drove back home, I began to bleed and the bleeding turned into hemorrhaging pretty quickly. I felt like I was in labor.

I ended up going to the emergency room at a local woman's hospital. I was treated very poorly for choosing to wait for a miscarriage. "You should have had a d&c, this is what happens if you don't, who LET you wait"? Yeah, I make decisions about my care - no one LETS me do anything! When I asked about taking the fetal remains so that I could bury the baby the OB acted as if I were completely insane. "No one has ever asked to take it home with them! It is a surgical by-product." Thanks for completely dehumanizing me and my baby! I tried to, calmly at first, explain that I didn't need to take it home with me in a jar, but that I wanted to make arrangements for the proper disposal of her remains that would be religiously significant TO ME. I am still very upset about how I was treated. Luckily a social worker came and confirmed that, yes, people arrange for the disposal of their miscarried babies all the time. A local funeral home even donated cremation services for just such a situation.

So here I am, 2 years after losing Lucy, and I am still feeling very sad. This isn't how I wanted my reproductive years to end - with the bad taste of insensitive maternal care in my mouth and psyche. Not to mention that these two losses brought out the worst in my marriage....and we are still trying to work through that. No inspirational message there. Just life - it can be raw sometimes.


  1. Oh Jen,

    I was in tears the other day as I read your first three birth stories. I am so sorry, so very sorry for not only your losses, which are so incredibly difficult on their own, but also for how horribly and the baby were treated.

    Gentle hugs and love,


  2. Oh Christie, you are so incredibly kind. I miss our virtual times together! Many gentle hugs in return!