Soooo… What was it like? February 25, 2012Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Home, Life, Parenting, Pregnancy Loss.
I can’t say that I have had this exact question, but the fact of the matter is that this is what I was trying to find out before hand – I wanted to know what to expect – but there was nothing to prepare me. That being said I am told that it is different all the time, so my experience might be of limited usefulness, but it is not an issue for me to talk about so this is me sweeping open the curtain of this taboo subject and inviting all who have been through this at any stage to comment with YOUR experience – even if you post it as anonymous. I am being descriptive of the process I went through, so keep that in mind if you think you might find it difficult for you to read…
Those reading have read a lot about my emotional journey through this, but there is so much more. Hand in hand with that was the physical aspect of losing Hannah.
The weirdest thing was that prior to finding out from the ultrasound, and for what seemed like a long time afterward there was no physical sign that she was gone. I had an anterior placenta so I was not feeling movements much by that point anyway. This of course meant that the news came out of nowhere, and then was almost unbelievable. It WAS believable though as I felt the loss and grief the hardest during that time.
In actuality is was a mere four days before I had bouts of spotting/bleeding and cramps. The cramps were rhythmic and at times fairly uncomfortable, so I believed and hoped that it would be soon. In retrospect I am glad it wasn’t as I had a lot of grieving and processing to do. Shortly after 24hrs of start and stop contractions they would stop entirely until I took something to induce them a couple weeks later. The spotting and bleeding didn’t though. That kept up for the entire two weeks and would result in my being very housebound as I was nervous about the birth suddenly happening while I was out and not in my safe space of home.
Every day I lived with the uneasiness of the birth starting and my not having support with me, and everyday I had a visual reminder that this was REALLY happening. It was both torture and reassuring. A true double edged sword.
I tried several emotional clearing and homeopathic methods for spurning on the birth. In the end I chose that when two of my close friends were with me that I would take a tonic to induce labour – which it did – within minutes of taking it under my tongue.
When they started the contractions were fairly light and not terribly rhythmic. for reasons which I could not explain, except that life goes on, in that early part of labour my friends and I were laughing and joking around, and it mostly only hurt when a contraction coincided with a laugh. They got gradually stronger, and were noticeable uncomfortable for periods of time. They were not as rhythmic as I was expecting, and they were not as strong as I was waiting for either. For many hours (about 4) my friends and I visited and chatted and waited for labour to pick up. It didn’t. It just rumbled along, and I fought feeling discouraged as I felt the contractions spacing further apart and lesson in intensity. At that point my friends and I decided that we should sleep as we had been up all night (I took it late at night thinking it might take time to start having an effect). I dozed off and on – occasionally stirring awake with a contraction just to doze off again. In the early morning one of my friend’s baby woke up and I woke her up to go nurse her. The contractions were still coming, but were not rhythmic, and were lighter than the night before. I was feeling discouraged.
My friends and I discussed taking more tonic, but I was not feeling settled with that decision and dragged my feet doing so. As the house woke up and my husband and kids were downstairs getting breakfast and starting the day I was feeling antsy. Suddenly I felt like I had to pee – I went, and I felt I needed to go again. There wasn’t really anything there, but I would head right back because I FELT like I had to pee. I came back from my 4th or 5th trip to the bathroom, and I felt a really strong contraction start. I felt hopeful – this was the strongest I had felt all night! I tried to breathe out the pain, but it didn’t work, and it was just getting sharper. I tried shifting my position to manage the pain, and it didn’t work – it hurt so badly I felt cold all over. My friend glanced at my shifting and moaning, and said “You look a little transition-y”. I remember glaring at her and saying something along the lines of “I am afraid to say that it is transition or it will all stop again!”. She asked if I wanted to move to the area I had set up to birth on, and I said sure. She helped me over and went and got my other friend. At this point the ‘contraction’ was certainly subsiding. I was feeling discouraged and thought that I might indeed just nap again.
At that point it got very strange for me. I didn’t feel any pain, and no contractions, but I had this … urge to breath out deeply. I thought maybe I was supposed to push, but there was no urge, and nothing to push against. I looked at my friends and told them I was confused. I felt my body was wanting me to just breath. One of my friends looked me in the eye’s and said “Your body knows – just listen and relax.” Then she put her hand on my shoulder, and I felt the tension of the confusion just melt out of me. I took deep breathes and just breathed them out hard and slow.
Suddenly I felt a ‘spoolsh’, and that was it. I sat there while my friends checked and it seemed like everything was out. I just sat there. I didn’t look down, I just sat. After what seemed like a long time I needed to pee – for real this time – and I carefully got up as my friend covered the ‘baby’. When I got back I sat down and my friends and I looked at what I had laboured out of me.
It was amazing. It was the placenta with the amniotic sack intact. Even that was incredible. That was something I had hoped for weeks earlier. To my friends I had said “I also got an email from someone who told me about her m/c at 12.5 weeks and the baby was born in the sack. It gives me something to hope for – it seems- gentler…” just three days after hearing the news, and now over two weeks later that very wish came true. I felt no grief. I felt blessed. I knew the baby was dead, nothng was changing that – but here there had been a grace – for me. It was of no benefit to the baby to be born in the sack, but to me it was a blessing, and I basked in that grace in that moment.
As we sat on the bed and opened the sack and discovered the miracle inside I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the wonder in my hands. Although I would wish a thousand times over that she was still thriving in my womb, it was amazing to see such a small person in my hands. Her feet were not quite the length of my baby finger nail, and it was amazing. We gently unfolded her tiny body and marvelled at how perfect she was – despite the obvious effects of that time in the amniotic fluid waiting to deliver.
We took lots of pictures – my husband came and saw her, the midwife came and looked over everything and was pointing out the anatomy of the placenta to me. A friend had knit a tiny little hat for her, but it was huge, so her hat became her nest and she was nestled in a small box in her nest and her placenta still attached. It was the perfect farewell after the longest 2.5 weeks of my life.
Once I had showered and got settled in bed my midwife checked my blood pressure and told me sternly to rest as I just had a baby. I smiled and nodded, and intended to do just that. The problem is that I don’t FEEL like I just had a baby. I am not nursing a baby, napping with a baby, or feeling the physical effects of having just had a baby. Not even afterpains. I only know it when I have overdone it and I end up needing to rest longer to make up for the lost iron, if nothing else.
It was the most strangely, wonderful, most sorrowful experience of my life thus far. I still look on her birth as perfect. I still look on her life and heave a heavy sigh for the moments I thought I would have, but didn’t. But I DID get to see her. Touch her. To see the amazing thing my body was producing. Shortly after the birth a friend messaged me that her fetal cells are in my blood for the rest of my life. I looked it up, and it is true! Hannah’s cells are a part of me, and will do active things in my body that people are just starting to understand – like repair tissue and offer protection from disease. To me that is amazing. And a comfort. I have not lost her – she is a part of me.
I have no idea what the next few months, years, decades will look like, or how this experience will impact them – but I feel ready for it. I feel ready to see what life after the death of my child will be like.
Do you have a story to tell? I would love to hear it. 🙂