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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My Natural Miscarriage

Again.

I wanted to do a post on this miscarriage that was also something of a FAQs, because there are three or four questions that continually pop up that women ask when they view my original post by the same name. However, this miscarriage was vastly different than my previous one, so I don't feel comfortable saying that all miscarriages have things in common. I can only tell you what happened to me.

The first most commonly asked question is: What is this foul nasty smell???
- With my first miscarriage, I had a smell like something had died and was rotting. I did a search and found that this smell is quite common and doesn't indicate that anything is wrong. It just means that there is more tissue in there needing to come out. That said, a smell plus fever, aches, chills, nausea, or any other sign of illness can mean that you have an infection and need to go to the doctor to get help.

The second most commonly asked question is: This is what is happening to me, do you think I should go into the doctor?
- As a rule, I tend to be against doctors. That said, if you feel there is the slightest reason to go see a doctor, do it! It really is better to go see a doctor and not need to than to not see a doctor and need to :-)
However, I do caution you to choose a good doctor if you can. I have had a bad experience and a good experience, and I think that the difference was that I was better prepared and more knowledgeable the second time.

Third: Can I use a Diva Cup during miscarriage?
- Trust me, I would LOVE to say yes! However, here's why it's not a good idea: During a miscarriage, you go through a "mini" version of giving birth to a baby. Your cervix dilates and opens up enough to pass the gestational sac and a bunch of large clots. If you wore a Diva (or other menstrual) Cup during the miscarriage, the risk of getting infected goes way up. That's the same reason they also tell you not to use tampons.
But even more than that, during the really heavy stage of the miscarriage, when you might want to use the cup the most, you simply have too many clots and other things coming out that would make the cup useless anyway. You'd have to change it VERY frequently - say more than once an hour. The sheer number of times that you would have to change it - not to mention disinfect it in order to reduce the risk of infection - means that you would soon be sore and uncomfortable. I think you could try it a couple of days later when the flow is more normal, but I personally haven't tried it and no one has reported trying it and whether or not it worked for them.

Fourth most commonly asked question is: I'm having a miscarriage, what do I do?
- Here's what I think helps the most: Painkillers! Don't get me wrong, I tend to avoid all drugs until I absolutely cannot stand the pain any longer, but in this instance, having a heavy duty painkiller - such as vicodin - on hand can really help make this more bearable. I also found it really helpful to have plenty of water and a heating pad on hand. If you already have kids, try to get someone to take them when you realize that your miscarriage has started - or get your man to promise to get them to leave you alone. Watching TV or doing something to keep your mind occupied can help too. Try taking a bath during the most intense part of the contractions. And get as much sleep as you can before the main event starts.

Will it hurt?
- YES!!! I know that if a woman has a miscarriage before about 6 weeks, it's really just a heavier period, and may not be noticeable at all, but both times I had one, my gestational sac measured 7-8 weeks, and I had actual labor and the contractions hurt every bit as much as if a live baby was about to come out. The only difference is that this labor tends to be shorter and not quite as intense.

What does the gestational sac look like?
- It looks a lot like chicken liver to me. Like bits of organ, which makes sense because it is an organ. It's round, and can come out whole. If the water has broken, it can be flat, but my sister said hers came out as a ball. Sometimes, all you see is clots. Big clots that don't look anything like an organ. With my first miscarriage, I had my water break and the flat liver-looking sac come out. This miscarriage, I didn't have my water break and I didn't have anything resembling an organ come out. So, I'm told that the body does actually try to reabsorb what it can, and sometimes all that comes out is clots. I can now see why some women aren't really sure if they miscarried or not.
I was going to try to get a picture of what the sac looked like just to help answer this question, so I was disappointed to find that it had dissolved.

Do you really use just old wash cloths and hand towels as your pads???
- Yep! I gave up using all disposable products when I got my Diva Cup, and now use a big stack of old rags as my back up menstrual pads. I find they work way better!

