Everyone loves to tell their labor stories. The one about the 29 hour labor (actually, that was mine), the one on the side of the highway, the surprise twins or just the perfect labor. I’ve found that stillbirth and miscarriage are no different. I had the same urge to tell the story of the labor and deliveries of my miscarried babies that I did with all of my full-term living children. It’s just that people typically don’t want to hear it. I’m not alone in having this experience.
Sharing your own story will probably be of benefit to you. But remember, in addition it will probably benefit someone else who is looking for help, encouragement or information. Despite the knowledge that miscarriage is not uncommon, I felt very alone when I first miscarried. Hearing others’ stories helped me more than I can say.
If you would like to share your story, please send it to my email address and I will post it. If necessary I will contact you for clarification before posting. You certainly do not have to use real names and initials are fine. Alternately I would be happy to post a link if you have shared your story on your own blog.
Sandra’s story of her early miscarriage, before any baby was visible on ultrasound.
Delivered at home naturally.
Vicki’s story: Gabriel
Early first trimester loss; empty sac discovered at 9 weeks and delivered at home just before a D&C was scheduled. (NOTE: contains discussion of current pregnancy subsequent to loss)
Thea’s story: the Ehlowa Twins
Thea’s story of her missed miscarriage of twins aged approximately 6 weeks gestation, discovered at 9.5 weeks and miscarried at 10.5 weeks naturally at home.
Nicki’s story: Forgiveness
Trisha’s story: Baby Boy Pax
Story of her baby’s loss at 6 weeks, 3-4 days, discovered at 10 weeks, 5 days, and miscarried naturally at 11 weeks after expectant management
Baby boy Pax was born at 11 weeks gestation, but stopped developing around 6.5 weeks. Trisha had some light spotting and minor cramping around 7 weeks but after the spotting stopped, assumed everything was okay. She didn’t find out that her son had died weeks prior until 10 weeks 5 days when she started bleeding and visited the ER. The ultrasound showed no cardiac activity and she looked about 5.5 weeks along(he had “shrunk” in the weeks after he died), but she had known she was pregnant since her positive pregnancy test almost 6 weeks earlier. 3 days later baby Pax was “born” in an intact sac attached to the placenta. Clotting around the sac needed to be separated a little bit to make a “window” into the sac to see him intact and “safe” inside the sac. He looked to be about 6.5 weeks developmentally. They took pictures of him with a special lense. After She passed Pax, the unbearable labor pains/contractions went away almost immediately and the bleeding calmed down. They kept him cooled in an airtight container in saline (do not freeze) until he could be sent to the lab to be tested. The results told them he was a boy and he had Trisomy 22 which is usually a condition that is not compatible with life. Pax means “Peaceful.”
Amber’s story: “Our Angel Baby”
Story of her baby’s loss at 7 weeks, 4 days, discovered at 9.5 weeks and miscarried naturally at 11 weeks, 5 days after expectant management.
Leonie’s story of her miscarriage at 7 weeks, 5 days, delivered at home naturally at 9 weeks.
Thank you so much for making your website, it helped me very much when I was preparing for my miscarriage a week ago. I was so relieved and happy to being able to do it the natural way and to see my little baby as I opened the amniotic sac.
He/she (I believe it was a girl) stopped growing at the age of 7 weeks and 5 days (after we saw a beating heart at 6+3). I had my miscarriage at 9 weeks of pregnancy.
I would like to help others with the photos of our little one the way other’s photos helped me. I would be honoured, and we would honour our child’s life, if you are willing to place the pictures on your website. As if it has another purpose than only be in our hearts forever. 🙂
First I delivered the placenta and at the end of a 4 hour miscarriage the amniotic sac came out. I gently opened the sac and saw our precious tiny baby to be…. He/she was 1,5 cm long. This photo is SO dear to me I cannot even explain.
Melissa’s story: “Baby”Melissa’s story of her missed miscarriage at 7 weeks, 6 days, discovered at 10 weeks and delivered at home at 12 weeks after expectant management.
Kh. Patty’s story: Constantine
Molli’s story: George Charles Brown
Story of the loss of George at 8 weeks, 4 days. Threatened miscarriage, death confirmed at 8 weeks 6 days; delivered at home naturally after a little more than one week of intermittent labor.
Valerie’s story: Little One
Story of Valerie’s baby’s loss at 9 weeks, 4 days, discovered a few days later. Born at 10 weeks, 3 days a few days after an attempted Cytotec induction at home. Valerie retained some placenta and required emergency assistance at the hospital.
Nina’s story: Twins
Nina’s story of first an unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage at approximately 7 weeks at home. Then a subsequent twin pregnancy miscarried sometime after 10 weeks and 2 days, detected a week later. Delivered in the hospital after medical induction at approximately 12 weeks. A week after delivery undetected retained placental tissue caused a hemorrhage and infection, treated with a D&C.
