Tips for coping with the practicalities of miscarriage

(297 Posts)
comeonbishbosh Wed 16-Nov-11 10:58:13

I?ve just had mc2, which has been emotionally more upsetting than mc1, but I coped a heck of a lot better on the practical side of managing it. And I realise that through the pregnancy books are full of tips on what types of sweets to pack in your hospital bag for labour, we?re pretty short of simple tips to make the sheer yuckiness of going through a miscarriage a little more bearable. I know there?s going to be big variations in people?s experience, and this is in no way to overrule any medical advice you get. But at least it might be a starting point.

For info, I had mc1 8 months ago, didn?t realise I was pg at the time (just come off breastfeeding DD, had massive problems conceiving before) but was probably 8-12 weeks. Didn?t realise it was actually a mc until a lot of mess later. MC2 was a few days ago, had a bit more notice as knew I was 8 wk pregnant, had been increasingly bleeding, and knowing a bit more what it was like through mc1. Neither time I needed to go to hospital.

So, this is what I would suggest helps from my experience, all offered as suggestions that may or may not apply to your situation!

1. Once you realise the bleeding has started in earnest, get home as soon as you can. You will probably need to sit on the loo for the next 1-3 hours, and that?s far nicer to do in the comfort of your own home.

2. If you need to travel in a car, sit on a plastic bag. (My 1st mc started at work, and by the time my DH came and picked me up in the car I had bleeding all down my trousers... it?s not glamorous).

3. Cancel everything, get childcare if you need it. The first time in the midst of the bleeding I tried to keep going, a builder came round to give me a quote for some work, DH went out on a pre-arranged cinema trip and I was putting DD to bed on my own. However hard it is to get a builder to quote, this was stupid priorities! Also, I now know best not to be left without another adult within shouting distance.

4. Settle in for the long haul. My mc2 was overnight, and I essentially camped out in the bathroom with magazines, world service on the radio, short scurries downstairs to make a hot chocolate. It was still horrible. But not unremittingly so.

5. Hot water bottles or hot wheatbags are great. And painkillers.

6. Get top quality sanitary pads, supersize. The maternity ones might be good for the first few hours if you can?t just sit on the loo, but they will make you miserable with their ungainliness. This is not a time to economise on the cheap versions.

7. If your mc kicks off at an evening or weekend, I found phoning my GPs ?out of hours? service loads more helpful, straightforward and kind than I have ever found NHS direct.

8. If take a pg test when you are miscarrying, it should come out positive. This is useful if, like me on mc1, I didn?t know I was pg at the time.

9. Take more time off work than you think. You are very much allowed to mooch.

Please do add any more tips. It goes without saying that I hope you and I never need these (again)?

bzzbee Sun 20-Jan-13 17:55:46

Thanks so much for this thread, it has been incredibly helpful to me.
I will add my own tuppence-worth when I am ready, xx

WarpKitten Mon 21-Jan-13 14:20:11

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. This thread has been really helpful, both for practicalities and for knowing that 'you're not alone'. It's amazing that when you start telling others you see that others have experienced, but no one really wants to talk about it.

I was 10.5 weeks pregnant but started bleeding last Tuesday. I went to A&E and was referred to the EPU the next day. The EPU confirmed by baby 'stopped growing' and was only 4mm when it should have been over 30mm. There was no heartbeat and I assumed the worse even though he kept saying come back in a week to see if it has grown any more. Hmm.

That afternoon I had period like pains and more blood with small clots and assumed it was an MC. They had warned me I'd MC and that only call them if it lasts more than 2 weeks.

The first 4 days of the mc were like a yucky period with normal period symptoms but were worse for a 4 hour block (always between 8pm-midnight) has anyone else experienced this? I thought this seemed manageable but on Sat night it was so horrific, the pain was unbearable and I passed huge black clots (size of lemon slices). I hoped this was the peak but last night was even worse. The blood was just pouring out of me and I just sat on the loo and bled into it. After just 5 minutes I couldn't even see the bottom of the toilet bowl anymore it was so red. I passed lots more clots and these were bright red instead of black. I do not know if I has passed the sac/embryo. If it was just 4mm (sac 25mm) the chances are I could have missed it. In a way I am glad it was small as a 10.5 week foetus would have been a lot more horrific I am sure. Again this stint only lasted 4 hours but I ended up ringing the NHS helpline as the pain and bleeding were too much and I was worried. The women was reasonably helpful but more or less said "you're having a miscarriage which involves severe bleeding and pain so why are you ringing us". In the end she told me to go to A&E but I couldn't face it at 3am and the thought of being probed and prodded was unbearable.

