Katie's birth story is not one that's too uncommon in the birth world, unfortunately. An array of interventions and days on end of slowly progressing labor. Add in a low platelet count that denied her an epidural and things get hard and exhausting quick! So many factors of her birth could have been prevented if the lines of communication between her and her provider were more open. She felt so removed from her own body and that made this whole experience even harder. Her message is important. We need to ask questions. We need to know our options. Katie ended up asking for her medical records after this whole experience and she recommends you do the same if you have any questions at all. Thank you for sharing your story with us Katie, I hope that it can help us pave the way for more empowered and informed births.
When I found out I was pregnant, my husband Luke and I decided not to find out the gender. This is still one of my favorite parts of the whole thing. We were cautiously excited to share the news of the pregnancy with family and friends, still recovering from an early miscarriage the month before. My pregnancy was smooth. I was under the care of an OB, and decided to switch to a small practice in my area in hopes of more personalized care. We had our monthly, then bi-monthly, then weekly checkups as everything progressed!
Although I was under the care of an OB, I was focused on having an intervention-free, unmedicated birth. An acquaintance of mine told me of her success using the Hypnobabies techniques years before I became pregnant, and I decided that this was definitely something I wanted to try. I also took prenatal yoga and a natural-focused birth class led by a doula. During my pregnancy, I switched to a vegan diet from vegetarian.
My husband was super supportive of my approach to the pregnancy. He picked up extra chores around the house so that I could fit in Hypnobabies or prenatal yoga during the evenings. I poured over books and blogs and websites about childbirth, especially unmedicated childbirths, successful birth stories, really anything I could get my hands on! I could not get enough of learning about how amazing our bodies are throughout this entire process. During the childbirth class, we covered all aspects of labor, delivery, and breastfeeding. While interventions and cesareans were covered, I was so incredibly confident that my birth would go according to my plan, I just didn’t pay too much attention to those parts.
As my due date drew closer, my doctor began discussing an induction. Still, I was completely convinced I would go into labor on my own. Finally, at 41 weeks and 2 days, I scheduled my induction at the hospital. My husband and I switched our thinking as quickly as we could, trying to make the best out of this new situation. We downloaded “The Walking Dead” to watch in the hospital, decided an epidural would be the best route, and started planning. My husband was working out of state at the time, so part of our decision was knowing that if we didn’t do this now, the chances of him being out of town if/when I went into labor would continue to increase. We were scheduled to go into the hospital on a Thursday night, and we were as ready as we could be! Then, ONE HOUR before we were scheduled to arrive, the hospital called and said they were full. We were shocked, no one said this was even a possibility! Our options were to have the hospital call when they had a bed open that night, or go to bed and try again the next day. We chose the later. The next morning, we touched base with the nurses and were told that we’d get a call at some point that day. At this point, I was really starting to doubt the decision to go with an induction. If this was so necessary to a safe delivery, then why could it be pushed back and rescheduled? However, I knew that everyone was ready to get this baby out, and we decided to just keep with the original plan. Around 11:30 the following morning, the hospital called and we were all set to go in. The hospital is about 15 minutes away, and our bags had been packed, so we arrived around 12:30 in the afternoon.
