Miscarriage: A Birth Story
****TRIGGER WARNING****This story is about miscarrying at home and may be upsetting to some readers, especially those who have experienced a loss. It is a beautiful story that I encourage you to read if you are in a place to do so.
Name: Emily Naylor
Baby Name: Anna Noelle
Birthday: July 15, 2018
Gestation: 10 weeks
Location of Birth: Guilford, CT in my parent’s bathroom
This was our first pregnancy, and a surprise one at that. I had known for a few weeks that I was most likely going to miscarry. The ultrasounds showed that she wasn’t growing like she should be. The doctors tried to convince me that I had just conceived later than I thought I did, but since I chart my cycles I knew better. All I could do was wait, with so many ups and downs and unknowns. For me, this was more stressful and emotional than the actual miscarriage process.
At the final ultrasound, they confirmed what I already knew in my heart was true - that there was no longer a heartbeat and that my uterus was already filling with fluid, beginning the miscarriage process. I was about 10 weeks, but the baby had only grown to the size of 6 weeks. The beautiful faint little flutter of her heart had stopped a few days before, the same day I had a vision of my daughter running straight into the light of heaven. I had tried to hold on to her, but the force of love and peace was too strong. I let her go.. and instantly the deepest peace washed over my entire body. I knew that I had just delivered my daughter into heaven, and the ultrasound confirmed it.
To deliver her physically, I was told to go home and do more waiting to try to let my body handle things naturally. Since I had been supplementing progesterone, it might take another week or more for my body to miscarry. I wanted to do it naturally and avoid a D&C if it was safe to do so, but was also fearful of bleeding too much or getting an infection. I decided to listen to my gut and my body, and my husband and I went home and literally did nothing for the next 5 long days. He never left my side, and although it was a horrible time I have also never felt so connected to him as I did that week. We watched movies, sat out on the porch and read books and drank coffee, and talked about everything that was happening. We cried, and we processed, and we cried some more. We noticed all the changes that were happening in my body - that I swelled up like I do before I’m going to get my period, that my face broke out in acne, and that my pleasantly larger boobs went back down to normal size. The ultrasound was on a Friday, and on that Sunday I started spotting. I thought everything would happen quickly once the bleeding started, but the bleeding and cramping slowly crescendoed all the way until Wednesday morning when I woke up with some intense cramps. We had been staying at my parents house each night, as my mom is a nurse and we all felt more comfortable overnight knowing she was only a room away. Ironically, that morning she was out at the gym when I woke up and went to sit in the bathroom.
I called my husband in, as my cramps were really intense (although as someone who suffers from endometriosis and painful cramps, it really wasn’t any worse than some of my worst menstrual cramps). I sat there and tried to breath and reposition myself on the toilet for about 20-30 min, when all of a sudden I felt a large amount of tissue come out in two separate “contractions”. The entire placenta and gestational sac came out in one large continual piece, caught in my favorite pasta strainer as the miscarriage kit I had ordered in the mail hadn’t come yet (yes, we threw the pasta strainer out afterwards).
About five seconds after that happened, my mom walked in the door. She lovingly took over in helping me to clean up, and then sort through the tissue to try to identify the baby. We found something the size of a pea that looked like my little baby - but we packaged everything up just in case we had misidentified her. Later that day my kit finally came in the mail with a beautiful little container to use as a casket, and I placed her body inside on a rose petal with the rest of the tissue underneath, and decorated the top with more flowers.
My husband actually landscapes at our church’s cemetery, and he buried her the following Saturday morning with his own hands at a small service we had with our parents. She is buried in the baby section with other babies who have either miscarried or died as infants.
I wanted to utter her sweet name a million times on earth, and for a second considered “holding” it for another child, but in my heart I knew this would act as if she had never existed. While of course it was too early to know the gender, we both felt so strongly from the beginning that she was a girl and this was her name. She is named after 4 beautiful and strong women in our lives - one of them being my husband’s birth mother, who has her own courageous birth story, along with our two mothers and my sister.
She was given to us as a surprise little miracle at a time we were least expecting it, and although she only lived on this earth for a few short weeks, she has completely changed our hearts forever. She was pure gift from start to finish, and brought so much healing and grace along with her.
One of the most freeing and challenging gifts she gave me was to learn to live on my body’s time and not the world’s time, and to trust my body knows what it’s doing. It knew how to regulate itself both during, before, and after, all I had to do was sit back and let it happen. I can be proud of my body, alongside the other emotions of grief and sorrow and emptiness. As my body goes back to “normal,” I never want to go back to the fear and doubt I used to have about my body. My husband and mom also learned a lot through this process as well.
I’m so grateful for the chance to share this “birth” story - because I’ve also learned that that’s exactly what it was, a birth. Just because it looked different and I didn’t get to hold my baby at the end of it doesn’t mean that my body and heart still didn’t go through the process. And just because it’s called a “miscarriage” doesn’t mean that my body failed or handled things poorly - it still knew exactly what to do. And yours does too, no matter what your story looks like.