Traumatic and Gruesome: An Unspoken Miscarriage

I just wrote a post over on Austin Moms Blog in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month/Day about my recent miscarriage.  This miscarriage is still very fresh in my memory and I want to communicate it so others are aware.  Honestly, I never thought it would happen to me but who does, right?  Or it would happen the way it did.  Actually, as a matter of fact, I had never imagined it at all.

Reading along several other miscarriage blog posts, I realized no one really talks about the step by step of the gruesome parts of losing a child while pregnant, understandably.  My doctor told me that one out of 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage so why are we not talking about it more?  I understand that with several miscarriages the woman barely knows that she is having one due to an early pregnancy.  So with that said, I would like to talk about my experience of having a miscarriage exactly at 11 weeks gestation.  I had another week or so until I was in my 2nd trimester.  So if you are a crier, then grab your tissues or if you don’t like to hear about blood and seemingly unnatural reactions and not so easy on your stomach things then stop reading.

This recollection is mainly to write out what I experienced and potentially help another mama who might have to go through the same.  As soon as my miscarriage started, I began to search online for answers and I found an awesome YouTuber, Anna Saccone, who spoke very frankly about her experience and it helped immensely because I didn’t exactly have direct access to my doctor during it all.  So here goes…

We found out we were pregnant in mid-July of 2017.  We were not planning on having any more children however it was honestly always in the back of my mind.  We have a son who is currently 6 years old and a daughter who just turned 3.   We are getting up there in age if you know what I mean and I have had two high risk pregnancies so those are important factors as far as my husband and I deciding that our family would probably just be a family of 4.

So here we are in the middle of the summer and pregnant.  As any mother knows, as soon as you see that positive pregnancy test then you are immediately a mother to that unborn child.  It is so exciting to think of having a child even if it wasn’t planned.  But that was the problem.  I was incredibly stressed out worrying about the “what ifs.”  The “what ifs” of not taking my extra folic acid up or prenatal vitamins, etc.  Also, I am 37 years old and there are risks involved with being pregnant 35 years and up as you may already know.

Disclaimer:  When your first child is born with a disability that you find out at 20 weeks then pregnancy becomes a little less fun and a little more stressful.  So with that said, all of my pregnancies were not so much about what sex they were but about making sure they are healthy little beings.

At the end of 10 weeks I started to cramp a little and had some light spotting but that happened when I was pregnant with my daughter (2nd child) so I didn’t worry about it too much.  Life goes on and we had a busy weekend because it was right before my daughter’s 3rd birthday and right before I started teaching at her preschool.

Then it happened.  August 28th, 2017 around 6pm in the evening (of course after the doctor’s office closed!) I started to bleed a lot more.  It was a brighter red and a lot heavier then just spotting.  What a coincidence or a prank from the universe or actually God’s plan but 3 years before, to the day, I was packing up to go to the hospital to have my daughter that night.  It was incredibly hard to think this time I would not have a living baby to hold in my arms.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…this is what happens when you miscarry as far as physically and mentally and emotionally but mainly physically!  Now, remember, I was 11 weeks gestation to the day.  After I had an ultrasound to check for a heartbeat, the baby did measure at 11 weeks so it was very recent that the heart had stopped.

Soooo, again, I had been spotting and cramping for about 3-4 days….over the weekend and on that Monday evening I started to actually bleed quite heavily.  I called my husband and let him know.  Then decided to call the after hours nurse at my OB’s office, however, they said that there wasn’t an OB nurse there so I spoke to a regular after hours nurse and explained my situation.  She was very frank and stated that I WAS having a miscarriage and there was nothing that I could do about it while in the 1st trimester so to just lay down, put my feet up and relax.  Well, my husband comes home while I am on the phone and keeps saying that we need to go to the hospital however the nurse states that they cannot do anything so we really shouldn’t.  She told us that if I soaked a pad in an hour for 2 hours in a row then to go to the hospital.  Alright, I thought, I can understand that.

