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CW: This is going to be a thread about my experiences with miscarriage, physically and mentally, and how miscarriages affected by laws regarding abortions. It will contain details.

thread: background situation, 2nd miscarriage 

I had two miscarriages in 2021. Both times, I intentionally got pregnant. I wanted to have a second child. The second time, late last year, was relatively easy to deal with. I only knew for one week about my pregnancy and was anxious during that time because of my previous experience. The miscarriage was only like a stronger "normal" period. I only went to see my doctor the week after. It was sad, but I was okay.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, "missed abortion", stuff I bet you didn't know 

The first time was much worse and pretty traumatic. It happened in early 2021.
I was of course aware of how often miscarriages happen, but it was still a shock when I was at my appointment at the end of the 9th week and I learned that the embryo was dead. It was too small for that week and had no heartbeat.
And that is how many miscarriages will go, not starting with any blood or so, but you learn about it from your doctor and didn't expect anything to be wrong. The medical term for this is "missed abortion".

My doctor handled it well in the way that she didn't push me in any direction, but told me to take a couple of days to decide if I wanted to let the miscarriage happen naturally or if I wanted the pregnancy to be ended at a hospital (basically same as an abortion). She wrote me a referral right away, so that I could go any time I wanted. She told me that, for some people, ending it soon is easier on them, mentally, but for others it's the opposite and they feel better when they can take the time.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, pregnancy hormones, no "bloody details" yet, mention of abortion methods, stuff I bet you didn't know 

By the way, I still had pregnancy symptoms at that time - because the hormones upholding the pregnancy are still there when you have a "missed abortion", and only decrease slowly. That was something I found pretty awful, still feeling sick while knowing that the pregnancy would not proceed. And in general it was just so unfair - feeling bad for 6 weeks or so for nothing. 😢

Anyway... It was easy for me to decide that I wanted the miscarriage to take it's natural course. I'm a bit afraid of situations where I'm not in full control about what happens with my body, and in early 2021, the Covid situation was really bad in Germany and almost no-one was vaccinated yet, so I definitely wanted to stay at home.

It was good to know that I *could* still change my mind and go to a hospital, though. There are even several hospitals nearby where I could have gone to end the pregnancy. What I only thought about later, though, was that for whatever weird reason, my doctor wrote "curettage" on the referral (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curettag ), which is a rather intrusive abortion method and, while generally safe, comes with the risk of causing wounds in the uterus that might then lead to unwanted tissue building up. A couple of months later, I learned that vacuum aspiration (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_a ) should be the preferred method in such a case.

Getting information about abortion methods is still pretty hard here in Germany, due to a law that prohibits doctors from "advertising" abortions, which effectively even made neutral information impossible. That will hopefully change now that this law is abolished.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, midwife, stuff I bet you didn't know 

So I waited - and nothing happened. The "diagnosis" of the "missed abortion" had been on a Friday, and on Monday I contacted a midwife. In Germany, you have the right to get support from a midwive during a pregnancy and also in case of a miscarriage (yes, it's paid by the general health insurance). There are generally too few midwives, though, because the job is not very attractive for a number of reasons.

Miscarriage is a taboo; there is no detailed information in any pregnancy book that I've ever seen, and almost no midwife mentions support during / after a miscarriage at their website. 🙁 All books just have this imho pretty bad advice that you shouldn't tell others about your pregnancy before the second trimester starts, so that you can basically keep a miscarriage a secret. 🙄

Anyway, the midwife I contacted was, in parts, specialized on miscarriages. And also in supporting families who are expecting a child with a disability. So that was the right person for me. Unfortunately, she lives at the other end of the city, so because of that and also due to Covid, we never met in person. We talked on the phone a lot, though, and texted every day.

Instead of just focussing on emotional support, she mainly helped me understand what was happening physically, what I should expect to happen, and she explained to me how I could keep track of the blook loss - and when I would have to go to the hospital.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, more stuff you didn't know ;) 

Still, nothing happened. It was weird to know that the pregnancy was ending, but without seeing any signs of that. It was so unreal. Especially my partner found it hard to believe that the embryo was really dead.

I had another appointment at my doctor the next Friday; one week after learning that the embryo was dead (end of 10th week in pregnancy terms). She had scheduled it to see how I was doing and what my decision was, but she was also aware of how I might also want another confirmation of the "missed abortion", because she knew how unreal this could feel. And my midwife had also encouraged me to ask the doctor for another ultrasound, if she wouldn't to it anyway.

(Just as a sidenote: Many people reading this are probably not aware that, in the earlier stages of pregnancy (until some time during the second trimester or so?), ultrasounds wouldn't work well through the belly, so they are done vaginally.)

