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.
It was the best anniversary gift we could have hoped for; a positive pregnancy test after so many months of waiting and disappointments! Our due date was near the feast of the Annunciation. It was perfect after so many prayers asking Mary’s intercession, our last feast of the Annunciation spent in such disappointment.
A few days later, we learned that my hcg numbers were not going up as they should. We should expect a miscarriage. It was surreal as we found out via cell phone call in a canoe of all things! As we frantically paddled back to the boathouse, all I could think of is going and crawling into bed.
We waited a whole week in a strange state of grief but anticipation: nothing happened. Finally, I called the doctor and he ordered blood tests. I wasn’t sure not what to hope for: my child was with God what could be better for him. Still, couldn’t help but hope the doctor had been wrong. It felt like wishing my child out of heaven. Finally, I received the amazing call: my hcg levels were normal for 5 weeks!!! I walked in a fog for several minutes processing the miracle we had been given. I would dedicate my life to being sure our child knew he was a miracle, directing him on the path to heaven!
I carried our sweet baby for several weeks with a rare sense of surrender. I counted every day, not in typical 1st trimester anxiety but in joy…another day with this baby that I didn’t think I would get. Still deep in my heart I don’t think I ever let myself believe it was all really ok.
At 9 weeks, we went in for our 1st doctor’s appt and ultrasound. I was beyond nervous yet anticipatory. After this appt I would finally believe it was all ok!
The dr tried, he gave our baby every chance. Measuring and measuring, searching my womb for any sign…but as soon as the ultrasound screen came up I knew… The sac was empty. I was stunned but not surprised. I’ll never forgot the sound of my doctor’s voice analyzing it all, trying to help it make sense when all I wanted to do was run out of there and curl up in my bed.
Our dr encouraged us to name our baby, keep remembrances of him, to always know that we had a child with God and to treasure that. The nurse gave us a packet about grief of unborn children. I couldn’t wait to get home and tear that envelope open and be alone in this strange world I found myself in.
That evening I brought up naming our child. It felt so foreign…maybe even exaggeratory after all, we weren’t even going to have a body to bury. Yet our doctor had been so adamant that it was a good thing to do…that our child had a soul even if there was no body. Oh how I hated that there was no body…still do. We decided on the name Gabriel. It was perfect: the saint remembered on our anniversary and with a due date of the Annunciation. It felt weird and forced to say it aloud for a while, yet I was amazed at how good it felt to do something for our child. It made him real in a different sense.
Now all we could do was wait for the actual miscarriage. Oh what a wait it was. It is such a difficult time to be grieving what will happen but yet you cannot grieve completely because it has not. Going about your days when everyone is moving about like normal. You are not normal and you don’t know how to be. Through the pain though I had peace that my child was with God. I felt so sad for me but resigned and at peace.
Finally at 11 weeks the dr recommended a D&C. This is where I lost my peace. I have such a fear of general anesthesia and the surgery felt like an abortion to me…even though my doctor was very reassuring that it was far from that. I felt inconsolable, extremely depressed and angry… at God. I didn’t want to be, I felt guilty that I was, but I couldn’t escape how I felt. I had been a good champ through all the disappointment of infertility, and even the news of our miscarriage. Wasn’t that good enough? Why was He making me go through this too? My priest surprised me” If I was in your situation, I’d be pissed too!” (never thought I hear a priest say that!!??)” But this is where you bring it to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you understand, or at least find peace” It didn’t help right away but over the next few days I did come to a surrender. It was ok to be mad but I also had to trust that God was there even in this terrible hurt. I loved God and needed Him too much to let go now.
I poured my energy into giving Gabriel proper honor. Together my husband and I made a little box to put any remains that we might receive. I was an especially poignant moment we shared…helping such a surreal experience feel real. In addition, I sewed a little pouch with Gabriel’s name on it. I put so much love into that little pouch and it felt really good to do SOMETHING for my child.
Five days before the D&C was scheduled, I finally started bleeding. I didn’t know how to feel. I wanted it to stop! Yet I knew it just might be the answer to my prayers to avoid surgery. It felt hopeful too. Two days before the surgery, I had timeable contraction like cramps…ironically Labor day. But they stopped after a few hours . Still, I had hope.
Then another setback: at my pre-op appt, I learned that I needed to work with a funeral home to retrieve Gabriel’s remains. I was frantic! I did not want my Gabriel’s remains burned in an incinerator like some hospital waste!
I spent the next several hours on the phone sorting out how to handle this! It was during this time that my labor began. Of course I felt sorrow that it was really happening but also such relief that I was being given the opportunity to birth my child.
I was surprised how much like my previous labors it was. As I listened to hymns to Mary, I was so blessed and humbled to cherish this time . It was very painful but very blessed. I finally climbed in the tub to try to relax (I had always wanted to try laboring in a tub but had not had the opportunity). Shortly after, my husband arrived home. He held my hand through some contractions and we talked. Then the contractions stopped. He thought it was warmth of the water and urged me to get out. I told him I needed a little break from the pain. I sent him downstairs to check on the other children and I promised him when he got back I would get out of the tub. Just as he left, I realized that I had delivered Gabriel’s sac. I sat alone in the tub for a few minutes in awe. Then I began to cry not heartbroken sobs like I thought it would, but in relief that he was in my arms . I cried softly that I was sorry, so sorry. Looking back, I don’t know what I was sorry for: Gabriel is with God, yet I think I felt like I failed him in this life. Finally, I called for my husband and he found something to put Gabriel in. My husband helped me into bed and we just held each other for a long, long time, talking and crying. It was a very blessed time. I am so very grateful that God allowed us to say goodbye to our child in this way. I felt relief, I felt strong, I felt grateful.
After a few more contractions I passed a few more clots and then things seemed finished. I wrapped Gabriel in the little pouch I made and placed it in the box we made. We slept with it in our bed that night…just needed to be close.
It was after my husband fell asleep that I started to face reality. Gabriel was gone, I was empty, my arms were empty. Oh how they ached. This is the point in my other births that I have cherished, all alone with my baby in the quiet of the night. Now I was just alone and it felt so very wrong. I didn’t know how I would ever feel better. It felt so long until I would ever hold him again.
The next morning the doctor wanted to see me right away to be sure a D&C wasn’t still needed. I felt confident it wasn’t. There wasn’t time to wait for my husband so I drove myself.
Again, I hated the sound of my doctor’s voice when he said there was still tissue in my womb. He tried unsuccessfully to remove it. I was given the option to do something more invasive in the office to avoid the surgery. I consented. It wasn’t very painful but it was emotionally terrifying as they scooped out the contents of my womb. It felt like forever yet I know it was very short. The compassionate dr examined the tissue for anything that might be part of the baby. This he gave me in a little jar, they rest they sent to pathology. I sat in the car and cried and cried. I’m not sure if it was because it was finally all over or because I was traumatized by the office procedure : probably both.
That evening we went to church where our priest said some prayers for Gabriel and for our family. I was very healing for me to have the opportunity to remember Gabriel in church. Our Orthodox faith doesn’t do memorial services for unborn children as they have not yet had the opportunity to be baptized, but recognizes that in God’s love and mercy God welcomes these precious children to be with Him. Theologically I understand this but a Mom’s heart wants to be sure her child is remembered. When we got home, we buried Gabriel and planted a hydrangea plant nearby. It was hurried because it was getting late. I still regret that we did not anoint Gabriel with holy water 1st.
Leaving him in that ground was by far the hardest part of our loss. We knew he was not there, but still it was a separation that felt so permanent. After we composed ourselves we had some time alone. It was a beautiful talk about our willingness to be open to more children even through this hurt. It stemmed more from knowing that Gabriel got the best scenario in this… always in the arms of God.
The weeks that followed were very difficult. I wanted to find the off button, but my responsibilities for our family left very little time to nurse my hurt. I found all I wanted was to be alone and cry. I was trying process all that had happened but there just wasn’t much quiet in order to do this. It was intensely personal to me. It was entirely reasonable to me that our friends and family wouldn’t grieve/know Gabriel but I found that fact extremely isolating. I just wanted to be alone.
After several weeks, I fell into deep grief. I was surprised at it’s intensity. I went to a place I never thought I’d go. I wondered why. I knew what my doctor had said…our blighted ovum was the result of genetics…not out fault, couldn’t have changed it. Yet I began to wonder, was it the intense workout I had in the grief after we learned we would miscarry the 1st time? Was it missing prenatals during this time? Was it the little electric shock I got plugging in a lamp shortly before we learned we were pregnant? I wanted to know why. I wanted to beat myself up for letting this happen. I was not supposed to be running at this point, but everything in me wanted to run this pain out of me.
In the midst of this, I felt a strong need to keep trying for another baby so a lot of mental energy went to worrying about my cycles and if I was “normal”. I felt so broken and I needed to know I wasn’t. I was blessed to regain cycles within 4 weeks but they definitely were off and that thought consumed me.
After 3 months, (it felt so much longer than that!) we were blessed to conceive again! That cycle was a time of digging very deep to find hope, to trust that God had good in store for us and that we would be ok even if that meant another baby was not in His plans for us.
As I traveled through the 1st trimester, it was very anxious time. I was still grieving hard for a Gabriel and I was so fearful of how could I dig out of another loss. At 6 weeks we were blessed to see a little baby and a strong heartbeat. I learned that my due date is the same day I lost Gabriel. I’m still processing that fact. It’s complicated b/c I want to remember Gabriel on HIS day but I also know God has a plan better than mine.
One day I dreaded was my due date for Gabriel. I was very emotional in the weeks that lead up to it. I was blessed to have a visit to the monastery the day after. It was a wonderful balm on my heart. I had some special time of prayer and I felt a wonderful closure in doing that.
Grief pops up at times I don’t always expect. When I realize someone is missing, when I wonder what Gabriel would have looked like, when I think about meeting him in heaven. I think that will always be there. I am learning that is ok. I never want Gabriel to be forgotten. I know it is primarily my job. I am grateful for the times I see my husband’s moments a grief for then I know I am not alone.
Going forward we intend to remember Gabriel on his birthday every year by donating a layette to a crisis pregnancy center and each Christmas to buy a gift for a child in need the age he would have been. I know I will always carry Gabriel in my heart. Losing him has created a longing for heaven in my heart and I intend to honor him best by loving God more b/c I am Gabriel’s mother.
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.
