Early Pregnancy Loss - Something No One Ever Talks About
Yay! Two lines, a plus sign, or a very straight forward "Pregnant". Some tests these days even give you a "how far along" estimate. Either way, who cares! You're pregnant! YAY! Exciting isn't it?! Right up until the dreaded news hits you right smack dab in the face. "Sorry, but we aren't able to locate a heart beat." However this situation was presented to you, it was at that moment that your whole world came crashing down on you. All your fears became reality. All your dreams were washed away by the feeling of defeat and you essentially feel like a failure. Let me be perfectly blunt. All you wanted was a baby. To raise a family. The one thing a woman is genetically designed to achieve and you can't even do that! Sound familiar? You're definitely not alone so don't be so hard on yourself. Whether you're experiencing this for the first time or the 20th time, it doesn't get easier. This hub is going to cover different kinds of losses and how women and their significant other's deal with them. Yes, I said significant others, ladies. You're hubby may not show it like you do, but trust me. He hurts just as bad.
What is a miscarriage?
Miscarriage is a loss before the 20th week of pregnancy. 80% usually happen during the first 3 months and less likely to occur after the 20th week. As many as 25% of recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage and 50% of ALL pregnancies end in miscarriage.
How can I tell if I'm having a miscarriage?
Many women experience miscarriages in different ways. Some painful some not. Some bleed a lot some just a little. Regardless, if you are worried, call your doctor. Here are some typical symptoms you may experience during a miscarriage.
- Bleeding that progresses from light to heavy.
- Cramps/Abdominal Pain
- Passing of tissue
- Loss of pregnancy symptoms
**Some bleeding and cramping during early pregnancy is normal and many women go on to have healthy full term pregnancies. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to contact your OBGYN as soon as possible.**
Can I stop it from happening?
Unfortunately, no. Once a miscarriage starts it is inevitable that the pregnancy will end within the coming days or weeks.
What did I do wrong??
Rest your worried little mind. There is nothing that you did to cause it. Although no one is exactly sure what the cause is, it is said that early miscarriages happen because of genetic and/or chromosomal abnormalities. Other possible causes include:
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Immune system disorders
- Severe kidney and/or heart disease
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Severe malnutrition
- Uterine or Cervix abnormalities
- Environmental or workplace toxins and hazards
How will I be treated once I am diagnosed?
Once your doctor is sure you are experiencing a miscarriage they may recommend a D&C (Dilation and Curettage). This is a minor outpatient procedure where your cervix is dilated and any pregnancy tissue is scraped from inside your uterus. If you wish, and are not at risk of bleeding to death, some doctors may allow you to stay at home until the pregnancy tissue passes on it's own. If you choose this route you should consider, and your doctor will want, a follow up ultra sound to make sure all of the tissue is gone as it can cause serious infection.
If you aren't sure whether or not you want to go the natural route and have the miscarriage at home or have medical intervention with a D&C, you can consider a few pros and cons from both sides. With a D&C you are cleaned out immediately and you can move on faster. There is less of a risk of infection and you will experience less amount of time being in pain and bleeding. With a natural route miscarriage the days seem to drag out. You may continue lightly bleeding for weeks before you actually pass any tissue. The pain and bleeding lasts longer. And unless you try to catch the tissue and store it until you see your doctor, you do not get the opportunity to have the tissue tested to possibly find out why the pregnancy ended.
Sounds scary doesn't it? Believe it or not it DOES happen. A small question regarding the two options of D&C or Natural Miscarriage which many women feel strongly about is, "What if the doctor is wrong and my baby is perfectly fine?" Some women report allowing the miscarriage to happen naturally despite the doctor's recommendations. Come to find out no tissue ever passes and at the follow up visit a heartbeat can be found. This is RARE and usually only happens when a miscarriage is diagnosed during early stages or you are unsure about your dates and are less pregnant than you think you are. Usually a heart beat can be found at about 6 weeks. Your doctor will also test your HSG levels to see if they are doubling every 48 hours. This doesn't always happen and many women go on to have healthy pregnancies. But from my experience if you are 6+ weeks with no heart beat and slow rising or dropping HSG levels, a quick D&C may be the better option for you. But to each her own! At the end of the day it's your body, your baby, and your choice. Go with your instinct and what you think is best for you.
The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage
- The Misdiagnosed Miscarriage Site
Providing support for women who may or may not be miscarrying.
D&C vs. Natural Miscarriage
Did/would you choose D&C or Natural Miscarriage?
What is a Blighted Ovum?
A Blighted Ovum, also known as early pregnancy failure, is when the fertilized egg plants inside the uterus but no embryo ever forms or simply stops developing very early. If you haven't had any bleeding or symptoms yet, your doctor may diagnose a Blighted Ovum by your 6th-8th week you have slow rising HSG levels and no fetal pole, or empty gestational sac, on ultra sound.
