Tuesday, December 12, 2000

The Details

If you are new to this blog and are trying to start from the beginning, don't start here.  This post is back here for a reason.  Start on December 8th, 2010 instead, that was my first blog post.

Alright, so I will attempt to tell you the details of a natural miscarriage here.  If you'd rather not read them, do not click the link below.  If you don't know me very well and are not going through something like this, please don't read on.  However, if you ARE going through something like this, are waiting for it to happen (like I was) or know someone (or love someone) who is, continue on.  I will tell you things that no one tells you, things you will want to know.

(Yes, the date is wrong at the top of this post.  This is in fact a post written on 1/31/11.  I did not want to put the current date because I did not want to have it be included with my regular blog posts.)

This post is written in a non-emotional way, I will save the emotional stuff for my regular blog posts.  Here, I will write only details and tips, in a straight forward way because it was so insane of an experience, that's the only way I know how to tell you about it.  This will change you - how you view your body, how you view sex, how you view being intimate - all of it.

As I said in my previous post, I spent from Saturday until Monday waiting for it to happen.  I was prescribed vicodin and sent home, they said it was the best option if I wanted to try to get pregnant again.  My mom couldn't believe they sent me home and either could my sister-in-law (a nurse) because miscarriages have a lot of complications and some women get really sick from infection.  I was hoping that mine would be easy and fast, but I had no idea what to expect because no one told me.  I tried to read about it online but couldn't find anyone who was matter-of-fact about it, most of the sites you find are super religious and at that point I wasn't in to reading about it from that point of view.

So, it started with very little blood on Saturday and that's what prompted me to go to the hospital.  I asked the OB if I should go and she said to stay at home and watch it, but said if I wanted piece of mind to go.  I think you should go too if something like this happens, piece of mind is totally worth the $100 hospital copay, even if it doesn't turn out well.  At least we knew and could start grieving our loss.  The blood stayed pretty much the same all of Saturday.  I had to buy pads for the first time since I was a pre-teen and that was weird.  The ER tells you, and the OB later, that you should not use tampons or have s during this time and I thought this was such a weird thing to tell people - isn't it common sense?  Why would you stick anything up there when things are trying to come out?  My OB later said that I'd be surprised on what people will do, so I'm telling you now, stick with pads cause the docs tell you to.

Pads are like diapers.  You don't feel like doing ANYTHING when you're wearing them and you have to change them often, especially during this, and walking around and sleeping are the worst.  Not to mention, when this is happening, your hormones are trying to level back to normal so you are sweating in your sleep like you've never sweat before.  It is WAY different than when I was pregnant, I wake up drenched, like I just played in the rain.  Then, when you take the covers off of you you are cold because you are so wet so you have to put them back on and it starts over again.  I slept in leggings and yoga pants while wearing these "diapers" because I wanted something hugging my body and keeping everything in place.  While sleeping these clothes got heavy and wet from sweating so much that I actually found myself stuck to the sheets one night as I rolled over.  So gross.  See, the stuff no one tells you.

Sunday the blood was much worse and big blood clots were coming out.  Someone who has never done this before, like me, could easily mistake these big clots for a baby and yolk sac but they aren't, you will be able to tell when these come out.  I started feeling a little crampy, like period-ish but not bad.  Ian had been trying to get me to try a vicodin for a couple of days, but I refused.  I think Sunday night I finally took a quarter of one for the first time in my life.  Even when I got my wisdom teeth pulled I didn't take any pain killers, never have, I've always been afraid that they'd make me throw up.  I gave in and tried one, I have no idea if it helped.  After a big clot and a few cramps, I thought the worst was over, went to bed and slept through the night.

Monday morning I felt fine.  I think I thought I got off easy because some sites (and ER docs) tell you it is just like having a period.  They trick you into thinking that it will be the same, heavy bleeding and some cramps and you're done.  False.  Monday at around 2:00pm I started feeling crampy again.  I am not sure how it happened, and people say it doesn't hit you right away, you know it's coming, but you kind of don't.  All of a sudden I got up off the couch and went to the bathroom, couldn't be on the couch anymore, had to just sit.  Cramps were bearable and everything was ok.  Walked back out to the living room and leaned over the ottoman and asked Ian for another piece of a vicodin, a bigger piece this time.  Took it and headed back to the bathroom.

