Wednesday, April 11, 2007


They say that 1 in 3 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
  • 75% of the miscarriages are within the first two weeks (most do not even know they are pregnant) and many believe they just had a "late" period.
  • 10% are after a positive pregnancy test (at least two weeks past gestation)
  • 5% between the weeks 6-12 and after the heartbeat was heard
  • 3% are in the second trimester (considered stillbirth)
  • 1% are in the third trimester and this is actually considered a stillbirth rather than a miscarriage of the fetus

Sadly, if you had a miscarriage in your first pregnancy, the likelihood of another miscarriage (13%) increases for subsequent losses.

I know this because I suffered a miscarriage before becoming pregnant with Avery. And quite honestly, the statistics do not help. Especially the one that states 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Note to friend/associates/acquaintances of a woman suffering from miscarriage: it doesn't help to hear any stats.

It took me one full year to be ready to try again.

I am really ok now. In fact, I am more than ok. I have a very healthy one year old! I can now talk about my miscarriage without my eyes brimming with tears. It wasn't always like this though. I found out I was pregnant in August of 2004. We were elated. I had been substitute teaching and coaching cross-country for the summer and through the school year. I felt ready to be a mom. I had graduated from college, fulfilled a career of choice and felt my motherly instincts kick into gear as I befriended {mothered} the girls on the high school team. We got pregnant the second month we tried. And I made an appointment with the doctor. I went in for routine appointments twice before going a third time and hearing my doctor's words.

Your baby looks smaller than it should at this point.


I looked at Devin and he squeezed my hand.

I believe your baby's heartbeat stopped about one week ago.

I was eleven weeks.

I wasn't fully ready for the flood of emotions that came over immediately after my doctor's words told me the news. I didn't just tear up. I started bawling, nose dripping, head-buried-in my-husband's-shirt kind of cry. My mascara ran down my cheeks and my shoulders dropped as I cried heavy sobs. My doctor left us alone and I couldn't stop shaking my head.

Finally, Devin helped me compose myself and my doctor {who I truly love for everything he has done for us} talked to us. He told me he could get me in for a D&C that evening at 6 o'clock. We went home, waited for a call from the hospital and cried together. It was hard, on both of us. The to-be dad deals with, albeit different, just as much emotion as the to-be mother. I really believe that.

I went under anethesia for the first time in my life {I was nervous} and clearly remember everything. My nurse's name was Rudy and he repeatedly tried to hear me laugh. Another nurse told me that I needed to try Panera Bread blueberry bagels because they have real, whole blueberries in them {and they fight cancer so not to worry about the carbs}. I love these two people to this day because they made me smile that day though I'm sure they do not even remember me.

Recovery after a D&C is similar {well, the bleeding} to after a vaginal birth. I recovered though, physically and got into the best running shape of my life that next summer. Emotionally, it took time. My heart ached when I thought that nothing about me was pregnant anymore. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it, until I felt ready, and only after that did I want to talk to those I trusted most. Like I said, it took time. But, I did come out of it ok {better than ever actually!}.

Here are some things that helped me:

  • People sent me flowers with notes.
  • Gave me space {This could go both ways depending on the person. I needed space}.
  • They acknowledged the loss, apologized and simply stated their love.
  • When someone told me they had suffered a miscarriage before, they displayed their understanding and never undermined the loss that one might feel {no matter how early the miscarriage took place}.
  • My mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws gave me a gift certificate to The Gap. Shopping can usually help a sad spirit right?

Things not to do {my recommendations}:

  • Gives stats!
  • Say something must have been wrong with the baby and it was better it died {this truly does not help at the moment}.
  • Urge the person to talk about it {unless they are clearly showing signs of depression, I think}

Like I said, I have a beautiful daughter today. The second pregnancy was filled with worry even after the 12 week "safe" mark. But, today I don't think of that. I am not sure why it happened, but I know now how to offer a compassionate shoulder to one that deals with a miscarriage.


  1. Wow, Missy.
    This was always my BIGGEST fear! I knew the stats which made it really hard for me to get excited about being pregnant with Cole. It's so scary. And I can't imagine going through it. It's invaluable that you can be empathetic for others. Understanding loss can connect people. And that's very real. I also love how much life (i.e. watching one grow through pregnancy and/or motherhood-biological or not) can connect people.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is also my BIGGEST fear. Thanks for sharing this. It makes me feel better and makes me feel like I can get through it if it happens to me. Thanks again for the heart-felt post.

  3. I can't imagine how terrible that must have been. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with my second and my fears of miscarriage with this pregnancy were so much were than with Laney (mainly because I had red flags for the first 10 weeks.) It was a daily battle for me to get through it. When I heard this baby's heartbeat at 13 weeks, it was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. One of relief and sure joy.

    I am sorry you had to experience it but I know that you will be a great support for someone. I really relied on a close friend at the beginning of this pregnancy when I strated to spot and such. She got me through it. And I am sure you will do the same for someone else!

  4. Oh Missy. I nearly had tears while reading that post. Thanks for sharing with us, and especially letting us know what are the best ways to comfort someone. It also sounds like you have a great doctor (same one you went to for Avery?) and the nurse sounds lovely too. I'm glad.

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  6. Thanks for posting on this Missy. I've always been afraid of this... but also have been nervous about what to say to a friend when it happens to HER. My mom has often taken the "nature has a way of correcting things when they are wrong" approach, and you're right- I don't think that this is what people want/need to hear. Devin's family sounds really sweet... a gift certificate, given in the right spirit, is really kind.


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