When I was in the midst of miscarrying Quinn, I found myself scouring the Internet to find out details of what natural miscarriage was like for other moms. There were a number of moms on forums talking about having a D&C but not too many articles about natural miscarriage at home. Because what I was able to find, I found helpful, I wanted to share my experience as well, in hopes that it can help another mom as she’s going through this heartbreaking experience. The following is my account of my miscarriage. Please be aware that it might be too graphic for some readers. Please also keep in mind that I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice.
I’d like to note that while I was 12 weeks, plus 5 days when I passed my baby, I am unsure of the exact day my baby died, and therefore unsure of how long it took for me to pass the baby naturally.
I was (supposed to be) 12 weeks along (exactly) when I had the first appointment with my midwife. She was not able to find a heartbeat with the doppler. Now, I’ve heard from others this can happen and isn’t necessarily a cause for concern, however, obviously it did concern me.
A few hours later, I went to the bathroom, wiped and found bloody mucus discharge on the toilet paper. After the missed heartbeat earlier in the day, I was now extremely worried. Our high insurance deductible would have required we pay completely out of pocket for an ER trip, so I decided to stay home, put myself on modified bed rest, and wait.
Bleeding wasn’t bad at all. It would come and go, but wasn’t anything I would need a pad for. Sometimes I would go to the bathroom and there would be nothing, other times it would be a small wipe of blood. In fact, after reading online about subchorionic hemorrhage, I was feeling less fearful and hoping that was all it was.
Monday followed the same pattern as Sunday. I tried to stay off of my feet as much as possible and rest so that, if I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, it could work on healing. Monday evening I had a 20 minute episode of cramping. I lost it and began to cry, certain a miscarriage was happening, and then just as quickly as they had started, the cramps stopped. I went back to hoping my symptoms were just a subchorionic hemorrhage.
Again, Tuesday was much like Monday with the bleeding coming and going, but with a few blood clots now appearing, maybe 3 in total that day. Tuesday night as I went to bed I felt slightly cramping, but nothing even as bad as period cramps. That night/early Wednesday morning I woke up to the feeling of a larger blood clot coming out of me. I went into the bathroom and passed 2 good sized clots. They looked similiar to chicken livers. Then I went back to bed.
As Wednesday progressed, the bleeding picked up and I passed more and more blood clots during the day. By early afternoon it was pretty clear to me, although I did not want to admit it, that my hopes for a subchorionic hemorrhage were not accurate and I was indeed miscarrying. I was still not having any contractions and minimal if any cramping.
At about 3pm I went to the bathroom and passed a lot of clots. I’ve had 4 live, beautiful drug-free births and it was clear to me by the way I felt that my body was preparing to pass the baby soon. Sitting on the toilet was starting to feel uncomfortable for me and I yearned to get into a more relaxing position. I grabbed an older hand towel from our linen closet and sat down on it in our bathtub. First I sat in the tub on the towel without any water. Blood was dripping out of me at times like I was peeing it out (of course, that wasn’t the case, but it flowed freely in brief spurts).
After about 30 minutes I had bled through that hand towel and passed more clots. I turned the water on and messaged my husband (who was busy watching our 4 children) to bring me some juice. I knew I needed to keep sugars and fluids in my body. I also asked him to bring me some of my liquid iron supplement that I take regularly when I’m pregnant because I’m prone to anemia. I still remember warning him beforehand not to freak out because of all the blood. I knew he’d worry about me. And he did, his face showed so much worry every time he came into the bathroom for me.
My biggest concern was loss of too much blood. I’ve fainted in the past a few times and felt confident that I would be able to feel myself if I was getting close and kept my phone close to me in case that would happen.
At this point I decided to fill the tub up with water, knowing that warm water would help to relax me. I continued to pass blood and clots for about another 2 hours. I cramped mildly but it was never excruciating. I’ve heard that other moms have quite painful miscarriages but physically that wasn’t the case for me. I did have mildly uncomfortable cramps, but nothing worse than a menstrual cramp. There were a number of people who knew I was miscarrying and praying for me during that time and I strongly believe that was a great help in easing my pain during this time. It also may have helped that I’ve had other babies so my body had essentially practiced this before.
