hyperemesis gravidarum Pregnancy

My Miscarriage …. A Mother’s Love Never Dies

My Miscarriage …. A Mother’s Love Never Dies

Tara Carpenter, NC, CPES.

This post contains photos that may be disturbing, view at own discretion.

On July 27th 2006, I lost a baby girl so tiny she fit in my palm with her legs dangling over. She was 15 weeks grown with delicate features complete in her formation; only did she need more time to plump up. She had the beginnings of eyelashes, fingernails, a cleft in her chin.

She fluttered inside me the first time the day before I miscarried. The severe morning sickness I experienced throughout pregnancy had lifted a week prior. I was on the up and up, looking pregnant, and FINALLY feeling more normal, ready to welcome this next phase of pregnancy.

One Minute There, One Minute Gone

The doctors said it was group A strep infection that traveled to my uterus, causing her to overheat and her brain to hemorrhage. Only took a second and she was gone. One minute the nurse said “your baby’s fine, she has a steady heartbeat”. The next minute my fever spiked and her heart stopped. Within hours my body was in labor birthing and I hung on in shock.

Within 2 hours of giving birth, my fever spiked high from a systemic blood infection. I lost consciousness and received 2 rounds of blood transfusions. When I woke, doctors and specialists surrounded me with concern. I’d nearly died from sepsis. They were glad I was alive. I felt less thrilled at being alive, I felt empty, empty, empty. A week later I went home with 3 months of antibiotics and an endless ache in my body.

She was 15 weeks, weighed 2 1/2 ounces and 6 inches in length. I held and kissed her and wanted to swallow her whole. To take her back inside me where she belonged. Everything about the moment was wrong. This should NOT be happening. This is wrong. Yet, there she was to see and touch and kiss and lick. I swear I would have eaten her had I been alone, a feeling so primal I wonder if in Nature, animal mothers eat their offspring. 

You may think me weird, this desire to put her back in my body, back in my belly. All these years later I go back to the moment, sitting on that hospital toilet; feeling her slip out effortlessly. Inspecting her from head to perfect toe. We had an hour together before a nurse carefully wrapped her in cloth and took her away, took her little footprints and put them in a blue box for us to take home. Me alone in a metal bed so cold I wanted to die.


Maybe the infection came from an undercooked burger I ate earlier that day; made with poor quality meat and still red in the middle. I grew up eating raw hamburger rolled in balls sprinkled with salt ‘n pepper. To my mom’s chagrin, my father would pop them in my mouth one-by-one. Yet, I know in pregnancy this is a no, especially if the meat is not pastured. I know this. We were at a barbecue where the meat was certainly not good quality. That is the hardest part, that I knew yet thought would be fine.

Maybe I became infected because I was 15 weeks pregnant and recovering from a serious prenatal condition. I was malnourished STARVING. Eating that undercooked burger put me and my baby in jeopardy. I will live with this guilt. My older sister, also pregnant at the time, discarded that burger because she felt uncomfortable eating it. I ate it and should not have. That evening, I woke in sweat with incredible stomach pains.

I was dehydrated and weak from vomiting/nausea that are the main symptoms that come with having Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). The doctors explained that my weak state is likely what allowed the strep infection to take hold and cause the baby to overheat and die. Had I been stronger in my health, maybe I’d only have had a bellyache … maybe.

I had the HG condition from the time I was one week pregnant, vomiting 24/7, unable to drink more than a teaspoon of liquid at once. I’d go days without eating, because it took that long to think of what to eat. If I couldn’t imagine and taste it to the fullest, then I couldn’t stomach it. I was put on a drug for patients undergoing chemotherapy, an immuno-suppressant that suppressed my immune system and made me out of sorts and barely made a dent in how bad I felt.

I lost my baby just one week after the HG lifted, 7 days to the day. Like fog, one day the horrible unrelenting nausea disappeared. I was elated and also vulnerable after weeks of undernourishment. This is when I ate that burger; still physically exhausted with a weak immune system, yet happy to feel well again. I probably couldn’t have fought off a fly, let alone the blood infection I got. Once the cramps, vomiting, and fever hit there was no stopping and within a matter of hours, my baby was gone.

The doctors never did say if my miscarriage was from one thing or another; maybe they didn’t want me to feel guilty. I do. My heart will forever go out to those who lose a child at any age. 

The weeks after were a blur. I wavered between wanting to die to be with my baby and wanting to be with my oldest boy who was too young to register such depth of emotion. Is anyone able to? My body needed to integrate one heartbeat where there’d once been two. I wanted out. I wanted nothing to do with this emotionally trying process. I was empty, still felt pregnant. I was sad for a long time.

A mother’s grief turned inside out …. I didn’t want to shower, move, eat, do anything that supported the very body that failed my baby. When I told my 4 year old that the baby wasn’t in my tummy anymore, he asked if she died because of the pizza I ate during pregnancy. I smiled, hugged him, and let that one be.

It’s been 16 years since I lost my baby girl. I miss her and apologize every time I feel her fill my belly with her presence. A mother’s love never dies.

Sunflower, sunflower, yellow, and tall …. you were the prettiest sunflower of all.

Now You Are Still: Losing My Baby Girl

Seeding a “C-Section” Born Baby

Eating to Prevent GBS+ Infection

May all bellies be happy!

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4 replies on “My Miscarriage …. A Mother’s Love Never Dies”

Hi Jeannie. Thank you for your kindness. It felt good to write this post – through tears nonetheless. Yes, you are welcome to use the photo’s (and the posting itself) from this page. I simply ask that you include a photo credit for Happy Bellies website. If you need them emailed to you please let me know,

First, let me express my sympathy for your loss. I am the founder of a non-profit organization and teach hospital and church staff about the importance of helping a family in grief when a miscarriage occurs. I am writing to request permission to share pictures of your precious little one in my teaching. Thank you for considering my request.

Thank you Rosie,
Once you carry a child in your womb you are a mother. Even if your child is unable to continue to grow and stay with you physically. I will always feel connected to my baby girl and to other women who have lost a child in this way.


Im terribly sorry for your loss. And admire you for the strength you hold even tho you went through such a loss. Your baby girl was beautiful and very lucky to have a mother who will never try to forget her forever she will be with you. And love you very much for the memory you hold of her.Thanks your story is very touching!

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