was sobbing unremittingly as she left me alone to get dressed, call my husband
and wait for him to take me to the other office, where a more kindly ultrasound
technician confirmed the initial result. The baby had stopped growing at eight
is nothing quite so horrible as losing a pregnancy. But one of the worst
parts—to add insult to injury—was having to decide what to do about it.
Because it was a missed
miscarriage – the type where you don't bleed or show any signs, where the
fetus simply stops developing – I had to decide how to get rid of it.
though, before you do anything, you have to be absolutelypositive the
pregnancy has terminated. (Some women have a tilted uterus and a doctor can't
find the heartbeat, but it's there.) Then there
are three options: Let it occur naturally, take a pill to expel it or have a
procedure to remove it.
To be honest, even though it's natural, the thought of allowing a miscarriage to happen on its own creeped me out.
I went home that day doing everything you're not supposed to do during
pregnancy—eating sushi, drinking wine and going into a hot tub, all to try to
induce bleeding, after all my experience
(with three more miscarriages) I highly recommend that
for any pregnancy beyond six/seven weeks, you should have a procedure.
To be honest, even
though it's natural, the thought of allowing a miscarriage to happen on its own
creeped me out. You don't know how long it can take. Some women still carry
their fetus for a few weeks. Second, once it does occur, it can be very
painful, bloody, and long—not to mention incomplete. Meaning, you'll have to
go for surgery anyway in the end.
Although taking a pill (misoprostol, cytotec) to terminate
is quicker than waiting for a spontaneous end, again, as above, it can be bloody,
painful and incomplete—and often ends in surgery anyway.
The first time I opted for a procedure, I was afraid of anesthesia,
so I opted for a "aspiration," which used vacuum aspiration to remove the fetus
while I was awake. It was a horrible sight.
The next time, I overcame my fear of going under, and had a
D&C, "Dilation and Curretage," removing the contents of the uterine and
scraping the lining, which many believe is good for future pregnancies.
Physically, the pain was minimal. Emotionally,it was devastating.
No matter what your OB-GYN says, I highly recommend everyone with a miscarriage after six or seven
weeks have a procedure done and test the "products of miscarriage." This
will determine if the fetus was chromosomally normal or abnormal, which will
determine your next steps. Especially if you've had a miscarriage before.
It's a horrible
experience all around, but if it happens to you, these are your options—and sometimes knowing what's ahead is a comfort in and of itself.