Thursday, January 30, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Kids' Show & Tell

I had shown the kids on Tuesday (Grady-10, Hadley-almost 9, Eissa-7, and Cass-6 in March) the videos and pictures that I posted that night. So they had seen the videos and pictures already. But, I still had the remains of the birth and had promised them that I would show them (they had asked several times).  So I did that yesterday.  They are curious little human beings...and I'm never going to squelch that.  Curiosity is a good thing.  We just always have to steer it in the right direction.

As with Tuesday's post, this might not be for you...at all.  I mean, you do typically see more blood than anything you've seen here on this blog in just 30 seconds of a CSI (or similar) show.  But, the fact remains here that...there is blood...a little. Blood is literally life-giving. So, I'm good with it. I don't enjoy touching blood of any sort that is not my own, or from my husband or children, without gloves. But, it doesn't gross me out to look at it (or even touch it if I have gloves). For some of you, it does. Therefore, again...I'm just warning you.   There's one picture especially that you might not want to view...the last one (if not, don't go past the icicles).  But, for those of you who may have found my blog and you're going through a miscarriage right now and wondering what to expect, I'm putting this picture there for you.  For anyone else, you might want to skip that one.

I feel a post about this coming on soon, but in the past couple of years, 'life' has not been kind to me. And it shows. I kept thinking that things would get better, but that doesn't seem to be happening, does it? So, I'll have to find a way, no matter what the opposition. Mama will get her mojo back and be fit and sassy again. And look her age or younger, :) (I've always looked younger before...now I look older...just some telling evidence of what the past couple of years have been like for me). But, again...the 'hardness' of life shows (and don't try to be nice and tell me it doesn't...I know what's up). Therefore, I hate to even put these videos and pictures up.

But, just don't focus on that part. The other parts are important.

Some would say that they wouldn't ever expose their kids to these things. And those same people saying such things are the ones who probably also don't want to talk to their kids honestly about and 'expose' them to sex or the hard reality of marriage sometimes or abortion or slavery or any of the other hard topics in life. And I would say to you that you are missing it. You are wrong. Twice within the past 24 hours, my oldest has come to me saying, and I quote, "Can I talk with you, because I'm a little upset by something" and "I need to talk to you. I'm a little worried about..." The truth is that 10 year olds (and younger and older) already face hard topics every day. The sooner you are able to bring yourself to discuss these things with them, talk about things openly, *show* them hard things...the sooner your kids will trust you with anything. And the better prepared for life they will be.  My kids know that I will shirk at nothing.  If you're not wired that way naturally, if you're a skirker, let me advise you (yes, unsolicited advice...you're welcome) to fake it 'til you make it.  We all have to fake it to some extent anyway.  So, I say this lovingly:  Get over yourselves in this area...help them be confident that you will prepare them for the hard things (and the amazing things) of life...and that you will not shirk when they come to you with those same things themselves.  For your kids' sake.  For the sake of your relationship with your children.  Truly.

Again, as with Tuesday's post, there will be no rude comments allowed. No comments that you might think are 'funny.' Cass did make me laugh in this...but she seriously was just being silly. She's at that age. I told her later that that was enough silly, to stop being silly, and just listen and learn...then she stopped with her silliness and got over there and started looking closely (the video was off at that point, but you can see the results in the pictures).

Alrighty...enough disclaimers. ;) As for what's going on with me today, I really thought I'd be pretty much done after Monday night.  Apparently not.  Tuesday and yesterday were pretty light days, just recovery.  But this afternoon/evening I started passing some more of what I think to be more placenta parts.  Also some blood clots.  And now I'm cramping  pretty good...even in my back.  Hopefully it will be over soon.

O.K., so here was our educational day yesterday which our sweet Baby #3 in heaven provided us with. I'd say it was a pretty good biology lesson. And a good, sweet goodbye for our kids.

The videos are first...




                                         




As you saw in the video, Hadley and Eissa were really curious...hands-on curious.
Eissa especially took her time, as you can see in these pictures.

She couldn't even look up for the picture.  ;)

I think it's very interesting too.  Glad they are so curious about it.
And so glad they got to examine it all.  After I 'delivered' on Monday
night, Hadley came in and was so upset she was outside when
it was all going on...she said, "I wish you had told me.  I wanted
to be here, remember?" She already had made plans with me and
made sure that she could be at the birth in August.  I reassured
her that it had been just like a birth, but it was a very altered birth,
as in much more painful and much less fun...so better she wasn't here. 
She was still upset, but she understood.  It will be great though, if I get the
chance to give birth again, so they can experience it.  They were
really looking forward to it.  Which is why they were so interested in this.
Still captivated.  Look at her little face.  She studied it for
a loooong time.  ;)  Love it.
We decided it'd be a neat thing to bury the remains
somewhere special, since we had something to bury
this time.  So we chose this special place where the kids
play.  Not only is it a great climbing tree and tire swing
tree, but it is also a very beautiful tree in all
the changing of the seasons.




We celebrate this wee one's life.  And now we will remember
all of our babes in heaven every time we look at our
gorgeous tree.
Joel went running later that day.  Ran out at the lake.  This is our dock.
He took a picture of it and I just thought I'd end with this picture.
It's just pretty, and refreshing, and cool.  Enjoy.

(now, below...another educational picture for anyone who
is interested in more miscarriage details {blood alert...the most
alarming picture to date, and I almost didn't even post it, but I
want to give people the true story about what
to expect if they find themselves in this situation}...and how it's still
playing out; this just happened this evening and I wasn't even going to
add this in, but decided it is noteworthy...esp. for the ladies
trying to get information about what might happen
to them in their miscarriage...so I wanted to share.)

