Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Second Miscarriage: Reflections

(Part 3 of 3)

While the circumstances of my miscarriage were in no way ideal, I don't think there's any ideal way for a miscarriage to happen.

There are things I think back on and am grateful for. I'm grateful for the main ER nurse who was generally very kind. I'm glad that the ER was too busy for any of the staff to bother me while I was going through something so personal. Although I had to take care of myself, I'm glad they weren't sticking their heads into my room while I was actually miscarrying. I'm also glad I didn't miscarry at home in the bathroom with my children pounding on the door and crying for mommy. Even though the nurses laughed behind my back about me refusing a D&C, I'm really glad no one tried to pressure me into interventions I didn't want or need. I'm also very thankful that the OB was thoughtful and listened to what I had to say. I'm glad I stood up for myself and made my intentions and my needs clear. Looking back on the situation, I think it would have been really nice to have had a doula with me, but overall things went smoothly.

I'm really happy that I got the ultrasound. The image of an empty sac was so clear to me that I no longer had any doubt about what was happening in my body. It was as though this conscious realization is what allowed my body to finally release everything, and release it did! Blood, clots, and tissue were all released very efficiently in the matter of about 2 hours, and that was a good thing. I didn't need any surgical procedures or medications. And even though the initial sight of the sac and placenta were disturbing, I feel that being able to see and feel the tangible reality of what had been inside of me gave me a sense of closure.

I'm thankful for unexpected happenstance. I had been planning to wait at least until Christmas to tell anyone about the pregnancy. I was worried about miscarrying again, and I wanted to be able to hear a heart beat before sharing the happy news. In uncanny fashion, however, my family all figured it out. My sister was the only member of the family I told about my pregnancy, and she didn't say a word to anyone. One by one each of my siblings figured it out, and the ultimate slip was through my maternal grandmother at Thanksgiving dinner who, in her aging years and dimensia asked me if I was having a boy or a girl this time. I couldn't lie to my family's faces, and so my secret was out! It was because of this exposure that I had the amazing support of my mom. She rearranged her whole day to watch my kids, finished putting faces on some homemade dolls I needed to finish that day, fed me, helped me take my IV out, gave me a place of refuge and safety, and most importantly gave me love and emotional support.

I have an amazing support network of friends. Whatever the situation, there is always someone I can call or email and find the support I need, online or in person. I cope and heal by talking through things, sharing my experiences with others, and writing. I've realized that I make a habit of surrounding myself with people I feel I can trust and confide in, and that is a huge comfort. Many friends kept my secret when I didn't want people to know of my pregnancy but I needed someone to vent to. I feel very blessed to have so many loving people in my life.

I was severely depressed during this past pregnancy. I had a deep desire to be left completely alone. I didn't want to see a doctor, and not even a midwife. I didn't even want to tell my midwife about my pregnancy, and I wondered if these feelings were an indication that I should plan an unassisted birth. I decided to take some time and figure out where these feelings were coming from. As I did so, I found myself falling deeper into depression and I was at a loss as to what to do. I finally confided in my midwife and told her how I'd been feeling, and she told me that my feelings of wanting to be left alone and isolate myself were actually a symptom of depression. Coupled with the other symptoms I'd been noticing, I realized the truth in her words. I didn't like it at all, but I had to face the fact that I was depressed.

In reflecting on my feelings, I realized something. If my depression was causing me to want to isolate myself, I needed to do the opposite. I needed to reach out for support from people I felt safe and comfortable confiding in. I chose specific people and I opened up to them. I told them I'd been depressed for weeks and was really struggling. I thought the depression was due to hormonal imbalance as a result of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and miscarriage, the last one having a particularly strong influence. I was afraid of losing another pregnancy, and I thought that was the root of my depression. I adjusted my diet according to the suggestions from my midwife and did lots of other little things each day to try to improve my mood and combat the negativity and mood swings.

After the miscarriage I've made another connection. The depression really hit me the hardest at the same point in time when the egg sac within me stopped growing. I can't help but wonder if there was some kind of imbalance triggered by that loss of pregnancy and the tissue still remaining in my body. The day after my emergency room miscarriage it felt as though a dark cloud had lifted. I felt relieved to have it done with and able to look forward to the future and move on. The emotional impact will never completely go away and I never want to forget what I went through, but my hope is that my whole being will be able to heal and move on from this experience.


  1. I'm glad you are able to see so many positives in your experience. And how interesting about the timing of your deepest depression. I'm glad the cloud has lifted. You're still in my prayers.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

  3. It is interesting the connection you made between when you started to really feel depressed to when the baby stopped growing. It is as if your body knew. I am glad that you can look back and see the positives. I am sending hugs and healing to you!

  4. I've finally found a perspective that I can relate to. Thank you so much, I've just finished reading your three part story of your second miscarriage. I feel your pain and I am sorry that you endured this tragic event. I myself, have just suffered through my second miscarriage. After the first miscarriage in September, I never thought I'd survive the depression. I'm in my 40's, my husband and I want a child so badly and finding no heartbeat with the first pregnancy at 9 weeks was devastating to us both. At 9 weeks, we opted for the D&C. We found ourselves pregnant again after only two cycles at the end of November. We were both so excited, and figured we would be able to tell people on my husbands birthday at the end of January. Well, our trip to the ER was similar to your experience. I started with a tiny bit of brown spotting at home. I just KNEW it was wrong. We had already seen the heartbeat at 7 weeks, the ultrasound dated the pregnancy at 6w5d on December 22nd. January 9th, I found myself waiting and waiting and waiting at the ER for an ultrasound to find out if there was still a heartbeat. It's almost like the ER doctors don't understand miscarriage and the empty feeling one has. We were left alone for over an hour after seeing the ultrasound and not seeing the heartbeat. When I asked the ER doctor about the HCG levels, she looked at me as if I had lobster claws for my two heads, as if I wouldn't understand the results anyway. "I can discuss them with you, but I'm not sure that will be conclusive". ? What? Just tell me if they've dropped! This is my second pregnancy like this and I want to know! I've been watching my hormone levels and charting my body so carefully this time. Anyway, I insisted the IV be taken out immediately, that I wasn't going to have any medication or additional blood drawn anyway. After spending more than three hours in the ER, I began to walk out with my husband and didn't care if I was discharged or not. I just wanted to pass this baby not to be at home. The doctor seemed to appear out of nowhere to 'discuss' the results with me. I didn't give her the chance. I told her I saw the ultrasound, I've had enough of them to know how to read them and I'll contact my doctor in the morning. I didn't take the discharge papers, but went home to rest.

    I did see my OB the next day. I originally wanted the D&C just to get it over with quickly. My husband talked me out of it, to save my uterus from further scaring. Thank you my lovely husband. It didn't pass on it's own, so my doctor recommended medication to help. I passed the sac and placenta at home, which I saw in whole. I horrible experience but I am willing to try again.

    I'm sorry for your loss. But I'm thankful for your story.

  5. Anonymous, thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. I'm so sorry that you've gone through this as well, but I'm glad my story was of some help to you.