Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What It's Like To Have A Miscarriage

*Warning* This post will be detailed and graphic and if you don't want to read about this kind of stuff, then skip this one and come back in a few days for more normal blog content.

I'm choosing to write about this because I think that women don't talk about it enough. It happens all the time, but when it was happening to me and I was desperately searching for information online about what a miscarriage experience is actually like, I came up with no helpful information. Not real true helpful information. Here's my attempt to put it out there and fill the missing gap of information. I suppose though that it might be different for everyone. And incredibly painful emotionally as well as physically. And maybe some people just can't talk about it at all. But I've found that talking about it helps me. As I've told several people over the last few days it has gotten easier for me so here we go...

Maybe you've noticed that I haven't updated my status on Facebook in a couple of days. I've thought about it, but all I could come up with was stuff like

Michelle Simmons is bleeding.

Michelle Simmons feels empty.

Michelle Simmons is an emotional wreck.

That stuff just didn't seem appropriate so close to Christmas and all.

All along with this pregnancy I've not had a good feeling. If you followed about a month ago you remember that I was just sure that it was not growing but then they found a heartbeat and though I was shocked, I accepted it that I was just wrong about feeling so not pregnant. And after every hour+ run that I completed and felt fine, I wondered how it was possible to feel so fine when you're growing a baby? Shouldn't I be more tired?

I woke up Sunday morning feeling whacked out emotionally. I mean. Whacked. Out. I cried about all sorts of stuff all day long and just couldn't stop. It was really weird because normally I'm way more emotionally steady than that. When I start crying over every little thing (and nothing) I *know* that my hormones are messed up somehow. Anyway, I went for a run and felt especially bad. I walked up every little incline and just felt so overwhelmingly bad... I figured this was the beginning of the end of my pregnant running.

A few hours later I started feeling crampy, which was weird b/c I haven't felt crampy at all since being pregnant. I went to the bathroom and out plopped a big bright red clot. Uh oh. Not sure what that was about. I did not panic right away because I know that it is possible to bleed during pregnancy and still have everything be ok. But I brought Moana downstairs to Scott and told him to entertain her while I rested b/c I wasn't feeling well.

I went to the bathroom every 15 minutes for about an hour and every time saw big bright red clots. It wasn't stopping. I should call the doctor. But it's Sunday. Clinic is closed. Maybe I'll just wait until tomorrow.

But I'm not that patient. I called the after hours advice line and told them what was going on. I was instructed to go to the ER right away.

I told Scott to stay with Moana so I just went alone. Maybe not the brightest move on my part, but Moana needed to eat dinner and go to bed and I knew that this visit wasn't going to be an especially quick one so figured I'd just handle it on my own so her schedule wouldn't be messed up.

At the ER I was checked and the doc said my cervix was still closed, but that I was definitely bleeding a lot. She called it a Threatened Miscarriage and said it was 50/50 at this point. But then they ran labs. Hcg test. I waited about an hour there in the ER for those results. Doc came back in and told me that my hcg came back at 20,000. 5+ weeks ago it was at 22,000 and then 33,000, so the fact that it had gone down was a pretty clear sign of what was going to happen.

The doc talked with me a little bit about a D&C but I told her that I trusted my body to take care of this on its own. My body is good at a lot of things. It knows how to get pregnant, it knows how to deliver a baby, it must know how to get rid of it when it's not right. So I left telling her I would trust my body.

I was sent home and told to come back if the bleeding got out of control, and to call my regular doc in the morning.

I cried the whole drive home alone. You know, I never wanted to be pregnant. I don't want another baby right now. I really don't. But again, that doesn't make it any better when you find out you are going to lose it at almost 11 weeks.

I took an ambien to help me sleep because I knew that was my only possible hope. My eyes were so tired and stingy from crying so much all day long. I had a splitting headache right above my eye and my blood pressure was up at almost 140/90 at the ER. I was a mess.

At 1:45 I woke up with cramps that felt like contractions. And I knew this was it. I think since I'd been through labor before I knew what those contractions felt like when they start opening your cervix. I knew my cervix was opening. I went to the bathroom and filled the toilet with red blood clots. Back to bed. Repeat every 15 minutes or so for the next hour.

And then came the worst part. The absolute worst part. The ER doc had warned me about the tissue that I might see pass. She told me it would not look like a baby (like it does in the movies) and she was right, but there was no mistaking the tissue for just another blood clot. This was something different. This was my baby.

What do you do at this point? It's 2:45 AM and you're all alone in your bathroom passing this... this... tissue... "products of conception" they call it. Um, that was my baby and what am I supposed to do? Flush it down the toilet? But what else could I do? It's not like I could not flush the toilet. It was horrible.

I cried. And then I flushed the toilet.

I went back to bed but continued to feel the cramping and was still up every few minutes and back to the bathroom for most of the next hour. All in all, it about about a two hour event which was the actual passing.

