Friday, February 17, 2017

7 Quick Takes: Miscarriage Story

I'm linking up with Kelly to bring you 7 Quick Takes from my world this week.  


I have been on a blogging hiatus for a variety of reasons.  One of them was that I needed to focus on my vocation - marriage.  I needed to focus on real life, not spend time sharing or creating an online presence that would divert me from that real life.  (I know others can do this effortlessly, but for me, it was taking too much time.)  I'm back if only for this week to share news.


After about 6-7 months of trying to conceive, we got pregnant last December.  And then we had a miscarriage at around 7 weeks (mid-February).  I'm reviving the blog to share my miscarriage story. It may help others.  Others may help me.  


I'm considered "advanced maternal age." (I'm in my mid-late thirties.) My doctor put me on a progesterone supplement after confirming the pregnancy because mine was low.  She also mentioned that my HCG was not doubling every 2 days.  It was increasing, but not doubling.  She said there was nothing they could do about that.  We heard a heartbeat at week 6.  The doctor said it was on the slow side, but within the normal range for that young.  The next week when we came back, however, the heartbeat needed to be much, much higher.  I was hoping to beat the odds.    


We entrusted our little baby to the sacred heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of Mary.  We prayed his or her little heartbeat would increase and asked others to do the same.  The doctor mentioned that once a heartbeat was established, the likelihood of miscarriage went down to 3%, so we were optimistic.  The words "the Lord, the giver of life" stuck out to me in the Creed like never before.  God created this life.  If it were to be sustained, God would have to do that too.  


Last week, we went back for a check up, and there was no heartbeat anymore.  The baby hadn't grown since the week before.  I didn't have any bleeding, and I was feeling as nauseous as ever, which I took to be good signs.  It wasn't the case.  Two days later (last Friday), I had a D & C procedure.  


My doctor and the hospital had never (in 33 years of existence) been asked for the fetal remains to be returned to the parents after a miscarriage or stillbirth.  We asked for the remains in order to have a burial of our child, if possible.  It was incredibly painful and hurtful to be met with so much resistance in this situation.  Trying to advocate for myself while in a hospital gown and on drugs was very difficult.  My husband did most of the fighting for us, thankfully.  I was told that we should have asked earlier (we did to no avail), that it wouldn't be possible, that I may have to delay surgery until there was paperwork on file, etc.  I wasn't sure my doctor's position as far as pro-life/pro-choice before this moment.  This event unfortunately confirmed to me that she saw us as difficult patients, religious freaks, who were wanting to do something like a burial ceremony for a lost tooth.  She said she was sorry that the pregnancy didn't turn out the way we'd liked (not healthy), but I'm not sure that she felt we had lost a life, a child, not just a potential life or potential child.  There were two kind nurses who took a moment to hug me and say they were sorry for my loss.  That made a huge difference and was so appreciated on a dark day.      


There are some club memberships you never want to have.  I didn't want to be in this club - mothers of miscarried babies.  We haven't yet picked a name because we don't know the gender, and had considered very male-specific and female-specific names.  I've had no special revelation of the gender of our baby, no instinct.  Physically, it has been much easier to recover from the miscarriage than it was to be pregnant for 7-8 short weeks.  I would take that discomfort back in a heartbeat.  It almost feels like a dream/nightmare.  Was I really pregnant?  Was it really over that quickly?  Are we really discussing urns?

We were able to get the remains back from the hospital, and our little baby is now in the safe-keeping of a funeral home until we can arrange a burial.  I feel like he/she is much safer there than at the hospital.  For those who might be in this situation and don't know the options, I suggest Catholic Miscarriage Support.  They were incredibly helpful to me and answered an email I sent them in less than 24 hours.  I also suggest contacting your diocese and the pro-life office, if there is one.  Our pro-life office reassured us that it was our legal right to ask for the remains back, and helped us get in touch with a funeral home and a cemetery right away.  They were also incredibly kind and clearly understood this was a loss of life, not a medical procedure or inconvenience.  

That is all I can say right now.  Peace be with you.

Edited to add: Between the time of the D & C and the time of our burial service, my husband and I were praying that we would have a little bit of a revelation as to the gender of our lost baby.  While pregnant, I had no intuition about this, although I thought I would just "know," I never did.  I was sort of angry and upset that we still didn't know at the time of the miscarriage.  I thought it could help us have more closure to have a name and a gender.  I asked for a divine revelation.  Separately (without discussing it), my husband and I each strongly came to the conclusion that it was a boy over the course of a few weeks.  I suppose we could be wrong, but each time I imagined that child, if I tried to imagine it was a girl, there was an immediate thought that I was wrong and a resistance to the idea that it was a girl.  It got to the point that I just felt and almost knew in my heart it was a boy.  When I mentioned this to my husband that I was concluding it was probably a boy, he had been having the same experience of that strong impression it was a boy.  We ended up naming our child Dominique, which simply means "from God."  If spelled in the French way like this (-que at the end), it can be a male or female name.  So, we went with that name since we didn't know 100% absolutely for sure, although we do feel it was a boy.  And, for what it's worth, our little nephew who is 4 years old had just started to refer to the baby as a boy without any prompting.  He also told us the baby is playing in a waterfall with God and that "there will be another baby."  I think kids are in touch with God more closely than the rest of us sometimes.  I hope he's right.