I had 2 miscarriages, before the births of my 2 healthy children. The first time in 2007 I did not even know I was pregnant I was going through a rough time staying with relatives and I started to feel nauseous every day for a couple of weeks and one of those days I was actually sick in the morning this went on until one afternoon I began to get extremely bad cramps like the worst period ever, they culminated in my screaming aloud and expelling something into my underwear. It was a large clot about an inch in size sort of grey meaty looking with bright red bits all over. Looking at pictures later on the internet, it looks like a baby at 7-ish weeks. I showed my BF and we wrapped it in tissue and buried it in the garden. I went to the Dr who informed me that I had miscarried. I didn’t feel too sad because I hadn’t known I was pregnant I was still on the pill. We had been made homeless at that time after being attacked in our home and it was so not the best time for a child as both of us were suffering with depression and PTSD.
A few months later I became pregnant again and this time I knew. I had the same feeling of being nauseous every day and I was sick. Taking a test it confirmed I was pregnant. I knew from very early on. I seemed to be growing my bump quite quickly so I wondered if I was further along then I previously thought because I am rubbish with writing down my cycle dates I was actually guessing at my last! When I got the dating scan at the hospital they saw 2 heartbeats and it was twins at 10 weeks and 2 days so I had been slightly off with my calculations but it explained why I was bigger. OMG we were on cloud nine! Twins! I just kept hugging myself and feeling a surge of happiness and excitement imagining my children. 2! in one go!
The hospital said they were monozygotic twins identical twins from the same zygote i looked at them on the screen moving around these 2 small blobs that meant the world to me. We kept looking at the scan picture and smiling. We phoned all our friends and relatives and told them and showed our picture. The hospital scheduled us to come back the next week for another scan as twins were a little riskier and whilst feeling so happy that set of alarm bells in my head. They said that whilst there is a 1 in 4 chance of each pregnancy failing, there is only a 1 in 4 chance of a monozygotic pregnancy surviving. But I quelled the little worm of doubt and kept looking at my scan photo and the 2 pairs of booties I had bought (the only things I had bought) and feeling that rush of happiness.
The next week at the scan the heart beats had both stopped. I knew they were dead when they couldn’t find both heart beats but my BF didn’t understand and asked them to look a little harder. They said it was now a missed miscarriage. They offered me a D and C or pills to induce miscarriage but warned me it was better to have D and C. Well I wanted to meet my babies as I had carried and loved them for nearly 3 months. They scheduled me back in the hospital for a week’s time hoping I might naturally miscarry in the meantime. I carried around the babies for the next week feeling dirty knowing they were dead inside me and crying non stop. I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I walked my dogs at night to avoid contact with anyone knowing that I couldn’t stop crying. My phone was blowing up with friends and family but I ignored them all. My BF was my rock putting aside his grief to look after me and cook for me and to comfort me. Food was tasteless. The world was grey to me. Life was meaningless.
When I went into the hospital for the miscarriage I was given 2 pills and told to make sure everything was expelled and put it into a kidney bowl and let the nurse check it over to make sure everything was out. The nurses were not very friendly to me or helpful. Maybe they thought I was there for an abortion, because I think its the same procedure with those pills. But whatever the case even if I was that is not going to be easy for someone and its not their job to judge its their job to assist. I had to keep asking for pads as they couldn’t be bothered to get me any and they were very brusque with me. After about 3 hours the first baby came. I carefully took it off the pad and put it into the bowl. An hour later the next one came and about half an hour after that the placenta came out, it was hurting me so I pulled it a little to bring it out of me. It was about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and about an inch across, very dark red meaty looking. The nurse looked carefully at the fetuses and examined the placenta looking for any bits that might have ripped off but she concluded that it was intact and so they said I could leave after another hour observation. The babies looked like little birds to me I held them and looked at them and took photos on my phone (I had no camera and the photos are stuck on my old nokia phone I can’t get them off which is upsetting to me)you could clearly see the open nostril holes, the tiny ribs, the tiny feet and arms. I laid them next to each other and photographed them together and looked at them for a long time with my BF. I didn’t cry at that point, I was very detached, enjoying myself even as this drama seemed to be happening to someone else, it felt a little like I had really given birth to normal babies so I was talking and smiling with my bf. I think they were girls because looking at similar age pictures of boy fetuses at 11 weeks there was no stump between the legs where a penis would have eventually grown, they both were flat there. They were light brown and shiny and soft with little chick faces, their mouths like tiny beaks. We talked a lot of what might have been and said goodbye to them. I wish the nurses or Dr had told me to name them that would have been closure for me or acted like they had been real babies that were lost and mourned for. But they were very matter of fact, brusque even, and actually asked if they could keep them at the hospital to do tests and see why they had died. I agreed thinking that it may save someone else the pain I went through, but they never found out why. They managed to say ‘sorry for your loss’ at some point before I was discharged though.
