I know I've been blogging rather erratically lately, and I'm sure those of you who were following my 1000 Calorie Challenge series noticed it mysteriously disappeared. Now that I know what is happening to me, I'm ready to share my story.
I became pregnant in August, and found out at the beginning of September. This would be my third child. To be fair, I actually continued the 1000 Calorie Challenge for a few more weeks before fatigue prevented me from performing the incredibly demanding workouts. I decided it would be best if I reduce the intensity of my routine until the first trimester had passed, since I was also experiencing severe nausea. I switched to Chalean Extreme, a similar program that I felt would maintain my results until I was ready to continue.
Last Sunday, my water broke during a light kettle bell session, and I rushed to the ER where I had urine, blood, and ultrasound tests, which were repeated on Tuesday where it was confirmed that my Hcg levels were rapidly dropping and the pregnancy was in fact a blighted ovum. There was only a gestational sac, and no baby inside. I went home and prepared my herbal cabinet for a natural miscarriage. Armed with Susan Weed's "Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year," and my own extensive research on herbal miscarriage and abortion, I did my best to prepare.
I've never had a miscarriage, a pregnancy issue, or even a difficult labor. My first labor was 7 hours, and my second was a mere 2 and a half. To miscarry, especially when no one in my family has ever experienced one, was incredibly shocking. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I rummaged through my huge herbal tincture collection and found several ounces of Black Cohosh, which I planned to use if my body couldn't produce strong enough contractions to complete the miscarriage on it's own. To control bleeding and prevent hemorrhage, I went to my local health food store and purchased an ounce of Shepherd's Purse. In addition, I continued to drink strong infusions of Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle, which keeps the uterine muscle toned and provides plenty of plant based iron and Vitamin K to control bleeding.
My water broke on Sunday, but I didn't begin to bleed until Thursday. In the morning I began spotting, and by the time afternoon rolled around I had bleeding similar to a normal menstrual cycle, yet little cramping outside of what I might normally feel. However, Friday brought with it an experience I wasn't prepared for.
No two miscarriages are the same. I've both read and heard of many women's experiences this past week, and mine was both totally different from those, and my own expectations. As I was sitting on the couch and visiting with my sister, my cramps suddenly began to intensify and peak every so often. The pain intensified, and I found myself keeping silent during the peaks and focusing on keeping relaxed and breathing. I was in fact having contractions and dilating, experiencing active labor as I have twice before. The blood flow increased dramatically. The contractions continued for hours, and during one particularly intense moment I felt my uterus clamp down hard, and instantly felt something detach with a small pop inside. At that point, I began to bleed uncontrollably, and passed large amounts of tissue. It was then that I asked for my Shepherd's Purse to be made into an infusion immediately.
Within a half an hour of drinking a small dose of the infusion, the flow of blood slowed to a more manageable pace. The contractions went on, and then dulled down for the evening, only to return in full force later that night, around 10:30 pm. With the strong actions of my uterus, the bleeding increased once again, only to slow by itself naturally within 2 hours after the passing of smaller amounts of tissue. After that, the blood flow slowed to mere spotting through the night.
It will be a week tomorrow since I discovered that I was losing my pregnancy, and only 24 hours since I physically miscarried. The bleeding picked up today as I performed simple chores and got a bite to eat, but so far I have not had anymore contractions. I am hopeful that my body will do what it is meant to, and remove the tissue on it's own. I had no need of the Black Cohosh, since my body was more than able to produce the motions necessary to expel the tissue. However, I will continue to monitor my progress, adjusting my herbal infusions as necessary. I am so thankful for my education, as it has provided me with the knowledge and the confidence necessary to do this my way. In a way, I am also thankful that my miscarriage was a blighted ovum, as this presents with very little tissue to expel as opposed to a non-viable pregnancy with a partially formed fetus.
There were so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to complete a raw vegan pregnancy, to experience another natural, hospital-free birth, to breastfeed longer. I wanted to hold this one more often, shun baby food and formula, and do everything even better than before. I don't know what it's like to miscarry a forming fetus, but there's a special kind of horror in discovering that you're pregnant with nothing. You test positive, your hormones rise and you feel nauseous and tired and happy, and you make plans and collect baby things, only to discover that there's nobody there. No one came.
However, I know that it will happen. Someday, I will achieve my goal of a healthy raw vegan pregnancy. With my second child, I was 50% raw and steadily increasing, and I've learned so much since then that it's mind boggling. I know that I can do this. In the meantime, I'm taking this opportunity and learning from my body's cues, however painful those may be. In honor of my uterus and it's amazing ability to cleanse itself, I am undergoing a full body cleanse. Using my stock of psyllium, bentonite, and my own Detoxification Blend, I am going to go deep and remove everything that keeps me from manifesting the future I deserve.
During the time I spent pregnant, I was overwhelmed with the desire to Create, and with that borrowed energy I crafted dozens of original pieces, including jewelry (like fruit inspired pieces!), art yarns, polymer clay creations, and more. I've decided to release those creations in the hopes that the energy I was given might be beneficial to others, even though it has left me for now. In time, those pieces can be found here.
I hope that this story can live on through the internet, and be passed from woman to woman for many years to come. It is by no means The Answer, but it's what happened to me. I hope to one day feel as though I've become somehow better or stronger because of all of this, but right now, I still need time.