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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss


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I tried for about 4 years to get pregnant with Joshua, and just before I got pregnant with him, I miscarried at home alone when I was at least 5 months along. I had been sick the entire pregnancy but had been having good checkups with my doctor. These were not monthly at that time. I had nausea and vomiting—which is not unusual the first few months, but it lasted longer with this pregnancy.

At the time, we were hippies living off the land in the mountains of West Virginia. I was very healthy, always have been. We ate only food we grew or got from the health food coop. I worked hard on the farm, as we cooked and heated with wood. It was a good existence and quite similar to our forebearers.

I know I was at least that far along and don’t recall any real movement of the baby, something I was going to bring up on my next doctor visit.

One night, after my husband and 7-year-old daughter had gone to bed, I began having problems. I was doubling over with periodic cramps and nausea. It became more regular. It was late in the evening at this point, and I didn’t want to wake my family unless I had too. At the same time, we lived back on the bench of a mountain that was up a bad county road and then several miles of 4-wheel-drive road into our farm. Once out on the road it was 60+ miles to the hospital where my doctor was (in Beckley). I decided to stay at home if I cold and see what developed. I was not as yet sure. Soon, things changed and I knew I was going to miscarry. I started to bleed.

So, I changed out of my clothes and settled into the bathtub. I decided if I was going to have blood and maybe other body fluids, then best to be in the bathtub. After all, I would be the one cleaning up.

As the night progressed into early morning, the miscarriage continued. I am thankful neither my husband or daughter woke up, needed to use the bathroom, or came looking for me. It was hours of cramps and passage of blood. Finally, in the early morning hours (around 4 if I remember correctly), I passed the fetus. It was smaller than it should have been.

This was prior to my attending medical school and so, didn’t think to save the fetus and material for the hospital—where we would be headed. I called my husband, and Steve came down. It also woke Joelle. Stave and I cried and he took the fetus and wrapped it up. He then went to bury it under the big oak tree by the well. We left on the long journey to the hospital in Beckley. The male physician was very rude to me and us. When he asked if we brought the fetus, and we said “no”, he yelled at me and called me stupid. “How are we supposed to know why this happened if you didn’t bring it?” We had no thought of that.

They had to keep me to do a D&C. Later when Steve and Joelle came to pick me up, my daughter handed me a note she had written. It said “did it hurt, mommy?”

There are so many ways this process hurt, though I knew she was referring to the procedure that had to do to ensure all the fetal contents were removed. To this day, I harbor some pain—emotional. When a woman loses a pregnancy, so many thoughts and emotions---Males simply cannot understand.

Years later I went back to the farm and to the tree and I could feel energy stronger in one area of the base of the tree. I knew that was where the baby had been buried.

The month after the miscarriage when I went back to the doctor for a check-up and an okay to try for pregnancy again, I blushed and told him I thought I was already pregnant again. He had advised I wait until seen and cleared by him prior to resuming attempts to get pregnant. Joshua was born September 1, 1977.

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