This page is intended for those who are at the beginning phases of a miscarriage. Many times, people find that they leave the emergency room or their provider's office with their heads spinning. They've been given information and perhaps a menu of options of what might come next, but when they get home they find themselves wanting more. They might feel they need more facts or may be desperate to know what this experience might be like. Some just feel really alone and need comfort that others have been through this.
On this page you'll find suggestions for who to call with your questions and a sprinkling of helpful online resources to give you some personal accounts of miscarriage. We hope it offers you the information you need to make the best decision for your family and yourself as you go through your miscarriage.
You can always call your provider.
People sometimes wonder, "Is my question important enough to warrant an after-hours phone call?" The answer to this question is YES. Across the board, YES. You can call your provider and ask whatever questions you have, and you should not hesitate to do this. If you have a question that needs answering, your provider may very well have the information you need, and he or she may be able to spare you the worry and anxiety that will come from wondering on your own. Remember, they are on call for a reason.
You can call on Empty Arms
Many people have reported feeling confused and alone after leaving the hospital or office and wished they had someone they could talk to for emotional support and just to say, "What was your miscarriage like for you?"
We have a system set up to help you get this help easily. You can choose from among these three options:
- Text 413-544-5922 and send the message "Miscarriage Support". When we receive this message, we will have one of our miscarriage support leaders give you a call back as soon as she possibly can.
- Call us directly: 413-544-5922. If we don't answer, leave us a message and we'll call you back. We are available to help to talk you through your options, your anxieties, and your feelings on a peer level.
- Send us an email explaining your situation and what you'd like help with: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond telephone support, a companion may be able to come to see you for an in-person visit if this would be helpful. We encourage you to reach out if you're feeling isolated and would like support.
You can learn more about what this experience might be like for you.
Most of us know that statistically, miscarriage is not uncommon. But most of us have never actually talked to someone about their miscarriage and what it was really like for them. There is loads of information and there are hundreds of stories available on the internet, and below we've just selected a few that might be particularly good to read in the early days. We can't guarantee that you'll relate to them, but it can be a start.
What's actually happening?
What should I do now?
Often when a miscarriage is inevitable, we're presented with a menu of choices: Would you like a D&C? Would you like to take misoprostyl? Would you like to go home and wait for your miscarriage to occur? Many people aren't sure how to answer, because they don't know the benefits and risks attached to each option. And more importantly, they can't envision what any of the options would be like. We do encourage you to ask a medical professional to explain their expert thoughts on which option might be best for you, because for some women, there is a reason why one method would be preferable. However, if the choice is left up to you, we hope the following section will be helpful.
- On having a D & C: This is a surgical procedure in which a doctor carefully removes your pregnancy from your uterus. With a D & C (dilation and curettage) there is some planning involved: you can schedule the appointment, and the miscarriage is complete in a predictable amount of time. For some people, this sense of control is just what they need. This video explains what happens during a D & C. (This procedure is also used for other gynecological issues, so do note that the video does not present the experience as a potentially sad one, but just explains the facts of what might happen).
Many doctors offer a D & C automatically as the surgical option, assuming that most people would prefer to be sedated for the procedure. However, we have known people who have chosen to be awake with their partner by their side. Depending on the gestation of your pregnancy, you may be able to arrange to have the procedure done under local anesthesia in your provider's office. You can ask your provider if this would be a possibility for you.
- On waiting to Miscarry: Some women choose to go home and wait for the miscarriage to occur naturally. You can read some stories here and here from women who've had miscarriages at home.
- On using misoprostyl: This is a drug that induces a miscarriage to occur. It is either taken orally or as a vaginal suppository. There are quite a few hour-by-hour accounts of misoprostyl-induced miscarriages online. Perhaps this one could be helpful, and if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see the author has links to six other stories. This one in particular was quite informative.
What might I see?
Whether you're waiting for nature to take its course or using misoprostol, you may be anxious about what you might see when your miscarriage occurs. Providers often explain that you'll "pass tissue", and for some people, that's exactly what the experience is. Sometimes there nothing recognizable in what comes out. For others, though, there is a recognizable fetus, and that can bring up a range of emotions or questions.
In either situation you may ask, "What do I do with this?" And the answer is yours to give. For some, the remains hold no sentimentality, and it feels perfectly comfortable to flush the toilet and be done with it. If that's how you feel, you should hold no reservations. Many like you have come before. And for others, they feel deeply attached and want to do something special: a burial in the garden or even a cremation. And there's all the space in between. However you feel, whatever you choose, know you're not the first to feel that way and make that choice. It belongs to you alone.
It's worth noting here that some people wish to have their "products of conception" (the term you might hear medical professionals use) tested at a diagnostic lab to try to get to the bottom of what's happened. If you would like to pursue this, you should make sure you get the necessary containers from your health care provider so that the lab can proceed with whatever testing might be possible.
What happens afterward?
Your provider may schedule an ultrasound to confirm that your miscarriage is "complete"—that is, that no tissue remains in your uterus. We would be untruthful if we did not reveal that sometimes, when women miscarry at home (either naturally or using misoprostol) the miscarriage is determined to be "incomplete" (meaning that there is still tissue in the uterus) and a D & C has to occur. We share this with you because it's something many people we've supported have been surprised by, and we want you to have this information as you consider your options.
As you consider all the options that may be before you, we truly encourage you to do what feels right TO YOU. There is no wrong way to go about any of this, and you are your own best guide.
You can keep reading if it would help to hear more miscarriage stories...
We've known many people who have just appreciated drinking in as many accounts as they can about other people's miscarriages. It can make us feel less alone. Below are links to a number of collections of stories that might give you even more perspective.
- Here is a collection of 10 different stories that could possibly speak to you.
- A local author's story Catherine Newman's account of her own miscarriage.
- There's a collection of three stories here.
- Cup of Jo blogger shares three more stories here.
- Huffington Post did a live interview with six families here, if you've got the time to watch.
- This last one is a story of a woman's miscarriage that happened in public. If this happened to you, you just might need to know you aren't alone.
Don't forget as you browse and read that there are living resources available to offer you support and information.
There are many women in your community who have experienced early pregnancy loss and if speaking with one of them might help, Empty Arms can provide that resource.