Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A miscarriage primer

There is a lot of information about miscarriages on the Internet. And a lot of misinformation, unfortunately. As I expect many women who are preparing to miscarry naturally do, I scoured the Web for any and all information that might be available.

If the Internet was to be believed, I could expect the worst pain of my life -- worse than real labor! -- in addition to vomiting and probably passing out unconscious on the bathroom floor.

What I think is probably true is that miscarriages are different for every woman. I'm certain a lot of it has to do with how far along the pregnancy was.

So what I'd like to do is explain, without reserve, the details of my own miscarriage in case there is a woman out there who is going through this same thing and is, perhaps, a little terrified by what she's read on the Internet.

Now for starters, I'm not going to leave out the dirty details that I feel lots of Internet miscarriers leave out. That is to say: I had diarrhea every day for 10 days before the miscarriage. This may not be normal, but this was my experience. 

I'd been spotting off and on for almost two weeks before I started bleeding, like a period. The bleeding began four days before the miscarriage.

The evening before the miscarriage, I was feeling pretty good but there was definitely a tightening in my abdomen; some cramping that I could feel growing stronger. I went to bed around midnight. 

I woke up at 3 a.m. with strong cramps. It felt like very strong period cramps. I knew this must be the beginning of the miscarriage, and I got up to go sit on the toilet. First there was more diarrhea - joy! About twenty minutes later, the first chunks of uterine lining slipped out.

Now, what I guess I hadn't anticipated was how that was going to feel. It felt larger than I expected. I didn't look at it; I just flushed it. And then I cried for a good ten minutes.

I'll interject here to say that while the cramps were painful, and the contractions did ramp up over the next three hours, at no point did I feel the absolute need to take the Vicodin my doctor had prescribed. This was not the worst pain of my life, and I am sure real labor will be worse. That being said, the embryo had died at 6 weeks, 4 days, so it was small.

So over the three hours of the main part of the miscarriage, I had contractions in waves. I would sit on the toilet, push out a chunk or two, get up, walk around, drink some water, lie down for a few minutes, and then repeat. The worst part of the whole thing was probably the back labor -- a deep ache in my lower back that was very uncomfortable.

*Note -- I think staying well hydrated during this process helps keep things moving.

I did finally take a look at what was coming out and I'm sorry if this grosses you out, but it looked like pieces of offal. Chicken liver and such.

At 6 a.m., I was too exhausted to continue. I was still cramping, but the cramps had leveled off to a level I thought I could probably sleep through. And sleep I did, until noon, getting up once to change my pad at 9 a.m.

Throughout that day I had some cramping, especially in the early evening, when it got so bad I did consider taking the Vicodin. Luckily, after about two hours it had stopped.

On Monday I was feeling physically pretty good. I still had some niggling aches in my lower back, but it wasn't constant. I decided I felt well enough to run some errands. About 30 seconds after I walked out of the house, I felt the amniotic sac slide out.

I am quite certain it was the amniotic sac because it was large -- about the size of my hand -- and grayish in some areas. Parts looked veined, if you can believe it. In all honesty the thing creeped me out so bad I could barely look at it. Another reason I'm quite sure this was the amniotic sac is that the cramps stopped right away. Everything I've read on the Internet has said the sac is the last to come out, and as soon as it does, the cramping stops.

I have an appointment this afternoon for an ultrasound. I fervently hope everything came out. I can't have gone through all that, only to then need a D&C.

Physically, I'm feeling decent. No more nausea, thank goodness. I do still feel a little fatigued, which is probably to be expected, and I've unfortunately developed pupps rash -- a rash pregnant women sometimes get after labor. It's quite itchy and annoying.

Emotionally I am relieved. I feel that now that this is hopefully behind me, I can move forward. Not just with trying to conceive again, but with other areas of my life. This experience has helped me reevaluate the way I've been living, and it's lighted a fire under me to be more ambitious.

As far as when we will try again, I don't think that emotionally I can do it right away. My current plan, barring any unforeseen change of events, is to wait until January to try again. I hope that by then I can get to a healthy place where I feel completely ready to embark on this journey once more.


  1. Courageous, brave post. You will definitely help people with this post.

    I'm glad this is over for you, physically.

    Take care of yourself.

  2. I am glad you are feeling physically better. And I think it's probably a good idea not to try and get pregnant again immediately. Give yourself some time to grieve.

    My thoughts are with you.

  3. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story...

    Please take care, and rest. You'll know when you're ready to begin again...

  4. Y'know, there's nothing anyone can say that will make you feel even remotely better. So i'm just going to say its shit that you have had to go through this. Just remember that by posting this you are bound to help at least one other woman by being so honest and open about your experience. I'm sure that someone going through a miscarriage will take some comfort from what you've written. I dearly hope that you are successful on your next go, i'm hoping to go for iui in January, you never know, we could be pregnancy buddies x

  5. You are quite possibly the bravest person I know. I know its not easy to go through this, let alone relive it mentally and put it on the Internet for everyone to read.

    At the same time, I know you'll help an untold number of women with it.

    Major love to you and B. Take care of yourself.

  6. Thank you for thinking of others during this stressful time for you, this will help many, I am sure of it.

    I am thinking of you.

  7. i think its so helpful you did this, i know there is probably some woman right now searching for advice and help on the internet. i hope she finds her way here.

  8. So very very sorry for your loss. I had a D&C with my miscarriage; it was obviously a lot less graphic and visceral, but I'm not sure it was "better." Be good to yourself.

  9. Thank you for your brave account. We all go through different things during a miscarriage, that's true. But some of it is true for everyone and it's really brave of you to share all of the nitty gritty.
    I have no better word for this so i'll say I'm proud of you for taking a break and looking out for yourself. That is an amazing place to start the healing.
    Thinking of you!

  10. I have to ditto so many of the commenters. Erin, you are so courageous. Thank you for sharing this intimate situation in such a genuine and practical way. I'm in awe of you.

  11. I am so very sorry to hear this. Let me know if you ever want to chat. I know this is not fair to both of us. xxxxx sending you lots of love and hugs. So sorry.

  12. It takes a strong person to write about something so personal and heart breaking. Keep on trying!

  13. It helped me. Thanks for posting.

  14. It helped me. Thanks for posting.

  15. This helped me today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

  16. This helped me today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

  17. This helped me today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

  18. I realize this is an old post but I feel the need to comment in regards to the pain issue because I was completely unprepared for that -- both the intensity and the duration. It was excruciating. In the ER, they shot me up w/morphine and it didn't even touch the pain which was rhythmic like contractions. The cramping was concentrated in my pelvis and bore deep into my back. It went on for days. I returned to the ER three days later because I didn't think it was normal. It's because I was 14 wks along. I miscarried naturally. In the preceding days, I also experience diarrhea & a 5 day migraine. Hope this helps someone else gauge the "normalcy" of their own pain.

  19. Thank u for sharing this. I just lost my baby yesterday at 8w4d and this was very similar to my experience I just was in ER at the time. I am extremely exhausted today trying to care for my 2 year old and have been searching internet to see if this exhaustion is common.

  20. I'm crying as I read this...I found out last week that we lost our baby at 8 weeks...I start the process tomorrow, (the pill.) I'm not ready, emotionally that is...I feel as if I wait some how my baby will develop a heart beat. That if I just keep putting it off And demanding ultra sounds that a miracle will happen. But at the same time, the more I put it off, the more disappointment I get at every ultra sound, is only making things harder. I know I'm not ready, but I know it's what needs to be done. I'll get my rainbow baby, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready to try again.