Saturday, December 13, 2014

In defense of natural miscarriage

One thing I was sure of even the first time I miscarried: I did not want a D&C. Even before the doctor had definitively told us, "I'm sorry, there was no movement," I turned to Father and told him that no matter what, I did not want a D&C. I wanted to carry my baby until God decided it was time for him or her to be born, and go through the labor and delivery. I wanted to complete the cycle that had started months ago. I wanted to give my baby no less than I had given any of my living children: the dignity of birth.

Unfortunately, the doctors did not see it the same way. They were very surprised at my decision and urgently counseled me against it. It would be "too hard, emotionally," I would "never be able to go into labor on my own." The best thing for me would be for me to have a surgical procedure to dismember the "tissue" and suck out the pieces. So neat and tidy. At least, that's what it appeared to be to them. But my biggest concern was not my doctor's convenience.

The first time I miscarried I had an uphill battle. I was patted on the knee and told that this is what the doctor would recommend to his own wife. I was refused any other options (medical induction, etc.). I went home and prayed. Two days after that appointment I went into labor and delivered my beautiful little boy at home without any complications. When I went back to the doctor I was accused of having procured some medications to induce labor on my own. I never walked back into that office again.

We held Innocent and loved him, wrapped him in a soft blanket, took photos. We let the other children see and touch him. We buried him with respect and a hand-carved cross marks his grave. In the end, I felt that I had done everything I could. I had no regrets. The time during the wait to miscarry was difficult, but I wouldn't have traded it for the sterile convenience of a D&C. I had to trust that God would carry me through the valley, and He did.

We've done that three more times.

I never had such a difficult battle with miscarriages two, three and four as I did with the first. My doctors were kind and compassionate. They did everything they could to ensure that I would deliver the baby naturally. They believed, along with me, in the sanctity of the body made in God's image.

It's hard to wait. It's hard to walk around with a swollen belly, knowing your child is already with God, but not able to "move on". It's hard to wake up every morning and wonder if today is the day, and go to bed that night feeling sad and increasingly a little more desperate. This is a death watch. Once upon a time, people died at home. When death was near, relatives and friends would gather in the home and keep watch, praying and offering comfort. It was understood that only God knew the hour of death.

This still happens in hospitals and nursing homes and, thank heavens, at home with hospice. But increasingly there is a movement toward the elimination of suffering. Euthanasia (poorly named) is being touted as the best and easiest way to die. Why sit by your loved one's bed and wait for them to die? Get it over with and move on. That's basically what a D&C is. And the unfortunate and ugly reality is that D&Cs are surgical procedures and pay more. They can be scheduled at the doctor's convenience. They're quick. It's much tidier that way. (For the doctor.)

I have never met someone who regretted delivering their baby naturally. But I have met a lot of people who regretted having a D&C. People who wished they had been able to see their babies, give birth, bring a natural end to the pregnancy. The natural consequence of the spread of abortion is that unborn babies are being considered increasingly disposable. Human beings are not disposable, whether they are six weeks gestation or 98 years old. God is the Author of life and only He knows the day and time we will depart this life.

As I have said, it's hard to wait. I've waited up to three weeks to go into labor. If you know someone who is waiting to miscarry, support them. Watch with them. Be with them in this dark time and you may be surprised by the grace you're given.

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Yes, it happens that no matter how long you wait you do not go into labor. I know at least one person who waited six weeks and finally had to have a D&C. If you're showing signs of infection or begin bleeding and do not stop, you may have no other option. But this is pretty rare. In general, people find out the baby has died and have a D&C within 48 hours. The majority of doctors do not offer any other option and women don't know that they can refuse and wait.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Site Updates

Melissa has graciously shared photos of her child, Baby Jade, who departed this life just before 8 weeks gestation. She has also shared a short story of her pregnancy and loss on the Your Stories page. Another woman, Mary, has also generously shared photos of her child, Riley Jae, who departed this life at the same age as Baby Jade. Both children can be seen on the Photographs page. I am indebted to both of them for their generosity.

Also, I have finally shared photographs of my fourth lost child, Demetrius. He died just before 6 weeks and I delivered him 3 to 3 1/2 weeks later at home. I never removed him from the sac so that is how he is photographed. We buried him in the same grave as our third lost child, Gabriel.

May the memory of Baby Jade, Riley Jae, and Demetrius be eternal!