Miscarriage and Loss

The Birth/Death of Sable Sage

March 8, 2016

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My baby died on November 18, 2015. I was between 14 and 15 weeks. I was certain he was a boy, and he had told me his name a few weeks prior to his death. Sable (which means “black”) Sage (“teacher” or “wise one”).

In the 4 months that passed, a lot occurred. I was able to process, grief, learn, connect. But remained with my baby in me; Death within. I felt strongly about honoring my body and the process of loss. I also felt strongly about learning new wisdom, and so for those reasons, I waited. (And I did “try” everything known to womankind, but still, my body continued to hold him.)

When March began, I set the date of March 12, 2016 as what I would make his birthday, with the tools that I have. I knew deep down that it would be when it needed to be. Diane (my elder midwife friend) offered to come on March 6th to try massage (again) and some seaweed. I knew too that Margo would be home by that evening. Part of me thought it would be just another futile try but the other part of me felt like combining therapies would be really effective and I knew intuitively that my body would do this easy and quick with a tiny nudge. Of course that is exactly how it went and I have no regrets at all. But marvel at how Sable still choose his time, despite me thinking I knew best.

I HAD thought and felt LONG AND HARD about using any sort of drug to facilitate this process. When I came to the place where I was open to anything, things shifted. For me, it was considering that “trusting my body” was only one piece of the very 3-dimensional puzzle. I needed balance badly; and in true Wise Woman form, I looked at all my options for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual balance. From my range of choices, I had already tried many. I remained open to the Medicine of choice choosing itself. Medicine comes in many forms.

We didn’t begin the seaweed and massage till about 3 pm. Before we began, I prayed over Diane’s hands, and the tools at our disposal. I prayed for guidance, and a light to guide the way through this all. I prayed, believing in Divinity and Timing. The seaweed was not sticks but pieces and was scratchy and painful. I smiled through it though, not caring, if it got me to release this baby. I decided to do 1 cytotec at the same time, and I did not have to really think about that; it just felt right. That was at 3:30. I laid there till 4:30.

By 6 pm, I wasn’t having contractions per se but felt “pre labor-y”. We went on a walk up to the Stupa (Buddhist temple) with Evie and it was windy and cold. I wanted to go home. Then, we decided to go out to store and got ingredients for Diane to make golden milk and I got epsom salts. By 7:30, I was cramping like menstrual cramps, not time-able but really really low, different than anything I have had over the last 4 months. Ironically, the cytotec tablet came out, probably 1/2 into the toilet!!! I went from feeling frustrated that even miso (cytotec) wasn’t “doing anything” to being amazed at how much my body WAS doing on only half a tablet!! I knew at this moment that it was full steam ahead, no quitting and my body said the same. It was approaching time. I texted Margo to say I was going to do another 1/2 of a tablet (so in total I used MAYBE 1 tablet, which is roughly only 1/2 to a 1/4 of the “ recommended dose”) and told her she was welcome to come over because I was fairly sure it would happen tonight. I felt kind of bad since she had just arrived home but yet I needed her.

So, at 8 pm I wet the 1/2 tablet and placed it up inside in some coconut oil. I began to bleed a bit of bright red but really the bleeding was minimal and didn’t REALLY happen until the birth itself. That was surprising; I had pictured this bloody event and really that was the least of it. I laid on my daughter’s bed for 40 minutes and felt very crampy and irritable at all the noise around me and chaos and needing to lay there was hard. Around 8:45 got up and 1/2 of the 1/2 tablet came out. I tried to put it back and then took a bath which felt OK. After the bath, things started to get harder. By 10:15, everyone but Margo went to bed. Just she and I out in the kitchen. Feeling one huge contraction, impossible to time because they were lasting for over 5 minutes, just piling on top of each other. I cried about having to labor and birth a dead baby and leaned over the counter. I’d say the pain was a 4-5 (scale of 10) and I was breathing through, not thinking it was THAT bad but not sure how much worse it would get or how much longer it would be. I remember telling myself that I didn’t need to open that far, and could totally do this. My bladder was hurting really bad but I realized it was just the constant contraction. Lots of mucous but not much blood.

