Tips for coping with the practicalities of miscarriage(722 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
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)?
Here's my tip, based on the week post-scan, pre-miscarriage: waterproof mascara. Sounds trivial, I know. But honestly, if you keep welling up like I do, you can get it back under control in meetings, conversations, train journeys etc with some furious buttock-clenching and distraction, but you really dont want to be worrying about smudges and constantly doing surreptitious under-eye-wipes. Waterproof mascara allows the odd little moment without advertising to everyone via panda eyes.
I think that it's absurd and cruel that the NHS don't provide more information on miscarriage. It can feel like a very lonely experience (regardless of whether loved ones are with you or not - they aren't the ones physically going through it)
At the time, I didn't know what to do. I called NHS Direct - not only were they unhelpful, the voice wasn't particularly warm or caring. The only helpful piece of information they gave me was to call an ambulance if the back of my neck felt cold, which was good to know but they didn't warn me about the fainting every time I tried to get up, they didn't tell me to drink plenty of water, to take Floradix for the blood loss etc.
The NHS should read our posts on this page, thanks very much to the OP for starting it!
PostmanPat'sblackandwhitecat, you will be doing a fine job if you can get the NHS to raise m/c awareness and provide practical information.
Hi everyone. Thanks for this thread- SO useful. I have just posted a question here, very much like this one and what people have said... my first pregnancy, I am now miscarrying (only 5-6 weeks in, and naturally) and have been terrified by the symptoms.
I just need reassurance, and this thread is helping so much. NHS direct convinced me that I was having an ectopic and would die... of course then A&E checked and no, it wasn't. But now I am paranoid it is and instead of getting slowly better I will collapse and die/be infertile. This is in spite of a nice EPU Dr doing a scan (no pregnancy just blood and tissue, tubes and ovaries looked normal, some fuzzing due to wind) followed by bloods (I'd had a blood test 4 days before, low hcg...the second lot were absolutely zlich not pregnant hcg). They explained even if it was an ectopic it was now bleeding/being absorbed so my tubes would be OK. But that stupid call centre operator (not knowing I suffer anxiety) has made my bad experience worse x1000 I am still terrified.
Anyways, my real actual miscarriage symptoms are bleeding (like v heavy period), constant stomach ache, feeling like wind (and either pooping like anything or bunged up- TMI!), and a sensation like a muscle strain LOW on the left (borderline of abdomen to groin) which is just a 2 on the 'pain scale'. But cause it's on the left (in spite of NOT BEING PREGNANT ANYMORE and it being not where my ovaries/womb is) I keep thinking a mass of killer cells lurking there... SO angry with whoever trains those stupid call centres... it was done so scarily and crassly.
But so glad I found this thread!
Pls would someone confirm I'm not crazy?
A really useful thread. Probably tmi but currently sat on the loo as it seems easier than being in bed getting up every ten mins. Would have been 9weeks today. I have some mild pain but nothing like even my period pain, last time it was really painful and I was only five weeks, I just assumed that this would then be way more painful. Perhaps it is all too soon? It's interesting to read that it's different for everyone. I have had light bleeding since Tuesday but now getting the clots, for want of a better word.
I'm meant to be going out today for a big family reunion and wish I knew if I was going to be fine, or whether better to stay in. It's good to take my mind off things but is it impractical?
Sorry to hear so many have been through it.
Important thread, really kind of everyone to take the time.
Have been through second mmc this week and wanted to warn you about diving right back into pre-pregnancy caffeine doses, if you had cut back during pregnancy. I guzzled strong coffee to cheer and waken myself up after cutting down for 3 months. Could have passed out with panic an hour later, wish I'd introduced it more gradually!
Good luck everyone
Thank you so much to everyone on this thread.
I started bleeding last night (Weds) but the EPU won't see me until Monday and my GP has given me no advice whatsoever. Was 11 weeks and had 12 week scan booked next week . Clots just starting to pass now and am really hoping that the mc will all just happen naturally as dealing with the hospital today has been horrible and want to just stay at home as much as possible. I feel I can maybe cope a bit better now I know what to expect.
So pleased I found this thread! It's everything I've been thinking the last few days as I'm going through a natural miscarriage.
I bought the most luxurious maxi pads I could find! It's small things like that that make this miserable experience a little less painful xxx
I am in the same situation as the very first poster on this board, so wanted to add my thoughts/experience. I read all your posts a week ago and found them so helpful. Thank you all.
I had my second mmc last week. Am very fortunate to have had a dd between mc 1 and 2. I coped practically very well last week. Emotionally not so well, a work in progress.
