Stella's birth story - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 13 Old 03-07-2002, 01:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all beautiful web-friends,

I actually went to post Stella's birth story last week after it happened, but I somehow deleted it all just at the end, and was so frustrated I'm only now getting back to it. But I've been so anxious to tell all of you about my experience.

Darci, I was so glad to hear about your birth-- I take it your daughter was born on the 24th? That is when Stella was born.

For those of you who do not know, our baby died about December 15th. We waited for the miscarriage, then had an ultrasound done early Jan. to confirm she died. Yes, it said, at about 12-13 weeks. So then the next 8 weeks were filled with tears, waiting, trusting,surrendering and lots of prayers, by us and for us, from church family especially who has been so good to us. From the time I first bled until Stella's birthday was exactly 11 weeks. In the interim I hardly bled at all.

Stella's birth:
It was Feb. 24, Sunday at 7:12pm. For the past 2 weeks I had been having brown discharge, followed by small amounts of bleeding. On the way to the bathroom I felt a kind of release (now I know this was her sac breaking). I checked my pad and saw a little more blood than usual. Then I looked between my legs and saw her hanging from me by her umbilical cord. My husband said I started making weird noises, so he came to check on me. I remember saying, "That's our baby. This is Stella." I picked her up with a piece of tissue and held her. I touched her. She was very small-- only 2.5 inches. But very clearly I could see her legs, arms, head and body. Her face had no discernible characteristics, but I think this is because some deterioration had started to occur. She was perfect, beautiful. Her birth was peaceful and joyful. She was born in the same bathroom I gave birth to Thomas (14mos) in.

We called our midwife and told her I had had the baby. I wasn't in labor, though, and so we decided the next 24 hours would tell a lot. Later that night I still felt fine. On mon. I went to see my midwife to check the size of my uterus. It seemed smaller, but we agreed that an ultrasound was a good idea, to make sure all was out. She was concerned about the placenta, and with good reason. The Dr. wouldn't give me an u/s appt until the following week ( no wonder they have to worry so much about malpractice). Anyway, it turned out for the best.

On tuesday, we had a really beautiful memorial and burial service. We bought a wooden box and I painted it with her name and some flowers to symbolize the children we have loved. Purple for Thomas who is living on Earth and white for Timothy( a previous miscarriage) and Stella who live in heaven. I sang "Great is thy faithfulness" and my husband read Psalm 40 which continues to have great meaning for us. Both our pastors came, as well as some family who loved and supported us in our decision. I feel we treated Stella with the respect and dignity she deserves.

I was feeling still crampy on Tuesday, but very little bleeding. Dh and I were worried about a retained placenta and so we prayed that God would cause my uterus to really clamp down and push out anything still inside and that I would not bleed too much.

At 3am Wed. morning I woke with contractions. I went to the bathroom and it seemed like blood just spilled out. (I actually wasn't bleeding very much, but you know how it is when you first get up). {a psychological note: I was also in the other bathroom from where I birthed my babies. It is white and i dreamed of a white bathroom filled with red blood just before I got prgnant and somehow associated it with my death. Anyway, that coupled with 11 weeks of people telling me of all the risks I was taking in doing it naturally culminated in a great fear overwhelming me and I wanted to go to the hospital because I was scared I was hemorraging}

So, I told dh to get the car and ds, we were going to the hospital. I did not want to even call my midwife, and that is my only one regret, and it's a doosy because of what happened to us at the hospital. I know my midwife would have been pleased at my progress, because after all, I was having regular, painful contractions, just like in the thick of labor. Bleeding with contractions is no worry, only without.

So, at the hosp. I was processed in. After about 1 hour of strong contractions and them making me sit on the bed, the dr. came in. This guy was a total bastard. I'm writhing in pain and he doesn't even look at me. I say,"I've got to go to the bathroom." I feel like hell. he says, "yeah, ok." but is sitting blocking the door and going over some questionnaire. As soon as he leaves I head to the toilet and feell awful. It hits me. THis is labor, I'm in transition. My husband crouches down next to me, ds in sling, and looks into my eyes. I'm jolted back to how I felt moment before giving birth to Thomas. Diarrhea, sick stomach, shaking legs, hot and cold, etc. Then plop, the placenta slips from my vagina and poof! I'm all better. THe bleeding almost immediately decreases and I'm ready to go home. It's 4:30. But, stupid me I'm at the hospital, might as well be prison.

