So yes, I did make a teensy announcement in my last post. Some of you left comments or emailed to say congratulations. (Thanks!)
I didn’t mean to stop writing for several days. In fact, I’ve written many posts in my head. I wonder if Google can send me search traffic for mind-written blog posts? (Considering Google, I’m thinking the technology isn’t far off.)
We had a bit of a trauma around here last week, which explains my absence. You see, for two days my family was grieving what we thought was the loss of our little baby (who I began calling Little Charlie). I didn’t know it when I started writing what will follow, but the baby was (is) fine. I had an ultrasound Wednesday and the little one was enthusiastically waving and kicking hi, which was a huge shock. I had no idea that a teeny-tiny baby could survive what I experienced.
Monday, June 23rd
The cramping started at about 11:30 a.m. They weren’t painful at first, so I thought it was just a little achiness or tugging, which I had been feeling for a couple of weeks. Nothing to worry about.
I felt tired though, so I headed to my bed. I noticed that my belly felt hard as a rock, which was strange. It was clamping down, hard, the way it does after you give birth.
When I stood up, the pain got worse. There was a strong downward pulling. When I used the bathroom, I saw it.
Blood. Quite a lot of it, filling the toilet bowl.
Immediately I texted my husband and told him to be on standby, that I was having cramps and spotting, and that things didn’t look good.
By 1 pm or so, I knew that the baby wasn’t going to survive this. My body was cramping too hard. It felt just like afterbirth pains. I texted him again:
The next time I used the bathroom, there was a gush. Amniotic fluid. Just like my water had broken. More blood.
My oldest son had my phone. I was worried about what was going to happen next, and was feeling a little faint. So I called out to him, still sitting on the toilet, afraid to move.
When he came into the room, I told him to stop before he could see me.
“Honey, I need you to go get my phone. I need to go to the hospital. I need you to keep your brothers and sisters out of the room. Please bring me the phone ok.”
I called my midwife at some point to let her know what was going on. I had not even been seen yet. At only 8 weeks and with my history, there was no need. She told me she was sorry, and that there was no real need for me to go to the hospital. That my body would do what it needed in its own time, and that it was better to miscarry at home than to have it happen in a hospital waiting room.
What else would a homebirth midwife say? Why shouldn’t a miscarriage be like any other birth: as private and with as little intervention as possible, unless medically necessary?
I started doing research on what is referred to as “natural miscarriage” online.
I found that 70 – 80% of women who miscarry in the first trimester will have no need of any type of medical intervention. And that drugs and surgery to hasten miscarriage carry their own risks and side effects. I had no interest in having some stranger vacuum or cut a baby out of my body. I wanted to be able to see my baby, tiny as it may be, if that was possible. I wanted to birth it at home. The fact that it was not alive did not change that.
I continued having cramps. Nothing bad, not nearly as bad as real labor pains, more like early labor. In fact the process was eerily similar. I passed amniotic fluid. It’s unmistakable. The fresh, sweet smell of amniotic fluid. It smells just like newborn baby.
I urinated frequently. I felt just as I do in the first days postpartum, when my body is shedding excess water it stored to support the pregnancy.
My husband came home. When he hugged me, tears came. I told him I did not want the baby to come out into the toilet. My dad, who had arrived earlier with my mom to stay with the kids, suggested I use a bowl. That sounded right to me, so I had someone fetch a large plastic bowl to place in the bathroom.
I got in bed with a heating pad. It hurt a little when I stood up. It was hard to stand up straight, again, similar to how it feels after giving birth … as if everything was going to fall out. I clutched my abdomen a lot and shuffled around.
I called my midwife again. I don’t have any clue what she said. I’m sure it was comforting.
I remember going to sleep feeling almost normal. The cramps had abated. I wasn’t bleeding. I woke up several times in the night to urinate. The next morning I felt almost … fine. A little nauseated. Very hungry.
… to be continued…