I've mentioned before on this blog (years ago...around 2008 to be
exact) how there are things after birth that people usually don't prepare
you for.  One of those things for me was the blood clots that you
pass after birth (up to plum size...and it's normal to do that for the
first few days after birth).  So, I always like to prepare people for birth,
yes...but also for all the things that happen after birth.  Well, this happens
during and after miscarriage.  I really thought I'd be pretty much done
after Monday night.  Apparently not.  Tuesday and yesterday were pretty light
days, just recovery.  But this afternoon/evening I started passing some
more of this...what I think to be more placenta parts.  Also some blood clots.
And now I'm cramping  pretty good...even in my back.  Hopefully it will be
over soon.  But,  I just wanted to *show* you what you can expect and
what is normal.  This is normal.




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Medical Images

First of all, if you're just stumbling upon this blog, there are other related posts before this one...This Is a Miscarriage, Days 1-6.  You can just look for them, or click on the 'older posts' button at the end of this post, if you are interested.

I talk a bit here first about my experience yesterday and natural miscarriage vs. D&C.  Then I get to the images.  These images were taken yesterday as I experienced my natural miscarriage (which came after a 'missed miscarriage'...discovered no heartbeat at 11 weeks 2 days...baby measured 8 1/2 weeks).  I blogged about yesterday's experience here.  The images at the end of this post may not be for everyone. For some of you who have experienced miscarriages yourselves, this might evoke some emotion for you.  Only you know if it's a wise decision for you or not to see this.  I personally see it as more interesting and more of that celebration of life and the miracle of life.  But, it is definitely possible that not everyone would see it that way.  It might just be upsetting for some. 

Some of you others just don't like anything that has to do with the body in general.  I personally don't understand that, haha. But, that's because of the way I am...curious and not squeamish about things that have to do with our bodies at all. So, this is your last warning...if you think you might not like seeing these images (this was a birth...there is a tiny bit of blood involved...but just a tiny bit), then turn away now.

Here's what you're not allowed to do. You're not allowed to look at them and then make rude comments. You're not allowed to say something like, "Ewww. I thought I might be able to look at them, but I was wrong." Or anything remotely resembling that comment. If it's not a *completely* nice comment, with not even a hint of negativity, then don't comment at all.

I'm usually not a sensitive person. Not a lot makes me mad. But, that would at this point. So I'm warning you now.

Because this might not be a beautiful thing to you. But it is to me. This birth did not result in a live, full-grown, healthy baby that everyone can ooh and ahh over. But, it was a birth of its own kind. And everything here represents life and the Giver of life. And it's amazing.

So, for those of you who can't look, maybe read the body of this post, and then just keep moving on. For those of you who can, enjoy this miracle of life! Watch the videos...they *really* show it all so well and interestingly. Much better than the pictures.

I am a 'sharer' anyway.  But one of the HUGE motivations for this post is that I *wish* I could've found something like this when I was wondering last week what to expect in a natural miscarriage of 8 1/2 weeks (technically, my midwife said that the hospital would have considered me 12 weeks at this time, as of yesterday, but as far as when the baby ceased to have a heartbeat...that was 8 1/2 weeks).  So, if someone else goes through something like this and they type in the google search "what to expect in a natural miscarriage 8 weeks" or "what comes out when you have a miscarriage"...maybe they will see this.  And then maybe they will have a better knowledge of what might happen in their case and be able to prepare for/make decisions more easily for their case.  Knowledge really is power after all.  It's true.

These images were taken right after the birth yesterday.  I was still in my tub.  It was taken after over 2 hours of pretty excruciating pain. I hate to say it that way. But let me just be really honest for a minute in my thoughts after this experience.  I've spent over 24 hours now thinking about the events of yesterday.  At one point during the labor, I texted my midwife.  I asked her why it was hurting so stinkin' bad...my exact words were "it's not like there's a 9 lb. baby in there or anything."  She said that, as I wrote in my post yesterday, even though there's no full-size baby in there, the placenta still has to detach.  In the contracting of the uterus, that is achieved.  But, having the knowledge of what my miscarriage actually looked like yesterday, I now think that there was an added cause.  Not only did the placenta have to detach.  The full intact amniotic sac came out.  So, my cervix had to dilate at least to some degree to allow for that.  My miscarriage didn't just involve heavy bleeding and parts of the pregnancy exiting my body.  It was the whole product of the pregnancy coming out at once.  So my cervix had to open a bit.  Wow...in thinking about that, it really was just like the other births, in more ways than one (except more intense because of that 'no breaks' thing...just constant contracting).  I'm not sure how prevalent birthing a complete gestational sac in a miscarriage at 8 1/2 weeks is, but it was an interesting experience.  (I actually have more to say about that...I'll save it for another post though).  I think it does explain what was probably 'added' work yesterday though...more than what is usually experienced in a miscarriage.  Unless this is more prevalent than I know of.  But of course, since I can't find much at all about people's experiences on the internet here, I can't know.  Again, back to part of my motivation for posting all of this in the first place.

I've given birth naturally three times now at home...to pretty big babies. And really...this was *nothing* like my other births in terms of the pain/discomfort. And although I'm glad that I've now experienced a natural miscarriage at this stage in a pregnancy and can educate with experience about it all, having experienced a D&C at 8 weeks and a natural miscarriage at 8 1/2 weeks, I honestly think I would choose the D&C.  Surprising?  I am ALL about natural everything...making my own toothpaste and lotion and deodorant and soap...living and eating in a way that is natural and organic and healthy...birthing babies, obviously, in the most natural of ways. Having a natural miscarriage at 6 weeks was fine for me. But, I don't think I would put my body through this again if I had to face this again at 8 weeks. Just my thoughts on the matter as of now. Let me explain further...

