Author Archive

My Miscarriage Story

23 October 2015

I am posting my story about miscarrying because I knew so little about miscarriage before I had one. There are some eloquent stories people have posted online but too few. It seems that it is only after you have one that you learn that many of your friends have also had one or more.

Now that its happened to me I cannot believe that I did not know more about it and want to do what I can to shed light on it. Please be aware that parts of my story are graphic. It is a profoundly complex and difficult (physically and emotionally) experience.  It is common (20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage) and yet no one talks about it. I am writing as a woman who had a baby before having a miscarriage, which I can only imagine is way easier than miscarrying before completing a healthy pregnancy.

I wrote much of this soon after the miscarriage but it has taken me months to complete it. I have been surprised at how hard it has been to get over this loss. I thought I wasn’t attached to this baby. I was. Family and friends soon forgot about the loss and I have felt very sad and alone and isolated. My husband’s response has been different that mine and it has been hard on our relationship. Talking with other women who have miscarried has been helpful.

At 14 weeks my husband and I learned that our pregnancy was “not healthy”. We were surprise because at that point because we had made it to the 2nd trimester and I had been feeling so nauseous and tired we thought we were in the clear. We went for a routine ultrasound Friday morning and there was no baby visible. The doctor said I could get a D&C or go home and wait to miscarry naturally. She said if I “bled like a hose for more than an hour” I should go to the ER.

Somehow I thought that most miscarriages were like heavy periods (some are) that the body quasi-dissolved all the tissue and you just bled a lot. I started spotting later that day. Saturday night I began reading online about miscarriage and was surprised to find many stories of miscarriages around 14 weeks that talked about it as birth.  Sunday morning around 5am I started having waves of intense cramps which were contractions.

My thoughts and feelings were all over the place shock and numbness. What was I doing when my fetus was passing out of its short life? How could I have been so detached from my fetus? When I was pregnant I was very worried about how I was going to manage caring for two young ones. The challenge and vulnerability of having two children seemed so much larger that having one. I felt guilty about having felt that way.  I didn’t feel relieved at all. I dearly wished I was still pregnant. Wished I knew even one detail about who this person might have been. In the last weeks I had started imagining this baby more and being very pregnant in the summer and thinking about names and bought some maternity clothes. I thought about how given our advanced ages this may have been our last chance.  (more…)

A Letter to My Daughter Maeve on Her First Birthday

26 August 2014
You and me today - just a couple weeks after you turned one

You and me today – just a couple weeks after you turned one

July 30, 2014

Precious awesome little person! My daughter Maeve,

I love you and I love being with you. So much I can feel it in every cell. As I look back at pictures I am struck with how much you have grown and learned in one year. So much more than you will ever grow in one year again. It seems to have gone so fast and its an interesting experience to love someone who is changing so much – its hard to not want it to go slower. You have been so continuously occupied with becoming you I feel like I have been able to perceive only a part of it.

Just a few weeks after you were born

Just a few weeks after you were born

Your birth went very well. You, your dad and I were at home surrounded by great people and there was lots of family near by eagerly waiting to meet you. Once labor started it ramped up quickly and the process was purely intuitive. We did great. And when you came out it was a truly amazing moment. There YOU were and we were so happy.

I want to write to you at your birthday every year about the proceeding year and some of the things you or we did and hope that you enjoy reading these letters in the future.


Two Months of Love and Some Pre and Post Natal Gems

28 September 2013
Reading Dr. Seuss' Hop on Pop with Maeve this week

Reading Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop with Maeve this week

All is going very well.  I am loving being with Maeve and Joe.  In particular, I love watching the way she moves her fingers, the moments when she looks in my eyes and, as the days pass, seeing the expression in her features and body becoming more clear, articulate.  I love the way she migrates around (surprisingly far and fast)  just by the wending of her limbs,  head and neck.

I love how utterly self possessed she is – she is sure – and I marvel, sometimes shudder, at how completely vulnerable she is.  Her presence seems to have flipped a switch in me around ways I have limited myself in the past.  I have more resolve to achieve my goals than before.  The days fly by.  I can’t believe it’s already been two months.

Here are three great parenting resources have come on my radar in the last couple of weeks:

Sample illustration from The Female Pelvis

Illustration from The Female Pelvis by Blandine Calais-Germain

My best friend Shinehah sent me a book called The Female Pelvis: Anatomy & Exercises – which gives incredibly clear, simple information (in words and diagrams -including the one at at the top of this post) about the organs in the female pelvis and what happens in the pelvis with pregnancy and birth.  I really appreciate having a clearer picture of all the parts and how they fit together and change through pregnancy and delivery.  Seems to me really great information for any female to have.  The Female Pelvis was written by Blandine Calais-Germain and published by Eastland Press(more…)

Maeve at Seven Weeks, Time Passing Quickly

18 September 2013
One more Maeve close-up

In the last few days Maeve’s face seems more expressive, distinctly more articulate than even just last week

Tomorrow is seven weeks since Maeve’s arrival.  It feels like time is passing so quickly. I think its because becoming a parent just overtakes you in a way that not much else in life does.

Last night I dreamt that I was crying the way Maeve cries when she is really upset and in my mind I heard that what I was saying in baby talk was the word Mom, just Mom over and over. Maybe I was remembering how purely I felt when I was Maeve’s age – being around her is reminding me.  Its sad that many people in our culture are around infants as little as they are. It says a lot about our society.

