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Apr '09

The Reality of Miscarriage

It’s official: I’m not pregnant. Ten weeks after my miscarriage started it has finally ended.

Now that it’s done and life can go on, I have to pause and say one thing before moving on completely. If you are experiencing a miscarriage yourself, DON’T EVER GOOGLE IT.


Because what do most people do when they’re experiencing something new and uncertain? Google their problem in search of support, good advice, and hope from others in the world who have been through the same thing.

And what do you actually find?

The most horrific stories imaginable. The kind that make you scared to death of having a miscarriage.

I learned at my ten-week routine appointment with an ultrasound that there was no viable pregnancy and that I’d need to miscarry.

Waiting for a miscarriage is worse than it sounds. Imagine someone standing over you with a needle, about to give you a shot. Anticipation is agony. Especially when it’s your first-ever shot and all you had ever heard about shots was PAIN! BAD, BAD PAIN!

When I searched online I found one horror story after another. I became terrified of having their painful experiences myself. Instead of finding hope and support, I found discouragement and fear.

So in addition to mourning the loss of what I had thought was a baby, I also had to deal with a new obstacle—fear of miscarriage.

I finally found one single blog where the woman shared her experience matter-of-factly in a way that I could relate to her feelings and gather hope for my own impending experience.

One single blog out of thousands. Why isn’t there more positive support out there? I found the same thing when I was pregnant with Wesley. You’re gearing up to bring your baby into the world and you’re excited, but also a little anxious because you’ve never had a baby before. Every woman who’s ever had a baby is more than willing to share their own labor and birthing experiences–but what part do they choose to tell you? Their most horrible, painful memories.

I still don’t get why people focus so much on the negative aspects of their experiences.

So. This post is for anyone who’s had a miscarriage, is having one, or will have one someday.


It’s OK to feel sad (and angry and disappointed and [insert emotion here].) This may sound like stating the obvious. But for someone who generally doesn’t let things ruffle her feathers, experiencing something that messes with her womanly hormones and motherly heart as much as losing a baby does is a deep, traumatic blow to the senses. The iron-clad part of my personality made me expect that I could deal with the impending miscarriage without letting it bother me. Well, that turned out to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever thought. I cried a lot. Even when I was lying on the ultrasound bed, peering up at the image on the giant screen, realizing it didn’t look right and then hearing the technician apologize, I found myself wiping away tears. I didn’t beckon them, but it’s that womanly/motherly part that instinctively came out. Some days I didn’t think much about the impending miscarriage, but there were a couple days where I felt deeply sad. Unused to feeling such sadness, I wondered what was wrong with me. It turns out it’s a normal part of the mourning process. Anger was also sprinkled in there. Interestingly, the controlling part of me also surfaced and I found myself setting positive goals for myself even while still at the doctor’s office after the ultrasound. I think it’s because the miscarriage was beyond my control, and it was a pretty crummy situation, so subconsciously I started thinking things like, “Well, dang it, if I can’t have this baby then I’m going to ____________.” Such strong emotions were behind my resolutions that I actually am actively working towards the goals I set for myself then. So if you feel like a nutter when you expect to feel normal, remember that nuttiness is normality when dealing with a loss.

Remember you’re not alone. My best friend’s my husband, and he helped me through the tears, the sad days, and the physical miscarriage. Sometimes you just need someone’s shoulder to cry on and someone to help you remember that even though things are crummy, it’s going to be OK.

God’s aware of you. John gave me a priesthood blessing, which offered me feelings of peace and hope–things I’m not sure I could have obtained on my own. And if you’re ever feeling down and have no one to talk to, God’s ear is always open.