This is when everything really gets turned upside down. My husband and I got into a room, I changed into a gown, and the nurse drew blood and I was hooked up to a monitor. I will never forget this next moment… our nurse walked into the room with a very disheartened look on her face and said that my platelets were too low to have an epidural, and we would have to continue with the induction without one. I was very surprised and disappointed that my doctor had not come in to discuss this or any of my options moving forward. There is an increased risk with bleeding if you get an epidural with low platelets, and my platelet count was below the threshold that the anesthesiologist was comfortable with. This is something we were not prepared for. I have since requested copies of my medical records from my pregnancy and delivery (something I highly recommend!!!), and low platelets were noted in my records, but never shared with me during any prenatal visit. This is a condition called gestational thrombocytopenia that can occur during pregnancy. All I knew about pitocin at the time was that the contractions were strong, close together, and your body was not able to “deal” with the pain in the same way as it can with naturally occurring contractions. I was terrified. My nurse hooked me up to the pitocin, started at a low dose that increased throughout the afternoon, and we were on our way to meeting our baby. I was not even 1cm when I was induced, and due to the induction being pushed back, my OB decided to skip any other induction medications and go straight to the pitocin. Maybe 30 minutes later, an anesthesiologist came in looking very somber. He shared that I had signs of preeclampsia and would need to have an emergency cesarean under general anesthesia because of the low platelets. Ok, now even more terrifying! Luke and I decided to just go through with the emergency cesarean and tell our families after the fact as to not add additional stress. We then called our nurse, and she came in looking very confused. The doctor had the wrong patient. Apparently there was another person with the same first name who had this situation occurring. After that we got a slew of apologies from the nurse and the charge nurse, but never from the anesthesiologist.
I was laboring for a few hours on the pitocin and handling the contractions well. I tried using Hypnobabies, but honestly at that point everything had just been turned around and changed up so many times I could not concentrate enough for anything to be effective. My husband and I were halfway through a Walking Dead episode when I felt my water break around 5pm. We were very excited that labor was moving along! However at that point, the contractions intensified immensely. This is definitely when things start getting very fuzzy in my memory. I have very few memories of the entire night as I labored. My husband was amazing, and only left my side to get refills on my ginger ale. When Luke would walk down the hallway to get me a refill, he said the nurses kept their heads down and didn’t look him in the eye. At that point they had been hearing me throughout the night. I remember the only way I could get through a contraction was to “catch” it as it was beginning. I developed a breathing pattern that worked as well as it could. If I didn’t get ahead of the contraction, I would just bear down and scream through it. Due to the pitocin, the contractions would come a few at a time, and I do remember watching the monitor and seeing a new contraction starting and just feeling completely defeated. As the pain and intensity of the contractions increased, the nurse offered a pain medicine called Stadol. She said that this would help take the edge off of the contractions, but I could only get 2 doses so I had to really wait until I was ready to use it. I was progressing, and at 4cm at about 7pm. Luke was so fantastic supporting me during this time, I honestly don’t remember most of it. I did decide to go ahead with the Stadol at some point, and Luke said I would be very out of it in between contractions, and then wake up and begin working and breathing through them. At around 9pm I was at 6cm. Things continued on, I was at 7cm at 12:30am, and at 9cm at 2:30am. The nurses were fantastic, but Luke did so much work. I was bleeding and passing clots throughout labor, and he changed countless chuck pads. He helped me walk to the bathroom, we very quickly learned how to unstrap and restrap on the fetal monitor. I stayed at 9cm for hours and hours, and my OB decided to turn off the pitocin around 8am to just take a break and see what was happening. I had been stuck at 9cm for about 6 hours still having intense contractions. At that point, Luke and I were both exhausted, I was in so much pain and the contractions were so non-stop, I couldn’t even talk or form a thought until the pitocin wore off. In between contractions, the pressure from the baby’s head in my pelvis was so intense, it hurt just as much as the contractions did. My OB decided to take my blood one more time to run the platelet count to see if there was a change. This time, they had gone up slightly and there was an anesthesiologist willing to do the epidural. Our amazing nurse waited outside of the OR to grab him as soon as he was out to come to us. I will never forget him walking in and saying “Normally I’d have the patient just tough it out at this point”. Wow. So I got an epidural around 9:30am, and my OB decided to let me rest for a few hours and then come back and check for progress. Luke and I slept for 4 hours and it was one of the highlights of the whole experience. At 3:00pm, I was finally at 10cm and ready to push.