Around 11, the pain was in my legs and so I wanted the warmth of the bath. I told Margo that was what I was doing, plus I was shivering and freezing and just wanted to get warm. I started running the bath and took off all my clothes and sat on the toilet. I really felt like I needed to poop. As I was pooping, I started bleeding. I put my finger into my vagina and felt something and thought at first it was just me. But then more bleeding, like a faucet. I did get scared in that moment, because it seemed to just be pouring out (it was comparatively but really wasn’t that much) and yelled for Margo to come in. I am standing there over the toilet, bleeding all over and trying to wipe my butt and the sac just comes out of my body half way, all intact like a tiny little head. It was totally unexpected, and no feeling of pushing or like I was doing anything. Just poop, blood and then it was there, sticking out of me. I touched it and cried, “this should be a head”. Margo went to get Diane who was sleeping and they both came in the tiny bathroom, Jason awoke and was standing outside the bathroom. I stood there, naked and present but somewhere else (like any labor), so happy that it was nearly over and so fast and really with so little pain.

And so the intact bag hung out of me for nearly half an hour. I lost track of time. I felt contractions but nothing to push against, so weird. Any attempt at pushing was futile. I tried the bath, toilet, squatting. I really wanted Diane and Margo to leave because I felt really watched and they got that feeling and left and I shut the door. Like in Ever’s birth….I talked to this baby. I said, Sable come out. You can do it. I was feeling a tiny bit frustrated but knew that Timing is everything and I was never scared or thinking it would not happen. I felt his tiny little bones inside the sac.

I thought being alone would help but I kept having contractions that felt like they were in the wrong place to get the rest out. I pricked the bag somehow and brown fluid came out. I kept feeling and the sac was brown and disintegrating. That was the “particulate” I had been seeing the last couple of months but thought was lining. Anyway, it was a major contraction I guess I was waiting for and I got one. I said to Margo at 11:29, “how do I get it out” and literally that second a major contraction just pushed him out, splattering blood all over her. What a friend.:) And I said, “like that, I get it out like that!!”. It just happened. Like a pure fetal ejection reflex or something. Just shot out of me, perfect and whole. A baby in a sac and attached placenta. All together. Done, complete. My body felt great, little bleeding and just in disbelief that it was over that quickly. I hopped into bath to clean off and held my baby/placenta outside the tub on a blue pad. I wanted to take a ton of pictures first before I opened his sac. I was also hesitant and sad to break it open.

As I write this, I cry here and there. Wishing my baby was here next to me as I write his story, like all the others have been. Feeling that void. After all my planning and worrying, HE decided to be born at a major energetic time of shifting, the solar eclipse.

From there, it was uncharted territory and still is. All the months I had to prepare could not have prepared me for seeing him, touching him, crying, wondering what went wrong, laughing at him looking like chocolate (!) and just…being in awe of my body and this process.

I moved to the kitchen table with baby on table, inspecting and taking pictures with my friends. Wanting to make sense of the unsense-able. Wanting answers and not really getting any except a possible twin in the placenta. Not knowing what to do with him or this part. Wanting to respect him, but feeling like my time was running out as he was getting cold and I could feel his individual tiny little bones, like even in his skull. Wanting to bury him but not, wanting to see him but not. Wanting to keep him and not put him away from me. But knowing that keeping him was not an option either. One of the most confusing times in my life; aware but confused and speechless. How does the body and mind and soul make sense of this? We created a person, a perfect person and now here he sits looking not quite human. But yet my baby. Who won’t nurse or breathe or cry, ever. Who will never grow into his little legs and tiny penis. Who is forever 14 weeks. And when I think of these things, my heart breaks and I bawl a pain I have never known. How are these photos and this birth story, which is nearly finished, all that I have, all that I get? How can this be all?

But his birth was perfect. Every bit of power and responsibility and grace and strength I could have mustered was mine. I could not have asked for a more perfect birth, full of everything I Know to be true. It was actually the most instinctive I have ever felt, in all 7 of my (live) births. Not having ever seen this kind of miscarriage, not knowing what to expect or how it would happen or feel, and hearing all sorts of stories made me that naive “first time mom”, in a way. Except I’m not, and my trust and belief in my body and the process is….deep. Having that, and not having my mental brain involved in this birth made me just do it, easy and simple. I look back on how I was feeling (but I wasn’t analyzing it, being in “midwife brain” as I have in my other births) and how whatever I DID was instinctually perfect. From needing privacy, dark and a removal of clothes, for example, even with no intellectual knowing that the birth was actually about to happen. To knowing to wait for the rest of the baby to come, and to not push it, and then to handle it calmly when it did happen. Knowing everything was out and I was good, I had it, I had done it perfectly. I also gained so much experience, and felt proud of my intuitive use of “technology”, meaning the cytotec. I felt through it, and chose exactly what was right for me, even though it was something I never could have known prior and something no one else could have known for me, at any point.