What happens during an early pregnancy failure?
The symptoms are pretty similar to an early miscarriage. However, you are only going to expel a gestational sac and accumulated tissue, no fetus/embryo or possibly a very underdeveloped one that you likely may not even notice. Again, a D&C is optional or you may wait and ride it out. Some women find the "riding it out" process to emotionally and physically draining and just want it over with.
My doctor said it wasn't really a baby anyway...????!!!!
First of all, if a doctor EVER said this to me I would stand up and march right out of their office just after I released a few words in the calmest manor possible. Second of all, what do they know!??! Each woman falls in love with her soon to be baby regardless of the kind of loss it is from the moment she gets that positive pregnancy test. A loss is a loss! You have every right to be upset. Don't let anyone, not even the highest paid doctor in the world, tell you something like this without giving them your two cents!
Ectopic pregnancies are extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal! It is when a fertilized egg attaches itself somewhere outside of the uterus. Usually in or around the fallopian tubes, but in in rare cases can also be found anywhere in the abdomen area, on the ovaries or even on the cervix. This happens in about 1 in 50 pregnancies and are usually discover by the 8th week of pregnancy. Some cause pain early, some do not cause pain until later weeks. You may never know exactly what caused your ectopic pregnancy but a damaged tube is definitely the culprit. I experience this once before and I pray to never have to go through that pain ever again! If you're reading this and suspect you may be having an Ectopic Pregnancy see your doctor ASAP!
Classic Signs and Symptoms of an Ectopic Pregnancy
- Light Vaginal Bleeding
- Nausea and/or Vomiting with pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Sharp abdominal cramps
- Pain on one side of your body
- Becoming dizzy and/or weak
- Pain in your shoulder, neck, or rectum
- If the fallopian tube ruptures, the pain and bleeding could be severe enough to cause fainting.
Apparently I had gotten pregnant in December of 2013, but since it was ectopic, I assume my body didn't register the pregnancy and I had "break through" bleeding right on time for my January menses leading me to believe it was an actual period. Two weeks after a long and heavy period, which is extremely abnormal for me, I started spotting and having these terrible sharp pains on my lower left abdomen and rectum along with nausea and heartburn. This was a pain like I've never felt before and I knew something just wasn't right. I went to see a doctor at a small clinic since I was uninsured at the time. She took some samples and a urinalysis. During the pelvic exam she asked me maybe 3 times over, "You've never had any children?". I kept wondering why she would ask the same question over and over. Like she didn't believe me and saw something suspicious during the exam. Without even giving me results for anything or telling me what she suspects could be the problem she suggested I go to their family planning center and get checked out further. This left questions in my mind. The next day I decided to take a pregnancy test. I couldn't wait to get home so there I was...in the Walmart bathroom waiting for the inevitable "not pregnant". There's no way. After all I did get my period, were my thoughts at the time. Well to my surprise it was positive. I immediately called my boyfriend at work and said, "I'm pregnant, but I think something is wrong." He agreed we should go right to the emergency room and get it checked out since the pain was just getting worse and the spotting was continuing. After a long wait in the ER and an ultra sound and blood work, the ER doctor concluded I was about 6 weeks pregnant but it was not viable since they were unable to locate a sac and my HCG levels were lower than they should have been. They suggested I come back in 2 days to recheck my BETA's and get another ultra sound. Well, I didn't make it the two days. Before I knew it my boyfriend was rushing me to the hospital as I was in complete agony. Sweat was dripping from head to toe, the pains seemed to be shooting right through my bum up to my neck. Almost as if someone stuck a sword in me from the bottom and turned me into a shishkabob. I was nauseous, felt faint, and I couldn't walk without doubling over in pain. The ER took me right in, no waiting. I was hooked up to IV's and given meds to help the pain. They drew more blood and did another ultra sound. I was admitted and given a private room in the hospital. My amazing parents drove 2 hours from Jersey to the hospital in Philly where I was at to make sure I was ok. My wonderful boyfriend took off of work and stayed with me the whole time. Before the night was over the doctors on my case came to my room and gave me the news. I had an ectopic pregnancy growing right at the entrance of my left fallopian tube and was bleeding internally and would need surgery to remove both the still alive and growing embryo as well as my entire left tube. For a young 27 year old otherwise healthy female this was probably the most horrific medical situation that I've ever had to endure. After surgery I was angry, depressed, sad, and just had this overwhelming feeling of "this isn't fair!". Well, life isn't fair. Looking back at it now I'm just lucky I didn't die.
Risk Factors for Ectopic Pregnancy
- On birth control at time of conception
- History of surgery in the general pelvic region
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Reversal of tied tubes
- Use of fertility drugs or treatments
- Congenital abnormalities of the tubes
- History of previous ectopic
It is said that once you have an ectopic pregnancy you are at a higher risk to have another. Once you have an ectopic and you are pregnant again, you should see your doctor immediately for early blood work and scans.