I remember being so excited and determined when it was time to push. Our nurse was great and coached me through how and when to push. At that point, I was loving the epidural and didn’t want to feel anything so I was relying completely on the nurse and monitor to tell me when to push. The machine that gives the epidural stopped working at some point, but was fixed quickly. So one hour passed, still pushing, then two hours, then three hours. At 3 hours, the OB came in (she had been checking in periodically) and gave me 30 more minutes to get this baby out. In retrospect, I think she knew he wasn’t coming. Due to the epidural, I was on my back in the hospital bed and did not try any other positions to push. After 3.5 hours of pushing, the OB called it and said it was time for a cesarean. Luke texted our family, who had been in the waiting room since I started pushing. There was an emergency cesarean who had to go in before us, so we were pushed back a little bit. We were well known in the L&D unit at this point since everyone on the floor had heard me screaming for the past 24 hours. A few nurses on the floor came in to say hi and check in while I was being prepped for surgery. We went through our third and final shift change, which made for our 4th nurse, and then it was time to go to the OR. The cesarean went fine, and our sweet baby BOY was born at 9:10pm. He was 9lb. 1oz. Luke texted pictures to our family, but waited to tell them the gender until he went down in person. Our baby boy, Cole, had aspirated some meconium so he went to the NICU for an hour for monitoring. We are incredibly grateful that Cole was so healthy after such a long, traumatic labor and birth. Luke split the next hour between Cole, our family in the waiting room, and me in recovery. After about an hour, the nurse brought Cole to me and the three of us made our way to the recovery room. It breaks my heart that Cole spent the first hour of his life away from me and Luke. I still look back on Cole’s birth and just feel sad that I don’t remember most of it. I don’t remember him coming out, or his first cry, or who said, “It’s a boy”. I was so looking forward to skin to skin, and breastfeeding for the first time, and those other precious first moments, and I didn’t get them. Luke remembers, so I still ask him questions about what happened from time to time.
Once Luke, Cole, and I had settled into the recovery room, our families visited for a few minutes around midnight. I remember asking repeatedly when I could nurse Cole, it had been 4+ hours since he was born, and the nurse kept saying his sugars were too high or low (I can’t remember), so he kept getting heel pricks until they were stable. Then I could finally nurse, which I also don’t remember. Another nurse came in a few times throughout the night, and would wake me up to ask when she could take Cole for a bath. At some point I just said to take him. None of those first hours with him went like I had imagined or hoped.
Recovering emotionally from my birth has been a process that I am continuing to work through. I feel like so many things were taken away from me during my birth, and with information from the medical records, I also feel like I wasn’t given all of the information necessary for me to make a completely informed decision regarding the induction. Once I was in the hospital and in labor, I was unable to have any sort of conversation with my OB regarding interventions being used or any questions or concerns that arose due to the pain. There is so much that I wish I did differently looking back, but I am getting to the point of feeling that we made the best decisions we could with the information we had, and after going through so many interventions. The night following Cole’s birth is a complete blur, I remember so little of his actual birth and the first few hours of his life. I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I just wanted to eat and sleep. Requesting my medical records is something that I really recommend for anyone who has similar feelings. I requested records from the hospital, and my prenatal records from the OB office.
I recently read an article in support of women whose births did not go as planned. She drew the comparison to a graduation ceremony. No one would ever tell a recent graduate who missed graduation that it didn’t matter because they still graduated. It is acknowledged that the act of walking across the stage is a hugely significant, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even though you still have a degree, you still missed that moment in time that you can never get back or recreate. That is how I feel, that the birth I wanted and the first hours of my son’s life were taken from me.
I am able to look back and think of some of the things that went well. Even though I disagree with a lot of the decisions our OB made during the whole process, I do remember her putting my hair in a ponytail, which was nice. The nurse that was with us during the cesarean asked me what Pandora station I wanted to listen to during Cole’s birth. This is one of my favorite memories. He was born when one of my absolute favorite songs was playing - “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show (originally by Bob Dylan - fun fact). Our nurse that was with us while I was pushing came and visited a few days later when we were recovering. This quote has also helped me process through many of my feelings regarding my birth experience and how I am moving forward. “Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created” Esther 4:14. I am in the process of starting an ICAN chapter in my area, and look forward to connecting with other mothers who are also recovering from their birth experiences. So while everything did not go as planned, and there are moments that I regret and moments I will never get back, I continue to focus on healing from the experience, being proactive in planning for future births, and growing a community of support in my area. My goal in writing this is so that other mothers going through a similar experience feel supported and understood. It’s so frustrating to hear repeatedly that a healthy baby is all that matters. While this is true to a degree, what happens to a mother during birth is also an important, life altering experience that should be respected.
