When people think about miscarriage (if they take the time to think about it at all), most imagine bleeding. But did you know it’s possible to lose a pregnancy and not know it because your body doesn’t recognize the loss? Missed miscarriage stories are so important for loss moms going through the heartbreaking experience of missed, or silent miscarriage.
Pregnancy loss is unfortunately STILL such a taboo topic that parents experiencing pregnancy loss often don’t understand that there are different types of miscarriage, and what to expect when you miscarry varies depending on the type of loss and how far along you are in your pregnancy.
In this article, we’ll share missed miscarriage stories to help you better understand this particular kind of loss.
We also offer a healing tips to help you on your own missed miscarriage journey.
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A missed miscarriage is, in simple terminology, when a woman miscarries before her due date without her body acknowledging it.
This means that there are not usually any of the “typical signs” of miscarriage, such as blood flow, clots, cramping, or tissue passing.
Missed miscarriage is also called “silent miscarriage.”
When a missed miscarriage occurs, embryonic death occurs, but the body does not actually expel the embryo (American Pregnancy Association).
It’s unknown why the body does not present symptoms during some miscarriages. This is one of the reasons why missed miscarriage can be so confusing and shocking.
When signs of miscarriage aren’t necessarily evident, ultrasounds often catch parents unprepared. Knowing what to expect from a missed miscarriage can really help.
Because none of the typical symptoms of miscarriage present themselves during a missed miscarriage, symptoms of it are defined by what is not present:
- Lack of fetal heartbeat during a scheduled ultrasound
- Loss of pregnancy symptoms–some pregnant women experience loss of pregnancy symptoms when a missed miscarriage has occurred. Others, however, continue to experience pregnancy symptoms, as HCG levels can continue to rise (and cause early pregnancy signs) even after the baby has died. Please, we beg of you, do not freak out when you lose your pregnancy symptoms. Loss of symptoms between 8-14 weeks is normal. Contract your doctor if you’re concerned.
We know this sounds clinical, and we wish we had an explanation for why this happens.
But believe us, mama, when we say that if you have experienced a missed miscarriage, we understand that you’re grieving a very real loss even if your body doesn’t go through the usual signs of miscarriage.
Missed Miscarriage Stories: You Are Not Alone
Missed miscarriages account for about three percent of all recognized pregnancies and are a fairly common type of early pregnancy loss.
So while it sucks and it’s miserable, know that you aren’t alone.
Our founder, Katy, experienced a missed miscarriage in the form of a blighted ovum.
Katy’s blighted ovum story began when she walked into an ultrasound to find that her gestational sac was growing but her child was not. Baby loss in the form of missed miscarriage is something she wishes more parents understand before pregnancy.
Arden, another of our community members, experienced missed miscarriage, as well, and ended up taking Cytotec, also called misoprostol. Her misoprostol experience was terrifying, although we know many women who have had good, easier experiences.
Taking misoprostol, if it’s the choice you make, is much less expensive than having a dilation & curettage (D&C), a surgery to end the pregnancy.
After a missed miscarriage, if you are faced with the decision between miscarrying naturally, a D&C, or misoprostol, make sure to talk to your healthcare team extensively about your choices, and do your homework about misoprostol (more on this below).
More Missed Miscarriage Stories
- Angela’s story on the Infertile AF podcast
- Alex DiMatteo on the Life After Miscarriage Podcast. “The second she told me there was No heartbeat, my heart stopped beating.”
- Angela Gunn’s blighted ovum story on the Sisters in Loss podcast
- Cassie’s story on Hello, Warrior
Because missed miscarriages do not usually come with typical miscarriage symptoms, they may require medical intervention.
After an ultrasound or blood tests confirm a missed miscarriage, your doctor will likely give you three choices:
- You can wait to miscarry naturally;
- You can opt to undergo a surgical procedure known as a dilation and curettage;
- Or your healthcare provider might suggest misoprostol/cytotec (also know as the miscarriage pill).
During her crushing experience with missed miscarriage in the form of a blighted ovum, Katy underwent a D&C. To her, this felt like the easiest way to control a very uncontrollable situation.
Other mamas chose to take misoprostol, while still others wait to see if their body will miscarry naturally.
Pros and Cons of Missed Miscarriage Treatment
- Treatment option: Miscarrying Naturally
The pros of waiting to miscarry naturally include the fact that you will likely not be saddled with a potentially enormous hospital bill from a D&C surgery like Katy was. You can also miscarry in the comfort of your own home.
The cons include the fact that you could suffer an infection if your body does not miscarry on its own or if you have an incomplete miscarriage.
The risk here is that you may wait to miscarry naturally only to eventually have to have a D&C due to incomplete miscarriage.
- Treatment option: D&C
The pros of a D&C are that, like Katy, you can control the situation and have the pregnancy surgically removed. The doctor can remove all tissue and ensure that you have fully miscarried.
The cons of a D&C include high cost and the potential for Asherman’s Syndrome, which is when scar tissue forms in the uterus after the procedure.
- Treatment option: Misoprostol/Cytotec
The pro of the drug misoprostol is that it can loosen fetal tissue and your uterine lining allowing for your body to miscarry.
The cons, as Arden writes, can be overwhelming. The American Academy of Family Physicians’ definition of Misoprostol is “safe.” Still, if you read the drug information, you’ll see that misoprostol side effects can be VERY extreme.
Some women experience extreme bleeding and clotting after using Misoprostol–to the extent that they have to be hospitalized.
Coping with Missed Miscarriage
Coping with missed miscarriage can be incredibly difficult. You will likely be recovering from the sheer shock of finding out that you have lost your baby. Your shock and grief are incredibly valid.
As you process this shock and grief, please know that there are many ways to find solace, such as:
- Miscarriage support groups are a fantastic way to connect with other miscarriage mamas and learned from them. As you heal, you’ll find a community that knows your pain and will acknowledge your grief and loss.
- Journaling for miscarriage support is another way to begin to heal. Our very own journal can help walk you through the pain of miscarriage with prompts, areas to free write, and advice about handling your emotions and health in the wake of a miscarriage.
- Miscarriage books will help you navigate the miscarriage process, understand what to expect, and provide advice for helping you cope.
- Miscarriage memorials. After a death, we have rituals to memorialize the lives of people we’ve lost–memorial services, wakes, etc. But after miscarriage, we usually mourn privately and in silence. Miscarriage memorials give us closure and provide a place to place our grief.
If you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable talking to about your missed miscarriage, please consider reaching out to our Facebook community.
And, if you are actively in crisis, or would like to talk to professionals who stand ready to support you, reach out to Postpartum Support International.
They offer free, confidential support for pregnancy loss, and you can even join a support group (dads are invited to the support groups, too!).
However you decide to cope with your missed miscarriage, please know that you are not alone. No matter how many weeks pregnant you were, or when your baby stopped growing, your loss is valid.
What is your experience with missed miscarriage stories? Please share to help others feel less alone!
Sarah Creel, PhD, holds a PhD in English from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. When she isn’t editing, Sarah loves to read, travel, and host gatherings at the little cottage she shares with her partner, three cats, and one very silly dog. At Undefining Motherhood, Sarah brings new perspectives by shedding light on nontraditional ways of being a mother. In fact, one of her favorite things in life is being an aunt.