I want to share this for three reasons: (1) This is a topic that we don’t talk about too much in the detail that we should (2) I want to share what helped me so I this post can be a resource for others (3) To share my humanness.
When we look from the outside in, too often, we see perfection & privilege. Especially for my patients - they share and entrust their life stories to me while knowing very little about my life. And this is necessary to an extent. However, I believe it is important for them to know that their doctor is also human. I make mistakes, struggle and face my share of adversities as well. My life is far from perfect but it is a life that I dearly love and am grateful for because with life's every struggle emerges new wisdom :)
Reading other women's stories was something that I initially did a lot of. It was comforting to read them because it gave me a sense of community. The stories also helped me prepare mentally. I have chosen not include my story in the body of this blog post because there are so many beautiful & stories out there. I want to focus on the parts of miscarriage that are not discussed as much; I have chosen to focus on the resources & aftercare in this post. However, if you would still like to read my story you can read it HERE.
I’ve listed a few of the blog posts, websites & information that I read & helped me. You may need to do your own research or may not want to at all. Everyone deals with this differently. For me, I wanted to read everything I possibly could find on the topic. Below are a list of other women's stories (in no particular order) of miscarriage with a brief description.
Missed miscarriage story with a D&C
Natural miscarriage at 17 weeks
What I loved about this blog post is that she also shares other women’s stories who have gone through miscarriage towards the end of her post. There is a link to a male perspective on miscarriage as well :)
Story of a D&C between 8-9 weeks
Thoughts that helped me:
“I feel lucky that I had stories of women who’d gone down this road before me, and that through those stories, I was empowered to make the best decision for myself.”
This post is very similar to mine in that she references the resources she found useful throughout the blog post
Thoughts that helped me:
“Miscarriage is not talked about enough. I think that is because miscarriage is often an invisible pain, and I say that because other people can’t physically see your loss, so I don’t think they know how to respond.”
“I was not prepared to have the “baby blues” after my miscarriage, but here’s the deal. Whether you have a baby in your arms or not, your hormones still have to come back down. I know for the first couple of weeks after I have a baby I will usually have times where I cry for no reason. The same happens after a miscarriage. Everyone expects you to be back to normal so soon, but you’re not normal, you can’t be.”
Natural miscarriage between 9-10 weeks
Thoughts that helped me:
“I hope someone finds this story/experience useful. I wish I’d found a more normal experiences instead of the traumatic horror stories I’d read on the internet. I know that everyone is different, but I wanted to share my less intense experience to let others know not all miscarriages end up in the hospital, that continuous gushing blood is not inevitable, and that the “most intense pain that you’ve ever experienced in your life” does not necessarily happen.”
What I learned from reading other people’s stories:
Some people experience a lot of blood loss at once (hemorrhaging) & others experience it over several days sometimes weeks
There is residual bleeding after miscarriage usually for about two weeks (some longer & some less)
Miscarriage is many times like a mini birth & many women are advised before having their miscarriage at home that it will be like a heavy period. There are some women who report it to be like a heavy period but there are many who find this advice misleading.
I stumbled across these forum board discussions that have miscarriage threads. There are probably many others but the ones below had threads that I was interested in:
In hindsight if I had known to prepare better I would have. The following are items you probably want to have on hand:
Organic cotton sanitary pads (have a few packs of each size especially the super heavy size)
Disposable ‘under pads’ that can be purchased at your local pharmacy (I found this so helpful because having these under me made me feel less worried about bleeding through my sheets)
Hot water bag or heating pad to place over your abdomen during contractions/cramps
Pain relief (over the counter medication, herbal tinctures/teas)
Water with electrolytes & snacks (Both are key to replenishing what your body is losing). I personally drank a lot of fresh orange juice & water mixed with electrolyte powder.
Extra hands (having a few people who beforehand what you will going through was helpful for me as they were ready to help me emotionally & physically when I needed it)
I was taught how to care for myself beyond what I knew by the women in my family. I had no idea these were the ways in which they were cared for post partum. But, my miscarriage, because it was like a mini birth was treated in the same way. The only difference was the duration of the care. Usually women in India take at least one month of full rest and their only priority is healing and adjusting to motherhood at that time. I spent one week of full rest & another week ‘taking it easy.’
I want reiterate I would have never known how to care for myself after my miscarriage if it wasn’t for my family. I would have honestly gotten up a few days later & started resuming my life fully. I think most of us do this because we don’t think to care for ourselves the way in which we would have postpartum. I hope this blog post encourages others to indulge in self-care as much as possible because your mind & body truly benefit.
How I took care of myself physically:
This is usually prescribed to help your body expel all the tissue from your uterus
Warming drink (Raab): 2 tbsp ghee, 1 tbsp long pepper & 1 tbsp ginger powder heated over the stove & then once cooked water, jaggery, almonds & coconut are added to the warming drink.
Here is one recipe that is similar that I found online: http://werecipes.com/bajra-raab-gujarati-raab-recipe/
Food: I was told to eat only ‘warm’ foods & was told to avoid ‘cooling’ foods. I ate a lot of food with ginger, cardamom, jaggery, ghee, millet flour, buckwheat flour, wheat flour and long pepper. I also ate a lot of dates & figs to help with increasing my iron & fiber intake.
Fenugreek energy bites (Methi paak): Made from fenugreek, ghee, jaggery, wheat flour, almonds, black pepper, cumin, dried ginger, cardamom, nutmeg & cinnamon
Here is one recipe that is similar to the one my mom made for me: http://nishamadhulika.com/en/498-methi-laddu-recipe.html
Massage with sesame & almond oil: I can’t stress how much this made a HUGE difference in my recovery. Daily full body massage is another Indian tradition postpartum. For me during my one week recovery I had this done twice a day & it helped reduce muscle tension & battle fatigue.
This article explains some of the practices women in India follow postpartum: http://www.babycenter.in/a1021145/post-delivery-confinement-practices-in-india
Rest: I was literally not on my feet for one full week & I slept A LOT. I was fortunate to have help so that I didn’t need to be on my feet. I know for many women this may not be an option so if you have other children that depend on you & no outside help then take naps and rest when you can.
What I am doing now:
I have continued many of the above dietary suggestions and in addition I am taking an iron supplement alternating with my prenatal to bring my hemoglobin levels back up. I am also going to start a custom tincture tomorrow with herbs that will continue to aid my body's recovery :)
This is extremely important but also very individual. I don’t really have too much advice here except just take the time you need & seek out the resources you need. Don’t let anyone’s perception of how you ‘should’ deal with your loss hinder your process. What I found extremely helpful was to remind myself to not feel offended when someone said or did something I would have deemed insensitive. Often, people are not looking to hurt you in any way. Many times, they just don’t what to say or do so they may try & it may come across insensitive. I found it helpful to accept their thoughtfulness & kindness while releasing their words or action - maybe this will help you too.