***Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational use only and is only a representation of MY experience. Please seek medical advice and attention from a licensed professional if you are experiencing a miscarriage.
It’s Been One Month
It’s been exactly a month since I gave birth, 30 weeks too soon. We are sitting in the full moon energy of Aries. This baby at full term would have been born under the Aries sign. I just ovulated today, with confirmation from that clear stretchy cervical mucous, serge of creative energy, slight right ovary pain that I get with each egg I release and synced with the full moon. This is an indication to me that my body is healing.
There’s many reflections and contrasts happening for me today. I feel like I’m cracking and inching out of the deepest initiation I’ve ever experienced. There are so many new parts of me that I recognize but that feel so different. I’m meeting myself with so much compassion which has been appreciated. I wasn’t expecting to ovulate for a long time. I had forgotten what this ovulatory energy felt like. Clarity, focus, vibrant, zest for life, succulent, free and clear.
Though I grieve the loss that happened only a month ago, I feel renewed and thrilled to witness this transformation in my body as I begin to relearn her rhythm with curiosity. I am shedding and rebuilding. Releasing and renewing. Grieving and excited. Surrendering and trusting. Once again, a reminder that with darkness comes light. There is no linear path to healing.
As I share my story of miscarriage through social media and talking to loved ones, I realize I am not alone. You are not alone. One in four people will experience a miscarriage. That is a huge number and one we do not talk about enough.
I’ve taken time to process all that has happened and have learned so much through this journey. I wanted to put together a resource for others to refer to while trying to navigate miscarriage. I went into my miscarriage blindly. I had no idea what to expect. I had supports that not everyone has access to such as my background in nutrition which allowed me to nourish my body appropriately while healing, being supported by a doula through the actual miscarriage and having the follow up support of an early pregnancy loss nurse from a clinic in Edmonton. If sharing my learning can help just one person navigate the rocky waters of miscarriage, then this blog post is worth it.
Learnings From My Miscarriage
***Some of this information is from my own lived experience and some is obtained from resources such as the Early Pregnancy Loss Program in Edmonton, AB.
- Miscarriage can happen fast. My bleeding started as the faintest spotting at 8am and turned into gushes of bright red blood by 7 pm.
- Miscarriage can not always be explained. Don’t blame yourself.
- Miscarriage is much more than just bleeding. Depending on how far along your gestation is, you may pass blood (light to dark brown, cherry red to ruby red and everything in between) blood clots or birth the tissue of the pregnancy which can range in size (mine was the size of a chicken egg, 4 to 5 cm wide. It looked like a little heart, sac filled with fluid which could not be seen through).
- Not every women will birth the fetus on their own, sometime medication or a D&C procedure is required from a medical doctor. This type of birth is beautiful too.
- Cramping can start and stop randomly and can intensify far beyond period cramps when your uterus is cramping and cervix is dilating to birth all the tissue.
- Miscarriage is birth. When your body is trying to birth the embryo sac, placenta and fetus you can feel the instinctual movements, noises and impulses of your body take over. Cramping turns into contractions.
- Contractions may be felt in your uterus, low back, hips and legs.
- Contractions can cause you to have very loose and fast bowel movements.
- Blood clots while miscarrying can look freaky, however are very common. They can range in size from a coin to the palm of your hand.
- You may feel faint while miscarrying from the blood loss, shock and also from the cervix pre-maturely having to open to let our clots and tissue. When I first had the gushes of blood come out of me I was so faint I had to crawl onto the floor so I didn’t fall over. I ended up going to the emergency room which is where the doctor confirmed the miscarriage by ultrasound (there was no heart beat).
- Miscarriage can sometimes require medical attention. Heavy bleeding during miscarriage can require medical attention. Heavy bleeding is considered soaking through 4 maxi pads in 2 hours.
- Bleeding can last 2-6 weeks post miscarriage. Mine lasted 3 weeks and I randomly had a little blood when I ovulated. Be gentle with your body. The more I did the more I bled, which was my body saying rest and slow down.
- No intercourse after miscarriage until bleeding stops (reduce risk of infection). It took me 3 weeks to feel ready for this. Intercourse after my miscarriage felt a little foreign to me (the tissue of my vaginal canal felt fragile). Again, be gentle with yourself and communicate openly with your partner about what you are going through.
- Use protection during intercourse until first period (prevent pregnancy as it is important to fully heal the uterus and replenish the endometrial lining before another implantation)
- Periods can be expected to arrive 6-8 weeks after miscarrying
- Once HCG levels are minimal (less than 10), the body will then trigger ovulation. My ovulation happened two weeks after I stopped bleeding and my HCG levels were at 10. The low HCG is what triggers ovulation again.
