It occurred to me today (on day 3 of miscarriage #3) that many of you (hopefully MOST of you) probably don’t know what a miscarriage is really like.
I made a commitment 4 years ago to be open about my miscarriages since I feel it’s mostly a silent epidemic. Today, I’m sharing my experience in the hopes that other women will not feel the need to suffer in silence, and those of you who are supporting a woman who’s losing a baby will have some idea what she may be going through.
If you’re squeamish about bodily functions, don’t read this. (I don’t go into great detail, but just warning you.)
You may be able to imagine the emotional/ spiritual/ mental pain (it’s the pain of losing the whole future life and family you imagine as soon as you learn you’re having a baby). But there’s physical pain as well.
I’m sure it’s different for every woman, but for me, I get very sharp back pain that comes and goes frequently for at least 24 hours, and then starts to slowly lessen in frequency and severity after than.
There are lower abdominal cramps too – like menstrual cramps, but much worse. They remind me a bit of labor contractions, but without any regular rhythm or release. The first day I felt like gallons of fluid were being pumped into my womb – like a toilet preparing to be flushed. Then slowly it starts to drain away (as the bleeding begins) and it feels like my uterus is wringing itself inside out, trying to squeeze out everything that no longer belongs (“products of conception”) and will not (during this cycle, at least) create new life.
In addition to the back pain, I also tend to have cramps and pain from my waist down to my knees – all the way around in all directions. When I went to the doctors for the first two miscarriages they gave me narcotics to ease the pain; for this one I decided I wanted to stay home in my own bed. I was always told the rule is “if you soak through more than 1 pad per hour, go to the hospital” (risk of hemorrhage), so as an RN who’s on miscarriage #3, I feel comfortable monitoring my own bleeding at home. (Disclaimer: I don’t recommend this for anyone else though- when in doubt, seek medical treatment. Always better safe than sorry.)
I am taking muscle relaxers and OTC pain meds as needed, plus essential oils, lots of heat, and some ice to the sore areas as desired. After my son was born via C-section with a barely-functioning epidural, I am willing to forego a high level of pain reduction for the comfort of my own bed. My home and bed is less stressful too, since I know what’s happening and at what point to seek medical intervention. I have informed my docs what’s going on too, so they’re drawing labs to monitor the progress of the miscarriage.
Anyway, that’s my update and today’s lesson on the glorious world of miscarriage. I hope it helps those of who you’ve experienced one to know you’re not alone, and those who haven’t, I hope it helps you understand a little more of what others might be experiencing (physically) in this situation.