One of the many reasons I choose a natural birth when birthing my full-term babies is because I want my body to be able to function during labor *and* after labor (with breastfeeding, healing, etc.) the way God intended. I also want my baby to be able to function the way God intended. He has all sorts of little 'checkpoints' set up that happen at certain times for things to go smoothly (this is an article that explains just *some* of those really beautiful checkpoints). When you choose interventions and/or medications, those natural checkpoints so often don't come/are disturbed. Which necessitates more interventions, more drugs, etc.

When you have a baby that has died within you, these checkpoints are no longer as much of a concern. There are still labor and birth checkpoints...as you saw yesterday in my story...it is very much still a birth. But, there is no *need* for, for instance, certain hormones to have been released at just the right time for cervical dilation and successful positioning of the baby for birth. There is no need for you to be able to get into a certain position for your baby to healthily come out and no need for the hormones to line up for successful breastfeeding, etc. It's still birth, but there's a whole different motive. It's not to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible so as to get the best start in life.  The life has already gone from this earth.  The motive after miscarriage is just to simply allow your baby's body to exit yours...there is no life there to protect. There is no life to breastfeed and nurture afterward. The truth is that the exit itself is really the only motive.

Having experienced a medicated/intervention-filled birth of a full-term baby vs. natural births...I can tell you in 100% honesty that there is a HUGE difference in the results...and the natural birth is sooooo much better!! It's not *just* about the exiting of a live baby. Having experienced a D&C vs. a natural miscarriage at 8-8 1/2 weeks...I can tell you that there is not much difference in the results. And, in my opinion, *for me* it is just about the exiting of the no longer living baby. Again, I'm glad for the experience. But, I'm just not sure I would put my body through that again.  I might feel differently with time.

But...hopeful and prayerful that I'm never faced with that decision again. We definitely welcome your prayers in that area of our lives.

So again...here are the images.  Because I think the pictures are a little more alarming, I chose to put the videos first.  Don't worry...these pictures and videos don't show me at any point (other than my legs and hands). Enjoy them and marvel at the things God uses to make and sustain life within us. I know I do. 

The following video shows the intact gestational sac.  The 2nd video is of when I tore open the sac and explored within.  Then there are a few pictures.







This is the intact amniotic sac.  Maybe one of the reasons it hurt so bad?  Because it was
still intact and of a good size...all coming out at once instead of piece by piece?  Just to
clarify...it didn't hurt pushing it out.  But, the contracting needed to get it
out of my uterus as opposed to what it would've taken to get 'piece by piece' out...
that was significantly different I'm guessing.  For
all of you others who have had a miscarriage, what has been your experience?  Is it fairly
common to miscarry with an intact amniotic sac?

Just another shot.  I was putting my hand there to just
be able to give a reference of the size.
Just picking it up out of the water.



Feeling of it...how strong and durable it is, how miraculous it is.
THIS is where your baby LIVES inside of you.  Just incredible.


After I tore open the sac and explored (as you saw in the video),
this is what was left.
Just another view, closer up.  Truly amazing, the intricacies
of what my kids call 'the baby sac.' :) I didn't feel up to it
today (just wanted to rest), but I promised them I'd show
it all to them tomorrow (they saw the pictures and videos
already...but, not the actual things in real life yet).
So, I might post pictures of our little
show and tell tomorrow.  They're super excited to see
where their little brother or sister lived.  :)  Love them.

Monday, January 27, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 6

It's over.  The pregnancy has now exited my body. 

When I naturally miscarried at not quite 6 weeks, it was like having a heavy period.  There were some cramps involved (nothing major)...and this heavy period.  That's all.

This?  This today was a birth.  I literally LABORED for over two hours and then gave birth in my tub to all evidence of this pregnancy. 

It was INTENSE.  It hurrrrrrt!!  There were no breaks...just constant horrible, horrible cramps.  Or I guess it would be more accurate to say 'cramp' (singular).  It felt just like all my other labors, except way worse because of the no breaks.  It also hurt to get into my normal labor positions...positions that normally help me.  I had major back labor, as usual.  Well, I'll just tell you how it all happened...

I had started cramping around 2 something.  Every day since Thursday, I've cramped every afternoon/evening, so this was normal.  But, today the cramping just got worse and worse. 

Probably around 4/4:30pm, I knew it was happening.  Major cramping.  My body started to prepare itself in other ways too.  For any of you who have given birth, most times your body cleans out your intestines, at least to a certain extent, before birth.  That happened.  I couldn't lay down.  I had to just walk.  And try to not tense up as much as possible.  I'm telling you...non-stop cramping/uterine contracting.  The placenta had to detach...and it does that with the contracting. 

...that thing was holding on for dear life. 

It seemed like it was taking forever!!  I mean, my labor with Cass was my shortest.  It was 3 hours and 20 minutes.  This took over 2 hours...and there was no full-term baby in there at all.  I love the miracle of labor and birth...your body has all of these things that it does, kind of like little checkpoints.  Even in miscarriage, there is purpose to it all.  There's no big baby to work its way down, your cervix doesn't dilate to 10cm, etc.  But contracting = working on that detachment of the placenta. 