- Healing is not linear. Have compassion with your body and be gentle. You are not in a race to “heal faster”.
Supports for Laboring During Miscarriage
Miscarriage is birth. Even though I did not give birth to a full term baby, my body still went through a tremendous amount of work to be able to release the embryo, yolk sac and placenta. Depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are you may actually be birthing a visual fetus.
- Hydration – lots of water with ice or herbal tea
- Electrolytes- coconut water, chicken bone broth
- Quick energy foods – organic fruit or vegetable juice, apple sauce, granola bar, New Mama Energy Cookies
- Protein rich foods – chicken soup, stew, roast chicken, roast beef, Italian Meatball Soup
- Warming foods – teas, warming spices (ginger, cloves, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon), Peppermint Mocha Elixir, soups, stews, chili, roasted vegetables (Roasted Yams and Roasted Kabocha Squash)
- Pain medication – I resorted to Advil and Tylenol when the pain of the contractions got really intense.
- Maxi pads – these are a must. I wore maxi pads for 3 weeks. I had switched to liners a couple times and just when I thought I was done bleeding I would get a gush at the most inconvenient or unexpected times (aka the middle of the grocery store or standing in line at the bank), so back to pads it was.
- Heating pads – a heating pad and magic bag felt the best on my uterus
- Ice packs – I had a flat gel ice pad that I used on my low back and hips. I had a lot of back labor that responded well to the ice.
- Straddling toilet backwards – in the highest point of painful contractions, I straddled the toilet backwards with my pants off and put a pillow between myself and the back of the toilet. This allowed me to be supported by the pillow while also helping to open the pelvic diaphragm
- Pacing – slowly moving my hips back and forth while walking, using gravity to help release what I was about to birth
- Hot bath with Epsom salts – slowly sliding into a hot bath was like instant relief from the contractions. Epsom salts are high in magnesium which can help with muscle relaxation. I was able to have 30 minutes of no contractions which was pure bliss after 4 hours of intense pain. I was able to fall asleep for 20 minutes which gave me the strength to continue.
- Floppy face technique – the idea is that the mouth and the pelvis mimic each other. If you are able to keep your jaw relaxed and make “horse lips” by blowing through lightly parted lips, this can help to relax the pelvic muscles.
- Breathing techniques – lots of deep breathing and sometimes rapid breathing to get through the pain
- Texting with my doula – I am SO GRATEFUL to have had the support of my doula who provide me with some of these tips and for the emotional support to not feel alone while experiencing something totally foreign
- Back rubs from my husband – back rubs felt good on my low back in between contractions, but during contractions it was hands off
- CBD and wine (suggested but did not try)
- Gravol (suggested but did not try)
Nutritional Supports for Miscarriage and Postpartum Recovery
- B complex- supplemented + eggs (especially yolks), legumes, whole grains, most nuts (especially almonds), sunflower seeds, fish, meat, poultry, liver, kidney, brown rice, peas, rice bran, nutritional yeast, potatoes, dulse, kelp, oatmeal, prunes, dates, raisins, leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine, arugula, chard, collard greens, beet greens), asparagus, avocados, artichoke, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, currants, kiwi, strawberries, dandelion greens, mushrooms, blackstrap molasses, hemp hearts, chia seeds, spirulina, chlorella, chaga mushroom tea, matcha green tea
- Calcium- almonds, leafy greens, kale, chard, collards, asparagus, carob, broccoli, kelp, sesame seeds, salmon with bones, anchovies, sardines, dried figs, raisins, legumes, celery, blackberries, olives, Brussels sprouts, figs, blackstrap molasses, organic tofu, walnuts, hemp hearts, chia seeds, lettuce, liver, spirulina, tigernuts
- Iodine- dulse or kelp flakes, seafood
- Iron – lots of read meat, beef liver, blackstrap molasses tea (2 tbsp molasses in 1 cup hot water), nettle tea, cacao; liver, beets, borscht, figs, asparagus, fish, shellfish, eggs, cacao powder, 80%+ dark chocolate, leafy vegetables, spinach, chard, collards, lettuce, broccoli, prunes, raisins, almonds, cherries, hemp hearts, kelp, kidney beans, lima beans, lentils, millet, persimmons, pumpkin seeds. Cook with cast iron pans and eat iron with vitamin C rich foods increase absorption.
