Thank you all for your comments here and for your emails. This is such a wonderful community of people, enlarging many times my community of friends and family, and I feel very surrounded by warmth and caring during this hard time. And for those who have shared their own stories, thank you. It's one thing knowing the statistics of miscarriage, which are so terribly high, and quite another thing to hear someone's story, and another entirely to experience it. Even the word, "miscarriage," has a new sound to me. I hate it. It is so wrong a term for the loss of a beloved life-to-be. It sounds like something a machine does when it ceases to function properly, like a gun or an engine gone awry. I looked up its etymology, because I just couldn't stand the sound of it, and apparently it has had this meaning since the 1500s. I expect we will not be rid of it any time soon.
When I have heard in the past that someone I knew of had a "miscarriage," I knew what it meant but didn't know what it meant. You can't know until you've gone through it, and of course, every woman's -- every couple's experience is so different. A loss at 8 weeks is not the same as a loss at 15, is not the same as a loss at 19, and so on, and even two women losing their babies at 14 weeks will not have the same experience. For me, at almost 15 weeks, it was the worst thing that has ever happened to me in a life blessedly devoid of bad experiences.
Like bad experiences have a way of doing, it has reshaped my perspective on some things. A few weeks ago, full of anticipation and excitement, Jim and I watched the documentary "The Business of Being Born," produced by Ricki Lake. It is focused on the relative absence of midwife care in America versus the rest of the developed world. It is a movie to watch, not just if you are pregnant, but if you are interested in the way our medical policies are shaped in this country. Suffice it to say, the movie is pro-midwife. Which is not to say it is anti-obstetrician. It's not at all. Its contention is merely that OBs are surgeons and as surgeons, their expertise lies in intervention into troubled pregnancies, not into waiting patiently through healthy, natural births. And though the absolute necessity for OBs is not questioned, I suppose after seeing the movie I felt a little smug in my choice to have a midwife instead of an OB, because I of course had every intention of having a healthy, natural birth. I also, I admit, started thinking of the word "pitosin" as kind of a nasty word, because the role it plays in the movie is not benign. It is a drug given to induce labor, and it seems it is given a little freely by health-care providers who don't feel like waiting out the hours of natural delivery.
Well, I still hope for a midwife-assisted birth in the future, and I still hope to avoid pitosin, but after spending several days in the hospital -- my first time ever, in my entire 36 years, as a patient in a hospital -- under the care of a very wonderful OB, with the very necessary intervention of pitosin, I see things differently. I bless obstetricians for what they do, and I bless chemists for synthesizing drugs like pitosin that can make the body do things it needs to do but does not want to do. I still hate the pharmaceutical industry, but I am so grateful for scientists and researchers with their truly awesome brains. And still, I hate pitosin and hope I never, ever experience it again. And though the nurses were amazing, truly amazing, some of the warmest, most wonderful women I have ever met, I hope I never again have to meet them like that, as I fervently hope I must never again be a patient in a maternity ward for any reason other than to give birth to a full-term, healthy baby, and especially, that I never again have to walk out that door empty, carrying only flowers.
That's the overwhelming feeling. Empty. I'm grateful for the many stories from your emails -- the overwhelming message is that after this, most likely, there will be healthy pregnancies; there will be babies, and that is what we are telling ourselves as we try to merge slowly back into our lives. We're okay, we'll be okay. Thank you so much, everyone, for your warm wishes and for your confidences. You are amazing.