Hey there! It’s such a privilege to be able to write for you all today. Firstly I’ve got to say a huge thank you to the lovely Nanny Maryanne for letting me publish this guest post on her beautiful, inspirational blog. So thanks Nanny M, and keep up the hard work. The world of mummies needs your awesomeness.
And secondly, let me introduce myself. I’m Anita Faulkner, also known in the blogging world as Brazen Mummy Writes. I mainly write light-hearted posts about the roller coaster journey of motherhood, with a few pieces about my attempts at writing romance novels in between. But now and again I write about subjects which are closer to my heart. One of those subjects is early pregnancy loss.
Our Early Pregnancy Loss Story
Before we had our gorgeous, miraculous little boy (who’s now toddling around), we sadly endured three early pregnancy losses. We’ll never know the reasons why, and of course there may have been different reasons for each. All we know is that after various tests and medications which may or may not have been the answer, our fourth pregnancy was a success. Thank all of the stars our little rainbow baby was born.
From the second we got the two blue lines on the pregnancy test I knew he would be. He felt different right from the start. Maybe that’s mother’s instinct.
What is a Missed Miscarriage?
All of my three losses were what they call missed miscarriages. This means the little embryo ‘s heart stops beating some time before your body finally lets go. For me, each time, it took three weeks between the little hearts stopping and the physical miscarriage beginning. I know this from the measurements taken from my various early scans. I was feeling cautious about all of those pregnancies, so we paid for private scans to keep watch. It was usually at those early scans that we received the news all was not well.
Of course it is devastating to go for a scan in the hope of seeing your little bud thriving, but instead to see the panicked face of the sonographer, to undergo checking and double checking, before finally being told the life you hoped you had is gone.
You may think this is crazy, but in a way, I was grateful it happened that way for me if it had to happen at all. After the scans and inevitable tears, I had time to prepare. To come to terms with what was about to happen, to read up on how it would be, to buy the things I would need and to get ready to say goodbye.
Missed Miscarriage – What are the Options?
I had three main options of how to go through the physical side of the miscarriage, once the hospital confirmed my embryos were no longer living.
The first option was to be admitted to hospital for a minor operation, under general anaesthetic, to take away the pregnancy tissue.
The second way involved taking pills or pessaries, either at home or at hospital, to speed things along. (I was told this may be more uncomfortable, but the hospital would provide strong painkillers if I was admitted.)
Or thirdly I could go home and wait for nature to take its course. It may be painful, there would be a lot of blood and tissue to pass, but our bodies are well programmed to cope.
If you would like more details about these options, I thoroughly recommend the Miscarriage Association website, as per the following link. This was a huge help to me when I needed the information to digest in my own time:
Which Option Did I Choose?
The midwives were fantastic and assured me it was likely I’d be just fine with the third option, ie waiting for the bleeding to start in its own time. They explained the human body knows exactly what to do. They said if there were any issues along the way I could come straight in to get help, but that women rarely needed this intervention.
So I opted for the third route. I was keen for my body to be ready to conceive again as soon as possible, so this method felt the most natural for me. There are small risks of damage to your uterus lining with option one, and option two seemed like a bit of interference with my body’s natural rhythms. But everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way. I can certainly see the benefits of having earlier closure and more certainty with the first two options.
Waiting to Miscarry
Once I had come to terms with the inevitable, I was able to carry on with my normal day to day things whilst I waited for the physical loss to take place. The midwives reassured me I would have some spotting for a day or so before anything heavy took place, so I would have time to get myself home and comfortable.
It was during these waits that I devised my own self-care plan. I guess it was a strategy to help myself cope, to make me feel I had some sort of order over this uncontrollable situation. It was also a way of making me feel I was looking after myself to the best of my ability, so I would be physically and mentally ready to fight towards my next pregnancy as soon as possible.
So today I’m sharing my self-care advice with you, in case it can be of use. If you’re reading this because you find yourself in a similar situation, my heart is with you. But please know you’re not alone on this path. They say one in three pregnancies sadly ends this way. So whilst I remember feeling like the only one, I know that’s not the case. It’s just that society doesn’t talk about it much, but it really should. We need people to talk; for you and for us.
Here are some ideas I hope will help.