I'm Katie! I live near Annapolis, MD with my husband (Luke), son (Cole, 1.5), dog (Patrick), and 6 chickens. I was a special education teacher for 8 years, and am now a behavior specialist for a local school system. I'm also a vegan and all about that lifestyle, while my husband is an avid hunter and fisher. When Cole goes to bed, I enjoy crocheting, drinking wine, and watching "The Office". Instagram: @theherbivoreathome Facebook: Katie Peternel
I recently sat down and watched When The Bough Breaks. A documentary about postpartum depression and mood disorders. Being a doula and having taken a class on postpartum mood disorders I consider myself pretty educated on the subject. But after watching this documentary it made me realize there is still so much that I don't know. Seeing women and families first hand speak of what they went through and what they are going through still, was so eye opening and so heart wrenching. These brave women bear their souls in an effort to normalize postpartum mood disorders and to encourage others to seek help. 15-20 percent of women suffer from some level of PPMD in the first year after birth. And that's only the documented cases. That is a HUGE number. PPMD are treatable and preventable if you know what to look for and how to reach out for help. I encourage everyone to watch this documentary in order educate yourselves. So that you can help someone going through it or offer sympathy and empathy to someone who you might not have understood before. If you've dealt with a PPMD yourself, this film can offer solace. If you are currently suffering, you are not alone. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
I reached out to Lindsay, the Executive Producer of them film, so that she could talk a little bit more about the films purpose and her hopes for it's impact. Please give her interview a read and then check out the documentary. It can quite literally save lives.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and give a summery of When the Bough Breaks?
Hello! My name is Lindsay Gerszt. I am one of the producers and executive producer of When The Bough Breaks- a documentary about postpartum depression. The film is also Narrated and Executive Produced by Brooke Shields. It is a shocking film that uncovers this very public health issue which affects one in five new mothers after childbirth. I agreed to let the cameras follow my story and journey to recovery. We also meet women who have committed infanticide and families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Babies are dying, women aren't speaking out and the signs are being missed. When The Bough Breaks takes us on a journey to find answers and break the silence. This film also features stories from singer Carnie Wilson, actress Tanya Newbould, celebrity chef Aarti Sequeira and Peggy Tanous of The Real Housewives of Orange County
What is one thing you learned about postpartum mood disorders while making this film that you didn't know prior?
There is so much that I learned about postpartum mood disorders that I did not know prior to making the film. The one thing that I was truly shocked about was how many people suffer in silence because of the fear of being judged or looked down upon. Because of this, they do not get the help they so desperately need. On the films facebook page, everyday I share someone story. So many write to me and say they have not told anyone before but because they read others stories they now realize they are not alone and are ready to share their story. It is a powerful feeling for them to see the response and how many can relate. If YOU want to share your story please send it to me on our facebook page. I would love to share it!
What's the best piece of advice that you would give a new mom who's just coming into her postpartum depression?
The best advise I would give to a new mom struggling with ppd is to get help right away. Talk about it and reach out for help. There are many treatment options and when you find the right one for you, you WILL get better! Also please be kind to yourself. Having a baby in itself is so difficult. Add PPD to that and I know somedays you feel like you just cannot do it anymore. Please remember this is temporary and your child will not remember your struggle.
What's the biggest misconception society has about postpartum mood disorders?
Unless society is educated about what the different forms of postpartum mood disorders are, they will think they are all the same; which is dangerous. In fact there are many forms; ranging from the baby blues to postpartum psychosis. I suffered from postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum OCD along with ptsd from my delivery. My recovery was based on particular therapies for these disorders. On the other hand, someone experiencing postpartum psychosis can lose touch with reality and can be in serious risk of harming themselves and/or their child. Their treatment is very different from mine and if not treated properly can result in tragedy. We must understand the different disorders and help our moms find the proper treatment.