I called my doc first thing this morning and they had me an appointment within two hours. I went in and she did an ultrasound and confirmed that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do in this situation, when something is not right with the baby, and it did it completely. This was maybe the only positive thing about the day- that I didn't have to do any more procedures to help my body finish the job.

I never wanted to be pregnant. But the sight of my empty uterus on that ultrasound screen was numbing nonetheless.

I really wanted to know when it had stopped growing. We'll never know for sure because the couldn't do any measurements on my empty uterus. But doc said that with a current hcg of 20,000, it probably stopped developing not too long after the 6 week ultrasound where they saw the heartbeat. Which is creepy in it's own way- to know that I was carrying around a dead baby for maybe like four weeks before my body finally let it go?

Mother's Intuition is strong. With Moana, I did not have a single worry. Not ever. I knew for sure the whole time that everything was going to be just fine. This time, I just didn't feel right about it. I told my doc how I was feeling (right from my first appointment with her I told her that it wouldn't surprise me if this didn't pan out) but she was much more confident than I was. Today, she acknowledged the power of a Mother's Intuition.

Anyway, a miscarriage is nothing I would ever hope on anyone. Miscarriages suck. They make you feel empty and incompetent and unworthy. Even though intellectually I know that those things are not true, I can't help but feel them. Not wanting to be pregnant doesn't make having a miscarriage any easier. I take that back. As much as it sucked for me, I can only imagine how much more it would suck if I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time and then finally did with my first one and then had this happen. I don't know. I don't know how you'd get by. This experience has made me 100x more understanding of the frustration a woman would feel by not being able to grow a baby. At the doctor's office after I saw my empty uterus I saw a pregnant woman. I had a little twinge of jealousy. Her body could handle the pregnancy. Mine did not. Ugh.

I will get through this. I have been showering Moana with attention and reminding myself how nice it will be to have her all alone for a while longer. I will not have to split my attention away from her. And that, my friends, is the silver lining for me right now.

67 comments:

Greyt Times said...

Wow. So sorry to hear this. Thank you for sharing though - what a truly unique perspective. I admire you for laying it all out there.

Rachelle
Team Trakkers

DC Running Mama said...

Oh, I am so sorry. Thank you for being honest and sharing your experience. I am sure that all those near to you will embrace you during this tough time.

Running and living said...

Michelle, what a post! I was literally crying! And wanted to give you a big hug, even though I have never met you! I admire you for telling it like it is. You are incredibly strong! Moana is lucky to have such a mom!

The Salty One said...

Michelle, you had me there with you with every word. We had such similar experiences this go-round and it was nice to have your company along this journey out there on the blogosphere. I felt such a loss reading this. I am not the praying type, but you are in my thoughts and I will be thinking of you often. I wish you a quick recovery, both physically and emotionally. I can't imagine it will be easy, but I (and surely many many others) will be out here in the blogosphere cheering you on along all your endeavors. Take care.

Laura

DR said...

I am so sorry to hear about this. You are honest, I love that about you.

My first pregnancy also aborted, but much earlier at 6.5 weeks. It is very common, they say 1/4 pregnancies, but it still hurts in every way that you described.

I hope you recover soon, my thoughts are with you!

monicaonthego.com said...

Oh Michelle, I am so sorry, thank you for sharing your story. Mothers intuition is an amazing thing for sure.

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

sending you virtual hugs. I wish I had something meaningful to say, but all I've got is to let you know that I've been in your shoes, and it sucks. Bad. But if it's any comfort at all...3 months after my miscarriage, I became pregnant with my youngest. And now, I can't imagine it having been any other way.

I'm glad you found your silver lining. Hang in there! **hugs**

wonderwoman said...

So sorry to hear Michelle. Stay tough and it was amazing for you to share it.

jessica said...

So very, very sorry to read this, but you described it all with such clarity that I know someone else will really be helped by this.

You're sure in my thoughts.

Molly said...

Oh Michelle, I'm so very sorry. It is extremely brave of you to share your experience and I'm sure it will help someone else who has to face such a scary and sad thing. Many hugs for you and Scott and Moana during this hard time.

Mary IronMatron said...

Oh Michelle. My heart goes out to you. I'm so sorry you had to see it... and God. I'm just really sorry. Love to you. Love to you and Scott and Moana.

Ange said...

I am so so sorry Michelle. What a sad traumatic time you have endured. My heart is with you and your family. you are strong for sharing...try to gain comfort knowing that we are all sending you prayers.

Kelly said...

Michelle, my thoughts and prayers are with you tonight.

N.D. said...

Oh, Michelle! I am so sorry to hear this. I went through a m/c before I had Nick and it was devastating. I had to have a d & c because I was going on a trip, but this sounds far worse. I am so sorry. The silver lining is so great to look at - more time with Moana.

