Inside: How a mom of one survived a missed miscarriage at 12 weeks. Her faith was her anchor that got her through the entire horrible process, from finding out about the miscarriage through waiting to naturally miscarrying and to recovery. She offers fantastic recommendations for recovery that any miscarrying mom can benefit from – whether you have a strong faith or not.
“I won’t be able to tell you about any findings I have in this ultrasound. I’m going to take a look around, then the doctor will talk with you.”
The ultrasound technician and I chatted about family vacations, how many years she’d been a technician, and other normal conversation topics while she was taking measurements of my baby that had stopped developing nearly 3 weeks before.
In all of the sadness of my missed miscarriage, that always stands out to me as one of the strangest sad moments.
That is, going through testing for a miscarriage, expecting the worst had already happened but also feeling like everything was completely normal.
I Had a Missed Miscarriage at 12 Weeks
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It was a big shock to us when I found out we were pregnant again on the day of my firstborn’s 1st birthday party.
We hadn’t been trying to conceive, I was still breastfeeding, and we expected conceiving our second would take over a year of actively trying like it did with our first. We were elated!
I had pregnancy symptoms very similar to my first pregnancy but with less intensity; I was tired, nauseous (but not as bad as my first pregnancy) and had tender boobs. All in all, the pregnancy felt very normal and was a gift that I cherished every day.
I typically put off the trip to the midwife until 12 weeks for my first prenatal appointment, so I was just enjoying (as much as one can) early pregnancy.
My husband and I were counting down the weeks until we could go and listen to our baby’s heartbeat for the first time after we got back from our family vacation at the beach.
How Did Your Missed Miscarriage Start? What Were Your Symptoms?
A few days after we had been on vacation, I started noticing brown spotting. But, I wasn’t too worried because everything that I read online said that brown spotting can be no big deal during early pregnancy.
I read that it’s bright red blood that you want to look out for. I tried to remain calm after I started having light cramping because I still hadn’t seen any bright red blood.
The next day, I called my midwife from back home to talk through what I was experiencing.
She confirmed that there can be numerous harmless reasons for brown spotting in early pregnancy so I didn’t feel the need to see a medical professional right away.
I can just remember thinking how convenient it must’ve been when God gave direct messages to His people in the Bible. I wished that God would tell me one way or another what was happening to my body and my baby. And, just them, God started to prepare my heart in some small way that soon I’d lose the baby.
We continued on with our vacation fun (shuffleboard and a stroll on the boardwalk) because I was still only having brown spotting.
My husband and I decided to go to the hospital that afternoon during my 1-year-old’s nap time so that she wouldn’t be awake (and upset because Mom wasn’t home) the whole time we were gone.
Can You Tell Us About When You Learned You’d Had a Missed Miscarriage?
We went to the emergency room that afternoon and this part of miscarrying was absolutely brutal.
There was something flat-out horrible about having to walk myself into the ER and sign myself in saying that I thought I was miscarrying.
I had to give two urine samples, have blood drawn, get an ultrasound, and have a pelvic exam. We waited 3 ½ hours before we were finally told that I was having a missed miscarriage. Our baby stopped developing around 8 weeks and my body didn’t catch the memo until 12 weeks.
We were discharged with the simple explanation that at some point over the next few days I would miscarry our baby.
I was never offered a D&C at all, but was instead explicitly told to wait for natural miscarriage.
“It will be like a heavy period due to the size of the fetus. All you’ll need are some pads and ibuprofen as needed.”
How Long Did Your Miscarriage Last?
The cramping and red bleeding that I had been expecting didn’t truly start until the next day. And, that doctor didn’t know squat because my cramps felt like full-blown contractions.
I distinctly remember asking my father-in-law for any and all pain relievers he had on hand. (Which, if you know me, I do not take traditional medication unless absolutely necessary.) The pain was coming on strong, and I didn’t want to feel it.
It was too much for me to bear the full pain and emotional devastation of my miscarriage.
But, regardless of pain medication, I felt every labor pain as I miscarried. It all felt exactly like delivering my first baby which was beyond traumatizing.
I could feel myself transitioning, the need to push, and then it was over. Just like that. My baby was gone.
I had light bleeding for a few days and sometimes felt tired, but really that was all.
How Did You Handle Telling Friends & Family About Your Missed Miscarriage?
My husband called his family who were awaiting our return at the beach house.
I texted my mom and asked her to tell my brother. I couldn’t handle talking on the phone at that point.
We also texted our church small group so that they could be praying for us while we were still away on vacation.
To tell the rest of our friends and family, I announced on Facebook that our second born child was born into heaven at 12 weeks old.
What Steps Did You Take to Recover Emotionally from the Miscarriage?
My counselor of the present and counselors of the past have encouraged me to try journaling but I always found it to be a bit awkward. What do I write? Do I put ‘Dear Diary’ at the top?
But mostly, I just felt like I had nothing to say other than, “this sucks.”
Well, let me tell you, something about holding a pen in your hand with a blank sheet allows your heart to flow out onto the pages. I’m not saying I would write anything beautiful or poetic but I did write.
I found words to express the groaning inside of me. Even if it was a simple, “I hurt today.”
Journaling through scripture and freestyle writing have been the biggest help during my grief journey after miscarriage.
2. Talking About It
Talking about my miscarriage (even if that was only through prayer or journaling) was very healing for me. It felt good to acknowledge my sweet baby’s presence in this world.
I have been touched by the many miscarriage stories that friends and family have shared with me because I told them about our loss.
And, the more that I’ve talked about my baby, the more that I feel at peace with the reality that he/she was loved by us here and is now being cherished in heaven. Everything feels more real to me and like it’ll be okay when I talk about my miscarriage.
3. Going Through a Miscarriage Book
I really benefited from going through a miscarriage grief book. It helped to have something to walk me through my grief on days that I didn’t know how to grieve or didn’t want to.
Here are two books to look into:
Did You Try to Get Pregnant Again?
No, we haven’t tried to get pregnant again.
We choose to leave our family’s growth completely in God’s hands after our faith-altering experience of trying to conceive our firstborn. My husband and I don’t prevent pregnancy in any way nor do we actively try to get pregnant.
And, honestly, this choice has taken a huge weight off of my shoulders during this season of healing after our miscarriage.
I’ve been relieved to not have to worry about when the right time to conceive again is or if I feel ready or if we’ll lose another baby or any of the myriad of things that come along with trying again after a miscariage.
I know that this way of family planning isn’t for everyone but it has given my husband and I overwhelming peace in this area of our life.
How Do You Feel About Your Missed Miscarriage Now?
At one year post-miscarriage, I am bittersweetly at peace.
Some days I still cry from the grief of missing the child I never knew.
Other days I am filled with joy at the thought of my child being held by Jesus and never having to face the pain of this world.
Some days I feel sad when I remember what age my child would’ve been or when I see other families with two young children with a small age gap like mine would’ve had. Other days I am enthralled with God’s sovereignty and His perfect plan for our family.
Overall, I am at peace. I am at peace only because of the work of God in my heart and because of the peace that I can have knowing that my child’s salvation was secure.
Kenzie lives with her husband and daughter in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She’s wrestled with infertility, survived a miscarriage, and is overjoyed to finally be a mama to her sweet baby girl she thought she’d never have. She especially loves helping moms who have had miscarriages find hope after loss.