What is the main message you hope to send to those suffering from a postpartum mood disorder through this documentary?
The main message I hope to send to those suffering from postpartum mood disorders through this documentary is that there is hope. Up to 1 in 5 new mothers will experience some form of a postpartum mood disorder. With the proper treatment you will get better. When I was suffering I did not know how or when I would recover. I thought the depression would last forever; that I would never bond with my baby. I felt like it was somehow my fault that I got it and that noone would understand what I was experiencing. I remember one day after the medication started to work, I felt a sense of relief that I had not felt before. With therapy and medication I did get better and with the proper treatment so will you! Open up, share your story and educate yourself.
To someone who has a loved one going through it?
If you have a loved one who is suffering please watch When The Bough Breaks and educate yourself on postpartum mood disorders. It is so important that you show your support to them and let them know you are there for them. Postpartum depression is a very lonely illness. We feel like no one will understand what we are going through and often lose friends and push away family. Sit with them and let them know you are there even if they can't be there for you. Ask if you can help with anything; whether it is bringing food over or watching the baby so the new mother can rest. Most of all tell them you support them and are there for them. Tell them that they do not have to go through this pain alone. By doing this it may save a life.
When The Bough Breaks is available now on Netflix, Itunes and most VOD platforms in 70 countries.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a postpartum mood disorder please get help
or visit http://www.postpartum.net/
And never hesitate to reach out to me! MotherhoodTabutiful@gmail.com
Lindsay Lipton Gerszt was born and raised in Miami, Florida. In 1997, she graduated with a BA from the University of Miami, where she majored in Communication and Sociology. Because of her love for music and the arts, in 1997, she began her career in Los Angeles at Capitol Records doing A&R. In 1999, she worked at MCA records and in 2003 she worked as a music manager at The Firm. Lindsay had the pleasure of working with, managing and doing PR for some of the biggest artists in the music industry.
In 2007, she stepped back from the music industry to begin her family. It was at this stage in her life that she came face to face with postpartum depression. She has now committed herself to raising awareness for PPD, it's many faces and the path to a healthy life and family. Her commitment to PPD has included working on the important documentary...When The Bough Breaks-a documentary about postpartum depression. This work has included fundraising, producing and telling her story, along with helping other women tell their story. This work has become her passion.
Today I'm sharing the last installment of Kate's three part story. I've talk about her card line for parents of loss and I've shared her birth story. This last post is the story of her own miscarriage and the spark behind her company. This story was originally posted on her personal blog and she's allowing me to share it here with you all now, in order to bring awareness to miscarriage and to help other parents going through loss in some of their hardest days. Thank you for opening up to me Kate and for allowing me to tell your story.
A couple weeks ago, I shared the complicated birth story of our son, which had been on my heart for a few weeks now. This story though, our miscarriage story, has been on my heart for over a year. I have wrestled with it, worried about coming out with it, but ultimately felt that I should share about the experience. And now, it's finally time.
Having a baby is not an easy thing. I think our culture has instilled this belief that trying to get pregnant is a simple and quick event that doesn't take much effort. For some, this may be the case. But for the vast majority of friends and family in my experience, the pregnancy process is one that takes time: months, if not years, in some cases, and the path is often riddled with waiting, worry, doubt, and trials along the way.
Our situation was no different. It took months of planning, of deciding we were ready, coming off birth control and waiting, and then months of trying before we were actually pregnant. And then I was like everyone else - I had this preconceived notion that since I had a positive pregnancy test, in 9 months I would be holding our little bundle of joy. There was no trace of doubt, no concern in my mind.