- Magnesium- fish, seafood, almonds, dark chocolate, raisins, peaches, raspberries, millet, lima beans, dried beans, legumes, bananas, brown rice, quinoa, leafy greens, watermelon, blackberries, avocado, olives, asparagus, hemp hearts, chia seeds, spirulina
- Potassium – fish, legumes, nuts, avocados, raisins, leafy greens, collards, chard, lettuce, celery, beets, asparagus, bok choy, bananas, coconut water, whole grains, potatoes, apricots, plums, dried beans, blackstrap molasses, pomegranates, strawberries, dates, figs, mushrooms, dried fruit, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, oranges, honeydew melon, watermelon, guava, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, persimmons, hemp hearts, spirulina, tigernuts
- Sodium- pink Himalayan salt or sea salt added to food, olives, celery and celery juice
- Vitamin D3 – supplemented + sunlight, cod liver oil, egg yolks, halibut, salmon, tuna, oatmeal, chaga mushroom tea
- Prenatal supplement
- Adrenal supportive herbs (OPTIONAL): ashwaganda, maca, schisandra, rhodiola, chamomile
- Womb care- nettle tea and red raspberry leaf tea, Elle Wellness Expecting Tea
- Warming foods – tea, homemade chai lattes, elixirs, soup, stew, chili, roasted vegetables; warm foods are easier to digest and help to rebuild the chi and blood flow in the body
Favorite Recipes While Healing Through Miscarriage and Postpartum Recovery
- New Mama Energy Cookies
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Dark Chocolate Cherry Chia Parfait
- Dairy Free Peppermint Mocha Elixir
- Blackstrap Molasses Tea (blackstrap molasses is rich in iron)
- Pink Electrolyte Lemonade
- Savory Breakfast Bowl
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- Italian Meatball Soup
- Sweet Potato Peanut Stew
- Beef Stew
- Beef liver and onions
- Roasted Kabocha Squash
- Roasted Yams
Additional Supports While Feeling the Loss
- Lots of water and fluids
- Emotion and body code clearing
- Reiki- energy work to the uterus and womb space
- Holding a ceremony or burial for your baby
- Being in nature
- Meditation for connecting with your baby’s spirit
- Maxi pads
- Heating compress for uterus and lower abdomen/back
- Heated blanket
- Early Pregnancy Loss Program: Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (780) 735-9712
- Pregnancy Loss Support Line – 1-888-910-1551
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Groups- http://postpartumedmonton.com/page6.html
- Hearing others stories of miscarriage and loss
- Stretching- gentle stretching and movement as you start to heal
- Uterus massage- gentle external uterus massage
- Positive affirmations
- Becoming educated and following accounts like @ihadamiscarriage on instagram
- Yoni steam (suggested, but did not try)
Infographics from @ihadamiscarriage on Instagram
|https://abedformyheart.com||A place to rest your grieving heart and let its truth spill outside the covers.|
|https://www.aheartbreakingchoice.com||Regardless of the fetal anomaly found, the decision to end a pregnancy is often a difficult one.|
|https://babysbreathcanada.ca||Five – one hour sessions for free Grief Counselling|
|https://carryingtoterm.org||A place for support when faced with a terminal prenatal diagnosis|
|https://carryyouwithme.com||Let’s create a community of love, support, remembrance and healing for those navigating life after pregnancy, infant and child loss.|
|https://www.climb-support.org||Centre for Loss in Multiple Births|
|https://www.compassionatefriends.org||The Compassionate Friends of Canada – Supporting Family when a Child Dies|
|https://endingawantedpregnancy.com||Support for parents ending a pregnancy after prenatal or maternal medical diagnosis|
|https://grievingparents.net||Surviving Loss as a Couple|
|https://rtzhope.org||Transforming the culture of silence and isolation around pregnancy and infant loss|
|https://www.missfoundation.org||A Community of compassion and hope for grieving families|
|https://mymolarpregnancy.com||Incorporates information, links, references and a number of interactive web features for women who have lost a pregnancy due to a hydatidiform mole|
|https://www.nationalshare.org||Serves those who have experienced the death of a baby due to early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or in the first few months of life.|
|https://www.october15.ca||Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness day|
|https://www.pailnetwork.ca||Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network|
|https://www.plida.org||Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance – Supporting those whose work supports bereaved families|
|https://stillstandingmag.com||Surviving child loss and infertility|
|https://pilsc.org||Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Centre|
Please know you are not alone in what you are going through. Miscarriage can be scary but it can also help you see how incredibly intelligent your body is. Miscarriage has given me a new found appreciation for my body. Be gentle with yourself, listen to your body’s messages and symptoms and give yourself compassion as you heal. You are strong. You are worthy. You are resilient. You are enough.