I stumbled onto this little gem on the Internet today. It echoed some thoughts that I’ve had over the past week, and because of that was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes you just need to know it happened to another woman the way it happened to you — or at least, that you’re not crazy for thinking something about yourself and trying to make sense of it, because she came to the same conclusion.
For what it’s worth, it is so refreshing to find someone who will share more about what happened to her physically after a miscarriage, rather than emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been so comforted reading that other women are as emotionally distraught as I over losing their baby — because of that I know that I have a right to still feel sad, to still talk about my child, to make a scrapbook if I want, to journal if I want, and so on. But I have really been looking (and looking and looking) for information as to what women who miscarry can expect physically, as I am now in that boat. So thank you to the author in XOJane for sharing your story, from all of us who are frantically Googling for information…and reassurance.
Speaking of, I stumbled on this article because I Googled “How long should your first period last after a miscarriage.” Since I’ve been bleeding for 6 weeks (mostly spotting), it’s hard to tell that I’m having a period. But it’s been heavier and redder over the last 10 days — yes, I said 10 days — and the midwife thought it was a period, so I’m going with that. By the way, did I mention I’m on day 10 of my period? Yeah, I’ve been bleeding for 6 weeks straight. I’m guessing because I was essentially 12 weeks along when I lost the baby. But who knows if that’s it. Anyway…
From XOJane.com, aptly titled “The Never Ending Miscarriage.” (You can say that again.):
I’ve spent the past month since my miscarriage poking around for information that would help me understand the science of what was happening to my body in normal-speak. Unsurprisingly, much of the writing around miscarriages seeks to avoid the “gross” realities of what happens to female bodies. That stuff lives in the comments section. But I’m not going to feel ashamed about what my body is doing. Instead, I’m going to write about it.
I took to the Internet and found the same discomforting advice everywhere: Your first period after a miscarriage could be different from your regular period in any number of ways. Lighter, heavier, longer, shorter. More painful, less painful. Shedding leftover pregnancy material or not. It was like reading the side effects of a cold medicine and learning that the likely ones are all cold-like symptoms.
So when I woke up on Sunday to a clean pad, and I only lightly spotted through Sunday and Monday, I figured I’d had a heavy, short period and was done. Next month would be regular and the miscarriage was behind me. Alas, nothing is ever that simple.
My body was in fact flushing out that extra-thick lining the OB had pointed to on the ultrasound, leftover from when my uterus thought it was going to grow a baby. This is likely all very normal. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier that, for the last 48 hours, it’s felt like I’m miscarrying all over again. Except more pain and blood this time.
Any illusion of having regained control over my body is gone. Maybe the larger lesson here -– and I’m not sure I’ll ever really learn this one because I’m nothing if not a control freak –- is that we never have any true control over the fragile inner workings of our bodies. We can make choices that might influence those inner workings, but a great deal of our health is just out of our hands. Especially when it comes to pregnancy, miscarriage and menstruation.
I do have a better understanding now of why the OB suggested waiting two cycles before considering getting pregnant again. It’s apparent that my body is still readjusting from the seven weeks of fetus-growing. And I have a different kind of respect for how much my body can and will handle. Even when my mind is reeling, my body does what it needs to do.
That said, I just really want this to be over. I want to put the miscarriage behind me, not to pretend it didn’t happen, but to know it’s done happening. I keep hoping that the next time I go to the bathroom, the bleeding will have stopped or slowed. Or at least the clots won’t appear. Or maybe could just the cramping ease up a bit?
I’m clinging to the knowledge that at the end of this period-from-hell my miscarriage really will be over. Because if there is anything left in there, trust me, it’s coming out now.
Our bodies are a wonderland. Or sometimes, a haunted house.
The parts that resonated with me the most:
- “Your first period after a miscarriage could be different from your regular period in any number of ways. Lighter, heavier, longer, shorter. More painful, less painful. Shedding leftover pregnancy material or not. It was like reading the side effects of a cold medicine and learning that the likely ones are all cold-like symptoms.” Thank goodness she said this. I have been thinking I’m the exception, spotting for 5 weeks then having a light-ish period for another 10 days (like I said if you’re keeping track, that’s 6 weeks total, and as of today starting my 7th week). I’m hoping I finally. stop. bleeding. soon. LIKE NOW. But everyone is different. I’m just glad mine isn’t painful or heavy. The cold medicine part is hilarious, by the way.
- “Alas, nothing is ever that simple.” I’m going to get this engraved on something. I’m not kidding.
- “Any illusion of having regained control over my body is gone. Maybe the larger lesson here -– and I’m not sure I’ll ever really learn this one because I’m nothing if not a control freak –- is that we never have any true control over the fragile inner workings of our bodies.” ON. THE. NOSE. J and I had a good, long talk about this a couple days ago, when I was just about to scream over what’s still going on with my body. He calmly reminded me that this isn’t something I can control, as much as I want to. It has to work itself out. And I know, after some prayer and reflection, that I have to give it completely to God and let Him handle it. Some things are just too big for me to do myself, to complex for me to fully wrap my head around. I still want to cry (and yes, scream) for lack of control and understanding sometimes, but at least I’ve been much more at peace about it over the last couple of days. And peace right now is worth it’s weight in gold. Seriously.
- “I do have a better understanding now of why the OB suggested waiting two cycles before considering getting pregnant again.” Something I didn’t think I’d agree with shortly after my miscarriage. I figured one cycle was enough. Having given it some thought over the last 6 weeks (and being on my first cycle’s period now and not feeling physically or mentally ready yet), I now strongly feel that the last thing I want to do now is rush into another pregnancy before my body’s had a chance to fully heal and readjust.
- “That said, I just really want this to be over. I want to put the miscarriage behind me, not to pretend it didn’t happen, but to know it’s done happening.” Uh, YES. Couldn’t have said it better myself.