Before diving into my miscarriage story I’d like to offer a brief background. I am a married 36 year old woman, blessed with a beautiful two year old daughter. My first pregnancy went without a hitch until placenta previa was discovered. The previa never corrected so I underwent a planned C-Section. My doctors never found a causal factor for the previa; it was just one of those weird anomalies. I was disappointed not to give birth naturally, but the surgery went smoothly and I had my little princess.
When we decided to try for baby number two it took two cycles for success. I tracked my temperature and cervical fluids daily, probably becoming a little obsessed over the process, worried because of my “advanced maternal age”. The condition of my uterus due to the c-section was also a worry. Therefore, I was surprised when the test came back positive.
I remember with my daughter going to see the doctor at about five and a half weeks. My ob/gyn warned me that it might be too early to detect a heart beat. The fetal doppler didn’t pick up anything, but a vaginal ultrasound during that same appointment detected strong beats. Thank goodness!!
This time around I was required to wait between nine and thirteen weeks for my first ultrasound. We’d moved to a new town and the doctors wait a bit longer here. Maybe it was a good thing because, in retrospect, had I been able to hear or see hearts beating it might’ve been even more difficult to endure the miscarriage.
It was a Tuesday when I went in for the ultrasound; I was about nine and a half weeks by my calculations. I went alone as my husband had to work. I was feeling nervous because I hadn’t met my new doctor yet and I had to have to a pap smear which I despise. The doctor performed the pap then started the ultrasound. It was a small machine that offered a foggy picture. He was very quiet as he moved the vaginal wand around. I remember finally breaking the silence with, “so it looks like there’s only one there huh?” Oddly enough I’d been telling my husband the last few days that I thought I was pregnant with twins. I’d had intuition that it could be the case. I can’t recall the doctor’s exact response except that he saw that the baby was only about six weeks in size and no heart beat. Once he took the wand out and I was able to sit up I started crying, I just wished my husband could be there to hold me. The doc explained that I’d had a missed miscarriage.
I was in shock! I was feeling all the pregnancy symptoms yet I was not pregnant? I requested a better ultrasound and luckily was seen right away. The next ultrasound offered a much clearer picture. This time the ultrasound tech said that there were indeed two babies. She confirmed the same thing as my doctor: not alive, no heart beats, and about six weeks in size.
I met with my doctor again briefly to see what came next. I conveyed my desire to miscarry naturally. My doctor advised that I would likely do just that since I was in my first trimester. We agreed to schedule a D&C for the week after next just in case. I left the office feeling shocked and so sad.
The following week was tough. I felt like the grim reaper at times, so gross that I was carrying babies that were no longer alive. I felt angry at my body wondering why I was not expelling them. Throughout that week I tried to relax my abdomen and pelvic region hoping my body would release what I had previously been holding onto so dearly. I surfed the web a lot looking for stories of experiences similar to mine. One woman’s story in particular really helped. She explained a discussion with her therapist about feeling so gross that she was still carrying her deceased fetus. She said her therapist’s response was, “don’t look at it like you are carrying an expired fetus but look at it as your baby is resting inside of you until its time to come out. You are giving your baby a final resting place.” Those words gave me so much peace; they helped me grieve while my babies were still with me. After reading that I remember feeling thankful that I could still hold them to tell them I loved them. When I was holding my daughter or singing to her as she drifted off to sleep I envisioned singing to them, holding them, loving them too. That was so helpful. But still there was lots of crying, sadness, and disbelief.
The following Tuesday, a week after my ultrasound, I began to have mild cramping. I was relieved to know that my body was ready to start the process but also scared about what was forthcoming. The cramping lasted throughout the day but remained mild enough where I could clean my house, do laundry, etc. That night, thankfully, I was able to get a good night sleep. When I awoke the next morning I told my husband before he left for work that I was beginning to feel real pain.
It was Ash Wednesday, when I miscarried. At 9am I was having mild contractions. The contractions were never at regular intervals, but they came in waves and lasted at least 15-20 seconds at first and got longer and much harder by the end. I got through the mild contractions by staying on my feet, swaying back and fourth, like a dance. Around 10am the contractions became more painful and lasted longer. I texted my husband asking him to come home soon with the prescription that I’d called in earlier that morning. I could no longer stay on my feet but felt more comfortable sitting down. I put a movie on for my daughter while I went upstairs not wanting her to see me in such pain. Around 11:30 the full blown, hard contractions began. I was doing rapid breathing, crying at times due to pain. I was on the floor on all fours, kind of doing cat-cow poses. Yes, I resembled a dog, but it was the only position that was tolerable. My husband arrived home around 12:30 with the prescription but by then it was too late to take medication. I tried to dissolve it under my tongue but my body threw it back up. Although the pain was terrible it never got so bad that I felt like I had to go to the hospital. I finally miscarried a little after 1:00pm.
Now for the gross details starting back on Tuesday when the process began.
On Tuesday, the day before the miscarriage, I had very mild brownish-red bleeding. It was the first bleeding I’d had since my last regular period before I got pregnant. Tuesday night I didn’t even come close to soaking through a pad. I kept smelling the pad trying to detect infection which was a concern after carrying deceased babies for a month. Although the blood and discharge didn’t smell like a normal period, I couldn’t detect infection. Wednesday morning I began to bleed bright red blood. Once my mild contractions turned into moderate ones I began to squat in my shower. I wanted to miscarry in my shower so I could try to find the babies. I wanted to see them and hold them before saying good-bye. Throughout the moderate contractions I stepped into the shower every couple minutes to let blood and clots come out after each contraction. I never really soaked through a pad for that reason. Bright red blood would come out as well as a lot of dark red blood with almost maroon colored clots. The clots varied in size and got bigger as the contractions got harder, but they were just clots, resembling a jelly consistency. Even though I was shaking from the pain and emotion I looked through each clot carefully. It was like a scene from a horror movie. I just didn’t want to miss those babies! Once I was satisfied that a clot was just a clot I rinsed the shower clean.
For about an hour and a half I had full blown, heavy contractions that caused me to shift from the all fours position to squatting in the shower to release clots and blood. Then, like a light switch, suddenly my contractions completely stopped. It was so weird to be on the floor, doubled over in pain, then the next minute be completely normal and fine, able to walk upright with almost no pain at all. The body is truly amazing! I was tired so I laid down. I wondered if I’d already passed the babies and missed them, washing them down the drain, or if I was indeed going to need a D&C to clear the tissue because my body couldn’t. About fifteen minutes after laying down I got up to pee and that’s when I painlessly passed a huge clot, the biggest of them all, into the toilet. I reached in and pulled out the clot, about the size of a baseball, and put it into a glass. So gross! As soon as I held it, felt the weight, I knew that clot was different. Go figure, all that squating in the shower only to deliver the babies in the toilet!
Along with a lot of the same type of jelly/clotted blood tissue that I’d been dissecting, there was some membranous stuff that I could immediately see through the glass. I was scared and nervous to take the next steps, but I wanted to see and hold my babies. I pulled up my hair and started the process, getting some white plates, a ruler, and my phone to take photos. I put the large clot on the plate and was able to easily find the gestational sac under the clots . When I poked the sac gently I could see my little white angels that were my babies floating inside. I gently tugged at the gestational sac until it ripped and out came the two amniotic sacs with the babies inside. I then carefully freed the amniotic sacs from the placenta. I decided to keep the babies inside their amniotic sacs because they looked so peaceful floating in the clear sparkly amniotic water and that is how I held them.
I took plenty of pictures and then put them in a nice little box. My husband, daughter, and I drove that evening to a nice park. It was low tide so we walked out over the mud to the edge of the water. We held the babies in their sacs one final last time, said our final love you’s and good-byes and placed the babies in the ocean. It was a fitting way for me to bury my babies. My Ehlowa Twins, as they’re named.
As I write this, after some time, I miss them terribly. I so wished I could have had them, could’ve known them. I love them.
I know there are plenty of sites out there that discuss post miscarriage issues. Want to just quickly mention my scenario which felt like anything but typical. Here’s a quick timeline: Miscarried early March, spotted for two weeks after miscarriage. Then spotted for a week in early April. Hcg level finally at 0 by end of April. Had real period early May, but spotted for 11 days after period ended. Started spotting again late May, period started early June, then spotted again for 11 days after June period ended. Started spotting again late June, period started early July, but then no spotting!! At end of July a normal period with no significant pre or post period spotting!! I underwent a uterine biopsy and many blood tests during the ordeal to see if there was anything wrong. All tests came out normal. As my body took a month to miscarry, it also took it’s sweet time normalizing after the miscarriage.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope it helps at least one other women out there. Lost Innocents helped me immensely through my miscarriage. For that I am eternally grateful and feel honored to share my story.
****************************************************Nicki’s story: Forgiveness
Nicki’s story of her missed miscarriage at 6 weeks 2 days, discovered at 10 weeks, 5 days,
miscarried at 11 weeks, 2 days. Born at home on the eve of Forgiveness Sunday.
I chose to share my story today, as a way to help myself with my own personal healing process, but also to help other mothers out there experiencing a loss similar to mine.
At the beginning of January 2015, we learned I was pregnant. My husband and I had been trying for 12 months since the loss of our first, due to an ectopic pregnancy I experienced just weeks after we got married. I had surgery to remove one of my tubes, and lost our first precious baby on October 1, 2013. I named him shortly after discovering your website “Protection”, as he was delivered on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Theotokos. I was approximately 6wks 4 days at the time. When I got pregnant with our second (I named her “Forgiveness”), I was elated! I remember taking the pregnancy test that morning in our bathroom home alone (for probably the 30th time in the last 12 months), thinking it would be another negative result. When a saw the second line come up and realized what wonderful miracle had happened, I remember I just looked up at the ceiling and said “Thank you Lord” through tears of joy. As a precaution, I had an ultrasound to confirm that our baby was in my uterus (that was done at 5 wks 2 days), as I was at a higher risk of experiencing another ectopic. I had a gut feeling that this was a little girl. I was so sure, but did not know why. With the first pregnancy I did not have any such gut feeling, so I decided that my first must have been a boy. Only God really knows I guess.