As I mentioned, I’ve had 4 live births, so at some point I started to feel like the cramps were accompanied with a mild urge to push. This wasn’t like the deep, strong, can’t-stop-it urge to push that I’d felt with my other babies, but it was still there and I could sense the change. If you’re currently in the midst of a natural miscarriage and have never had a live birth before, the best thing I can say is just try to stay tuned into your body and how you are feeling. If in doubt, sitting on the toilet and peeing is probably the kind of pushing of those muscles that you’ll need to push it out, if it is in fact time.
Sitting in the tub was not a comfortable position for me to be in to push so I got out and sat on the toilet. As I was peeing I felt something bigger coming out of me. For me, it wasn’t painful. I looked down and had pushed out the placenta with, what I believe was the sac fully intact still inside of it. It looked like a small ball protruding from a portion of the placenta. It was very clear that this was the placenta and not a large blood clot. It was firm and heavy comparatively.
As a blogger, I’m one who usually shares a lot of pictures but I’m sorry to tell you I don’t have a photo to share from my miscarriage. To be honest, I don’t want to remember my child that way and it felt wrong to me to display a photo like that. I’m not saying that it IS wrong if you choose to do so (in fact, I was grateful for the photos that other moms shared), it just wasn’t right for me in this moment and not a photo I want to share (or even took). I just couldn’t and I can’t explain why. I hope you understand that. I considered opening up the sac to see the baby inside but ultimately I decided not to for 2 reasons:
- I was afraid the image might haunt me for quite some time. Instead I’m able to picture Quinn in my mind, happy, healthy, and whole in heaven.
- To be honest, there is a small part of me that thinks the “what ifs” – like what if my Quinn wasn’t in that sac. What if I was wrong and flushed Quinn accidentally. If by some chance I was wrong, I’ll never know.
After passing the baby, physically I felt nearly instantly better. My body felt “free” in a way I can’t describe. It was such a sad thought and yet it was as if my body had relief that this horribly sad process was over. My bleeding also slowed way down after that. I may have passed 3 or 4 more clots over the next 24 hours, but had probably passed 20-30 clots during the 5 hours of active miscarriage plus a lot of additional blood.
Other Info/Tips to Share
Let me take a moment to say that there was a lot of blood during my miscarriage. My husband and I both felt like there was more blood during the miscarriage than there was during my live birth labors. I found this article very helpful in talking about blood loss and what is common. There are also a number of pictures included on this site that will show you what miscarriage looked like for different people and at different gestation.
My husband and I were unsure of what to do with our baby. I have heard that if you call a local funeral home some will cremate the baby for you for free, if you are far enough along. I didn’t want that however and my husband and I settled on burying our baby at my grandparents’ property which will likely stay in the family quite some time, long after my grandfather has passed away.
I bled after my miscarriage for about 14 days. The first few days were period-like heavy, and then they tapered off. By the 5th day I’d say that the only reason I continued to wear a pad was “just in case” but I could go a full day with nothing on the pad, just only blood in the toilet. After about 2 weeks the red turned to brown and that continued for about another week.
For the first 24 hours after my miscarriage I felt pretty weak physically. I passed my baby around 7:30pm and after getting myself cleaned up I got ready for bed and stayed in bed the rest of the evening. The next day I took it easy and rested all day. I forced myself to eat whole foods because I knew my body needed nourishment to recoup, but I didn’t really feel like eating.
It’s been 3 weeks now and I still find myself tearing up at times. It’s okay to cry and to be sad, angry, etc.. Every woman is going to go through this process differently than the next. It’s okay to grieve in your own way.
If you are reading this article in the midst of a miscarriage, I just want to say that I am sincerely sorry for your loss. I reached out to a few friends who I knew had miscarried in the past during my miscarriage. They walked me through the process and were an invaluable support team during this time. If you have a friend who has suffered a miscarriage, I’d encourage you to reach out to her too, to help you through this time. I know that I would be more than happy to talk to any of my friends during a miscarriage and help them in any way I could. Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.
Finally, because I’d like to be a resource for other moms who are going through a miscarriage, if you feel up for it, I would like to share your miscarriage story on my blog. My plan is to start a section just for pregnancy loss on my site, so that it can be helpful to other moms during this time. If you are interested in writing your story to be shared, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.