WTF, how is this possible, I am a women's health fanatic
There were far too many points in my experience with infertility and miscarriage where I heard myself wondering, "What the actual fuck? How does NO ONE KNOW what is happening in my body?" There's a lot I could say, but to your point about education, the single best piece of advice I can give any pregnant person is to know what an MFM is and how and why to demand to see one.
An MFM is short for maternal fetal medicine specialist. This is a doctor who goes to three more years of medical school than a regular OB/GYN and specializes in diagnosing and treating high-risk pregnancies. And in the MFM's clinics, they have specialized technicians who also go to (I believe it was) two extra years of school beyond the regular OB/GYN ultrasound techs. They're trained to identify abnormalities far beyond the scope of the basic folks.
If you're a pregnant person and you even suspect that your OB is glossing over you, not listening to you or you're feeling especially concerned that something is "wrong" with your pregnancy, tell your OB that you want a referral to their MFM. This is something none of my friends knew about, but apparently ALL regular OB clinics have a working relationship with an MFM because the MFM also co-manages things like gestational diabetes in otherwise safe and healthy pregnancies. But they're also there in the event that things become dangerous / high risk.
I started bleeding at 9 weeks and went into my regular OB for 12 different scheduled/emergency scans and it wasn't until the MFM looked at my scans did I have a diagnosis (chronic placental abruption). She looked and pointed at the scans from the regular OB's office and said, "The abruption is here; it grew to here; and I bet in about three days you'll pass this clot which should be about this size." (She was 100% correct.) We ended up losing the baby at 21.5 weeks because I lost all my amniotic fluid. And it's taken years to piece together the sequence of events, the gaslighting and the unquestionable clarity that the MFM brought to my situation. (Three years and one more second-trimester loss later, that same MFM managed the pregnancy that gave us our girl, Evagene.)
My experience with miscarriage was with Ohio State University infertility clinic in 1975. I too had an empty sac, and the doctor’s explanation was that it was a false pregnancy, that I had wished to be pregnant so much that my body was trying to accommodate. The assumption of female hysteria. When in doubt, blame the woman.
Don’t even know where to start with what happened to me with my first miscarriage. Physically brutal, traumatic, lasting months, inducing my first foray into an anxiety disorder. Then the second. The care was so minimal. I’ve written about it a bit, but still a long way to go in processing. Thank you for writing Rae, and giving voices to those of us who still can’t put what happened into words.
I am sorry all of us had to go through miscarriages. I married late and was not sure I would be able to have children. But I did, for which I am grateful. I had nine pregnancies, with 3 of them resulting in live births, and the other 6 as miscarriage. One was an abnormal extra-embryonic sac that kept on growing, another was an ectopic pregnancy and the other 4 were ordinary miscarriages. At the end I only had one ovary left. It was brutal emotionally. I don't think I could have survived another.
I’ve never had a pregnancy or miscarriage and I thank you for sharing your ghastly, heartbreaking experience and so beautifully. We all need to know about this basic biology and how to do better. I’m pretty sure that did not qualify as informed consent, which I think is technically maloractice?
Mine was much easier, gratefully. My sisterly sympathy !!❤️🤗
♥️ thanks for sharing this. I've had two "uncomplicated" miscarriages - blighted ovum is the official term. my body recognized the empty sac and released the pregnancy naturally. I bled for 10 days during the first (at 7 weeks), less for the second (at 5 weeks). importantly, my midwife, who has been with me for years and helped me through the birth of my youngest daughter, explained everything that would happen and why, plus the importance of asking for support and telling the story when I felt ready. she even called several weeks later to check-in. for me, there was beauty within and during the process, though it was emotionally confusing - the hardest part for me to reconcile has been the aftermath, the grief and gratitude that comes in waves, the distrust I feel with my body (even though I felt deep trust during the miscarriage).
Thanks you so much for sharing. This helps women everywhere
Read both of your accounts and totally resonate with them. I am also a "twilight mom" having briefly carried, then lost, a wee one. You sharing your story brings me a step closer to me sharing mine. First I need to tell the onion cutting ninjas to mind their own business...
I did two things that helped. One, I had D&Cs for the ones that I could, when I knew the heart was no longer beating, and always under general anesthesia. I did not want to remember the event. I can believe you were shocked when they did not even offer it or ask you your preference. It is a painful and emotionally traumatizing experience to go through awake. My experience is that for medicine surrounding female reproduction, some doctors or nurses are pretty cavalier. When I has an ectopic pregnancy, the ER staff didn't believe me because they couldn't find anything by ultrasound. I heard the male nurses laughing about me down the hall as I waited. Then I heard shout, "Wait, has patient X left yet? Her labs are back and her pregnancy hormones are still going up! She was telling the truth!" One, they shouldn't have been talking about me where anyone could hear, and two, the myth of the hysterical female who is imagining things still continues.
Thank you for thinking of my three. The youngest is 28. This topic is painful for anyone who has lost a child for any reason, and for women who wanted children and couldn't have one for some reason. My heart goes out to them too.