Here's my experience this time. First of all, I knew going in that because I had a miscarriage before, that I would probably have one again. I didn't let myself get attached to the baby, and so I am not sad that it happened. I made peace with what was going to happen no matter what when I first had a positive pregnancy test. (Although, not going to lie, I was hoping that the baby would reach full term healthy and female, lol!)

Last time, I felt like the doctors and the medical staff were basically ostracizing me. Like they would have all preferred if I could come in, have all the tests and whatever that needed to be done, then go away while they discussed the very sad fact that I had miscarried and then sent me a letter that basically said: You have our condolences.
No one wanted to be the one to tell me what was going on - despite very calm and pointed questions - and all acted like someone else had already told me specifically that I had miscarried. After my ultrasound, the doctor came in and literally said: "So yeah, that's what happened." And I had to ask: "What happened?" I mostly knew because of how hushed and non-talkative the sonographer was, but still, I needed to hear the words said out loud so that I could process them.

THIS time, I had already made my peace, so I told everyone up front that I was okay if I had miscarried and that I would far prefer if they just told me point blank. I told the sonographer that I didn't want the silent treatment. I wanted to see it on the screen (policy states that if there is the slightest reason to suspect that something might be wrong, they do not turn on the screen for the patient to see it). I told her that it would make me feel better to see it even if the baby wasn't moving and had no heartbeat. She complied, and we actually had a pleasant conversation. Just to note, she was the same one who made me feel shunned the first time by having the screen off and not talking to me. She was just following policy, but it hurt way more than the policy makers could ever realize.

I told my doctor not to give me false hope, so he talked to me more plainly than the previous doctor had. Even better, I had a nurse that was willing to just sit and talk with me for over an hour. The tests results were all inconclusive at first, so they kept telling me to continue on as if there was still a live baby in there, but I already knew there wasn't. The baby couldn't be found by the ultrasound, so I didn't get my hopes up, but they kept trying to reassure me that the ultrasound often has problems finding the baby early in pregnancy. It was kind of strange, they were willing to talk to me about the miscarriage, but also wanted me to keep hoping for the best.

I had several HGC (or is it HCG? I've heard it both ways, to be honest) tests, that conclusively proved that I was miscarrying. All I had to do was sit back and wait. It took a REALLY long time! I had the empty sac in there doing nothing - not even spotting - for at least a month after the miscarriage was confirmed. I started to think that I was going to be one of those women who had it calcify and stay in there forever. I even thought that it might be an interesting form of birth control if that happened, lol!

But then it finally happened. It started as mild but fairly regular contractions - about 5 minutes apart. Then they slowly got closer together. When they were at about 2 minutes apart, I went to bed and actually got some sleep. I woke up to some hellishly intense contractions that were about a minute apart, and went to get my vicodin. That's when I realized that I only had ONE left over from my last miscarriage - a year and a half ago. So I called in and asked for a refill on my prescription, and my doctor approved it.

I lay down and literally cried until the vicodin kicked in. I cried because it hurt, and I was grieving the lost baby. I also cried because it really is not fair that a woman has to go through all the pain of labor even when the baby isn't coming out alive. There really should be a biological get out of jail free card!

The vicodin kicked in, and for me, it was a miracle!!! I had been having very intense contractions for over 45 minutes, and then I "popped." The gestational sac must have come out, which is what I mean by popping. It wasn't a sac like I expected, just a bunch of big ugly clots, but immediately afterward, I felt so much better. I could still feel the contractions coming regularly, but they didn't really hurt. I am certain this is the vicodin kicking in, because when it wore of later, the pain returned, though only about 80-90% as bad.

When it returned, I had had no way to go to the pharmacy to pick up my drugs, so I decided to hop in the tub since I was in the bathroom every 2-5 minutes anyway. For me, it was just easier to go to the bathroom and wipe every time I gushed some blood. I went through a LOT of rags, but that's okay because I have like a hundred of them now. I'd estimate that I went through at least a dozen of them just that day.

