this is what it’s really like (on miscarriage)

February 26, 2010

I confess that before this week I lived in complete and utter ignorance when it came to miscarriages. I was under the naïve impression that if it happened fairly early on, that everything just came out in a rush, all at once, and then it was over with. I pictured it kind of like when a woman’s water breaks before she goes into labor – messy, but very little physical pain.

Ha. Hahahahaha.

When I first began bleeding this week, and I knew what was happening, I called my doctor’s office and also spoke with several friends who had had miscarriages in the past. They all told me the same thing: it’s like a heavy period. And since I’ve had some pretty bad periods in my life, I thought I’d be able to handle it just fine. I thought I’d be back at work on Thursday, or at the latest Friday. Well, maybe for some people it is like that. But for me, it wasn’t even comparable.

When this all started on Tuesday, my body didn’t hurt too badly. I spent most of the day in bed just because I didn’t feel up for anything else. On Wednesday morning I was still planning on going back to work the next day, so I got up, took a shower, and got dressed. Almost right afterward some pretty bad cramps hit, so I changed out of my jeans and into some PJ pants and crawled back into bed. It was at this point that the heating pad (which is now practically attached to me) made its first appearance and I began popping ibuprofen like candy. I spent that day sleeping, reading, and watching HGTV with my mom. Between her and my husband I didn’t have to leave my bed for anything other than to go to the bathroom.

Since Wednesday had been harder than I expected, I went ahead and called in sick to work on Thursday. I still thought that the worst had passed, but at 1 a.m. on Thursday I was woken up by the most terrible pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. It steadily increased for two hours until I was crying, writhing, and wailing. The only sentence I could get out was, “God, you have to help me,” which I cried over and over. I felt like my insides were being ripped out of my body. We considered going to the ER, but I had a feeling the pain would pass, and it eventually did. I slept for a couple of hours before more cramps woke me up, although these were bearable in comparison.

Thursday morning was spent bedbound, and although I felt better, I was eventually persuaded to call my doctor. She called in a prescription for Vicodin, but at this point I didn’t think I’d need it. I thought that surely, this time, the worst was over.

David had been home with me this whole time, but he happened to have a doctor’s appointment himself that afternoon that he couldn’t miss. He wanted to pick up my prescription for me before he left, but it wasn’t ready yet. I was feeling good, so I let him go. The next hour was one that I wish I could blot out of my life, but I know it will be seared on my mind forever.

The pain came back suddenly, even worse than before. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I managed to drive myself to the pharmacy, pick up my prescription, and drive home. I am proud that I did this without fainting, getting in a wreck, or vomiting all over my car. It was by far the hardest task I have ever had to do, because I felt like I was going to explode. I thought I was living the last moments of my life.

I barely made it in my door and to the bathroom before my body accomplished what it had been trying to do: push my baby out of my body. I will never forget the plop it made in the water, or the way it felt sliding out of me. I didn’t realize it would be so big. I thought it had already gone, and I wasn’t prepared. I cried and cried. I said goodbye again.

After that, the worst of the physical pain really was over, although I was not free of significant cramping. I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to throw up, took a Vicodin, got into bed, and called my sister-in-law because I couldn’t be alone. She came over as soon as she could and spent some time crying with me and praying for me. After I had grieved myself dry, we lay there together and relaxed. I knew that I had just lived through the worst day of my life so far, and it could only get better from there.

Today I’m recovering. I have very little pain now. I was able to shower, dress, and do a few chores already today, and plan to make a trip to Target with my sister-in-law later which I am really looking forward to. I don’t have to go back to work until Monday, and even then my manager told me to only come if I’m really ready. I’m still quite weak and have very little appetite, but I’ve turned a corner.

So that’s the ugly story of my miscarriage. I didn’t realize I could live through such pain. Before this, I thought I wanted to have a natural childbirth. I still like that idea, but if it is anything like what I went through this week, I don’t know if I can do it. I want to get pregnant again as soon as I can, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, because the possibility of this happening again is always there.

Before I go get back on my feet, get back into life outside my bed, and start writing about more normal subjects, I just want to thank everyone for being there for me. I can’t count the number of comments, e-mails, texts, and phone calls I’ve received, from family, close friends, acquaintances, and people I’ve never even met. Some just to say I’m sorry and offer whatever words of encouragement they can, and others to share their own stories with me. I want you to know that I treasure every single word, and anytime I hear from someone it lifts my spirits.

With God’s help and with all of you, I know I can do this. I’ll be okay.

Posted in: motherhood, infertility, motherhood, motherhood, pregnancy

Comments on this is what it’s really like (on miscarriage)

  1. 1

    From Her:

    I’m so very sad for you that you have to know what any of this is like. Time really does dull things, but when you get your next positive test (and you will!), a lot of the anguish goes away, and the fear becomes more manageable. I found flushing it down to be the hardest part, but after that, I was finally able to get some closure. I’m thinking of you.

  2. 2

    From MelissaOK:

    Kathleen, I’m so sorry you had to go through this! I really am unfamiliar with the miscarriage process as well… I didn’t realize you had to expel the baby still! I would’ve thought that they would’ve done a D&C…? Or is that later on?

    I’m hoping that you are recovering well and that you start feeling better all around soon.

  3. 3

    From Ryan Jantz:

    Kathleen, thank you for openness and honesty in sharing this story. I prayed through every line of it and my heart goes out to you. I know that God has great plans for you and your family and I am praying that when you are ready he will give you the most beautiful baby. I’ve watched my wife go through 3 unmedicated natural labors and other than our first who was breach for a few hours, I can safely say that her experience wasn’t as painful as yours. So keep hoping and trusting, God will make a way.