I had morning sickness to start, but slowly, it started to dissipate. I didn't think too much of it; I was just glad to be feeling better. The morning of our first appointment came, after weeks of waiting from the initial positive pregnancy test. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and didn't know why, but I couldn't shake it. On the way to the doctor's office I asked Jonathan, "What if there's something wrong?" He couldn't believe I was even asking that... Why would there be anything wrong.
Our first appointment was at a new OB's office, and although I would love to air my experience all over the Internet of what a poor excuse for a medical practice this place was, I'll refrain. I will say that they did a horrendous job "caring" for me, and I feel like I still should be upset with my experience there, but instead, I will choose to be grateful. If I hadn't gone through my miscarriage at that office, I would never have found my current OB, who expertly and safely delivered our son this past February, and is a complete and utter blessing from God.
My poor experience started with my sonogram. The RN wasn't even finished "looking around", if you know what I mean, when she gave us the news: there was a baby... but no heartbeat. I was in for my standard 8 week appointment and she said it looked like the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks, 1 day. I was then diagnosed with a missed miscarriage. Basically, your body hasn't figured out the fetus has died, and carries on like you're still pregnant.
Tears filled my eyes and I couldn't believe the news we were just given; in that moment the gravity of our situation was crushing. She continued the sonogram, and managed to start telling me about my "options" while she finished up. Horrible, I know. She left the room, and I just looked at Jon. He shook his head and whispered to me, "How did you know?" Now looking back on that, I cannot think of anything other than a Mother's intuition. How could I have possibly known? Since then, I have trusted my gut feeling more often than not. I just wish that I had been wrong on that particular occasion.
1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
A staggering statistic, I know. I'm not including this statistic to insight panic, but to simply show that miscarriage is common. More common than we think, and more common than we would probably like to acknowledge. To me, miscarriage is like this dirty little word that no one wants to mention; we don't want to think about it if it hasn't happened to us. But the truth of the matter is that it's real, and it's something that will effect many, many mothers...a friend, a sister, an aunt, maybe even your own mother.
So where did this leave me? I left that office with the worst possible news. I was pregnant and carrying around a baby, but that baby was dead. I couldn't help thinking that my body had failed me. It hadn't figured out what it needed to do. Now, in the situation of a missed miscarriage, you really have two options: you can wait for nature to take its course, or you can use some type of medical intervention to help that process along. There are pros and cons to both options really. Ultimately, it came down to choosing the "best" option for our family, and for my specific situation.
I could go into what my options were, how I chose, and what exactly it was like, but really, that's not important. Everyone's journey is different, and if you feel like you must know about the options, Google has all of those answers. I also don't think it's worth sharing my own decision process in case you're reading this and in the midst of a miscarriage yourself, hoping for a clear answer in a blog post. Believe me, I did A LOT of Googling after my news, (mainly because I wanted my diagnosis to be wrong, when it unfortunately wasn't) and I wanted clarity. I wanted desperately for someone to tell me what to do, and all I will say to that is: you need to make that decision on your own. No one situation is the same, and deep in your heart, you have the answer, no matter how scary or difficult that may be to face.
In the end, I wanted to feel like I had control, a small sense of power over this absolutely uncontrollable situation, so I opted for an outpatient surgery, what is known as a D&C.
During all of this, we told no one. It was a deep, dark secret we carefully buried in our marriage. I'm sure it was hard for Jonathan, but it absolutely wrecked me, and tore me apart from the inside out. It felt like there was now a small, baby-sized hole growing steadily larger in my heart that could be filled by nothing. The grief was horrible, and something I felt no one could understand. I had never before struggled with depression, but I now know how hard and horrible that darkness is.
I felt like the loss of that child would swallow me up into a pit of despair. And if I'm honest, it did. It's hard to admit, especially in the midst of the situation, but I needed help. I sought that out in a family counsellor, who helped me immensely, and I would recommend to anyone going through a miscarriage to do this, or to seek help in your own way. Healing on your own is incredibly difficult, and in retrospect, I wished I had sought help sooner. I could go on and on, about how hard and difficult that experience was, and I by no means wish to take lightly what I went through. But I choose to believe there was purpose behind it all.
