I was six months along, still pregnant. We had decided to take 100% responsibility for our baby’s birth, so I began to study unassisted birth . I read several books, looked stuff up online, and talked to my boyfriend a lot about how birth worked. Birth is less scary when you understand what is happening. That is why I talked to him about it a lot. I wanted him to understand birth the way that I do, so that he trusted it. He listened. It was going to be just us when the baby came out, so I wanted him to know what the whole process incorporated. I mean he needed to know what was normal and when to act like there was an emergency. It helped me to talk about it too. There would be no hired professional around to help us in case of emergency, so talking with him made me feel more prepared for what we were about to do. Birth is a big deal. I had just had a miscarriage at home, alone, a year before and that was pretty intense. I actually put myself into shock during that miscarriage. That told me that we need to be ready. Little did I know that this previous miscarriage was perfect practice for what was about to happen, and this birth was not going to be the kind of birth we were expecting. Motherhood was not one of the gifts that this pregnancy was going to give to me.
A couple of people had mentioned to me how small I was for being six months. It was kind of weird but I just kept on being pregnant. There were some other curious things happening though, and I was starting to wonder. I was small, I was not feeling any movement, and I couldn’t feel the baby’s position at all. I even tried to stimulate movement with music. I placed headphones along the uterus too see if the baby would follow the music, or stimulate some sort of movement at least. Nothing happened still no movement. I could not feel the baby at all. I should have been able to somewhat feel the position by now. I was still pregnant and felt fine physically, so I didn’t worry.
Then it happened, the spontaneous abortion of a dead fetus. The evening it all began I was not feeling too well. It was around 6 PM, my uterus was cramping a lot. We all decided to go on a little walk. I thought it would help me relax. My uterus was still acting up by the time we got home. I did a few dishes, but wasn’t feeling good. I decided I should just go lay down and relax. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t relax. I ate some food thinking that would help the baby calm down. That didn’t work either. It was way too early for me to be going into labor, but things were getting intense. I had even remembered seeing a bit of bleeding earlier. I was really starting to worry. My boyfriend told me to get some sleep, I would probably feel better in the morning.
I tried to sleep. I was crying and having contractions the whole time I was laying there. This was not good. The baby probably died. I was bleeding more and more and I was having forceful, liquid diarrhea. FUCK, just like my last miscarriage. It was the middle of the night and I pretty much knew the baby had died. I cried, I prayed, I tried to ignore it, but my uterus would not let up. I just laid in bed crying and talking to the baby. I was thinking of every way that this was not bad. It was bad though. I was rolling around in bed dealing with the contractions and tears all night. Every once in a while I would say something to my boyfriend like, “The baby is probably dead.”, “The baby died.”, “I can’t sleep, it is not stopping.”, “Maybe we should go to the hospital, if the baby is still alive they can keep it alive. It can’t survive this early.”. It went on like this all night.
Then, at about 7 AM, I got up. I was sad, but my body was calling for my attention. I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I had accepted what was happening. The baby was dead and I needed to get it out. I went to the bathroom and put a towel on the floor so I could do whatever I needed to do. I was in the bathroom because the diarrhea kept coming, and with it more bleeding. It was just like my last miscarriage except that time it was just an embryo. The contractions hurt a lot. I had given in though. My last miscarriage had taught me not to fight it. I was there on the bathroom floor letting it happen. I thought that I might poop again so I got onto the toilet. A contraction, a squeeze, an opening of the hips then, “Oh my God, Zumo (my partner), it happened, it came out.” I was amazed I had done it and there were the remains in the toilet. It was 7:30 AM, once I let go it all just plopped right out.
What we found when we dug her out of the toilet was pretty cool. The remains were not of a 6 month old fetus. The baby was between 3 and 4 months in development. This means that she, we decided she was a girl, had been dead for 2-3 months. It took that long for my body to get ready for the spontaneous abortion. This is called a missed abortion. A fetus is a lot bigger than an embryo, which is why it took my body 2-3 months to detach from it and then release the remains. The baby was still in the sac. The sac was not full of amniotic fluid, it was shriveled up like a raisin and shrunken loosely around the baby. Attached to the sac was the umbilical cord. Attached to the umbilical cord was the tiny little placenta. The placenta had actually detached itself from my uterine wall in the 2-3 months she was still inside me after she died, amazing. The sac was so tough we couldn’t rip it open. We had to get something sharp to get to the baby inside the sac. Once we got through the fetal membranes there she was. A tiny little baby that had lived a tiny little life. She had a head, her eyes were closed, tiny little fingers and legs, and a skinny little rib cage. It was crazy and so cool to examine what my body had been working so hard on for so long.
I was very lucky to have the experience that I had. I want to tell you that it is extremely rare to experience a spontaneous abortion of a dead fetus, at least here in America. It is not rare to have a fetal death, it is quite common. These days when there is a fetal death, spontaneous abortion of the fetus is not what people do. When this happens in today’s world women go into the hospital for induction or surgery, even suctioning of the uterus. If I would have still been seeing my midwife she would have known that the baby died. If I would have known I can’t say that I would have been okay to wait months for the baby to spontaneously abort. There is a very good chance that my experience would have been completely different. If we would have had even one more appointment with her everything would have been different.
I am so glad it happened the way it did. My body was able to complete the task that it was meant to complete. The day it happened was the same day as my son’s birthday, so I felt happy and lucky to have him even though my baby was dead. I actually felt so good about my body. The whole things left me feeling strong, my body had known exactly what to do with that little dead baby. I absolutely did not want to go through another miscarriage, though. I have not tried to push a pregnancy since. I had learned that my body was not ready, my boyfriend was not ready, and my son was not ready either. I decided that it was okay if I never had another child. Feeling healthy, strong and capable, having closure, my career path shifting, having time to focus on that career shift (because I didn’t have a baby), and no longer craving a baby: these were the gifts that she gave me.