Most of the content in this post was originally posted at Talk Birth.
My life has taken a sad and unexpected turn. I was 14 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my third baby and we found out on Friday, November 6th that the baby had died. Very early Saturday morning, Nov 7, he was born at home. Though it was different in some ways than a full-term birth, my experience of miscarriage was very much a birth–-my water broke, I had normal contractions for about two hours, the baby was born (about 4 inches and well-formed with eyelids, nostrils, a mouth that opened, fingers, toes, etc.), we saw the little, spiraled umbilical cord, and so forth. I was surprised to discover that some of the same feelings of empowerment were also present after a “natural home miscarriage” as with a natural home birth-–I felt strong and brave and like “I did it myself!” as well as amazed at how well my body worked and knew what to do. In the afternoon, my father took the baby home and cleaned him up (when the baby first slipped out he was completely pink and clean, but I lost a great deal of blood and a lot of it ended up on the baby before I changed clothes). After cleaning him up, we learned the baby was our third boy and we named him Noah (see naming reason/dedication here).
There are a lot of losses that accompany the loss of a baby and one of the ones that is hard for me is that my life is devoted to helping women give birth with confidence, strength, and joy and to embrace pregnancy and birth as wonderful events. It is sad to me to feel somehow “marked” now and to perhaps contribute to other women’s fear/elevated perception of risk—-“if it could happen to her, it could happen to me!” I had a feeling or fear of being a “bad omen” instead of a source of encouragement. When I wrote about this on my other blog, I received a number of wonderful comments that encouraged me that my experience would not make others “scared” of me, but would continue to deepen and enrich my ability to support other and to provide good birth education. This fear still lingers a bit however, though the comments helped a lot, and I think that is one reason why I’m creating this new blog.
One thing I did share on my other blog about the birth of my third baby that I’d found tremendously meaningful, is that the afternoon I found out he’d died, I’d received a package from Taylor’s Scarlet Thread. I had ordered a bonnet and apron from them for a Kirsten costume (Kirsten is an American Girl doll) for myself. They sent along a little lavender sachet as a free gift with my order. When my labor began, for some reason I wanted the sachet and held and smelled it throughout my labor. I also used it to kind of revive myself when I felt like I was fainting several times afterward. I talked to the baby and to myself before I started having regular contractions telling myself and the baby that we need to “let go” of each other and that it was time to let go. During the labor, I chanted to myself, “let go, let go, let go” and smelled my sachet. Several days later, I was reading a book about miscarriage and it had some aromatherapy suggestions in it. It listed lavender for “letting go”…