Anyway, so I labored and labored here in my room.  Joel was outside with the kids and didn't even know it was going on.  Finally after about an hour and a half, I walked over to a window.  Joel had just walked by that window, so I tapped on it for him to come in.  Cass actually came in, but then went to get him.  I told him that if something didn't happen soon, he would have to take me to the hospital (that's how bad I was hurting...I've never asked to be taken to a hospital or for pain medicine or anything with my other births at home; just way different as far as the constant contracting, this one). 

About 10 minutes after Joel came in, I started throwing up (thankful I had something handy).  With every single one of my births, I've thrown up right before my urge to push hit me.  So, I was hopeful we were nearing the end. 

The contracting continued.  And I had an idea.  With Eissa's and Cass' births, I had waterbirths.  When I was 6cm with Eissa, I got in the wonderful warm water.  29 minutes later, she was born.  6-10 cm & baby born (and Eissa was 9 lbs. 14 oz.) in 29 minutes.  I did the same with Cass.  Entered the wonderful warm water (ahh) at 6cm.  She arrived in my arms 12 minutes later. 

So, I asked Joel through my in-so-much-pain moaning to fill the tub with really warm water.  Once it was done filling, I got in.  Seconds later, I felt the urge to give a little push.  And out came the fully intact amniotic sac. 

Amazing.  Amazing to be done (it was all done a little before 7).  But also amazing to be able to examine where my baby lived while he/she was still living.  It can be hard to tell what is what at this point, so I didn't see a clearly developing baby body.  But, I so loved examining all of the things that had everything to do with my little baby's body which once had a beating heart.  It was very special.

A little while later, the placenta part came. 

I am such a nurse & educator at heart.  I had to take pictures and video as I examined the amniotic sac and all its contents.  I will probably be sharing those pictures and video on here soon.  I'm sorry if that offends you or grosses you out (you don't have to look).  I think it's beautiful.  Truly the incredibly amazing miracle of life...and how it's sustained...even if only for a short while in the case of our baby this time. 

So, now I start the recovery phase.  Not only does it FEEL like I just gave birth.  I actually DID just give birth.  So, now I'm in postpartum.  My midwife said that I might even have milk to come in. 

I'm having lots of bleeding now.  Just like after my full-term births.  So, I'll be watching that and making sure it's the normal amount of bleeding and not too much.  I am having significant 'afterbirth pains'...again, normal, just like with a full-term birth.  And a great sign that my uterus is doing exactly what it should be doing and contracting back up to normal size again. 

So, I rest.  I get plenty of fluids, rest, and heal.  Praying for and thanking God for a full and complete healing.  Thanking God for this process to be complete.  Looking forward to the rest.

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 5

Day 5 was yesterday.  I didn't post yesterday.  I was just too tired and didn't have a lot to say anyway.  If something eventful happens today, or if I just want to talk, I'll post again tonight.  If not, I might rename this post 'Days 5 & 6' or something.  Then...I'll post again tomorrow or sometime.  We'll see what this afternoon/evening holds.

As of now, there's just more cramping going on.  More bleeding, but still no heavy bleeding at all. 

Guess what else is so super fun...I'm still gaggy.  Yippeeee!  :)  You know, I always say that I think it's really kind of cruel for the signs and symptoms of early pregnancy (when you're wondering whether you are pregnant or not) to be the very same as the signs and symptoms of an impending visit from Aunt Flo. 

It's crazy...I have never cleaned off my shelf over the back of my toilet from December 4th...when we were about to find out we were pregnant.  Know what's there?  Two positive pregnancy tests (that I took on the 7th & 8th).  Wanna know what's right next to that?  A tampon.  LOL.  The scene has always made me smile for the past month and a half.  Because I had taken the tampon in there on the 4th to use.  Why?  Because I just KNEW I would need it at some point that day.  Why?  Sure did feel like I would.  The bloating, the breast tenderness, the slight achiness in my lower abdomen and back.  I was 100% positive that Aunt Flo was coming.  And then she didn't.  But all of that is still on my shelf. 

And so it is now.  "Sick Mama, healthy baby" you think and say.  And that is the positive thing to think and say.  But...it's just not always true.  Case in point...me.

My levels of Progesterone just haven't decreased much yet.  Which makes me still have the gagging symptom.  Isn't that fun?  :/  It's also why my body seems to be 'holding on' to this pregnancy.  I'm very super thankful for the start of this natural miscarriage (there are people who wait weeks for that to start).  And I pray that everything is able to be passed.  But, I haven't really passed anything, so I'm just praying that my hormone levels go back down to normal soon...and then that I'm able to get past this process in a more speedy fashion.  Not only because it just seems to be dragging out and I don't really enjoy these bad cramps all the time.  But, also...the longer it drags out, the higher my chances are of needing a D&C.  I'm not a fan of a D&C at all.  But, I'm also not a fan of infection.  I still have some time...but, not all the time in the world or anything.  So, just pray for a sufficiently timely process.  We appreciate your prayers so much.

And the kindness continues...

As always, thank you so much for the prayers and kindness.  Yesterday a sweet, sweet lady in the community stopped by to encourage me...which she did, greatly.  She is such a strong lady...her testimony of strength would rock you to the core.  And yet she stopped by to say that my words were strengthening her.  Whoa.  I'm not sure how, but that sure was sweet and encouraging to hear.  She also brought me some Blue Bell.  Lol, she knows what's up.  Blue Bell makes everything better.  ;)  I truly appreciate her sweet, encouraging words. 