A week later I was still feeling rotten and my stomach was hard and I found walking painful. I had started bleeding in the shower a trickle like a tap left slightly on. I put a pad on and carried on with my day. I shuffled to the high street to buy some food, and outside one of the shops about an hour later, I started to feel like the tap had suddenly turned on full all of a sudden. I grabbed my BF and urgently whispered what was happening. I was terrified! I closed my legs but could feel like a waterfall of what I knew to be blood pumping out from my womb into my underwear. I was crying and so so terrified, it wasn’t as painful as it was scary. He called the ambulance and I waited in the street it took about 20 minutes to get there and all the while blood and thick clots are coming out, the clots were scary because I could feel them slithering out and it was unknown to me that feeling before. When the ambulance finally arrived they told me I was hemorrhaging from retained products of pregnancy still in my womb and that I needed to be rushed to hospital for immediate D and C. A clot the size of a plate slithered out whilst I was lying down in the van. I could see that the Emergency lady was horrified even though she tried not to show it. They threw away my underwear and gave me a canister of gas and air to sort me out for the next hour and a bit until I could get seen at the hospital. Then I went under anesthetic I remember being mostly naked (thinking so glad I shaved myself!) and feeling so small and vulnerable and tears falling out my eyes with terror as the anesthetist kindly held my hand and asked me to count back from 10, and before I got to 6 I fell asleep! And when I woke up I felt clean. I smelled clean from the op. Hard to explain but there must have been infection in my tummy from the miscarriage explaining why I felt so dirty and now it was gone and my tummy was soft again and I felt lovely and clean again. The nurses were flipping well nice to me this time around! I wonder if they felt sorry for me for my ordeal, or if they realized they hadn’t looked after me properly during my miscarriage and that it hadn’t been an abortion.
The Dr said I needed 2 pints of blood transfusion because I had lost quite a bit but because of my childhood religious upbringing I couldn’t go through with it and they gave me iron pills instead and I was kept in for a few days but I was very, very weak for the next month. A 5 minute walk home from my friend’s house the next week took me more an hour and I was still apparently as white as a sheet. I feel like the hemorrhage made the miscarriage even more traumatic for me and I wasn’t right for a long time. Physically or mentally. I was petrified of hemorrhaging again at any point despite knowing you had to be pregnant for that and couldn’t stand the colour red for years it brought back memories of that tap of blood being turned on full in public. I still step over red lines in the street 7 years later haha.
A few months later I fell for my daughter who I carried to full term and was born and still is perfect and now 6 years old. Everyday of her pregnancy I was scared she would just fall right out so I was scared to dance, to travel, to walk even. Every twinge or pain I thought this is it, I’m losing her. Even at 8 months I was scared of losing her. I grew stretch marks that looked like angel wings on my belly and I felt like she was being watched over by an angel and every bird that flew over my head was telling me that an angel was nearby protecting her. she was 8lb 3oz. My son followed 2 and half years after that, also a full-term, healthy, strapping lad of 8lb 9oz.
Even though I went through trauma with the hemorrhage because of the type of miscarriage I chose, I am glad I got to meet my babies that died so I could see them and hold them, it helped to get some closure that way although it would have been nice to name them and bury them in a garden too. I lost another baby a few months after my son and I got an adult dolls house with lovely furniture, a mum and dad doll and 4 baby dolls with cots to represent the babies that I didn’t get to keep. Of course 2 of them were identical babies because they were twins! That helped with my grief and when I was ready I packed it all away. Women have to deal with so much, you can see why having babies is a serious thing that can be a life and death matter. You can see why women sometimes die through childbirth or miscarriage. If I hadn’t got to the hospital in time I would have lost too much blood, I could have died. This is my story of loss and birth, and blood.
Eve’s story: Dani
Story of the loss of Baby Dani at 10 weeks, 6 days. Delivered spontaneously at home a week later.
The full story (in six parts) of Dani’s pregnancy, delivery and burial
can be found at “Ever Evolving Eve“.
Faith’s story: John David
Story of the loss of John David, a spontaneous miscarriage at 10 weeks, 6 days
Although he was really tiny he was already dearly loved. The kids want to name him John David, it means God is good and beloved. I could not have picked a better name for him. We are going to bury him in the back yard and plant a flower or bush for him in the spring.
Lori’s story: Ethan and Jonathan
Story of the loss of twins Ethan and Jonathan, missed miscarriage at 11 weeks, 3 days and 12 weeks, 3 days, respectively. Discovered at 18 weeks. Delivered naturally at home.
Xochitl’s story: Angel
Story of Angel’s missed miscarriage at 11 weeks 5 days, delivered naturally at 15 weeks, 5 days.
Lynn’s story: Lucia Libby
The story of Lucia Libby’s missed miscarriage at 11 weeks, 5 days, delivered at home after medical induction at 14 weeks.
My husband I have 2 children and were so excited about growing our family once again. We found out we were pregnant and started dreaming about who this 3rd little peanut would be. The joy was compounded because of how excited I was to be pregnant at the same time as my sister who had been struggling with infertility for several years. We were thrilled to be pregnant at the same time, and our due dates were only about 3 weeks apart!
