my first-trimester miscarriage experience

I first wrote this on May 15, 2006, about six weeks after having a miscarriage, although I slightly revised and added details to it for my blog.  I wrote this as part of an internet forum dedicated to first trimester miscarriage stories, and I shared my experience by answering pre-written questions.  It contains graphic details.  But it is my story, and it is a memory that I will never forget.  Just as I wrote birth stories for my daughters, this is my birth story for my baby that I never met.  Thanks to detailed charting of my cycle, I know that I conceived this baby on March 1, and the baby’s life ended with a miscarriage on April 1.  I had exactly one month to be this child’s earthly mother.

I still have moments when I am reminded that I have a child who died, and I every so often, I still cry.

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At what stage did you discover the pregnancy was not viable?
We had a less-than-promising ultrasound at 5w5d [5 weeks, 5 days] where we saw only an empty [embryonic] sac. By the time the next week’s ultrasound came, it merely verified that I had already had the m/c [miscarriage] and passed the sac, although the ultrasound showed that I hadn’t passed all the tissue.

Had you been spotting/cramping prior to that?
Not at 5w5d. I started lightly spotting at 6w, more spotting the next two days, and started cramping and bleeding the day of my m/c, which was 6w3d.

Did you still have any/all pregnancy symptoms?
Not really sure, as it was early. However, I continued to have morning sickness the week after the m/c.

Did you wait for a natural m/c? Yes.

How long did you have to wait before bleeding began? I had light red bleeding the day before the m/c, and heavy red bleeding the day of the m/c.

What was the bleeding like? Like a period? Heavier? Yes, it was like a period, not really that much heavier. As I had already given birth, I would say that the m/c experience itself was like a mini-childbirth. I felt “small “contractions through which, while they definitely hurt, I could always continue talking. (I say “small” as compared to the contractions of a full-term childbirth in active labor, through which I have been unable to talk.) I definitely felt the need to continually move around, and except for frequent trips to the toilet, I stayed on my feet constantly, moving and pacing around.

I started cramping around 3pm on a Saturday, and I believe I passed the sac around 5:30 pm.  I remember that for some reason we had visitors in our home around 3pm, and I desperately wanted them to leave.  Later on, I also was trying to make supper while having my miscarriage.  I remember stirring something on the stove, turning it down, and going to the bathroom, then coming back to the stove, turning it back up, stirring some more, all the while moving around as much as possible and moaning softly, but trying not to make too much noise so that I wouldn’t scare my 2.5 year old daughter.  It was a very strange experience.  I also called a few friends who had had miscarriages, and asked them to share their experiences with me even as I was going through the m/c myself.

Was it obvious to you when you passed tissue? Was there any clotting?
I could tell when I passed the sac. Compared to passing blood and tissue, the sac was a slightly more “solid” object. When I felt that slide out, I ran back to the bathroom to see what had come out. What I saw was about the size and shape of a kidney bean. It was dark purple (although that may have been a coating from the clots and blood), but I didn’t try to examine it closely. I knew that there was no baby in it, as we’d seen nothing in the sac for the past two ultrasounds that I had had, so I didn’t feel any huge desire to save the empty sac. Regardless, it felt strange and final to flush the toilet after passing the sac.  I passed many clots, too.

Interestingly, within a few minutes of passing the sac, I stopped feeling the need to move around.  All I wanted to do was to lie down; I no longer wanted to move at all. I guess your body tells you what it needs you to do.

Was the amount of blood at any time frightening to you? No.

If you tried to pass everything naturally, was it successful, or did you end up having a D&C anyway due to residual tissue, etc.? I wanted to pass everything naturally, but I ended up asking for a D&C four days after passing the sac. I tried Methergine first, but it didn’t help and it made me sick. So I chose to have a D&C, even though I had hoped to avoid one.

