You’ve read all the articles about preparing for conception, pregnancy and childbirth. You’ve researched all the best baby products and bought those cute little milestone photo props. The last think you want to think about is the potential of miscarriage.
Because no one wants to talk about it or think about it.
You are probably wondering if you should stop reading this blog right now.
You probably think talking about this is just going to scare or “jinx” you.
I get it.
But for the last seven years, I have listened to countless mothers who all say the same things:
“I wish someone had told me it could happen.”
“I wish I knew how common this is.”
“I wish someone had shared their story.”
So this is why it’s so important to be open about all possibilities, including pregnancy loss. I am here to also reassure you that no matter what happens, you are going to be OK, and you are going to get through this.
Today, I am going to give you some very valuable information so that if miscarriage becomes your reality, you can remember what I said and be somewhat prepared.
The most important thing to know is that you always have choices. When you hear the words “there is no heartbeat” or you have bleeding, you won’t know what to do. Often in a hospital setting there will be recommendations given on what the next step should be and in the fog of shock you won’t know which one is right. You may even go to Google or want to call someone else for advice. You may advised that you can go home, need a surgical procedure can just take some pills, or that a medical induction right away is recommended. If a miscarriage starts at home you may go to the Emergency Department that may not be equipped to support a mother in this situation, call your doctor, or stay home and manage it alone.
Whatever happens, I want you to know that there are options. It’s your body. It’s your baby. You have every right to ask questions, but many people just want to get things taken care of quickly in an effort to separate themselves from the pain.
And that’s OK, too.
I want you to know that you also have time.
If you find out the baby has no heartbeat at a clinic or ultrasound appointment, you do not have to make a decision or take action right away. It may feel like you do, but in most cases you can go home and process the situation, get support from family and friends and then make your decision.
If you are past the first trimester, you may be offered a surgery or an induction of labor. I encourage you to do what you feel is best, but I want you to know that babies that gestation are tiny and have fingers and toes. Their skin is usually red, delicate and moist. But you can see them, hold them and wrap them in a tiny blanket. In my volunteer work, I’ve held, dressed and photographed little ones as small as 13 weeks.
I want you to know that every women physically experiences miscarriage differently.
Many people are told that the miscarriage will be like a heavy period, so they are not prepared for the amount of blood and tissue, and the pain that can even feel like labor to some. If this happens to you and you worried about blood loss, please go to the hospital to be assessed.
I want you to know that you will be asked to make some very difficult decisions.
If you have experienced a vaginal delivery after a miscarriage, you will be asked if you want to spend some time with your baby. You will then be asked if you want a burial, cremation or to let the hospital take care of the baby. Also know that testing or an autopsy may be recommended, and protocols may vary from hospital to hospital and state to state. It is up to you. Just be sure to ask questions, even if you have to ask multiple people, and remember you don’t have to rush.
If you deliver the baby, you may wonder if you should take pictures or if your other children and family members should see him or her. That is up to you. In my experience children are more curious and open rather than scared. They may be upset, but seeing the baby can help them process what has happened. As with everything else, it is completely up to you. In my volunteer work I’ve held, dressed and photographed little ones as small as 13 weeks, and most hospitals offer to take pictures and make mementos that you can take home with you.
If you decide that surgery is the best option for management of your miscarriage, some testing can still be done, the hospital can take care of the baby or you can find out if there is a cremation option.
Making these difficult decisions is the last thing you want to do at such a very difficult time in your life, but making these decisions will be necessary.
When you are faced with saying goodbye to a much loved little one, it can be heartbreaking.
I want you to know that you are still a mother to that child. You can advocate for yourself and your baby. You will make choices that no one wants to make, but you will do what’s best for you and your family.
Trust yourself. You are stronger than you think. You will be surrounded by so many other women who have come before you who know this pain, but who will also show you that healing is possible. I wish miscarriage never happens, but since it does, I want you to be prepared.