The pregnancy was starting well as far as I could tell. I felt as sick and horrible as ever in the beginning, with all the crazy smell aversions. I breathed a sigh of relief at my first doctor’s appointment when I was 8 weeks along and everything seemed ok. I was able to see the tiny baby on the ultrasound screen and hear the little heartbeat coming through strongly.
The next 4 weeks passed and I was still feeling sick, but not quite as badly as I had with the other 2 kids. I thought perhaps it was because I wasn’t working with this pregnancy and was able to put my feet up more. Or perhaps it was the Vitamin B6 supplements I was taking. Or now looking back, maybe it was an indicator that something wasn’t quite right. I’ll probably never know.
So I had my next appointment at 11 weeks, 5 days and went back to another ultrasound. The tech was very quiet as she found the baby on the screen, and I remember knowing something was wrong right away. I vividly remember my first ultrasound ever with my 1st child at 10 weeks, and being utterly amazed at her little legs and arms kicking and wiggling. I think that memory flashed in my mind as I looked at this tiny baby on the screen lying so still. Then the tech stopped clicking around on the screen and turned on the heart beat monitor. A too-quiet static filled the room. She clicked around again and tried the heart monitor again, but still, silence. I quietly whispered to her, “Is there no heartbeat?”, and she murmured back, “No… no there’s not”. I laid my head back and just whispered a prayer. And she tried one more time, but nothing. Then she told me she was going to go get the doctor to come back and see me.
I grabbed my phone and called my husband. Then he answered, I could barely get the words out. It was horrifying to say out loud. He dropped the kids off with our sweet next door neighbor to get to the doctor’s office with me. While I waited for him, my doctor came back and looked at the ultrasound with the tech and just confirmed the awful news. The baby was the right size for how far along I was, so they concluded the heart must have just stopped beating in the last couple days. That seemed to make things worse- that I had just been blissfully unaware, going through my day and my little baby’s heart had just stopped beating, and I hadn’t even known.
Somehow I made it back to an exam room and got through half a box of tissues while I waited for my husband. The doctor came and talked through some options with me. I asked the doctor if I could still do the blood draw to find out the gender, and she said absolutely. My husband came in while I was waiting and we sat and cried together. A nurse came in, who I knew well from the other pregnancies, and hugged me when she saw me crying. She did the blood draw and I felt strangely comforted that I would be able to find out the gender. We asked the doctor’s office to see if my husband would be able to come in to see the baby on the ultrasound one last time, since he had missed it. They kindly fit us in and he was able to see the sweet little picture.
Before I even got home, I had made the decision that I did not want a D&C, but I wanted to have my baby at home and be able to bury the body. So I went home and waited. That first week was so hard, trying to get through the days with my kids, and then waking up in the middle of the night for hours, unable to fall back asleep. I would read scripture, look up inspirational quotes about miscarriage, read famous poems on grief and loss, listen to audio books to escape. I would sneak into my other 2 kids’ rooms, to reassure myself that they still breathed in their beds, hearts still beating, chests still rising and falling. I would stare at their perfect little faces, terrified that they would be taken away from me too, and unsure if I could even live through that pain. Then came the horrible requirement of walking around, going through the daily motions of life, my body not willing to accept the hard truth that my brain logically understood.
At the end of the first week, I called the doctor’s office see if the results from my blood test were back yet. A sweet office assistant told me that the results of the test had come back negative for any of the genetic problems that they test for, and asked me if I wanted to know the gender. She told me I was having a girl and congratulated me, apparently unaware that my girl was already gone.
I waited another week after this, even more sad now that I had visions of a tiny little girl in the back of my mind. But still nothing was happening. I had been hanging out mostly at home, afraid to venture too far away in case I started bleeding, so I decided to take the medication that had been offered, because I felt like that would help me finally be able to come to terms and grieve over what was happening. So my doctor prescribed misoprostol to help the labor come on. It was horrible- I took it orally for two days, making me really nauseous and having some light cramping, but nothing happened. So then I took it for another two days, still nothing.Then I read how most women take this vaginally, so I called my doctor and she prescribed it one more time, and this time I took it vaginally. I had thrown myself into the project of painting and redecorating my daughter’s room, since it was something that got me off the couch. I think the painting and heavy lifting of furniture, in addition to the medication finally caused the miscarriage to happen. I had bought all the supplies I needed and had my bathroom ready- big underpads for the bed and floor, a strainer for my toilet since I chose to miscarry while sitting instead of being in a bathtub, scissors, large garbage bags and a cup of water for the baby.