If you had a D&C, what was your experience?
I passed the sac on a Saturday.  Four days later, on a Wednesday, I was still cramping and bleeding, and I had a lower backache.  I really wanted to avoid a D&C; however, it was emotionally draining to me (and JJ) to have the m/c experience be dragging on and on.  I finally realized that I emotionally needed the closure of a D&C as much as I needed it physically.  I figured that I had already had the actual miscarriage on my own, including passing the sac; the D&C was just an efficient way to get the rest of the tissue out, to get the wound cleaned out (so to speak), and to bring an end to the miscarriage experience.

The D&C was done in my OB’s office, and my OB performed the procedure himself (on his afternoon off, no less!).  He gave me a shot of some medication in my arm to relax me and make me woozy. He even held my hand for a few minutes while we waited for the medication to take effect, something for which I’ve always been grateful.

The D&C was not pain-free; there was some sharp pulling sensations as I was “cleaned out” and suctioned out internally.  The medication didn’t completely take away the pain; instead it made me tired and a bit mentally hazy.  But, it was over relatively quickly.  The experience, while emotionally traumatic, was over in about five minutes.  Afterwards, I laid alone on the table until I summoned up the energy (I was still tired from the medication) to get dressed and drag myself back out to the waiting room.  I think I lay there for about half an hour or so, but I’m not sure.  For some reason, JJ didn’t come in with me for the D%C.  I don’t remember exactly why, but I think it was a childcare issue with Lyd.  I remember that it was a Wednesday in Lent, and JJ probably had a midweek Lenten service that night to preach for which complicated matters further.  When I got home, I went straight to bed and slept soundly for 3-4 hours.  I don’t know who took care of Lyd or how JJ managed to preach and play mommy simultaneously.

In the end I was glad I had the D&C. It helped that my OB, once he began the procedure and was able to visibly assess the state of my uterus, said, “It’s a good thing you’re having this done.” My body was metaphorically spinning its wheels, trying to clean me out, but for whatever reason, it couldn’t finish the process on its own.  I made a good decision to have the D&C.

How long did you bleed total (for natural or D&C) including spotting before and after?
I spotted three days before the miscarriage, and bled for almost two weeks afterwards, although the last week it was much lighter and browner. The cramping stopped within a few days after the D&C.

How long until you physically felt yourself again? There were a lot of other things going on in my life at that time besides the m/c that were taking their toll on me emotionally. As far as physically feeling like myself, I would say about two weeks. But with all that had happened, I became depressed afterwards, and that affected me physically, too. Now, 6 weeks post miscarriage, I’m feeling a lot better. Thanks to vitamins, sleep and exercise (I’ve been putting my daughter in her stroller and going for walks in the sunshine almost every day), the depression is mostly gone. I’ve had a period, and now we’re back to trying to conceive again.

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The depression I experienced post-miscarriage was a result of not being kind and gentle with my body while it was recovering.  I expected to bounce right back, and I didn’t acknowledge to my body that I had indeed gone through a birth and didn’t give myself the rest and care I needed.  Therefore, my post-miscarriage experience included post-partum depression.  I now advise anyone going through the awful-ness of a miscarriage to treat their body with all the care they would if they had given birth to a live baby, and to allow their body and hormones (and emotions) time to rest and recover.

6 thoughts on “my first-trimester miscarriage experience

  1. May God continue to comfort you as you grieve this loss.

    I have so many similar feelings now after my miscarriage experience. I miscarried at 10 weeks in July 2007. The baby didn’t develop a heart and stopped growing about 7.5 weeks. I would have been due on Valentine’s Day, 2008. In some ways, I am thankful it happen how it did. I had spotting the night before my scheduled early ultrasound (something that was not procedure for my older boys or my now younger daughter). That morning I had contractions. I knew something was wrong. I went in for the ultrasound and my fears were confirmed. I am so grateful that God allowed me to start the process before the ultrasound so that I had my husband along and was slightly prepared for the worst. I chose to have a natural miscarriage, which passed later that afternoon. Unfortunately, I had large clots and ended up at the ER later that night. They took me to surgery for a D&C preformed by my doctor. Since, it was so late, I was able to stay overnight.