Just like cramps it does feel better to just sit on the toilet.  And, be happy you are because when everything comes rushing out, this is the best place to be.  So, just like having a baby, the cramps start getting worse and turn into kind of rolling contractions.  At first, mine were about 4 minutes apart, and then 3 and then 2 and then 1 - and then it seemed like it just hurt all the time.  I was wearing yoga pants and a tank top, something comfy, it helps, and left the bathroom to try to lay in bed.  Turned on the TV but didn't watch it, and every time a contraction came I just hunched over (in cat and dog pose) and tried to make myself feel better.  Rotating my hips helped, hunching up helped (although my neck hurt the next day) and laying on your side in the fetal position helped.  Ian heard me moaning and came in, the pain was that bad at that point that I was moaning out loud, and I am not someone who can't handle pain.  I have giant tattoos, power through 90 minutes of yoga in a 104 degree room (with 40% humidity) and I have never felt pain like this before.  They say that having a natural miscarriage is like experiencing natural childbirth, just pushing out a kidney bean or a lime instead of a watermelon.  I think I forgot to mention that I took another half of a vicodin when the cramps got worse, but I don't know if it helped.  Knowing what I know now I would have swallowed 2 or 3, but I thought feeling nauseous while going through this would only make it worse for me.

I thought that during all of this, while on the toilet, I would have to push (from the front like Christine said, not from the back so as to avoid hemorrhoids) but it wasn't like that.  I tried front pushing to speed it up, but your contractions are pushing the baby out of you on their own, there is no need to push when something that small is coming out (save that for an actual 7 pound baby).  You can't think of anything else during this time, except for the pain.  Ian tried to rub my back between contractions while I was on the bed and it helped a bit, but at this point there is really nothing that your man can do, it's something you have to do on your own.  It sucks and I hated it, but what was I supposed to do?  It was happening and I just had to deal.

I headed back to the bathroom and sat there just trying to bend all the way over, hunch up or hold on to my towel rack by the toilet when the contractions came.  I thought at one point that maybe walking around would help, so I put back on my pants and stood up, made it about a foot and then it felt like things were just falling out of me.  I rushed back to the toilet and out popped the baby (a small grayish object) and the yolk sac (that I thought was the placenta since two things came out).  It felt like they just fell out, like all that work was for nothing.  I looked only for a second, thought to call in Ian and then just flushed, I was euphoric from being in so much pain, I was just so glad it was over after 2 days of waiting.  I headed out to the couch, told Ian the details, and wished I would have called him into to see.  It is burned in my mind only and I kind of wish I would have shared it with him, just so I wouldn't be alone in remembering.  He said he would have looked, so don't think I would have made him or anything.

I instantly felt better, turned back on the TV show and kind of sat there in shock.  We were laughing because it was just so awful, and nothing like anyone tells you, so you feel kind of silly afterward.  Then, my contractions started again and I started feeling like I did all over again.  I was scared that something was wrong and headed to the bathroom again.  Just as I did, I barely made it, the placenta came out and boy was it gross.  Much bigger than the other two things and bloody and yucky.  That's the one I wish Ian would have seen, but I flushed it too.

Thank goodness I made it back to the bathroom in time for both deliveries.  Think of the women who don't and it just happens in their undies on their pads.  So yucky.  My advice is to just sit on the toilet, don't get up, just sit until it all comes out.  No one tells you this.

After that, I headed back out, filled Ian in again and then really laughed this time.  Felt instantly better, just small cramps (like a period) for the rest of the night.  It's crazy how it took about 3 hours (it was now 5pm) and then it was over, just like that.  So much pain and grossness, and then it was over.  Very surreal, very alien and very animalistic.  I always say that we spend so much time buying cute clothes, putting on makeup and doing our hair; when we still all have hairy butts.  I know it's gross, but it's true.  As much as we like to pretend we aren't animals, we still are, and situations like this make you remember that.

