It’s hard to believe it’s only been 12 days since I miscarried my twins at 17 weeks pregnant. I miss them. Every day. I’ve been filling the hole in my heart with the outpouring of love I’ve received. And I’m filling the emptiness in my gut with chocolate.
Miscarriages are horrible at any stage, but miscarriages during the second trimester carry with them their own unique sadness. I had felt my babies move. I had felt one of them kick. I was clearly “showing.” I knew their sexes. My water broke. I was dilated. I was induced.
But I left the hospital without my babies.
It’s only been 12 days yet so much has happened to me in that time, both physically and emotionally. As I begin to be reunited with my pre-pregnancy body, I didn’t want this time to pass without sharing what exactly my body has gone through since my second-trimester miscarriage.
There’s never a time when that feeling of having a “pit in your stomach” rings truer than after a second-trimester miscarriage, quite possibly because you do now — literally — have an empty belly. Having felt both my babies move and one of my babies kick once before I lost them, only to return home from the hospital childless, left me empty, on so many levels.
Christmas morning was awful. I awoke to engorged and painful breasts because my milk had come in. Not only was this physically very painful, but it was emotionally ravaging, and it felt like a cruel, cruel joke. Here was my body, ready and capable of doing what it was intended to do, but there were no babies to feed. Not all women who suffer through a second-trimester miscarriage will have their milk come in. I, unfortunately, was one of the few who did. The awful pain that eventually turned into severe discomfort kept me from being able to sleep on my sides and from showering properly, as I wasn’t able to lift my arms over my head because it hurt too much, nor was I allowed to let hot water run over my boobs, as that could further stimulate milk production. I didn’t begin to feel full relief until seven days later.
The first night this happened, I was still in the hospital. When I rang for the nurse, she checked my temperature to make sure I wasn’t developing an infection. I wasn’t, luckily. The night sweats, she said, were caused by hormone surges and fluctuations. Now that my babies were gone, my body was re-balancing itself. My night sweats lasted for eight nights.
I was told upon release from the hospital to watch out for severe cramping and return immediately if I experienced it, as it may be a sign of hemorrhaging. My cramping never got severe. It remained mild for a few days, has since lessened even further, and is all but gone now. My doctors told me the cramping is from my uterus returning to its non-pregnant state.
Along with the cramping, I was told to watch for heavy and/or dark bleeding. I’ve also been spared from this. My bleeding has been light since my miscarriage 12 days ago, and has gotten even lighter the past two days. I was informed it would likely last up to two weeks. This bleeding is very different than period bleeding, in color, in flow, and — in excuse my candor — smell. It doesn’t smell like period blood at all, but I have nothing to compare it to.
It’s a strange feeling when your pregnancy symptoms subside. The first I noticed disappear was my every-two-hour need to eat. I’m pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy appetite.
Hearing Pulse In Your Ears
I woke up to this the first morning I was home from the hospital and I thought I was dying. The shwoo, shwoo, shwoo of my pulse was so loud in my ears that I thought for sure I was going to die of an aneurysm. I called my doctor immediately and I was told not to worry about it, that the increased blood supply that comes with being pregnant is still with me but now that it’s not being directed to my uterus for the babies, it’s simply flowing throughout my body. It went away within a week, as I was told it would.
My facial skin had gotten less oily during my pregnancy, and my chest had gotten quite rashy. Both concerns were quelled early on when my doctor told me skin changes during pregnancy are very normal. After my miscarriage, and within hours, the redness on my chest lessened. And about a week later, my oily skin began returning.
Less & Slower Peeing
17 weeks pregnant means I was urinating frequently and powerfully. My growing babes were placing a lot of pressure on my bladder and I was drinking just over a gallon of water a day (as instructed by my doctors for a twin pregnancy), so needless to say, I was in the bathroom often. With the babies gone, so was the pressure. And I returned to my normal 8+ glasses a day, so I haven’t been peeing as much or with as much force.
Pain When Sitting
I have a retroverted uterus, which I’ve been told is quite common (about 40 percent of all women do), and that it had absolutely nothing to do with my miscarriage. However, with the return of my uterus to its pre-pregnancy state, there was a lot of pressure in my lower, lower back like just below my tailbone, but inside and not my tailbone at all (sorry, I’m not an anatomist; that’s the best way I can explain it…)
And the single worst body change since my second-trimester miscarriage has been my broken heart. With all these physical changes happening, I mourn the loss of my twins. I walk around the house, seeing the just-started nursery, putting away maternity clothes I have not yet worn, storing away highchairs for another time, and aching to hold my babies.