The Mystery of Miscarriage

I never would have guessed I would have had even one miscarriage,
much less four in four years . My health has always been excellent, my energy
high, and my periods every 28 days without fail. I always thought I would know
if it were right for me to have a child, and that, if it were, “the right man”
would appear. I used birth control impeccably in the meantime because I had an
intuitive feeling that I could get pregnant very easily.` In my late thirties I
did meet “the right man” and, though we still didn’t feel having children was a
prerequisite to our happiness, we were open to the possibility. I became
pregnant a year and a half after Bob and I married. We were very excited, and
assumed that the pregnancy would turn out fine. We were shocked when I
miscarried at 12 weeks. It was the first time in my life that my body hadn’t
done pretty much what I wanted it to. I was surprised at how much more
attached I was to having a child once I was pregnant. I was also amazed at how
painful my miscarrage was. I decided to let nature take its course rather than
have a D and C. As soon as I passed the fetus, the pain subsided, as did the
bleeding a week or two later. The day after the miscarriage, I saw a patient
who was pregnant and wanted an abortion and saw quite vividly that we each get
just those experiences that we need what we need, though not always what we
think we need. Strangely, right aroung the time of the miscarriage, we
had several mechanical failures at home. Within the space of a week, the sump
pump on the septic tank failed (requiring my plants to be dug up and the tank
drained), the freezer failed and defrosted all of my frozen produce. Around the
same time, the wash machine hose disconnected itself and flooded our finished
basement. Some friends were very nurturing, while others didn’t know what to
say or told us having children would be a hindrance, anyway, to our spiritual
growth. It took me about six months to recover, physically and emotionally,
from the miscarriage. I read that one out of every five pregnancies, and maybe
even more, do end in miscarriage. So the odds were still in my favor.

I got pregnant again about seven months later. The pregnancy went well, or
so it seemed. I reached l4 weeks without complications. We had planned a trip
to Maui to relax. I figured, since I was past the first trimester, there was
nothing to worry about. I didn’t lift any suitcases and passed up a raft trip,
which seemed too vigorous. We went for a hike in the volcanic crater of
Haleakala , immediately after which I started to spot again. The day we flew
back to Seattle, I started to cramp, went in for an ultrasound, and was told
the fetus had died three to four weeks before. This time I decided on a D and C
to have the fetus removed. The day I returned to my practice this time, I saw a
9 month old child with Down’s syndrome, which gave me much food for thought.
This time, even though I had a D and C, it still took four to six months to
get my body back, more or less, to its pre-pregnant state.

During this time, we had discussed the miscarriages with our two main
spiritual teachers, Ammachi and Baba Hari Dass, in addition to consulting
astrologers, psychics, and health professionals and being blessed by many
people in many places. We had communicated with the soul of the fetus both
times and felt very connected with it. By this time, I had gotten tired of
taking my temperature every day and planning sex according to my fertile times.
I had a very powerful experience with Ammachi, an Indian woman saint who is
able to pour out love unconditionally. I felt, instantaneously, as I sat before
her at Orcas Island, that my obsession with having a child was lifted. It felt
like a huge surrender had occurred. After that experience, we didn’t think
much about getting pregnant, but were still not closing the doors. Bob and I
happened to be visiting Baba Hari Dass in California last spring. Babaji, who
has been silent for 40 years and communicates by writing on a chalkboard, asked
us “Pregnant?” We assured Babaji that we had let go of the desire to become
parents. A week later I realized I was pregnant again. We had planned to spend
the majority of my first trimester with Ammachi, so I felt I would have lots of
protection from the Divine Mother. We adopted a “three’s a charm” hopefulness.
I used homeopathy, progesterone, and the usual prenatal vitamins and a healthy,
natural diet. But, at nearly l2 weeks, the same scenario occurred, minus the D
and C.

Now, you may ask, “why in the world did she keep trying?” “Couldn’t she
see the handwriting on the wall?” If you ever find yourself in my position,
you’ll understand that the desire to be a mother is beyond any logic. And women
do have healthy births after numerous miscarriages. We were still hoping for a
child, though not actively trying. Then, this past October, we found I was
again pregnant. This time I hoped to follow in my mother’s footsteps. She had
three miscar- riages, then me. We cancelled our trip to India, I lightened my
patient load, and didn’t lift anything over two pounds. I optimistically
signed up for a birthing class to begin in the spring, used homeopathy and
Ayurveda, and tried to hope for the best. At eleven weeks, the usual sce- nario
began to replay itself. First the light bulbs at home and the office started to
blow. “Oh, no”, we thought. “Not again.” Still hanging on to hope, we attended
a couples’ intensive with Barry and Joyce Vissell in Portland, who married us,
and received a lovely, tear-filled pregnancy blessing. While taking a walk
during lunch, we came back to our car to find my purse stolen. A week later, I
began to spot again, and an ultrasound confirmed that the fetus had died
several weeks before. The doctor, an expert, said he had absolutely no idea
why it was hap- pening. The actual cramping and miscarriage took place at the
home of some close friends, with Bob tirelessly massaging my feet and legs to
make the process go more quickly, which it did.

So now, nearly 43 years old and four miscarriages later, what have I
learned from it all?

Some things, such as miscarriages, are often beyond our control. We may
want certain things to happen very much in our lives, but there may be a
different plan for us which we do not yet understand. There is really no choice
but to ride the wave of change with hopeful- ness and as much clarity as
possible in the given moment. It is important to stay present with our
experience, to experience the emotions fully, and to do whatever seems right in
the moment.

Difficult experiences can be gifts to go deeper within. Though I never
would have wished for four miscarriages, it has given me an opportunity to
renew my faith, my marriage,

and my values in a very profound kind of way. I have re-evaluated what is most
important to me.

There is a purpose to all that we experience, whether or not we can see
it.
I have learned to trust that there is another path for me besides
motherhood. My miscarriages have helped me to work much more deeply with
other women on all levels. Bob’s and my marriage has been strengthened as has
our relationship with God. We may never fully understand why I cannot stay
pregnant, but, more and more, we are accepting and trusting the process. I have
also learned that, though others, however well-meaning, may think they
have figured out our lessons for us , we can generally do it
best for ourselves.Fortunate- ly, there is a force in the Universe which has a
much greater vision of what we need than we do.

Dr. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman is a naturopathic and homeopathic
physician and cofounder of the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in
Edmonds, WA. She is coauthor of
The Patient’s Guide to Homeopathic
Medicine and Beyond Ritalin: Homeopathic Treatment of ADD and Other
Behavioral and Learning Problems. She can be reached at (206)
774-5599.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

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