Themes, Dreams, and Nightmares

I’ve lost babies several ways. I was 20 weeks along with Casey. He’d implanted on a wall running down the middle of my uterus. We didn’t know I was broken, formed incorrectly from birth. We had no idea when we went in to that sonogram to learn his sex that instead we’d see a silent screen, still and lifeless, a baby floating motionlessly inside my womb.

I got pregnant a second time without knowing the whys or what ifs. My triple screen came back abnormal; I felt sure it would happen all over again. But Emily made it, and through the high risk struggle with her we saw a specialist who diagnosed my problem. A year after I had her I had surgery to try and fix my insides a bit and at least reduce my risk of losing babies in the second trimester.

A year after the surgery, I got pregnant again, and Elizabeth and Emma grew quietly together for nine weeks. I didn’t even know I had twins–I was scheduled for my first sonogram as soon as I got back from a trip overseas. I felt fine, happy and good and not even too sick. But on the flight home I stood to stretch, felt a little pop, and blood-tinged amniotic fluid gushed out. I spent ten hours crying on a plane, bleeding and scared and in despair. In the end Emma was lost, but Elizabeth remained and was born six months later.

I know a lot about these scenarios–late term loss, loss of twin–as it’s happened to me, and a few others, and I have been thinking about what needs to be covered in the book–the types of miscarriages the characters will have.

I think we definitely need the following pregnancy situations:

  • A blighted ovum, the most common genetic loss
  • A molar pregnancy, rare but I want to educate people to the signs
  • Repeat early miscarriages, with five or six losses
  • Premature birth due to incompetent cervix
  • Someone facing infertility after a loss (thanks to those of you who suggested this)

I think the miscarriage group will have six to ten members, but only maybe three will become primary characters. Those main three will come from the list above. But what other types of miscarriage should I consider for the others? I probably need five or so more situations. Tell me what you think.

24 thoughts on “Themes, Dreams, and Nightmares

  1. Deanna I was just wondering are you going to be speaking about losses after the baby is born? My cousin had severe pre-eclampsia w/ her 2nd pregnancy and was sent for an emergency c-section at only 24 weeks the baby lived for about 14 hrs. I’m thankful you are going to tackle Blighted Ovum’s that was my first m/c and some people especially drs. treat this very harsh like you shouldn’t care b/c the embryo stopped growing so early on. But it’s still very upsetting to the woman who was pregnant for weeks. I’m not sure about other m/c you should cover I’ll have to think on that.


  2. Yes, there will be at least one live premature birth to the woman with the incompetent cervix, and I think she’ll have had one before, but the stitch won’t have worked in the second. They can be tricky, as the stitch has to be very high. As we go along the characters start to form themselves. The hard part is balancing these losses, so that one doesn’t seem more devastating than another. Each one is weighted solely by the impact on the woman. It will be one of my challenges.

  3. Deanna, I had 2 healthy pregnancies, no complications, no problem getting pregnant and then when I was 28 I got pregnant after 1 month of trying. We were happy to be having a 3rd child. Everything was fine until about 14 weeks when I started spotting. We went to the Dr. and he said that the baby died at 12 weeks and that I was considered a missed abortion. I delivered at home the next day and went to the hospital. What was never explained is the frequency of secondary infertility. I have been trying for nearly 10 months to get pregnant again. Never have I had to struggle with the emotional roller coaster that is caused by actually “trying”. I am no longer nieve. I am just another woman trying to overcome and cope with secondary infertility. I pray for all women who have experienced any form of miscarriage or child loss. I wish you all the best on your book. Please include a section on secondary infertility. Our baby would be 3 months old. Thanks. Jen

