what to expect during miscarriage

I am not a medical professional.  This is what I experienced during my most recent miscarriage.  Please seek medical attention if you are concerned about your pregnancy.  Call a doctor immediately if you are soaking through more than one pad an hour or losing large clots.

what to expect during miscarriage

The whole experience is sad and scary, but I think the not knowing what to expect or what the hell is happening to your body makes it worse.  The pain and what your body goes through is shocking and a kick in the teeth after finding out your baby died.  It’s traumatic – mind, body, and soul.

Plan on that.  Make space to grieve.  Let people help you.  Be alone if you need to be alone.  Scream.  Cry.  Laugh.  Grieve however you need to.  It all sucks.  There’s no need to pretend that it doesn’t.  You’re in pain.  Allow it.

WARNING: What follows is detailed.  I don’t want to scare you, so maybe don’t read it unless it’s relevant.  Feel free to bookmark, pin, or share.

THE TIMELINE

Unless you get a D & C (dilation and curettage procedure), the process can take awhile once you find out there isn’t a heartbeat or the pregnancy is no longer viable.  It may even take awhile with a D & C – I don’t know.  It can also take awhile to even find out the baby has died.  I saw a heartbeat when I thought I was at 7 weeks.  The baby only measured about 6 weeks, though, and it wasn’t until 2 and a half weeks later that an ultrasound confirmed no cardiac activity.  It was about 1 week after that that the baby and lining came out.  That’s approximately 3 and a half weeks from my first doctor appointment to the miscarriage itself.

THE BODY

Every body is different.  This was my experience during my most recent miscarriage.  It was different…worse…than the other 5.

I was spotting off and on for the 2 weeks prior to the NO FETAL HEART RATE ultrasound (That’s fun to see labeled on your ultrasound, by the way.  Did they really think I didn’t know what NO FHR stood for?) and until the actual miscarriage happened.  I had some cramping once I stopped taking the progesterone prescribed by my doctor but nothing really painful.

9 days after we found out we’d lost the baby, I started having bad cramps, bleeding more heavily, and feeling dizzy.  It let up over the next couple days, though, so I was really hoping that was going to be it.

That Friday morning (about 1 week after the ultrasound) the baby and sac came out without any major pain or significant bleeding.  At 8pm Friday night, all hell broke loose.  I had cramps, low back pain, and heavy bleeding.  I passed 7 or 8 LARGE (like the size of a golf ball or small plum) clots.  It was very scary to see blood splatter on the bathroom floor.  I had stupidly been using tampons and had to switch over to pads to measure my bleeding better and because tampons are basically pendulums when you take them out and drip blood everywhere.

I could feel the clots when they came out.  It felt like severe cramps or a pulling sensation.  Essentially, the whole thing felt like constant, dull labor pains, which makes sense because a miscarriage is technically a birth.

I probably should have gone to the hospital, to be honest.  I mean, I went through two super tampons in about 20 minutes and then two pads the following hour before things slowed down a bit.  But I was home alone with the babies, and it would’ve taken an hour for anyone to get to our house to help me.  I drank a lot of water and monitored my pulse.  It probably was not the best decision (and I do NOT recommend it), but I did what I could in my situation.

The bleeding slowed after 1 1/2-2 hours and decreased to spotting. 2-3 days later, I had more cramps and a few small dime-sized clots.  Then the bleeding slowed again for real.  I had several days of spotting before it stopped altogether.

THE BRAIN

It comes in waves, like all grief.  Sometimes I’m fine; sometimes I want to kick and scream and punch things.  I felt numb, shell-shocked, beat up.  It didn’t sink in for awhile.

My baby died.

There was a heartbeat.  I saw it 3 times.  I worry, illogically, that she knew I was scared to be pregnant again so soon after having my son.  I pray she knew she was loved and wanted before her heart stopped.  I think she did.  She’s in God’s hands now, I guess.  I mean, I know, but I’m sad and I wish things were different.

There’s no formula or guidebook for any of this.  You just do the best you can for your body and your heart and for whomever experienced this loss with you.

For me, running helps.  And yoga and breaking dishes and crying and Ben & Jerry’s and watching crime shows on Netflix and hugs and saying it out loud and writing and making things and honoring the death.  This time, we’re planting a pink mum.  Fall flower for a fall miscarriage.

There’s no way to take away or skip over the pain and what your body has to go through.  But hopefully knowing what to expect (kinda) will help a bit.  Everyone is different, and this can all feel very lonely.  But you are not alone.

Please, please message me or email me with any questions or if you need to share/talk.  I’d be happy to help in any way I can.  I know I can’t do anything about the loss or how you’re feeling, but I can be honest about my experiences and I can listen.

My heart is with you.