TW: Miscarriage in detail.
On September 10th I got my first of many positive pregnancy tests. Having lost a couple pregnancies in 2015, both at 5 weeks, it’s always been anxiety provoking if I don’t see the test line get darker and darker. It set me at ease knowing that my baby was growing as they should. On October 7th I went to the ER at 7 weeks pregnant because I had been spotting lightly for a week on and off and it wasn’t seeming to go away. It can be really common for spotting in pregnancy so I wasn’t overly worried but just felt like something wasn’t right. And I was right, I ended up with an ultrasound that showed a healthy baby with a heartbeat of 146 and Subchorionic Hematoma. A Subchorionic Hematoma is a pocket of blood that has collected between the placenta and the wall of the uterus. It becomes a Hemorrhage when you start bleeding from this Hematoma (pocket of blood). Usually these are caused by the placenta detaching or not implanting properly into the lining of the uterus. But that night at the hospital I was told that there was a 2/3 chance that everything would be okay. The possible outcomes are: 1. It heals on it’s own within a couple weeks, 2. It continues to release a little blood (spotting) throughout the entire pregnancy which is annoying but not threatening, or 3. You miscarry.
Another huge red flag was that my HCG wasn’t doubling as it was supposed to. After a certain point, home pregnancy tests max out and you have to rely on blood tests to be the most accurate for testing your exact HCG levels. HCG is the hormone produced by the placenta that first indicates that you’re pregnant, it’s the hormone that pregnancy tests test for.
4 Weeks: 338 - Perfect
5 Weeks: 4805 - Perfect
6 Weeks: 6509 - Red Flag
8 Weeks: 7570 - Huge Red Flag
I had tried looking online for support to figure out if anyone managed to have a healthy pregnancy with HCG that was so low and of course some people did but nobody provided exact numbers and nobody was under 10,000 for very long. It was super discouraging but I still had a sliver of hope.
After you lose a Baby...
After you lose a baby, Your body Still thinks you’re pregnant. It can take a while for your HCG levels to drop back down to a “not pregnant” level. A “Not Pregnant” level is a result under 5.
5 Days after I lost my baby my Hcg was still sitting at 455.
13 Days after I lost my baby my HCG was 26
26 Days after my HCG was finally down to 2.
But even with a HCG level below 5, your body still can take some time to ovulate again and have a normal cycle. For some people they can resume normal ovulation 2 weeks after an “early” loss before 12 weeks, but for a lot of people it can take a lot longer. It’s also hard to know if you ovulate right away and are the lucky people that fall within that 2 week category, unless you receive an ultrasound that looks at your ovaries. An Ovulation test will pick up on HCG still left over in your system and can give a false positive. The LH hormone that ovulation tests pick up on is so close to HCG that the test gets confused.
You will likely still feel nauseous and like you’re still pregnant for a while after a loss. But every time you go to the bathroom for the next week or two you will be reminded of your loss.
After a Miscarriage you will bleed, a lot. The night I miscarried I had picked up my son from school and felt like something was off, keep in mind I had been spotting for 2-3 weeks at this point but it started to get heavier suddenly. An hour later I went to sit down to start editing and felt the first gush, went to the bathroom and cleaned up, then tried to sit down at my computer again and felt the second gush of blood. I went to the bathroom again and it wouldn’t stop, eventually my baby came away and I held my baby in my hand because I had to manually release the clot from my body. My baby was tiny about the size of a Mike&Ike. Luckily my Mother in Law just happened to be visiting so I left her with the kids and took myself to the hospital. I was going through an over night pad every hour. I have never seen that much blood come out of me before. Even after I gave birth to my kids most of the blood had already been released by the time I went to recovery.
Likely if you have a little spotting in pregnancy its nothing to worry about, but when it becomes excessive it’s never a good thing. Sometimes Subchorionic Hemorages can present with excessive bleeding and clots but I would assume that a viable pregnancy with said clots is rare.
Healing from loss
It may not hurt as much as you think. One of the biggest things that I was expecting was for my miscarriage to hurt physically. I may have been one of the lucky ones in the most unlucky of situations where my miscarriage and cramps were’t any worse than my usual period cramps but the emotional pain made everything feel so much worse. The most notable thing was the pain I felt on the left side where the baby was implanted and where the subchorionic hemorrhage was, this sharp sensation was felt throughout most of the pregnancy since the bleeding started at 6 weeks. When I lost my baby I was expecting labor like cramps because that’s what I had read would happen online.
People Won’t know What to Say. After you lose a baby if you tell anyone they’ll likely say the following: “It just wasn’t meant to be”, “Im sorry for your loss.”, “When it happens it’ll happen”, with that last one referring to your next baby hopefully making it earth-side. They’re trying to be supportive but sometimes even the most well meaning words can hurt. When people say “sorry for your loss” it feels like they shouldn’t have to say that because this loss shouldn’t have happened. When they say “Just relax and you’ll get your sticky baby” it feels like they’re dismissing your pregnancy that you just lost. They’re dismissing your pain.
But people don’t know what to say. And it’s important to remember that they’re trying to be there for you even though it can feel worse at the time.
Things will get better….. eventually.
I had such a hard time trying to think about how people could possibly get over the loss of their baby. How could they go on not feeling this constant hole in their heart like a part of them was missing. Truth is, life goes on and you will think about your little one that should have been but for me it was the thought and the hope of being able to try again. Although I know that if im lucky enough to get pregnant again that I’ll be scared and panicked. But with this last pregnancy I felt like I knew right from the start that it wasn’t meant to be. It was too perfect. The timing was perfect, my due date was Perfect but I was still looking up miscarriage statistics which isn’t something I thought about when I was pregnant with my daughter.
I know trying again isn’t the solution for everyone to heal after a loss but talking about it is so necessary. Your baby was real, your pain and grieving was real and you’ll be okay.