  4. I agree most including me I have had the thoughts of “why is this woman taking a m/c so hard when at least she has children.” That was a real jealous state of mine after my m/c. I didn’t care they had a child regardless of what they had went thru I had been struggling for 3 years and still didn’t have one. I think most woman go thru that and I look back and think I wonder if someone looks at me that way. I hate that idea. I wish sometimes we could wear a “scarlet letter” so to speak to let others know that we aren’t just being cold hearted but we are proud b/c of what we went thru. I also think it’s a good idea like you said to try and not let one loss over shadow another. I know lots of people who said to me only a month after I m/c my first and my cousins baby who died the next “at least you didn’t have to go thru that”. I was shocked. Yeah I’m glad I didn’t have to but I still hurt too. I also find it a great idea to add how it’s not always the community who blow you off but your drs. as well. Some drs. find it no big deal that you m/c. I was told after my 2nd that it’s just luck of the draw and I would have a healthy one eventually. I switched immediately. yes it may have been just luck of the draw but I didn’t feel that I should be treated like everything was right and not run any test.

  5. Missed miscarriages are pretty common too. Where the baby dies early on, but your body doesn’t reconize it. So you go on for weeks, sometimes months thinking all is well and are stunned to know that the baby died so long ago. One of the big decisions at that point is whether or not to have a D&C. There is no right or wrong answer, but I know there are two strong feelings and sometimes women bounce back and forth between them:

    Some women cannot STAND the thought of having a dead baby in their body. The thought drives them absolutely nuts. The pain is so unreal.

    Others don’t want to let the baby go. They want to continue to carry it around until their body decides it’s over. And so they wait.

    To wait or not to wait? Natural miscarriage or D&C?….I believe it’s a common struggle. And after it’s all done, you worry about future fertility…incompetant cervix…did you make the right decision when you chose natural or you chose the D&C? You always second-guess yourself.

  6. Oh, there’s also ectopic…if you’re looking for some more situations. And after my D&C we found major genetic abnormalities and had to go through genetic testing and genetic counseling because I am a carrier of inverted chromosome 10. That might be another good filler situation…someone who is YOUNG, yet having to go through genetic counseling. Most don’t worry about it until they are over that “magic” age, but it happens. Some have to go through all of that in their 20’s. And it can scare the fire out of you worrying about having a child with severe developmental disabilites or delays. That would definately be a fear that could come out somewhere in a support group.

  7. Deanna,
    I have been frequenting your website for over 3 yrs now and it has helped me deal with my 2 losses. Both late 1st trimesters, which I decided to have the D&E. With my 1st loss, I never bled right after the D&E and though this was greeat, i can move on. 1 week later though “all hell broke loose”. I bled so heavy and passed very large clots. Basically what happened was after my D&E a tiny clot formed over my cervix preventing blood from leaving. After a week it all came out and the pain was indescribable. Talking to other woman the same thing happened to them. I wish my doctors and hospital told me that could have happened. Here we opted for the D&E so as not to go through all that but we ended up anyway. I think women should know that this could happen and if it does it passes in a couple of days.
    Deanna, thanks for all your help

  8. I just wanted to say that I think its great that you are doing this. I am especially pleased to see that you are including molar pregnancy as a topic. I recently had a molar pg and found that there is very little published information on the topic. Thank you for including it in your book.

  9. How about a stillborn at term?

    I think you should include counts of natural miscarriages at home and D&Cs.

    Any thought as to how the book will end? Will you venture into the terror of trying again and subsequent pregnancies or will this maybe be a separate sequel? I think it would also be great to do something that covers the terror and loss of joy and innocence that comes with pregnancy after a loss.

    I’m looking forward to reading your book! You’ll have to do a blog book tour for promotion once you’re published.

  10. My miscarriage was caused my a thin uterine lining. I had two miscarriages both in November of each consecutive year. My best friend who lives out of town also miscarried twice in the same months. A big coincidence, but hers was never diagnosed. I went on to get treatment, and had a healthy baby, she never did. I now have a 7 month old and our friendship has never been the same. It is very distant as a result. She’s considering adoption and won’t even meet my baby. Before I found your website, the doctors would not test me extensively. As a result from chatting on your boards I learned to see an RE and get tested. I would never have know had it not been for your site, so thank you!! Also, the book is a great idea.