There were three main reasons that I did not want to go to the hospital.  First of all that would mean that my kids had to have someone come over and watch them on a school night.  Yes, I thought that.  Secondly, I was started to cramp really bad and did not want to be held down…poked and prodded and laying on an uncomfortable hospital bed.  And last but not least, we did not have medical insurance.  My husband and I had dropped both of us (not the kids) just a few months before which was actually a couple months before we got pregnant unexpectedly.  Fun times right?

So I put a large pad on (left over from having my daughter 3 years before) and laid on the bed with my legs up and found the above YouTube video I mentioned and started what would be one of the longest, most painful nights of my life.

My uterus cramped pretty bad at first but it was bearable.  I ended up putting a heated herbal pad on it to help and didn’t even think to take Tylenol.  Every time that I sat up or stood up I could feel large amounts of blood come out of my lady parts.  I would just sit on the toilet and let the blood masses/clots fall out as much as they would then put another pad on and go lie back down on the bed.  This lasted awhile but I still got up and tried to help my husband with the kids and dinner however I could barely stand up and definitely was hunched over.

So after I had been bleeding for about 5 hours on and off.  Sometimes filling up a pad partially but letting the blood go into the toilet as well.  As far as what the nurse stated above about the pad…how do you really know if you are letting it come out in the toilet as well?!?!  I was in so much pain towards midnight with horrible contraction cramps that did not stop.  You know if you have had contractions…you get a little bit of break, right?  Well, this was constant like a cramp but a hell of a lot harder and stronger.

Ladies, I have a pretty high tolerance for pain.  I honestly do and I could not handle the pain.  I even had a VBAC with my daughter with no epidural and this was misery in comparison.  Probably because of knowing the inevitable…your baby will not be a live little newborn to kiss and hold at the end.  Pain has a lot to do with one’s mental state.

Alright, back to it.  I just started crying while sitting on the toilet and feeling all this blood coming out of my vajayjay.  I had no control.  Miserable.  My husband starts to freak out and says that we are going to the hospital.  Then proceeds to call my mother at midnight.  She is woken up to a call from her son-in-law saying that her daughter is pregnant (surprise! we weren’t telling anyone until 2nd trimester) and now she is losing the baby in a miscarriage and can she come to our house to stay with the kids so we can go to the hospital!  Yikes…what a call she will never forget.

At this point, I am only wearing a tank top and old underwear with pads and laying on the couch – still bleeding profusely.  Contracting like hell while in a fetal position because well no position is comfortable.  And.Trying.Not.To.Cry.  My mother is at our house by now and they are both pressuring me to go to the hospital.  I just kept thinking of what Anna Saccone described.  She said there was so much blood.

So I did not sleep any that night.  Ended up watching old episodes of Frasier…when I wasn’t grimacing  One thing that did help was sitting in the tub with a shirt on, no underwear, and spraying the movable shower head onto my lady parts.  The warm water helped get rid of some of the continuous blood and just felt comforting.

As soon as the doctors office opened at 8am, I called them.  The nurse squeezed me into an ultrasound appointment as well one with the doctor.  So, now the day was August 29th, 2017 which was my daughter, Sloan’s, 3rd birthday.  I was able to get up and dress her up a little and take pictures.  By this time, I wasn’t bleeding as much anymore but still bleeding.  Cramping was continuing and I was just very uncomfortable.  I could barely walk and my lady parts were just sore as though I had just had a child or my body was trying to have one.

I went to the ultrasound alone and I was okay with it.  My mother dropped me off at the doctor’s office because she had to get back home for something and my husband took my daughter to preschool after taking my son to school.

At this time, everyone at the office you encounter knows.  They must write it really big in a red marker on your file.  The ultrasound tech starts checking out the baby and I can see it still in there.  She puts the sound thing on 3 times and keeps looking then tells me that she cannot find a heart beat.  I just started bawling.  I told her that I figured as much however deep down I was still hoping.  She said the sac has already dropped down.