By this point I had already refused a catheter, telling them Iwas perfectly capable of peeing, and if I needed a D&C they could put in the cath. after they gave me the drugs. Plus, the dr. (unknown to me) had chewed out dh for being under the care of a midwife. Big warning signs, there. Should have just walked out then, but I wanted to get the u/s, to make the trip worth it. Dr. said he wanted to do an exam. I agreed.Shouldn't have. There was no reason for an exam. He was brutal-- to skip detail go to next paragraph. He inserted these long q-tips into me and scraped my uterus. He stuck the speculum so far inside me the outside of my vagina tore and I think the inside was pretty brised up, if not torn also. It was pure torture. My dh just looked at me, trying to hold back tears, to be strong, me doing the same. I was thinking," I'm so glad Stella is where she belongs and not part of this." After what seemed forever it was over. We had 2 hours to wait for the u/s tech to get in. They said if I wasn't bleeding and the u/s was clear, then no D&C.

We talked to midwife several times during all this. They wanted to do a catheter for the u/s. I decided if they insisted, we'd leave. I was feeling fabulous (except for the anger at the dr) and just light bleeding by the time u/s time came around. That was also painful, but because of what the dr. had done to me. The tech ( woman) was trying to not hurt me. She said I looked clean, but her boss would say for sure.

Back in my room, waiting for the results. After some deliberation, we decided even if I needed a D&C, we weren't going to get it there, so we were done. ( my OB was at another hosp). I got dressed. I just wanted to talk to the ob there, so she could tell me what my risks were,what to look out for, give me a copy of the u/s report, etc. When she saw I was dressed she got pretty mad. She wanted to do an exam. I said," aren't I at risk for infection?" "yes." she said. "then I don't understand what the point of an exam would be. It seems it would increase my risk of infection for no reason." She got all upset and informed me of how she'd been doing this for 20 years. I asked to have a copy of the u/s report to give to my midwife. She said she did not have the report, had not seen it, only the radiologist had. So, this is what really gets me: here hse was about to do a D&C on me without first meeting me or looking at the report(I had to strongly ask her to talk to me and the nurse thought it best that the dr not know I was dressed, otherwise the dr wouldn't come down to talk to me, also, the dr said the report would be several days before it was in the computer for the drs to see, they were so back logged) Does that make any sense?

So, we signed out and left. My recovery has been great. I took it easy for a few days and my midwife got me on antibiotics to try and help reduce my risk of infection, because of what the dr. did to me.

So much of this is venting. Stella's birth was beautiful, everything I could have wanted. Had I stayed home, all would have been beautiful and it probably would have taken a lot less time to get the placenta out. But I did the best I could and learned that lesson I keep learning: to trust myself. To trust my body, it does not lie to me, it does not know how to. And, it is perfectly capable in matters concerning birth.

Obviously, I have huge issues with the hospital and especially with the dr. who did that exam. But one thing I feel passionate about is that I know how virtually impossible it is to allow your body to do its work in a hospital. There is so much to overcome. It is no wonder to me that so few women can birth naturally while in the hospital. Everything is a battle, and it is hard to hear that voice speaking in whispers, the voice from within.

I'm glad to finally be able to share my experiences with you. Women, be bold and trust your body to do its work- your reward is more than worth the work.

Thanks for letting me vent and share and for being my encouragement during this time. I will keep in touch, as I am forever changed.

Sarah
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#2 of 13 Old 03-07-2002, 11:59 AM
 
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Sarah, Thank you for sharing your story with us. I feel honored to be a part of Stella's short life.

By allowing the miscarriage to take place naturally, you gave yourself time to begin the greiving process and move through this in a spiritual way. Stella felt your love for her and you honored her life and death.

I'm so sorry about the hospital. I know how cold they can be. Please know you did everything right. You were understandably scared the night you went. But, you trusted yourself and your body ultimately. You made the right choices.

Please continue to care for yourself. Keep your body hydrated and make sure your eating lots of leafy greens. Hold ds and dh tight and know that others care deeply about you.

Again, thank you for sharing Stella with us. I would suggest to you that you keep a copy of her birth story. You'll be so glad to have it to reflect on. Also, it's a beautiful tribute to her sweet life.

