What happened when I miscarried at home

Earlier this month, I shared that I was waiting at home to miscarry naturally. In all, it was a three-week wait. I knew at 10 weeks 4 days that something was wrong; had an ultrasound at 11 weeks 1 day that confirmed it; and passed the child and all the afterbirth at 13 weeks 4 days. During that time, I left our home once, and it was to drive 2 miles to the farm pick up where my children helped load, and then back home.

I treasure those 3 weeks. During that time, I thought of and talked about my little baby. Many friends brought meals and carpooled my children to activities. My husband missed out on a lot of his treasured prayer and study time to do chores and child duty. But, it was so worth it: my body did its work just as expected. It processed all the hormones, and when the time came to pass the baby, I was physically and emotionally ready.

Since so few women pass a miscarried baby at home without it being/becoming a medical event, I will share the details here. Just like the first time I miscarried, the baby came first. Little and brown and so beautiful. So beautiful. I gave the child conditional baptism and kissed him. The children all wanted to see, so they came to look, and we said a Hail Mary together. Then, I had a little box ready with mini blankets my daughters knitted for the occasion to nestle him in. Remembering from last time, I knew I had only about 5 or 10 minutes between the baby passing, and when the afterbirth (what the medical community calls the “products of conception” or “clots”) would start to come. I had passed the mucus plug a day earlier, and my water broke a minute before I passed baby, giving me just enough time to run to the bathroom to get ready to catch the little one.

So after the children left the bathroom, I texted a friend to ask if she’d come do bedtime as (sadly) my husband was out of town. Then I texted to tell my husband to come home. I got the waterproof pad, towels, and a knitting project I’ve been doing for a pregnant family member, and laid down in bed. I had placed the little baby’s box on the top of my husband’s dresser so I could see it. The bleeding started slowly; I texted my midwife to be sure I was remembering everything to do correctly; and I intermittently knitted and rested.

If you also are hoping or planning to wait out miscarriage naturally, I want you to read these next details, as I have found them on no other medical website, blog, or book (but I knew it because I have the best-ever homebirth attendant): The afterbirth of a miscarriage is very similar to birth. Your body has been building a placenta, which upon a full-term birth is as large as a dinner plate and up to 4″ thick! So, as I was 13 weeks 4 days, I knew it would be a lot, and it was. There was no problem with it detaching and coming out; my body had processed all those hormones over my 3 week wait and was dutifully contracting in what felt like a heavy period’s contractions (not nearly like either labor contrax or full-term afterbirth contrax, but still pretty rough!). But, after laying there for an hour or so and the blood coming slowly, I started to get up, and that caused a contraction which expelled a major portion, in several chunks, amounting totally to about the size of a softball. So, I laid back down. After this happened two more times, I got up to change the towels, and waited for more large “clots” to pass.

As I had miscarried at suppertime, my body was doing all this work overnight, so I woke up every 10 minutes. By midnight, I was exhausted, but kept trying to stay asleep. By morning, I needed a serious nap. Because pain-killers are also fever reducers, I decided not to take anything, but use a hot pad for relief. I wanted to be sure if I began to have a fever, which is a complication that would mean an ER visit, I’d notice it right away, not accidentally mask it.

Thanks be to God, an ER visit never happened. I had had people praying for me for three weeks, and I wanted more than anything to remain in the peace of our own home, and please, God, could you do that? He did. I stayed in bed for another day, pushed myself to go to Mass on Sunday (probably a bit much), and then pushed myself again to take the girls to their first day of school (again, ideally, being in bed for 4-5 days would probably have been best). I started having the “foul smell” complication, and upon texting my midwife, received tips for relieving this at home with hopes, again, of avoiding medical intervention. Because I had no fever, I wasn’t in imminent danger, and her tips worked to expel the retained tissue. God did it all for me!

In all, the scare of retained tissue and the discomfort of vaginal swelling were the only slight complications. I have peace: physically, spiritually and emotionally. As he asked me to, I texted my pastor after I passed the baby, and he brought our family to a Catholic cemetery on Sunday to bury the baby. Thus, this little one is named for the saints of: the day he passed, the day he was buried, and our wedding anniversary which happened during the three week wait. Baby John Augustine Hyacinth, pray for us!

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