The first trimester was not fun. All day sickness and fatigue plagued me - again. But it was worth it. I was determined to enjoy this pregnancy and not live it in fear. Even David remarked how different I seemed this time around.
David and I had our first appointment to see the little chocolate chip's heartbeat at 8 weeks and all looked great. We left with our handful of ultrasound pictures breathing a sigh of relief. Statistically, we were in the clear because Google says once you've seen a heartbeat the chances of miscarriage are vastly diminished. Well, someone forgot to tell the baby that.
I began spotting on Mother's Day which was incidentally Violet's birthday. I tried not to worry; so many women spot during pregnancy and everything is just fine. The spotting continued and I called the doctor's office first thing Monday morning and was told just to monitor it and call back if it got worse. By Tuesday, I was a nervous wreck. My midwife with Violet told me to come in and we'd try to find the heartbeat with the Doppler. She couldn't find anything but assured me that it's really hard to find a heartbeat when babies are so tiny and squirmy. I called the doctor again on Wednesday, not because the spotting was worse, but because I was scared out of my mind and couldn't go another day without knowing what was going on. "Come on in, sweetie." I was there in 30 minutes.
My sister, my daughter and I sat in the ultrasound room waiting for the doctor, making jokes to hide our worry. The doctor scanned for the baby and when he quickly looked over his shoulder to make sure the screen was off I knew...I knew it was just moments before he said the words "I'm sorry." He said the baby stopped growing between 9-10 weeks. I would have been 12 weeks the following day. I confirmed, "So there's no heartbeat?" "No, I'm so sorry. Looks like a possible chromosomal abnormality." Numb, dark, empty...all appropriate words for the moment. Sofia saying, "mommy, what's wrong?"... me having to tell her the baby was dead...her crying "I'll never be a big sister." The doctor told me I'd likely miscarry naturally and it COULD be like a heavy period.
I knew I wanted to miscarry naturally but I had no idea what to do to make sure it was done safely and completely. So naturally I looked to my resources at hand: my midwife, a naturopath, and the internet (shudder). I found some information that proved helpful including some herbs and some homeopathics, but I couldn't find much on how to use them. With the help of primarily my midwife we developed a program using red raspberry leaf tea, castor oil packs, Sepia and Sabina (alternating), and Blue and Black Cohosh. I got my homeopathics and castor oil packs at Whole Foods. The plan was to use the RRL tea, and Sepia until the bleeding picked up and then begin the Black and Blue Cohosh to bring on the miscarriage. Below is the outline of how I used them:
Beginning immediately I stopped my prescribed progesterone.
The following day (Thursday), I began a labor brew of red raspberry leaf tea, Sepia 30c x5/3x day, increased Vita C 500mg, and stopped my supplements that thin blood (antioxidants, Omegas, garlic).
Friday I continued RRL tea and Sepia.
Saturday I began castor oil packs in addition to the RRL tea and Sepia.
By Sunday the bleeding had picked up enough and I was ready to be done so in addition to the RRL tea I discontinued Sepia and began Sabina 30c 5/ 3x day (partly because Sepia can make emotions more intense and partly to alternate the homeopathics for increased efficacy). I began Blue and Black cohosh (homeopathics) 30c 2, every 15 minutes until my contractions started (I had just taken my last dose until the daily dose was met).
This blog post is also to explain what a natural miscarriage COULD be that neither the doctor nor the internet prepared me for.
It COULD be like a full delivery from time-able contractions to water breaking to the delivery of a tiny baby and the afterbirth. IF I had known this ahead of time I could have been so much better prepared. I may have even opted for the D&C just to curtail the anxiety, but hopefully my story can help someone else be better prepared.
I noticed that my uterine cramping was become more forceful and rhythmic, much like labor with my other 2 daughters. Out of curiosity, I began to time them. After the second wave, I was sure they were contractions. Sometime around the third or fourth contraction that I timed, my water broke. I mean BROKE! In retrospect I was super glad I was wearing a pad. I jumped up from the bed and yelled for David (my husband) on my way to the bathroom where I promptly hopped into the shower. After a few more contractions I noticed a ball of grey on the shower floor that was the teeny, tiny baby with teeny tiny arms and legs and eyes. David found a teeny tiny Zippo box and I carefully put the little chocolate chip into it. David prayed over it and we cried together. I told David that I still had to deliver the placenta. I'm not clear on how I knew that, but I did. There was so much blood and giant clots and grossness. Apparently that's what happens after the baby comes out in a live delivery too, but the mom never sees it, you know? I was so scared until David got my midwife on the phone and she talked me through everything and assured me that what I was describing sounded normal. I finally successfully delivered the placenta and just like that the contractions and the scariness stopped. Sigh...
So afterwards, I continued RRL tea at a normal brew (1T:8ozs water) and alternated Sepia and Sabina until confirmation of complete miscarriage. After 24 hours, I resumed supplements with blood thinning effect (after my bleeding had substantially diminished).
I DID bleed like a heavy period for 2 days (thank you, doctor for that helpful info) and like a normal period for 5 days. I spotted for 1 more week and then intermittent spotting for 1 more week. My cycle went back to normal immediately.
We buried the baby under a cherry blossom tree on Father's Day. We call it the chocolate chip tree.
And there you have it. The down and dirty details I couldn't find anywhere. I hope my story helps you make a good decision for you and to not be so scared.
* This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. This info is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent. Please consult a trusted medical professional to establish your own treatment plan.