It was good to get this confirmation, anyway. On the ultrasound you could see that the - uhm, I think it's not really the amniotic sac at that point, but what comes before that - was still there, but not round anymore, and starting to collapse, and the embryo was starting to dissolve.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, how "missed abortions" are not that dangerous, but anti-abortion laws can still be deadly in such a case 

Contrary to general belief, miscarriages often take a while to happen, and that is okay and usually not dangerous.
Missed abortions do indeed carry the risk of causing a sepsis, and if that happens, it is super dangerous and can be deadly if the embryo is not removed, but that's very rare. IF it happens, though, you are hopefully in a country that values your life and won't just let you die. 🙄 Which can happen in countries with extreme anti-abortion laws. I think there was such a case in Poland last year... 😢

But back to my personal experience. The risk of a sepsis is, fortunately, so low that neither my doctor nor my midwife had any concerns with letting me wait. However, my midwife instructed me to take my temperature every day, so that in case of a sepsis, it would be noticed and I could go to hospital.

I waited another couple of days, and I started to become impatient, but didn't want to go to the hospital (Covid situation etc). I talked to the midwife, and following her suggestion, on Wednesday morning the following week (11th week, technically), I went to my doctor to get Cytotec. (= Misoprostol, the "abortion pill" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misopros )

I just used a little of it, because I wanted to be careful and you never know how strong the effect will be. At first, nothing happened. If I remember correctly, some very light bleeding started that evening or next day, but no-one knows if that was even caused by the Cytotec or would just have happened anyway.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, a few "bloody details", finally. More stuff you didn't know. 

I was actually super relieved when the bleeding started, as you might imagine after reading the other stuff. Btw, only about then the pregnancy symptoms finally stopped. I hoped it would be over quickly, but it did still take some time.

Actually, my midwife later said that the process itself (when it finally starts) does go faster on average. My body was rather one of the slower ones. And I kind of took that as a good sign that my body is pretty good at sustaining a pregnancy. It was just bad luck that it didn't work out, probably due to some genetic error - which is the typical reason for a miscarriage.

It was pretty unfortunate that exactly then the kindergarten closed due to Covid for several weeks. It was possible in Germany to take a couple of extra days off work for that reason, so my partner did that and mainly took care of our child, because I just needed lots of time for myself and couldn't take care of anyone and anything else.

So, I was bleeding just a little stronger than during a "normal" period and had some light cramps for some days (and that is less than for most other people during a "normal" period, I guess), and I collected all pads in plastic bags as I had been instructed by the midwife. During a miscarriage or abortion, you should only use pads, no tampons or cups, because of a heightened risk of infection.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, the really "bloody details" and more stuff you didn't know. 

The midwife had told me that there is usually a "main event" of bleeding after the tissue of the early-stage-placenta has detached itself from the uterus walls. This placenta-tissue will fold itself around the embryo and form one lengthy piece of tissue with it, but it won't come out yet; only lots of blood will. In some cases, this happens within just a few minutes, in other cases it takes hours. And it often happens during the night.

Well, in my case, it happened on a Sunday during the day (12th week of pregnancy, technically) and went over the course of several hours. I was super-focused on myself and had very strong cramps. I watched Netflix to distract myself, but had to run to the toilet like every 20 mins.

I should also mention that my midwife had advised me before to make sure that I won't be home alone during this main bleeding event, because you might loose so much blood that you need to get to the hospital and you might even pass out.

It's hard to get an idea of the actual blood loss, though - which is why you should collect the pads in plastic bags and weigh them! (the pads themselves weigh almost nothing, but I'm a nerd and tried to be accurate about this task - it's not really necessary, though) When you lose something like 800 ml or more, you should head to the hospital.

Which, of course, you might be afraid to do in a country that bans abortions, so there's another big health risk here.

Fortunately, the blood loss was quite little in my case. Even though it was the most extreme I had ever experienced.

And then the bleeding almost stopped - which is also the typical thing to happen.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, even more "bloody" and not-so-nice details that you weren't aware of. 

So there was almost no bleeding anymore. I felt very exhausted, physically, but okay. And in the late afternoon, I even went for a short walk and talked to my sister on the phone. (My partner worried that it might be too much, but I had a good sense of what would be okay for me.)

It was all going it's way, and I am very glad the midwife had prepared me for everything that happened. I don't think I would have been able to deal with this without her support! I'm still very grateful for that and wish everyone could get this kind of support, but I'm fully aware this is sadly not the case.

The next day (Monday, 12th week of pregnancy, technically), I think it was in the evening, the tissue came out. Miscarriages are sometimes called "little birth", and that is for a reason - because, as I mentioned before, the tissue forms a lenghty lump that won't just come out unnoticed, but it is accompanied with cramps and I had to press it out a little bit.

Which was followed by a release of hormones that made me feel very relieved and even euphoric, if not to say high.

