One of the hardest things about pregnancy, for me, is worrying that I may miscarry. When I see those two pink lines, I’m elated! but then the fear starts to take over and getting to that “safe” point seems like an eternity.
I worry about having a miscarriage because I’ve had four of them. I actually miscarried my very first pregnancy, which was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. If you have been in my shoes, my heart breaks for you. It is truly devastating.
If you’ve read any of my posts, you may have figured out that I kind-of enjoy having babies. It’s only, like, my favorite thing to do. So, becoming pregnant for the first time ever was absolutely the most exciting thing ever.
I remember that day…it was surreal. I could not WAIT to wear maternity clothes. I could not wait to feel the baby kick. I could not WAIT to tell people that Rooster and I were expecting, so I didn’t. I believe the secret–that was never going to be a secret–was out just days after I had a positive pregnancy test. I wanted to the whole world to know.
A few weeks went by and it was time for me to have my very first prenatal appointment. I remember it was a Monday. I was 8 weeks and 2 days. My appointment was in the 10:00 hour. Rooster met me at my OBGYN’s office and we were on cloud nine.
I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was called back and Rooster was told to wait for just a few minutes. The nurse got my weight and blood pressure and then I was put in a room. Rooster joined me just a couple of minutes later.
When my doctor came in, he asked me some basic questions, like how I had been feeling and if I had any concerns. I told him that I had been a little sick off and on, and really tired, but that I actually had felt really good that weekend. In fact, I hadn’t been sick once for two days, which I thought was great.
After we talked a bit more, he said, well, let’s take a quick look on ultrasound.
OH, GOOD GRAVY. I was going to get to SEE our baby!!! Rooster and I were so surprised.
A small ultrasound machine was rolled into the room for a vaginal ultrasound. I waited for a few minutes as he was taking a look at my cervix and then my ovaries and then I saw it–there was our baby. I remember looking at Rooster and seeing the look on his face. It was absolutely perfect.
Here is a an ultrasound picture of a baby at 8 weeks, so it gives you a visual of what we were looking at. I didn’t ask for a picture, but I so wish I had one.
We watched the screen in complete awe and then my doctor said, “Well…..I’m not seeing a heartbeat.”
Complete and utter shock overwhelmed every cell in my body. What? But there’s the baby….there’s no way..
I don’t even remember what I said. I know I looked at Mike (Rooster just doesn’t sound appropriate here) and he was speechless. We were both speechless. The baby measured exactly 8 weeks. The heartbeat is very easily seen on ultrasound 8 weeks into a pregnancy. The baby’s heart had stopped beating just two days before. We never found out why.
Miscarriages are so common. After I had my first one, I bet 20 women told me that it had happened to them, too. I really had no idea–I thought that it was rare to have one, so when I found out that the opposite was true, I was really relieved.
I’m pretty sure that many first time moms are just as naive as I was, especially if they had no trouble getting pregnant. Miscarriages usually occur before the 12th week of pregnancy, but not all of them. If a baby dies after 20 weeks, it’s called a still birth. They are less common, but do happen, you just don’t hear about it unless you go looking for information or if you know someone that it’s happened to.
I’m not going to tell the story of my other three losses in detail, but I will share a bit of information that may be helpful to some of you. Each one has been different.
So, the first happened at 8 weeks and remember earlier when I said that I had been feeling really good that past weekend? That was because my pregnancy symptoms pretty much stopped all together. If you’ve had morning sickness regularly and then it just stops, that may be your first sign. Being sick when you’re pregnant is awful, but I’m always thankful in a way because it usually means that things are good.
The second time I miscarried was after I had my second child. After having the positive test, I waited for the sick feeling to begin, but it never did. I usually start feeling sick around 5 1/2-6 weeks. I was 7 1/2 weeks and felt completely normal. I expressed concern to my doctor and he had me come in early for an ultrasound and there was no baby, just a yolk sac. The pregnancy had ended very early on, but my body wasn’t responding to it. This is called a missed miscarriage. I did begin bleeding on my own the next day, but sometimes a surgical procedure called a D&C (dilation and curettage) is necessary, unless you are willing to wait for your body to respond naturally, which could happen soon, but it could also take weeks.
My third and fourth miscarriages happened very early on, but they happened consecutively, which is a cause for concern. I had a positive pregnancy test, but just a day or 2 later, began spotting, which just got heavier and heavier. If I hadn’t taken a test, I probably would have never known I was pregnant either time.