My first mc was traumatic and a mess all round. I made a few mistakes. First, I rang the midwife rather than go straight to the GP. i didnt know how little midwives can do (in my area) this wasted a day during which I was so anxious. My GP referred me for a scan the next day, and when I got the scan it was Thursday and the earliest op was Monday. I then miscarried at home over the weekend. Having now done labour too, I can honestly say it was scarier and for a while more painful. (This may be in part because after that, i prepared for labour in a rather thorough way!) i had no pain relief and suffered strong contractions on and off for three days, culminating in an hour of non stop excruciating contractions, we went to hospital at that point only for me to pour blood on their floor (in retrospect, rather handy as we were renting and had cream carpets in the bathroom...) they panicked and considered emergency erpc and blood transfusion but in the end neither was needed.
Emotionally that shook my world. I don't think you recover as such but I thought about it less after about six months and having my daughter was wonderful (not the pregnancy, anxiety from the start to end, I see now I will never 'enjoy' pregnancy). To anyone reading and wondering when it will feel better, it gets easier but be kind to yourself, i was offered two weeks off works and it madecall the difference to my mental health to have some time to think.
This time round nothing was such a shock, not the blood at 11 weeks, not the scan and news. I chosevmedical management because in a strange way having the miscarriage naturally previously had been cathartic. I needed to know I had been pregnant, I hadnt dreamt it, and seeing all the blood (biblical quantities) and feeling physical pain equivalent to my grief felt right.
It seems my body knows how to miscarry, this time again I miscarried before the 'medical' manage,ent, or rather between the two sets of tablets. Very little pain this time (maybe because my cervix knows how to do this? Or just chance?) biblical amounts of blood again. I knew what to expect, took to the loo, and stayed there till it was all over.
Emotionally it is less upsetting than last time, i feel blessed every day to have a dd, but still feel tremendously tired and down, and am needing the time off work.
So, my tips are :
Bear in mind your midwife may not be able to refer you to epau. Go straight to the GP.
Expect more blood than the nurses tell you about, it may not be the same for you, but really, the descriptions in the leaflets seem laughable to me. No sanitary towel on earth could cope! This time round I sat on the loo as no way could I do anything else without making a tremendous mess. I appreciate that the leaflets need to encompass a wide range of experiences but they fall so short of describing my experience I feel as if i live in a different world. Do nurses, GPs and midwives not often see the results of a miscarriage or something?
Pain can vary dramatically, but hospitals can issue you with pain relief in case. They did it for me this time and I didnt need it but was so grateful to have it to hand before the time I was 'expected' to miscarry.
Both times I have been physically and emotionally exhausted after, beyond what even I expect. I really need time off work. I do also have a rush of energy immediately after, which is along the lines of 'I survived!' This lasts about 24 hours and then disappears into a deep well of sadness. This time I made the mistake of telling work when I would be back during the energy rush, and had to backtrack soon after. Not recommended.
I increasingly am telling people what happened, rather than hiding it and ending up in the wrong conversation about whether i plan to have more children. On the other hand, have not told some family members who were resolutely upbeat and told me how I should feel last time. There is no advice here, just reflection on what I have done each time. The best friends have listened, let me be sad, and not assumed that I could get pregnant again or carry to term.
Gosh, what a lit of text. Apologies. I guess this is part of my recovery!
I've just been discharged from hospital following medical management for mmc at 7 weeks.
I had the course of tablets twice- didn't work first time, had a ton of bleeding but didn't pass anything else. Second time I didn't even bleed until after the tablets had been finished and we were discussing the urgical option with the consultant. I had no pain and very little cramping, and got rather concerned as the nurses kept asking me about pain when I jut didn't have any.
I initially went to a&e who referred me to the gynae ward and they were fab. I would recommend going to a&e as they can refer you quickly.
Nobody told me that the tablets can cause major diarrhoea. Until I got it. I agree there should be more info in the maternity packs, especially regarding who to see and what to expect.
Hey Ipswichwitch, I'm sorry for your loss. It's a horrible experience to go through. I've had a few days to recover at home now after being in hospital and I hope you manage to rest. Take care xxx
Just been diagnosed with MMC at 12'4, baby measuring 9'3. I was actually on this thread last month expecting a week 6 miscarriage but we were reprieved - or so it seemed.
CatLover I was very struck by your expression of feeling physical pain equivalent to your grief - this is exactly how I feel and I'm almost welcoming the thought.
Does anyone have any tips on what to do with the baby? This is a monumental wall to me at the moment and all the options seem impossible.