Also a dear friend's mom (who is also a dear friend to me) cooked some chicken spaghetti last night for supper.  Sent us some too.  Just so encouraging and sweet and super caring. 

All of it is just such sweet Jesus stuff.  So His hands and feet.  And we just so very much appreciate it and love you all!!  Thank you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 4

Thursday and Friday during the days were pretty uneventful...just a yucky feeling (physically; plus all the 'yucky' emotional stuff of course).  But at night each of those days, I had major cramping. 

Today, I wondered if the same thing would happen.  But, no...today I was feeling pretty horrible physically all day.  I just felt weak and sick all day, then in the early afternoon the cramping started. 

Girls, let me just speak to this physical pain for a minute.  For all of you who have had really bad monthly cramps or even physically traumatic miscarriages...let me just say that if you are fearful of birth, or you are thinking that these things can be compared with the labor/delivery experience...THAT IS SO NOT TRUE! 

I've been super fortunate to not have had to live with really bad monthly cramps.  Only a few times have I had to experience that.  My 1st missed miscarriage (that I wrote about here and here), I wasn't really of the 'natural' mindset at that point and hadn't learned all that I know now about pregnancy and birth...and I immediately (as in the next day) had a D&C performed as recommended by the doctor.  My 2nd miscarriage (that I wrote about here) involved some cramping, but I was really early on...I usually just say 6 weeks, but it was precisely 5 weeks 5 days...really early.  I had only known I was pregnant a week.  And again, only slight cramping. 

This...this is different.  The baby was measuring 8 1/2 weeks.  Another 'missed miscarriage.'  But, no immediate D&C.  Our plan was to just wait the weekend and then re-evaluate next week if nothing had physically happened.  Well, as you know, it started. 

But again...it's just different than my 2nd miscarriage that I passed naturally and on my own.  8 1/2 weeks as opposed to not quite 6 weeks.  And it's really just beginning.  I know it will get worse before it gets better. 

Ladies...really bad menstrual cramps/physically traumatic miscarriages vs. labor/delivery ---> there is absolutely NO COMPARISON!!  I promise.  I've now experienced it all, pretty much. 

Labor and delivery is a beautiful thing.  God really did think of it all!!  Contractions come and they go.  You have a break between each one.  As labor progresses, your body naturally and beautifully produces just what you need to 'deal' with each contraction...even as they start coming closer and closer together.  Endorphins, wonderfully and perfectly made and naturally 'titrated' just-for-you hormones, an incredible anticipation of the *beautiful* baby that you are going to meet for the first time and hold in your arms in just a short while, the love of family and friends gathered around (esp. in a home birth), etc.  It's just an amazing experience.  So.......DO NOT BE AFRAID of birth/delivery.  And DO NOT COMPARE what you might experience in future birth/delivery with any menstrual or miscarriage cramping that you may have experienced.  No comparison, I promise. 

Menstrual 'contractions' (because that is what cramps are...your uterine muscle contracting) don't come with breaks (unless you pop some pills to mask that contraction).  They're just constant and painful and don't come with endorphins or pain-relieving hormones.  There's no sweet baby coming at the end of that pain. 

Same with miscarriage cramps.  All of a sudden, your muscle is contracting hard.  And it doesn't stop.  And it hurrrts.  And not only is there no sweet baby at the end of this.  There is the reminder that there *was* to be a baby in August, but that is no longer your reality. 

As I was cramping today, I watched a show, trying to distract my mind from the cramping.  A man made a phone call to his doctor's office and had to give his birthday to the receptionist.  It was August 11th.  I had to back it up, thinking surely that wasn't what he said.  Sure enough, August 11th.  That was my due date.  Ahhh, the irony.  Here I am trying to be distracted from the cramping by watching this...and then here comes August 11th.  Lol.  Truly...you just have to laugh.  And I do...I promise. 

Me and this baby that is already in heaven...we know what's up.  I think we're good.  Like I said, I am sad for the loss of this baby's life here on earth.  But, that baby is fine.  So are my other two waiting up there for us to meet and get to know and hold, etc.  They're up there right now being rocked by Grandma Madden and Granny Day.  Shoot...I'm totally jealous that they have already met my Grandpa when I never got to.  ;)

Like I've said, it's the things of this earth...the expectations and dreams and thoughts you already had that you grieve in a miscarriage.  So, August 11th.  I'll forever think of this baby I guess.  With time, though, I might forget the exact date.  Because guess what...we found out that we were pregnant with this baby on Dec. 7th.  I thought that was just soooo awesome because that was the due date of the last baby we lost.  Until I went back and looked later...it wasn't.  Huh...I had forgotten.  The due date was actually Dec. 8th. 

So, you do move past it.  You do forget exact dates and you think about it less and less.  Not because you don't care or because you're heartless.  But, just because that baby is waiting for you in heaven.  And Dec. 8th or August 11th or whatever the due date was for my first baby (July 17th I think?...see, I'd have to go back and make sure)...they're just dates on the calendar.  They have nothing to do with who my babies are anymore...who they are right now.  Those dates are only a memory now of what was, obviously, never meant to actually be in the first place.  Do I still tear up at the thought of not having a baby coming this August?  Sometimes.  It's still early on in the process, but it's already rare.  Not that there's anything wrong with crying about that.  But, here's the deal...I honestly don't think about a baby still coming in August anymore.  It's done.  We all grieve and move on in different ways.  My thoughts have shifted...I honor their lives and think of them there...in the present...not in the 'what might have beens.' 

You know what does make me cry though?  Kindness.  I tear up at every sweet and kind comment or message or email (and there have been LOTS...thank you SO MUCH). 

