What is it like to have a miscarriage?Miscarriage is sad and confusing.
First, there's the frantic rush to a clinic because something just isn't right; there may have been unexpected blood or spotting, or maybe you're cramping but you've googled it and that might just be ligaments stretching so maybe there's nothing to worry about. First-semester pregnancy loss can't be happening to you, right? There's the kind nursing staff and the distant doctor that say things like 'low sac' and 'is there any pain?' until all of the questions and statements and concern just blur until you want to shout "will someone just tell me what's going on!" but you can't because he's there holding your hand and telling you sweet things and keeping you calm and your mom's on the way and the ultrasound technician is there and isn't this supposed to be a happy milestone? Then, there's the actual pain of losing a baby - the contractions (no one told me how much like period cramps those contractions actually are, but x10 on the intensity scale), the premature delivery of something very small and silent and not at all what you hoped it would be because it's too early, the blood. There's the emotional trauma, the grief and loss and anger.
For me, it was all of those things. Add some morphine, fancy diapers, hospital scrubs, and an unwavering desire to just go to sleep when it was all "over" and you have a very accurate description of that fateful Saturday just five long weeks ago.
What happens after miscarriage?And that's just the beginning. There are follow-up doctor appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, pads and pads and pads because even when it's over it's not over. There are prescriptions to fill because there is still pain and the possibility of infection and nurse hotlines to call with each and every question. And then there's the wondering: am I still spotting or spotting again or is this my period? When will I get my period? Can I get pregnant again soon? Do I want to? Do we want to?
There aren't a lot of resources out there for women who have gone through early pregnancy loss, just forums that are never followed up on and comment strings that can convince that a) you're super fertile after a miscarriage so try again! or b) there are two more miscarriages in your future before the medical community will consider infertility as a condition.
And yet, life continues.
Coping with MiscarriageSo many have gathered around us and just LOVED on us. There is no way I would be doing as well as I am without those who reached out to us, even when they didn't understand. I would not have been able to share that post on Instagram without all of the support that we have received. Women have come out of the woodwork to share their stories, to offer condolences, to listen to my questions, to pray over me, and to hold me when I can't keep back the tears.
I received the sweetest letter from a lady I have never met. It brought me to tears even as it brought me comfort. I share this one passage from it that has been so important to me:
"Your God is still good and he hurts for you. The Psalms tell us that the Lord draws near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. In 2 Corinthians we learn that the father of mercies and the God of all comfort comforts us in our affliction. He is your shield, your stronghold, your refuge. Lean into the God who makes beauty out of ashes. He adores you and He will sustain you. I pray that you would take refuge in your God. That you would cry out to Him and know his comfort."
If you are going through or have gone through a miscarriage or even multiple miscarriages, you are not alone. Don't hide your grief, don't act like nothing has happened. Actively reach out for help and support and accept kindness. If you're anything like me going through this and not wanting to ask people a lot of questions, you do a lot of googling instead. Here's what I found:
Miscarriage Q & AQ: When will I get my period after a miscarriage?
A: Your first period should usually occur four weeks after the hCG hormone levels come back to zero. It may take up to 7 weeks if you're experiencing a "normal" recovery. Spotting is not uncommon and may be mistaken for a period.
Q: What is a blighted ovum?
A: A fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, but no embryo develops. Your body experiences all the usual pregnancy symptoms - you won't have your period, when you take a pregnancy test it will be positive, you'll experience morning sickness and cravings. A blighted ovum is usually the result of chromosomal abnormalities, which your body recognizes and naturally decides not to continue to develop the fetus into a healthy baby. Sometimes, your body will pass a blighted ovum before you even know you're pregnant. Other times, it will not be known until an ultrasound reveals an empty gestational sac.
Q: What's with all these blood tests?
A: Doctors are monitoring hCG levels after your missed miscarriage to ensure that all fetal tissue has passed and that your body has recognized that you are no longer pregnant. hCG levels should drop steadily post-miscarriage until they land back at zero.
Q: What is hCG?
A: The hormone produced during pregnancy with a long complicated name. Blood tests and urine pregnancy tests measure for this hormone; positive, it's there and you're pregnant!
Q: Why does it (physically) hurt so much after?
A: I found that the actual delivery process of my miscarriage in the hospital was painful and sudden, especially once we knew that we had lost the baby and my body was trying to "expel" him. What I did not expect in the following days was to experience sudden breath-catching body-freezing bouts of pain. It turns out that your uterus is still contracting. Uterine contractions occur when the body is trying to pass the pregnancy tissue and complete the miscarriage. These contractions were unexpected and painful and because I didn't know what they were or why it was happening. In my experience, they only lasted for three days.
Some More Verses & Resources That Have Been a Blessing
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. ~ Psalms 106:1
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. ~ Romans 8:25
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose ~ Romans 8:28
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-8
|These are the few resources and groups I've found helpful, knowledgeable, and supportive, and I'll add to this post as I encounter more. Wherever you are in your post-miscarriage healing process, don't go through it alone!
Do you have questions that I didn't cover, or that you'd like to ask? Leave me a comment!
Photo from https://www.instagram.com/griefunfolding/