Sending warm gentle hugs to you and your family.
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#3 of 13 Old 03-08-2002, 12:43 AM
 
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Sarah...that was just beautiful. ((((((HUGS))))) I wish I had words to tell you how honored I am that not only did you share Stella and her birth with us, but that our babies left for heaven on the same day.
When I read her story I thought what a smart baby she was to have chosen you for her parents; you validated her and made her a part of your life, even though she could only play a short part.

I know that Stella and Cassie, my daughter, are playmates and will meet us in heaven with their arms outstretched when it's our time to be with them again.

((((((((hugs)))))))) I know how incredibly difficult this is, and I understand you completely when you say this experience has taught you to completely trust yourself and that you are forever changed.

Continue to heal yourself, physically and emotionally. You have the tools you need already; use them! Your family, your faith; they are all there to help you continue through this journey.

I will continue to pray for you and your family.
God Bless.
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#4 of 13 Old 03-08-2002, 12:54 AM
 
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Thank you so much Sarah
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#5 of 13 Old 03-08-2002, 02:14 AM
 
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Thank you so much for sharing.

I am so sorry they treated you so insensitively. Dr.s Can be such jerks.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#6 of 13 Old 03-08-2002, 05:06 AM
 
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Thank You for sharing that beautiful story with us....

I am so sorry about the Drs.....so many of them are so insensitive...

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#7 of 13 Old 03-09-2002, 01:01 AM
 
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Sarah, you and your sweet family are in my thoughts. I pray that you would be comforted, and find a relief in the fact that you made such a wise decision-to trust your body. I'm really sorry about your experience w/the doctor. (I would never want to "bash" all doctors, as I feel stereotyping is wrong, but I've had several negative experiences w/doctors, so I feel your anger..) Your daughter knows that you honored her life. I'm sorry for your loss. karen t.
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#8 of 13 Old 04-20-2002, 02:00 AM
 
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I just posted my spirit child, Elijah's, birthstory on this forum but didn't add somethign that always gets me. When I found out I miscarried, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, I went for the D & C without even considering letting him pass naturally.

I feel so guilty that my baby was cut and thrown away. I feel guilty for not seeing him, holding him and burying him. Your story really helped me and calmed me. You have a lot more hootz pha (sp??) for sticking up for yourself in the face of those docs. I tend to get pretty weak in the knees and I babble or stammer. I just tend not to see them and stick with my m/w.

I guess I will always feel a little guilty about my choice--even though it was made with as much information as I had and with the best of intentions.

*sigh*
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#9 of 13 Old 04-20-2002, 06:47 PM
 
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DEAR Sarah, I must thank you for writing out this story of birth and of enlightenment and encouragement. I know that your sweet baby is so loved and so special to have you for a mom and that you will surely find her angel-form to touch your life or those around you. I could definately relate to the anger and frustration you felt at the drs. for being such jerks. My first baby was born by 'emergency c- sec' after being intimidated and hardly looked in the face by the jerk during the labor. I never wanted to see the guy again . I did learn a lot about birth and docs after that. I must say though that the lack of trust in myself is the issue because after learning so much about narural birth and having a midwife and Doula I still ended up with another c-sec. I am sure there are reasons but I tend to believe it was my deep-seated fear and lack of trust. I felt you'r pain being there in a hospital where people who think they can tell you what to do with your body push their weight around. AAAgh!!! I agree that it is almost impossible to give birth naturally in a hospital. You did a wonderful thing and hope you move on with your wisdom.
TRUST-- lauraess
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#10 of 13 Old 04-30-2002, 12:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Lauraess,
I'm so glad you read Stella's story. I feel sad for your loss-- of your baby and of your birth. I know how you are feeling. I didn't include it in this post, but I also had a miscarriage in 1998. Our baby died at 7-8 weeks gestation and at 10 weeks I bled brown blood. The Dr. did an ultrasound and told me I'd need to have a D&C done because the baby was dead. I didn't know anything about miscarrying naturally. It seemed urgent all of the sudden to get the baby out, even though he had been dead for 3 weeks already.

I went for the D&C. I remember feeling anxious for them to give me the drugs. I just didn't want to feel any more pain. Of course, I now know that drugs don't stop the emotional pain, they just postpone it while it grows and grows. I feel ashamed of that now. That I didn't want to have me baby inside me anymore.

I woke up alone, nurses in the distance, husband nowhere near (they had me in a recovery room). I started sobbing. I felt the full impact of having no baby inside me, but with no memory of how that happened. I wailed and wailed.

