Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Busting My Own Miscarriage Myths

***Warning:  some of this may be TMI for some***

I really don't like to dwell on the past, especially my miscarriage, but it's something that I can't help but find myself thinking about every once in awhile.  It still amazes me how my prior conceptions of what I thought a miscarriage is like were so different than what I actually experienced.  So, in this post I'm writing about those personal misconceptions and I'm busting my own myths. 
*Note: none of these statements are necessarily based on scientific facts, but from my own, personal experience.

1.  There is a very slim chance of miscarriage after a heartbeat is detected.

I was 7w2d at my first prenatal appointment.  Dr. C. did an ultrasound and everything looked perfect.  I knew what day I O'd, and the baby was measuring correctly right to the day.  There was an obvious heartbeat.  Basically, everything looked perfect and I thought I was in the clear for the next 33 weeks or so.  Yes, the rate of miscarriage decreases a little once a heartbeat is seen (around 6-7 weeks), however it doesn't drop significantly until a heartbeat is heard (around 10-12 weeks).  And even then, bad things can still happen at any moment during a pregnancy.

2.  A miscarriage begins with cramping and heavy bleeding.

My miscarriage started with very light bleeding on a Friday night.  So light that I really thought it was "normal" (despite what some might say, I now do not believe any bleeding is normal in pregnancy) spotting or bleeding.  This continued through the weekend until I was able to get to a doctor to get checked on that Sunday night.  It remained light into that Monday, and I had yet to have any cramping.  Around noon on that Monday I started having horrible cramps that lasted for about 5 hours.  They then, thankfully, subsided.  I had my D&C the following morning.  At the time I went in for the D&C I still had yet to experience any heavy bleeding. 

3.  The cramps associated with a miscarriage are simply like really bad menstrual cramps.

Uh, no.  I felt like I was going to die that Monday afternoon.  Seriously.  I had never experienced so much pain before in my life (and I've been through appendicitis, which I thought was pretty painful).  I remember telling Jeff (as I lay writhing in pain) that if this is anything close to what labor feels like, women are idiots for wanting to do it naturally (I don't mean to offend anyone out there choosing natural birth, but it's certainly not for me, especially after I've had a small taste of what it would be like). 

4.  As soon as development stops, a miscarriage will immediately start.

This is the one that bothers me the most.  Our baby had stopped developing two weeks before we knew it.  Two weeks before I started to have any signs whatsoever that something was wrong.  I stupidly walked around for two weeks thinking everything was just fine when it wasn't.  This is mostly why we (Jeff and I made the decision together) decided to opt for having the D&C versus letting things happen naturally.  If two weeks had already gone by with nothing happening, how much longer was it going to take?  I didn't want to sit around and wait to find out. 

5.  Doing all the "right" things will prevent a miscarriage.

With the last pregnancy I completely cut out caffeine.  I stopped eating tuna altogether (even though they say it's okay to eat occassionally).  I completely stayed away from artificial sweeteners.  I didn't eat lunch meat, even if it was warmed up.  I tried to do all the right things they say you are suppose to do in pregnancy, and I still miscarried.  That's why this time around I'm continuing to live my life like I always have because I know it doesn't make a difference.  Whatever is going to happen will happen.  I'm staying away from the obvious things (alcohol, ibuprofren, still limiting my tuna intake).  But I am still enjoying my morning cup of coffee (or skinny caramal macchiato from Starbucks for my weekly splurge). 

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