I distinctly remember the feeling of hearing “I’m so sorry” from the ultrasound technician, as she concluded her search for signs of life in my uterus. She didn’t want to deliver that news, and I didn’t want to be the recipient of it. It was so silent in the room, you could almost hear my heart break.
However, the truth is, it wasn’t her first time doing so. In fact, about 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and I bet you know someone or you are someone who has experienced the loss of a pregnancy just like I have.
Nothing about losing a pregnancy is easy. And while you always know there’s a chance it could happen to you, once you go through it, you discover there are a lot of difficult aspects you probably didn’t expect.
It’s important to know that you did nothing wrong. And it’s also important to know that it takes a lot of time to heal from both the physical and emotional pain.
I’ve had two miscarriages in the last two years (at 8.5 and at 10 weeks), and both times I’ve experienced different things I wasn’t expecting. And that second time was truly gut-wrenching as I had reasons to believe things were going well.
I wanted to share these unexpected happenings after miscarraige in the hopes it helps others feel prepared if they ever (regrettably) find themselves in the same situation I did.
5 Unexpected Things That Can Happen After a Miscarriage
1. Once the pregnancy is over, the unpleasant pregnancy symptoms can remain
After my first miscarriage, which ended with a D&E surgery (dilation and evacuation) at what would have been eight-and-a-half weeks pregnant, I couldn’t believe that my body continued to feel pregnancy-like symptoms. I had the same sore breasts and even mild nausea and a general unwell feeling that I had had before. Those same symptoms had previously let me know I was pregnant, but now were just painful reminders of what could have been.
Apparently it takes a while for the pregnancy hormone, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, which is made in the placenta), to leave your system, so yes, unpleasant symptoms can take time to subside.
I felt a little bit unwell for more than a week after I no longer had a baby in my belly, and I felt like that was a slap in the face in an already sad situation. Not to mention, I had some severe cramping for about a week after my D&E procedure both times as well.
Moral of the story: Don’t expect to wake up feeling back to normal, because there’s a lot of physical healing to do.
2. Get ready for your first period post-miscarriage, because it’s a doozy
I couldn’t believe that no one told me that when my period returned about six weeks post-surgery from the miscarriage that it would be the heaviest and longest period of my life.
Maybe this is TMI, but because it had been a while since my endometrial lining had had a chance to shed, there was a lot of blood to get rid of.
This post-miscarriage period lasted for more than a week and was incredibly heavy the whole time. It was a lot to handle, and it was not fun. The second time around, my first period after the procedure was a little less intense, but it was still an ordeal.
3. Just like after having a healthy baby, you could lose some hair after a miscarriage
A few months after my first D&E procedure, I noticed more hair coming out in my brush, and I also noticed my hairline looked a little patchy. This was similar to the postpartum hair loss I experienced after a successful pregnancy and delivering a healthy son five years ago. But that time I was ready for it—this time, I wasn’t.
Perhaps it was because of the loss of the pregnancy hormones in my system, or perhaps it was due to the trauma of being under light anesthesia for the D&E procedure, but I lost hair both times after my two miscarriages, and those hair-shedding phases were reminders that my body had been through a lot.
While I’m still working through some of that hair loss from the second time around, I have found a little help in some supplements, gentle hair care, and even scalp massage.
I didn’t need any battle wounds, but in addition to a broken heart, this unexpected hair loss became something I fixated on in the mirror day after day—and it was just another thing I wasn’t prepared for.
4. Everyone will want to share their miscarriage story with you
I’m so thankful that people in my life felt comfortable sharing their personal and painful miscarriage experiences with me after I shared mine (I was pretty open about it and wrote a whole blog post sharing my experiences after each miscarriage). There truly is comfort in talking about something like this, and it was healing to get it out there. That part I loved and deeply connected with.
5. But people will immediately start asking you when you’re going to try again
However, what I was not prepared for was the onslaught of immediate questions as to when I was going to “try again.” In fact, many people were on pregnancy watch for me just a couple months out, when truthfully, “trying again” was not on my mind. I still needed to take the time to grieve the loss and assess where I stood mentally from all the pain, and I didn’t love having to awkwardly tell people that when they would ask me.
Because I’m lucky enough to already have one son who is 5-years-old, many people liked to tell me that I needed to keep trying to get him a sibling. And while I agree that siblings are amazing blessings, I don’t agree with pressuring someone or assuming anything about how or when a woman may or may not expand her family.
Miscarriage is painful and emotional enough, and it’s better if we can support women, rather than pressuring them, while they’re going through the healing process.
It’s pretty common to go through a miscarriage, and I’m now someone who is in the repeat-miscarriage club. While I don’t know what my plans are for the future, I do know that I wanted to share my story in hopes that someone else out there won’t feel so alone.
If you have a miscarriage one day, please let yourself grieve for as long as you need. Let yourself heal for as long as you need. And be patient with your body and your heart, as they work through something incredibly tough (much tougher than you’d think). And I’ll be over here picking up the pieces and doing the same. Be well!