While painting that morning I felt the contractions and something pop out. I ran upstairs to the bathroom and sat on the toilet with the strainer underneath and saw that it was the baby. I cut the cord and then put the baby in the cup of water. I was at first scared to look at her or touch her. So I sat for awhile and passed some more blood clots. When I realized it would be awhile before the placenta came out, I put a big pad on and got up to look at my baby girl. I finally I gathered up the courage and was amazed at her tiny complexity. I held her in the palm of my hand and looked at those tiny fingers and toes almost too small to be real. I took a few pictures of her and saved them in a private folder. My husband chose not to see the baby or the pictures. Although I respect his decision, it is still hard for me because I wanted to be able to share that with him. But I also wasn’t going to push it, so that is why it is a privilege to share it with all of you on this blog instead. I wrapped my baby in a tiny lace napkin that had belonged to my grandmother. Then I placed her in a little heart shaped box which I’ve had since childhood. It was such a sweet little jewelry box and was perfect for her, a little piece of my heart.
I went back downstairs and got my husband and he dug a hole in our backyard on the side of the little path that leads to the pond. It’s a sweet resting spot in the shade. We went out in the summer sunshine that seemed too bright, and stood in the shade as we laid her little box down in the hole. Then my husband held me and prayed. I can’t really express the grief of that moment, but I found this poem that does it for me:
The Little White Hearse
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Somebody’s baby was buried to-day—
The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back,
And the morning somehow seemed less smiling and gay
As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way,
And a shadow seemed drawn o’er the sun’s golden track.
Somebody’s baby was laid out to rest,
White as a snowdrop, and fair to behold,
And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast,
And those hands and the lips and the eyelids were pressed
With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold.
Somebody saw it go out of her sight,
Under the coffin lid—out through the door;
Somebody finds only darkness and blight
All through the glory of summer-sun light;
Somebody’s baby will waken no more.
Somebody’s sorrow is making me weep:
I know not her name, but I echo her cry,
For the dearly bought baby she longed so to keep,
The baby that rode to its long-lasting sleep
In the little white hearse that went rumbling by.
I know not her name, but her sorrow I know;
While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more,
And back to my heart surged that river of woe
That but in the breast of a mother can flow;
For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.
When we finished praying, I felt more contractions coming so I went up and laid in my bed with the big underpads beneath me. After a few hours I passed the placenta and a lot more blood. I almost passed out several times, but my bed is right by the bathroom thankfully, and I was able to lay down and drink some juice.
My husband and I each took time to pray and think about naming our baby girl and came up with several names that we liked. In the nights while I laid awake, one of the verses that kept coming to me was 1 Peter 2:9b “…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” I was thinking of how my baby was taken from the dark of the womb, never opening her tiny little eyes that had formed until she was in the glorious light of heaven.
So I chose the name Lucia, perhaps from fond memories of the St. Lucia tradition I had read about as a girl in my American Doll, Kirsten’s books. But also because the name means “light”. I think about my baby’s beautiful resurrected body in the light of heaven.
I also chose Lucia because I have always loved the name Lucy since I read about her sweet, childlike faith in the Chronicles of Narnia. I came across this quote (from Prince Caspian, I think): “Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name.” I loved this. That perhaps my Lucia had awoken from the deep sleep of the womb with the sweetest voice ever calling her name.
Then as my husband was praying, he came across the name, “Libby”, coming from the name Elizabeth meaning, “God’s promise”. And we cling to God’s promises that death will not separate us from our Lucia Libby, and that we will see her again. That 1 Cor 15:55, 57 says “Where, O death, is your victory, where, O death, is your sting? But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Thank you all for letting me share about my sweet Lucia Libby.
Juliana’s story: Philip
I was more tired and more nauseated with this pregnancy than with any since the first one. Other than that, I had no problems and I wasn’t expecting any. I was planning a home birth with a midwife. This would be my first time as all of the others were born in hospitals, most being less than thrilling experiences. Father and I went to talk to the midwife first before he made up his mind. A few weeks later I scheduled an appointment with her and went for my first visit. I was only 9 weeks at this point so we didn’t try to find a heartbeat. I needed to be seen locally for lab work so I set that up. Part and parcel with the lab work was a physical exam. By the time I went to this appointment I was 13 ½ weeks.
On Pascha we went back out to his grave and planted an Easter lily. I feel better knowing that even after we leave (only God knows how long we’ll be anywhere) there will still be flowers blooming every year by his grave. I’ve had decent days and nightmarish ones. I’m trying to find a new normal and not focus on what won’t be. Since I’m still working through grief from such a recent event, I hope to be able to update this story in the future and share how I’ve done.
The time went by very slowly. Father stayed with me the whole time except when I sent him to get some lunch for himself. I was fasting, of course, in case I needed surgery. I tried to read but couldn’t concentrate. The little shroud and blankets were laid out on the bedside table. I wanted the staff to see that I was going to deliver a BABY, a person, my beloved child, not a blob of tissue. I needn’t have worried because they were very kind and sensitive.