  11. Deanna,
    I am so happy you will write a fiction book on all of our experiences! My support group is sometimes all that holds me together. I lost my son at 18 weeks this last February. My triple check also came back abnormal and they sent me to have an ultrasound. There, the doctor coldly told us that our child was dead. Stunned and destroyed, we went to the hospital to deliver our son. My life has never been the same. We tried again and were scared but thrilled to discover we were pregnant again this July. My obstetrician sent us for blood work to test my HCG levels but they found them to be dropping daily. I miscarried that baby on August 15. My husband and I went to a pregnancy specialist who sent me for an extensive blood test who discovered that I have a protein S deficiency and lupus. He said that the protein S deficiency caused my miscarriages. I just wish that my original doctor would have ran these tests so that I would have been more prepared for the second miscarriage. I am meeting with a hemotologist to keep this from happening again. I can only hope that with these new doctors’ help, I will be able to carry a baby full term. I look forward to your book!

  12. Hi,
    I think this book is such a good idea, it really made me feel quite happy when i heard you were going to do it.
    I thought i´d tell you a little about my story as it is qiute different.
    I found out i was pregnant and wasn´t planning on becoming pregnant any time soon as i was only 20 and still at uni. As i was coming to terms with the pregnancy and deciding what to do, i found out i was miscarrying. It was such a shock and such a confusing time in my life as i constantly had feelings of wanting to keep the baby even though i knew i couldn´t.
    I didn´t receive a lot of help form the hospital, but joining the website and talking with the other ladies helped me so much. I don´t know if my story will be of any use, but all the same i am looking forward to the book!

  13. Your website has been a source of comfort for me throughout my 2 miscarriages and pregnancy that I carried to term. The women here are wonderful and supportive. I thought you might address the difficulty of going back to work or “life as usual” after a loss. I work in an Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and returning to work was very difficult for me. Although working in the NICU is rather unusual, there are many women whose occupation resolves around children in some way. None of the books I read addressed this issue and I felt lost and lonely during this time. Thank you for your dedication to maintaining such an uplifting place for us to turn.

  14. I feel very grateful to have found your site, Deanna. The women on the board are amazing, strong and supportive. In the last year-and-a-half, I have had 4 miscarriages, all in the 1st trimester. Finally, after seeing a fertility specialist, it was found that DH and I have lymphocyte toxicity, similar to HLA that you describe on the board, but Prednisone will be given to me once I find out I’m pg (which will be this Thursday!). Needless to say, I am terrified of either result. If I’m not pg, we will have to start all over again with medications, hormones, FUS etc. And since starting the hormones, my blood pressure skyrocketed and I have to be on a beta blocker to get that under control! Thus, the side effects of fertility treatments can be difficult for us too. If I am pg, I will worry continuously; will the Prednisone work? Will I have terrible side effects of the 20mg I’m on? Will it affect the baby? I never dreamed that trying to have a child would be this stressful and emotionally draining. Thanks again Deanna, for all that you have done!

  15. Deanna-
    I have not visited your wonderful website for almost a year. I was a “daily, twice daily,heck…all day poster” for two years following our first loss and through a difficult pregnancy. All the wonderful ladies here are such an inspiration.

    Shortly after our mc I was tested for various problems-and was found to have a number of clotting disorders (Factor V Leiden/Protein S and C def.). I would love to see something in your book about pg/mc and clotting problems. I was treated with Lovenox “the wonder drug”-but still developed a superficial clot in my lower left leg during the second trimester.

    Anyways-I am off to check the site out. Thanks for sending me the notification about your book. Best Wishes

    Jocie (Mandy M.)

  16. I just wanted to say what an amazing woman you are Deanna, your wonderful website has been my salvation in recent months, and I just know your book will be a massive success. I have no advice on what topics to offer, I just want to wish you all the luck in the world, with what is a fantastic project to be working on, one that will possibly help millions of women, dealing with heartache.

