A blog for mothers

Dec 22

Miscarriage

My mother loves Christmas. Even though we lived below the poverty line for the first ten years of my life, she always managed to make Christmas magical. Every Christmas Eve, my grandparents would come for an elaborate dinner, and then we would gather around the Christmas tree to sing carols as my mother played the piano.

Every Christmas Eve but one.

On Christmas Eve 1988 I was 8 years old. Grandma and Grandpa had come to spend the evening with us, but the piano was silent. Mom was in the hospital, and we were gathered around the Christmas tree to pray.

My mother had a miscarriage that night. She was about 4 months along, and although we children knew about the pregnancy, until that night it had intruded on our lives only slightly. When she came home on Christmas morning, we were so overjoyed to see her that we soon forgot the baby boy that she had just lost. But she did not forget.

Over the next 10 years, my mother miscarried 9 times. Until I was an adult, I knew of only 3 of these losses. After the second time, people began to tell her that she should stop trying to have another baby. No one understood her desire for another child, so she stopped sharing her losses. Years later, I found a little notebook tucked away in a back closet. Inside were ultrasound pictures with dates and names; brothers and sisters that I knew nothing about. Now, as a midwife, I see my mother in the eyes of every woman who suffers the loss of a baby.

When I see women for early prenatal appointments, I am often asked my opinion on the best time to tell friends and family about the pregnancy. Is it “okay” to tell people early? This is a very personal decision, and not one that I can make for them. All I can say is that whether the pregnancy ends in a healthy baby or a miscarriage, they should share the experience with their loved ones. No matter how the pregnancy ends, it is an important part of their life journey.

Beyonce shares her experience of miscarriage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v72jwhN3HxA

Miscarriage and Stillbirth Resources:

Hope Exchange – an excellent resource site with links to information on stillbirth and miscarriage, national support groups, and grief management. http://www.hopexchange.com/ResourcesLinks.htm

Elizabeth Ministries – an international ministry focused on bringing hope and healing to women in the areas of childbearing and relationships.  http://www.elizabethministry.com/

~Midwife Molly~

Nov 22

Diary of a pregnant midwife

IMG_7248I am a strong believer in the importance of a knowing your midwife well before you give birth so that you feel safe with her. For this reason, I have decided to share my pregnancy experiences with you all. After all, what better way to discuss my attitudes towards pregnancy than by seeing how I myself behave during pregnancy? That being said, these records of my actions should not be construed as recommendations for care. Pregnancy brain may take me over from time to time. :-)

This is my fourth pregnancy. If you add my stepchildren into the count, that makes for a total of 6 children, a husband, a dog, two hermit crabs, and three unhappy looking plants residing in our house. Thus far everyone is surviving, but some days it’s a near thing. I will be perfectly honest and tell you that this pregnancy was not 100% planned. Sort of an embarrassing admission from someone in my line of work, but there it is. Sometimes even midwives get bored of paying attention to their menstrual cycles. . . . We are all excited about the baby now, but it took me some time to get used to the idea. I lost 20 pounds over the summer, for crying out loud, and now I’m back in maternity clothes!

We have always chosen not to find out the gender of our babies while I am pregnant, so in lieu of a permanent name, we give nicknames. Thus far we’ve had Umbert the Unborn, Cletus the Fetus, and Zoe the Zygote. This baby has been christened Bob the Blastocyst for the duration of the pregnancy, so henceforth in this diary I will refer to him or her as Baby Bob.

I am currently 21 weeks pregnant. More than halfway done! Baby Bob is kicking up a storm. He is also starting to develop teeth, grow hair, and make poop out of the amniotic fluid that he is swallowing (ugh). He (or she) can also hear and respond to noises from the outside. My 5-year-old daughter Sophie likes to snuggle next to my belly and make up lullabies for the baby. I like to think that Baby Bob is more active when Sophie does this, but that could just be my imagination. If you want to check out what your baby is doing during each week of your pregnancy, WebMD has a nice site for that. You can find it here: http://www.webmd.com/baby/interactive-pregnancy-tool-fetal-development

If you were to have a prenatal visit with me at 21 weeks of pregnancy, we would talk about a few things related to how far along you are in your pregnancy. At this stage, baby has finished forming most of its major body parts, and is gearing up to grow during the second half of the pregnancy. He or she will need lots of proteins and other nutrients to grow, and we want you to have everything that you need, as well. So we will talk about how many servings of meat, dairy, fish, nuts, and beans you are getting every day, and also if you’re managing to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I will take a look at your weight gain thus far: depending on how much you weighed before you got pregnant, I would expect you to have gained between 5 and 10 pounds so far (don’t ask me how much I’ve gained, because I won’t tell you). But heading into the second half, you can expect to gain ½ a pound to a pound every week. I am not, however, the weight gain police; I am more concerned about your food choices and activity level than I am about a particular number on a scale.

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

~Midwife Molly~