So anyway, before I decided to hop in the tub, I had been laying in bed watching Lost Girl on my Vita (that I won two years ago in a contest:-) ), and got hungry. I ate some left over turkey that had been sitting out and MAY have gone bad. I regularly eat food that has been sitting out, and never had a problem with it before. (I believe in eating cultured food, and have many other strange food beliefs, lol.) When I was in the tub, maybe it was the temperature of the water, maybe it was the miscarriage, or maybe it was the food, but for some reason, I started feeling flush and nauseous. I made a complete mess in the tub - aside from the blood gushing out - and needed to drain and refill it. As I also could not get up at the moment, I asked my older son - 9 - to come in and get the detachable shower head for me so that I could rinse off me and the tub.

Just so you know, my boys had been twice as heartbroken as I was the last time I miscarried, so I had been hiding the fact that I was pregnant from them so that they wouldn't have to go through that again. They simply thought I was having a bad period. When Gryffin saw that I was also sick, he was an adorable ball of sympathy, getting me the shower head and also trying to help me clean up. He then told Phoenix that I was sick - a RARE event in our house! - and Phoenix - 7 - also agreed to leave me alone unless I needed something.

After the tub was filled with clean water again, my hubby finally came home from helping out friends of ours. He had errands to run, and a VERY important dental appointment that he needed to go to (his one tooth is chipped and needs fixing badly), but when he saw that I was close to passing out and in serious pain, he rescheduled his dental appointment until next month - the earliest they had - and put off the errands until later so that he could run to the pharmacy and get my prescription for me. Aww! I love him so much!

I still felt faint and nauseous, and really was close to passing out. The tub really didn't seem to be helping as much as I hoped it would, so I got out and went back to bed. The good thing about when I am sick, it's just about the only time my body can sleep like a bear. I think it's a survival mechanism, I go to sleep when my body needs to concentrate on fixing what's wrong. So - despite the pain, and with the much needed help of the heating pad - I went to sleep. Hubby woke me briefly to give me a vicodin and some water, and then told me that he was going to make dinner for him and the boys.

I passed back out.

When the vicodin kicked in again, I felt much better and woke up hungry. And since then, I have felt more or less normal. I had cramping and heavy bleeding, but haven't really needed the vicodin much by the next day. I've been waiting for that smell to come pay me a visit, but as far as I can tell, I am almost done bleeding, and there's no smell. SO, I think that is a good sign; that I got all the tissue out already.

The bleeding has finally almost stopped completely. I really think that - just like giving birth to babies - the body learns more about what it's doing during a miscarriage too. So, this time around, it did what needed to be done in the most efficient way possible, That still doesn't make it a pleasant experience, but it's not the end of the world either,

If you are reading this because you have had or are having a miscarriage, I just want you to know that I wrote this to bring comfort. I don't like how talking about miscarriage seems to have become taboo. It makes people uncomfortable, so it shouldn't be talked about - seems to be the popular but unspoken opinion. It's natural and normal and just a part of life. I've had so many women comment on my first post, telling me their stories, that it makes me happy to know that I helped. I'm telling all the nitty gritty details so that others may take comfort in the fact that they are not alone, and also hopefully to answer the "What can I expect to happen during a miscarriage?" question.

Last question I am frequently asked: How long does it take anyway?
- A long time. It can take a month from the time you learn that you are having a miscarriage for it to start, and then after it has, it can take a month or more to finish bleeding. Again, if you have any reason to suspect that something might be wrong, go into a doctor and get checked out. But if everything seems to be fine, just taking forever, take comfort in the fact that it does eventually end. Good luck, and my sympathy. I know it sucks!



7 comments:

  1. I was on the toilet withering in pain from my miscarriage and wondering if all this pain is normal. I was almost 11 weeks and sadly right after a perfect ultrasound on Friday my miscarriage cramps began. I am glad to have found this article. It actually made me laugh at times which is what I needed. It's crazy how nobody knows the true agony that comes with a miscarriage. The doctors and Internet just say expect some bleeding and cramping.... uhhh I wish.

