The Dirty Deets: Miscarriage
Admittedly, the title of this post is a bit gruesome as you start reading and realize I really am giving the straight forward, honest, gross truth about a miscarriage. But come on, it’s just too funny to resist. Also, 90’s Megan needs “Deets” to be a thing again!
I feel like I need to start this post with a couple disclaimers. Number 1: If you are not prepared to read about the female body during a miscarriage and all that it entails… stop reading (Although, if you are a male and your significant other is going through this, even if you feel a bit uncomfortable or squeamish, I highly recommend you continue reading to try and better understand and support her). Number 2: This is only one experience with a miscarriage. There is absolutely no medical research or backing for any of the following, this is simply my experience.
When I had my miscarriage, or knew I was starting the process of miscarrying (more on this below), I couldn’t understand. I’m not just saying that either. I actually didn’t understand what was happening with my body. I didn’t understand why it was happening, what it was going to be like, how long it would last, how it would feel, and the list goes on… So, in true Megan fashion, I turned to research.
I started with my amazing doctors. I asked as many questions of my doctor as possible. The thing is, they’re very focused on making sure the medical side of things is happening and that you are safe. Blood work, ultrasounds, mental health, all of the things that they are trained for, and frankly, that are their job. Don’t get me wrong, all of those are essential, and life saving, but still didn’t dig deep into the reality of what I was going to experience in coming weeks. So then, I turned to the internet, obviously. What I found was just not as blatant and honest as I wanted. I ended up needing to navigate the unknown (which is the hardest part of anything, in my opinion) as it came. I just didn’t find the information that I felt that I needed. The true, down and dirty details of what lie ahead of me throughout my miscarriage.
I’m not sure why this information isn’t openly shared. Whether it be not wanting to spook others, salt the wounds, or even just not wanting to share the TMI details (if you’re a Garden of Heart follower you know I don’t believe in). People have good intentions with not sharing the details, but I’m just not that person.
I NEEDED to know! I NEEDED to mentally prepare! I NEEDED more!
So, I’m going to give you the honest truths about miscarriage and what to (possibly) expect. Another quick reminder, this is just from my experience and what my body went through.
10 Truths From a Miscarriage Alumni:
- It’s not instant, it drags on and on (and on)- For some reason, I was under the impression that a miscarriage was like sudden and quick. I was going to bleed, maybe pass some clots, and then the physical portion would be over… WRONG!! My miscarriage took 8 full weeks of bleeding (more on this below) and intermittent cramping and pain. Not quick folks. Not in the least.
- It hurts- The first night of my miscarriage(or when I knew things were not right) I had terrible cramping. It was so strange, like a mixture between bloating, gas, and period cramps. (At this point I called my doctor, as you should). Then, every couple days for a week or so I would cramp a bit, more of a discomfort than pain. A week after the initial evening I had full on contractions. Shocked the hell out of me! I mean, clearly it makes sense in hindsight, but I just didn’t expect it. But there they were, full blown contractions followed by some much more prominent bleeding. This part took an entire Saturday, and then the pain was gone.
- Let’s talk blood- As I’ve mentioned, I started bleeding on the first night. (If you’re currently pregnant and start bleeding, don’t panic. Not all blood means miscarriage! Turns out a lot of women bleed during pregnancy and are perfectly healthy. Do be sure to check in with your doctor though!). I bled for that whole first week leading up to the day of contractions and the more substantial bleeding. Then I figured I would be done… WRONG!! In total I bled for 8 full weeks. It wasn’t a ton of blood everyday, but enough that I needed to wear pads EVERY. FREAKING. DAY. For 8 weeks. Honestly, this one of the hardest parts for me. I just felt gross. I felt dirty and disgusting all the time. One night, in tears, I said to my husband, “I don’t think I’ll ever stop bleeding,” and in the moment, I legitimately thought I never would.
- You have to use pads- Because your cervix is open during the process you risk infection if you use tampons. Which means that even if you absolutely despise pads, you have to wear them. Unfortunately as you read above, this isn’t necessarily a quick process either. Get yourself some nice pads, I recommend this kind- Always Radiant. They’re great (as far as pads go) and you feel much less like you’re in a diaper. They seem super thin and like they won’t possibly work, but they do… they’re magic!!
- Your hormones are a mess- As it turns out, during a miscarriage your body doesn’t instantly get rid of the pregnancy hormones. It takes time. It’s an absolute roller coaster ride. You still feel pregnant and have symptoms, even though you know you do not have a viable pregnancy. Sometimes you no longer feel pregnant and think it’s over, but you’re still bleeding. Then, to top it all off, you’re grieving over the loss. To say the least, I was a train wreck! Open up to your doctors, accept help and love from those who share it, and let your body rest. It is confused and working damn hard. Give yourself and your body grace.
- Lots of blood work- By the time my pregnancy hormones had dropped to a level that the doctors were comfortable with I had already had my blood drawn at least a dozen times. My levels dropped slowly, so it took more pokes. I went in every two days for over 3 weeks. I had track marks on my arms and the phlebotomist and I knew each other on a first name basis.
- Your partner feels differently- You and your partner will not experience miscarriage in the same way. You just can’t, you’re not the same person, you don’t have the same emotions, and you aren’t feeling the same things. Lean into the discomfort and talk through your emotions together. It’s tough on both of you, just in different ways.
- Embrace the numbers- In my endless research on miscarriage, I found comfort in the numbers. Again, I am someone who can’t stand the unknown. I needed to know how likely it was for this to happen again, how likely I was to never successfully carry and birth a child myself, all of it. I encourage you to do your research (on a trusted, credible site) and find comfort in the numbers. Your likelihood of multiple miscarriages is low, even lower to have consecutive miscarriages. It happens, but trust and find comfort in the numbers!
- You will be convinced it’s not worth trying again- Trust me, no matter how badly you want to be a parent or get pregnant, at some point in the bleeding, arm pokes, and all the grief, you will decide that it will never be worth it again. You will be certain that the risk, even with low statistics, is not worth it. Those emotions, in my experience, are normal. Let yourself feel what it needs to, remember, this is your journey and you can experience however you need. Grief deserves your time and the full process, including the “never again” stage.
- It is worth it- Be brave, and believe in your body. Whether you go through one, or multiple miscarriages, when you finally have your rainbow baby, it’s worth it! Whether your baby is biological, adopted, through in vitro, a surrogate, or however your baby becomes yours, it is that much sweeter. You won’t forget your miscarriage, you won’t forget the life that could have been, but you will have better days again.
Stay strong girl. You are far stronger than you could ever imagine, physically and emotionally. Allow your body to go through the process and take the time it needs.
I promise the bleeding will stop!