The nurse did a more thorough job of cleaning up (blood was everywhere) and this time Father and I were able to be alone with Andrew for much longer. I took several pictures of him before I tried to dress him. I knew he would be fragile and I thought that once I got the shroud on it wasn’t going to come off. Once I felt like I had taken what pictures I could, I put on his tiny shroud with much difficulty. I cried because I wanted everything to be perfect for him and it wasn’t. Father picked up the camera and took a few pictures of me holding Andrew at this point. The photos were blurry, but he managed to capture in a few frames my complete anguish. After I pulled myself together I took many more pictures of Andrew in his gown.
We buried him next to Innocent. The wooden cross was made by the same kind man who made Innocent’s. A friend had provided some poinsettias and we had put one behind each cross. When we left we took them with us and brought them to the church. It was so hard to see the dirt fall upon his casket at the end and I had to turn away and hold onto the wire fence. When it was over, I walked over to the graves and sat down between them. I rested a hand on each grave and looked through the trees to watch the sun set.
In the fall of 2009, we were surprised to learn we were expecting a new baby. Because of the surprise, and the hyperemesis that came with the first trimester, I felt terribly unprepared. My husband, mother, and in laws took turn taking care of me and our children throughout the first trimester because I was too sick to do much of anything. I was scared and frustrated. However, at 13 weeks, I returned to semi-normal health, and I slowly began to wrap my mind around this new child. We began to work out the details of how this new member of our family would affect our finances and living arrangement.
At 14 weeks, I drove to my appointment with a glimmer of hope, and a naively comfortable attitude. In my head, I was still laughing at the inconvenient timing, but finally learning to accept, as my husband John assured me, “God’s time is not our time.”
Then, an hour later, I sat looking at the ultrasound of my baby curled up very still, without the blinking little heartbeat on the monitor. He had died a few days before, and the reality of his life finally felt fully present.
I was in shock and unprepared for a miscarriage. At my midwife’s advice, I scheduled a D&C. The news was so sudden, and because of the surgery everything was completed quickly. I gave birth to my other children naturally, and loved it. I wished that I had had the presence of mine to do the same for him. The day of my surgery, when they took him out of me was the feast of St. Nicholas, lover of children and known for his kindness and goodness. So we named him Nicholas.
We had to make several phone calls and special requests to have him released to us, and even then only after he had been cremated. We regret this very much and wish that we had been more prepared to make better arrangements. Our priest was very kind and offered some advice. He assured us our baby is praying for us in heaven.
We had a small funeral with only our immediate family. We buried Nicholas a short walk away from our house site on our small family farm during our first winter snow. We are only inquirer’s so we read the Trisagion for the Dead as a reader’s service (without the priest’s parts) and sang “Christ is Risen from the Dead.” Our daughters put palm crosses in the grave with him. We came back when it was warmer to bring some flowers and walk in the woods nearby.
When we gather as a family to pray, we believe we step out of our time and into God’s time. We are united with Nicholas, as well as our loved ones and all the saints, before God in eternity. In those precious moments, I am now especially grateful that God’s time is not our time.
Phebe’s story: Perseus Allen
Story of Perseus Allen’s birth at 17 weeks 6 days after he died two days previously from unknown causes. Born after induction in the hospital.
Natasha’s story: Jeremiah
Story of Jeremiah’s loss at 18 weeks possibly from a twisted umbilical cord. Born after induction.
My twenty-week ultrasound was scheduled for January 21, 2010, and we found out during that ultrasound that our baby’s heart was no longer beating and that he had stopped growing at about eighteen weeks, on or around January 7th. At first, my doctor was thinking that his death was caused by one of two things: Either the massive fluid build-up around his brain had compressed the area that regulates the heartbeat, or he had died as the result of spina bifida. (It had looked on the ultrasound as though there was a hole in his spine.) My doctor was speculating that my body could possibly be unable to metabolize folic acid correctly, which could have caused spina bifida. She referred me to a fetal medicine specialist who performed an amniocentesis on me on January 22nd and did another ultrasound. It was at this ultrasound that we learned I was pregnant with a boy. We spent that night looking up names and their meanings because it was very important to me to name our son names that carried with them promises of hope from God.
I went in to the hospital to be induced on the evening of Saturday, January 23rd. Being on the maternity floor was an emotionally difficult experience for me. For reasons I don’t understand, they don’t separate live births from known stillbirths; and, as a result, we walked down a hallway of doors with pink and blue ribbons on them hanging next to joyful birth announcements. One nurse also mistook me for another expectant mother, asked me if we knew what we were having and congratulated me. That brought me to angry tears; but, other than that, everything went fine at the hospital for the most part. My parents and brother flew in that night, and we had a very healing time just laughing and relaxing, along with my husband’s parents. The nurses began to induce me at around 10:30pm, and contractions started about two hours later. I was able to sleep surprisingly well, despite being woken up for more induction medication every few hours. My husband was able to sleep in the room with me on a bed provided for expectant fathers, and I can’t tell you how much of a comfort it was to have him there.
