Syi’s Recurrent Miscarriage Story

I was looking forward to Christmas 2022 with the excitement of a little kid–not because of the gifts I was hoping to receive, but because of the one I was going to give. Christmas 2022 was the day I was going to tell my parents that they were about to become grandma and grandpa.

Let’s just say things didn’t turn out as planned. I’m writing these words on what was supposed to be my due date and exactly one month after my second miscarriage.

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My Medical Miscarriage

I found out I was pregnant on November 12, 2022. I tested early and kept testing every day because five months earlier I had a chemical miscarriage. I had never felt this type of fear and anxiety before. I wanted to see a stronger positive pregnancy test each morning.

I wanted to see my first ultrasound, hear my baby’s heartbeat, feel the first kick. I wanted to welcome my baby into this world, into my arms, into our life.

To my delight, the test line kept getting darker and darker, until I got the much-awaited dye stealer. However, I also kept spotting. I had implantation bleeding a few days before the positive test, but the spotting never went away. I saw a bit of rust-colored stain on the toilet paper once or twice throughout the day. 

I contacted my doctor who said I should come in to get checked because it could be ectopic. It was too early though, and the OBGYN could only see a thickening of my uterus, nothing abnormal. She scheduled me for another ultrasound the following week. 

The technician who saw me that day said everything looked great. She could verify the pregnancy was in my uterus. There was a gestational sac with a yolk sac, but it was too early to see the fetal pole. She congratulated me on my pregnancy and said: “You did it!”

Yet the spotting continued and seemed to be getting worse, so I was scheduled for another urgent ultrasound.

The Second Urgent Ultrasound 

“Here it is,” said the doctor. “That flicker is your baby. But it’s very, very tiny.”

That was on December 9. I should have been 7 weeks 4 days, but the fetal pole barely measured at 6 weeks. The doctor kept saying I could just be earlier than I thought (I couldn’t, based on when I first tested positive). She said we like to stay positive around here (I prefer to be realistic, thank you very much).

I spent the next week researching everything I could find about my situation. The OBGYN who did my ultrasound gave me a printout of the image but no other details. The gestational sac looked smaller than what seemed normal based on other images I could find on Google, so I ended up researching the mean sac diameter to crown-rump length ratios. Turns out mine was in the non-viable range.

The following week, when the scan showed that the fetus had stopped growing at 6 weeks, 1 day, and the heartbeat was gone, I was not surprised. 

Instead, I felt numb. Intensely sad, but also numb. My doctor recommended that I wait another week to see if my body started the miscarriage process naturally, and if it didn’t, that I take the pill.

Waiting for Miscarriage

That was a very long week. To keep my sanity, I recorded a yoga class for when waiting for an inevitable miscarriage. It helped me to believe that something good might come out of this horrible experience and that at least I could create a resource that would benefit others.

If you are going through something similar, you may find these videos helpful:

Monday, December 19, 2022, I broke down crying in the bathroom at the clinic, then again sitting in the impersonal corridor outside the office of the nurse who handed me the Mifepristone (the abortion pill). 

I then had to sit in line at the pharmacy for nearly an hour to get the Misoprostol (Cytotec) and some heavy-duty Ibuprofen and anti-nausea medication.

My doctor said that I wasn’t going to experience much after the Mifepristone. It just breaks up the lining of the uterus to help expel the pregnancy tissue. After 24 hours or so, at a time of my choosing, I should take the Misoprostol together with the painkillers and anti-nausea medication. 

I was told that the Misoprostol causes contractions, and within an hour or so of taking it I should expect intense cramping and bleeding, kind of like a very intense period. If I were to soak more than two pads in an hour for a couple of hours in a row, I should go to the ER.

This didn’t go as planned either. The night after taking Mifepristone, I started getting cramps that were so intense I couldn’t sleep. I eventually got out of bed and sat down to do some computer work to keep my brain busy. 

When Medical Miscarriage Doesn’t Go As Planned

At around 2:30 a.m., I suddenly started feeling really nauseous and really dizzy at the same time. I tried to walk to the bathroom but got so dizzy I had to get down to the ground quickly to avoid falling. From there on, my memory of that night is kind of a blur. 

I crawled to the bathroom (luckily it was close by) where I alternated between sitting on the toilet with an upset stomach, feeling like I needed to throw up but not managing to, and shivering on hands and knees on the floor gripped by worst pain I have ever felt. 

Although I’ve never given birth to a child, I’m pretty sure that pain was very much akin to labor, just without the endorphins bringing pain relief or a healthy baby at the end of the ordeal. 

My body was in agony. I had no control over it. I was just bleeding, shivering, and hurting. I couldn’t go get the painkillers from on top of the kitchen counter. I couldn’t scream for help to wake up my sleeping husband.

After a couple of hours, I finally managed to get up off the bathroom floor. I put on a fresh pad, popped a painkiller, and collapsed on a cushion on the living room floor. Once the painkiller kicked in, I fell blissfully asleep, only to be woken up an hour later by another series of strong cramps, feeling very wet all the way down my legs. 