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  2. My gestational sac was an actual fluid filled, almost ping pong ball sized sac (I was 12 weeks and baby died at 6 weeks but sac grew to 7 weeks). The baby was floating inside of the sac, detached from the placenta. I'm sure this is why it died. The placenta was a pinkish harder type of tissue. The blood clots were what looked like chicken liver to me. I passed several smaller ones about golf ball sized to lemon sized, but I passed 4 huge softball/grapefruit sized clots. Those were after my most painful contractions. My doctor told me that the pain would be on part with a heavy crampy period. I feel like slapping him and telling him that he needs to stop telling his miscarriage patients that. It was very similar to giving birth, minus the pushing. The pain was pretty tough. My dr would not write me a pain prescription and only offered me ibuprofen.

    I am 8 weeks post misscariage. I bleed very heavily for 3 weeks, then moderately for a week. After that is slowly tapered off in the 5th week. I was relatively blood free for 2 weeks, but that is when the smell started after i stopped bleeding. I had spotting every few days during that 2 weeks. Then I started bleeding and cramping again a week ago. Between the smell and the bleeding, I haven't been able to be very intimate and it's hurting our relationship a bit. He is really understanding, but I hate that we can't do much.

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  3. I am currently going through my second miscarriage in a row (one live birth 12 years ago; two miscarriages with my new partner in the past year). Your two blog posts on miscarriage are the only things that have brought me peace and sense of calm in my storm of emotions. Thank you for being so open about your experience, and your willingness to share and help others facing this situation.

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  4. Tomorrow will be three weeks since I miscarried my first at 10 weeks, after 3.5 years TTC. We had a full scan exactly a week before and there was a beautiful perfectly growing baby with a strong healthy heartbeat, and even the afternoon before the full miscarriage when I went to the doctor for threatened miscarriage due to bleeding, the doctor told me the baby was there with a heartbeat and we had a 50/50 chance of making it despite the bleeding. Barely 16 hours later the hospital confirmed that my uterus was empty. I'm shattered. I do feel reassured by not only seeing that what I experienced was not unusual but that the acknowledgement is there for how horrible of a loss and an experience it is and that I'm not alone in my grief. I hate the taboo and stigma that exists around discussing these things, especially with just how common I'm finding out miscarriage is. Almost every woman I know has had at least one. Thank you. Thank you.

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  5. Thank you. We just lost our first baby at 8 wks after years of trying. I need to hear how it is, it helps me feel prepared & not alone.

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  6. From the deepest part of my being, thank you for writing this blog! I am currently facing my second miscarriage and stumbled across your page(s) in doing some research. The reality of a miscarriage needs to be brought to light. We are not alone, and this, for sure, offers endless support and camaraderie to many more women than you may know.

    I'd really like to see doctors "get real" with women facing miscarriages. As you have said, the pain is more like giving birth rather than simply a "heavy period". (I could have slapped someone the first time around, too, realizing what I was up against).

    Anyway, simply put.. I appreciate this post and am happy to see other women relating to it and offering their feedback. I hadn't sought out the help of the internet my first time around this block, but wish I had.

    Many thank, and all the best to you. <3

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  7. THANK U! (for being your "weird self" & being so open & honest) My 1st miscarriage was brutal & felt like giving birth. My 2nd was yesterday @6pm. Even tho I lightly spotted & mildly cramped for 3 wks I was hoping I was just going thru the change early. I'm 45. Yesterday I was stunned! A few days previous I was nauseous, senstive to smells, a throwing up violently. I wanted to sleep on the bathroom floor. I'm on antibiotics & have an abcess/failed root canal. So I thought MAYBE I was getting blood poisoning. Then as soon as I miscarried I felt immediately better. It happened all at once mostly. I'm happy I made it to the bathroom. Everything was bright red. Like arterial. It surprised me so I closed the lid, didn't flush & waited for my hubby to get off phone. I think I needed him to see this bc I had been unusually mean to him for days for no reason. Well we looked.. water was clear but everything that settled was black. Ive barely bled since, Is it over, in your opinion? Or should I brace myself. Didn't bother going to ER this time. (No smell) Many Blessings to u. :)))

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