After After Miscarriage

August 30, 2018

You read that right. I'm not talking about when you get home from the hospital and walk into your house not pregnant any more. I'm not talking about the first few days when you're bleeding and still throwing up. I'm not really talking about the first time you're part of a conversation about children, or there is a real life baby in your vicinity.

I mean the bit when you're just wanting it to be over so you can move on, when you're still going back to the doctor for weekly blood draws and waking up from nightmares every night in a cold sweat.

I had a miscarriage. It's not my first, it might not be my last, and it's still not over. I was told my baby did not have a heart beat (after weeks of good news from blood tests about excellent rising HCG levels and all the appropriate symptoms) more than six weeks ago. When I first started in the baby making game, I knew about the very real possibility of miscarriage- that one in eight pregnancies end in miscarriage. But I didn't really know what it would be like if it happened- I think people are talking more openly about pregnancy loss or maybe I'm just moving in the circle where talking about it isn't taboo.

I thought having a miscarriage would be a bit like having a period, you'd get the bad news, you'd go home, you'd bleed, and it would be over. Any time a miscarriage is shown in a movie or on tv theres the dramatic scene of blood running down legs, the statement 'I'm having a miscarriage", a flurry of activity, tears and hugs and that was that. But that, is most definitely not that.

The first week after I had surgery to remove the failed pregnancy (because having done this few times I know my body does not let go easily and I wanted to start moving on) I was still throwing up like I was hungover on a very small boat in rough seas. My boobs hurt, my tummy was swollen and I could smell anything in a ten mile radius. I was still very much pregnant, I just didn't have a baby in my belly anymore.

After pregnancy loss, the hormone that makes that line on the pee stick show up (hCG) takes its sweet time to fuck off. For some women thats a few days, maybe a week or so, and for some it's a lot longer. After my first ectopic pregnancy it took about eight months for my level to drop to 'non pregnant ranges'. Thankfully pregnancy symptoms don't stick around until that level is zeroed but if the level falls slowly then it may take more time than seems fair to wave goodbye to morning sickness. It's one thing to chat to your belly about how this will all be worth when you're hanging out over the toilet for the fourth time that day, it's less manageable when you're in there alone.

At the time of writing this i'm still no where near zero and at the rate the levels are falling I probably won't be at zero for another month, most of my symptoms have gone which is a huge relief, the only one that seems to be keen on sticking it out until the bitter end is the disturbed sleep. For me that disturbed sleep seems to be giving my rather active imagination carte blanche to think up the most horrific things it can and roll them out around 3am. I knew pregnancy would herald a new era of sleepless nights I just didn't realise it would be from night terrors rather than a mewling newborn.

I think it's getting more acceptable to talk about miscarriage and pregnancy loss. It's not easy to talk about but I have had nothing but support and thanks for speaking about my experiences; from people that have gone through it, from those caring for someone who is, and from those that didn't realise how common it was and are better prepared just in case. I'm sharing because it helps me to talk it all, to give me perspective and put everything in its place to I can move forward. I also hope that it fills in another little empty space on the internet so that someone searching in the middle of the night for how to handle the next day might know they aren't the only one still having a miscarriage.

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