The midwife had advised me to collect this lump in a plastic box, so that she could have a look at it and see if it's complete, or if tissue had remained in the uterus that would have to be removed surgically.
And also because people who just flush it away often seem to regret it later. Many like to bury the tissue, apparently.

To be honest, I found this to be a super disgusting experience. I mean, it was somehow okay, but I definitely didn't like doing it.

Other than many might think (and like I used to think...), you don't see the embryo itself. Because, like mentioned, the early-stage-placenta-tissue is folded around the embryo, so you only see a lengthy lump with a quite unique surface structure.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, yes, even more stuff, just less bloody now, but still medical details; also feelings 

I sent my midwife a picture of the lump and she said it looked like from a medical textbook and was definitely complete, so I didn't have anything to worry about.

I didn't want to bury the tissue - this embryo had not even been close to becoming a human being, in my understanding - , but after one day or so I put it in the organic waste bin, because that was what felt right for me. (Btw, I generally think that letting something rot just makes it a part of the circle of life again, so this has a rather positive connotation for me.)

Due to the hormones, I felt not only relieved, but also proud of myself that I managed to get through this on my own. That is something that you won't get when you have a (wanted) pregnancy surgically removed because of a missed abortion - you might then feel that not only didn't your body fail to be pregnant, but like it didn't even manage to "end it properly".

Those were thoughts that I also had at first, but that stopped when I went through this whole miscarriage process.
Even though I was very sad about the embryo not being viable, at least my faith in my body's reproductive abilities had been fully restored. (Hope you can understand what I mean.)

The next day, I had another appointment with my doctor (scheduled 1.5 weeks before, when she thought it wouldn't all take that long...). She listened to my report of the events and make another ultrasound to make sure there really was no tissue left in the uterus, and it was indeed all fine.

She (as well as the midwife had) explained to me that I would still have light bleeding & discharge of wound secretion for another week, and still should only use pads. (I think it was actually a little less than a whole week for me.)

thread: miscarriage, nothing medical anymore, pol-adjacent, activism 

With that, the physical part of the miscarriage was over. I had excellent care and support, which was only the case because I live in a country where almost everyone has access to good health care and where abortion laws are at least okayish (still reasons to fight for better, though!) and allow this care to happen, and also because my personal situation is pretty good.

Let's remember that miscarriages are not rare at all - they happen a lot. And most people having miscarriages or abortions will unfortunately not get the help and support that I had. The least would be that they should be provided all the information they need, but even that can be hard to get.

So something that we can do is protest for better laws, but also provide information and support if we are able to, and help making abortion and miscarriage less of a taboo.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

It wasn't over for me mentally, of course. That took months. And while it's possible to get pregnant again right away, I didn't want to.

I assume that it's much easier to get over it when you didn't want to be pregnant in the first place. But with a wanted pregnancy it can definitely be pretty hard, emotionally.

Annoying was that when I shared it with a small circle in an online community, one of them gave me his condolences, just as if someone had died (guess that person's nationality and political stance, if you want 🙄 ).
I was not sad about a person dying, I was sad about the death of an idea and of a plan what my life would be like.

I told relatively many people about the miscarriage, and already during the process I looked for a way to mourn this pregnancy. With the help and advice of a friend who is a sculptor, I then build a kind of Jizō sculpture over the next two months. (see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%E1%B9% ) Even though I am not religious at all, it feels good to have this statue as a symbol and a place of remembrance. My statue is made out of concrete (the process of crafting it consisted of several steps, don't want to go into detail here) and about 30 cm high. It stands in a garden with a little cabin that is owned by my parents.

At the same time, I had a deep longing for celebrating my freedom, for partying, for sex, for drugs. (That was during lockdown time though. haha. 🙄 So I barely acted on this desire at all.)
I was not in a good state for months, but still mostly okay and also not depressed or so, it just was a somewhat hard and intensive time.
I thought a lot about myself and realized some things about my personality that I hadn't been fully aware of before. I thought a lot about my friendships and relationships and contacted a few older friends again.
In the end, some good things have been growing from this crisis.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS vielen vielen Dank fürs ausführliche erzählen! Das hilft sehr

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS

Thank you for sharing all this!

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
The topic is not attractive at all and it took me some time to go and read it, but I am very glad I did! It feels very empowering to me.
Thank you again.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS Thank you for sharing your experience, very important to hear these stories.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS thank you for sharing.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS I have been through ‚missed abortions‘, too, unfortunately without the positive experience of my own body’s reproductive ability. Worst one was after trying for a second child with ivf and finally having gotten that longed for positive pregnancy test… lost a lot of confidence in anything body-related.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@Maristya Yep, I can imagine... The whole IVF process itself is pretty stressful already, I think, and then the miscarriage on top - sorry you had to go through that.

