Miscarrying a baby is a painful experience. It is also one that you will never forget. I miscarried a baby several years ago, if my baby had lived, she would be almost eight years old today. Although the grief subsides after a while, the memory will always be with you. I hope to provide some resources to help you if you, or someone that you know, has suffered a miscarriage.
Photo, of a 10 week old fetus is courtesy of Jacopo Werther.
My First Miscarriage
My first miscarriage was a shock. I had just moved to Italy. The Christmas holiday was over and it was the new year. I was in the Navy at the time, and we were doing a cultural orientation into Italy. During lunch one day, I felt a little queasy. So who doesn't when they are pregnant. I was at the beginning of my thirteenth week of pregnancy.
The next day, our cultural orientation class was taking a trip to downtown Naples. I was still feeling a little strange, but I was okay. While walking along a street, suddenly my pants were completely wet. It was as if I had peed all over myself, without the smell or using any muscles to do so. I now believe that I may have broke my water, but at the time I didn't know what to make of it. So I rushed to find a bathroom. I also wrapped a sweatshirt around my waist.
Shortly after that, I started hemorrhaging blood. It wouldn't stop. I notified my cultural orientation leader that I was starting to feel sick. We didn't have any money, and the traffic was bad during that time of day, so we took the public train back to the NATO base. I continued to gush blood, but I was trying to hide the fact. It became increasingly difficult, because by the time I got to the train station near the NATO base, the blood had soaked my pants all the way down to my knees. Fortunately, one of my classmates had a car, and they drove me to the hospital. Without their help, we would have probably had to wait for the bus to take us to the hospital.
I still had no idea what was going on. I was a little worried, but I thought that there was a chance that the hospital could do something for my baby. They immediately admitted me into the emergency room and took a look at me. They performed an ultrasound on me after a while. They were worried about me because I had lost so much blood, but I didn't feel faint or lightheaded or anything. I also did not feel any pain.
The ultrasound results showed that there was no baby left. I was in shock. I never thought that something like this could happen to me. They performed a D&C, and I went home later that day, much sadder than before.
My Second Miscarriage
A few months later, I was once again pregnant. I thought to myself, "surely everything will be okay this time." I was wrong. At about seven weeks, I went to the doctor and they performed an ultrasound, but they could not find a viable pregnancy.
They offered to perform a D&C to end the pregnancy, but I was against it. For one thing, I was not without hope. It was sometimes too early to tell, right? For another thing, the surgery could have its own complications, like scarring. I didn't want to risk it. They decided to draw my blood regularly to check for pregnancy hormone levels, and wait and see what happened.
In a week or two, the pregnancy hormones started going down, and it was obvious that I was, in fact, going to miscarry. I still prayed for a miracle, but I was not very hopeful. I still wanted to avoid the surgery. I knew that they had a drug that could end pregnancy, and I asked if I could try that to avoid surgery. No, they could not offer that to me, because that would be abortion and the government does not fund abortions. Huh? The baby had already died. I'm still upset about the whole thing. So I decided to wait it out and hopefully miscarry naturally. I did some research on vitamins and herbs that can cause miscarriage, and I started taking those.
On week 13, day 0, I found myself in an incredible amount of pain. I started bleeding. I tried to tough it out and miscarry in the bathtub, but I was starting to feel lightheaded, so I had my husband take me to the hospital. This was nothing like my first miscarriage. When I got to the emergency room, they gave me pain medications. I ended up having to have the D&C after all, and unfortunately, this time, it did cause scarring.
Photo by bjearwicke at sxc.hu.
What NOT to Say After a Miscarriage
Well meaning people can accidentally hurt someone with their words after they have a miscarriage. This is what you should NOT say:
- You're young, you can always have another one.
- At least you were only x weeks along!
- It probably was for the best.
- At least you hadn't met the baby yet.
- It must have been God's will.
Miscarriage Books On Amazon
Causes of Miscarriage
If you suffer a miscarriage, you probably want to know what caused it. Unfortunately, the cause is often unknown. In some cases, you can find out.
- Chromosomal abnormalities. This is the most common cause of miscarriage, especially in the first trimester. If you have only miscarried once, this is probably what your doctor will assume happened.
- Sickness. Sometimes, your health can cause you to miscarriage. This can happen in the case of diabetes, lupus, high blood pressure, or herpes.
- Hormones. If you don't make enough progesterone, that could cause a miscarriage. Fortunately, once you find out that this is causing miscarriage, there are supplements that are available that you can take.
- Physical abnormalities. The shape of the uterus, fibroids, or a weak cervix can contribute to miscarriage. In many cases, once this has been determined to be the cause of miscarriage, surgery can be performed to fix it.
- Immune system. In some cases, the mother's immune system might see the baby as a foreign invader and try to attack it. There are drugs that you can take in this case that can dramatically improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
After a Miscarriage
Some people never are able to keep a baby. Other times, people have a healthy pregnancy immediately after their first miscarriage. Often, the next pregnancy after a miscarriage is very frightening, at least towards the beginning.
In my case, the first 13 weeks are nerve-wracking for me, because I miscarried twice in the 13th week. I have been okay once I got past the 13-week mark. In my last pregnancy, I had a few scares with bleeding and ended up going to the emergency room. In the eighth week, I was in the emergency room and they gave me an ultrasound. I had to wait a while for the results. While they were doing the ultrasound, they would not give me any indication of what they were looking at. All they did was ask questions about how far along I was. I didn't take that as a good sign.
Fortunately, when they finally came back to tell me what they had seen, all was well.