I had my D&C at Sharp Mary Birch, the same hospital that I could praise up and down for keeping me hospitalized for 43 days during my last pregnancy, the same hospital that delivered my son this past February, and that kept him safe in NICU for 5 weeks after he was born. But when I had my D&C there, I had a much different experience at Mary Birch, one that was unfortunately, much less than stellar.
After my surgery, I came out of anesthesia and the first sound I heard was that of a crying baby. Not the best sound to wake up to when you've just had a surgery to remove your own deceased child. I didn't know it at the time, but Mary Birch was going through some remodeling, so unfortunately those mothers recovering from a D&C, were in the same room as the mothers recovering from a C-section. Not great planning on the hospital's part, but maybe it couldn't have been avoided. And when I was discharged, I was given paperwork about the procedure and about my specific physical recovery. However, I was given no paperwork on my mental recovery, and as I explained earlier, I desperately needed it.
Months went by before I felt strong enough to speak with a family friend about the situation. Cheri Kuptz, what a blessing she was, suggested a couple of things to me after listening to my story. First, she thought it would be good for me to write the hospital a letter - to explain my situation and that even if no one read it, at least it would bring me a little closure from the whole experience. So after a lot of prayer and speculation, I finally sat down, wrote a letter and sent it off to Mary Birch.
I was not expecting anything in return from that. So when my phone rang, and the head nurse from Mary Birch was on the other line wanting to speak with me about my letter, I was completely shocked. (By the way, I want to mention that it's a total testament to the hospital that someone followed up with me. It just goes to show that they really care about the patient experience.) The nurse took 45 minutes and walked me through each and every single one of the points I had made, and was deeply moved that I had even bothered to write my experience down, much less send it their way. She explained to me that the recovery room was a temporary solve, and that she knew how hard and traumatic that must be for patients to wake up to that situation, but that they did already have plans to separate out those recovery rooms specifically for that purpose.
We also talked about the discharge policy for D&C patients. She said it was up to the patient's recovery nurse to determine whether or not that patient received paperwork regarding grief counseling and their mental recovery. I mentioned that not all people may show signs of their grief immediately upon waking from anesthesia. In my case specifically, the grief didn't hit me until a week or so later (not to mention, I'm probably also too proud to let a stranger know when I'm having a hard time). She thought I made a good point, and said she would talk to her supervisor about issuing the brochures to every D&C patient. Again, I didn't think much of this. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a package in the mail a couple of weeks later with a letter letting me know her supervisor had approved that request! She also sent over the papers and brochures these patients would all be receiving so I could see them myself.
After months of depression and grief, I finally felt like there was a silver lining from this whole experience. If my miscarriage was able to help just one mother like me who was suffering the same fate, then I felt like there was purpose behind my situation. I'll never know why that baby didn't survive. But I choose to believe that God had a plan, and as corny as it may sound, maybe the loss of my child was for the sole purpose of helping other women to not experience a soul-crushing grief in the same way I did. At least, that is what I will hope for.
Love Letters to Miscarried Moms: Written in the Midst of My Grief So That You Will Not Be Alone in Yours.
By Samantha Evans
So the other thing that came from my earlier conversation with Cheri Kuptz, was her recommending I design something around my miscarriage experience. I dragged my feet, wasted time, and ultimately tried to put off what I was being called to create. We came up with an idea for greeting cards, to gift to those specifically struggling with miscarriage.
While I was going through my own personal ups and downs, I purchased a book: "Love Letters to Miscarried Moms: Written in the Midst of My Grief So That You Won't Be Alone in Yours" by Samantha Evans. This book was SO impactful during my struggle, and through its pages was a woman who had experienced exactly what I had - the crushing loss of a child. I cried and sobbed through the pages of this book, but it was so cathartic. It let me confront my grief and understand it (and I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with miscarriage or knows someone who is).
