On Thursday August 3oth, 2012 I gave birth to my forth child, a little boy named Abraham.
I have never written a post on a Saturday, but I wanted to today to honour this little boy that no-one ever got to see or meet, except for me.
This story may float between clinical, personal, and over-share. I feel like I have come a long way since the summer I had him, and that the harshness of the memory has subsided. I miss him, I love him, I still feel pain to think of not being able to hold and kiss him. But I am at peace.
Back in March I told the story of my fifth child, Ezra Faith, but didn't share the details of that miscarriage. I am going to share the details of this first miscarriage though because, as I said already, I feel enough time has passed and I am able to.
The pregnancy was a surprise, a very big surprise, and I honestly had mixed feelings about it. At the time our youngest was 2, which isn't old as far as children go, but we had sort of moved on from babies, and thought we had the family we were going to raise. I don't particularly enjoy being pregnant, so I wasn't really looking forward to that, and because my mind was thinking we were done with babies, my heart felt done with babies. But, as time went on, my heart changed, and I was planning and imagining life with a new little person in the house.
On August 9th I had gone to my 12 week mid-wife appointment, only to have them not be able to hear the babies heart beat. I felt such a knot in my stomach, and couldn't put words to my feelings. They told me that everything could actually be fine, and perhaps the baby was sitting farther back which can make it difficult to hear the heartbeat. We booked an ultrasound for the next day, and I told my husband not to take work off because everything should be o.k.
I didn't sleep much that night though, and I went through the next morning in auto-pilot. Trying not to worry, but also trying not to be too confident.
The ultrasound technician was one I had seen just 2 weeks earlier at the ultrasound to date the age of the baby. So, I could see the worried look in her face when she walked into the office to do the exam.
She was working away at the exam, and I asked her, "is there anyone in there?", and she said, "yes". Though her answer was not terribly re-assuring.
A minute or two later I asked, "is there a heart beat?...". She turned to me and said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but I need to tell you that your baby has no heart beat".
I felt numb, but I had the sense to ask for a photo from the ultra sound. I know it seems morbid, but 2 weeks earlier at the dating ultrasound, the new printer hadn't come in yet, so I didn't get to take a photo home that day. I needed a photo.
I don't remember leaving the room, or walking down the hall. All I remember is getting into the stairwell, and suddenly starting to cry so deeply, and with so much pain, I couldn't stop.
I ran down the stairs, through the parking lot, and into my van. I sat and stared at the photo of this baby, this tiny life that I was still carrying, but was not alive. I felt betrayed by my body, I felt angry at my body. I felt sick that I had a human being in me who was not alive. I wanted to scream, and punch something.
I was told that because I felt fine physically, my mid-wife said I could carry the miscarriage out at home without having to go to the hospital. But only to a point. I begged with her to not send me to the hospital. I was taking my temperature 2-3 times a day to make sure I wasn't getting an infection, and to be sure that my health was fine, but with nothing happening on it's own, I did seem likely I would have to go to the hospital to be induced, but I was determined not to. I researched online about how to induce labour for (what is called a) missed-miscarriage. Basically, a missed-miscarriage is when the body has not caught onto the fact that the baby had passed away.
So, I needed to convince my uterus to start contracting. I decided on taking evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, high doses of vitamin c, and parsley tea as my exhaustive method for inducing labour naturally. Two days after I started to use these things, I started to bleed. It was 14 days after I had found out the baby had passed away.
It was another full week of bleeding and spotting on and off before I started having pain in my abdomen, something similar to period cramps.
I had these cramps on and off all day on the 30th, but then around 6:15 it suddenly felt sharp and different. My husband was still at work, and I knew if something happened I would have no help.
I had (luckily) just finished making the kids dinner, and called to them "get your food!" as I ran up the stairs to the bathroom.
I had so much time to "feel prepared" and to read the stories of other woman and their miscarriages online. One woman had talk about a "miscarriage basket" to have ready. I thought the idea was a good one, so I had my own ready for me in the bathroom. It had 2 large red towels, feminine wipes, a bottle of water, a pretty bowl, and an extra thermometer. Each item had a specific purpose, and I knew I would be grateful to have them, I just didn't realize how grateful.
The red towels were to hide the blood. For myself, and for anyone else (especially the kids) who might have seen me/been helping me through this it can seem less traumatic to not see blood everywhere. The wipes and water bottle seem obvious, but they were really important to have handy. The pretty bowl was for the baby. This part was very much up in the air, as generally, the longer it takes your body to finish the mis-carriage, the more deteriorated the baby has become, so, in many cases when the miscarriage takes a long time to complete, the baby may not be found among everything else your body passes. And the thermometer was to make sure that I was still staying at a good temperature, and that I was not getting an infection.
I had thought to grab the phone on my way up the stairs to call my mid-wife, as she said she would come if I needed her, but I wanted to be alone. I needed to be alone.
The pain was intense on and off, and I started passing fairly large blood clots as well as parts of the placenta. I started to panic a little because I didn't want to not recognize the baby from all the rest. I know that sounds strange and disturbing, but at the moment, it's all I was thinking.