Great thread wish I'd seen this straight away!!
I'm all for doing things naturally and at home - I believe miscarriage, pregnancy and birth are entirely normal, natural processes and the female body knows what to do in most cases.
My situation: I'm 38, had a mmc 6 years ago (at 11 weeks, baby had died at 8 weeks), then a textbook pregnancy resulting in perfect daughter born March 2011.
Am currently in bed. Miscarriage last night (I was again at 11 + weeks, not had scan so don't know how far along baby was). Hoping I am over the worst.
What happened: Brown spotting 4 days ago, steadily getting heavier and turning red with small clots, accompanied by wind-like pains and cramp (sorry tmi - I always get bad wind before a period so knew it was imminent) then started passing large lumps and clots. Meant to try and see what was coming out but in all cases it had slipped out and down the u bend before i could see. At its worst I was going to the loo every 10/15 mins for about 1 and a half hours, pushing out large bits and pieces. One piece was particularly large and I have a feeling it was the sac and baby = ( After that it subsided so managed to go to bed and slept.
Today have had pain and so far have passed another large piece of tissue and am bleeding so just chilling out in bed with drinks, food, books, laptop and paracetamol. Have week off work.
This is so much easier to handle than my first miscarriage, I knew what to expect and how to breathe thru the pain, also knew about maternity pads!
My hubby is great and is doing a great job looking after daughter/me/house/dog but as far as the actual physical stuff I am one of those people who prefer to get on with it on my own with no fuss. Was the same with daughter's birth.
Good luck everyone you will get through this and over it, it will make you stronger. x
MoJangled: I wanted to see the baby this time, rather than flush it away but as I said in my post above I was too late to catch it, maybe I should have had a sieve or something. But not really in the frame of mind to think clearly!
If I'm honest I was a bit freaked at what I would do if I saw it, and like you, what to do with it? Nicest idea I had was to bury in garden but soil so waterlogged and this time of year I was panicking about having to store it in the freezer or something..... what an awful thing we have to go through
Lots of love x
Such a useful thread although fills me with sadness that some many of us go through this. I hope everyone is coping okay.
I will try to add my tips - I know some posters have said they have had relatively little blood I was the opposite so I am not trying to scare people but the quantity of blood was huge.
I was 11 weeks mmc with fetal poles measuring few mm I too didn't realise that you need GP referral to go to early preg unit so go straight to gp I ended up being in urgent care centre for 2 hours not nice! I had scan and due to protocol they needed to leave it 10 days to scan again just to make sure there were no developments and was then told if the mc started naturally to take paracetomol and not to take any thing else as its not recommended in pregnancy! Hhmm pregnant or not this left me bit confused!
Go straight to GP when bleeding starts as you get into early preg unit quicker
Started bleeding properly on monday night and then passed lots and lots on wed night and sat on the loo for at least an hour. Thought that was it but there was more to come. Just be warned that bleeding can start again. Yesterday I woke with no bleeding but about lunchtime it really picked up and pain was unbearable just like labour pains. All in all ended up phoning for ambulance as it was pouring out of me for over an hour - ended up bleeding over ambulance, gyna unit waiting room, toilet floor etc etc very scary in the end the sac was stuck on my cervix and the doc pulled it out within 10 mins the bleeding had slowed. I suppose my advice is that at any point you feel it 'just isn't right' trust your judgement as it perhaps it isn't. The staff at the unit were fabulous and said if I hadn't come in then I would of been really poorly. Although in the rush to get out of house managed to grab spare pants and jogging trousers was glad of those but wished I have wipes. Maybe have a grab bag of stuff incase you need to rush into hospital.
Trust your instincts - be wary of the bleeding starting again
Hope its all over now fingers crossed now I can get on with the emotional side of things. Although had a chuckle last night when doc advised against unprotected sex - like thats going to happen soon! Not likely cervix feels bit sore!
Sorry for over long post I think someone else has put part of the recovery agree
Have now had my miscarriage on Monday night (monday seems to have been a dreadful day for several people - sorry to everyone)
Thank goodness for this thread. Thanks to the info here I was so much more prepared. It was gothic in drama and gruesomeness, but I found I went into coping mode and wasn't troubled by dealing with the emotions at all - hopefully this useful separation will happen for others too. It had its humourous moments too - after 4 hours on the loo I'd lost so much blood I couldn't sit up any more so ended up on the floor seeing stars; DH was coming up the stairs with a cup of tea for me and I didn't want him to panic discovering me lying on the floor in a puddle of blood, so my best solution was to call 'don't freak out, don't freak out' cue DH galloping up the stairs spilling tea and bursting into the bathroom saying 'what am i not freaking out about... oh'...
