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A Survival Guide to Miscarriage - From a Survivor Part 1
a blog by Katie Landry, January 29, 2014
I really didn't think I would be writing about this. Again. Really, I didn't.
When I was first approached to write for Fertility Authority, it was August, and I was just starting fertility treatment: round 1 of Clomid . By September, right before I even submitted my first post, I found out I was pregnant. I wondered how I would still write for this website, considering that I was one of the ‘lucky ones.’
Well….I spoke too soon.
By October, our sonogram showed that there was no fetal pole, right around six weeks. The doctor said that if we were off by a few days, that would explain it. The next sonogram would tell us what we needed to know.
Our next sonogram showed a faint pulse and a fetal pole. Good news! Right? But the fetal pole was only measuring at about six weeks; I was closer to eight. He told me that there was a 95% chance I would lose this one, too.
He was right.
By November, I was in the throes of waiting to see how this miscarriage would resolve itself . I didn't pass it naturally. Two rounds of misoprostol didn't work (although the second one had me fooled; it sure felt like it worked). Finally, after about a month of waiting it out, there was no other choice but a D&C.
This miscarriage hit me much harder than the first; I felt completely man-handled. Even my first experience didn't really prepare me for my second.
I’m grateful I had many wise friends – both in-person and online - who coached me along the way, and their advice was invaluable.
While a miscarriage is not anyone’s ‘outcome of choice,’ I can’t deny that it will happen – to some of the ‘regular’ women out there who miscarry ‘just because’ – and to the rest of us: women who are fighting our way through infertility.
Here is some advice that really helped (and is helping , present-tense) me get through the dark days that are almost sure to follow a miscarriage:
Be gentle with yourself. This was some of the most helpful advice I received. Your heart is broken; you are grieving a tremendous loss. Go easy on yourself. Don’t force yourself to see people or be the social butterfly if you can’t. Don’t force yourself to go to that co-worker’s baby shower. Let yourself off the hook. Don’t try to be super-woman and keep the house clean, cook perfect meals, and trudge through your normal routine. It is OK to let some things go. They will still be there when you are up to it.
This can be tricky to do when the rest of the world is not privy to your loss. It helped me to share this with some key people so they were “in the know” when I was not myself or I had to skip a meeting or beg off of a responsibility I would normally tackle. But the point is to go easy on yourself. You are not yourself at this moment; you don’t have to pretend you are. Most people with a shred of humanity and compassion will get this.
Be honest about your feelings and ‘feel’ them. Let yourself feel your emotions as they come. Don’t try to suppress them. If you are angry, let yourself be angry. If you are sad, let yourself be sad. Don’t try to pretend things are good and you are good when, at this moment, they (and you) are not.
Grief will come in waves. Some days you will feel like you are getting better and have got a grip, and then there will be a random trigger that will set you off in tears. That’s okay. Cry it out. I don’t think grief is a linear process; it is much more circular. Some days you will spiral up, some days you will spiral down. It is okay. Just take it at it comes, and be honest about what you are feeling. Get comfortable with the idea that you might be sad for a while.
For me, it was important to be honest with God. My faith tells me that I know God has a plan and will see me through, but those things, while true, do not make a miscarriage hurt less. I needed to feel the freedom to be honest about how I was feeling: angry that I had to go through this twice, bitter at the teenage girls who get pregnant so easily without wanting to, confused over why God was allowing this. It was important for me to be real about how I was feeling, even if I didn't have answers or responses.
For you, this might be prayer, journaling, blogging, a counselor, or just talking to a trusted friend. The important thing is to be honest about how you are feeling and not try to stuff it. Trust me, it will only come out some other way, some other time.
Stay tuned for Part 2 for more survival tips to coping with a miscarriage.