I prayed that God would help me find the baby if that was best for me, and suddenly I felt enormous pressure through my pelvic bones, the pressure I recognized from having 3 healthy, full-term babies as "that feeling" when you need to push. I didn't need to push, but I did quickly reach my hand under myself, and catch a beautiful, perfect, tiny human into my hand. It was around 7pm.
I gently set the baby into the lovely bowl I had, and tried to relax, realizing that my body wasn't finished. For an additional 3 hours my body worked through passing the placenta, which was in many pieces as it has begun to deteriorate.
My husband came home around 8:30, but because I had been on the toilet for the last few hours, the septic was blocked. If I wanted to flush the toilet anymore, or get into the shower to run the water on me to relax, he needed to fix the septic problem. I told him I needed the septic fixed, but that I also needed him to check in on me every now and then.
He got the problem fixed, and I remained in the bathroom, feeling numb from the pain, both physical and emotional, and also not knowing what to do next.
When I felt that my body was finished with the process, I decided I needed to really look at my baby. Maybe even see if I could tell the sex.
As I lifted the tiny body from the bowl, I could clearly see it was a he. He was so tiny, and just fit right into my hand. I looked at him, but I couldn't cry. I felt lost. But somehow, at the same time I felt peace knowing I had seen him. My wonderful sister had sent a necklace for me in the mail as soon as she found out I had miscarried. It arrived long before I had Abraham, but when I had him, I held that necklace up to his feet, and the size was just right. It was a perfect memory for me to carry around.
I put my little boy into the bowl I had bought for him.
On the Saturday we went out as a family and bought a red jade weeping flowering crabapple tree. We decided where we wanted to plant it; a spot we could see from the front porch, and a place that it looked like it belonged with us, with our family.
We placed our little son into the earth, and the tree on top, as if he were the tree. It was a beautiful, sad, and peaceful ceremony with just Adam and I and the kids.
We decided on the name Abraham because of of the promise God gives of hope, and a future. It just represents trusting in God and his will and plan for the lives of his children. And Abraham's faith in God was what I wanted, it's what I needed out of this situation. I needed to feel that if God spoke and said anything, I would hear Him, and do what he asked of me.
I felt haunted by our little Abraham. I felt like I could see him running down the halls and laughing. I imagined him playing outside with our toy tractors and cars. I missed this little man who no-one met, except me. My husband couldn't bring himself to see the baby, he didn't want to remember him in a sad way, more in just a memory of what might have been kind of way. It broke my heart, but I also understood completely.
A week later we went to see the mid-wives as a check-up and to talk about things. When began describing what Abraham looked like, my mid-wife seemed concerned. She said, "you're sure you saw genitals?". Awkward question, but she wanted to know. I insisted I had, so she took out a diagram of a baby developing in the womb. She asked me to point to the image that looked most like Abraham, and it was the one closer to 14 weeks, not 11 weeks, the age we thought he was. Ultrasound measurements are generally accurate, but not always, as my mid-wife informed me. Because I was able to see my child and look at him closely, as well as remember how big he was in my hand, she said my dating would be more accurate than the ultrasound.
The truth is, I've undergone a lot of healing since then. First I went even faith down than I thought possible, but now I'm looking up. I still think of Abraham often, I still haven't held any "Abraham babies" at church (the babies who would be his age, had he been full term), but I also don't cry when I see them.
I am feeling a trust in God, and letting the hurt fade. I take things away from my kids all the time, for their own good. In the Bible, in Job 1:21, Job says, "Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return depart. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Do I like it? Not at all. Do I miss this little baby I got to carry for his entire life, and meet only to say goodbye? Of course I do. But my heart will choose to say, "blessed be the name of the Lord".
In sharing this story I hope to give direction to anyone gong through a similar situation. I hope to offer light at the end of what is a very long and dark tunnel. I wanted to say the name of my baby out loud, Abraham, and make him real, and alive. He died in the womb, but I don't need to keep him a secret. Him passing away was not my fault, and I won't act ashamed and quiet about the miscarriage because that's what we do as a society. He was a person who would have been a part of this family, but now he is only a part of our memories.
20 long days went by between getting the news I had miscarried and finally giving birth to the little boy I would never really know. I sat by his tree crying long into that Saturday night, mourning, mourning. I felt I would turn inside out with grief, like I would be choked by it. But time has passed, and a heart can heal, if it chooses to.
We will meet Abraham alive someday, when I get to meet my heavenly Father. I imagine Abraham and Ezra, our little family in heaven, ready to meet us. I look forward to that day so very much.
9/3/2014 12:14:17 am
Amy Lyn, this is so poignant and beautiful. I remember your Abraham. Your story of him is so much like ours with Jeuel. I am thankful for each of us that goodbye is not forever, but just a moment in time. I picture your sweet babies playing with their cousins. May the Lord continue to heal and comfort your hearts. I have been thinking of you a lot...
9/3/2014 03:40:46 am
Thank-you Jeannie. xoxo
9/5/2014 12:43:27 am
Thank you for this Amy-lyn. I read this the day you posted it, and on the 3rd I found out that I had miscarried our baby (I should be 10 weeks today).
9/5/2014 07:19:15 am
Julia, my heart is breaking for you, and I mourn your loss along with you. I cried when I read your comment, and even more as I read your blog post.
9/15/2014 10:55:02 am
So boldly and beautifully written. I'm glad I read it alone.
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Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
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