  17. Thank you so much Deanna for your wonderful website. It has been and still is a wealth of information, as well as a place of comfort throughout the bad times.
    I always thought I’d start a family in my 20’s. Well, one cheating husband and a divorce at 29 brought that plan to a halt.
    My current husband is a wonderful man that I married in 2004. I was 35 and he was 41, so we decided to start our family right away. Six months later we were pregnant.
    Although my OB/GYN did not want to see me until I was 8 weeks, I was brought in earlier because I had some rather severe cramping which just didn’t seem normal to me. Two ultrasounds later and some unfavorable HCG levels showed that what I was experiencing was a blighted ovum. The physical recovery was tolerable, but the emotional recovery was awful.
    Three months later we learned we were pregnant again. Our six week ultrasound showed a tiny beating heart. I thought we were home free! Wrong. Two weeks later I experienced brown spotting on a Sunday. I called the doctor, and he raised my hopes telling me that spotting without cramping was very normal, and that after seeing a heartbeat my chances of miscarriage were very low. The next day I saw him for an ultraound where I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage. Again, the physical recovery from the D&C was tolerable, but I was an emotional mess.
    Six months later we were referred to an RE to explore recurrent pregnancy loss as well as secondary infertility.
    I was diagnosed as homozygous for MTHFR which may/may not be the reason I miscarried. The term “bad luck” was another possible diagnosis.
    I am currently 6 months pregnant and still very cautious with my emotions. It’s sad, actually. I hear of women announcing their pregnancies almost as quickly as they find out, and it shocks me. I have to say, though, that I envy them to some degree…good for them that they don’t “know any better”. I pray that they never do.
    Best of luck with your book! I am certain it will be a source of comfort for many women.