The weeks that followed were wonderful, I had a perma smile as they say. During my sixth week, we had our parish priest come bless our home for the new year, and shared the news with him. He blessed my tummy and instructed me to drink the holy water every morning until the birth. The weeks carried on. I was not showing any major signs of pregnancy (eg. Morning sickness) except that I was getting more bloated and couldn’t fit into my work attire that well anymore….and lots of peeing in the middle of the night… On Tues. February 17th (10 wks 5days), I learned through ultrasound that there was no heartbeat. They compared my first scan from the 5wk appointment to the new one, and determined our baby stopped growing at about 6 weeks. My doctor prescribed me 4 Misoprostol pills to take vaginally, and sent me home that day. She described to me that the bleeding would be like a very heavy period with more and larger clotting than usual. Not even close. To this day, I wonder if our baby was still alive when our priest blessed her with the sign of the cross over my tummy, or whether we should have had the priest come the week before so I would have started the holy water sooner. I know it’s wrong to think this way, I just can’t help it.
I was not psychologically ready to end my pregnancy that day, and spent the entire day in tears on the couch. Our parents and siblings kept pressuring us to get a 2nd opinion etc. that week and I began to feel doubtful and guilty. I was hoping that maybe my body could give me some kind of signal that something was wrong, so that I could find enough courage to take the Misoprostol. Later that week on the Saturday, I visited my husband’s family doctor for a 2nd opinion. While waiting to be seen, I of course had to use the bathroom to pee. That is when I noticed the hint of some light pink spotting. It was the sign or proof I was looking for. The doctor reviewed the results and explained that science had come such a long way that there was no doubt in his mind about the validity of the ultrasound results. Personally, if they had told me our baby stopped growing at 8 or 9 weeks, I would have demanded further tests. But since the size was so small and only comparable to a baby at 6 weeks, my gut was telling me the results were correct. I listened to him and took the Misoprostol at home that evening…waiting to say goodbye.
Some mild cramping started a couple of hours after inserting the pills, and the bleeding a couple of hours after that. I stayed on the couch most of the time with a hot water bottle on my stomach as I experienced the stronger contraction-like pains in my lower abdomen and lower back. I cried on and off with my husband at my side. As the bleeding got heavier, I felt the need at one point to get up and it felt like a “swoosh” had come out of me once I stood. The sanitary napkin wasn’t enough of course, and blood was trickling down my leg. Not knowing what to really expect when I sat on the toilet, I did not know what I had found on the pad was my baby and/or the sac. I just thought it was a large clot as the doctor had explained since it was covered in blood. At first sight, I honestly felt disgusted. I quickly placed my underwear along with the pad in a grocery bag with my soiled pjamas and tied it up to be thrown in the garbage. I remained on the toilet about 30 minutes (I had read somewhere online that’s what someone else had done), there is really no point on getting up. The blood would have gone all over the bathroom floor and filled a few pads. So I decided to wait it out. My husband checked up on me a few times, and brought me some water as I felt a bit light-headed. I washed up in the shower afterwards and then went back to the couch. I passed smaller clots after all the really strong cramps the rest of that evening and for the days that followed.
I truly believe that the Holy Spirit led me to your site that very eve of Forgiveness Sunday. I don’t recall what the search terms I used were in the Google search, but they brought me to the photographs and stories on your site. When I realized that I had delivered the baby & the sac, I was in shock. I felt so guilty that I had felt disgusted and had just tied up my baby in a bag. God forgive me, I had no idea. If I had told my husband what I was about to do next, he would have thought I was crazy. I felt horrible about what I had done, and went back to the bathroom, put on a pair of medical gloves and opened the bag again. I took out what I had delivered and rinsed it in the bathroom sink. Once I could see the cord, I began to cry. I saved it in a ziploc bag and wrapped aluminum foil around the bag. I could not see anything that looked like a baby, but the tissue was so thick so I wasn’t sure. I did not feel comfortable taking apart the tissue further to look inside. I could not however bring myself to store it in the refrigerator. It just didn’t seem right for me. I left the wrapped package near our prayer corner where we light the kandili. The next day when my husband came home from work, I told him about what I had done and about what others had done on your website. I even told him that some monasteries have special burial areas for miscarried and stillborn babies…I felt like I needed to prove to him that the Orthodox church found this normal as he wasn’t quite seeing things the way I was…. but being the loving husband that he is, he went to our backyard to determine the best spot for the burial. We have not told anyone about what we did. We chose a spot near the back fence (so we could be more certain people wouldn’t walk on the area if we didn’t live at this house anymore in the future). It was difficult to dig the earth as the ground was still frozen, so I brought some boiling water to soften the earth a bit. When my husband put down the tools at one point and started to dig with his hands, I think it finally hit him. He was burying his own child. Until that moment, he had not seen what I delivered. When I released it into the earth from the ziploc bag, he noticed the cord immediately and his eyes welled up. All he could say was “oh wow, oh wow”. He realized right away why I had been so adamant about what I wanted done. We covered it with dirt and made the sign of the cross with a stick over the area, and then covered it with snow again. Once I stopped bleeding a few weeks later, I went back to the site where we buried her and placed a tiny cross over the area in the dirt.
Before learning our baby had stopped growing, I had started crocheting a white baby blanket. I had not gotten very far, as I was planning to crochet a little at a time until she was born. Her due date was set for Sept. 14, 2015 (the Elevation of the Life-Giving Cross)…I had vowed I would name her Stavroula (or Stavros if a boy) if in deed she was delivered on that day. I had only managed to crochet about a 6 inch square before the terrible news. I promised myself I would finish the blanket regardless. I found the strength to pull it out of the closet about a week ago and work on it some more. I instinctively hugged it in my arms and put it up to my face. I couldn’t believe how connected I felt to the beginning of this blanket. When I had it against my face, it was like I had my baby still here. It was so moving. This 6 inch square felt as soft as a baby against my skin.
I am so thankful for your site and how it helped me through the grieving process, and thankful to God for His guidance and direction. I will never understand why He needed another angel, but I find comfort in knowing she will keep her other sibling company as they serve our Lord together.
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.
On April 21, I discovered we were expected another baby. This would be my fourth pregnancy in less than five years. We were excited and nervous:) Since I was still breastfeeding out 13-month old, I was not sure of the due date because the lack of my period. So, the doctor scheduled an early ultrasound to date the pregnancy.
Starting a week after the positive pregnancy test, I started getting morning sickness, extreme fatigue and heartburn. It was a lot worse than my other three. On May 15, I had our first ultrasound. The doctor found the heartbeat easily! It was wonderful. There measured our sweet baby at about 6.5-7 weeks along. I guessed 7.5 weeks at this point, so it was close. Then the doctor spotted a second sac, or so she thought. She was not sure if I had another gestational sac or if it was a small blood clot. She called it implantation bleeding. She checked out my lab results and thought my hormone levels were slightly high for me to only be 6.5-7 weeks. So….she suggested I come back in two weeks to see if the sac was indeed another baby or a small blood clot.
She informed me that if it was implantation bleeding I may spot a little or it would just be reabsorbed by my body. I guess I should have ‘googled’ implantation bleed in the uterus or blood clot, etc. However, I thought nothing of it.
On May 29, I went in for my second ultrasound. This time the u/s tech did the sonogram, not the doctor. She immediately found the one sac, one baby, and….no heartbeat. She measured the sac at about 9.5 weeks and the baby at 7 weeks 4 days. So almost immediately following my first u/s, our baby stopped growing.
The u/s also showed the second sac; however, it was no sac…it was indeed a blood clot. It was a lot larger than before and more than double the size of the gestation sac of our baby. It had caused the baby’s sac to separate from the uterine wall and detach.
My doctor encouraged me to take medicine to cause me to miscarriage (or expel the baby). I was also informed I could have a D&C or miscarriage naturally. She was ok with naturally but concerned with the amount of blood I’d lose since I had a large clot and so much in my uterus. I opted for natural.
The following Thursday, (10 weeks and 6 days pregnant and about 3 weeks after the baby quit developing), my pregnancy symptoms slowly stopped. I had energy again and no more morning sickness. My body was slowly recognizing the loss. Saturday morning (1.5 weeks after the u/s diagnosing me with a miss miscarriage), I started spotting, nothing major.
Monday morning I was still just spotting and light cramping. Then that evening, I started feeling contractions. I remember telling my husband that I thought I was in early labor. It was strange. The contractions were not consistent but were semi-intense.
Tuesday morning (11 weeks and 4 days pregnant, 4 weeks after the baby stopped growing), I started having full on contractions that were lasting 60 seconds and coming every two to three minutes. I was in pain. Finally, I felt like I my insides were just going to fall out and I ran to the bathroom. I passed an extremely large clot. For the next three hours, I had consistent contractions and passed several clots. I assumed I passed the baby. After about 4 hours, I was feeling much better, just light cramps.
Tuesday evening-the contractions started again. And again…Wednesday morning I was having consistent contractions every 2-3 minutes. So, I Googled “labor and miscarriage” and found a lot about women actually delivering their babies (and your website!). I knew I had to pretend I was full term and treat this like labor and delivery. So we went for a walk, drank lots of water, did some squats, rocked, etc. For three hours I had steady 2-3 minutes apart contractions. I was hurting. Finally, at 1:30 that afternoon, I was having nonstop contractions! I was balled up in tears. Finally, I got in my shower and sat there with the hot shower going. I felt I had to push and I did. I passed a couple of blood clots and then out came our sweet gestational sac!
I was shocked. It was in perfect tack. It was about the size of an orange and filled with fluid. Inside was a tiny baby. You could not fully tell it was a baby, but that was our baby. Only 7 weeks or so gestationally, but it was our baby.
While to some this story is gross and has no place being told, I disagree! A baby is a baby ….in utero or out. I was told I would bleed heavy and have bad cramps. I fully labored and delivered the gestational sac with my baby in it. What an empowering and wonderful feeling. Some would say it could not be like labor….well, I’ve had THREE before this–it was labor, let me tell you! I may have only dilated to 4-6 cm (my guess of checking myself) and I may not have pushed the big head out, but other than that-it was labor.
Two things I want women to know–it’s ok to let your body take it’s own course! I went for my follow up u/s and all tissue was gone and my body did what it needed to do in its own time. This helped me emotionally and physically go through this. Second thing–your intuition plays a lot in everything. From the beginning of this pregnancy, I felt something was not right. We share, usually, immediately that we are pregnant, but I asked immediate family to know make it public.
