Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Frank Account of Natural Miscarriage at 11-1/2 Weeks

WARNING: This is a graphic account of my personal experience of a natural (i.e. non-surgical) miscarriage. Do not read it if you feel uncomfortable reading about biological events, blood, or pain. Also don't read it if you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy because you will worry unduly. Go look at Babies-R-Us or something fun.

I have had the miscarriage naturally as was my first inclination. Even if they had scheduled me for the D&E the next day as they wanted, it would have been too late as it occurred the night after the ultrasound. I didn't really get a chance to look up information about it that evening, but I pretty much knew how it would happen.

I had bleeding and mild cramping during the day, which became increasingly stronger and closer contractions from about 10pm to midnight (any kind of labor just has to happen when you need to sleep instead of when you're rested, right?) I had taken two Advil but don't think they really did much. While lying down I did some pelvic tilts as that was something that actually helped when I was in labor with Limelet. I asked TheLimey to take over watching the sleeping Limelet, as he (Limelet) was sure to freak out if he awoke and realized I was not where I usually am, and got up from bed.

I went into the bathroom and almost immediately passed some tissue. Although the doctor had warned me that sometimes people are able to identify parts of fetal remains, I never saw anything like that. Just what appeared to be various blood clots. This is probably a mercy. I spent another hour having strong and painful contractions maybe every 30 seconds or so. I used pelvic tilts and some pushing to help diminish the pain, with moderate results. It got so I could tell when the pain would diminish because I would hear a little trickle of blood at the peak of each contraction. I felt grateful that no one had yet moved in to the townhouse on that side, as they probably would have thought someone was being tortured over here, once a minute or so. (I guess in a way, I was.) My sense of time was very similar to being in labor, but I had a clock right next to my head so I did actually know how long it all was. In between contractions I would read a few lines of of a novel.

At 1am the contractions started getting stronger, closer together, and more painful, though I had expected the opposite. I could also hear that Limelet had woken up and was crying and screaming for me, which was very distressing to me, but it couldn't be helped. I started feeling very faint and sweaty, and tried to put my head down as far towards my lap as I could in order to keep my blood pressure up. However, after all that blood loss it was not enough, and I did faint, and fell onto the floor.

I don't know how long I was out. Probably not too long. I was actually having a pleasant dream and did not want to wake up. What awoke me was pain in my ankle, which was twisted into an awkward position. I managed to wake up enough to move it--it still hurt--and then I simply lay on the floor for a while with my face pressed against the cool tiles. The contractions did begin to abate slightly at that point, thank goodness, though they were still quite painful. I found my book and used it for a pillow.

After a while I was able to get up again. Well, as far as the fainting went, anyway. I couldn't stand on my right ankle.The bleeding had slowed and was no longer trickling out with each contraction. I washed my face and hands and drank some water. I got an overnight pad and returned to the bedroom (I had to crawl), where Limelet had quieted down and was starting to nod off with Daddy. Though normally I don't nurse him at night, I decided to make an exception this time. I thought that if nursing after birth helps to stop bleeding, then nursing after miscarriage might do the same. It's the same process, after all. (Yes, I'm one of those hippie types still nursing a toddler! And man has it ever turned out to be useful a lot of times.)

I knew my soccer-coach husband would take care of my ankle. He propped it up and wrapped it in an ankle-shaped ice thing that he keeps in the freezer. I sat up and held Limelet because I my ankle was propped up, and was still having too painful of contractions to sleep anyway. I probably dozed for a few hours that night. The contractions slowed greatly during the rest of the night.

The next morning I discovered that I could still not walk on my ankle, and after a day spent at various doctors and labs it turned out to be broken. So there's a risk you don't hear of.


  • Thanks very much for your post. I came across it after googling such key words as 'intense pain', 'fainting' and 'natural miscarriage'. I just went through my own 7 hours of personal hell and cannot accept that what I experienced is 'normal' as the nurses and doctor have told me. (But I live in the Netherlands and here anything less than 'imminent death' is treated by paracetamol)

    I ended up in the hospital with a drip and still passed out, but breaking an ankle? Boy that really takes the cake.

    I just feel like no one really understands or cares about the pain you and I have endured (and many more women, I'm sure) and I'm now thinking whether something needs to be done to create more awareness about this among women but also caretakers? It's tough enough dealing with the emotional loss without also having to suffer through such extreme physical pain. I would really like to know how you dealt with any anger/frustration you may have felt after your ordeal. (Right now, for example, I really like punching some one out!)

    Even though it's a year on, I'm really sorry about your loss and hope you were able to heal and move on.

    By Blogger Raven, at 5:02 PM  

  • I hope you're feeling better these days, too. I wish I could have had someone stay with me during the miscarriage, even just waiting outside the door or something would have been reassuring. I would try to arrange for that if I had another miscarriage. There is too much hard about it already, right?

    By Blogger liz, at 11:19 AM  

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