This morning physically I feel weak and a little shocked, no pain and bleeding very lightly. I am so scared that I am going to have the same or worse 4 hour stint tonight and I am supposed to go back to work tomorrow. I have another scan on Wednesday so I guess they'll see if I have anything left in there.

I am 39, and this was my first pregnancy, so I was realistically prepared for miscarriage but that doesn't take away the sadness. As each week passed and I was getting closer to the second trimester my hopes were increased in 'making it'. Little did I know the poor little thing didn't make it past being a bunch of cells.

jemfish Thu 24-Jan-13 14:13:12

WarpKitten, You are so right - being realistically prepared doesn't make it any easier. My thoughts are with you and everyone else.

This is such a valuable thread - thank you everyone for your input! I had no idea what to expect and I'm so glad I did a little reading before I was in the midst of a very painful gushing mc. I've had light bleeding since week 6 but after 2 scans (at week 6 and 7) and everything being ok (strong heartbeat, good growth) I was getting used to the idea that a little blood was normal - Until the bleeding changed on the weekend at week 10 sad You can only stay hopeful and optimistic for so long when faced with a very red toilet bowl!

I don't know for sure if I passed the sac. If I have, I didn't get to see my baby. Similar to what is described above I sat on the toilet and just gushed during the worst part, after a searing cramp that had me doubled up in agony. All calmed down and didn't hurt so bad after that, so I'm hoping that's the worst of it over. A bit nervous that I might get an unwelcome surprise in a few days as others have described. GP hasn't suggested a scan yet..."just give it time and keep an eye out for possible infection or left over tissue".

I realise now how lucky I was to have those early scans, otherwise I might never have seen my baby. Although looking at the scan image from 7.5 weeks makes me cry every time.

If you've found this thread out of necessity, I am so sorry for your loss and wish all the very best. There's some great advice here! Don't overestimate the power of distraction and comfort offered by your favourite tv shows and chocolate (for when you're not on the toilet).

xox

lendi Thu 24-Jan-13 15:00:01

Such a helpful thread. Am using everyone's tips to make a list of stuff to take to hospital tomorrow where I am having medical management of my mmc. So far I have leggings, trackie bottoms, big knickers, night time pads, femfresh wipes, hot water bottle, chocolate, flask of tea, kindle, iPad stocked ready with fav tv series catch ups with ear phones.. Anyone think of anything else?

Hevava Thu 24-Jan-13 18:27:08

lendi- so sorry to here about what you're going through. If you've got a lap top and some dvds they might be good to take with you. When I was in hospital I was not in a state to manage reading but could manage watching a kids film!

Thought I'd add my tuppence worth to this thread. Your stories are all so sad ans I'm thinking that I might've got off lightly on the physical front. I found out at 11 weeks that I had miscarried. No serious symptoms except for a bit of bleeding so it came as a massive shock. 2 days later I miscarried properly at home. It was painful, probably worse than a bad period but I was only in pain for maybe 5 hours or so. I felt myself miscarry while on the loo and carried on bleeding lightly over the next few days. I went back to the hospital for a second scan a few days later only to find out that there was still tissue left in my womb so I opted for an ERPC operation. The trauma of going into hospital was worse than the actual operation and I was glad I went for it afterwards to avoid the continuing saga and pain of going through it all naturally.

I'd say- if you have the option, go for an ERPC. It gave me closure and I was feeling back to normal within 2 days.

WarpKitten Thu 24-Jan-13 23:22:27

Sorry for your loss Hevava, that's good to know that you recommend the ERPC. I'm booked to have it Monday. After 9 nine days of bleeding I was told the sac and embryo are still inside. As you say sounds like good closure and I can't bear to have more pain etc.

Everyone tells me to opt for general anaesthetic when having the op - if that's any help to anyone.

Lendi sounds like a good list for the hospital. My husband is D/L some films onto his phone for me, bless him.

Hevava Fri 25-Jan-13 08:40:23

Aw warpkitten, hope it all goes ok on Monday. I didn't think that they could do the ERPC under local anesthetic? To be honest, I'm not sure I'd have wanted to be awake to witness it! Just think, after Monday it will all be over and you can start to move on.