Self-Care During Early Missed Miscarriage
Take care of your body
Your body is about to go through a difficult thing, so be kind to it.
- Feed it with iron-rich foods, to make up for the loss of blood. Such foods could be beans, lentils, dark green leafy veg. If you eat meat, go for turkey, chicken or lean beef. And let’s face it, you deserve to curl up with some comfort food as well. It helped me to have plenty of chocolates and treats to pull me through.
- I drank lots of red raspberry leaf tea to help bring on contractions. I kept drinking this for a while after my miscarriages were over, as I read it helps recondition the inside of your womb. (Please note you should only drink this if you are sure you are having a miscarriage. It is not considered safe to drink red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy unless you are in the late stages and your midwife has agreed.)
- Nurture yourself with massage, if that feels good. I used to apply moisturiser to my hands and feet and massage them one at a time, paying particular attention to any parts which felt sore. As strange as it may seem, the tender bits of your feet are likely to correspond with the areas of your body which are going through a tough time. You can find reflexology charts online, so you can pay attention to massaging the parts which link up to your reproductive areas if you wish. Again, this may not be safe during pregnancy unless you are a trained professional.
- There are also professionals who can help you with fertility massage over your womb area after your miscarriage has come to an end. This can help to expel any old blood and stimulate fresh blood to your reproductive area, to help your body to get ready to try again, if you want to. You should check with your healthcare professional before undergoing any treatments.
Trust Your Body
- Trust your body. It knows what to do, and if you support it and nurture it, it will hopefully do what it needs to. Don’t fight it, don’t be angry with it, try not to tense up against any discomfort. Your body will go through a process of having contractions so that your cervix can open to let everything pass. This can be extremely painful, so I found it best to just relax as much as possible and be ready to let go when the time was right. Deep breathing and a hot water bottle held against my belly were a huge help, as was taking paracetamol (again, please check with your doctor).
What Else Might Help?
- You will probably need to spend a lot of time on the toilet when the worst is happening. You may want a book or some music to help you through. When the blood loss has slowed you will need lots of heavy flow sanitary towels, as you may bleed for a week or two. You are at risk of infection if you use tampons, as your cervix will be open. Don’t forget to buy big pants too, if you don’t have these.
Take care of your mind
Explore Your Feelings
- Write, listen to music, draw. Do whatever it is you do to help you make sense of the world. I wrote. Pages and pages, books and books full of notes about how I was feeling. Sometimes you don’t even know until you pick up the pen. But you need to explore these feelings somehow. To let them out, to set them free, so that one day, when you are ready, you can heal. I hoped as I was writing that I would use those words to help others one day. It was soothing to feel that a tiny ray of goodness may come from such a sad thing.
- Talk. Make sure you get things off your chest as much as you can. Cry if you need to. As well as my husband and family I had a few close friends who would text or email me daily to make sure I was ok. Sometimes it’s easier to “talk” in writing. If you know anyone who’s going through this, maybe it would help if you checked on them with a quick message too. Sometimes people just need to share what they’re going through, to feel a little lighter.
- Get out into nature if you can, even if it’s just into your garden to look at the flowers. I used to take a slow hobble to the public gardens nearby. It really helped me to get some perspective, look at beautiful things and remind myself mother nature is capable of greatness too.
- Be grateful. I found it useful to focus on all the things I did have, rather than the things I didn’t. We can hopefully all find things in our lives to be grateful for. Our families, our homes, the ones who love us. The fact that we are still so lucky compared to many, that things could have been worse, that we may still have hope. Even something as simple as a blue sky or a bird singing. Just try to look for the good things and know that there will be more of them.
A Few Words of Hope
So those are the things which helped me. We are all different, but if you are going through this, I sincerely hope you can find something which will work for you. Look after yourself, brave lady, and stay positive for the fight. I’m sending you all of my strength. You can do this. You will do this. And when you are through, you will be ready to write your new chapter, whatever that may be.
If there is anything I can do or any more advice you need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch through the contact page on my website. You are never alone on this journey.
If you feel moved to help anyone who may be going through this with a few words of moral support, or even just a virtual hug, please add your kind thoughts in the comments box.
If you want to read my letter to my three lost hearts, here’s the link for you.
And a huge thank you again to Nanny Maryanne for hosting, and to you lovely people for reading!