Jennifer Harrison said...

OH geez. I could not read this post without taking a break. I am sorry you had to go thru this and SO SORRY about it all. :( I hope laying it all out there helps you heal a little bit. xoxo

X-Country2 said...

Oh Michelle. This just breaks my heart, but you continue to be one of the strongest women I've ever "known". Hug your husband and hug your beautiful daughter.

Velma said...

I am so sorry, but I know there are a lot of women out there who will find this post and it will give them some solace.

cherelli said...

Michelle, i am so sorry to hear of your miscarriage, how very upsetting for you (and it was tough to read emotionally). Wishing you many more silver linings appearing as 2010 approaches...thanks so much for sharing, you are amazing.

Megan said...

You are so brave and so strong for sharing this with us. I am very sorry that you had to experience this. Your words will be helpful for others who unfortunately will go through similar pains and struggles. *Hugs*

traci said...

I am terribly sorry for your loss. I have been following your blog for quite a while, and when you thought you miscarried a few weeks back, I almost posted b/c I had just gone through the same thing. Wasn't sure I wanted a third baby, then felt horrible b/c I lost it. The emotional aftermath and hormonal roller coaster was quite difficult (I'm like you....pretty stable emotionally, have done "hard" things like Ironman...don't cry easily, etc)...I felt totally out of control for a few weeks. The good news is at almost 3 months later, I feel totally normal again. Let yourself take whatever time you need to grieve. Having another little one gives you a nice distraction and something to be thankful for, but there were times when I just wanted to be alone to feel how I wanted to feel and not have to be "Mommy." Give yourself that time. You're strong...I am sure this will only make you stronger. You'll be in my prayers.

Beth said...

So sorry to hear about this Michelle. You guys are certainly in my prayers and thoughts. Hope you are feeling better soon.

kerrie said...

so so sorry. i was just thinking about you and wondering why you had been so quiet on fb the last couple of days.....
no matter how emotionally steady you are, this is a hard loss and so difficult to go through. you are so smart with trusting your body - it does know what to do.
sending some hugs and strength your way.

Polka Dot Girl said...

Sweet, Sweet Michelle. I wish my arms were long enough to reach from Connecticut to Hawaii to give you a hug. Your post is so meaningful. I have friends who've been in your situation, and this helps me understand them so much better. Thank you for sharing your soul, your heart. You are strong and brave and will get through this - you know it, i know it, Scott knows it, one day Moana will know it. We love you so very much. --Erin

Angela and David Kidd said...

I wish there was a right thing to say (write). I know telling you that are in very good company doesn't make you feel any better but many have been where you are and shared your feelings or feelings like yours. Hug Moana tight and get some rest.

Danni said...

Oh Michelle! I am SO sorry to hear this. I admire your strength for posting it out there. Hang in there! I will be thinking about you.

ADC said...

Oh, Michelle, I am here in tears. I am so so sorry. This is such a brave post and I admire you for sharing it with us.

Lizzie said...

This was just too hard a post for me to read in it's entirety. I feel so sad for you all. I've had other friends going through similar experiences and while it's always somewhat comforting to say they came out the other side stronger, it doesn't really help when you're in the middle of it. There isn't really anything to say, except to send prayers to you, Scott and Moana, and don't be afraid to reach out to others - I can tell from reading this blog for the last year that you have a lot of really wonderful people in your life, both where you live and far away, who wouldn't hesitate to help you in anyway they could.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I am so sorry, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kathy said...

I am so sorry to read this. Your post made me cry too -- thinking of your family. It is very brave of you to put this out there for everyone.

jbmmommy said...

Sorry for your loss, prayers and positive thoughts going out to you in this time.

Newt said...

Oh, Michelle, I'm so so sorry. So so very sorry.

Katie said...

So sorry for your loss.

Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm so sorry for such a sucky situation.

Regina said...

I am so sorry you had to go through this. I have no idea what that must have been like. I hope you are finding comfort in your family and friends.

No reason to feel jealous of the pregnant woman. Your body CAN handle pregnancy, it has given you a beautiful and healthy little girl. Your body also knew when something was wrong. You were right to trust it. My thoughts are with you, Scott and Moana.

Katie A. said...

I wish I knew what the right this to say other than I am sooo sorry for you and Scott. I cried through this whole post. You are such a strong and smart woman and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your sweet family. Take some time for yourself and enjoy that sweet baby Moana. (((huggs)))

GoBigGreen said...

As others have said I am so sorry. You just take some time to figure this all out and it will be OK, Michelle. You are right, yor body did what it had to do and trust that it was the right thing at this time.
I hope you are doing ok:)
Hugs from Minnesnowta.

Katie said...

oh michelle... ow. My heart hurts so much. I only just read this, and I'm just so sorry you've had to go thru this.