Today I ordered something at the local eating joint.  Joel went to pick it up...everyone was asking about me.  And they said it was 'on the house,' that they just "wanted to take care of me today."  TEARS...even now. 

Also today, I was cramping pretty bad.  Someone knocked on the door and I almost just didn't even answer it (Joel had taken to the kids to a birthday party).  I decided to put on my robe and just answer it.  Flowers.  From my dear DEAR friends in BRAZIL!!  What?!?!?  I *LIVE* HERE.  And even *I* wouldn't know how to get flowers to anyone out here in the boonies!  LOL!!  But somehow they found a way to send me some flowers and a sweet card.  Just WOW on that one.  And tears.

So...after this physical part is all done and I start to get out more and more, as you speak to me about it or come and hug my neck, etc....if I tear up, it won't be because I'm sad or I'm depressed.  It will be your kindness.  It touches the heart...and apparently my heart is filled with tears instead of blood.  Lol.  Because if anyone as much as touches my heart with even the slightest little pat (and this has always been the case), the tears come.  ;)  Thank you for your kindness.  "You will know them by their love." 

Friday, January 24, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 3

Literally on the drive back from my midwife's appointment on Wednesday, I started feeling a little crampy.  It had been a loooooong day and I was about to have to spend literally hours more running errands in Shreveport before I headed back home, so more crampiness was going on in Shreveport.  But, sometimes you just feel bloated and crampy...even when you're healthily pregnant.  I now knew I wasn't healthily pregnant, but I didn't know if the miscarrying part was beginning or not. 

Nothing really happened during the day yesterday...no cramping.  So I began to think that Wednesday's crampiness/aches was not necessarily due to the situation in my womb. 

Then last night, just a couple of hours after I posted on Facebook, the 'real' cramping began.  A couple of hours after that, I even took some Ibuprofen.  And...it began.  I started spotting/bleeding. 

I fell asleep, woke this morning, and fully expected to be actively bleeding and passing all day today.  Not the case.  Just more spotting.  So, we just wait and let nature take its course...with no expectations.  Who knows what this will end up 'looking like.' 

It's been a reeeally hard day for me.  Life was difficult in many ways *before* this happened.  So, this just kind of compounds it. 

Sad.  Grieving (more than this miscarriage) in life.  Stuck.  Waiting.  Trying to still have hope.  Tired of having hope.  Struggling to have hope.  Exhausted.  Ready to move on.  Overwhelmed by the thought of moving on.  Frustrated.  Annoyed.  Just dog tired. 

Those are a few of the ways I'd describe me these days.  Today specifically.  These were all true on Tuesday actually.  But even more so on Wednesday.  And especially today.  Again...compounded.  By the loss.  By the *crazy* cocktail of swirling hormones in my body which I'm sure play at least a small role in my feelings of today. 

So, I rest.  Literally and metaphorically.  I wait. 

I've mentioned here on my blog/on Facebook before that in Portuguese, the same word is used for 'wait' and 'hope.'  I love that.  And I think it is beautifully profound.  Because sometimes, in English, you cannot bring yourself to 'hope.'  But, in the act of waiting, you are hoping.  So...I wait.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 2

What went wrong?, you always wonder when you have a miscarriage.  If you're very very fortunate, you never do have a miscarriage.  Then, if you're somewhat fortunate, you only have one. 

But when you've landed at three miscarriages like I have now, you try to look for a common factor.  Of course, one HUGE reason lots of people don't have a miscarriage is because they don't really try to have many kids.  :)  I mean, if I had stopped trying after my 4th child, I would have only had the one miscarriage.  But, that darn elusive 5th child. 

Did you know that ever since I was a little girl, I always said I wanted 5 children.  5.  It's always been the answer.  Well...it's always been "*at least* 5"...because I knew that I wanted to have 5 biological children.  Then after that I didn't care how many my husband and I adopted. 

But, always 5.  I even signed a contract...really more like a bet type of deal.  My best friend in jr. high and I were sitting in class one day, apparently not really doing our work at all, lol.  I was going on and on about the 5 kids I was going to have.  :)  She pulled out a sheet of paper and started writing.  If I didn't have 5 biological kids, I would have to pay her the big bucks (a whopping $25, haha).  If I did, she'd have to pay me.  The way I told her I was pregnant this time was by texting her that she was going to have to pay up.  ;) 

Back to miscarriages and common factors.  Most often, there are no clear, sure reasons.  For most, it's more than likely just a chromosomal 'misfire' if you will.  The miracle of life is just that...a true *miracle.*  The truth of the matter is that it's really kind of a crapshoot every time you get pregnant.  Thankfully the statistics are that only 1 in every 4-5 pregnancies end in miscarriage.  But, that's kind of a lot. 

So, in looking at my own miscarriages...yeah...no common factors at all.  If this were my only miscarriage, I'd be tempted to blame my age or my health.  I'm no 20-something anymore.  Or even early 30-something.  I've got my hand on the doorknob of 40, about to twist and walk through.  I'm in the worst shape health-wise that I've ever been in (thank you, super stressful last couple of years).  But, I had my 1st miscarriage at age 28...and I was in incredible shape.  I had my 2nd miscarriage at age 36...seriously in the best shape of my life at that point, even after 4 pregnancies/births.  So, it's not necessarily age or health this time around, because there have been two times before that I had a miscarriage and neither of those things applied. 