    We had just started letting friends and family know we were expecting so we sent an announcement out even to those who didn’t know we were expecting. I felt that this baby had a soul and its existence shouldn’t be hidden or forgotten. It was so helpful that I was involved in VBS the next week and I had many moms from my church family share their stories of loss with me. It was comforting to know my grief was normal. We are in the process of putting in a water feature in our front yard, with a statue of a baby sleeping in angel wings-to represent our child in heaven. I often wear my Precious Feet necklace that I got from Family Treasures & Gifts.

    I now have a beautiful daughter, 9 months old, born 11 months almost exactly, after my miscarriage.

    For my baby, who will never shed a tear.
    My heart longed to hold you and keep you safe and near.

    Maybe God knew this world would be too hard for you to bear,
    that he took you from my dreams and keeps you safely there.

    Now I can only remember the joy I felt within
    but now forever with the angels you will sing.

    Thank you so much for your blog. It is a joy to read of your faith, struggles, passion for God and love of music, being a Mom/wife, and interest in herbal and natural healing. May God continue to bless your family.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps me in coping with my own loss. This week I found out my friend is pregnant with three months-and that would be how old my baby in my tummy would be if I did not miscarry. I am looking forward to getting pregnant again.

    LL
    babyat35.wordpress.com

  3. I came upon this while searching for miscarriages in the first trimester. We lost ours last week, at about 8 weeks. My wife is in our home country and it pains me no end for not being able to be with her during this traumatic period. I admire you for being able to write the details of such a painful time and thank you, it gives me more understanding of what my wife must going through physically and I love and respect her more.

  4. my husband and I found out we were pregnant july 10th,seven days later, we were at the hospital as my father got really sick,the day he was admitted to the hospital I started bleeding,I paniced but we rushed to the ER luckily we were at the hospital already the doctor did an ultrasound he saw the sac but didnt see the embryo even though i was supposed to be 6 weeks pregnant,he scheduled me for another ultrasound in two weeks,and I was told that I’m having a threatened abortion if the bleeding incrEases then its gonna be an inevitable abortion ,and I was told to rest completely. I went home started cramping it hurt so much,next day I woke up to find that I had passed the sac,I put it in a ziplock and went to see my obgyn she confirmed that this was the sac and made a pelvic exam and she prescribed me some medications (antibiotic to prevent any infection/some medicine to make the u/s contract to expell any tissue or remains inside it and a pain killer because the cramps were still there even after passing the sac) I was really upset I was very emotional for about 6 days after the
    miscarriage but I chose to move on and now all I can think of us when will the bleeding stop and I get my period so we can start TTC again. I’m supposed to see my obgyn in 2 days for an ultrasound to make sure all the tissue and the remains are gonna other wise I’ll have to have a d&c which I’m hopeful I won’t need it. My doctor also said I shouldn’t question why the miscarriage happened because its my first and that I should only do that if this happens again which I’m so hopeful it won’t. Thank you for sharing your story

  5. Thanks SO much for posting this and sharing your experience! I’m currently in the process of physically passing a miscarried pregnancy at about nine weeks, though there may never have been a viable fetus or one that was alive beyond about three weeks ago. While I haven’t had the pain of isolation in experiencing this miscarriage because of the support of many good friends who have miscarried as well, I haven’t been at all sure what to expect in terms of the physical details. This is very helpful to know, esp. since I’ve scheduled for a D&C a couple of days from now if I don’t pass all the tissue. Thank you for sharing the story of your loss so that others don’t have to be in the dark about what happens.

  6. hi, reading your blog has been helpful in finding out what to expect. i am experiencing an m/c. every now and than i get nauseated, light headed. Basically don’t feel well. I am getting cramps. Feels like its right behind my belly button.
    If it weren’t for the bus strike ( no buses are running) here. I would have gone to a doctor last month.
    It started with heavy bleeding, than pink and brown discharge. weeks later, i am experiencing cramps and I keep spotting here and there.
    Anyways, thank you for sharing your experience. i wasn’t quite sure what to do about it, since i have no transportation to my doctor or the ER.
    I was starting to get scared of what I should do. But reading your blog has put me a little more at ease. I can do this as natural as I can. Thank you.

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