I’ve hesitated to share my story of miscarriage out of the fear of scaring you.
I have always been very sensitive to the young woman’s heart and mind and I believe firmly that all women need to be careful with how they portray their stories to other women, especially those younger than them.
However, as many of you know, I am also very much aware of the need for women to be educated.
I do not believe that there is enough talk about miscarriage, what can happen, what to expect, and what the symptoms are when it begins to become dangerous and an emergency for a mom.
Those of you who have followed along during the unfolding of our miscarriage and loss of our baby, you know some of the deepest thoughts I have shared regarding grief and what God’s Word was teaching me through that season.
Here are those posts:
It’s Still Her Birthday Even Though Our Daughter Has Died
It’s Healthy to Grieve Your Unborn Baby
Giving Thanks in the Midst of Grieving
I Had Empty Arms On My Due Date
Though I have shared what I have been learning through the grief and loss of a baby, I haven’t shared too much about what actually happened to me, the fear that followed, the postpartum season following, how my children responded to the whole experience, the shame and guilt I dealt with, or the how I coped with what happened to me physically.
It’s kind of a long story, but I want to share it with you because I think that too many people, both men and women, take for granted the gift that a child is, the sacrifice it is, and the delicacy that life truly is.
My hope is that by sharing my story, I would not scare you, but prepare you.
I pray non of you experience the ravaging my body underwent through the miscarriage, but if I can save ONE moms life by telling my story, than it is worth it.
If there are a few things you take from me sharing my story, I pray it is NOT fear, but rather insight and awareness of what can happen sometimes.
Remember that birth is NOT an emergency, but sometimes emergencies happen.
Miscarriage is different though because it is a grievous experience however you look at it- a baby died. In most cases women do NOT experience the physical trauma I describe or experienced; however, sometimes it does happen–especially if you do not know the warning signs of what is too much blood.
My hope is that you have a clear understanding of the difference so you know what to look for and so that if you or a friend of yours experience a similar experience to mine, you have more understanding and can better serve one another.
Signs that a miscarriage is going wrong and what to be on the lookout for:
- When the baby has been deceased for more than 2-3 weeks and your body hasn’t birthed the baby, this can be dangerous. As my surgeon put it, the longer that a baby is dead in the uterus, the more toxins are released into the uterus and bloodstream. This CAN, but doesn’t always, trigger a hemorrhage.
- When you begin passing the baby, monitor your bleeding. If you are going through more than one pad in an hour, you need to call the ER and be prepared to go in.
- If you begin to feel light-headed, dizzy, or like you are going to vomit, call the advice nurse and pursue heading to the ER.
- If you have had a history of hemorrhages in the past, be cautious and pay close attention to how much blood you are losing and if you are clotting.
- A hemorrhage is often defined as more than 2 cups of blood after birth. I would ask your health care professional for CLEAR instructions as to when you should consider going to the ER before you are in this predicament. It could literally save your life, or at the least prevent you from needing a blood transfusion.
Seek Good Advice & Don’t Always Trust Health Care Professionals
You know your body. This is a time for you to be aware of what your body is going through. Yes, you have grieving to do, but you must be aware of how you are feeling, how much blood you are losing, the amount of time you have been bleeding and cramping, etc.
We had received very poor advice from the NP that we met with after the ultrasound which determined the death of our baby. She was trying to be sympathetic by letting me go home to birth the baby naturally, but she did so without giving my husband and me proper instructions for measuring blood loss, even after we had told we had hemorrhaged after my 6th delivery and would have after my 7th, had the doctor not removed the clots and torn placenta from my uterus. She told me to simply, sit on the toilet. You cannot measure the amount of blood loss doing so unless you have a toilet hat to measure the loss, which they did not provide us with. In addition, she did not warn us about the toxicity or potential dangers, nor what to look for. In addition, when we called the advice nurses, the first two calls we were given poor advice as well.