Story of Shiloh’s loss at 8 1/2 weeks (born at 12 1/2 weeks after expectant management)
I just had my second miscarriage last night, just after midnight. I guess it was what you call a missed miscarriage. I was 12 and a half weeks, but the baby stopped developing at 8 and a half weeks and we found out a few days later at my first appointment. These last few weeks have been awful so when I started having brown discharge last Thursday night I was so relieved. I went into what was basically labor last night around dinner time and had contractions every 2 minutes for a long time. The pain got so bad I wasn’t sure I could take much more (and I’ve had two medication free births) and then it was over. It happened in the shower and I moved the baby to one side away from the drain and just sat on the other side and cried until I couldn’t anymore. I opened the little sac so I could see my baby. So perfect. My husband was at work so I was all alone for about an hour and by the time he got home at 1am I had passed everything and was just sitting on the bed. Today I am sore and exhausted.
Story also told in these blog posts: (1)
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.
Hello, my name is Molli Mcreynolds and I want to thank you for your website and helping me through the most difficult time of my life. I am very sorry to all the people that have went through this and may we reunite with our babies in heaven someday. I would like to share my experience and pictures.
My husband and I discovered we were pregnant at about 3-4 weeks. about a month later I start spotting on a Saturday night. I have two children and i didn’t bleed in – either pregnancy . I knew something was wrong so i made an appointment Monday, at which i was still lightly bleeding. They got me straight in and I was so… happy but confused because my baby had a heartbeat. My little guy was still alive. My doctor then said that I was on pelvic rest and sent me home and that if it happens, he wants me to birth him at home. I was eight weeks and 3 days.
The next morning, approximately 4 am, I woke up and sat up in the bed with the strangest sense. A calming feeling overcame my body, but mixed with a feeling that I cannot explain. I fell straight back to sleep. I think I felt my baby’s spirit rise to heaven. The pain and bleeding were worse the next two days and we decided to go to the emergency room. We then discovered that our baby, which we named Noah Charles Brown, had died. I was diagnosed with a miscarriage and we were sent home with ibuprofen 800s. That night found this website and it really helped me.
Every night the bleeding and pain would slow and each day it picked back up even worse than the previous day. Soon the medicine didn’t do anything and i was unmistakably in labor. This lasted for over a week and it was so painful that I had to ask my family to watch my children for me.
My husband was able to comfort me, I told him I felt like I had to push. We went to the bathroom and I held onto him as I pushed out our baby, in the sac! He was perfect, and we were amazed and overcome with sadness. We then spent a while taking pictures of him in the sac, and decided to get him out to see our baby. I cut open the sac with scissors carefully, and to our surprise, he had a little cord attaching him to it, my husband snipped it.
We decided to make him a casket, fit just for him. He was a person, he was our baby and we wanted to respect his remains.
Thank you all so much. I am sorry for anyone that has had a loss. I hope my story and Noah can help someone else, just like you all have helped me through my loss.
Brittany’s story: Sprout
Story of the loss of Sprout at 9 weeks, 1 day, discovered a few days later. Born at home at 11 weeks, 3 days after a failed medical induction and subsequent expectant management.
This morning at 5:20am I delivered our third child, our sweet little Sprout. This was our third pregnancy. We lost our first son, Marshall, at 24 weeks. His heart stopped beating and we think it may have been due to a tightly twisted cord, although only God has those answers. Our second pregnancy I had a big scare with a subchorionic hemorrhage at 9 1/2 weeks, and we though we would lose our second baby as well, but miraculously she is here now at 14 months.
Somehow, after everything that happened with our last 2 pregnancies, I thought this baby would be ok. I thought, surely losing our son at 5 1/2 months is enough heartache for one family to bear. I was so happy to see Sprout’s little heartbeat at the 7 week ultrasound. There were some concerns with a ruptured corpus luteum, a perceived small amount of amniotic fluid, and a potential bleed (even though I had no external bleeding) that thankfully wasn’t touching the baby. But then, when we went back to follow up at 9w5d, our little one’s heart had stopped beating. I couldn’t believe it. I turned towards the wall, saying nothing while tears poured out, while my husband kept repeating, “Not again, not again….” before coming over to hold me.
My OB talked to me about what to expect with medical induction, and that night I placed the medication vaginally and waited. Nothing happened after 8 hours, so my OB said to take the 2nd dose. It was Friday morning by this point, so when I called the Dr’s office yet again to report no cramping or bleeding after another 8 hrs., she wanted to schedule me for a D&C the following week after the medication had a few more days to start working (according to her she’d never had another patient for whom the medical induction didn’t work, but since then I’ve read stories from quite a few other women with similar stories). Never did she discuss the option of waiting for natural labor (“expectant management” as I’ve discovered it to be called). However, since we’d be out of town for work training the following week (I couldn’t reschedule), she said to call her back the following Thursday (towards the end of our trip) and we’d schedule a D&C when I returned home.
Fast forward to 1 1/2 weeks after Sprout’s heart had stopped. I was attending my classes and praying that the baby wouldn’t come on the airplane or while we were away from home. I reread stories on the wonderful website lostinnocentsorthodox.blogspot.com and was encouraged by other women’s stories of expectant management, waiting for their bodies to birth their babies just as they were designed to do. This cemented my decision which I was already leaning towards- I did NOT want a D&C. Primarily because I wouldn’t be able to see and hold my baby afterwards, but also because the hospital would take my baby and tissues to test, which they so insensitively call “products of conception” as if the baby stops being a child after a miscarriaged birth. Not to mention the slight risk of further pregnancy complications after the surgery.
So, Thursday came and I called my OB and told her my decision. She stated that “something really should have happened by now” and if the baby didn’t come by 3 weeks after the heart had stopped beating, we should do a D&C because there was a risk of infection if nothing had happened at that point. She also discouraged me from expecting too much, explaining I probably couldn’t see the baby and even if I wanted to, I would have to search through everything, so not to get my hopes up.
However, I had read so many other stories stating otherwise, women waiting 4 or even 6 weeks, so I silently resolved to wait up to 6 weeks if I was feeling well, and not to call her back unless I felt feverish, etc. I prayed to God often and asked blessed Mary and Saint Gerard to pray for a home birth with no complications to honor our little Sprout.
My prayers were answered. Once our plan touched down and I stepped off the runway, I felt the first tissue pass. It was about the size of a golf ball, and I saved it for fear that my baby may be contained within, although I highly doubted it from the stories I’d read. That was Sunday night. That night and through the next day, I had mild dark to bright red bleeding and felt generalized bloating and crampiness similar to my period feelings.
Then, Tuesday (this morning at 4:20am) I started feeling contractions, but they weren’t regular. Fearing the full labor pains past 9 weeks I’d read about, I took 2 of my prescribed Tylenol #3 (tylenol with codeine) and went upstairs to hold my crying daughter (still a little jet-lagged). Later I thanked God she was crying and calling to me, because while holding her I had more cramps and felt several gushes of blood and what felt like tissue (as well as feeling a “pop” within my uterus, before I passed my daughter off to my husband and went to the bathroom.
My pants were wet with what I now assume was the amniotic fluid, because as I removed my first soaked pad, right there on the edge was our little baby. I cried and thanked God that I was able to see Sprout and not have to search through all the tissue that kept coming later. I didn’t have to worry about damaging little fingers, etc. After getting my husband, we just gently placed Sprout in our saline/distilled water solution and marveled at the tiny detailed perfection of 10 little fingers, eyes, ears, and a cute little piggy nose. We took many pictures and shared them in a group email to our family, sending a text prior to notify them in case they wanted to delete the emails (for some the pictures may be upsetting, but for us, we couldn’t get enough of staring at our beautiful baby’s perfect details).
In case anyone else has a similar birth and is worried like I was, I wanted to share that the majority of my uterine lining tissue seemed to pass all at once- I bled very heavily for the first 4 hours and called the OB a couple of times to make sure everything was ok. Twice I almost passed out on my way back to bed, so I was so grateful my husband was there. Please have a friend or family member with you if it all possible. During those 4 hours I soaked through 8 pads, bled quite a bit into the toilet, and almost filled a strainer with passed uterine tissue (I saved it just in case but now can probably throw it away). During this time I made myself drink a few glasses of gatorade and 2 bowls of soup.
After 4 hours the bleeding finally slowed down. The 5th hour I soaked 1 pad, and the 6th hour half a pad. After about 6 hours from the onset of labor, my cramps stopped. They had progressively gotten stronger and a bit painful, but nothing I felt I couldn’t handle. (If you’ve had previous labor to compare, I was about at the point in contraction strength were you have to close your eyes and focus on relaxing through the contraction). However, they were never consistently timed and it was only the last hour or two that they were a bit stronger.
I don’t understand why we lost 2 precious babies, but I am so grateful to God for the opportunity to hold them both and take pictures we will forever treasure. How amazing, what God can create in just a short amount of time during pregnancy.
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.
Candy’s story: Kendall
Story of Kendall’s loss at 9 weeks, 5 days, not discovered until 11 weeks. Born at home after induction.
I would like to share our story. We were trying to conceive since October 2012. On February 20, 2013, we found out we were expecting. My hormone level was good and everything seemed to be moving along. We saw our baby and heartbeat on an ultrasound at 7w3d. We thought we were in the clear. I went home back to Ohio for my best friend’s wedding in Ohio the last week if March until April 6, 2013. I was a bridesmaid and pushed through the morning sickness and fatigue for her big day. Last Friday I had an ultrasound after more IV fluids. I was so sick, I was losing weight. Ultrasound showed a 9w5d baby with no heart beat. I was supposed to be 11 wks Friday. The baby died two days before the wedding. I feel guilty that I pushed myself so hard and when we were preparing and celebrating a precious union, my precious baby was dying. I had no idea. My doctor told us to take the weekend to decide if we wanted to do this naturally, use cytotec or have a D&C. It was a long weekend of confusion and tears. Sunday I found a funeral home that said they could cremate the remains for us so I purchased an angel wings urn necklace and a wooden box. Monday, we went back to the doctor and all had a heart to heart on our wishes. We wanted our baby intact but didn’t want to wait days to weeks, so she prescribed me cytotec and pain medication. I inserted the 4 tablets yesterday morning after hours of procrastinating and lots of trips to the store to prepare for what was inevitable. Yesterday, I had just cramping and yesterday evening the bright red bleeding began. Finally, I felt the water break. After pacing and multiple trips the bathroom with just tissue and no baby, I went to bed at 4:30 am this morning. I woke up at 10 am to no more cramps and contractions. When I went to the bathroom, I felt something passing. It was the baby. Still connected to me. My angel didn’t want to let go and I didn’t want that either. I called the doctor and she said I could come in this morning so she could help it along or if I was comfortable doing it myself, I could. I decided to do it myself. I had to break the connection between my baby and I. Now I am sitting here feeling empty but some closure with my little angel in the box beside me. Eyes, nose, mouth, 10 fingers and 10 toes. I’m in awe and heart broken at the same time. I would like to share a picture. I pray for all the others who have to experience this.
