How to Have a Miscarriage – The Practical Way
My husband and I have always been told that we are very practical. We make decisions in a very systematic and calculated way, which results in us being very practical and efficient. But, it wasn’t until a recent conversation with my psychologist discussing how our 4th miscarriage was actually occurring, that I truly appreciated just how practical we are – mainly because she actually laughed and said “of course you two would have a practical miscarriage”.
We have learned, apparently, not many people are as practical about a medically induced miscarriage as we are. To be fair, although slightly sad, not many people have 4 consecutive miscarriages, so we are getting good at miscarriages which results in us finding efficiencies in the process.
So, based on our experiences, here are step-by-step instructions for how to have a practical miscarriage:
Step 1 – Confirm fetal demise (i.e baby has died).
Step 2 – Determine miscarriage options – D&C, medically induced, or natural. This is a personal decision to be made with qualified medical professionals, and the options available to you might vary based on your circumstances – we’ve had 2 medically induced (one ended in an emergency D&C and the other did not go well and took 4 weeks to complete), one natural, and 1 scheduled D&C.
Step 3 – Chose medically induced miscarriage option.
Step 4 – Call in sick to work. I have worked from home between pain killers with 3 of the miscarriages, but honestly, it’s just easier not to work.
Step 5 – Husband must also call in sick to work, or at least rearrange his schedule to work from home. He was not allowed to leave me unattended in case of complications, which we seem to always have.
Step 6 – Tell everyone who knew about the pregnancy that the baby is gone. This doesn’t have to occur exactly at this point, but in our experience the longer you wait, the more questions you get from people expecting to hear about a healthy pregnancy. I found text and email made this step a lot easier than actually having to have the conversation.
Step 7 – Find someone to walk the dog. Or find ways to burn the dog’s energy while in the house. Remember, husband cannot leave wife; so, dog walks cannot happen.
Step 8 – Get groceries and easy to make meals. (We forgot this step last time, it made things a lot more difficult because my husband couldn’t leave me unattended for 5 straight days, and I was in no shape to grocery shop).
Step 9 – Purchase lots of pads for blood and keep them in the bathroom you intend to use.
Step 10 – Prepare a “bed” in the bathroom you plan to be closest to. We chose the basement bathroom because it’s a large room with space and is right next to the basement family room.
Step 11 – Prepare the basement family room and futon/couch for living in for at least a few days. Turn the futon/couch into a bed for a few days, using old towels and blankets. Remember comfortable pillows and clothes – it’s going to be your “home” for a few days, so make it cozy. Our basement family room was chosen because it offers close proximity to the basement bathroom and is the least desirable bed in the house, so we figured if there’s a lot of blood, it’s the easiest and cheapest to clean or replace.
Step 12 – Prepare multiple books, movies and TV shows for a marathon session – you could be here for a few days. Find shows both of you like, so you can both enjoy watching TV. Of course, when I’m drugged up, my husband can watch whatever he likes. Gotta love Netflix!!
Step 13 – Stop at your local pharmacy to fill pain medication prescription(s). I’ve had medical miscarriages with low dose pain meds and powerful pain meds. I may have a low pain tolerance, but I will never go through one again without strong pain meds. Sort out your pain meds with your doctor as this will be unique to each person.
Step 14 – Take medication to start miscarriage (you may repeat this step multiple times, which means this step may take multiple days).
Step 15 – Husband moonlights as a pharmacist to control the intake of narcotic painkillers. Hopefully, in turn, reducing the chances of developing a pain-killer addiction (I’m told, pain-killer addictions would result in additional complications for future pregnancies, would cause multiple problems for my career and reduce our general quality of life, so we take every practical effort to avoid this situation).
Step 16 – Husband moonlights as a scheduler and taxi driver to ensure we get to all medical appointments safely (apparently, driving while on pain meds is considered illegal in Canada).
Step 17 – Husband moonlights as chef as he takes over all cooking responsibilities (apparently, not a good idea to use a hot stove when high on pain-killers). Remember, the grocery shopping discussed in Step 6, will really help.
Step 18 – Husband moonlights as communicator responsible for all communication with family and friends (not a good idea to text family members and friends, or attempt to work, when high on pain-killers, particularly when many people don’t know what’s going on). Anyone who knows what you are going through will want to know that you are okay.
Step 19 – Have actual miscarriage and take appropriate pain medication (of course, with us, it can never be that simple and mine took almost a full week to get through the worst of it. So the basement set-up was vital).
Sad to have to have this much knowledge isn’t it? Thinking of you.