I was nervous about the op.....never had a general anesthetic before.....and sure, it was scary but they look after you really well and they'll give you as much anti-sickness/ pain relief medication as you want so it's really just the emotional side you have to deal with (which is probably the hardest part!). The nurses and doctors at the hospital were all really caring and sympathetic- they know what you're going through. Plus, you'll probably be on a ward with other women going through the same. I found it helpful to chat with the girl in the bed next to me, made it feel less lonely and reminded me that I wasn't the only one going through it.

No one can make it better or easier to go through and it's a horrible thing to have to go into hospital for, but like you said- it will give you closure.

ksrwr Fri 25-Jan-13 11:54:47

This thread is exactly what I need right now. I miscarried earlier this week, at 11 weeks, having had a scan at 9.5 weeks which confirmed the baby stopped developing at 6 weeks.
The thing that would have helped me the most would have been preparation of what to expect a natural miscarriage to look like.
After the 2nd scan, I was given the option of the operation, but I didn't take it, i wanted to leave it a week, and give my body a chance to do it naturally... and boy did it!
I wish one of the doctors/consultants i've seen over the past couple of weeks had warned me what comes out when you miscarry. I was expecting a heavy period. which is the understatement of the century.
On sunday I started bleeding, like a light period (after 10 days of spotting, which is what led to being scanned in the first place). Then monday, huge lumps of liver-like stuff came out, each the size of say a quarter of a peach (random sorry!)... I could feel them coming out, it was gross. but manageble, no real pain, just period cramps. I thought it was all over. Then on wednesday morning, the sack, totally like you see in the diagrams, with the little 5mm dead baby in it. The sack is completely recognisable when you see it... and I think I went into shock. It was about 4/5cm long. I was expecting just blood and some clots to come out in a miscarriage of effectively only a 6 week pregnancy. But there was such a considerable amount of matter, it made me very much in awe of how much stuff my body had grown trying to make the little baby. but obviously the baby wasn't viable. and i get that. its just having to see it is really traumatic.
So in short, if you think you can deal with seeing it, by all means go for the natural option, but if you can't, then definitely have the operation as you will avoid this trauma. If we try again, and I MC again i will without doubt have the operation.

jmf294 Fri 25-Jan-13 14:48:44

Thank you to everyone who has posted on this thread.
I sadly looked here 2 weeks ago when my first scan showed a very small sac and I new that meant I had a high risk of miscarriage.
4 days later I started to bleed and a scan confirmed the heart beat had gone.
I was told to wait for a week but phoned the EPAU the next day desperate for them to do something.
I opted for the surgical management because I was scared of bleeding at home. I was 8 weeks when it all was over,
It was fine, just in for one day, over quickly and very peaceful really.
The bleeding only lasted for a few days afterwards.
I took a week off work afterwards as I was still all over the place emotionally and I have to go back to work Monday.
The fear of miscarriage over took my grief for the loss so if anyone else is scared but can face an operation I recommend it.

Purplelooby Fri 25-Jan-13 23:23:34

I'm so sorry to all the ladies who are finding this thread because you are about to go through a MC xx I had a natural MC last week (at 6 weeks). I had been spotting on and off for a week, but by the time I went to A&E, it was very clear that I was already MCing - I passed clots the size of the palm of my hand. I am now very thankful that, after checking that I had no symptoms of ectopic, they sent me home. It was much easier being at home on my settee/toilet. A few things that I hope will be helpful to others in this situation:

- MCing leaves you very, very tired. I wasn't prepared for this and I have a 5 month old, so I needed help from others for a few days.
- Keep taking whatever PG tablets you've been taking - the iron and Vit C especially will help the recovery.
- This is a difficult one and other people might feel differently of course, but if you can help it, try not to inspect the material that you pass.
- If you have a DP who is able to, get them to take time off work with you for as long as you need them around.
- The pregnancy hormones will still be in your blood for some time so you might still feel tired and sick, so my biggest tip is... if you are thinking about wine (I did) then swap it for something less likely to cause heartburn, like ale.

Just to add, at the moment the emotions are getting harder every day - I feel a lot more upset now than I did the day it happened sad

ouryve Fri 25-Jan-13 23:28:55

Good advice, OP.

