I am coming up to the end of my first trimester of my fourth pregnancy now, and of course this milestone has me spending a great deal of time thinking about babies and pregnancy and birth. Mostly I am thinking about the many different experiences people I know have had:
– some have worried all through their pregnancy, only to have had trouble-free births and enjoy a beautiful infancy with their baby
– some had trouble-free pregnancies and births, only to have found out much later that their baby wasn’t growing like other babies
– others have had pregnancies laden with trauma, only to be presented with wonderful healthy children
– others have had healthy pregnancies, only to have experienced traumatic births … for a variety of reasons.
– some lucky people cruised through the whole experience.
– others have lost their babies before their pregnancy was finished. I am one of those.
It is, I guess, partly luck of the draw, partly how we care for ourselves, partly our environment and genetics, partly decisions that had to be made … but none of it our fault.
It was about this stage of my second pregnancy that I lost my baby after several great contractions released several great whooshes of blood. I ended up in hospital for three days, receiving new blood (thank you, blood donors!) and nursing a severe headache from a fall in the hospital when I passed out from the blood loss. It was a shock, I can tell you! I think it was a shock that stayed with me for a good long time, and I certainly felt the effects of that blood loss during Rosella’s pregnancy a year later.
People don’t talk about miscarriages much. I guess it is sad, and nobody wants to be reminded of the sadness. I had no idea how many people I know have had miscarriages until I had one myself. It is kind of comforting to know, actually, that it is not uncommon at all. I received much more comfort from these women, than I did from the hospital staff … who really do need to be better trained with their ‘bedside manners’.
One nurse, in an attempt to console me, took my hand and said, “It’s shit, isn’t it?” That wasn’t exactly that comfort I was looking for. The doctor, who had completed the ‘D &C’ (removal of material from the womb) said that he had taken the foetus out. I asked to see it, he said, “It’s nothing. Just a bunch of cells.” It was MY bunch of cells! He was mystified as to why I would want to see it and refused to show it to me.
I don’t FEEL in danger of miscarriage just now, but the experience will stay with me all my life. I am not sad about what happened .. in fact the toll on my physical body was greater than my grief. Of course I was unhappy about my pregnancy ending so suddenly and traumatically, and I missed my baby dearly, but there were other circumstances too. As it happens, I think I had a rather smart baby there: we had just moved house unexpectedly, only to discover that the house we had moved into was about to be sold too. We were just recovering from two shock experiences with our son’s health, and I had just made the decision to quit work to help him recover the way he needed to … these were all huge experiences at the time and honestly it was quite a relief not to be pregnant any more! Sounds callous, I know … but there you go. I think we had a smart baby who knew what we were going through. Sure enough, EXACTLY nine month later a new baby came to us again, this time while we were in a stable home and stable health.
And, I know this will sound strange, I but I DO think that Rosella was that baby who left. In that nine months between miscarriage and her conception she visited me in a few different ways – physically I felt kicks just under my ribs (THOSE weren’t the actions of digestion!), and this began in earnest around about the 7 -8 month mark (if I were still considered to be pregnant). I told a few people, and I am not sure they believed me, but that doesn’t matter to me. I know what I felt. I would dream about my healthy pregnancy and wake up realising I was not pregnant anymore, and I distinctly heard a little girl’s voice call out “There goes my name, Mummy!” when a rosella flew past my head during a morning walk.
My feelings about my spirit-baby were strengthened when I learned from an anthroposophical homeopath that women who have had miscarriages need to take care of themselves as if they were still pregnant for the length of time they would have been pregnant for. The physical body knows the baby has gone, but the soul body is still open – it has to be open to let another soul in to share the space – and it remains open for the duration of the pregnancy. So was my soul still communicating with my spirit-baby?
I don’t have the answer to that, but it is something I like to muse on from time to time.