What It's Like: Part 3: Miscarriage

I have two sons, ages 6 and 9, and in between the two of them I had a miscarriage. It was really difficult and really painful. My husband and I really wanted another baby and I charted my cycles and we planned and tried and luckily I got pregnant right away. We were immediately overjoyed and started making plans. I knew that I wanted a homebirth and I even read about what it meant to become pregnant while still breastfeeding. My oldest son was 18 months old and he was still nursing and I was afraid that my milk would dry up or that my nursing hormones would hurt the baby I was pregnant with. I was committed. I was invested. I was excited.

I will never forget what it was like going to the OB for the first time. The OB that I saw was (and still is) one of the only options on the island where I live. He is an older gentleman and I will openly admit that he is not my cup of tea. The first thing he told me was to stop breastfeeding because my son was too old, which is bad advice. Next he told me that I was too fat and that I should try not to gain too much weight during the pregnancy. I was overweight, but I still think that he could have tried to be nicer. Then he decided to do an ultrasound. I knew immediately that something was wrong. He couldn't find a heartbeat and where there should have been a little flutter, there was only a blob.

He decided to send me to the hospital for an ultrasound on a better machine, but he warned me that the likelihood was that my pregnancy wasn't viable. He actually said, "This probably isn't a good pregnancy." I went to the hospital and had an ultrasound. He called about an hour later to tell me that my embryo had stopped developing around 6 weeks. He then gave me my options, I could wait a few days and see if my body expelled it on its own or I could have a D&C, which would expedite the process and reduce my risk of infection.

I was devastated and I was pretty tired of his insensitive, callous attitude so I decided to go ahead with the D&C. I was scheduled for one within 48 hours and given instructions on when to stop eating solid foods and when to arrive at the hospital. As luck would have it, however, I began to miscarry the night before I was to check in at the hospital.

I will never forget the cramping and the massive blod clots that fell out of my body. I would get up and try to make it to the restroom, but I would leave a trail of blood and massive clots behind me as I walked. I remember the moment the embryo came out, it looked like a clear kidney bean, and I remember that the pain and the cramping lessened as soon as it was out. I can still picture my husband cleaning up my blood and scooping up clots off of the bathroom floor. A friend of ours brought me some Percocet, which she happened to have leftover from miscarrying her own embryo a month or two before.

After I took the Percocet, everything is a haze. I slept on and off for about 48 hours. My husband had the presence of mind to call and cancel my procedure and they asked him to bring me in the following week for an exam to make sure that everything had passed. I remember crying and I remember a lot of pain and I remember feeling like my body had failed me or, perhaps, that I was being punished for having an abortion in the past.

I still wonder what that baby would have been like. I still respect the hell out of my spouse for the way that he cared for me. To this day, I remember what my living room looked like and all of the sights and sounds and smells associated with that experience. I also remember being told that this was normal. I remember being told that it was not uncommon to miscarry before 12 weeks and that it didn't mean that there was anything wrong with me. I was told that it was nothing that I had done and that I would probably be able to have babies in the future without any problem.

I was told that sometimes, sadly, miscarriage is a part of the normal, bodily process. I have clung to that. I took it to heart. And I went on to have a beautiful baby boy a little over a year later, which further convinced me that everything was going to be okay.

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