The negligence of our health care providers nearly killed me. I am sharing this with you so that this doesn’t happen to you.
My Written Testimony of Miscarriage:
It was a normal busy day of homeschooling, cleaning, and cooking when I went to the bathroom and noticed I had spotted. At first, I tried to ease my thoughts, but after having had 7 full-term pregnancies, I knew in my gut something wasn’t right.
My usual routine in pregnancy for my first six pregnancies had been vomiting 14-16 times per day, my last pregnancy with my seventh child, the morning sickness had subsided by week 22, but this pregnancy was different. I only vomited, maybe 10 times total the whole first trimester. I felt crummy and tired the first eight weeks but felt that fog lift and I was overjoyed though because our entire church was praying for me not to be sick. Naturally, I believed God had answered their prayers… my prayers.
This pregnancy just felt different.
That day I had some VERY slight spotting. I mean very slight but it was alarming to me because I had never experienced that before.
I called my midwife to which she immediately scheduled an ultrasound and told me to come in immediately. I walked out to the front deck where my husband was to tell him.
How does one tell her husband their baby might have just died?
As I walked out on the deck, Isaac beseeched me to sit and listen to him. He had bad news as well. We were being threatened to be sued on the sale of our house. I haven’t begun to tell you all how much of a Job two years we had.
Was this just another attack from the enemy? I was shocked!
I looked at my husband and told him my bad news. Stunned and devastated, I will never forget the look on his face in that moment.
We took our kids to a friend’s home and headed to the ultrasound. During the drive, we were both shockingly silent and solemn. Knowing how worship leads my heart to right thinking, my husband put the Christian radio on, which had a song on that annoyed me to NO END. I tried to change the channel putting it on another Christian station to find the SAME SONG on that channel as well. I went to shut it off, but my husband encouraged me to listen. He turned it back on and said, “Maybe God wants you to listen to the words?”
Hills and Valleys. Visit this blog post to see the lyrics and watch the video of this song it is amazing.
We prayed for the baby to be alive. In fact, both my husband and I believed fully that this could be nothing. We had mixed emotions about the reality of losing a baby along with the expectation of experiencing another miracle of God! But deep in my gut, I knew. A mom just knows.
Upon arriving it was as if everyone there knew. There was an eerie quiet in the room. No pregnant moms waiting. And the clerk began to cry as she checked us in.
The technician was quick and quiet.
She didn’t explain what she had seen, but only encouraged us to take our time and then move to wait in another room for the doctor.
But I knew. I had seen enough ultrasounds in my lifetime to know when there is no heartbeat. I laid there on that bed weeping from the depths of my core while my husband laid his hand and head on my stomach crying.
We sat, crying for a while. Waiting for the doctor felt like an eternity to me, but probably only took a few minutes.
When the doctor came in, she proceeded to tell us that our baby had died three weeks and two days earlier but that my placenta had kept growing and was measuring at the right size for a 14-week pregnancy. She continued to explain that was why my body hadn’t had any symptoms until now.
People don’t often talk about the choices you are offered, what they are, and if they are ethical, moral, biblical or not.
She proceeded to give us three choices:
- To go home and birth the baby naturally, but if the baby didn’t pass in two weeks I would need to take medication or have surgery (D & C).
- Take medication to get the miscarriage going along.
- Surgery: D & C also called Dilation and curettage.
We choose option one. If our baby really was dead, and there was to be no miracle, I still wanted as gentle of a birth as possible. I wanted to labor with worship music, prayer, and my family near me. I wanted to praise Him though He had taken my baby to heaven.
Honestly, the thought of medication scared me and surgery even more. As I sat there discussing options with the doctor it dawned on me that I didn’t have a true understanding of what a D & C was. I had always associated it with abortion. So in my gut, I wasn’t about to do that! I will share more on this in another blog post.
Little did I know how this lack of knowledge and understanding would tempt to haunt me with guilt and shame.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MISCARRIAGES AND PREGNANCIES.