  18. Hi Deanna,
    I’ve been on your boards for a couple years now and I just found this….this is so heart warming! You’re an amazing woman! Well, I think this is the place to give you my story, if not, please accept my apologies. I wanted to share my story with you as I was diagnosed with incompetent cervix after my first loss and I read that you will be doing a chapter on IC.
    Well, this was my first pregnancy and it wasn’t exactly planned — DH and I had JUST went off the pill and were “planning on planning” so to speak. I got pregnant the first month and didn’t know until I was 8 weeks along. I had my first u/s at 9 weeks and we were amazed!! Everything progressed perfectly! I remember when I hit 12 weeks being so happy because I didn’t have to worry anymore about a miscarriage because I was out of the 1st trimester. At 14 weeks my abdomen started tightening off and on. I mentioned them to my OB at my appnt, even called a couple times but she always said it was normal. Then I had an appnt scheduled at 19 weeks. A couple days before the appnt I lost what I now know was my mucous plug but at the time just thought it was increased CM. I begged my OB for an exam that day but she didn’t think it was necessary. 4 days later was my 20 week u/s…YAY we’re having a boy!! We did our baby registry that evening and bought the crib set and paint for the nursery. 4 days later I was out shopping with my mom and started gushing blood. We rushed to the ER where DH met us. The dr on call wasn’t there yet, my OB didn’t go to that hosp, but the nurses did the ultrasound and placed the contraction monitor on my belly and the IV. On the ultrasound our son Aiden appeared to be waving at us!! The nurses were chatting about cervical os and something but I had no idea what it all meant. Anytime I asked they’d always say, “The dr will be in shortly.”. He FINALLY came after being in L&D for what seemed like a lifetime. My eyes were all puffy and I could barely see anything cause my contacts were so blurry from all of the tears from fear of losing my precious baby. He did an exam and I can still see the look in his eyes when he looked at me over the rim of his glasses and said, “Well, its not good.” I asked him what he meant and he told me then that I was 3-4 cm dialated, his foot was already in the birth canal, and it was just a matter of time. My DH and I screamed at him that he didn’t know what he was talking about, we JUST saw him on the u/s and he looked fine, he wasn’t decending, he was right where he was supposed to be! DH told him to get out and bring a doctor who knew more. But when we calmed down, we had to face the fact that indeed, we were about to lose our son. I couldn’t do anything but apologize to DH for losing his child. The dr was pushing for pitocin to help speed things along and an epidural too. He also wanted to break my water but I wouldn’t let him do anything. I still had hope and faith that everything would be just fine. But my water broke on its own and thats when it hit me that it really was over. So I had the epidural and after a few trys at pushing finally delivered Aiden at only 6 cm dialation. We learned that I had incompetent cervix and would need to see a specialist for future pregnancies and there was high hopes with a cerclage that had a 90% success rate. It took a LONG time to get over loosing Aiden. Well, I shouldn’t say “get over” because I’m still not over it, I just moved past it. Fast forward a bit to 1 year later and I’m pregnant again. This time I’ve read all the books, articles, and stories and can tell you anything you want to know about anything that can go wrong with a pregnancy and at what gestation. I see my specialist at 12 weeks and am diagnosed with bicornuate uterus on top of the IC. Then I started bleeding at 13 weeks and it is discovered that I have a blood clot on my stupid incompetent cervix of all places! I can’t get the cerclage until 16 weeks because of the bleeding but when I finally do, it doesn’t even work. The dr said that I might as well not even have it because one good contraction and it will just rip out because I basically have no cervix to stitch. Well, I started complete bedrest at 13 weeks so I had to quit my job and become a couch potato, praying everything works out. Then at 18 weeks I am diagnosed with MTHFR and must endure daily injections. I also had to start on medicine for contractions that started once again at 14 weeks. My only outings are to the drs, my specialist every 2 weeks and OB monthly. I LIVED for my outings let me just say!! At 26 weeks my cervix shortened dramatically and I was hospitalized on bedrest for 2 weeks and constant monitoring. At my 30 week scan, Chase was measuring behind more than he had been and my amniotic fluid was low. I had to go back weekly to check the fluid. At 34 weeks I had an amnio to check Chase’s lungs because the fluid levels were too low. They weren’t ready yet so we held off delivery until 36 weeks. After such a stressful pregnancy, we were FINALLY blessed with our miracle, Chase was born at 36 weeks gestation weighing 5 lbs 4 oz!! He is the light of our lives and we are so very blessed!!

    I hope any of this can help you with your book Deanna. I can’t wait to read it when you’re all done!!


  19. Deanna,
    We probably all want our situations represented. Mine was a 16 week loss with no reason found with testing. Pathology was normal as was DNA. I had 4 babies prior, and my ob was surprised at the loss. Carrying the baby for 5 days inside waiting for the D&E was hard, then having the D&E instead of delivering was hard (and I think it was a mistake). Maybe it’s not type of miscarriage but more the type of mom. I’ve encountered moms who hate to draw attention to themselves. Then there is me, I talk about miscarriage a lot and may make people uncomfortable. I was told at church by the a grief counselor type that I am the “face of miscarriage” at our church. I am very outspoken, and was up at the pulpit two months after my D&E (and was just pregnant with another I would miscarry in a few weeks). I’ve become some sort of activist really for grief in miscarriage. I do think ] I’ve changed a few people…and let them know it’s okay to mourn. Now, if a friend hears her neighbor miscarried, she asks me how to help. I’m obnoxious enough to act like I don’t need a support group, but in reality, I find much comfort in helping women there and in any information I can find about miscarriage. My husband has been generally supportive, but some women have no one to support. I have had some really bad experiences with people who think I shouldn’t have reacted like I did (probably because I am so open about it). These experiences have solidified my stance that I should continue to talk about my losses and show how normal my reaction is (even if I did beat my breasts when they still hurt months after my miscarriage and didn’t get the point that I wasn’t pregnant anymore, or I did bury clumps in the yard when I had bleeding with my short pregnancy). I’ve contacted a professor in Washington state who is studying grief and couples to train medical professionals to deal with this issue better. I am up front with my ob, and have given her support group numbers to give to women who come in. So, I guess I’m the obnoxious “face of miscarriage” who has a loud mouth and won’t leave it alone. This might cause friction in a group if someone wants to just “leave it behind.” I’ve also had women who cannot go to term get mad at me because I miscarried at 16 weeks and also have 5 born kids…when they have never felt a baby kick.

