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).
A Load of Crap.
I am tempted to leave this post with just those 4 words – but, I guess I should probably explain my statement.
After miscarriage number 2, I was starting to get a bit more desperate, so I decided to try acupuncture. It was recommended to me by a few trusted people and our doctors all thought it was fine to try and assured me it would not harm our next baby, although they cautioned that it also might not help. So, I decided if it won’t hurt, then I might as well give it a try. That said, I think it’s important to point out that I was a cynic when I started going. I put my faith in scientifically proven, modern medical techniques, so acupuncture is a bit of a stretch for me.
So, I went – once a week for nearly two months, then once every two weeks for a few more months. We got pregnant (but the getting pregnant part for us is relatively easy, so this wasn’t a surprise). We lost the baby.
So, did acupuncture help us? On the positive, it forced me to have a 30 minute nap during the day on a regular basis. This was probably good to help with stress management. But otherwise, nope, not at all helpful. It cost us a lot of money and time. It became another appointment to fit into my day, which in some ways just increased my stress. And, we have no living, healthy baby.