Still washed out, white as a sheet, headachy and no energy. Completely agree with the don't rush back to work advice - I'm off for 2 weeks. The emotions are gradually popping back up when triggered, but DH and I have created a bubble in which to recover in which we're actually not that unhappy. The danger is that I'm locking the emotions up so well that I bury them, so I'm following another tip and arranging to see a midwife/bereavement counsellor.
Re the what to do with the baby thing. I lost the sac almost first thing and had to fish it out of the loo. I really couldnt tell whether the clot wrapped up in it was the baby or just a clot. Since nothing else presented itself I think it must have been the baby, but the fact that it was unrecognisable from all the other stuff made it easy for me to flush it with all the rest in the knowledge that it was just tissue and my baby, my actual dear precious baby which needed love and protection and would have had the most adorable laugh - that baby wasnt here anymore. (The emotionlessness of it all probably helped at this point.) But having googled around beforehand the best option I found was to get a beautiful houseplant and bury it in the pot under the plant. It's only a tiny scrap so no yuck, you can care for the plant, and it doesnt involve putting your baby outside alone in the cold. I would have done that if I'd found a recognisable baby.
The tips I used and can endorse:
Have a seive and plastic disposable gloves, baby wipes and pads, and newspaper set up in the loo ahead of time.
Nappies are great when even the maxi pads don't stand a chance.
When you eventually have to go to bed, lying on a towel covered in disposable changing mats (plus a nappy under leggings) gives you some confidence for a couple of hours
In the build-up, a good film can take your mind off it, I watched Philadelphia and The English Patient, anything comedyish would just have annoyed me
Recognise and expect that you will be weak as a kitten afterwards and dont try to be a hero
Sorry - stupidly long post
Bump - thanks comeonbishbosh for starting this post. Sorry also for everyone's losses, and then taking the time to post your experiences.
I'd been bleeding over the weekend with mild adomanal pain (not particularly cramp like, but in hindsight like pain I experience when having my period). Read the thread in full last night before heading off to the EPAC unit this morning and it really helped in preparing me. Then sonographer took a long time with the scan, so kind of knew it wasn't going to be good news.
I have a MMC I think - a sack with no yoke or fetal pole - but have to go back on Xmas eve as its too small for their measurements. It also helped to know the three options and that drugs aren't an option for me as on steriod treatment.
Thanks again - far superior on the practical side than the one side of A4 info provided by the NHS!
Just wanted to bump this thread.
Told a friend about it so want to make sure she spots it easily.
I had my first MC on Thursday at work. It was awful, but my GP was amazing. I was in such a state that if she hadn't told me to get in a cab and go to EPAU to get checked out, I would probably have tried to get the bus. Thanks for this thread, I was in a complete panic but reading about it now makes me realise that everybody's experience is different. My bleeding hasn't been so bad as I thought (heavier than usual and comes in fits and starts) but the cramping has been very uncomfortable. I'm exhausted though, and even small amounts of exertion tire me out. Does anybody know how long the tiredness lasts for?
Hi Bubble - I felt wiped out for a week or so, as long as the bleeding lasted. If you can, try getting some Floradix tablets or liquid - it's to replace the iron you are losing which can make you washed out (Sanatogen or something similar would do).
Also try to drink more water and just rest.
bubblegumgirl - I'm in the same situation, it sucks, doesn't it. I've been bleeding since last Sunday, and I just want it to stop and go away. I'm very tired and feel washed out, no energy for anything. At the same time I do want to keep busy (well, sort of), so I don't have to think about the miscarriage all the time.
The bleeding isn't any heavier than my period, but it also comes in fits and starts. Thankfully, the cramping and back pain has stopped now, I've been taking paracetamol all week to keep it at bay.
I have another scan tomorrow, where I will ask about extra iron... They didn't mention anything from my blood test, but maybe it'll help (in lieu of the deep hole that I want to crawl into and hide).
But I struggle more with my emotions, I'm literally all over the place. Not a good state of mind when I'm about to have to face all of DH's family over the next couple of days I'm seriously worried that I will lose the plot at some point and have a massive go at somebody...
Thank fuck for MN - I got zero info from NHS between my bad first scan and rescan and the generous information here has been a lifeline.
Post-ERPC today I wanted to add my tuppence-worth for anyone considering the surgical route:
- ERPC wasn't traumatic or scary. Everyone was incredibly kind to me, they explain everything very thoroughly and I think that feeling looked after and knowing what is happening is a blessed relief. I came round from the general anaesthetic feeling weirdly refreshed and so so grateful that I had been reprieved the physical pain of passing the sac.