There are definite reasons *sometimes* for multiple miscarriages in certain women.  Sometimes they have clotting issues, sometimes it's a lack of progesterone, etc.  And you can be certain that if I should get pregnant again, we will aggressively explore those things and make sure we detect an actual reason if there is one other than a random chromosomal mishap.  But, way more often than not, a miscarriage just happens with no warning or rhyme or reason.

I didn't know this until yesterday, but my midwife had 10 miscarriages.  10.  And all in the 2nd trimester.  She was young.  She was healthy.  Nobody in her family had had those sorts of issues.  They never found any medical reason for her miscarriages.  But, as she said, "God never allows something to happen without a purpose." She said that some of the things that have happened in her life (and she could write a big book), she can already look back and see the purpose.  Some of the things she knew immediately.  Some of the things, she will never know this side of heaven.  But, she knows that God does/allows nothing without a purpose.  I believe that.

I woke up today remembering what happened yesterday.  I hate that feeling...when you wake up and remember...and have that sinking feeling afterwards in the knowledge that it's true.  The nightmare is true...still. 

We told the kids this morning.  Eissa just sobbed...my sweet sensitive loving girl.  Hadley cried too a little and is so grown up and super supportive.  Grady was disappointed about his chance of finally having a little brother in August no longer being a possibility.  :(  Cass was disappointed too...and I think summed it up well: "Can we just go play with Legos now so maybe it will help us feel better?" LOL.  I love having them to walk through this with.  I can't imagine if this was my 3rd miscarriage and I *hadn't* had 4 wonderful successful pregnancies/births under my belt and 4 beautiful, fun, healthy kiddos to do this with.  I know there are so many people who walk through that reality.  My heart goes out to them. 

"So where does all of this leave your future?  What about more children?  What about Brazil?"

Brazil...I have no idea.  We haven't even discussed that yet.  One thing at a time.  All I know is that it is no longer an absolute must that we be back there by August anymore.  Doesn't mean we won't be back there by then.  But, it's not a must like it was before. 

As far as more children...I can't think of a better thing in life to try for over and over.  I mean, what else is so worth continually trying for?  Not a job, not any other achievement...yet so often we go for those other things with more gusto than we would even *think* to go after another little human being.  Is it just devastating when you don't get that live and healthy little baby in your arms in the end?  Yes.  But, when you do, it's worth the heartache of before.  Like I've said, as far as we know, there is no rhyme or reason for this miscarriage...or my other two.  So, my next pregnancy (if there is one) *could* be just perfect and easy and with no complications whatsoever.  But...we'll see.  Nothing is set in stone yet, obviously.  One step at a time.  Just wanted to address some of the things that you might be wondering about. 

IF we should become 'with child' again, we will most likely handle things the same way.  We can't imagine walking through this kind of thing keeping it a secret...with all of you not knowing what is going on with us.  That's just not who we are.  We love that you all were here with us to be so very super excited about this baby's life.  And we find comfort in knowing that you are here to grieve with us and pray for us now. 

I'll continue to update you and keep you posted on how we're all doing physically and otherwise.  Thank you so much for the prayers and support.  We love you guys. 

This Is a Miscarriage - Day 1

This was written after I got home from a VERY full day of an appointment, ultrasound, tons of emotions, and shopping (because we live in the boonies and we still needed tons of stuff even though I had gotten sad news). 

It's 3am.  I got home about an hour ago.  I'm exhausted...physically for sure, but *mostly* emotionally.

I just typed out what I'll probably use as a status post on Facebook to let everyone know the sad news.  This is it: 

"I am so very sad to let you all know...we found out on Wednesday that our sweet little baby Ebersole no longer has a heartbeat.  I'm so very sorry to share that sad news with you.  But as I said in our recent newsletter, we celebrate together...we grieve together.  We were definitely hoping the grieving part would never come.  But now...we grieve.  And, in the midst of grieving, we can also celebrate.  Celebrate the little life that was only here for a few short weeks.  But it was a big life.  It was a life that brought tons of joy over Christmas, and before and after.  And we have yet to know what other purposes this little life has/will fulfill.  And there *is* purpose.  Because God doesn't allow things to happen without a purpose.  So keep those cards/calendars up on your fridge.  And every time you look at that fun card with our other 4 precious growing babes on it, rejoice in that great big little life.  And know that that baby is now dancing with Jesus.  That baby will never know the sorrows of this earth.  He is forever free of the cares of this world.  He lived his entire little big life in the womb of a mama, and in the center of a whole family, who deeply loved him.  And in all of these things, we really can truly rejoice, even in the midst of our sadness.  Amen." 

I wanted to type that out while it's still fresh.  And that's the same reason I'm typing this.  For the past 11 hours (since 4:30pm when I found out), all I've wanted to do was get back home and write.  It's how I process things the best. 

So many thoughts.  So many feelings.  And yet I find myself really a little speechless.  Probably because there are so many thoughts and feelings coming at me all at once that it is really overwhelming. 

First and foremost, there is profound sadness of course.  Just sadness.  It's heartbreaking that we will never meet this baby this side of heaven.   It's heartbreaking that there are now three little Ebersole babies that we never met this side of heaven.  We can be happy about meeting them one day.  We can be happy for them that they're with Jesus.  And those things do *help* with the sadness.  But, of course, it doesn't take it away. 

A miscarriage is such a loss.  But, it is such a different kind of loss.  It *is* the loss of a child.  It is a child that you loved with all your heart.  It is a child that was forming in your very own body.  And because of that, there was already bonding and loving and major nurturing taking place. 