What are my options for treating an ectopic pregnancy?
Laproscopic Surgery - Depending on how far along you are and how much damage has been done to the tube, typically laproscopic, or key-hole, surgery is usually recommended. If you have a ruptured or severely damaged tube you will likely need surgery to removed both the growing embryo and tube. Recovery is quick and your HCG levels drop within two weeks.
Medication - In some cases doctors may give you a shot of medication that will stop the development of the embryo and it will then absorb into your body. This process drags out a bit, but for some, the benefits outweigh the risks and complications.
Will I ever get pregnant again and have a healthy full term pregnancy?
Many women go on after ectopic pregnancies and 1 remaining tube to have a full term pregnancy and healthy babies! Some may take longer than others and some may go through a while lot more losses and possibly other ectopics. But keep in mind, the world of medical technology is growing! You do not need both of your tubes to have a successful pregnancy. IVF is an option even for women who have no tubes left at all. But take it slow, don't rush into it! Take whatever advice your doctor gives you regarding a time frame for trying to conceive again.
What was your treatment?
How did you and your doctor choose to treat your ectopic pregnancy?
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So When Am I able To TTC Again?
Typically you should go with your doctors instructions depending on the extent of your loss and the procedures taken to correct it. Most will recommend at least 2 cycles or three months. But it is up to your doctor's discretion. You also want to make sure you are not just physically, but emotionally ready to try it again.
My Significant Other Acts Like Nothing is Wrong!?
Relax...he is probably hurting just as much as you. Men and women handle things differently. As a man he is expected to be the supporting strong type. He wants to be there for you but at the same time isn't sure how to cope with his own feelings. He wants to be there for you and support you but at the same time he is also hurting. I know it might be hard and yes, you were the one who had to endure all of the pain, but if at all possible try to meet him halfway. Give him the support you expect from him. I've heard of so many stories of relationships being torn apart because of a pregnancy loss. If anything, it should be an event to bring you closer.
How do I tell my family and friends?
The thing about early pregnancy loss is that more than likely you haven't told anyone yet. So in reality, if you don't want anyone to know, no one has to know. But honestly, it may help you cope better by telling loved ones and being able to talk to them about it. If you have already blurted your pregnancy out to the world and you leave people wondering "What happened?", let them wonder! My point is you do not have to discuss anything with anyone if it makes you uncomfortable. You may worry about what people will say or what they will think. To be quite honest it really isn't anyone's business but yours and your significant other's. Just like I am doing now, you will tell people what happened when you are ready! It does help if you talk about how your feelings. Getting everything off of your chest and even crying it out a little bit may help you move on with a quicker recovery both physically and emotionally.
How is my life going to change?
Let's face it...Mother's Day, Baby Showers, other women's pregnancy and birth announcements. Even Christmas and other holidays. It is going to be tough! You will always look at these situations and say, "That should/could be me." or "I was supposed to have my baby around for this holiday." It just plain old stinks...but you get along with it. The pain never goes away or hurts any less, it just gets easier to deal with. You may even feel some sort of way if no one wishes you a Happy Mother's Day. What's that? You want my opinion on this matter? HeHe! If you have ever carried an embryo, fetus, or any type of cells that would eventually form into a human being in your womb you wear the strong title of being "Mommy"! Plain. and. simple! And to be quite frank, being a Mom to an angel baby is the hardest just because of the simple fact you had to give your baby back to God! So Kudos to you, my dear!
How can I get the support I need?
If you are uncomfortable or feel like no one around you will understand and don't want to talk to anyone about it who doesn't understand there are so many fantastic support groups out there. I have a wonderful group of ladies on Facebook who have been my rocks since the week after my Ectopic Pregnancy and tube removal as well as my miscarriages. Groups like this give you the opportunity to discuss your fears as well as joys with women who understand where your coming from because they have been there before. These groups are filled with supportive and caring ladies who are there to give advice, be that digital shoulder to cry on and share your joy when you finally get that BFP! In this one particular group you will find women going through the same or similar situations you are. Even if you are afraid to speak out about your situation, you can read through the feeds and possibly get the advice your looking for without asking any questions. I strongly suggest becoming a part of a group of your choice when you feel ready as it is quite therapeutic. Whether you find one in person or on the internet they are a world of help! Hang in there sweetness. Though it may feel like it, you're not alone! You will be more than surprised at the amount of women seeking and giving support after early pregnancy loss. Personally I am so grateful for these lovely supportive women who always have the right things to say and the best advice possible.
There is plenty of support available to you!
- Ectopic Pregnancy Support Group
This is a women-only group that offers support to women who have had an ectopic pregnancy, are going through one or are concerned that they're having one. It's a safe place to vent, grieve and ask for the support you need....