each life.

{I started writing this post a few months ago, just before finding out that I was pregnant. I feel like the process of putting this memory to words had a very healing affect on me. After putting this post on the back-burner for a time, I still feel compelled to share it even though the circumstances of my life have shifted. I am now nearly 22 weeks pregnant, and feel healthy and strong, and very thankful to have the chance to share this experience here)

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IMGP1280I’m not sure why I’m writing this post. I have a tendency towards light-hearted humor in this space. That is my tendency in life as well. The world is already full of enough weight, I hesitate to add to that weight unnecessarily. But I’ve had this nagging feeling… honestly, for a couple of years now. I just can’t shake the notion of the possibility that this story might be of help to someone out there. Of comfort, or understanding. Of alleviating loneliness or maybe isolation.

So, first, a disclaimer: If you are looking for a light read today, do not read further. Have a lovely day, but move on to something else. My thoughts do not coalesce into anything profound here. There is no neat and tidy ending to this story. It is simply an experience that I feel compelled to share; or maybe the experience is compelling me to share. I don’t know. If you choose to read on, understand that this experience still pains me deeply. My words may not always flow as easily as the tears that are already coursing down my cheeks.

Deep breath. Here goes.

I have had four miscarriages. One. Two. Three. Then four.

The first three occurred in my late twenties, during my first few years of marriage. I was coming off being a vegetarian, and am pretty sure that the soy in my diet was screwing with my hormones enough that my body just could not maintain a pregnancy. There just wasn’t balance. Somewhere along the way, I learned about the Weston Price foundation, and Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions. Eric and I were in the beginnings of our homesteading efforts, and the progression of our diets would have eventually evolved into more of the picture this book painted, but reading the fine print really brought some important truths out of the shadows for me, and quickly. I honestly can not say whether or not the shift in my eating habits contributed or not, but I became pregnant with Ira. If you have been reading in this space for any length of time, you might know that Ira is now eleven. He did not miscarry. I sometimes wonder if his tenacity and stubbornness came to be because it took four tries before his spirit made its way into the realm of the living. Obviously, I can’t answer this, but I wonder just the same.IMGP1281

Then, Opal came to be. No problems whatsoever. Then Olivia. Again, no problems. Completely healthy pregnancies, wonderful homebirths, beautiful babies.

Then, just over three years ago my day began in the emergency room of our local hospital. I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant. I had been spot bleeding on and off for several days beforehand, but really had a hard time accepting the blaring fact that I might be miscarrying. Oddly enough, before I laid down to rest for the night, I asked Eric if he knew how to get to the hospital. Very randomly. I told him it might be a good idea to look the map up online. I also wondered what homeopathic remedy was appropriate for heavy bleeding. We looked that one up as well. It’s phosphorous, in case you are wondering. Something in my psyche compelled me to ask these questions, and I did not push the questions aside as paranoia. I guess it was instinct. Regardless, when I laid down with Olivia, to snuggle her little being into slumber, the cramping began. My heart sank. I knew immediately that was the beginning of the end.

This miscarriage turned out to be very different than the other three that I had experienced. This time around, I hemorrhaged as my body tried to pass the placenta that was blocking my cervix. It seems slightly twisted that I was nearly killed by my body’s best efforts to cleanse itself. And quite frankly, I didn’t understand that this was happening. Each of my other miscarriages had resolved themselves with no intervention, so I guess I expected the same thing. When the bleeding just wouldn’t subside, and my extremities were starting to feel numb, we (finally) called the midwife. She very emphatically instructed Eric to get me to the hospital immediately. So off we went, headed to the hospital at 80 mph on the winding country roads in the wee hours of the morning. This a way I hope to never, ever have my day begin again.IMGP1282Healing from this trauma was just awful. Not only was I emotionally wrecked, but I was physically shocked as well. I am a very physical person, and when I could barely walk a few steps across the floor without feeling like I would pass out… I was down in a way I had never been before. This was by far the worst I had ever felt in all of my life. The emotional healing was extremely difficult, too. Miscarriage is often one of those quiet burdens a woman carries around in her heart. It can be very isolating. Mourning a miscarriage is hard for any outsider to fully understand. The woman may not appear any different before and after the loss. There may not have been any physical “proof” that a baby ever even existed. But damn it, it is a huge loss. If you have suffered a miscarriage, you know precisely what I’m talking about. It’s the loss of a life. And each life is so precious, even if it ends having barely begun.

I will spare you all of the nitty gritty details of my healing process. I will spare you the episodes of severe anxiety and panic. The anger and fear. The sadness. It was all there, trust me, but enough said.

A few weeks after this miscarriage, when my midwife stopped by to check on my healing, she very calmly said “Don’t let this be your last memory.” Meaning, if we really wanted another child, don’t be afraid to try again. I’m pretty sure I mumbled something along the lines of I don’t think I will ever be able to try again. No way. Not ever.

