The Spring of Discovery and Loss: Miscarriage #2

This is a continuation of Life Lately or The Spring of Discovery and Loss. It continued in a post documenting my first miscarriage and will now finish with my second miscarriage. In this post, I describe my experience with a medically assisted miscarriage. I wanted to offer that as a warning in case it’s too heavy for anyone to read right now.

Five weeks to the day after I’d started passing the first pregnancy, my friend Jimena posted a story on Instagram that shattered my heart. She had already announced her pregnancy, which was bittersweet since we both had babies in September 2021. But this post was a series of pregnancy tests opened up, with a caption about taking all the pregnancy tests to confirm pregnancy.

I realized that it wasn’t the fact that she was pregnant that knocked the wind out of me – it was something about the specific mentioning of the pregnancy tests. I’d taken SO MANY TESTS and never had a result that gave me peace of mind either way. That night I asked Justen to go get me a pregnancy test so I could see a definitive result and experience some closure.

So imagine my  complete surprise when that test came back positive. This time, the results were very clear. The test lines were coming through with no question, doubt or hesitation.


I’d only really started to process my miscarriage, and suddenly I was staring at positive pregnancy tests again. This time, I got in touch with the OB department right away. Because I hadn’t had a period between my miscarriage and my test, they ordered blood tests and ultrasounds to try and date the pregnancy.

My blood results came back and my HCG level was 25,000. I breathed a huge sigh of relief because a number like that was what I’d hoped to see when I instead got a 33.

By the end of it, I felt like the whole thing had been a tug of war between yes and no, with even my psychiatrist-used-to-be-midwife looking at it at one point and saying “is it abnormal? yes. Is it diagnostic? no.” That said, I’m going to give a timeline.

March 6: Beginning of miscarriage
April 10: Early Result Postive
April 25: Blood test:  25,0000 HCG
April 26: Transvaginal Ultrasound results saw a gestational and yolk sac but no fetal pole. Was told to come back in 2 weeks but that fell during our trip to Disneyland, so I had to wait until we got back. This, to me, told me something was wrong or off. I didn’t think I could be as early as they said that I was. But… what do I know.

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May 6: Blood test: 35,722 HCG (it didn’t even double in 10 days, which was suspicious)
May 14: We left for Disneyland, and I started bleeding. Light spotting, never really enough to fill a pad and mostly in the morning.
May 18-19: Bleeding picked up a little bit, but was still more present in the morning and only present when I wiped.

May 20: Transvaginal Ultrasound. As I laid there, I kept wondering if they say anything during the ultrasound. How would the guy tell me that all of that bleeding was the result of miscarrying, that he saw nothing new or even nothing at all? and then I heard the printer go and he showed me a picture of a fetal pole. Somehow in the midst of nearly a week of light bleeding and weird HCG numbers and stuff… I’d grown something. Without a heartbeat. A doctor came in and told me that a small number of cases like these resulted in healthy pregnancies, but I’d need to come back in 2 weeks to see if there was a heartbeat.

IMG 2016

At this point, it had been almost a month since I’d seen that definitive pregnancy test and 2.5 months since the first one. I’d thought I’d done a pretty good job at keeping my peace and being realistic but hopeful… and I left that appointment feeling like I had broken. I had to wait another 2 weeks.

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May 21: I’d scheduled an initial prenatal with a new midwife and figured I’d keep the appointment just so I could meet her and feel less alone in it all. She was AMAZING. She walked in and said hey there’s one more thing we can try. It won’t confirm viability but it could confirm failure. Another HCG test. We talked about options for if I was miscarrying and she said that she was concerned that I’d been bleeding for so long without passing anything of significance, but we’d talk about that when the time came. So I went to the lab and got my blood drawn.

May 22: Blood test: 7,500 HCG. I cried tears of relief. I was miscarrying, and it was obvious. I’d begged for a blood test during the first pregnancy and was offered one by my new midwife. The very thing I struggled to get to prove that something was wrong was offered to me to determine the same thing. My midwife called that afternoon and asked if I’d seen my results. I thanked her over and over for helping me not have to wait 2 weeks in limbo to only have my heart shattered.

My bleeding was still spotty and light and she talked to me about my options. Initially, I’d said I wanted to just let my body pass it on its own but suddenly I just wanted it all over. We talked about the medication options (mifepristone and misoprostol)  and the success rates of doing them together vs just the misoprostol. I decided to take both, meaning I went into the clinic for the mifepristone and would take the misoprostol 24-48 hours later in the comfort of my own home.

May 24: Beginning of medical assistance for my miscarriage

The NP who administered my mifepristone told me to get comfortable before I took the misoprostol. To have comfort foods and comfort people and shows and just…. try to stay comfortable. She prescribed me vicodin and an anti-nausea pill and was so kind to me while I cried.

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On the drive home, I felt the most uncomfortable sensation between my legs. I couldn’t even describe it, but it was so… uncomfortable. Not painful, just really uncomfortable. I waddled up our driveway and into our house and said “I need to get on the toilet immediately.”

As soon as I sat down, a huge clot passed into the toilet. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen, so I did what any sane and rational person would do. I assumed it was the passing of the pregnancy and dug it out of the toilet. Eventually I washed away enough of the clot until I found something I convinced myself was the pregnancy and put it in a bag to ponder later.

I had NO IDEA that this was not the only clot I’d pass, but at that point I decided that I wasn’t going to dig anything else out of the toilet.

May 25: Misoprostol

The next afternoon, I took the misoprostol. You put the pills in your mouth and let them dissolve for 30 minutes. 45 minutes after putting them in my mouth, the cramping and bleeding began. It was then that I remembered why misoprostol sounded so familiar. I had decided on misoprostol as my first choice form of induction when I was being induced with Madeleine. It felt really weird to be using it for… the same reason? but a much different outcome.

I laid in bed, listening to an audio book and feeling absolutely miserable. I kept having to waddle to the bathroom to pass clots. I tried the OTC pain meds and eventually asked for a vicodin because I was in so much pain.

Two hours later, and the clots and cramps had slowed down. I still had some heavy bleeding and would pass some clots over the next few days, but the physically hard part was over.

All week, I’d been listening to John Mayer’s “Emoji of a Wave.” While I looked at the picture of whatever I’d grown, when I waited for test results, when I waited for all of this to happen.

“They’re draining out the wishing well,
It breaks my heart.
Oh honey, it’s just a wave
and I know that when it comes I just hold on until it’s gone.”

and that…. is basically what I did. It’s been nearly 3 weeks and I’ve finally been able to stop wearing pads or period underwear. As I shared in the first post about this season, it feels like this chapter is closed. The story, the ripple, isn’t contained to a chapter, but it’s passed.

I am so sad. So deeply and unbelievably sad, in ways I have never known. But I am also so grateful to have two wonderful little girls to hug and love and cry with. Madeleine watched me take the tests, she asked me questions about them and my doctor’s appointments. She saw the clots in the toilet and I reassured her I was okay but sad. I let her express her sadness and ask whatever questions she needed to ask. Her gentle and sensitive spirit has been so soothing to mine these past few months.

June 3: Now I will begin the second half of the year much like the first half. I have two wonderful children. I am not and not planning on being pregnant. But now I carry two extra little twinkles in my eyes.



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