After going to my first prenatal appointment at ten weeks pregnant to find out I’d had a missed miscarriage, my doctor gave me the options to take misoprostol at home or have a D&C done to complete the miscarriage.
Considering the fact that I still felt rather pregnant, I was not yet ready to make a decision. So for a week I did nothing and let the devastating news sink in. I distracted myself the best I could, but always had the thought in the back of my head that I could start miscarrying naturally that day while running errands or that night in my sleep.
I knew I needed to take another step in the process, and realized that for me, the next thing was to see another doctor. It’s not that I thought a different doctor would give me the great news that everything was fine, my baby was still healthy and growing, the miscarriage talk was all a big mistake (although these things do happen in internet forums), but I had left that appointment with a lot of questions, feeling like it had all been very rushed and impersonal, and like I mostly just needed another ultrasound where a doctor actually talked to me about what he was seeing so that I could understand and come to terms myself with the fact that there was no semblance of life inside me.
So a few days later I had an appointment with a doctor I had researched beforehand with great bedside manner reviews. He spent forty-five minutes with me talking and explaining, five minutes doing a transvaginal ultrasound which was uncomfortable physically but helped give me peace in the sense that he looked around very thoroughly, pointing to his monitor, talking me through the whole thing, explaining everything he was seeing, putting my “what if” thoughts to rest since I was able to see and learn and understand for myself.
So by the end of the appointment, I felt relatively comfortable having misoprostol prescribed to me. It seemed like the best of the two options my first doctor had given me, since second doctor advised against doing a D&C as a first choice because there is a slight risk of making future pregnancies more difficult. First doctor never mentioned any risks at all. I still had this feeling like I wanted to wait a while longer to see if I could miscarry naturally on my own, not force my body to do this difficult thing before it was ready. Doctor agreed that waiting would be fine for now, but if I did start to miscarry, go ahead and take the misoprostol to speed the process along as it can sometimes take weeks on its own.
Two days later, miscarriage started on its own.
Sunday 12/20 4:00am — I wake with cramps and spotting. Cramps are mild enough that I can still sleep, but have a hard time doing so since I fear what is happening and how it might all play out.
9:00am–1:00pm — Mild cramping with spurts of heavy cramping as well as spotting continue. Although I’ve known a miscarriage was coming for two weeks, now that it’s started, all I can think about is how I need it to be over. I google miscarriages with misoprostol and learn of many terrible experiences that are causing me great anxiety, and some relatively okay experiences like here and here. I eat a full lunch of a sandwich, chips, apple, and juice because it seems better not to take misoprostol on an empty stomach.
1:30pm — At the store, getting my prescription filled, feeling kinda sick once I pick it up because I can’t help thinking the pharmacist probably thought I was trying to have an abortion. Should’ve just TMI-ed and told him my whole life story. Also picking up pads and women diapers to be prepared.
2:30pm — At home, popping three pills of misoprostol orally (total of 600 mcg) as my doctor prescribed.
3:00pm — No change, but eat a snack just in case I end up being nauseous or otherwise sick later as some internet people described.
4:00pm — The cramping is a little heavier, so I take a couple ibuprofen. I have some prescribed hydrocodone that I picked up with the misoprostol, but am waiting to see if I really need it.
6:00pm — I figure I’ll do some lunges and squats around the living room to help get things going. I really just want to get this over with, and not be up all night during the worst of it.
6:30pm — Heat up some leftovers for dinner. After eating, I stand to take dishes to the sink and the blood starts flowing.
6:30–9:00pm — I spend a good amount of time on the toilet, letting blood and some quarter-size clots come out. I am cramping, uncomfortable but not in great pain. Nothing worse than what I experience with periods and having endometriosis.
9:00pm–12:00am — I relax on the couch reading, on the computer, watch a cheesy wonderful Hallmark Christmas movie. Make frequent trips to the bathroom.
12:00am — The bleeding is pretty heavy, but there are no more clots. I feel pretty good about taking a melatonin, ibuprofen, putting on a diaper and going to bed.
Monday 12/21 8:30am — Wake up after a surprisingly great night’s sleep. Melatonin worked nicely, as well as the diaper (highly recommend) to give me the extra assurance I probably needed to let myself sleep deeply.
8:00pm — Pretty heavy bleeding all day, but not so much that it prevented me from doing normal things while changing pads frequently. Some more cramping. But the worst was my emotions. Surprisingly I didn’t feel very emotional yesterday, mostly just glad to be getting the miscarriage started. After thinking about it for weeks, it had really felt like this was the last and most vital step to healing, to being able to move on, and get mostly back to my normal life. But today the emotions have kicked in like ten months of moody menstruation all smashed into one twelve-hour span. Emotional once again about the loss of a baby, emotional about the loss of six months that I could have been trying for a healthy pregnancy (three months pregnant and then three months recommended by my doctor to wait before trying for another), emotional about feeling alone, emotional about not having much family close by, emotional about feeling depressed and guilty for being a bad, short-tempered mother with my son who’s been spending way too much time watching shows and on the ipad lately while I’ve been moping around, emotional about the unknown, wanting to know the whys, wondering if my future will be very different than how I’ve always imagined and maybe not in a good way, etc etc etc. But I’m reading some books with my son now, getting him to bed, then laying on the couch the rest of the night with a movie and snacks.
Tuesday 12/22 4:30pm — Today is a world away from yesterday. I feel good. I feel like I really am on the mend. A few days ago, I had feared this process was going to be so awful physically–something similar to being in labor by yourself at home–that I truly am surprised to feel like I’ve already passed the worst of it. I never even took any of the prescribed hydrocodone, just a few ibuprofen. I am bleeding like a normal period. No cramping.
Tuesday 12/29 10:00pm — I’ve been spotting the past couple of days. Prior to that, I was bleeding like a normal period, heavier some days than others. I got back to the gym this morning and yesterday after not going much for the past couple months, feeling sick, tired, low-energy, depressed and what not. But yay, my stamina and motivation have returned! This miscarriage still sucks, and I know it will always suck every time I think back on it, but I have reached the point where I don’t have to think about it every day and I can move on to whatever comes next and that feels important.
If you’re reading this because you’re going through/preparing to go through your own miscarriage with misoprostol, my prayers and thoughts and best wishes go out to you. I hope my experience helps calm your nerves, and I hope your experience will be much more like mine than some of the other experiences you’ve probably already read about. (Go ahead and stop reading now, end on a relatively good note;) Positive thoughts, you can do this, your last and most vital step to healing can begin soon. I wish for you (and me both) a happy, healthy, darling baby in the near future.
(Also see: 9 things I’m grateful for as I miscarry.)