I spoke to my doctor and she recommended I go to the hospital to get a D&C but knowing I prefer less intervention and we were self pay then she told me I could continue to have the miscarriage at home.  But she said that I needed to call her office in 24 hours.  If I was still bleeding at that point and/or had not passed the fetus/placenta then she would most likely make me go into the hospital.

She mentioned that I probably wouldn’t see the fetus when it comes out but I was worried about it for some reason.  I couldn’t stop crying and she told me that I need to understand that it was not my fault.

My husband worked a little from home that day but basically stayed with me.  We both slept a bit.  Again, I was still bleeding quite a bit and could feel clots coming out.

Towards the end of the day, after making dinner, I noticed that I felt like I had a bladder infection and could hardly sit.  It hurt really bad to sit down…there was a lot of pressure below.  So right around when the kids were going to bed I decided to just sit on the toilet and push.  I thought, well, I had pushed out a 7 lb 6 oz baby with no meds before so I could push out a little baby fetus and its placenta.  After pushing 4 sets of 3 pushes, it came out…the placenta which was as big as my fist and the little fetus that was attached.

At this point, my whole body felt a relief.  I started to bawl uncontrollably.  Sobbing.  This lasted several minutes.  My husband came into the bathroom right after and I yelled at him not to flush the toilet because the baby was in there.  I told him probably 10 times.  He turned the shower on and made me get in.

After getting out of the shower, I was still bleeding and just want everyone to understand this.  I bled for another 2 weeks. Towards the end spotting and probably off and on for the next month.  My uterus is tilted so that could be part of my ongoing spotting…FYI.

Okay, I am going to be even more frank with y’all now.  The placenta and fetus were just sitting in the toilet for a few minutes.  I told my husband to get something that I could put it on…he wasn’t keen on this and did not want any part of it but did as I asked.  Too much to handle for him.  While crying, I put on a kitchen glove and fished out the fetus and placenta then placed it on a flattened reusable HEB grocery bag.  Yep.  I just couldn’t bare to think of my little baby being flushed down the toilet and into the sewers.  I know that it’s soul was back up with the Lord however I just couldn’t do it.

I prayed over it and asked for peace and clarity.  Told the baby that I would see it one day again up in heaven and I could not wait to meet him/her.  Then I called my mom and talked to her for quite awhile just sitting by my baby.  It was so emotionally and mentally traumatic as well as physically.  I cannot believe that women go through this as much as they do.  I could see the eyes and ears of the baby, count its fingers and toes.  That was my 3rd child lying on the floor of our bathroom.  I would never get to hold it or comfort it with nursing or kiss its mouth.

I ended up putting it in a mason jar and in our fridge, then a few days later, I took it out in the middle of the night.  Removed it from the placenta, prayed over it again and placed it in a tiny little blanket that I sewed for it then into a small wooden box.  I put scripture on this box and a big I love you so much.  Honestly, it is currently still in my freezer.  Seriously.  I feel like a crazy person.  I truly do but I don’t really care if I am a bit wacko for what I did or if people just think I am.  I am not ready to say goodbye.  I don’t think I will ever be ready.  I am going to bury it in a plant that I bought that bares the nickname “belly button.”  I thought that was fitting.

I would never have imagined it would have been so gruesome and bloody and painful.  Just never had to think about it.  It helped me to know what was right and wasn’t so that I could be home, in a safe place, to go through it.

However a mother chooses to have her miscarriage such as a D&C or at home or whatever she decides to do or not do with the fetus afterwards is all okay.  We all grieve differently.  I needed to write out my experience for peach and healing.  Some mothers would never want to relive it.

Last little note: my son asked if the baby was okay afterwards and I had to tell him that it actually was not okay.  I explained to him that God decided to take the baby back up to heaven to be with him.  My son asked why and I didn’t really have an answer and I told him just that.  I didn’t know why but that maybe God changed his mind.  He is a loving and powerful God and wanted to keep the baby as one of his little angels.

This miscarriage made me even more grateful for the two beautiful children that God has gifted us.