But, I never *met* this child.  I never *knew* this child.  It is quite a different loss than I would experience if, for instance, this child had made it to this earth, had lived on this earth, I had gotten to know this child, and then I lost him/her.  I'm not saying that I don't feel the loss.  But I am saying, that *for me*...it's just in a category all its own.  There's nothing else in this life that really compares to it. 

What I grieve in a miscarriage is loss of a life, yes.  Loss of someone I profoundly loved already.  But, it is someone that, very practically speaking, I did not know yet.  So really...it is the loss of the expectations...the ideas and hopes and dreams of who this little one *might be.*  The loss of the expectancy.  The loss of the dreams that we were all already having.  The loss of the plans for the next few months of pregnancy and thoughts of how the birth will be and how the kids will respond and what this baby might look like and 'eeek...is it a boy or a girl?!?'  The utter excitement of it all.  It all stops.  Just as the heartbeat of my baby ceased to beat...these things cease...*abruptly.*  Just like my baby, these things are dead to this world. 

So thankful we can look to the eternal.  Because the things of this world *are* abrupt.  My three babes in heaven know that, little wise ones.  And if nothing else, they are there to forever remind us of that truth.  Thank you, my sweet babies.

Let me tell you a little about what actually happened today...how this all happened.  I had gone to a doctor a couple of times in December.  Once just to make sure everything was a-ok after I found out I was pregnant.  The second time, I haven't told you guys about...

On Christmas day, I started spotting a tiny bit.  Tiny.  But, spotting is not normal for me.  Last time I started spotting, I miscarried quickly (my first miscarriage, I never spotted/bled...they just found no heartbeat and did a D&C immediately).  So, I went back to the doctor to see what was going on.  The ultrasound showed that everything, yet again, was just fine. 

The doctor was very sweet, but he just had a very different way of looking at things than I do...and a very different way of looking at pregnancy and birth and what care should look like.  Plus, there was lots of staff that I had to interact with...and a couple weren't so nice to me at one point.  Just...I knew that that was most definitely not the model of care I wanted to put myself under. 

So, today was the day I had my very first appointment with my WONDERFUL midwife that was my midwife with my pregnancy/birth with Eissa...I met her almost exactly 8 years ago.  I haven't seen Sylyna since Eissa's 2-day-old check-up.  :)  Eissa was 7 in October.  It was sooooo good to see her again.  And, sooooo GOOD to be under that model of care.  You guys, for real...whoever doesn't have access to a midwife's care, it is sooooo worth the drive and even temporary relocation to have that. 

We visited, talked forever about life and this pregnancy.  Then she was going to check for a heartbeat.  She said before she put the Doppler on my belly, "Now these Dopplers aren't near as good as the ones I used to have in my practice (sidenote:  she now works in a hospital with a doctor's office...she has singlehandedly opened HUGE doors for midwifery options in the hospital setting...sooo impressed with her and thankful for her calling), so I'm not sure we'll hear anything at 11 weeks."  We didn't.  But since she had said that, I wasn't really thinking anything was wrong...just thought the heartbeat wasn't able to be picked up.  She also said I had kind of a 'deep' pelvis and that my uterus was still sitting down in there...so it was hard to get a good reach on it to place the Doppler where it needed to be to hear the heartbeat.  We discussed whether or not I wanted to get yet another ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.  While I'm usually not a fan of multiple ultrasounds at all (I *usually* just get the one at the 20 week mark), I did decide to go ahead and make sure there was a heartbeat there since she couldn't hear it.  I was sure there would be.  So off to ultrasound I went. 

I knew right away.  I saw the little blob...but this time it wasn't a beating blob.  There was no beating at all.  And I knew.  I was kind of just shocked there for a minute or two.  Then the tears came with a wave of incredible heartbreak/sadness/disappointment/disbelief.  The tech was really sweet.  She took measurements.  She gave me Kleenex.  And then she walked with me, the back way (not through the lobby this time) back to Sylyna's office.  Sylyna and I discussed many things.  It was a seriously God thing that I was there with her.  So thankful that I didn't just stick with what was closer or more convenient or even within our insurance network.  

And so, that's what happened.  The horrible story of today.  So thankful I can see obvious God moments even in the horrible.

So...what now?  Great question.  Because my body has not started the actual miscarriage process (the expelling of everything related to this pregnancy within my body...my situation is commonly called a 'missed miscarriage' or a 'silent miscarriage'), we have to think about/pray about/make a decision about what to do.  I was at the 11 weeks 2 days point.  But...from the ultrasound, the baby was measuring 8 1/2 weeks.  So, we think that the baby actually died a little less than three weeks ago.  Again, disbelief.  So very sad. 

So, it's already been almost 3 weeks and my body is still not letting go of the pregnancy.  Therefore, it might be necessary to do a D&C.  It's just something we have to, like I said, think about/pray about/discuss.  That's the most immediate thing we face as far as decisions we must make.

There are more decisions to make...some short-term and long-term things to look at too.  But, I'm now really too exhausted to lay them out here right now.  I'll get to it.

I do feel much better now though.  Sad...in disbelief...confused.  But processing things by writing/typing...true therapy for me.  I feel unloaded.  And a little more 'in perspective.'

How great was it that I stumbled upon this song the night before my midwife appointment?!?  I listened to it all the way out there to my appointment (a 2 1/2 hour drive).  It applied to my life *so much* already on Tuesday night.  But, how much *more* on Wednesday night! 

~It might not make sense
But one day it will.

There's comin' a day the sun will always shine
He's gonna wipe away every tear from your eyes.
Hold on, Things are gonna get better
You're gonna smile again.~