- The earlier you are in your pregnancy, the more likely your body will expel all the fetal tissue by itself and will not require further medical procedures.
- It is important to note that 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the CDC. But that most of those happen in the first trimester and do not need procedures like a D & C. In fact over 50% of miscarriages do not need a D & C.
If you are pregnant now and reading this. I do NOT want to strike fear into you. I want you to know that there is hope and that most pregnancies are healthy. But it is important for mature women to understand what can happen so that we can take care of ourselves and not fall ill or near death because of lack of education or awareness.
PURPOSEFUL PLANNING OF HOW TO GRIEVE & PARENT THROUGH THIS LOSS.
We went to a diner to sit, pray, read the Bible, and plan as best we could.
How were we going to tell our children?
We felt compelled to be intentional about modeling for them how to grieve Biblically so we talked about that!
We read the entire book of James together, remembering that we are to count it joy when we meet trials of various kinds.
We spoke of being intentionally open with our children and leading them in the way of Biblical grief, being willing to cry and face it, talk about her, but to also lead by example what it means to still have the Joy of the Lord and lean on Him and His word.
Then we returned to pick up our children. There are so many details I could go into here… but we have included this in our new book coming out in a few months!
I was instructed to drink lots of water and get rest before the miscarriage truly began. The waiting was torcher.
That night, about 10 pm, our toddler, who was 17 months old awoke vomiting.
At 2 am, our 12-year-old daughter also awoke to vomit, in excruciating pain.
Are you kidding me?
No sleep or drinking of lots of water for this mama who’s toddler only wanted to lie on her chest. I ran him to the toilet 8 times through that night. I was exhausted.
The next day we had an emergency appointment for our daughter. She had never been in such pain before in her gut. I couldn’t believe this was all happening at once. When it rains…
While waiting in the doctor’s office, I coughed ONCE, and clots filled my pants.
I ran to the bathroom, tried to clean up, and returned to my daughter’s examination room where we were waiting for the doctor to get her prescription.
Again I coughed and more clots trickled down. There was no hiding it. I had lost at least three cups of blood in two coughs alone. I went through three huge pads in a matter of six minutes. I quickly walked out to the car, where my husband and younger children were waiting. He felt in his gut he needed to take us to keep an eye on me. I thank the Lord he did. I wouldn’t have been able to drive us home. And at the time, we were a one car family. He wouldn’t have had any way of getting to me.
We drove home. I made my way discreetly into the house without the kids seeing me, and I threw my clothing away. The bleeding, clotting, and cramping continued on for a total of nine hours before we were in the ER.
Throughout the process, we kept checking in the with the clinic advice nurses, to which they said, “You are probably near the end.”
Friends insisted on coming over and praying for us as I lie there in pain and agony.
They prayed over our daughter, for our baby, and for me. There is much more I could share about this but this story is already very long. They cared for us as best as they could in such dire circumstances, but I just wanted to be alone with my husband and my Lord.
Around 10 pm I began feeling nauseous and lightheaded so we called the advice nurses again. To which they said to give it an hour and call them back. She instructed me to sit on the toilet. After an hour, we called back to find out that we needed to be measuring the blood loss, which we couldn’t very well do with me on the toilet and in the shower.
Why didn’t anyone tell us this before?
They all kept saying this was normal! It was NOT normal.
I had walked through miscarriages with nine women in my life. Four of them very intimately, as I was there with them, and they never bled like I was. So when we kept calling the advice nurses and being told it was normal, it became very difficult for us to decipher what to do and when.
By 11:55, five minutes before our next alarm was about to go off to call the advice nurse again, I passed out, falling off the toilet and hitting my head.
Isaac rushed to pick me up and called 911, to which he was told they couldn’t get to us for at least 17 minutes. So he piled me in the truck and rushed me to the ER himself, getting me there in record-breaking time.
I was in and out of consciousness, so I don’t remember all the details of what occurred over the next few hours. I guess that just shows how close of a call it was for me.