In the book, well in the title even, she coins the phrase "Miscarried Mom". I love that. I think it's important to note that as soon as you're pregnant, and I would even argue probably at the moment you decide you want to have children, you become a mom. Just because you don't have a physical child in front of you, and even because you may have lost your baby to miscarriage, doesn't make you any less of a mother. And don't let anyone make you think otherwise! We need to get rid of the notion that you have to have children to be a mother. There are so many of us, hoping, willing, praying, and wishing for a child, and I think that in and of itself defines the very start of motherhood.
From this idea has come my first line of greeting cards: The Miscarried Mom Collection of our Noble Greetings. Specifically designed for those women struggling with miscarriage, infertility, pregnancy-related issues, and those trying to navigate the difficult journey to baby. These cards came to life because of an initial prodding from Cheri, but I think that idea ultimately came from the good Lord himself (as I'm sure Cheri would attest to).
After much prayer, design, and procrastination, they are finally here! I'd like to think they are one-of-a-kind, as I haven't seen anything like them available, and I am just so proud to finally be sharing these with the world.
"God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling"
So, I am so in love with these cards. But there is also one other note I want to mention: A portion of the sale of each card will be donated to the charity Miracle Babies. Miracle Babies is a charity that strives to provide financial assistance to families with critically-ill newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; and to enhance the well-being of women, children and their families through education, prevention and medical care. Miracle Babies were so impactful to us during our stay in the NICU at Mary Birch. Not only did this charity help to support us emotionally, as well as financially, while Sebastian fought to come home, but their founder, Dr. Sean Daneshmand, was the physician who diagnosed me with vasa previa (and all the other millions of conditions I had while pregnant... seriously, read our birth story.) while I was on bedrest at Mary Birch. We want to give back to them in any way we can, and donating a portion of the sales of these cards seems like the least we can do. That donation will go straight to families just like us, who have babies in NICU fighting to come home.
So there they are, the Miscarried Mom collection of greeting cards by The Noble Paperie. And now time for ALL THE FEELINGS. Terror, joy, love, excitement... A leap of faith: for finally coming out with our miscarriage story, for finally designing these cards and feeling like I'm literally putting a piece of my heart out on the Internet. These cards are so personal to me, to my own story and journey, but I didn't create them for that. I created them because I know the Miscarried Mom's heart, inside and out. I know how hard and debilitating that time in your life can be, and how all we want to do is sweep it under the rug, ignore it, not talk about it, and run away.
And I'm here to say, I think that needs to change. I think it's worth wearing our heart on our sleeve for once, and letting our community, our family and our friends surround us during our time of struggle. And maybe these are just greeting cards, just pieces of paper, but I'm hoping and praying they will be more than that. I hope they can comfort and console the woman with a Mother's heart, at any point during her journey to baby. I pray that even though we lost our first child to miscarriage, that that baby's life can be glorified by helping to lift up those walking in the same struggle.
Feel free to share these cards with people you know, share your own story by dropping me a line here, or leaving a comment. My promise is that I will personally read each one of them. And last but not least, if you're in the midst of your own miscarriage or infertility story, deep in the trenches of your own personal journey to baby, I'll leave you with this:
Don't worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. "Be patient. He isn't finished with you yet." - Philippians 1.6
Kate is a 30-year- old mom of one, currently living in San Diego, California and is passionate about designing beautiful paper products for those with a Mama’s heart. Kate graduated with a BFA in graphic design and printmaking from Notre Dame de Namur University, a small private school in the bay area. In 2011, she accepted a position at a San Diego-based pharmaceutical advertising agency and worked tirelessly to become an award-winning art director. Pharmaceutical advertising can be very clinical, and Kate needed a creative outlet. She founded The Noble Paperie and started designing bespoke wedding invitations. After a miscarriage and an incredibly difficult pregnancy, Kate’s goals for her personal life and business immediately changed - turning The Noble Paperie into a greeting card company with cards specifically designed to spread hope and joy to those struggling with miscarriage, infertility, and pregnancy-related issues.
A collection of posts from different humans all over the world, sharing their stories about the struggles they have faced in their individual journeys to motherhood.