  20. Hi Deanna,

    Thank you so much for writing this book. You are really capturing the voices of the women and their partners who endure this tragic loss.

    How you considered a character who suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and has increased difficulty conceiving due to irregular periods? That’s me. I had my miscarriage/D&C over three months ago and I’m still waiting for a real ‘period’. Along with the grieving, I am faced with time constrainsts. What could take me three months to conceive ends up taking triple that amount of time. It’s so frustrating and angering.

    Your site has been truly therapeutic.

    Take care.


  21. Hi Deanna,

    Thank you so much for writing this book. You are really capturing the voices of the women and their partners who endure this tragic loss.

    Have you considered a character who suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and has increased difficulty conceiving due to irregular periods? That’s me. I had my miscarriage/D&C over three months ago and I’m still waiting for a real ‘period’. Along with the grieving, I am faced with time constrainsts. What could take me three months to conceive ends up taking triple that amount of time. It’s so frustrating and angering.

    Your site has been truly therapeutic.

    Take care.


  22. Hi Deanna,

    First of all, I want to say that I am thrilled that you are writing this book! You are doing so much to bring all of us women together. Your amazing website (and now this book!) helps us not feel so alone.

    I think the hardest thing for me since the initial loss of my baby has been my inability to get pregnant again right away after ferverently trying. This is especially shocking to me since I concieved both my eighteen month old and the baby that I lost at nine weeks on the first try. My usually regular cycles are still a mess (with heavy periods and spotting lots of spotting inbetween) four months after my loss. What is even more frustrating is the that I have been to the doctor for a repeat ultrasound and he says everything is fine. He wants me to take BC pills to even out my cycles! I know it hasn’t been all that long since I have been ttc, but it seems like the past months have been an eternity.

    For me the pressure to conceive again has been incredibly intense. My husband really wants another baby and I want to provide my little boy with a sibling. I’m angry that my body is taking so long to regulate and that I am just so out of control of the situation. I want my life back.

    I think a lot of us women ttc after a miscarriage feel this way. We don’t understand what is wrong, and what we want most seems remain beyond our reach. The ttc struggle can at times seem almost as painful as the miscarriage itself.

    Thanks again so much for your concern and awareness. Death won’t win in the end.


  23. I agree missed miscarriage is a type that not many know about until it happens. I sure did not, and my husband and I were blindsided at our first ultrasound at 12 weeks to learn our baby died at 5.5 weeks. I had another missed m/c at 10 weeks finding our baby died at 8 weeks, then a natural m/c at 7 weeks. My story is posted with more details on your site-forum-miscarriage stories. There’s so much to include in a story that people don’t think of: baby commericals on tv, the calendar of your pregnancy hanging over your head, the due date, anniversary of the loss, isolation, medical terms such as “spontaneous abortion” or “habitual aborter” that are painful to hear, read, and be labeled. How about the need for curches and spiritual congregations to lead and sponser support groups for pregnancy loss. I need to add more later. So glad you are doing this!!!

    Shannon Rose was born 4-6-06, happy and healthy and now already 6 months!!!

  24. Thank you so much Deanna!
    I am from India and had a late miscarriage at 18 weeks and two days. I have always ever since then thought why did this had to happen??? But there are things beyond explanation and sometimes it is best to just accept what has happened and move on….to find a solution. I think that we must never give up hope and patience. So heres to your book which i hope will be of great help to all the mothers to be! Cheers and all the bes!t

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