This post was updated for inclusion in the Pregnancy Loss Week Blog Carnival . Please join us at Fertility Flower for the week of August 23-27, 2010 where we will be featuring articles, posts and artwork about pregnancy loss.
I wanted to share some pictures of the box we buried Noah in and write a little bit about the ceremony we had for him the day he was born/buried. I also took a picture of him in it, but I do not feel like sharing that picture publicly. The box is a shaker oval carrier that my dad made out of walnut from a fallen tree on their property (my birthplace). My mom crocheted a little liner for the box and then a little coverlet for the baby. Mark added a sprig of lavender that he cut from our lavender plants (see significance of the lavender here). My dad added a wooden bead that he carved from a piece of a log that was once removed from their house (they live in a restored log cabin). He split the bead into two and gave me half to keep and put half into the box with the baby. (Have I mentioned how hard I was crying by then?!). My mom collects elephants and she added an elephant bead. I had a bunch of stuff to put in the box—a picture of the kids (the big brothers!), a “women healing the earth” postcard, one of my womb labyrinth postcards (the “I am opening up in sweet surrender” one), a scrabble tile pendant with a catch your own baby (that is what I had imagined for his birth), a goddess of Willendorf bead because I find images of the divine feminine very meaningful, a 2009 penny, a shell and rock from Pismo Beach, and last I put in a baby hat that I had crocheted, but that he would never get to wear (the postcards and the hat aren’t in the filled box picture because they covered all of the other items up).
The first picture is the items ready to put in and the second is of the box shortly before we buried it.
I did several readings while we were putting the items into the box and a naming reading. I was crying so hard I could hardly speak. Then we all put a handful of dirt each into the hole (the kids too) and said, “bye bye, baby.” Then Mark finished filling it the rest of the way up. We kept a rock from the hole for our labyrinth and gave one to my parents for theirs.
Later, I completed Noah’s Necklace using the beads that so many of my friends sent me after he was born. I also ordered a memorial plaque that we placed on the tree under which he is buried.
After my miscarriage, people kept asking my mom what they could do for me. As you can imagine, there isn’t a lot specifically TO do—but I certainly appreciated the people who sent meals and then a week or so later, I deeply appreciated having close friends who were willing to listen to my story. The WHOLE story, not just a “I had a miscarriage. It was hard, but I’m doing okay” type of thing. My recovery in the first week following the miscarriage was about the same as recovering from a full-term birth, only with lots more crying. I cannot overemphasize how much that Noah’s birth was a BIRTH for me, not “just a miscarriage.” The contractions, the physical progression, the “altered state of consciousness” mental state, as well as the coping skills mobilized were indistinguishable from my other labors. After it was over, I felt physically worn out and weak the way I felt after having my other two children. I also kept hearing my heart beat loudly in my ears while sitting up—if I was lying down, it was fine, but if I was sitting up for any amount of time my heart would loudly whoosh in my ears. I did not experience this after my other children and I imagine it is because I didn’t lose as much blood with them (and I still lost a lot with them!). So, having the meals come in was of benefit the same way it is during any other postpartum period—you do not really have the stamina to be up and cooking after having a baby! After two weeks postpartum however, I felt physically totally back to normal. (This wasn’t the case after my full-term births—I felt like physical recovery took longer and it was due to the tearing/swelling I experienced with them, which obviously wasn’t the same in birthing a four inch baby. Plus, with full-terms births, I had a newborn to care for and nurse and all the time goes to that.)
Anyway, when people would ask what they could do, I started having my mom tell them they could send me a bead to add to a memorial necklace. Many people sent beads/charms and they all meant SO much to me. Yesterday was the 3 month anniversary of Noah’s birth and I finally strung all the things people sent together into a “necklace” (it isn’t really wearable, which was never my intention, it is a string of beads). It took me a long time to make and it was a healing process. Also, I remembered where every single bead came from, even though I didn’t keep a list at the time (I have a list now). We hung the string of beads up over Noah’s “angel” birth certificate (which we also finally hung up last night).
Here are some pictures of it: