My Miscarriage Story
This is my personal experience with our first miscarriage. I am not a doctor and do not claim any of this information as medical advice. This description includes full details so if you don't want to read the full natural process of miscarriage this post may not be for you. When I was going through this trial there was very little information that I could find that really covered the process in its entirety. Everyone is different so you may not have the same experience as me, but I hope that by sharing my story it will help others going through this same trial.
The advice I'm giving in this post and the ways to heal physically and emotionally are things that have helped me. It is my perspective after having a second miscarriage at 15 weeks just a few short months after the first.
The Ultrasound - September 2017
There I was 12 weeks and 4 days along. I had just chugged 32 ounces of water so my bladder would be full enough for the ultrasound. I was literally about to wet my pants when they called me in. I lied down on the table and was smiling from ear to ear at my husband Tyson. I couldn't wait to see that little one wiggling around! Turns out I drank too much water so they let me get up to go to the bathroom which was a huge relief.
I was back on the table. The ultrasound tech gooped up my belly with the cold slimy gel and moved the tool around a bit. Around and around. She had the screen turned so I couldn't see anything. She said she was having a hard time seeing the baby because it was so early so she recommended that we do a vaginal ultrasound instead. She seemed calm, like everything was fine so I wasn't worried. She then said that she was going to get all the measurements she needed and then she would turn the screen and show me. I'd never had an ultrasound before so I didn't know what to expect. I was just so excited and waiting patiently for her to finish so I could see my baby! It took forever. I looked over at Tyson who could see the screen and his face began going pale. At that moment I knew something was wrong. He was doing all he could to hold it together. Then she turned the screen and showed me a tiny little dot and said that there was no heartbeat. She told us she would let us have the room and to take as long as we needed.
What? How could it be? My baby was supposed to be the size of a lime? With fingers and toes and a fast heartbeat. How could it be a tiny dot in and empty womb? I had experienced no bleeding or cramping. I had been nauseous but not to the point of throwing up. I thought maybe I was just lucky? I had gained about 5 pounds and all my pants were way too tight. My chest was enlarged and very tender and I had no reason to believe that anything was wrong. So how could this be?
The Days That Followed
Tyson and I went home with no information on what the next step was. We just laid in bed and cried together for hours.
The next few days we're very somber. We held each other close and began to talk through what would happen next. We are religious so we prayed A LOT that week. We knew that God had a plan for us and everything would be ok. This gave us great comfort, but we still had a lot of questions about what the road ahead would be like. We had just finished telling most of our close family and friends and all I could think about was how I was going to explain to them that we lost the baby. What would they think?
During the next week we told everyone the news. We were overwhelmed with comfort and support. When I first found out we'd be miscarrying I wished I hadn’t told anyone because it was hard to have to tell them we lost the baby. Looking back now I'm so glad we did. I cannot imagine going through this trial without our close friends and family by our side. They helped with meals, hugs, and lots of chocolate. They were such a good support system to us through this time.
I was very open with people about us being pregnant and I got a few comments that maybe we shouldn't be so open so soon. They would say well "what if you miscarry," and my response was "yeah, what if we miscarry?" We wanted our close family and friends to understand what was going on in our lives and be there to help us out when we needed it. My husband and I had waited for a few years before trying to have children and were constantly being asked when we were going to have kids. However, once we miscarried those that were close to us no longer asked us that. They were supportive and understanding. Imagine how much harder miscarrying would have been if we would have not told them. We would have probably still been asked when we were going to start a family and it would have been much harder to discuss after having lost a baby.
My advice for anyone going through this is to not be afraid to tell people. It's a bit scary at first but the strength you will receive from close friends and family will help you through. This is not something that is easy to handle and doing it alone, I'm sure, would make it even more difficult. Now as far as social media goes, that's where I'm glad I hadn't shared quite yet. Even though I'm sure most people would be supportive I am glad that it was just those close to us that knew.
What Did I Do Wrong?
I had a million thoughts running through my mind that week, and to be honest some of them still creep into my mind now. I began to think about all the things I should have done:
I should have exercised more.
I should have eaten better.
I should have not used that lotion or hair product that was not 100% natural.
I should have had an ultrasound sooner.
I should have had a doctor instead of a midwife.
The list goes on and on. It must have been something I did right?
Since then I've realized that all of these thoughts are very normal. I'm sure that every woman that has miscarried has had some of these thoughts. Even though these thoughts are normal to have it's important to push them aside. You are amazing! You have created a life and even though it has ended you are still an amazing woman and MOTHER. The most important thing to remember is that it was not your fault. No matter what you come up with to assign blame to yourself or your spouse you have to push it aside and tell yourself IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT!
I didn't really know anyone that had experienced this, so the internet was where I turned. Aside from a few medical articles and forums there didn't really seem to be anything that explained things fully. The before, during, and after were never really laid out clearly anywhere I could find, especially the emotional side of things.
Everything I found just said, cramping, bleeding, and tissue loss a bit more extreme then a regular period. Wait a month or two and try again.
This was not good enough, I needed more details. My dad's-girlfriend's-daughter had miscarried recently and called me and gave me a bit of advice and what to prepare for. But I was still not fully prepared for what my body and mind was about to go through.
My midwife was sick and out of the office for the next week and a half and the office would not return my calls with any information on what I should do (which is a whole other story) so I really was on my own with this. I didn't know any other way to do it rather than naturally. Which in the long run ended up being a good thing for me.
I just did the best I could to prepare and I waited, which from what I had read could take anywhere from 1-6 weeks. This waiting period was torture. You're technically no longer pregnant because the baby has died but your body still thinks you are and you know there is something inside of you that once held life. It really is a weird transition period. Part of you wants to hold on to that baby and not let it go and another part of you knows it's gone and wants to progress.
This waiting period (1 week for me) turned out to be a good thing for my husband and I because we were able to begin to process what was about to happen and give each other strength. It helped prepare us for what was to come. I cannot imagine beginning to bleed as much as I did without knowing ahead of time it was going to happen. I think for me since things happened so quickly it would have been a lot more traumatic not knowing that we were losing the baby. This was one thing that God blessed us with during this trial.
The Full Natural Process
One week from when we found out we'd lost the baby I started spotting red blood in the morning. A few hours later I began bleeding pretty heavily. Then at about 10am things really began to escalate. I was bleeding very heavily and cramping or "contracting" pretty severely. When they say cramping like period cramps it's the same area but much more painful. Although I've never had full term labor I would say it's more severe like a labor contractions could be. I then began to loose tissue. This is where I'm going to be a bit graphic because I did not expect how much tissue would come out and nothing I read really prepared me for this.
I began to have large pieces of tissue come out. Like big sheets that were about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick and the size of a egg or a few fingers wide. I would feel a contraction coming and then run to the bathroom and sit on the toilet and then they would gush out along with a lot of blood. I would think that it was over and so I'd clean up and go lay back down then 20-30 mins later it would happen again, this went on for 4-6 hours.
I began to be exhausted. I could not believe that there was that much tissue still inside of me. So much it was still coming out hours later. Thankfully I had my husband home to help me. I also asked my sister to get a few things from the store and come over to help.
I have never really worn pads. I've always used tampons and always had pretty regular periods with only 1 or 2 heavy days. I knew I would need pads for this because I had read that you're not supposed to use tampons. This is true. You want everything to be able to flow out freely. During the waiting week I grabbed a pack to try to be prepared. I just grabbed some heavy panty liners. These we're not nearly enough. I had to send my sister to get some of the huge nighttime ones with the big back. HERE (affiliate link) are the ones I used. They were much more supportive.
I would even recommend getting the diaper kind. I know it sounds a bit extreme but when your going through this much bleeding and pain you just want to be covered. You don't really care about how bulky it is.
I began to feel dizzy while on the toilet about 8 hours in and ended up passing out. My husband and sister ran in and I came to pretty quickly. In most cases you would probably go to the emergency room after passing out. But, my bleeding had slowed down quite a bit and I was only having big chunks of tissue come out once and hour or so. I was also checking all my vitals which were normal and my mother (who is a nurse practitioner) recommended for me to stay home and rest since the bleeding had gone down and my vitals were all good. We decided I'd probably passed out because I'd lost so much blood so quickly and I had had nothing to drink or eat in that time. I had my sister go grab some gatorade and juice because I knew I needed to start pounding the liquids.
I got a good meal in me and drank lots of fluids and I felt much better. I was not allowed to go to the bathroom by myself anymore after passing out. My sister had to be by my side every time I went. This bleeding, contracting, and tissue release went on another 4 hours or so even though it had slowed down a lot since earlier that day. By this point I'd been into this about 12 hours and it was time to try and get some sleep. My sister went home and my husband made me promise to wake him up every time I got up so he could be with me in case anything happened.
At first I was a bit embarrassed having him help me to the bathroom each time. We'd been married for 4 year and even though we'd seen a lot of each other this was an entirely different thing. He would sit on the bathroom floor next to me and talk to me the whole time to make sure I was ok and not about to pass out. It ended up being so sweet to have him there caring for me. Even though this is definitely the hardest thing physically I've done there were some very tender moments that my husband and I experienced through this trial that have strengthened our relationship. It was so sweet to have someone care so much for me and hold my hand through it all.
Not only was I losing this baby he was too.
That night was a long one. I ended up passing out 1 more time on the toilet at about 3am. Thankfully Tyson was right there and caught me. He later said that this was the longest 10 seconds of his life as he held me waiting and trying to get me to come to. My body was literally exhausted. The bleeding had gone down even more and I had lost most of the tissue by this point. All of my vitals were still good and per my mother's advice we stayed home to rest and I continued to drink lots of fluids. After this my husband and I were finally able to get a decent stretch of sleep. About 4 hours later we woke and I had to get up again to release more. It was about 7am the next morning. My bleeding had gone down a lot by now, almost to a normal period flow and I was only losing small bits of tissue. About the size of pocket change. My husband and I took it very easy the whole day. We knew the worst was behind us. But I was so physically and emotionally exhausted it took all my energy just to get up to use the bathroom.
The next day I felt much better; the bleeding had gone down to spotting and no more tissue was coming out. It was a Sunday and even though I was still very exhausted I decided it would be good for my spirit to go to church. It was.
The days that followed I slowly began to gain strength. I spotting red blood for about 5-7 days and then it changed to brown spotting for another week or so. Things began to heal.
Give yourself plenty of time to heal. Especially when it comes to intimacy. The cervix is very tender during this whole process and for me it was also very low which caused discomfort and spotting during intimacy. This then made me think that things would never be the same between us. Give yourself time. About a month later things had returned to normal.
So what's next? Life changes the instant you find out you're pregnant. Your entire thought process changes. You begin to prepare for that little one in so many ways. You may have maternity clothes or baby clothes sitting around that you've purchased. You may have a giant pregnancy pillow sitting in your room staring you in the face. You may start getting formula samples and coupons in the mail that NEVER SEEM TO STOP! All of these things could very easily drive you crazy. My advice is to package up the maternity and baby clothes, you will use them again, but just put them out of sight for now. Take a breath and take some time to rediscover yourself again. Once you're pregnant your entire world revolves around that baby and then once it's gone it seems like everything that is important goes with it. You have to refocus yourself. This is definitely not easy and it takes time, but it must done. Spend quality time with your partner and also spend quality time with yourself.
Let yourself cry. Your body and hormones are changing once again and if you're anything like me (and most of the female population) you will be very emotional. Sometimes I would just start crying over nothing. That is ok. Let your body cry and release that pain. Don’t just hold it in and try and keep everything together. You need to cry and put it all out there in order to be able to heal and move on.
The aftermath of miscarriage came with a few side effects for me. Once you get pregnant your hormones begin to change to support the growth of the baby then when it's gone they change again. This can cause all sorts of things. I began to breakout on my back, chest, and face. I also lost a crazy amount of hair. It just kept falling out for about a month or so. It did grow back but I lost a lot. About two weeks after the miscarriage I began to have headaches everyday. They lasted for a few weeks and then they went away. My skin, hair and nails were awful for a month or two and then they began to regain strength and color. I also had put on weight I wasn't used to having. It took me a few months, but I eventually got back to my original weight.
With all of these changes it was hard for me to feel good about myself. So what did I do. Well to be honest sometimes I cried. And most of the times it was for no reason. Something small would happen or someone would say something and all of the sudden the flood gate would open. This is perfectly normal. My husband got really good at just pulling me in a holding me close.
Let yourself cry. Your body and hormones are changing once again and if you're anything like me (and most of the female population) you will be very emotional. That is ok. Let your body cry and release that pain. Don’t just hold it in and try and keep everything together. You need to cry and put it all out there in order to be able to heal and move on.
I also really tried to do things that made me happy. I went and got my hair cut. This was a change and it made me feel good. I also went and got a few new outfits. Everything I'd bought the last several months was something that would work with a pregnant belly so it was nice to go get a new outfit just for me. Health wise I found Yoga, there was a great class at my local YMCA that was 3 days a week. It was taught by a cute 65 year old lady that was amazing! I could not believe how good she was at her age. I dedicated myself to going and it really helped me physically and emotionally.
Most important when I struggled and needed to talk I reached out. If you’re struggling don't be afraid to tell someone. It's not weakness it's strength to know you need help and to ask for it.
I also tried to focus on other things that made me happy. I would plan weekly dates with my husband. I worked as hard as I could on my business which I LOVE and really just tried to do things that I enjoyed. I had to find myself again before I would be ready to try again.
My advice to you is to take some time. For me this was about 3 months. For you it may be longer or shorter but just be patient and give yourself the time you need to be ready to try again. Give yourself a chance to breathe and get your life balanced. You and your partner are the only ones that will know when you're ready.
The Road Ahead
My husband and I are still trying to growing our family. We got pregnant again about 3 months after miscarrying the first with our second baby and ended up losing it at 15 weeks. This journey for us may be more difficult that we thought. Even though this is such a difficult road for us and for many others, I know that the reward is worth all the heartache. I don't know what our future holds but I do know that some way and somehow it will all be worth it when we get to hold a little one in our arms.
Good luck to those of you struggling. I wish the very best to you and pray for all those out there that are going through this trial.
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