My contractions become more and more painful and frequent throughout Sunday morning, and I found the contraction monitor to be a wonderful diversion. Every time a contraction would come, I would excitedly ask my husband to come over and see how high the contraction registered. We named them “Tasha quakes.” Humor in small things can be a saving grace in heartbreaking situations.
Jeremiah Zachary was born on Sunday, January 24th at 3:15pm. Because my nurses weren’t expecting me to dilate so quickly, they weren’t in the room when I delivered, but everything went just fine. He was too small to cause any complications. He measured nine inches from head to toe and weighed seven ounces. I guess one would expect me to say that we all wept upon seeing him; but, to tell you the truth, I think we were so in awe of his beauty that there was no room for sadness. Jeremiah was perfectly formed, just very, very small. He had a perfect little button nose, amazingly detailed hands and feet, and even little fingernails. His hands were each about the size of one of my finger tips, and I had the incredible privilege of holding his little hand between my pointer finger and thumb. My husband and I were able to hold him and keep him in the room with us until about 10:00 that night, and those hours were some of the most precious and joy-filled of my life. I can’t emphasize enough how beautiful Jeremiah was. We were able to take many pictures of him and with him; and, looking at them now, I still can’t believe how perfect he was. God is such an amazing artist…
I was discharged from the hospital on Monday the 25th, and my husband and I were able to say goodbye to Jeremiah that morning before he was taken to a local funeral home to be cremated. We were able to hold him, kiss him and say what we needed to say, which I am infinitely thankful to God for. How many parents do not get that chance?? Before we left the hospital, one of the nurses on the bereavement committee came into my room and provided us with a life certificate bearing Jeremiah’s name, our names and his tiny footprints. (Yes, they took the time to painstakingly get his footprints for us… What a gift!) Later that day, two men at our church performed a small, private memorial service for Jeremiah to honor his life, and it was such a healing experience. The sermon was incredible, and we all huddled together at the end and prayed out loud. To have the opportunity to recognize the sacredness of Jeremiah’s life was such a blessing to my heart. God is so good in how He takes care of His children. My parents and brother left the following morning for home, and my father-in-law took my husband and me to pick up Jeremiah’s ashes that afternoon. I had a box made with his beautiful face on it, and we are keeping his ashes there. I know based on Scripture that he is now with Christ and will not need his body again until Christ’s second coming, but it is such a comfort to my “mommy heart” to have him near me in a way.
We found out from my doctor on the 17th of February that Jeremiah did not have spina bifida as we had thought. All tests came back completely normal. However, Jeremiah’s umbilical cord was severely twisted, which most likely kept his heart from getting the oxygen it needed to keep beating. It is possible that brain damage caused Jeremiah to move erratically enough to twist the cord so much, but the cause is ultimately unknown. Knowing that my body was unable to give him the oxygen and nourishment he needed to live is very, very painful for me, and I have moments where it feels like the grief will consume me; but I know that there was nothing we could have done. My husband has been such an amazing pillar of strength and gentleness through all of this, and his love for me and refusal to judge my grief have been used by God to keep me from falling apart. I am so proud of how well he is living out his vows to me. God has blessed me beyond measure in giving him to me as a husband. The death of a child can tear a marriage apart; and, by God’s grace and as the result of my husband’s faithfulness to me, I am more in love with him now than I was before we lost Jeremiah. I am so blessed.
God has been so faithful to give us little reminders along the way that He has a good purpose for this and that He is taking care of Jeremiah. After the memorial service on the 25th, I learned that Jeremiah was born on Sanctity of Life Sunday, the day each year when churches emphasize that life is sacred from conception in God’s eyes; and finding that out was an amazing confirmation that Jeremiah’s life was not in vain! That afternoon, I also ran across Jeremiah 1:5 unexpectedly, which reads: “”Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Believe it or not, this verse did not factor into naming Jeremiah. Reading it that day took my breath away, and I instantly started to cry. Jeremiah is in God’s hands now, and this goodbye is only temporary. Praise God for that hope!! We will see our baby again!!
We named our son Jeremiah because it means “God will uplift” and Zachary because it means “God remembers.” These promises are sustaining us, and we are just taking it one day at a time. It is our prayer that God would continue to use Jeremiah’s life and our witness in this situation to draw others to His amazing truth, love and beauty. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, death is not the end!! PRAISE GOD!! We do not mourn like those who have no hope. THERE IS HOPE IN CHRIST!! Soli Deo Gloria!! To God be the glory.
Caroline’s story: Savannah
The story of Savannah’s loss just before 19 weeks due to a band around her umbilical cord.
“The Fine Line Between Nothing and Crazy”
January 28, 2011
I wanted to take a moment to write about your birth story. Just a few months before I became pregnant with you, we lost our little boy Elias at 10 weeks. I remember feeling sick at work for a couple days. I took a couple pregnancy tests and couldn’t believe I was pregnant with you. It had taken us much longer to get pregnant with your big brothers. I decided to wrap the pregnancy test up in a box and give it to your daddy. He was so happy when he opened it. I told him right away, “I think we are going to have a little princess.” He just laughed at me.