Stephanie’s story: unnamed baby boy
Natural miscarriage story, also linked on the “Actual Process” page under “Natural miscarriage stories”. Stephanie is a certified doula and a “Birthing from Within” mentor.
Jillian’s story: Ever Elliott
Story of Jillian’s pregnancy with Ever Elliot, a missed miscarriage at 10 weeks, discovered at 11 weeks. Delivered naturally at home at 12 weeks and 1 day.
After being married for a year my husband and I started trying for a baby, after 6 months I was pregnant. I was so excited to start this new chapter with my husband after 11 years together. I don’t have a family doctor and wanted a midwife in the hopes of giving birth at home. My first appointment was at 9 weeks. The 5 long weeks between finding out and my first appointment I struggled with myself if I was actually pregnant or making it up. No one confirmed my pregnancy and since we didn’t want to tell anyone until we had an ultrasound it was like a made up lie or secret. My midwife confirmed I was pregnant and I felt much better. I had a little nausea and very sore breast tenderness that started a week before I found out I was pregnant. My first ultrasound was at 11 weeks, we were so excited to finally see our baby. But it became the worst day ever.
The ultrasound tech told me first my dates must be wrong, then didn’t say anything until she asked to do a vaginal ultrasound. Again she didn’t say anything. After she told me she had nothing to show me and my midwife would call me. I ran out crying. I had no idea what was going on, clearly by the size of my stomach something has to be there?! How could nothing be there, I’m supposed to be 11 weeks! Hours later my midwife called me and said our baby died at 10 weeks. I didn’t understand how your baby could die but you would continue to have pregnancy symptoms for over a week!
I decided to wait it out since I didn’t want to make a decision, I wanted to wake up from this nightmare and not make decisions on having a D&C or medication. I researched things to help bring on a natural miscarriage and I started drinking parsley tea, raspberry leaf tea and orange juice as well as eating cinnamon. Within 3 days I started spotting. 5 days after finding out I passed two, two inch clots after an hour of light contractions early in the morning. I felt fine the rest of the day and following day. 1 week and 1 day after finding out I passed two larger clots after an hour of contractions. The bleeding picked up after theses clots. After a couple hours later I was feeling fine and my husband was going to go work. 6 hours after those clots I was sitting on the couch and got up to go to the bathroom and I had soaked through the couch with blood, it was everywhere just pouring out. Again 2 hours later I felt better and my husband went out for a bit while I rested, we even made plans with friends. Again within 6 hours of the pool of blood I felt some cramps and took and advil so I could have a short nap before our friends came over. Those cramps turned into full out never ending contractions. I was in constant pain around my stomach, hips and back. I got into the tub and instantly felt better, I could feel the contractions come and go but it wasn’t painful. After two hours in the tub I was so hot I needed to get out but I knew the pain was going to be terrible. I got out and did laps around the house, I was hot, hungry and exhausted of the pain. My husband kept asking if he could just take me to the hospital but I did not want to go. From the beginning of this pregnancy I wanted a home birth and I knew the OB GYN my midwives recommend wasn’t on call until 8am the next day, only 12 hours to go! By 8:30pm the pain was so unbearable, I was screaming, I was scared, I thought this was craziest thing possible, I am basically giving birth for the first time unattended. I needed reassurance I was going to get through this and things were happening normal. I got back in the tub but this time the pain didn’t go away. I screamed and shook around for about 45 minutes until my husband said, “that’s it, I don’t care we’re going to the hospital – I cant listen to this anymore,” and POP the sac and placenta came out.
Immediately I felt better, I was amazed at what we had created and what I had just done. After 4 hours of labour I passed our baby at home in the tub. I bled quite a bit after while I ate dinner in bed and my husband cleaned the sac away from the placenta. (The attached photo was after the blood clots had been cleaned off so it was a bit bigger.) The following morning I went to the hospital they found more tissue and was given the medication. I was upset this wasn’t over yet but at least I didn’t need surgery. The day after we buried our baby at my great grandmother’s grave stone with our family and I started the medication which I felt nothing from. I passed small clots within an hour of starting it and had some cramps but nothing compared to before. At my follow up ultrasound a couple days later I thought for sure I would need surgery. My OB called a couple days later and said everything looked great! A miracle since a week after my follow up ultrasound I passed a 3 inch piece of placenta.
It’s now been 5 weeks since the birth and not a second goes by I don’t think about our baby who we named Ever Elliott a few days before the birth. A carefree happy pregnancy has forever been taken from me as from now on I know what can happen and how it feels to lose a part of yourself. I am grateful was able to go through the birth and see my baby. It was reassurance to me that I really was pregnant, and forever our baby will live in our hearts.
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.
Inga’s story: Angel
Story of Angel’s loss at 10 weeks, 4 days, discovered at 12 weeks. Born at home after expectant management.
First of all, I am so sorry for all of your losses, and heartbreaking stories I just read. My heart goes out to you all.
No story is the same, so I would like to share mine too. Maybe it will help someone as well as your stories helped me.
My daughter did not come to us easily; it was a complicated birth. We thought we’d lose her at birth, but we were blessed and she made it through, healthy and absolutely perfect.
Fast forward 3 years, here I was pregnant again, awaiting for my routine 12 week scan as there was no signs or symptoms to make me worried in any way.
On the day of the scan I was told that there is no heartbeat, and my baby stopped growing at about 10 weeks and 4 days… Nothing could prepare me for the news like this. And I was not naive when it came to pregnancies; you can never be sure, any age or any stage. My sister had a stillborn – and it still haunts all of our family, my dear friends had miscarriages, but still – nothing prepares you to receive news like this yourself.
After being given options regarding management of silent miscarriage I felt very strongly that I want it to happen naturally. Although it scared me, not knowing how long it will take I decided to persevere. In the meantime I started frantically searching the Internet for similar stories – in some ways looking for misdiagnosis stories and looking for that straw to cling onto, on the other hand I knew this is it – and searched for information on what to expect, what my baby will look like and what to do with that tiny body afterwards. Just so any doubts in my head are eliminated I booked in for another scan as well, although the news was the same. I’m glad I did it. The sonographer this time gave me a photograph which I was very grateful for. I knew it will help me grieve and cope in the long run.
The wait for the actual miscarriage was daunting… Luckily my daughter kept me busy and my husband was ever so supportive. Then the ideas of how and what I wanted started coming into my head. We bought a big outdoor flower pot (just in case we move and then we can always take it with us) and a rose bush that I always wanted to have in my garden. I found a pretty biodegradable box, fluffiest toy bunny, rosary, and knitted a tiniest yellow blankie. And by then one week has passed and some kind of pains have started, very mild and gradual in the evening, by 5 am more defined, coming and going. At 10 am they were like labour contractions lasting one minute and coming every two. By about 11:50 pain started to become unbearable and I got my husband to take over and look after our daughter, whilst I ran upstairs to the bathroom clearly feeling that something is about to happen. I ripped off my clothes and by then felt a gush of pink liquid and as I stepped into the bath this tiny, half of a thumb-sized baby Angel fell to my feet. I picked him up with tears filling up my eyes, and my heart tearing inside of me. He was so perfect, little face, little hands and feet, my baby, my Angel that does not belong to me anymore. At first I thought that I will be grossed out by all the blood and this tiny foetus that was dead inside of me for three weeks already, but I wasn’t – I wanted to examine it all. I am pretty much sure it was a boy, I have also passed broken sac, lots and lots of blood and clots, something that looked like an umbilical cord, but no placenta yet…
I spent some time with my son too: had him on my chest, spoke to him, cried to him, kissed him. Then arranged him inside the box with a toy bunny, rosary and my knitted blankie, before I realised that my bleeding is uncontrollable and it crossed my mind that I must call the ambulance right now! (Although my husband was immensely supportive about everything I wanted to happen, he did not want to see any of it, which I respect. Everybody deals with it in a different way, and this was my way of grieving and coming to terms with it. I also realised that I’m better off not telling any of this to my family or friends, because after only sharing a few details I have noticed them freaking out. I decided I will do whatever my heart tells me to do, no matter how weird it may seem to the others, they don’t even have to know. )
So about two hours after I gave birth to my son, ambulance rushed me to A&E, with severe bleeding. My placenta did not want to come out and I needed medical intervention. I was due to have D&C, which I dreaded so badly to begin with, but I was at peace because I knew that my baby is safe at home.
After operation my pain and bleeding subsided; I was not feeling any of the pregnancy symptoms anymore.
This morning I was discharged from the hospital. Came home with a heartbreaking dread – the time has come to bury my son.
With my husband I took the box, wrote a letter for my son with my feelings and thoughts in it, added a photograph of me daddy and big sister, and arranged it in our flower pot with the rose bush on top of it. Lit up a candle near by and one on the window sill inside the house.
It’s winter now, terribly cold. I was struggling with the thought of digging him into this cold cold ground and leaving him there. I still feel like I want to rip it back out with my bare hand and bring him back in to keep him warm on my chest…. It’s hard.
I feel like I’ve done all I could to help me cope with this loss, and this story as well is just a part of it. I want to be there for my daughter and my husband, my friends and my family, move on with my life. But I’ll never forget my Angel, my heart will never stop aching.
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
We lost our baby yesterday [January 12, 2015] at 10 weeks 6 days. I know this is the kind of thing that makes people uncomfortable but in the 8 weeks we knew about him he brought so much joy and excitement to our household. I feel his life though very short still deserves to be acknowledged. He had family that loved him in his corner fighting for him. I miscarried last night after being in bed for 2 weeks doing everything I could to keep him alive. I had an ultrasound last Tuesday to make sure he was ok after spotting for 2 weeks. The told me he looked perfect, and they were right: he was perfect, created in the image of a holy God who loved him. Psalm 139 talks about how God knows us before we are born, he knit us together in our mothers womb, he already has our days numbered.
After the miscarriage I struggled with what to do the easy thing would be to just flush him “dispose of the medical waste” I just could not bring myself to do that. I had to see him, to hold him. He was so much more to us then a fetus, or just a bunch of cells. He was a perfect beautiful little baby.