- if like me you are left in limbo-land waiting for a rescan that you know isn't going to bring any good news, don't be scared to ask them to put you on the ERPC list for the same day as your rescan. For me this meant that I had an end in sight, and I knew I was going to get it all over and done with in one day, rather than it dragging out. The EPAU were hugely accommodating and understanding and moved my scan appt to 9am so that I'd be ready for the pm day surgery.
Hi everyone, first of all great thread, so glad its here! Second, Mojangled thanks for the laugh and highlighting the "humour" in your story I can very much relate to your emotional detachment as well at the moment anyway as until that first scan is done and somebody tells you everything is normal, DH and I never really let ourselves get too excited.
Anyway, this was my second pregnancy, and 1st mc which happened on Saturday night. As fate would have it, we are in America visiting my family and I am sure if I was back in England I would be a lot worse off, feeling very isolated as we only just told immediate family our news on christmas day and probably would have been even more of a shock to them had they not known anything at all. Needless to say my family have been fab, loking after DS1, and waiting on us hand and foot.
I think i am far more traumatised by what i had to go through in hospital rather than our loss and maybe that emotional bit will come later, but for now i am thankful i am able to rest and recover for a week until we fly home again.
Thank you all for sharing your stories and the very practical tips im sure i wouldnt find anywhere else!
This thread was a lifeline when I was sent home from EPU at Chelsea & Westminster at 11 weeks with a fetal pole measuring at 7 weeks. I felt shocked and bewildered. I was given no information, not even a leaflet. A nurse said, just make sure you don't use tampons, change your pads regularly and take paracetamol and come back for a rescan in a week. From physical side of things my miscarriage progressed as follows:
- started brown spotting at 10+5 weeks (Monday 03/12/12), went to A&E at Chelsea & Westminster but they didn't have an ultrasound facilities there so was referred to EPU at the same hospital
- EPU did not have any appointments on 04/12/12, so went for a private scan which showed that my baby died at 7 weeks; still brown spotting
- on 05/12//12 (Wednesday) had a scan at EPU Chelsea & Westminster but they said come back in a week for a re-scan "as mistakes have been made in the past". I've asked them to put me on a list for ERPC a day after my re-scan.
- the night/morning of 06/12/12 I started cramping badly and it felt like labour with contractions coming at regular intervals and becoming stronger. I needed to go and make a pee all the time. At 1:00am I went to the loo and started to pass large clots (about an inch in diameter). It was very violent and I could not left the toilet seat for 3 hours. This is when I read this thread and saw all the useful tips for making a sweet earl grey tea, lots of pads, toilet paper, leggings (they really made a difference to feel more "secure"). My dear husband went to the 24hr off-license and got the biggest pads they had. By about 4:00am I thought it was over and I went to bed. It was good that I slept with double towels underneath me, as no pads could withhold the amount of blood that was coming out of me.
- I don't quite remember what happened the next day and they days that followed. It was all tears, sleep, deep darkness all around me. I remember calling my local GP asking for some stronger painkillers and he said that taking Ibuprofen with Codeine should help, and it did. I also started to take Floradix and I think it did make a difference at the end as a week later my blood test showed normal for hemoglobin. I tried to keep myself busy as much as I could during the days before a re-scan, but it was difficult as I had no energy, still loosing blood (as a heavy period). Watching good old movies helped as well as red wine.
- On Sunday (09/12/12) I was sitting at a table and then felt something large came out of me. It was a sack. It was so horrible to comprehend. It was torn, different in texture and colour to blood clots I was passing before. It was more of a greyish/pinkish colour and was thicker, more like a skin. There was no fetus in it, just blood clots.
- On Wednesday (12/12/12) I had my re-scan at EPU and they confirmed that the sack is gone but there was about a inch clot left inside the uterus so it had to be removed by ERPC (or I was given an option to wait for it to come out naturally). I opted for ERPC the next day at Chelsea & Westminster.
- On Thursday (13/12/12) I had ERPC done. They were so nice to me. I went in at 12:00noon, waited for 2 hours, I was put to sleep at 2:15pm and discharged at 4:45pm the same day.
- I spotted for a about a week after the ERPC with period like cramps.
- Emotionally I am still in that deep darkness all around me, but it's getting easier with each passing day. I will get there.
I thought my post would help someone during this terrible time. And I wanted to have some kind of closure for myself.
Just bumping - don't like this helpful thread to fall off the first page
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