And don't let DH do any stinky painting while you're still in heavy flow. Even if you never argue, you will then because you will feel so incredibly sick.

And, despite the awful dreams as your hormones crash, sleep as much as is humanly possible.

kiwi6 Mon 28-Jan-13 22:08:09

hi i had my mc on christmas day had 16 people for dinner thank god for my husband wasnt prepared for the bleeding and the sittin on the toilet the whole time but three days later ended up in hospital with headaches and feeling dizzy ended up getting two blood transfusions feel way better now but have a few bad days bt i have my three healthy kids and thinking pos thought s its only been four weeks since but i keep thinking was it my job that brought on the mc as im a hairdresser and on my feet all day ,but trying to put that aside now i was only 9 weeks wen i mc it was my first mc and really dont want it to happen again wondering should i give up work and stay with my kids .but time does help
smile

WarpKitten Tue 29-Jan-13 00:55:48

Oh Kiwi6 that sounds terrible you poor thing, you must have had it bad to have blood transfusions. Did they give any indication of cause? From what I've heard the vast majority of MCs that happen up to 12 weeks are development/chromosome problems so it's unlikely to be something you did. Try not to blame yourself. I understand that any heavy lifting or really strenuous exercise can cause MC.

WarpKitten Tue 29-Jan-13 01:08:50

I wanted to add some more tips having had my ERPC today:

-If you have pain (or bleeding) that's unbearable/excessive even after painkillers get yourself to A&E. (I couldn't bring myself to do this at 3am on a Friday but I regret this. I got thoroughly told off by the nurse: was told it's highly dangerous as the painful contractions could have meant the sac was stuck in my cervix)
- Any sign of infection (fevers, temperature above 38oc, blood starting to smell funky/foul, feeling sick/faint) get yourself to A&E. I just discovered that infections left untreated can cause future fertility probs so not worth the risk ignoring.
- If you end up having the ERPC having a hot water bottle and favourite snacks after coming around were a god-send.
- Get some nice soft loo roll for those sitting on the loo sessions smile

Look after yourselves and have no shame in going to A&E/NHS Direct if you're worried. Better to overact and it be nothing. xx

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Sat 02-Feb-13 01:41:02

So so sad to see names from the antenatal thread I was on. sad
This thread is amazing. Thank you to all of you for your experiences and information. I was a little worried that Im not bleeding really heavily, (7 weeks) and am now reassured that this doesnt always happen, but am mentally prepared that it might. Ive had reasonable amounts of blood, small clots and a couple of largish bits of tissue, so Im fairly sure all is normal. <<hollow laugh>>
Physically, so far I can handle what Im getting, emotionally I am a wreck. Since the bleeding started, Wednesday afternoon, and though yesterday at the EPAU I was utterly inconsolable, today I am just numb. Functioning reasonably well for a while, then just losing it again.
I have no idea how some of you go through this time and time again, you have my total respect.

supersare Tue 12-Feb-13 12:37:25

I miscarried 5 days ago and I'm still getting gripey period like pains, but nothing compared to how they were. I was only about 6 weeks gone, which is maybe why my blood loss is now petering off considerably.
I didn't realise how much a miscarriage takes it out of you. I've never felt so physically weak in all my life. I'm incredibly dehydrated also, constantly putting lip salve on my lips. My appetite is non-existent, and I'm struggling a bit even with day to day chores. I decided to sort out the airing cupboard and started to cry when I couldn't match the socks up properly....
I wondered how you are getting on now SaggyOldClothCatpuss, and when did your weepiness become more controllable?
I just want to get back to work and feel ok again emotionally, however at the same time I'm dreading people asking how I am as I'm liable to burst into tears.
Help! xx

escorpion Tue 12-Feb-13 12:55:49

Hi supersare I found out yesterday that my embryo stopped growing, it only measured 3mm at what should have been an 8 week scan and no heartbeat. I am going in today to discuss my options. I am just worried about what is going to happen next. I am also feeling emotional and had some cries and have no motivation to do anything. Hugs for all!