Waiting for the miscarriage takes patience. Patience takes time to develop, and time helps make you stronger. As soon as I learned there was no viable baby inside me I wanted to be done with it. I half expected/half hoped the miscarriage would happen right away once I knew it had to happen, and I was impatient when it didn’t. I was sorely tempted to schedule a D&C surgery, just to get it over with. It turns out most women are like me–most who schedule the D&C do it because they can’t stand the waiting. The waiting is hard, harder than you’d think if you’ve never experienced it. I didn’t want to have surgery if I could help it, but anticipating the pain of a miscarriage (both physical and emotional) is almost worse than the miscarriage itself. Especially if you read the above-mentioned horror stories splattered across the Internet. Our weeks had been busy, so scheduling a surgery wasn’t convenient and I decided to wait. I’m glad I did. By the time I started to miscarry I was emotionally better than the day I had the ultrasound. I was ready and anxious to not be pregnant anymore. For me, the wait was good and therapeutic, even though I hated it.


Don’t worry yourself sick. You don’t know what to expect, but hope for the best. I think most miscarriages are over pretty fast. The fact that mine lasted two months forced me to develop patience.

Possibly because it was rather drawn out, the very worst of it was not very bad. I bled for a week and a half and then, one evening, I bled and cramped heavily for a couple of hours. And then, as you know, it took another month and a half to bleed out completely.

My worst fears—involving unbearable pain—were never realized. I never felt pain, only moderate discomfort. Enough to moan, like you might during contractions, but no pain. It made me realize I wasted a lot of energy worrying.

Be prepared. If you’re waiting to miscarry you might as well be ready with sensible items on hand that will ease your experience as much as possible. You may want to have on hand:

* ibuprofen (take four—prescription strength)
* pads (maximum protection with wings)
* Gatorade (you get thirsty during a miscarriage)
* snacks (John brought me Snickers bars; I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, but it turns out I was hungry and the Snickers made me happy. Anything positive during something difficult is good.)
* distractions (anything positive that gives you comfort; I listened to my favorite book on tape)
* heating pad
* and, most importantly, someone you love. How can I even express how wonderful John was to me? You need someone to help you through it. I was fortunate that this happened at night and John was available. I’m glad I wasn’t alone.


Follow your gut. If you’re not sure if you’ve finished miscarrying, go get an ultrasound. I had five.

Remember, life goes on. Really. Some people are really hard on themselves and on God for losing a pregnancy. I see it as a crummy experience with positive effects. Look for the light cast through the clouds. It’s there.


3 Responses to “The Reality of Miscarriage”

  1. mom Says:

    I hope everyone who faces a miscarriage or knows of someone who is or was or who may be…okay, let’s just say Everyone Period….reads this blog entry. Thank you for writing it.

  2. farmer6 Says:

    Hi Shannon.. I emailed you but not sure if you got it or if you check it much.. Sorry I have never called I lost the number but would still like to chat.. I seem to be crazy busy as you can relate.. I am so glad to hear that you had your husband, friends and God to get you through this.. and as we have both said about DS and this to the internet seems to be full of the horrible stories.. Way to go for posting positive ones… You are always so positive and I thank you for that.. Also I was praying for you and your family through this.. if you get the chance email your number again and I will call and let you know more about lil Landon .. We had therapy today and he did so well not walking yet!:)

  3. alicia Says:

    I hope I wasn’t one of the bad experience story tellers. I’m glad you posted this, it is so informative. I guess we just have to remember that everyone experiences miscarriages differently- physically and emotionally, but your information can apply to everyone who has or will experience a miscarriage. Mine was a sudden, very painful one (physically) but it was over within a week. I didn’t even put too much thought into it emotionally until my mom brought me flowers to say she was sorry- then it hit me that I just lost a baby, or a chance to have a baby. But like you said, there can be good from it too. We weren’t trying for a baby at that time, my insurance at work hadn’t kicked in, and Koby hadn’t, up to that point, wanted to have a baby quite yet but after the miscarriage, he suddenly wanted to have children. It kind of kicked us into starting our family.

    I’m sorry that your miscarriage was so drawn out and I can’t imagine having to wait and wait for it to be over with. I think that is so wonderful that you were able to see “the positive in a crummy experience.” Thanks for sharing your experience!!

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