New from EPLA: the Hope Blooms podcast!By Maria Servold The Early Pregnancy Loss Association blog editors have been pleased to publish information, stories, and advice on our blog for the last handful of years. This month, we are excited to expand our outreach efforts by launching Hope Blooms, the podcast.
Available on all major podcast platforms, the Hope Blooms podcast will bring you stories from moms who have suffered miscarriage, as well as conversations with medical and other professionals.
The first two episodes are now live on your favorite podcast app, and they feature conversations between our founder and current executive director, Emily Carrington, and nurse and therapist Nancy Kingma, conducted in 2019. More of their conversation will be posted over the next month. We hope you enjoy the episodes. In the future, we’d like to feature conversations with loss moms, health care professionals, and anyone else seeking to support women and families after early pregnancy loss. Let us know what you’d like to hear, or if you’d like to share your story with us. Hope Blooms on Buzzsprout
By Emily CarringtonEPLA Executive Director When I was diagnosed with my first missed miscarriage, I didn’t even know what those words meant. I sat overwhelmed with both grief and confusion. After the diagnosis the doctor was kind and gentle. He invited me back at any time to answer questions. My brain reeled but seemed stuck at the same time. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I had nowhere to put my thoughts while I was getting a crash course in pregnancy loss. As EPLA describes in our educational resources, “a missed miscarriage, also called a missed abortion, is an early pregnancy loss in which the baby has died but has not been expelled from the uterus. When a missed miscarriage occurs, three options are available: to induce labor to expel the baby, to have a dilation and curettage procedure, or to wait until the body recognizes the miscarriage and goes into labor on its own.” Some miscarriages start with sudden bleeding and some miscarriages *start* with the words “I am sorry there is no heartbeat.” Following my missed miscarriage I realized that many of the terms used in early pregnancy loss are unknown to many people. Often the term miscarriage is used to lump everything together. This overgeneralization does a disservice to women and families suffering loss, as they have no way to understand what has happened to their baby and what will be happening to them. Such generalization also allows for myths and misunderstandings to cloud early pregnancy loss. For example, not all miscarriages are “like a heavy period,” a common misconception that overlooks the hard labor many women endure to expel an embryo or fetus. It is important that we are careful and precise with our language so we might know how to best care for each other. Here at EPLA we work to clarify these misconceptions, share stories, and give voice to the suffering. We believe that dignity is found in clinging to the truth. We must affirm the lives lost, the physical experience of the women, and the suffering of the family. This must start with a full understanding of terms. In the coming months we will continue to highlight words such as ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, and more. We will explore medical procedures such as a dilation and curettage as well as natural labor following a miscarriage. This education is necessary for us to provide care for women and families suffering loss.
Emily Carrington is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and founder of the EPLA.
A British couple has made headlines recently after they came forward to discuss how their miscarried baby’s body was treated (or not treated) at a hospital in London.
Laura Brody and Lawrence White lost their son at home four months into pregnancy. The loss occurred after they visited a hospital, had an ultrasound that showed the baby had died, and were told to wait at home until a bed was available for her to deliver the stillborn baby.
While waiting at home, she delivered the baby in her bathroom. The couple called an emergency number but were told their situation was not an emergency. They went to the emergency room anyway, with the baby boy’s body in a Tupperware container.
Once in the emergency room, Laura and Lawrence had to wait for five hours in the waiting room, and once they were seen by staff members, no one provided help or information about how to handle the baby’s body, the couple said.
"It feels like there's no safety net when things go wrong with pregnancy,” Brody told The Telegraph newspaper. "And even with all the staff and experts working really hard, the processes are so flawed that it just felt like we'd been tipped into hell."
At the Early Pregnancy Loss Association, we know one of the most difficult parts of miscarriage can be figuring out how to appropriately and carefully handle the body of a miscarried baby. Many times, in early losses, the baby’s body isn’t recovered. However, many women are able to retrieve the body or gestational sac of their baby.
One organization, Heaven’s Gain Ministries, has put together a body retrieval kit that we include in our large at-home miscarriage care kits. The retrieval kits help families secure and preserve their baby’s body until they are able to bury or cremate it.
Heavens’ Gain also provides beautiful caskets and urns for the remains of miscarried babies, highlighting the dignity of tiny souls lost too soon, but never forgotten.
We hope medical care professionals continue to improve the process of helping families through miscarriage, including the proper handling of a miscarried baby’s remains. We will continue to advocate for such efforts, and will seek to provide support in whatever way we can.
Maria Servold is an Editor at the EPLA, Assistant Director of the Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism, and Lecturer in Journalism at Hillsdale College.