supersare Tue 12-Feb-13 18:20:25

Hugs back to you escorpion.
My heart goes out to you so much, I wish I could tell you what to expect in terms of treatment but I don't know as I miscarried naturally without them having to do anything (other than the doctor taking a look inside me, which wasn't as uncomfortable as a smear test).
Because it all seemed to happen quickly, I think I went into autopilot to be honest. It wasn't until afterwards when the doctor went through the formalities and form filling and told me the 'tissue' they found would be cremated that I got really upset. So be prepared for that my love.
Bless you so much, it's a truly horrific thing to go through. I hope you've got friends/family to help you through it all. xxxx

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Tue 12-Feb-13 20:00:52

Hugs to you ladies.
I'm doing okay. The crying has calmed down now, I'm just left with a permanent sense of sadness. It did reach a peak a week or so ago, when I stupidly got drunk and became hysterical, but I'd actually say that that helped a bit, I had a real purge.
I'm pretty much back in the swing of things now. My main problem is that everytime I see or hear of a baby, or a person being pregnant, I get this wrench in my gut, but I suppose that will fade. I hope you guys are doing okay, and that you feel less sad soon. X

escorpion Wed 13-Feb-13 21:14:09

I have surgery booked for tomorrow. I am so nervous. I have stopped taking the progesterone that I was given for the spotting and now some blood clotting is coming out but only now and then. I also have a sore lower back. I am absolutely petrified about what is going to happen between now and tomorrow, I didn´t sleep a wink last night, have no appetite at all. I was in bits yesterday, it is all very stressful and I just want this nightmare to be over.sad

omri Wed 13-Feb-13 21:29:35

Hello lovely ladies. Went for an early scan today - I'm 9weeks- and they suspect mmc. I'll have another scan to confirm next week but the nurse said its a formality and she would be v pessimistic. She told me to expect a bleed in the next week. I haven't really taken it all in... Don't know what to expect. One tip I am looking for... What do I tell work?? All i know is I don't want to go in this week!!! I had just started to get excited about my little baby... It'll be a big deal for me to be out of work so I have to come up with a decent excuse (I don't want to tell them).

Do you think it sounds ok to tell them I will be having an unexpected operation and will be out of action for a week or so? They won't ask questions. Anyone have a better idea??
All tips appreciated.
Finally, sorry for all our little losses ��

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Wed 13-Feb-13 21:53:02

Are you on a career ladder where being pg will affect your progress? If not, tell them the truth is my advice. You are bound to be emotional for a while, someone needs to be able to understand.
Have you read the rest of this thread? Theres a lot of useful information and experiences on here. Mine is take things day by day. Some days youll want people, some you wont. Be kind to yourself.
I think the main generic advice is painkillers and a hot water bottle.
Thinking of you. xx

Mamab33 Thu 14-Feb-13 11:23:01

Thank you for sharing your experiences. So sorry for such loss for everyone.

My experience was tiny bleeding one evening at 7wks. Positive scan at EPU next day. Booked for next scan in a week. Bleeding continued. Pain and cramps on and off. Reassured by MW that some people do bleed all the way through pregnancy and have healthy babies.

Couldn't take any painkillers as they kept reassuring me. Only found out I had definitely MC when we went for our first MW booking amd I begged them to scan me at the ultrasound clinic amongst all of the evidently pregnant people. I was relieved to know but grateful that they scanned me so that I didn't have to wait for postponed EPU scan.

Now a couple of weeks on I have cramping sensations and feel pretty bad. Can you tell me when you had your first period afterwards?

Only DH and DM know. 5 of my friends and family have had babies during the last few weeks. Don't really want to ask their advice.

Big hugs to you x

supersare Thu 14-Feb-13 11:26:17

Omri, it is a tricky question on whether to tell work or not. My manager already knows what's happened, it's just the rest of my office I'm dreading seeing as it's quite a friendly place and people look out for each other there and I know people will be curious as to why I've been off work for a week. Anyway, I'm hoping to go back into work tomorrow and even though my boss knows why I've been off my colleagues are going to ask if I'm ok. Just wondered how others have dealt with the question in general, when seeing friends/family/colleagues who you hadn't told that you were pregnant...have you told them what happened or not?
You're in my thoughts Escorpion...bless you so much, sending you many hugs and hope you have someone to hold you hand through today. It is horrible, there's no other way to describe it. I know we moan about the NHS but nurses in general are caring and understanding and the doctors are very professional so I'm sure you'll be well looked after.
xxxxx

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Thu 14-Feb-13 11:29:59

Good luck today Escorpion. Thinking of you. X

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