The recovery was difficult physically and emotionally. I had bled more than they expected during te D&C and so I was pretty weak. (The way I see this now, after looking at my records and experiencing a natural miscarriage, is that my placenta wasn't ready to detach and so it bled a lot when they scraped it).

The grief was overwhelming for many months. I think my heart had a hard time healing because it never fully experienced the process that was meant to be.

All this to say, I know what it can feel like to have that kind of regret. But remember, as you said, you made the best decision you knew how at that time. So did I. In a strange way, I healed much from Timothy's miscarriage through Stella's birth. I didn't realize just how much pain was still there after all this time. And as I buried Stella, I felt like I was also giving Timothy the burial he had never had.

I too have a difficult time around Drs. I tend to go numb in the head and tongue. I'm weak and small around them. I use my m/w for all woman appts and try to keep healthy otherwise.

A few things I thought of might help you deal with some of what you're feeling. Maybe planting a tree or flower box for your baby. Maybe getting a piece of jewelry to wear when you want to remember and feel close. Some of what I did when I was pregnant with Stella that helped me a lot with Timothy, was that I had a journal (a big black artists book) where I allowed myself to really write down everything I felt and tried to remember what it was like to be pregnant with him and all the pieces of the D&C that I didn't like and I especially got out some good anger towards the dr. at making me feel helpless, small. I also drew pictures of my pain, using pastels and crayons. That helped a lot.

I still don't feel as close to Timothy as I do to Stella, and I attribute that to the D&C. That's just how it is for me right now. But one day, I will be in heaven and I will recognize my babies and hold them in their perfect form.

It's difficult to feel love for a baby and anger/pain at an experience. I imagine with time you will have other experiences that will jolt you back to some aspect of what you feel. Allow yourself to really feel all of it. That's where strength and healing start.

You sound like such a wonderful mother to your baby. You can know that you will always be your baby's mother-- always. Did you name your baby?

Love, Sarah
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#11 of 13 Old 04-30-2002, 09:12 PM
 
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Dear Sarah, Iam so sorry that I made it unclear about my births. Maybe I shouldnt be on this thread, but I read Your story and it touched me so very muchand I wanted to thank you for the words that would help anyone including myself even though I did not lose a baby. I think I could really relate to the pain and absence of sensitivity that we so often encounter with the medical world and also as you said about the voice that whispers from within and it being so hard to hear it, I tried to hear that voice also during my labor but was so intimidated and overwhelmed by all around me that I just lost control and now wonder still if I failed at delivery (as wrong as that may seem)
again I hope I did not offend or speak where I had no right and thankyou for your response. we all have pain even if its not the same. TRUST Laura
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#12 of 13 Old 05-01-2002, 10:43 AM
 
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Lauraess - I see what your saying. I know I felt very cheated out of the narural birth I had planned too. The hospital made me get an IV and when I started crying because the pain was bad they put Demerol in my IV without my concent. It took my dd 48 hours to latch onto the breast and it took me a year to get the hospital records to prove thats what happened.

The anger is a horrible feeling. The guilt and feeling that I've been cheated are fadding though.

moonglowmama, I see such strength in you. You accept your own feelings and greif and don't want to hide from them! That's so healthy! Thank you again for sharing your beautiful Stella with us. I feel I've learned a great deal about the love of a mother from you!
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#13 of 13 Old 05-02-2002, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear Laura,
Isn't it funny how sometimes our own vision of what we expect can cloud reality? The first time I read your post, I just assumed you had lost your baby. I'm so glad you didn't. Well, maybe what i wrote was meant for someone else, or even myself. After I thought about what I'd written I realized that I needed to do something tangible to commemorate Timothy's life. I had let the experience of a D&C steal away all my memories of the joy I felt at carrying him, the expectancy, the dreams of a future together. In short, Timothy was replaced by the experience of the miscarriage. I'm working to become more confident to say his name to others, more at ease with it, as I am with Stella.

Please don't feel bad about posting here. You are absolutely right when you say that we all have pain. I think grieving over the loss of a birth experience is very powerful. It is vital work. Only by coming to grips with what was lost can we move on. The book "Birthing From Within" by Pam England is really excellent at helping to work through the pain of a birth experience that wasn't what you wanted.

Although my hospital experience was horrible, I am grateful to have had it because it has helped me to understand what labor is like for women trying to birth their babies in that environment.

I can see that you are trying to heal from your hurts. It can be painful, but is ultimately rewarding to go through the process.
Love to you,
Sarah
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