I hope other women can hear Sable’s story and know that we are capable of so much more than we think. That we can monitor our own bodies, we can go for months (and longer) if we choose to wait, and we can carefully intuit our wisest ancient wisdom. We can use it to connect with our ancestors, we can wisely choose from the Medicines that suit us and our needs. We can birth our dead babies at home in love and peace and privacy. Powerful.

This morning after, I am feeling every emotion ever known. Sad, happy, relieved, excited for myself and for my body, excited for another pregnancy some day, knowing the healing and joy and happy tears that will come from birthing a healthy baby, but not wanting to dishonor him by allowing that to be my band aid right now. Wanting to feel it all, and honor my postpartum and also this sacred space. Feeling VERY MUCH the sacred postpartum right now but in a different way. Honoring my body for a job very well done, all of it. For growing him and keeping him, for birthing so easily and for so little bleeding. I honor all that is.

I know deep down this is profound and is a part of me and that it will never be over. I know there will be painful times ahead and great times and realizations and that Sable is around me, here with me. That it just is. And I can feel it and do it.

I love you, Sable Sage.
Blessed be.

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  1. Janessa Craig says:

    Oh Maryn. So beautifully written. So beautifully shared.
    Blessings to all of you.

  2. babz says:

    this is beautifully shared maryn , i didn’t know and i am very sorry for your loss. i know how this feels.

  3. Evie says:


  4. Olivia says:

    Such a strong and uplifting experience that leads you to a new evolutionary state and understanding!
    Thanks for sharing your experience. You are amazing!

  5. Ellie Lee says:

    Oh dear Maryn, your writing is so beautiful and profound. My Chrysalis died at 33 weeks 20 years ago and what I learned from his death and birth is with me forever. Your love for Sable Sage will be alive within you always. It is a time of sweet grief, and acceptance. I am so proud of you! I send much love and light to your tender mama’s heart.

  6. carissa says:

    Much love to you and Sable. Thank you for trusting the process of life and death, inspiring other women to do the same.

  7. Blessed be…Your story is powerful and a testimony to the wonder of life and death. Thank you for sharing so other women might know the power and wisdom of their bodies. Sending you much love and healing.

  8. Andrea says:

    Thank you, Maryn. Blessings to you and your family.

  9. Thank you.


  10. Carole says:

    Oh Maryn a love so great…always and forever

  11. Bethany says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this incredibly personal and womanly experience. I lost a babe at 12 weeks that my body held for a single month after. I am grateful for your heart and for the loving support that you have had. So much love to you.

  12. Autumn says:

    Thank you Maryn for sharing your birth of Sable Sage. Thank you for showing another moment in your life in trusting your body to make the next move. Your testimony will go far and reach many. My prayers and blessings for you and your family through this season.

  13. Laura ODell says:

    Oh Maryn. Thank you for sharing the story of Sable Sage. My heart goes out to you. <3 Much love Laura

  14. MG says:

    I had a friend that carried her already dead baby for months too. I didn’t know her well enough to get the birthing story. This story you tell is profound and I feel honored to have read it. I’m sorry for your loss.

  15. My sister and beautiful woman that you are!!!! I just now saw this and also feel very honored to know it…..you are so special and courageous. I had no idea that he was still in you!!! your sharing is so strong and beautiful….thank you AGAIN, for being who you are…..tremendous testimony!!! I love you!

  16. Caroline Mirth says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I was informed three and a half weeks ago my baby does not show any signs of life. I should be about 10 1/2 weeks along now. The Dr. is officially saying miscarriage although my body is saying different. My body is convinced all is good. I have had no cramping or spotting/bleeding of any sorts. I now wait in what I refer to limbo not sure how to feel and when it will all take place. Could something have been missed in the ultrasounds? What I truely treasure about your story is the idea, no truth, of having a birthing story vs a “miscarriage”. It gives me a much needed perspective that this will be just as beautiful and is part of my and my lil bugs story. And that taking the time to be present in that moment vs ignoring it and trying to live life through that process. I am so happy a client of mine sent your story to me. God always puts things in our path we need. I hope to find natural support through this process. I may need some help 🙂
    Thank you!
    And what a beautiful name, Sable Sage!