I had tests done after my second miscarriage. Most doctors wait until after your third miscarriage to perform tests, but because I miscarriage so late each time, I pleaded to get some blood tests performed earlier. In my case, I may have a problem with blood clotting. I tested borderline for a condition that might cause this problem. I have solved this problem by taking baby aspirin. I found it to be a blessing to have tested borderline for that condition, because then I could actually do something about it.
Photo by doriana_s at sxc.hu.
A Different Child
I love this poem. It makes me cry almost every time I read it.
A Different Child
~ Pandora Diane MacMillan
A different child,
There's a special glow around you.
Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.
And if sometimes
Between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
There was once another child
A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes
That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost,
You will tell them
With great compassion,
"I know how you feel.
I'm only here
Because my mother tried again."
Poem found at the Rowan Tree Foundation
Photo by straymuse at sxc.hu
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Have You Ever Had a Miscarriage?
Cara on May 14, 2013:
Your story is very moving. I haven't had a miscarriage myself, but I still feel deeply for those women who do, not forgetting their partners either.
sharppencil on January 15, 2013:
I think you are extremely brave for writing about your experiences. Losing my first child at the 5 month mark is still very difficult to talk about and that was 17 yrs. ago. I can only share these memories with other women who have gone through this type of pain. Thanks for your lens.
katespade on August 29, 2012:
A large number of women face difficulties getting pregnant after a miscarriage. Studies show that it is actually the mental effect of miscarriage that creates problems for women for their next pregnancy in most of the cases. Records also show that women who face multiple miscarriages have very low chances of getting pregnant again.
SawyersMommy on July 30, 2012:
I have had 11 first trimester miscarriages from 2002-2009, one second trimester miscarriage (1986), one preterm birth at 23 & 1/2 weeks (1983) and 4 full term births (1984 - son, 1985 - son, 1987 - daughter & 2007 - son). My first daughter Lindy only lived two hours and the doc told me I would never be able to carry a baby after that. I switched doctors and then had 3 healthy, full term babies. I had my tubes tied in 1987 (3 weeks after my 20th birthday and after 5 pregnancies). Had them reversed in 2001 after marrying my second husband who had no children of his own. My husband and I had no problem getting pregnant, but could not stay pregnant. Had every test, saw fertility and maternal/fetal specialist as well as genetic counselors and there was no reason for me to be losing these babies. After the ninth miscarriage in a row, we gave up. 18 months later we slipped up and found out I was pregnant again. Knowing how it was going to end, we went to see a different maternal/fetal specialist (Dr Grant in Columbia, MO). He saw us immediately after hearing of all our miscarriages. I was only 5 weeks pregnant. I was put on bed rest, insulin shots (had been a well controlled diabetic for more than 10 years) and 2 heparin shots a day, plus baby aspirin, thyroid medicine, fish oil capsules, prenatal vitamins, etc. I followed his orders faithfully, traveled the 2 hours, one way every week for doctors appointments and ultrasounds. At seven weeks we still didn't see a heartbeat, but there was a fetal pole, so Dr Grant reassured us that we still had hope. At 8 weeks, there was a heartbeat, but some fuzziness in the sonogram, which could indicate a chromosome defect. We were prepared because we had seen a heartbeat before and lost the baby, so didn't bother to get excited or attached. Every week the heartbeat got a little stronger and the results got a little better. By 15 weeks when they said it was a boy, we couldn't help but think MAYBE we can worry a little less. At 20 weeks, he started doing stress tests. At my 24 week stress test I was contracting and went into labor. I was hospitalized for a few days but they were able to stop my contractions and sent me home on Nifedipine which I had to take every four hours around the clock. I still had regular contractions, uncomfortable and worrisome but not truly painful and Dr Grant said even if we did have the baby early, we were past the critical part and the baby would have a good chance at survival. I was still going in every single week for ultrasounds and stress tests, which still showed contractions each time. At my 36 week appointment (on a Tuesday) they told me they were going to induce labor that Friday (37 weeks). I told them I couldn't do it then, that the restaurant we owned was only closed on Tuesdays so we would have to do it Tuesday. They laughed and said they weren't asking me when it was convenient, they were telling me my blood pressure was up and they were HOPING they could hold off until Friday. Once we heard that, we were of course fine with leaving our employees in charge and having a baby! Our little Sawyer Chance came in to the world that Saturday, Nov 10, 2007, healthy and beautiful. My 20 & 1/2 year old daughter (and former youngest) was in the delivery with my mom and my husband. It was a very, very happy time. I already had 5 grandchildren by the time Sawyer was born, and have 3 more now, but I LOVE having another child of my own!! We suffered two more miscarriages after Sawyer and have long since decided to stop trying, but it's amazing to see "Uncle Sawyer" growing up with his older nieces and nephews!!
JanieceTobey on January 23, 2011:
javr from British Columbia, Canada on November 23, 2010:
We had some similar experiences. My thoughts are with you.
Kausgirl on May 05, 2010:
Thanks for sharing your story. I believe that the more we mothers tell our stories, we will change things for the better, and create more understanding for those coming along behind.
MarinaKuperman on September 07, 2009:
Wow that must have been really hard... but it's a great thing you're doing with this lense, Ifavied you and fanned you :)
Joan4 on June 04, 2009:
Beautifully written lens about one of life's most difficult experiences. I especially enjoyed your "what not to say" list. Thank you.
JanieceTobey on May 25, 2009:
A miscarriage can be a very difficult time, no matter how far along the mother was in her pregnancy... 5 stars for your lens.
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