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.
Although this has been very hard I know God has a plan in all this, and he will work all things for good. Our kids have learned some hard yet good lessons about just how fragile life is and how every life matters and has an impact no matter how small. It is a reminder to me of just how short life can be, so treasure the time you are given. This whole experience has really reminded me of just how blessed I am to have 5 healthy kids. Because of little John David I am going to hug the others a little harder, hold them a little longer. Every child is a gift and a blessing. Every life is sacred no matter how small.
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.
I went in for my first prenatal appointment at 18 weeks. I had a feeling something was wrong because my belly hadn’t grown much. I was also spotting. The staff left me alone in the ultrasound room for 20 minutes. I stared at the blank screen and wondered what it would show. I thought about all the women who had looked at that same screen, all the emotion-filled moments of joy and sorrow. The midwife finally appeared and asked about my concerns. She applied the gel and waited awhile before telling me what I had already suspected. She said, “I’m looking for movement. Unfortunately I don’t see any. I’m SO sorry… But what I do see is two babies”.
I was shocked and teary-eyed right away. She said, “There are 2 cords and 1 placenta, which means they would’ve been identical twins”. I was so anxious to tell my husband the news, as his mom is a twin and always wanted twin children or grandchildren. Even with 22 grandkids she never had any luck. My husband was in the waiting room and he took the news hard. It’s the first time in ten years that I’ve seen him cry. We scheduled another ultrasound the following day to confirm and have photos printed. We learned they died at 11w 3d and 12w 3d. I wondered what I was doing back then (was it the day I applied pesticide? Or that time I got really angry? Or maybe the lunch meat I ate?) I wondered if I had caused this. I kept a diary of my diet and how I was feeling each day of my pregnancy, and planned to check it when I got home. The ultrasound photos were so precious to my husband and me. He gave copies to his mom who was very sad at the news. There was lots of crying and sadness, but also joy that we will one day see the babies again in heaven. The doctor said a D&C would be necessary due to being around the 12 week mark, but I refused. I’ve always felt our bodies know what to do on their own without intervention, so I chose “expectant management” or a natural miscarriage. Two days later we got to see our twin babies. I had cramps for 1-1/2 hours that increased in severity. I have a son already, and was surprised that the cramps were just like real labor. My husband applied “counter pressure” to my lower back (something I saw a YouTube video on) and it helped greatly with the pain. At one point I got up to urinate, but my husband was worried about losing the babies down the toilet. He insisted that I go on our portable camping potty. I’m SO glad that I did because after peeing my water broke! And because it was twins, it broke twice (about 30 seconds apart). When I looked down I saw the placenta still half way inside me and one twin dangling by the umbilical cord!
I finished pushing everything out. My husband cut the cord (something he felt too squeamish about with our first child). I located the other twin (still part way inside the sac) and washed them both off. I couldn’t believe we were holding the babies in our hands. They looked so peaceful and I was glad they had each other and didn’t die alone. I felt great and was able to get up right away to get started on photographing them. We took hundreds of pictures (8:30pm to midnight) and were so thankful for the opportunity to see our babies. I had read tips about taking photos in water and those turned out especially beautiful. We were also glad to know the sex of the babies (they were boys), something that wouldn’t have been possible with a D&C. I got out an ink pad and attempted to get footprints. I had to be very careful, but it worked beautifully! We now have two sets of very tiny footprints for their baby book (complete with tiny toes). I totally expected it to appear as just a smudge, but it helps us know they really were here… that they really existed. We named the boys Jonathan and Ethan. It would’ve been so wonderful to know the them… to have them be a part of our family. They will be forever in our hearts.
My husband and I aren’t yet ready to bury them. They’ve been in our fridge for 5-1/2 months and are somehow well-preserved. They’re in a 50/50 mix of saline and distilled water. On the 4th day after miscarrying, I put them in 70% rubbing alcohol for 4 hours (which made them shrivel quickly). I felt sad at how quickly they looked different and put them back into saline/distilled water. They’re slightly fuller looking again, but certainly shrunk. My husband liked how they looked with tighter skin, as he could see the frame of their bodies and facial features more clearly. We plan to wait until the babies look like they need to buried (which hasn’t happened yet). Until then we can still enjoy seeing them and know that they are here with us. We purchased a large garden pot as the babies final resting place. We currently rent a house, so it’s a portable grave if we ever decide to move. Once they’re buried we plan to keep the garden pot in the house. I read another woman’s story, who said there was no smell when she did this with her baby (13 weeks) keeping the grave in the house. We plan to make a cement gravestone with colorful glass gems from the craft store. Instead of a casket we chose a clear baby bottle with a tiny blanket inside. I searched online for ‘free printable birth certificates’ and it was such a joy to print and fill these out for our twin’s baby book
Xochitl’s story: Angel
Story of Angel’s missed miscarriage at 11 weeks 5 days, delivered naturally at 15 weeks, 5 days.
My little boy Angel left us on 01 03 15. I was 15w 5d but my little handsome guy was only the size of 11w 5d. He was the most beautiful perfect little angel I have ever seen.
It all started on New Year’s Day with light spotting. I laid down and hoped for the best. The spotting stopped half an hour later so my husband and I fell asleep. At around 3 in the morning I woke up and went to the bathroom. The blood came back but a little heavier so we decided to go to the hospital at 6 am to see what was going on. When we got to the hospital they tried to get a heart beat with a doppler. All I saw was that the doctor and the nurse would just stare at each other in silence. I started to cry and cry. They didn’t hear my little angel’s heart beat. They did an ultrasound and still no heartbeat or movements. At that time I just wanted to die. They gave me the prescription of Cytotec. I was not going to drink it till I went with my gynecologist on Monday 01 05 15 to see what he would tell me.
On the next day, 01 03 15 (my Angel’s birthday), I got up out of bed – still no pain at all. My husband and I went to Walmart to buy some stuff. When we were at the register I started to get pain in my lower back. We got through paying [for] all our stuff and my mother-in-law was paying [for] her things when I felt a gush. I thought it was blood. I rushed to the bathroom and saw that it was just liquid so we rushed home. While I was sitting in my truck I felt another gush and then a pop then more water. I rushed inside not thinking about anything and sat on the toilet. I heard something fall in the water so I stood up. There I saw my little boy. I got him out and held him in my hands and just fell to my knees to cry. I didn’t know what to do. My mother-in-law called the ambulance and they took me to the hospital. There they took my baby away. When they discharged me they told me to call the hospital to get his little body back. They told me they couldn’t release him – that I needed to go to a funeral home in order to get him, so we got him cremated.
We got to see him one last time before they cremated him. The days had been dark and raining all day but that day the sun was out, no cloud whatsoever. We let go balloons for him. It was a beautiful day. I will forever love my little boy. We named him Angel Maradonio Pacheco Ramon.
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
Story of Philip’s spontaneous loss at 12 weeks, 3 days
We knew you not but loved you so.
This is not a typical love story. I could tell you the story of how my husband and I met and our long-distance courtship. I could tell you about his declaring his love for me as I was being wheeled out of the Empire State Building on a gurney. I could tell you about his proposal in the little church on the top of Lekavitos, overlooking Athens in Greece, whilst surviving the Big Fat Greek Vacation, but our real love story started only a short time ago.
From the early days of our courtship, my husband and I talked about our shared desire for a large family. After we got married, we ran into many difficulties in trying to start our family. We cried and prayed through the ordeal and finally, last fall, God blessed us and we conceived. It is here that our love story begins. From the moment we knew about our child, we fell madly, passionately in love with him. We prayed for him every day and prayed fervently that my pregnancy would be safe and uneventful. My husband became very protective of me and tenderly touched our child in my womb as if caressing his beautiful face. He drove more carefully and wrote a beautiful poem celebrating our child’s life and our lives together as soul-mates. I marveled at the life growing inside me and sang songs to him in my head. The Georgians call pregnant women “orsoli” which means two-souled and my husband and I were grateful for the little soul entrusted to us and looked forward to meeting him in July, around my birthday.
We spent the holidays traveling to see family and friends, and in early January, I started having some problems with bleeding. We went to the ER and they assured us that our child was well and healthy. We watched him playing on the ultrasound, waving his tiny arms at us and turning lazy sommersaults. We were overjoyed and relieved. We both felt love for our child welling up in us and overflowing into our own relationship. Later that day, I felt the first flutter of life and gave thanks for that wonderful gift. We were awed by the life that we had created.
The next day, January 10, I went into labor, and delivered a tiny perfect little boy in the early hours of January 11. Our son Philip was born much too soon, and went to rest in the arms of the Lord. I held his tiny body in my hand and cried, wishing that we could have kept him a while longer.
We buried Philip several days later in a tiny casket lovingly built by my father, in a section of the cemetery reserved for infants and children. Our son is in good company. We cried in anguish that day and for all the days since, even though we know that Philip is with God; we take great comfort in that fact. We marvel that we could love someone so much that we hardly knew. We find we both have a Philip-sized hole in our hearts, missing and loving the child we’ll never know. We mourn that we’ll never teach him Greek or Russian, or show him those lands, which have meant so much to my husband and I. We wonder whether Philip would have been brainy like his papa, or musical like his mama. Would he have been gregarious like my husband’s Greek father? Would he have inherited my father’s kooky sense of humor? My father will never teach Philip to fish, nor will my mother get to spoil him as grandmothers do. I take great comfort in the image of Philip sitting on my Grandpa Vanderaa’s lap (he’s been gone 16 years) with his cousin Evelyn. I know Grandpa Vanderaa is reading them stories from the Bible and telling them tales from the Childcraft books.
Our love story is about our son, who we will always love and always miss, but we hope and pray that one day soon, Philip will have many brothers and sisters to whom we can tell our love story.
[Five years later, Philip now has two little brothers and a little sister here on earth.]
My story: Innocent
Story of Innocent’s loss at 12 weeks 5 days (spontaneous miscarriage
at 15 weeks after expectant management).
I found out I was pregnant during the second half of January 2011. It chokes me up to remember how happy I was. Innocent was to be our sixth child.
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.
I had noticed that my fundal height was higher for gestation than with the other children, although not enough to seriously suggest twins. It did cross my mind though. The nurse practitioner noted I was measuring 16 weeks. Then the happy moment of getting to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Except they couldn’t find it. I wasn’t at all worried because I’ve had babies “hide” before only to wave at us from the ultrasound later. They scheduled an ultrasound at the hospital for the next afternoon to check for the heartbeat and any reasons for the discrepancy in dates. I was actually happy about this because I was going to get to see my baby sooner than I had expected. I was hoping to get pictures to take home.