  4. 4

    From Margarita:

    Oh my, I have never been through this but I applaud you for being so honest and heroic about it. Thank you. I wish I could be there for you and hug you and tell you everything will be alright – because it will. Eventually. I am so sorry for your loss.

  5. 5

    From Stephany:

    Wow, Kathleen. This post made me cry! I couldn’t even imagine the pain you went through. I don’t know that much about the effects of miscarriage. I mean, the emotional pain must be horrible but the physical pain seems awful, too.

    I’m sorry you have to go through this. You are a strong woman and I am thinking/praying for you daily.

  6. 6

    From Kelly:

    I’m so sorry for everything you are going through. I have no words to help you feel better, but I promise that you will feel better. Praying for you.

  7. 7

    From Girl w/the Red Hair:

    OH, honey, I’m so sorry.. I hope you’re feeling better. XO

  8. 8

    From Angie:

    I hope you are able to have some sort of formal time of saying goodbye w/David. Having lost two (pretty nondescript the first time, horrendously devastating the second time not to mention painful, after we moved to MD, by the way, so after Sam) babies, I was encouraged by a mom of 12 (and several miscarriages) to do so. Though there is never any true closure (I still weep when I hear Watermark’s Glory Baby), it does put reality on the loss of that tiny, precious life. Blessings and peace to you and your family.

  9. 9

    From jessica (struble):

    after reading that, im now in tears. im so sorry kat (which is what my bro calls ya). ive never been thru that, but im sure cuz of ur openiness, u will help many ppl thru it. it will get better…and u will get preggo soon!! just a bump, well painful bump in the road…but i promise it will get better. dont rush back to wk. take as much time as u need,

  10. 10

    From Tabaitha:

    I wish I could give you a hug right now. You are in my prayers constantly. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” I know it’s hard to find the joy in your suffering right now, but if anything one day your story might help someone else who is going thru what you did and God will use you as his tool. Much love!

  11. 11

    From Ashley:

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling. I’m glad to hear the physical pain is passing.

  12. 12

    From Erica:

    Love you love you love you….Wish I could give you a huge hug, but the miles come in between us right now. You’re in my thoughts and prayers instead…

  13. 13

    From Michele:

    I’m tearing up as I write this… I’m so very sorry, Kathleen. My heart breaks for your situation.

    Years ago my girlfriend went through this and needed some way to say goodbye to such a loss… so another friend and I both left work and drove 3 hours to be with her, hold her, pray with her. A few days later we had a ceremony at a favorite spot.

    I’m not sure why I told you about that except to express that I can’t imagine the difficulty of the emotional side of this experience. The physical must have been so much worse for the emotions attached to it.

    That said, natural childbirth, no matter how bad the pain, would have entirely different emotions attached and have something wonderful at the completion… so stay open.

  14. 14

    From HIlary:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with so much honesty and grace. As I read it, I feel like I am replaying what just happened to me 6 weeks ago, and I am so sorry you had to experience it. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Passing the baby and flushing it down the toilet was just devastating, and like you said, the physical pain was unbearable. It’s like adding insult to injury. Just be encouraged that you are not alone in this, and there are alot of folks out there praying for you. Be sure to surround yourself with caring people who will listen and love, and not try to minimize what you’ve been through.

    Grieving with you,


  15. 15

    From Uncle David:

    I love you Kathleen. We are here for you should you need to get away.

  16. 16

    From Kyla Roma:

    I’m so sorry, but thank you so much for telling your story honestly. Until this year I had no idea of what a miscarriage was like and now I feel like I really understand so much more about pregnancy from reading story after story like this. I finally understand that this stuff isn’t straight forward and is really hard and I’m so glad that people like you have been sharing so when feel like I’m ready for this I’ll really know what I have to be prepared to potentially deal with.

    You’re so brave, you’re in my thoughts & prayers.

  17. 17

    From Mom:

    My precious, precious baby girl! I was with you for parts of this story, and I’m still crying when I read it! I pray for you and David, that God would heal the profound emotional wounds as well as the physical ones, and that He would grant you a new pregnancy, hopefully without fertility intervention. I like the idea of a ceremony. I love you, my sweet, and I hold you in a very special place in my heart that can belong only to you and no one else.

  18. 18

    From Emily Jane:

    My darling I am so so sorry you had to go through this, it made me cry and I WISH I could be there to be with you. You’re definitely in my prayers xoxo

  19. 19

    From Naomi:

    Kathleen, you have been in my prayers since I read your last entry. I’m so sorry for your experience. I’m glad you have got great people around you now to help you and David along. I’ll be praying.

  20. 20

    From steph anne:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this and hope you will never have to again. I’m glad your sister in law was there for you! XO!

  21. 21

    From Rae:

    I have never been able to get over how insanely wrong it is that women have to deal with horrible physical pain while going through horrible emotional pain of miscarriage. Don’t push yourself on “normal subjects,” so long as it is helpful to write about this, please do.

  22. 22

    From Ro:

    Hi, Kathleen. Know that somewhere in Manila in the Philippines, there is someone standing with you in prayer. I am grieving with you. You are always in my thoughts. May God’s healing and comfort be upon you and David.

  23. 23

    From Currently in April | Currently | Kapachino:

    […] of great stuff planned, and any vacation from work is welcomed with open arms. (Well, except for this kind, or this kind.) A month ago when I thought about this trip it didn’t mean a thing to me; I […]

  24. 24

    From A Little Raw.:

    […] and therapeutic to read about others’ experiences (like Melissa, Jonna, Michelle, and Kathleen), so I here I am. […]

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