Life is full of surprises, though… IMGP1283

Now, I’m almost twenty-two weeks pregnant. I can hardly wrap my head around it. The joy and the fear are all tangled up together. The first trimester of this pregnancy was incredibly intense for me. I had a few short spells of spot-bleeding that left me feeling very, very anxious. For my mental health, Eric and I concluded that we should proceed with our lives as best we could and that I would simply take care of myself. Regardless of the outcome. Keep moving, keep breathing deeply, and keep some Rescue Remedy close at hand. We opted not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until I was safely through the first trimester. Anytime I had to leave the farm, which I made sure was pretty seldom, I wore a puffy down vest to conceal my swelling… to avoid the questions and my own insecurities. I guess we all have to learn to ride the waves of our own lives, don’t we? Each in our own way. Well, I’m riding this wave now. I’m in the middle of it… Is it intense? Yes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Will I survive? I surely do hope so. IMGP1284

14 thoughts on “each life.

  1. Thank you for sharing this Cher. It takes great courage to share such deep feelings and personal experiences as these. I only had one miscarriage and it was so upsetting. And it was very early in the pregnancy so I can only imagine the pain of miscarriage further along. I pray that you will be blessed with an easy birth and healthy baby and quick recovery. I know the work required by farming and homesteading and I know you are already doing this but I still have to say it, Please rest! Every chance you have sit down, breath, fill your heart with love and joy. I could go on and on but I won’t. You are probably getting tons of unsolicited advice. I will just be thinking of you and your family and praying for your safety and health. And I’ll keep reading the blog to hear more about newly knit baby clothes and diaper covers😀. Sincerely, A failed homesteader who couldn’t have her babies naturally (both c-sections) but who is the very proud mother of two beautiful children and now lives in the city with 75 tomato plants, 40 pepper plants, and a bunch of yard long beans in the back yard and am happier than I’ve ever been! Teresa

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    • Thank you for your comment. Life takes us in all directions, doesn’t it? So good to accept where you are in life, and be grateful and happy for it. And thanks for the reminder to rest… I’m trying to remember! Best, Cher

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart. I had a miscarrage long ago, then a child that died at 3 months followed by 3 healthy babies …one when I was over 40 . I feel your pain and will pray for you your new life and your family. I was also compelled to write about my husbands death so I know it helps to share your words … Thank you for asharing 🙂

  3. I add my appreciate and admiration for the sharing of your story, Cher. I suffered through a painful miscarriage in my youth. Pain unlike any other. Sharing graces us with the wisdom that we are not alone. Me, too. Me, too.

  4. My friend Stephanie shared your post with me. Thank you for writing it. I had a chemical pregnancy in September and a miscarriage at 10 weeks in late March. We have a 3.5 year old daughter who we conceived the first month of trying just one time in the month . . . so needless to say, the year it took to get successfully pregnant to only end in miscarriage has been devastating to us. I had to have a D&C because I didn’t have bleeding or other signs, and I think already looking forward to another pregnancy . . . i Have some major anxiety at the silence of it all. Anyway, I have been cleared to start trying again next month, and the part of your post that really resonated with me was over the “don’t let this be your last memory”. We so much want another child in our family, and I know we’re going to try again and hopefully have a healthy baby. But there’s this whole side of childbearing that is so quiet. So isolating. So painful. We were at a party over the weekend and someone we didn’t know terribly well sort of quipped that if we’re “trying” for another child, we must not know how it works. Sigh. I don’t wish this darkness onto anyone, but I sure appreciate anyone else who shares their stories because it makes me feel less alone. ❤ Best of luck with your pregnancy. I actually would have been 19 weeks this week ❤

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing your story, too. And I am sorry for your loss. I totally understand your anxiety… It can be so difficult to keep a positive attitude after suffering such a loss. I wish you all the best in your efforts to have another child. Keep love in your heart, Cher

  5. Thank you for sharing, Cher. It’s so important, and we don’t talk about it in our culture. Because it’s hard. and people don’t want to hear it (or at least we think they don’t when really they probably do) and we– ok I– don’t want to have to feel it again every time I tell the story. I also had three miscarriages before having Cedar. And it took a year to get pregnant between the third miscarriage and getting pregnant with him. From my little lens, I can somewhat understand the anxiety and fear of being pregnant with the physical memory of knowing everything is uncertain, yet of hoping for the best and keeping my mental energy in trust and love. Visioning the healthy pregnancy and baby. That’s what I’m visioning for you, and for everyone who shares a similar experience. Much love to you friend.

    • Wow, Rae… Thank you for sharing as well. I had no idea. Sounds like we traveled a similar path, friend. And thank you for sending positive thoughts my direction. I still have intense moments of doubt and uncertainty even though my pregnancy is far enough along to be able to feel the baby moving about wildly, and overall I feel very healthy. Memories are sometimes hard to get away from! But envisioning a healthy pregnancy, birth, and baby is so important for my mind and body. Thanks for the reminder… Much love to your sweet little family as well.

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