During the ultrasound the tech didn’t talk and I was unable to see the screen. I’m used to the techs doing all of their necessary measuring and such, then turning the monitor around and taking me on a guided tour. I stared at the ceiling while she worked and waited patiently. She had to leave the room at one point. When she came back she scanned for another ten minutes or so then put the scanner back and announced I was all done. I was surprised and asked if she were going to show me anything. She said that when I came in for a problem with the baby, I wasn’t allowed to see the screen. (Actually, I had peeked while she was out of the room and was able to catch a glimpse of head, torso and the measurement “12 weeks 5 days”.) My heart went cold and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I managed to get out of the hospital and to the car before I fell apart. I called Father and sobbed out what had happened. We knew nothing was necessarily wrong, but I just knew.
I got a call the next day, the feast of St. Innocent, during Liturgy. I listened to the message afterward. It was one of the nurses asking me to come in at noon to discuss the ultrasound with the doctor. I knew this was it. There was no way this was good news. We dropped the children off with friends and went to the office. We had to wait an hour and a half. When we went in the exam room, the doctor and two nurses were in there. I clutched my purse in front of me like a shield. The doctor introduced herself, then said, “I’m sorry – there was no movement.”
I didn’t actually cry at that point I guess because I was in shock – even though I had known this was coming. The doctor talked about coming back to make arrangements for a D&C. I said I didn’t want one and wanted to pursue medical management. They weren’t happy with this, but I agreed to make an appointment to come in the next Monday. I think they thought I would change my mind by then. We went out to the car and I fell apart again. Father dropped me off at home before picking up the children. I don’t want to detail the next few days. I didn’t eat anything, dropped several pounds, cried a lot.
I saw the doctor on Monday. He started talking about a D&C right away. Again, I said I wanted medical management instead. He too was shocked. He said that at this late date (Innocent measured 12 ½ weeks) that almost never worked and I’d have to have a D&C anyway. He had me make an appointment to come in Thursday for an ultrasound and to discuss it again. We dropped the children off again so Father could come with me this time. I had had a terrible time Monday because the office was full of BABY things.
We had the ultrasound
first. I knew the first one had been correct so I was hoping just to see my baby. I wanted Father to share this with me too. Seeing him was the first bit of happiness I’d had in over a week. The tech was very sweet and printed photos for us. We saw the doctor together. I felt a little stronger with Father with me so I held out on an immediate D&C. We made a date for surgery 10 days hence, just in case nothing had spontaneously happened by then. It would be Holy Tuesday.
I prayed that I would miscarry naturally. I couldn’t bear the thought of my child being torn apart by suction. I asked God to give me the grace to endure if it came to it. I had had absolutely no signs of miscarriage with the exception of the cessation of all pregnancy symptoms. It was surreal carrying him around knowing he was dead. It didn’t horrify me, but it was very strange.
Saturday night at about 10:30 I noticed I had started spotting. I was overjoyed, because I knew there was no way I wouldn’t complete the miscarriage before the date set for surgery. Previously I had been to the store for supplies so I started getting things ready. [note: The more detailed medical portion of this will be found on “The Actual Process” page near the bottom.] About 12:00 I was lying in bed reading and I felt an odd “popping” sensation. Nothing happened, so I ignored it. A few minutes later I gasped out to Father, “I think my water broke.” Mercifully I had protected the bed because it turned out to be blood, not amniotic fluid.
Father helped me into the bathroom and I settled in the tub. Within a few minutes I delivered Innocent, still in his amniotic sac. I picked him up and looked at him. I couldn’t see through the sac very well so I opened it up and there he was. He was beautiful, tiny and perfect. I shed a few tears, but I was so happy to have delivered him on my own and in one piece that I couldn’t be very upset. It took another hour to an hour and a half to deliver the placenta. After cleaning up I took some pictures of him and got back into bed. I was so grateful that my prayers had been answered that I just lay in bed thinking, “thank you”. My stomach felt so flat, and I felt so suddenly alone.
The next day was Sunday. I stayed home from church. I was hyper-conscious of the container containing Innocent’s body in the refrigerator.
Monday morning I called the doctor’s office and left a message for the nurse. She called back later and obviously hadn’t been given a very clear message. It took several minutes to convince her that I had delivered the baby on my own at home, was fine, and was only calling to let them know and see if they wanted to do a follow-up ultrasound. I went in that afternoon for an ultrasound and it was confirmed that the uterus was empty. I was also examined by the doctor. He too was amazed I had done everything myself and was fine. I brought the camera with me and showed him Innocent’s pictures. I also showed them to the nurse. She said I had “blessed her day”. I actually felt an odd pride when showing him off, rather like that you get when showing off baby pictures of your living child. They all said they hoped to see me back in in several months under happier circumstances. God willing.
We had the burial
on Wednesday morning. I had converted a jewelry box I bought into a casket
. On the drive out to the cemetery (a family one in the country), I held him in the box on my lap. I couldn’t quite grasp that I was carrying the body of my child to bury him. I looked out at the countryside and wondered how it could look so beautiful when my baby was dead. The burial service itself was lovely. I was unable to sing anything but a bit of “Memory Eternal” at the end. My throat hurt too much. I left part of my heart in the Mississippi earth that day.
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.
Story of Isaiah’s death at 13 weeks, delivered naturally at home at 15 weeks followed by complications.
My story: Andrew
Story of Andrew’s loss at 13 weeks with a medical induction at 15 weeks
I found out I was pregnant with Andrew a few days before Innocent’s due date. I had not been expecting it because I had been disappointed so many times. I was very happy, but was, of course, worried as well. We hadn’t known what happened to Innocent so I worried the same thing would happen to Andrew.
My pregnancy with Andrew was uneventful. I checked his heartbeat with a doppler almost every day from 9 weeks on. At my 11 week appointment the ultrasound showed a perfect little baby. I started to relax as I approached the 12 week mark. I was still checking with the doppler frequently and was reassured every time. The last time I heard his heartbeat was the night of November 29th . The next day he turned 13 weeks. He also fell asleep in the Lord. I didn’t check that day so I didn’t know until the next morning, December 1st, when I couldn’t find the heartbeat after searching for an hour. I called my doctor and we confirmed with an ultrasound that Andrew had died the day before, the feast of St. Andrew. I already knew that he was gone, but there was that tiny bit of hope that was destroyed when the doctor quietly put the ultrasound wand down, turned around and said, “I’m so sorry.” The four younger children had had to come up to the hospital with Father and me, so now we had to tell them the baby was dead.
Because Christmas was coming so quickly we decided to set a date for induction of labor on December 12th. I began losing my pregnancy symptoms although I still had a pregnant stomach. I started making a tiny shroud, tiny blankets, anything I could do to take up the time I was waiting. I typed out a birth plan. I wrote emails to the doctor asking for details of how the hospital handled the baby’s body. I cried a lot. I didn’t eat. I just couldn’t believe this was happening to us again.
Friends took the children to stay with them on the 10th. The morning of the 12th we headed to the hospital very early. I made it clear from the beginning that we wanted to take Andrew’s body home with us that day and that we did not want to have any testing done on him. The staff were agreeable. They started an IV and double-checked with an ultrasound (confirmed by two doctors) that Andrew was not living. Even after all this time an irrational part of me hoped a miracle would happen and he’d wiggle around. He didn’t, of course, but the doctor took her time and printed out several pictures for us. I wanted pictures in case I had to have a D&C and wasn’t able to see his body.
They inserted the misoprostol tablets vaginally, 400mg to start with. They also attempted to place a balloon catheter between the cervix and the wall of the vagina, inflate the balloon, and thereby encourage my cervix to dilate. Instead what happened was the beginning of a hemorrhage that took a while to stop. They removed the catheter and waited for the bleeding to slow down. I was in danger of having to have a D&C to avoid dangerous blood loss but after prayer the bleeding stopped. After that they simply relied upon the medication to induce labor. I had some contractions off and on but nothing steady. They placed the medication at 8AM, again at 12PM (400mg) and then again at 4PM (600mg).
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.
By a little after 4 the contractions were painful and steady. They placed the balloon catheter again, but this time inserted it into the cervix itself and inflated it. The pain was terrible. I stood it because I desperately wanted the medical induction to succeed – I did not want a D&C. I had refused all pain medication because I wanted to have a clear head. After an hour and a half of almost continuous contractions, as painful as any I have had in my term labors, I called out to say that I couldn’t stand the pain any longer and either wanted the catheter removed or some pain medication. Father was in agony watching me in this much pain and felt helpless.
The doctor and nurse came in and removed the catheter. They checked and I was 4 cm dilated. They asked if I wanted pain medication or if I wanted to try to push. I thought about the pain medication, but the pain had diminished so much when the catheter came out that I decided to wait. I waited for one more contraction to start and then I pushed. Andrew was born in the sac at 5:45. After waiting for another contraction I pushed out the placenta. I was surprised the placenta was so small but they said it was a normal size. (It was much smaller than Innocent’s had been.)
I sat up to see Andrew. I was immediately struck by the silence. None of my other births in the hospital had been attended by complete silence. I could see Andrew floating gently inside the sac which had been placed on a towel between my legs. Because I had requested it they permitted me to cut the cord and cut open the sac. I did so and carefully lifted Andrew out of the sac. He was the same size as Innocent and beautiful. Dark fluid had collected under his skin in places, including around his neck and over part of his head. This was distressing to me and I nicked his skin in an inconspicuous place to let the fluid run out. After this I could see his features better. We checked and the consensus was that he was a boy. It was a little less obvious than it had been with Innocent. We decided that Andrew looked closer to 12 weeks gestation than 13 weeks.
The staff did some minimal cleaning up and left quickly so we could be alone with Andrew. Once we were alone we both broke down. Our son was dead. I held him in my hand on one of his blankets (the blue, since he was a boy) and kept telling him how sorry I was. He lay there, helpless, his tiny head lolling to the side unless I held it.