I got connected with a holistic parents group in the last couple of days and feel a great sense of relief.  There are lots of other people who are cloth diapering and not vaccinating their young ones. Turns out I was going to a new moms support group that was just too mainstream.  I don’t think of myself as super alternative (always hoping/wishing I guess that my values aren’t the exception) but keep running into the fact that I am, even in a dense urban place like Jersey City.

She’s still pretty unpredictable. No discernable schedule. I get worried when she sleeps for long stretches during the day and worried/overwhelmed on other days when she doesn’t take a nap of any length.

When she is deeply asleep I get worried because her breathing is so shallow and her body gets so limp.

I think about writing about becoming a parent often but have a hard time getting myself to do it – partly because time seems to be flying by and I want to just be in the experience. From everything I hear, I’m going to be so busy for the couple of decades I won’t have a chance to read this again.

Makers: Documentary on Women’s Movement

18 September 2013

This week my husband Joe and I saw the excellent new PBS documentary on women’s liberation called Makers – was really interesting to think on my experience as a female growing up in the 70s and 80s and as a young woman in the 90s. It also got us talking about what sort of world our daughter is growing up into.

One of the interesting things about the documentary is seeing TV commercials I grew up watching. These ads showed me role models, though I wasn’t even conscious of it. These images were all around me – the water I swam in. I didn’t notice, but the images seeped in – so deep so early.

Given when I was born (1969), I got the message that the Women’s Movement was something that happened – that was complete. That women and men were now equal. When in reality this wasn’t true. This conflict between what I was told and what I experienced was very confusing. On top of that, there was the expectation that women are somehow magically going to do everything: have a career and be a housewife and be a mom and have a husband.

The documentary Makers is in three 1-hour parts. Right now they’re all on YouTube. Part 1 is above. Go here for part 2 and part 3. Makers covers from the 1950s through pretty much the present day. I recommend it highly.

Appreciations on Joe’s 50th Birthday

2 September 2013
As a way to commemorate this milestone birthday of 50 years my love, I asked your family and a few of your close friends to write messages of appreciation for you.  They wrote some pretty great, thoughtful messages which are included here:
From your nephew Miles Gastil:

Happy Birthday Uncle Joe!

I hope you have an amazing birthday. You deserve it! I am so happy you now have a family to call your own. I know you will be as good as a father as you are an uncle. You have been a wonderful influence in my life and I look forward to becoming closer with your growing immediate family. You’re an amazing artist who constantly inspires me to draw. I look at your sketches and paintings and see them as a goal for me to someday achieve that kind of beauty in my drawings. I also enjoy playing chess with you and look forward to more games, and helping you teaching your kid how to play someday. Happy Birthday Uncle Joe.

Love you guys! Miles

From your nephew Garrett Gastil:

Happy 50th Birthday Uncle Joe!

You have always been one of the most fun people to be around. When I was a kid, I remember that I would always be excited to see you because you would pick me up and throw me around your body.


Maeve at One Month

31 August 2013
Maeve and me

Maeve and me

Looking back I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to have a home birth.  I think we have been lied to about how doable it is because it threatens the status quo.  The disempowerment around how we come into the world lays the foundation that makes it that much easier for all other oppressions to come in.  So home birth is “fringe” and people who do it are “edgy.”  I feel so fortunate that I and my daughter made it through the prenatal care gauntlet.  Even home birth midwives, bad asses that they necessarily are, have restrictions they have to adhere to in order to keep their license (my midwife told us though she could tell there was nothing really wrong with me, that if my BP got even a little bit higher then we would have to go to a birthing center).  And I have nothing but respect and admiration for every woman who has gone through the process, whatever form it took, of having a baby in the U.S.

Joe says that good blogging is brief and need not be polished – so here a few other thoughts at one month plus:

In the last few days Maeve has started making eye contact – there were hints of it before but now her gaze is more focused, sustained than before.  Its exciting and sweet to have this new connection with her.  Also, in the last few days we’ve also had a couple of great yawning exchanges, where we yawn back and forth several times.  (more…)

Beginning Carrie’s Version of Maeve’s Birth Story

7 August 2013
Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt - born July 30th 2013

Maeve Margaret Linton Lincourt – born July 30th 2013

Written a week after the birth – the morning the grandparents headed home.

It was most pain I have ever experienced – more than I had expected. Don’t know how I did it for 12 hours – my sense of time was completely different – it passed more quickly than usual.  Starting right when we got home from the walk (about 8am) until I started pushing at about 4:30pm, the contractions were steady and intense.  The pain was in my lower abdomen – and into the creases of my hips.

I made a loud, constant noise/tone on each exhale, over and over through each contraction, the sound I made got louder and “truer” as the intensity of a contraction built – when I would hit the “truest” tone (exhale) of a contraction I felt like I was transforming myself into pure vibration for a moment. I had the thought that I sounded like a bleating sheep or those Bulgarian throat singers, that I sounded like I was discharging very early grief – my own birth? and that I was discharging (healing or resolving) the pain in the exact moment I was experiencing it.  My inhales felt short like I was gulping air.  I wondered if they were too short.  I think the toning made me dehydrate quickly – my mouth felt dry and I drank a lot.

I kept my eyes closed and face buried, pointed toward something, the tub wall or couch cushion, most of the time – would look out once in awhile between contractions at Joe, Marci, Maritza, Raizy and Vicki. This way of coping was totally intuitive – making a vibration seemed to be the best way to make the pain bearable. The contractions came very regularly with what felt like short breaks (I wonder how many I had in total – how many it took for her to come out.) I could feel when a contraction was coming and it was a short run up (couple of seconds) until the pain was full blown.  (more…)