I rushed to the bathroom and a shocking amount of blood came out of me, together with large pieces of tissue. 

By the time my husband woke up at 6 a.m., the worst had passed. I was still in a lot of pain, but bleeding less. Since I had to wait another 5-6 hours before I could take another painkiller, I turned to yoga. I recorded my yoga practice because it helped me to think that I’m not alone.

Later that morning I messaged my doctor asking if I should still take the Misoprostol given my experience. I really didn’t want any more pills, but she said yes, I should still take it to ensure everything came out. I took the Misoprostol that afternoon, but this time I was prepared. 

I popped another one of those heavy-duty Ibuprofens and the anti-nausea medication. I turned the heat up to 80 degrees. I brought several cushions and blankets and an electric pillow in the bathroom and locked myself in there listening to Pema Chodron talk about grief. 

And yes, I did have some bad cramps and I did bleed a bunch, but nothing like the previous night. A couple hours later I felt ready to emerge from the bathroom and move on with my life.

The next day, however, I couldn’t walk properly. There was a weird pressure down there, and I could only awkwardly waddle. The following morning I finally dropped this large fig-shaped blood clot into the toilet and another large piece of tissue. 

After that, I was able to walk normally, and the pain started subsiding. It took a while to regain my core strength, and I created a couple yoga practices to help with that.

By Christmas, I only had some mild spotting. I felt physically back to normal, more or less. But the heart… the heart was a different story. I created another yoga class to help with healing the heart after miscarriage.

My Natural Miscarriage

After that horrible December, we took a few months off from trying. Then on May 21, voila! Another positive pregnancy test. 

To be honest, I was quite surprised because after my latest LHS surge I took the PROOV Confirm PdG test and it came out negative, meaning my progesterone levels were supposedly too low to have ovulated that cycle. Yet here I was, pregnant.

I contacted my doctor and started taking vaginal progesterone supplements twice a day. I had no spotting whatsoever, and my early pregnancy signs were stronger than last time. I had some nausea (no vomiting though), and I was hungry all the time and put on some significant weight, more than last time. I was sure this was it. This had to be it! I was pregnant on Mother’s Day of all days!

No False Hope, Please

Only that, at my first check-up at around 6 and a half weeks, my OBGYN could barely see a tiny little sac in there. Another ultrasound a few days later found a gestational sac, 3 mm in diameter. Nothing else. 

My doctor asked me to come back in two weeks to check again because by then there should definitely be a fetal pole. She said she still had hope. 

I didn’t. I wasn’t looking for false hope. I went directly to the scientific literature, and I couldn’t find any studies that showed unusually small empty gestational sacs this far along in the pregnancy that turned out to be viable–the only exceptions seemed to be due to incorrect dating. 

I was certain of my dates though, based on my LHS peak and when I first tested positive. My margin of error was one or two days, not one or two weeks.

My LHS levels continued to rise during those two weeks of waiting and my pregnancy symptoms kept getting stronger. So part of me started hoping against all odds that maybe, maybe there was a little miracle growing inside of me after all.

Then on June 19, 2023, exactly 6 months after taking that pill, the ultrasound confirmed the anembryonic pregnancy (also called “blighted ovum pregnancy”). I was supposed to be close to 8 weeks pregnant, but all I had to show for it was an empty sac, 5 mm in diameter. 

All I wanted now was to miscarry on my own. I really didn’t want to have to take the pill again or get a D&C. I went to get some acupuncture with this goal in mind, and I think it helped.

Natural Miscarriage Begins

I started spotting on June 21st and bleeding the next day. The first couple of days were just like a period. June 26th was the worst in terms of the pain. 

I had three intense contractions (with abdominal and back pain) that brought me to my knees, but they didn’t last long, and a regular strength Ibuprofen proved sufficient to manage the pain. 

I kept bleeding and aching for a few more days, but nothing like back in December. The pain was more emotional than physical. I really thought this was going to be it. One miscarriage is quite common, but two? Everything seemed to be contracting all at once. My uterus. My sense of purpose. My world.

The evening of June 28 I passed a strawberry-sized blood clot, and after that, I felt like the process was complete. An ultrasound two days later confirmed I had fully miscarried.

Beyond Miscarriage

My introduction to motherhood took an unwanted detour through the depths of loss and grief. I was supposed to welcome my baby into the world sometime around today. Yet here I am, having my first period after my latest miscarriage.

Perhaps what hurts most is not the past but the future. Perhaps the biggest trauma is not what happened to us in the past, but what we fear will happen in the future. 

After three losses, I know that if I’m ever going to have a child, I have to be willing to accept loss again, whether that happens in early pregnancy or beyond. I can’t control if and when my child is born. I can’t control their health, gender, or personality. I can’t control how long they live or what they choose to do with their life.

You, tiny sparks who graced this world for a few days or weeks, were not simply our losses. You were your own beings with your own destinies. Our souls, forever connected.