I was still lucky in the sense that it was always (all three times) very easy for me to get pregnant; I only needed between 1 and 3 cycles to get there.

thread: after my 1st miscarriage, dealing with it 

@KAOS glad to hear someone else has been luckier than I. I finally decided to stop ivf and just settle on some fatalism. And, not as in pulp romance stories, that did not magically give us a second child. But after a lengthy period of grief (over what could have been) it made me be able to go on.

wish for a 2nd child, rant about pregnancy & having a baby 

@Maristya
Yes, well, I'm also not trying anymore.
I assume my wish for a second child was never as big as yours; it was more important for my partner, which is also stuff for conflict and unhappiness, as I am the one with the uterus.🙄 (We're still both fine, though, but it was a difficult time.) I just liked the idea of having two older/adult kids at some point, just because it can be nice to have a sibling.


Early this year, I first started to try again, but then soon got tired of it all - having to keep track of my ovulation, having to have sex at the right time, having to be sober for the following 2 weeks, being cautious for signs of pregnancy during those 2 weeks, being disappointed over the negative pregnancy test... I didn't want that anymore.

And actually, I also don't really want the physical downsides of pregnancy and birth again - the first time, I had to wear compression tights for the whole second HALF of the pregnancy; I couldn't sit or stand for longer than ~30 mins. Also, the back pain & heightened risk of another disc herniation. And just the whole body changing so much and will never feel the same as before... Ugh.

I also don't really want to be the mom of a baby again. Yes, babies are cute, and the love, and the hormones, and it will grow into a "real child" eventually, but it's still a super stressful time and you don't have any freedom and fight more with your partner and have less time for your older kid.

And at the moment, my lust for life and freedom is much bigger than the wish for a baby.

wish for a 2nd child, infertility 

@KAOS for me, it still is a huge swirl of complex chaos I am beginning to sort through. Part of my yearning for giving birth was being validated as a woman. In my family, you have children. Full stop. Yeah, but no pressure - no one ever bothered me with that silly „Oh, and when will you get pregnant and give us a grandchild?“, it was and is more subtle. Through in a huge load of gender queerness on my part which I only begin to understand… /2

wish for a 2nd child, infertility 

@KAOS When I had my first child, I was 35. I am almost 49 now. We have a second child, a foster son, who is five. We decided to add another childhood our family because we both felt, after sorting through very conflicting and confusing emotions, that we were not complete. Someone was missing. It is weird to say it like this, but this is how it felt. Someone was missing. That told me that this was not only about my losses. /3

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thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, midwife, stuff I bet you didn't know 

@KAOS Yeah, 'tell no one' is some terrible standard advice.

I've switched to "Tell everyone you'd want support from if a miscarriage occurred at this point". Which is probably a slowly widening circle, but definitely a real circle from the day the pregnancy is confirmed.

And this goes for us guys too. Thinking the father is going to be a useful support without having their own support network is crazy.

thread: my 1st miscarriage, no "bloody details" yet, midwife, stuff I bet you didn't know 

@KAOS Your midwife sounds pretty awesome, tracking blood loss would have assisted us a lot.

thread: Our 1st miscarriage, Blood Mentioned 

@KAOS This was were our story is different to yours. We were sent home from the 'bad scan' with an instruction to come back for a scheduled procedure (we may have been given the option to not act immediately, I can't recall, this was 5 years ago) on Monday or if bleeding started.

Bleeding started on Sunday and we dutifully returned to hospital for the DNC, which didn't happen till when it was scheduled despite a lot of pain while waiting.

thread: Our 1st miscarriage, Blood Mentioned 

@LovesTha I'm sorry it happened this way and they just let you wait.

thread: Our 1st miscarriage, Blood Mentioned 

@KAOS It was not great.

But I think it may have helped me by having some 'visible' trauma to go with the internal trauma.

It would have been much better for my wife to have been able to get the DNC done immediately after the scan, but it was too late in the day for non-emergency procedures.

thread: Our 1st miscarriage, Blood Mentioned 

@KAOS I was SUPER happy the midwife in training who was meant to sit in with us for the scan just didn't show up. Having an inexperienced spectator would not have helped.

@Oecan Yes, it is. Even though it is super personal, but I think it's also important to talk about these things...

@KAOS @Oecan It definitely is. Thank you for sharing this!

@KAOS Vielen lieben Dank dir fürs Erzählen. Das ist alles noch ein viel zu Tabu-Thema, was eigentlich nur dazu führt, dass Menschen in der Situation sich dann oft genug völlig allein damit fühlen.

@KAOS thank you for sharing this, I hope you’re doing okay now

@dreadpirateyarr I am, thanks! It's been still emotionally exhausting to remember everything in detail, though. But otherwise, I'm happy with my life at the moment.

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