I do remember that the ER was empty and they were not ready for us though we had called ahead. I remember my husband advocating and forcing his way through to the ER staff to get me help because no one was there to check us in. I remember tons of people fussing over me, tests, exams, and lightheadedness. I remember the looks on my husband’s and daughter’s faces. I was hopeful that they could just stop the bleeding and I wouldn’t need surgery.
The nurse told me they had called the on-call surgeon, that he would be there shortly, and that I would need a D & C.
My heart sank.
I didn’t want the surgery but was too weak to speak much nor put up a fight. I had lost so much blood that I couldn’t sign paperwork without getting dizzy and passing out.
I asked my husband to call one of our dear friends, I told her I was scared to have the surgery and didn’t want it.
She proceeded to tell me something that would bring such peace to my soul, that would set me free from the fear and shame I had associated with this procedure.
She told me that my baby was with Jesus already and that this surgery wasn’t about her, it was about saving my life so that I could take care of those I still had here.
Then she proceeded to tell me that she too had to have this surgery after a miscarriage, that she survived and so would I.
I can’t begin to tell you what those words meant to me. In a sense, they saved my life.
Just when I hung up with her, our surgeon walked in, and I consented, with peace in my whole being. As I was being rushed off to surgery I remember falling in and out of consciousness. While I was in consciousness, I remember thinking about the Lord, praying and talking to Him. I knew if I was to die, I had total peace with God. I was even looking forward to it, but then the thought of leaving my husband and children gave me an unsettled feeling. I knew my job wasn’t done here on earth. I knew God still had a purpose for my life and that I would survive.
Before being put under for the surgery I remember the surgeon telling me that he was going to stop the bleeding and try not to puncture my uterus. If that happened there was a chance of never having a baby again… and even potential hysterectomy.
The moment I began to awaken from surgery, it was the first thing I asked about. Obviously, I was alive, and the bleeding had stopped, I had to know if I was going to be able to have more children. His response was jovial. He remarked that I certainly must have lost too much blood if that was the first thing out of my mouth.
Over the course of the next few days, I struggled in the weakness of body. I had lost over 67% of my blood and had to have two blood transfusions. That being said, it took me another 2.5 months to be able to get up without dizziness and other typical symptoms of anemia. I am thankful that I had a strong knowledge and understanding of how to heal naturally from a hemorrhage, it was that training and experience that proved to be essential in me getting back on my feet so quickly.
Here is my post on how to treat anemia naturally.
I share more tools on how to heal from a hemorrhage and treat anemia in the FIRST EVER CHRISTIAN POSTPARTUM COURSE HERE:
Though I survived an emergency situation due to my miscarriage, the real healing took a while.
TRAUMA IMPACTS THE WHOLE FAMILY
As you can imagine this traumatic experience affected our whole family deeply. There were two different things my children had to grieve and deal with: 1.) The death of a baby sister 2.) The near-death experience of their mother.
These two were not quickly resolved upon my arrival home from the hospital. In reality, each of our children grieved differently, in different ways, and on different time clocks. I will be sharing more on this in another post as well, but I can assure you that this trial, which we walked through together, grew each of us closer to one another and to God in the long run.
Many people believe that parents should hide realities and hardships from their children, and of course there is a discernment required by parents to understand what they can handle and so forth, but I am now able to see, with the blessing of hindsight, that allowing your older children to walk through realities, leading them to Christ, is the best training and opportunity for discipling them up in the ways of the Lord. When they can see you praising God in hard times, and remaining faithful in all tribulation, that is when your preaching and teachings become real to them. It how faith and biblical instruction are applied to everyday real life.
It is God’s boot camp for spiritual maturity.
If you have suffered loss, my heart goes out to you. If you know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, I pray that my story and openness gives you insight into what might be going on in their heart, mind, body, and soul. And maybe, you will have the opportunity to minister to them better now.