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As I mentioned yesterday, this is a sensitive and difficult topic. To my sweet (and expecting) or sensitive readers, you may wish to skip this series. While I believe it is important to be informed to a certain extent, we need to be so careful that our fear or concern over the future doesn’t steal the joy and happiness of the present. This goes for anything in life, but especially pregnancy.
Why this Topic?
I was found out I was expecting our first baby, Isaiah, in January 2006. I was not expecting to lose him before officially meeting him. It was one of the most traumatic and devastating things I have ever experienced. Afterwards, I was hungry for knowledge. I read every book our library had, visited many websites and read hundreds of personal stories of women who had experienced it and lived to tell about it (and there are many!). The Lord has been laying it on my heart to share my experiences so that perhaps I can be there for that hurting woman the way others were for me.
What is a Miscarriage?
When your baby dies in utero in the first/second trimester, it is considered a miscarriage. After that, it is referred to as a still birth. The medical term for miscarriage is spontaneous abortion, however, I never liked the term because ‘abortion’ implied to me that I had a say in it. Miscarriage symptoms are usually bleeding and cramping. Miscarriage is not often talked about, though more so today than before. It is surprisingly common, and most often, completely unexpected. Who plans to have one? The statistics say that 25% of pregnancies end with a miscarriage though the number is higher if you factor in women who miscarry at home or before they are sure that they are pregnant.
What Causes It?
I’m not a medical professional so anything that you read here is based on information that I learned in reading books and websites. Early miscarriages (13+/- weeks), in most cases happens because the baby isn’t growing correctly or there is some sort of genetic or chromosomal abnormality. Generally, there is no way to tell exactly what cause it and doctors consider it quite normal for a woman to have one or even two! Additional testing to determine causes isn’t usually done until a woman has had three miscarriages. In a small number of cases there are other reasons such as the pregnancy growing in the wrong place or an incompetent cervix but your doctor can help you rule these things out. As a believer, it is my firm conviction that God allows it to happen. We live in a fallen world and though it wasn’t originally part of His plan, He is in control of all things and therefore if it happened, it is because He allowed it. More on this later.
What Does Not Cause It!
Exercise, sexual relations, eating certain foods etc. do not cause miscarriage. I felt extremely guilty about the fact that I had eaten dozens of Cadbury Easter Eggs during the three months I was pregnant. I had read that chocolate may increase your chance of a miscarriage. My doctor assured me that it was not caused by eating chocolate. It may sound silly to some but once you experience that loss, you being to analyze everything that you may have done to have caused it. Try not to do that because in most cases, nothing you did caused it!
Could I Have Prevented It?
There is absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent it. If it was going to happen, it will happen regardless of your position, eating etc. I started spotting on a Sunday night. I went to work on Monday and Tuesday. I battled with guilt, wondering if I had stayed home and rested if perhaps Isaiah would have lived. This is not the case. Standing up, laying down, if it was going to happen, it would have happened anyway!
Am I Having A Miscarriage?
If you have stumbled onto this post by research because you suspect you may be having a miscarriage. I encourage you to call your doctor immediately. Bleeding (even light spotting), cramps, a gush of fluid, or anything else that seems unusual warrants an immediate call to the doctor!
For more information, check out this site: Pregnancy Loss. I actually just found this site after writing the series. It looks great and in depth for those of you who need or want to read more that just the basics of causes and such.
Healing After Miscarriage Physically has some great points if you are experiencing a miscarriage right now.
I invite you to read about our journey to healing in the rest of the series:
- Miscarriage Basics
- Isaiah’s Birth Story Part One, Part Two and Part Three (my personal loss)
- The Good Things
- The Grief Process
- Coping and Survival
- Helping Others: What Not to Say