Its definitely not something I ever thought I’d know so much about! I actually wrote this because I wish I had a list like this my first time through it. It would have been really helpful to have some idea what I was in for.
Hopefully, and unfortunately it will be a big help to someome else……
I think we may be blog soul-mates. I’ve been through 3 miscarriages and I’d say each was done practically (although I would have never thought to put that term to it). The only step that I’d say is different for me is step 8. My step 8 is buy every snack food you’ve ever liked and sustain on a combination of snacks, fast food, and lots of ice cream. We also have an extra step of picking up steak n shake fries, cheese sauce and the largest size shake they make immediately after finding out about the impending miscarriage. Great post!
I thought the same thing when I looked at your blog! I wish we didn’t have a similar history, I wish neither of us have had to go through so many miscarriages! And I sure wish we didn’t know the steps to having a miscarriage.
I love your suggestions for step 8! I usually use all interest in eating once we find out about the impending miscarriage, so the type of food doesn’t really matter to me. but, maybe snack food would help me eat more? You also made me think of my first post-miscarriage meal – sushi! I love it, so it has turned into a bit of a “reward” for surviving another loss. (Reward, isn’t exactly the best word to use…).
Agreed, it’d be nice if we had a similar history in winning the lottery instead. But unfortunately these were the hands we were dealt.
I’m a total comfort eater, so food is my natural go-to. I try to maintain a very healthy diet, so it’s the one time I give myself permission to have whatever I like. We joke that it’s a horrible consultation prize, but it’s something. Gotta do whatever you can to make it through.
For both of our sakes, let’s hope we don’t have to worry about it again anyway!
I have had 2 D&Cs and 1 natural miscarriage (GO BODY! YOU CAN DO IT!) and had never considered medically induced miscarriage as an option. The in and outness of a D&C always seemed so much easier to me! I work from home and I’ve liked getting back into the swing of things the very next day after it’s been done (and save my complete mental and emotional breakdown for a few days later). Our routine has been D&C, HUGE cheeseburger and a strawberry milkshake (usually what I’m craving since I still feel pregnant long after the D&C has taken place), and a brand new DVD (I have 4 movies that in my mind are labelled my miscarriage movies based on what my husband picked up for me on the way home)–I cannot watch Gatsby anymore without thinking about how much my second miscarriage destroyed me! This is much more methodical and sounds really awful. Is there a reason you pick this one over other options? Is that insensitive? I hope not, and I’m not trying to be unfeeling, I just hadn’t ever thought about it before.
Not insensitive at all!
Our first miscarriage was natural and just happened. No warning = no options.
2nd, we were scared of the D&C. So, we chose medication. Most of the time misopristol takes1 dose / 1 day to work. For us, I took 2 doses on 2 consecutive days didn’t do anything except cause incredible pain. So, ended up with an emergency D&C anyways.
3rd miscarriage. Very complicated miscarriage, that literally nearly killed me due to a septic infection. So, planned D&C. Skipped the drugs since I had no desire to ever experience that kind of pain again, and it wasn’t even an option given my health.
4th miscarriage. The doctors refused to do a D&C. I begged for one. Apparently the risks of scar tissue forming drastically increase after 2 D&Cs. So, they said unless we were prepared to stop trying, they wouldn’t preform the surgery. So, misopristol was our only option. This time is took 4 consecutive days of doses (max. dose allowed) and again it did nothing. So, then it took 29 days, with multiple in-office awake procedures with a plunger thingy trying to dislodge tissue to force it out. Not fun to say the least. And I highly recommend people do everything in there power to avoid the plunger thing.
And miscarriage 5 was biochemical, so it is just a really bad period. No big deal really from a pain perspective given everything else my body has been through before.
Oh, and I totally get what you mean about the movies. Miscarriage 4 took so long that I watched almost every movie we own! The Harry Potter series is now my Gatsby.
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I’m sorry you have had to experience this more than once.
I have had 3 medically induced terminations that all ended with a D&C due to the placenta not coming out. I was not allowed to have a D&C after week 12 in this country otherwise I would have totally made this my first option if I could.
I wish I had a preparation list like yours!
Note: Dont ever watch Les Miserables whilst in pain!
The Grand Budapest hotel has seen me through 2 procedures. -My miscarriage movie, I also have a miscarriage run and miscarriage plants, -one died, doh…!)
I am so sorry that you have been through so many losses as well. It is something that no-one should ever experience. It took me a number of losses before i put this list together, and sadly it came in handy for our next miscarriages. I love lists, so I always find it helpful to have everything laid out.
My go-to movie choice was Harry Potter.
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