In a few minutes when the nurse came back in she checked my bleeding and was worried that it was too much. She put another pad on and within a few minutes it was soaked. I was still contracting but I thought it was the influence of the medication that they had placed right after delivery to encourage the uterus to clamp down. She called the doctor back in. She checked and realized I had retained some placenta. They brought an ultrasound into the room and one doctor controlled that while my doctor manually removed pieces of placenta and clots. This was very painful but I knew there wasn’t really time to get anything for pain. I was very grateful that the nurse recognized the situation so soon while I was still dilated to 4 cm. Otherwise I probably would have had to go to surgery to have everything removed. They were successful and removed at least as much placenta as I had delivered to start with. This explained why the placenta had been so small. When they were done the pain was essentially gone and the bleeding was much less. I received additional medication to encourage the uterus to clamp down and some Ibuprofen for pain (I refused the narcotics.)
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.
I noticed that Andrew’s legs were starting to shrivel. I cried even more because I started to realize I would have to put him in saline unless I wanted him to completely dry out. His skin was just much too thin to contain moisture. We called out and the nurse was kind enough to provide us a plastic container of saline to put him in. I removed the shroud and carefully put him in. I hoped he would rehydrate a bit. We put that container in a larger one full of ice.
The decision had been made to keep me overnight and to start antibiotics. We had been looking forward to going home to our own house that night and this was disappointing. We packed our things so I could be transferred to the postpartum floor. Not long after this while we were waiting we found out that the nursing supervisor would not permit us to take Andrew with us to the postpartum floor. She said he had to be checked into the morgue or pathology. We refused. I had already discussed with the staff our wish that Andrew not leave our side and everything had been worked out with the morgue director, the nursing staff and my doctor that morning. For a little while it looked as if we would have to check out AMA rather than relinquish the body of our son. My doctor was called at home and pitched a fit. We were not privy to the behind-the-scenes battles, but our wishes were eventually honored and Andrew traveled in his bucket on my lap to the postpartum floor with us. While we were being wheeled to the elevator I had a sudden flashback to the time when my last living child had gone with me from labor and delivery to postpartum. He had traveled on my lap too, but had been swaddled in blankets and was warm and breathing. This realization struck me like a physical pain.
We were nicely treated in postpartum but were very exhausted. Because of all the wrangling it was 1 AM before we were settled in that room and later before we were able to go to sleep. I slept poorly and we were very ready to go home the next morning. It was late morning before we were released. My discharge paperwork included information about grieving and postpartum depression. I noticed all of the baby-care parts had been carefully crossed out. Again I was put in a wheelchair and we headed for the discharge area. Andrew was again on my lap in his plastic container and the contrast between this discharge and my last discharge was ludicrous. That time my son had rolled down the hall while nursing, so well wrapped that no one knew. This time I had to fight tears the whole way to the car. I put Andrew in the back seat and got in the front. We pulled away from the hospital. I fell apart.
I cried all the way home. I ranted, I pleaded, I begged God for answers. Nothing was forthcoming. Father drove and held my hand. We got home and I was eventually persuaded to go to bed. Andrew was in the refrigerator.
We picked up the children the next day. That evening I took Andrew out of the saline and carefully put him on a little blanket. He had re-hydrated and looked almost better than when he had been born. We called the children in, the girls, then the boys. We allowed them to see him, hold him and touch him. We talked about what happened. We answered their questions. We let them cry. After they had gone to bed I got Andrew back out and held him. I took his picture next to the little icon of St. Andrew we had ordered. I had Father take my picture holding him. When the photo session was done, I sat in the rocking chair in our room and rocked and rocked him. I talked to him. I kissed him. Eventually I returned him to the saline and put him back in the refrigerator.
The next day was the burial. We did it in the afternoon after the oldest was out of school. I took Andrew out of the saline for the last time. I took more pictures of him. I put him in his casket, wrapped in his little white, ruffled blanket and took pictures of him there. The time came to go. I closed his casket and thought how wrong all of this was. So wrong.
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.
Stories of spontaneous miscarriages at 13 weeks and 19 weeks (PROM).
Story of Julia’s loss sometime before 14 weeks (spontaneous miscarriage at 17 weeks after expectant management). Story of Evan, born full term but resuscitated at birth and died four days later.
Laura’s story: Nicholas
Story of Nicholas’s loss just before 14 weeks (D&C for missed miscarriage at 14 weeks).
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.
Amelia’s story: Micah
Story of Micah’s birth (at the age of 15 weeks) many weeks later by induction at home. Very detailed.
Story of Gabriel’s birth at 18 weeks (at the age of 17.5 weeks) after induction in the hospital. Very detailed.
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.
I am 17 years old and a senior in High School. I had all the usual teenage worries, until I learned I was 15 weeks pregnant. I had no doubt in my mind I would keep the baby, and in some respects, became excited. I’ve always loved kids, and knew one day I’d want to be a mother. This wasn’t the most opportune time, but I suppose God works in mysterious ways.
I was still wondering how to tell the father, my ex, when I noticed something wrong. I was 17 weeks, 6 days, and I started bleeding. I rushed to the hospital, and they sent me in for an ultrasound. There was no heartbeat, and they could hardly see the baby, there was something in the way. I was sent to a delivery room. I don’t remember much, but through the painkiller fuzz I remember thinking “What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? To my baby? What did this poor, innocent being do to deserve this?”
My son was born at 4:13 am on Friday, March 13, 2015. They let me hold him, and he was so small he could fit in my hand. The thing that struck me most was his teeny tiny hands, which were clenched into fists, like he was about to fight off anyone who dared trespass him. I named him Perseus Allen, after the Greek warrior and my favorite uncle, who had passed on in 2014.
He was 17 weeks, 4 days, they predicted, when his heart stopped… He was delivered 2 days later. They couldn’t offer me a reason for his passing. I know my story isn’t typical, but the pain I felt, and still feel today, is much the same. The due date is coming up soon, and I’m praying I have the strength to make it through.
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.
Story of Naomi’s loss at 18 weeks during an emergency involving a serious illness.
Caroline’s story: Savannah
The story of Savannah’s loss just before 19 weeks due to a band around her umbilical cord.
****************************************************Chris’s Story: Xenia Diane
The story of Xenia Diane’s loss at approximately 20 weeks. Died in utero from unknown causes and delivered by induction in the hospital. (Orthodox and includes story of burial.)
Makayla’s story: Joshua
The story of Joshua’s loss at 21 weeks due to pre-term labor
November 16, 2012 we found out we were expecting (2 days after my birthday!) It was quite the surprise, let me tell you! We had just moved into our first place, my then boyfriend had just landed a steady job, everything was looking up. Becoming pregnant was not in our plans but it was obviously in God’s.. We felt embarrassed at first (since we weren’t married), but we embraced the blessing nonetheless.
It took me awhile to be okay with the fact that we were soon-to-be parents. From the beginning I worried constantly, about EVERYTHING; everything except losing my baby.. We knew he was a boy from the very beginning and finally decided on a name around 21 weeks: Joshua Jackson, or JJ for short.
Friday, March 1st was the day it all began.. I woke up feeling normal, but for some reason at work I began experiencing discomfort in my pelvis/ uterus; not pain, just discomfort. I discovered some spotting at work, which worried me. I had seen the same thing a few days prior after intercourse, but this spotting was out of the blue. When I got home from work, the spotting was more abundant, so I called my doctor and spoke with his nurse. She told me not to worry and advised me to seek immediate medical attention if I experienced cramps or bright red blood.. So I tried to go about my Friday evening as normal. My fiancè and I went on a date and later did some shopping for comfy maternity clothes. As the evening progressed, I grew more and more uncomfortable. Around 7pm I began feeling “cramps” (I knew they were contractions but I was in denial). I thought if I slept them off, they would be gone by morning.
Boy was I wrong. I woke to use the restroom around 12:30am Saturday morning and discovered bright blood, much like a period. I panicked and decided we should go to the ER. That was an experience all its own; the nurse was very displeased that I hadn’t gone to the women’s hospital. She proceeded to tell me she hated babies and would be really upset if she had to deliver mine. They performed an internal and external ultrasound to check on everything; Joshua was moving around and seemingly perfect. However, they discovered my cervix was shortening and my body was preparing for labor. The ER doctor told me since I wasn’t 24 weeks there’s nothing they would do for me; he told me to “go home and hope for the best.”
As Saturday went on, the contractions got much worse. I tried everything to soothe them, but nothing seemed to help. All I could do was pray, and I prayed A LOT. I eventually called the OB/GYN on call at the hospital and he basically said the same as the ER doctor; he also said “if you’re predestined to lose a pregnancy, you will.” I cried after hanging up; I knew I was in a helpless situation. I was able to cry myself to sleep and managed to get a few hours of rest before waking again.
By Sunday morning, I was in agony. My contractions were back to back and lasted about 60 seconds each.. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even stand. At that point all I could do is lie in bed and sob. After 2 hours of me crying, my fiancè woke up and decided we need to go to the hospital NOW; I agreed.
On the way to the hospital, I made my fiancè pull over; I thought I was going to be sick. And there was so much pressure, I was sure I needed to pass a bowel movement. I pulled my pants down and sat on the side of the freeway; I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk; I’m almost certain I was in shock. My fiancè ended up calling an ambulance and I had to be transported to the hospital.
By the time I arrived at the hospital I was in a state of hysteria; I couldn’t talk, refused to move, and wouldn’t even open my eyes. I remember asking my nurse if my baby boy was alive, and she grabbed my hand and said “I don’t think so sweetie.” Oleg (my fiancè) showed up shortly after and we sat there crying hysterically. My water broke on its own after about 30 minutes of being there and Joshua came shortly after.
The nurse took him, wrapped him in a blanket, and carried him back to me. As soon as I saw him, I started bawling. It took about 5 minutes of sobbing before I could even hold him. He was so tiny; I’d never imagined a baby could be so small. He was the most precious thing I’d ever seen, but I knew I could only hold him for a few hours.. We had Joshua blessed and had a burial for him less than a week
I must say at my young age of 19 that is the most pain I have ever felt; I can’t imagine women who experience this repeatedly. Burying my child was unfathomable; my life will never be the same. I thank God for the chance to know Joshua, to feel him move inside of me. I thank God for knowing what He’s doing, and accept that I am completely out of control of this situation. There are so many What-ifs, but that will drive me crazy. I think about him every day, and I don’t think that will ever fade. Mommy loves you Joshua<3
Trish’s story: Evelyn
Story of Evelyn’s loss in utero at 33 weeks from unknown causes. Born after induced labor. Trish also wrote the “Specific to Stillbirth” page.
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.