You're darn right that women don't talk about it enough, which while understandable makes the shock/pain that much more for others when it happens to them b/c it seems to never happen. You continue to amaze me with your courage to be in struggle, and willingness to help others who struggle.

Even tho' I know it can't resolve the pain completely, I'm so glad you found your precious silver lining, and will be praying for you especially in the coming days. I HOPE I don't offend you by sharing this (but rather that maybe it comforts you), but I believe God is holding and caring for your little lost one right now.

Jon Gilchrist said...

Michelle...I am so terribly sorry about your family's loss.

Jon Gilchrist said...

Michelle...I am so terribly sorry about your family's loss.

talkbirth said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is so important. I had a miscarriage on Nov. 7t at 14w5d. The baby had died probably a couple of days before. I made sure to labor off of the toilet so that I didn't have to deal with the "flush or not" dilemma (I wore "disposable underwear" to catch everything in). My baby was fully formed and though my intuition says he most likely had something wrong with him that we couldn't see (there were no visible anomalies, but there could have been all kinds of stuff going on inside, I guess), I've been over and over all the things I could have possibly done wrong to cause it, etc., etc. Really difficult experience though I really feel like I've grown in ways that I would not have been able to do had I not had him. He was our third boy and we'd tried for 8 months.

I started a miscarriage blog to separate it from my "work" blog (http://tinyfootprintsonmyheart.wordpress.com).

(((hugs))) and thanks again for telling your story.

Molly

Rebecca DeWire said...

:( I am so sorry that this happened to you and your family. Such sad news. Your post was really powerful and I admire you for sharing your story.

Clare said...

i am so sorry. but thank you for all the details, because if it happens to me, i want to know what to expect, physically and emotionally. i wish everyone were as honest, life would be better.

Alili said...

I don't have the words. I am so sorry for you loss and as always admire your strength and honesty.

The Chapples said...

No words, Michelle. Just lots of love.

Meredith said...

What a sad story. Thank you for sharing and being honest.

Heather said...

There are no words. I am so sorry.

Trisaratops said...

Michelle--I am crying over here for you...so, so sorry you had to go through this. Sending you hugs and prayers. Thanks for putting it out there for those who have been there, and I hope it brought you some peace. Thinking of you.

Nitsirk said...

I am sorry to hear this. There is nothing to say but that it sucks. The only solace I found was knowing that if my body decided to terminate that there must have been something very wrong. Hang in there and give that little girl a big hug.

San said...

My first reaction to your topic was: "Oh no she didn't!"

To see it confirmed was a shock. I'm so sorry for you and your family. Hopefully you'll recover soon. I admire you for sharing this and think it will help a lot of women. Trust your body, it knows best.

I send you lots of love and hugs.

fancy nancy said...

I am so sorry to hear that this happened but thank you so much for sharing your story and true feelings! I am sending big hugs to you and many blessings in 2010.

Kate Parker said...

All I can say is that I am so, so sorry. Time will make you feel better, not like before, but better. Sending a huge hug out to you.

Charisa said...

So sorry to hear about your loss. Keep your family close. Good luck picking up the pieces. You are strong and I know things will work out in the end, but that doesn't mean it is always easy. We'll say some prayers for you.

SPGieck said...

Very sad to read. As someone who is trying to get pregnant, this shows some of the troubles one can experience once you think things are okay. Thank you for sharing....

Shevaun said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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HL said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. Someone pointed me over here. I just miscarried at 8.5 weeks (though the embryo was 6 weeks, that was part of the problem; it was delayed in developing from the start). Thank you so much for this post. Thank you thank you thank you. I feel normal reading it.

My blog is runhlrun.blogspot.com (not in my profile.

THANK YOU

GB said...

I know you posted this in 2009, but I'm fortunate to have found this today. What happened to you is EXACTLY what is happening to me as I type this. I'm in between trips to the bathroom. I'm in my 11th week. It was an unplanned, unexpected pregnancy, but we accepted it and went with it. The baby died in my uterus at about 6 weeks. I didn't know until just a few days ago, and here we are, 4-5 weeks later, and the baby is now leaving my body. I also have other children but the sense of emptiness inside me right now is so vast, it feels like it's never ending. I hope time has healed your emotional wounds, as I hope it heals mine. Life will go on... it just doesn't feel like it right now. Thank you for letting me comment, e.g.: talk about things.

Jessica Olson said...

Thank you for writing this. I found out i was pregant with what have been my 4th child about 5 weeks ago. At week 8 i was told no heart beat. The worst was the whole time both me and my husband were detached from the pregnacy and felt it was different. I have too alowed my body to do what it beeds to and onw at week 10 its finally desiding to do it right now. And your post is the first one i read when i googled what i am about to go through and everything u wrote is exactly how i feel. Im so sorry you went through that i hope i can stay strong like you. Xo