  17. Maryn Green says:

    Sending love, Caroline and thank you for sharing. Anything is possible, although with a “missed miscarriage” as it’s called, the body either takes an extended time to recognize or doesn’t in fact recognize that the baby is no longer alive (or that is our human interpretation of what is going on; although it means that the baby does remain within and the body shows very little if any signs of miscarriage.) As I wrote, Sable remained for 4 months, which may or may not be atypical (we don’t really know, since most women will seek “help” before that.)
    Feel free to email me if you need more support.

  18. Jadedladey@gmail.com says:

    Dear Maryn,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and experience with us. I myself have just recently gone through this. However my little one was only approximately eight weeks when there were no more signs of life. I had started spotting very lightly, meaning very little bright red bleeding, mostly pink fluid. I already was scheduled for my next appointment the following day. I went in for my second ultrasound to hear the heart beat, and should have measured at ten weeks. The doctor informed us, I was only measuring at eight weeks and there was no heart beat. I was thirteen days under where I should have been. My husband immediately broke down when the doctor confirmed the miscarriage. I, myself had mentally prepared for this. I knew what was happening as soon as it started. Of course I was hoping for another outcome, but didn’t allow myself to become too attached to this baby this early in the pregnancy in case something were to go wrong. I know how bad that may sound but I’m very precautious with things. That’s just who I am. I’m also almost 39 years old and knew the possible risks of things that could go wrong at my age. I felt bad that my husband had become more attached than I had. When I announced the pregnancy to him, I did it in front his family, with the help of his parents who knew for almost a month before. Anyway, moving forward. When we found out, I was referred to another doctor to see what my options were. I had an appointment three days later. I was given the option the take medication to make my body expel the baby or have a D&C to remove the baby. In my mind, I did not want to chose either thinking this would just happen naturally. The spotting had all but stopped at this point which told me my body was not ready to do this. I knew that if I waited, the risk of complications would go up with time. If I took the medication there was no definitive timeline when this would happen and I was told I could hemorrhage when it happened and would require a D&C anyway. So I chose to have the D&C. This way I would know when it was over and would be able to process it and move on. Up to the day of surgery, I still had not passed any tissue and was barely spotting. My surgery was scheduled and then was postponed another week due to me having a respiratory infection and the anesthesiologist refusing to put me under. By the time I had the surgery my little had been gone for 24 days. It was the longest 24 days of my life. I was ready for closure. The day after my surgery my husband, myself, and our five year old drove 11 hours from VA to TN to visit my husband’s family. Our vacation was scheduled to start two days before my surgery so we had to wait to go. The drive was grueling but I needed the rest and relaxation from work and everything else going on. I was determined to get away. Now after everything that has happened, my husband and I are trying for another baby. I am taking a pregnancy test this week! I know this was very long and drawn out, and I thank you for reading my story. You have given me the courage to finally share this when I haven’t been able to yet, and it’s been three and a half months since I lost my little one. Thank you again so much for helping me and so many others!

  19. Kassie Mann says:

    I needed to read this today. I am grateful you have opened your heart and shared your experience. I am in awe that you were able to trust the innate wisdom within. I sit currently waiting for my baby that has passed somewhere between 15-17 weeks to leave my body. I have been here twice before as I have labored out 2 of my sleeping babies in the hospital before with the help of Misoprostol/Cytotec. But this time it feels so different, I want to listen to my body, give it time to process. I want to trust in the innate wisdom of my body, however, I am struggling with the impatience and depression of my mind. You were so brave to surrender for so long. And I am sorry we are apart of this web who have experienced this, but I am grateful for your openness. Thank you.

  20. Maryn Green says:

    I’m sorry you are experiencing this too, Kassie! Reach out if I can be of help. Here is a podcast I did as well. https://indiebirth.org/sable-journal-selected-readings-15-week-journey-carrying-dead-son/

  21. Danielle LeBlanc says:

    So honest and beautiful! I find myself asking all the same questions you did about how to honor him and how to move forward to a healthy baby. The pain is deep and indescribable. I’m not a writer at all but this inspired me to write out Bodhi’s birth story. It was truly magical! Love you my dear friend!

  22. Maryn Green says:

    Danielle; I am not a writer either but it was/is therapeutic to have shared his story and memory, as it may be for you as well to share about your sweet Bodhi. I’d love to read it and I know it would be helpful for women everywhere. So many women are in the shoes of loss and hearing other women’s voices is so powerful. So much love to you.

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We are mamas and midwives who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are radical, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit to help move us all towards a new more beautiful world. With 12 children and over two decades of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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