We were both a little nervous when I first got pregnant. We were afraid of losing you. For some reason I felt peaceful and calm. I felt confident that you were ok. I had always thought you were a girl, but then I started to doubt myself a couple weeks before your ultrasound. But when we went, you let us know that you were indeed a princess! We were so excited. When we went home for Christmas we got lots and lots of cute girlie clothes and blankets. It was so fun to look at all your new clothes and imagine how pretty and cute you would look in them.
On 1-11-11 I had a prenatal appointment. Everything went well. You were growing and had a strong heart beat. We were planning on having a water birth at home.
I love you so much and loved you since the moment I thought I might be pregnant. I treasured the sweet moments we shared. I loved feeling you twist, turn and wiggle. You weren’t a big kicker but you liked to stretch–sometimes until my skin became sore. I loved watching my belly bounce and move. You seemed to move the most when I laid down for bed at night. I loved having you with me everywhere I went. I loved spending my days with you. I would smile and rub my belly and tell you how much I love you. Your daddy would often kiss you good night. Your big brother loved rubbing my belly. He would snuggle up to my belly and loved rubbing my belly with his belly. You were loved by us all from the very beginning my dear one.
The last time I remember feeling you move was Friday night when I was in the bath tub. I laughed as I watched my belly jump over and over. I rubbed my belly and thought about you, looking forward to meeting you. The next day while we were at Vespers, the thought entered my mind that I hadn’t felt you move much that day. I thought that I probably hadn’t been paying attention. I prayed and prayed that I would feel you move, but I didn’t.
When we got home I decided to go to bed early, hoping I would feel you move when I laid down. Again, I didn’t feel you. My mind starting racing through so many different scenes. I tried to calm myself down and tell myself that I was paranoid and overreacting. I remembered my mom telling me that I had scared her when she was pregnant with me because she couldn’t feel me moving. I took a shower and went back to bed where I eventually found sleep. I awoke around 5:30 am and thought I felt you move. I later realized that this was probably a contraction but it reassured me at the time. Before liturgy I told your daddy that I wasn’t feeling you move. We both prayed for you during liturgy.
That afternoon I called my midwife and told her that I wasn’t feeling you move. I poked and prodded my belly. Daddy jiggled you, I laid on my side. I feel like I knew in my heart there was something wrong, but I kept trying to convince myself that I was probably worrying over nothing. I thought maybe you had moved towards my back and I just couldn’t feel you.
I remember laying down on the couch before we left to see my midwife, desperately hoping I would feel you. I felt you fall to the side with the movement of my body. I knew it was not an active movement. We met our midwife at her office that Sunday afternoon. All she could find with her doppler was my racing pulse. My hope sank along with my heart. Your daddy was in shock and I began to cry. We decided to go to the hospital where they would induce my labor.
At the hospital they confirmed what we already knew, your beautiful little heart had stopped beating. They induced me at 11:30 pm on Sunday 1-16-11.
By 11:30 am the next day I had only dilated 2 cm. They thought you may not be born until Tuesday. Your daddy had to make funeral arrangements while I labored. It all seemed surreal. A couple friends came to visit, and even rubbed my feet. My contractions were starting to get stronger. After they left, I went to the restroom and then sat down in a chair and then I was suddenly in hard labor–and I was all by myself. Daddy came in and was trying to ask questions about the funeral but I barely had time to talk between contractions. I ended up getting an epidural shortly after that. I got about 20 minutes relief when I started having to breathe through the contractions again. I was also starting to feel the urge to push. I told the RN and she had the hospital midwife come to check me. I was fully dilated. I had opened 5 cm in about an hour.
As soon as I realized I was ready to push I started crying uncontrollably. The pain of losing you was so great. I felt such pressure as they were preparing for me to deliver. I remember asking if I could push. When they were finally ready I began to push, sobbing the entire time. It only took a few pushes–probably less than 5 minutes and you made your quiet entrance into the world.
The nurse handed you to me. At first I could not look down at you, but once I did I was overwhelmed with a complex mixture of emotions. I had feelings of such deep pain and sorrow mixed with the feelings of awe and wonder at holding my beautiful newborn baby girl. You were so perfect and beautiful. You had dark hair and looked like your momma. You were much bigger than we expected, you were 4lbs 3oz and 19 inches long. We took turns holding you. We touched your hands and feet and little nose. We sang to you and kissed you and told you how much we love you. A dear friend arranged to have professional photos taken of you. We are so thankful to have such beautiful moments with you captured in pictures. A woman in the room next to us delivered her baby just minutes after you were born. Hearing her baby cry was such a painful contrast to the silence that filled our room. You were so peaceful and lovely. I remember thinking, “why won’t she just wake up?” The medical staff was not able to find any physical reason for your death. There was nothing visibly wrong with you or me or the cord or placenta.
I love you and miss you so much my sweet baby girl. I wish I would have been able to bring you home. Please pray for me.