The signs that you have had, or are having a miscarriage are sometimes hard to make out. Spotting can be very normal for one woman, but could be the beginning of a loss for another. It’s really a waiting game. Usually, there’s nothing you can do about it, but not always. Here is a list of signs to look for if you think you may have a problem. I’m not a doctor by any means…I just have a little experience that may be helpful to some.
Possible Signs of Miscarriage
- Loss of all pregnancy symptoms, or not having any pregnancy symptoms at all. Some women have little to no symptoms at all and it’s normal for them, but if you’ve had lots of nausea and then just all the sudden feel normal for a few days, it could be a sign.
- Pregnancy test lines not getting darker in color. This may sound confusing. When you take a pregnancy test, the test line may be lighter than the control line. If you take another test of the same brand two or three days later, the test line should be darker than it was on the last test. This should keep happening every two to three days as hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) increases. If the lines stay the same color on the same brand test after a few days, the pregnancy may not be progressing. I buy pregnancy test strips on Amazon. They come in packs of 25 or 50 and work perfectly. You can take multiple tests and check for darker lines. It may ease your mind if you worry like I do.
- Bleeding, no matter what color. This can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. I have started out with brown, thick discharge and I’ve started out with light pink spotting. I have had brown discharge before a miscarriage and I have had brown discharge early on and carried to full term. I’ve also had pink spotting, red blood, and heavy dark red bleeding early on and still carried to full term. Bleeding is not a sure sign at all, but if cramping accompanies heavy bleeding, miscarriage is more likely.
- Cramping that follows bleeding. If you start out with bleeding that gets heavier and heavier, like a period, with cramps that may start mild and get stronger and stronger, miscarriage is more than likely inevitable. Cramping on it’s own is not always cause for alarm. Very early on in my current pregnancy, I had a night of mild cramping. It was very consistent and lasted for about 12 hours. I didn’t miscarry, but I was very nervous that I would start seeing blood at any minute. I never bled once. It was just one of those weird things.
- Not feeling the baby move for an extended amount of time after you’ve been feeling it very regularly. Again, this is not a sure sign, but it is always something I look for. Around 18-20 weeks you may start feeling your baby every so often. Some women start feeling movement earlier, some don’t feel it until later. Not feeling the baby for some time during the early weeks of fetal movement is normal. Don’t panic! I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant with my 7th baby and I just started feeling my baby move every day like a week ago. It always freaks me out because I usually start feeling the baby around the 17th week, BUT not if the placenta is attached out front, which is called an anterior placenta. This means that the placenta is attached to the front of your uterus, towards your belly. If this is the case, your baby has a big “pillow” he or she is kicking, instead of hitting the wall of your uterus. My placenta has been attached to the anterior for the past two pregnancies. It can be seen on my twenty week ultrasound picture below. This is a profile picture of my baby. The head is to the right side & nose is pointing up. See the big blob directly above the baby? That’s some of the placenta. As the baby gets bigger, kicks will be felt through the placenta with no problem whatsoever, but they just aren’t likely to be felt between 17-20 weeks nearly as much. It just depends on your baby’s position. If you feel some kicks one day, but none the next, this just means that the baby has turned around and is now kicking your placenta instead of you. Don’t worry too much! Just try to be patient until 20-21 weeks. I know that’s a bummer.
- No fetal movement at all. If you are further along and feel no movement for a good length of time, that’s not a good sign. It could be absolutely nothing, but it could also mean the opposite. Get still somewhere and drink a big glass of cold ice water or juice or eat something sugary. Then, give your baby some time. My babies take long breaks every once in a while. It may be hours before I feel any kicks, and it is disturbing, but it has never lasted for a day. By all means, call your doctor if this is happening to you.
My last two miscarriages were consecutive, which bothered me. My first two miscarriages were when I was in my twenties, but the last two occurred when I was 35. The major difference here is obviously, my age. I did some research and found out that I had some signs of low progesterone. I’ve written a post on the dangers of low progesterone levels during pregnancy, so you may want to check it out. The reason I had my last two losses was because of this condition. I bought and used a natural progesterone cream and got pregnant a month later and carried to full term. Even if you are younger than 30, you could still need a progesterone supplement. Click here if you are concerned about low progesterone levels.
Most of the time, the cause of miscarriage is unknown. And most of the time, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent one from happening. Knowing how common they are and realizing that there is a chance it may happen is really all you can do. I’m one of those girls who “expects the worst and hopes for the best” about pretty much everything. It makes the blow a little easier for me.
If you or someone you know is concerned that they may be having a miscarriage, just take a deep breath. No matter the outcome, things will be okay. You will get through it, I promise.
If you have just seen two pink lines, congratulations! and try not to worry. And pray for me…because sometimes I don’t practice what I preach.