That night I think I took another 1/4 vicodin and the next night too.  I had phantom cramps where you remember the pain so badly that your body actually makes you feel it again, just for a second.  None of them lasted but if I was up moving around a lot then I would start to feel crampy again.  My advice to you, just rest afterward.  You will feel like doing things, despite the diapers and blood clots (still), but don't.  Just lay around and let yourself heal.

They say that if you have a fever during this of 102 or higher or if the bleeding doesn't stop, head to the ER because it means you have an infection.  Your cervix is open, just like in childbirth, so you are prone to infection during a miscarriage (especially since they just send you home with little instruction).  So, keep a thermometer and water by you at all times and check regularly just to be sure.  I never had a fever, was never sweaty, didn't cry and never threw up (although if it wouldn't have happened when it did, I might have blacked out) so it is definitely not like the movies.  But, you will be in the worst pain of your life, for sure, so take those pain killers!

The blood clots lasted for a couple of days but by Thursday the blood was brown instead of red.  By Friday and Saturday it was gone and so were my diapers.  On Sunday it came back, heavy again, but now is just a trickle.  They say (when I say "they" I mean the OB, website or the ER docs) that you will bleed for 7-10 days after and then you can have sex again with condom.  After you have one regular cycle, my OB said we could try again, though after all this I am very nervous about it.  Some sites I've read recommend a couple of months just to get your body back to normal but some say try right away because you are most fertile right after a miscarriage.  I say as long as your OB clears you, after testing your blood for pregnancy hormones and finding none, go for it. 

We went to the doc the next day, Tuesday, and they did an ultrasound.  I've never seen my uterus without a baby in it and boy does it look different.  They said everything was gone (duh) and so I didn't need a D&C (some women don't expunge everything so may still need one).  They told me to keep taking my prenatals, told me this happens to 1/4 of all pregnancies (and told me they don't tell people this because they don't want to scare them), told me that next time when I find out I'm pregnant they will start me on progesterone (a hormone they usually give after your second miscarriage but they don't like to risk it happening a second time) and told me how sorry they were.  It is strange feeling like you are part of the elite on your first visit and then feeling like you at the bottom of the barrel on your second.  They totally treat you differently then when you were pregnant, it is so weird.  I just liked that no one tried to hug me, they were really matter-of-fact about it and told me that at least we know I can "get" pregnant so that's half the battle.  My nurse, Anna, is amazing and actually got married at the zoo like we did.  She told me she was sorry, did a pelvic exam, had them take some blood and told me to come back in 2 weeks.

So, here I am.  My next appointment is February 7th, I'm still wearing diapers and haven't worked out or wanted to do much of anything since.  It's hard feeling very sexy too, because you can't do anything (doc's orders) for one and also because you just went through all of that, so that's totally normal.  Plus, having sex is what got us into this mess in the first place so it's kind of scary ever wanting to do that again!  Processing all of this mentally and going through all of this physical stuff too just gets you down.  Just remember, you aren't alone, we all are here for you if this is something you are going through.  Many women are here, more than you think, so ask questions and talk about it, it will make you feel better.

Ok, if you read all of that you are a trooper, and so was I.  Hardest thing I've ever had to do, even scheduled my root canal for Friday because NOTHING could be worse than that.


Went to the doctor on Monday, Feburary 7th to get my cuants (quants?) checked (these are your homone levels).  I guess they want to check them every week but scheduled me two weeks out, for some reason, so they had to just deal with it.  My levels were at a 9, 2 weeks after my miscarriage, and they want them to be at a 5 or less. 

I asked her if this is why I'm still having some light brown discharge (old blood I've read) and she said yes and that it is normal.  They did an ultrasound (again) and everything looked ok, some parts are still a bit thick but everything else looked fine.  We got the go ahead to have sex again, with condoms, and the OB also told me to wait 2 months (instead of just one) until we try again "for physical and mental reasons."

Now just because you get the ok for sex doesn't mean you will want to jump back in and start having it.  It is a scary thought, just two weeks ago things were falling out of there and now you are supposed to want to stick something in?!  Gross.  We will see how it goes . . .

Today my hormone levels were tested.  I got a call the next day saying that they were under 5 so that means there are hardly any pregnancy hormones left in my body.  They are supposed to test your hormones every week after a miscarriage until they are under 5.  You may have some light brown spotting until they are under 5, after mine leveled out there was no more spotting.

The OB also told me that she wants to start me on progesterone the day I find out I'm pregnant next time, until I am 12 weeks.  I guess it's just in case your body doesn't produce enough on its own.  I asked if there was such a thing as "too much" and she said no it isn't harmful to you or the baby.  She also mentioned me taking 1 baby aspirin (80mg) daily now and until I am 12 weeks with the next one.  She said it's to prevent blood clots that could prevent the baby from getting nutrients.  I've googled it but it seems like no one really knows if it helps.  I'm up for anything at this point I suppose but I'd like to get a second opinion for sure - on both.

My period returned today.  I thought it may come back on the days it used to (the 5th of every month) but this time it started on the 26th.  So just over a month since my miscarriage started, and about 2 weeks after all the spotting stopped, it's back.  Now, my doctor said that if I wanted, I could start trying again after one full, regular period but I think I'm going to wait two, just in case.  I want to let everything get back to normal before officially trying again. 

Oh and this period is pretty heavy.  Not as crampy as they usually are but pretty heavy for the first 3 days or so.  I also had to google if it was ok to use a tampon with your first period after a natural miscarriage and everywhere I've found says yes so that's what I'm doing.  No more pads for me for awhile hopefully!

Period over for a couple of days.  Was pretty heavy, then stopped, then came again and then it was over.  Tried to have sex today and it was a mess.  Had to use a condom, felt weird and it was there only a minute until I started bleeding and had to stop.  Damn it.  Waited longer than they told me to also.  Ugh.  Don't get frustrated girls, it will happen.  I guess I just need more time, and you may too.  

Sex is back to normal and we are good to go.  Still using condoms until April (not officially trying again until May) but everything is a-ok.  Take it slow, you may be a bit sore, but things do get back to normal.

It took until now for my body to really feel back to normal again.  I don't look pregnant, I don't think, and I feel like my old self (at least physically).

Since February, my periods have been really off.  For 32 years I have been like clockwork but since the miscarriage they have been arriving 3-5 days early every month and have either been really heavy (sometimes bleeding through tampons) or really light.  Went to the OB because I was nervous and she said they could do a progesterone test on day 22 and a estrogen test on day 4 to see if my hormone levels are off and that could be what is going on.  She also recommended a thyroid test because of my heavy one so we will see how that goes.  

She had no explanation for why things have been so off (and apparently it doesn't happen to everyone), but recommended I get one of these to start keeping track of my ovulation because it's so wacky.  I used it and it seems to be working, giving me a few high days, 2 peak days and a few high days after ovulation.  For wacky cycles I would get one if you are trying to conceive.

We have been trying to get pregnant again since April and we are in August and nothing yet.  If you are trying after a miscarriage, stay positive, it will happen.  We have to just be patient.  :)


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  3. I had a natural miscarriage at almost the exact same time (2/6/11), and I really wish I'd read your post before deciding to do it naturally. My (male) doctor told me it would be just a "heavy period." I wish I could punch him. Your experience was almost exactly the same as mine, except my doctor didn't give me any pain pills--probably just thought I should take a midol or something. The pain was awful, the process was disgusting, the bleeding lasted forever, and I wish I'd opted for the d&c (even if it was expensive). I recently had a d&c with my second miscarriage, and it was much better physically and emotionally. I hope your post helps someone else going through this--I'm sure it wasn't easy for you to write.

  4. Oh, and I never went back to that doctor...and vowed to never again use a male doctor for my lady parts!

  5. I went through this same senecio last night. I was so glad to have read this post two days ago. It is the most honest and accurate discription I have found. It prepared me for what happened when none of the doctors would. Thank you Allison! I appreciate your honesty.