On recovering: the first ten days after my miscarriage.
August 24, 2011

The first ten days after we lost Aurora went like this: I bled.  I slept.  I starved.  I wept.  I bled some more.

There was a lot of blood.  Over the span of a day, I lost an estimated two-plus pints of blood.  That adds up to around 1/4 of my total blood supply.  To give you some perspective on this, most people donate one pint when they give blood.  There were clusters the size of golf balls dripping out of my body the way water drips from a leaky faucet.  When the ultrasound tech pulled the trans-vaginal wand out of me, blood rushed out.  Oh God, she said horrified, pressing a towel against me.  Oh God.

I couldn’t stay warm.  I couldn’t keep color in my face.  I couldn’t stand.  I was thirsty.  I felt weak.  My vision blurred.  In the hospital bathroom, I started to feel queasy and dizzy.  I grabbed onto the sink, lowered myself to the ground, took deep breaths and tried again.  Washing my hands took every ounce of strength I had.  Turning the door handle left me out of breath.  The nurse left an IV in my arm and every movement ached.  I drank upward of a gallon of water and was still dehydrated.

For two days, I used a thick pre-fold diaper in addition to my cloth pads to soak up the blood.  When the blood leaked through, I staggered to the bathroom to change out the pad and pre-fold.  I stood over the toilet and rung the rags out, watched my blood drip out of the fabric, before putting them in our diaper pail for laundering.

On the third day after she died, I finally had the strength to stand long enough to shower.  I turned on the water as hot as I could tolerate.  When I reached for the soap, I started crying.  It suddenly occurred to me that I was going to be washing away the grime from the hospital, the skin cells that I’d had on my arms when I still had hope.  I cried so hard I couldn’t see.

The nightmares began that night.  For a week after the miscarriage, I could not keep my body warm.  I shivered any time I stood in shade or felt tired.  At first I thought the nightmares were a result of being cold, that I was sleeping too light to have deep dreams.  I piled quilts and coverlets on the bed, went to sleep wearing thermal underwear and long-sleeve shirts, but the nightmares stayed.  Then I remembered: I had nightmares when I lost my first child too.  When I told a doctor about them, they said it was stress, that nightmares often accompany grief.

At the end of the first week, I asked Donald how he felt about me buying a necklace with the names of our babies.  But we aren’t done building our family yet, he said, what do you do when we add more names?  I don’t know, I said.  But I don’t want a tattoo and I need a way for their names to be with me always.  They’re supposed to be with me, near to my heart, with me always.

On the tenth day, I decided that I deserved a normal day.  A day without crying, without doctors, without needles or speculums or questions.  I packed a diaper bag and three thick cloth pads and took Charlotte to a play-date.  An hour after we arrived, the doctor called.  My blood test results from the day prior were in and they weren’t good.  Could I please come in?  Donald came with me.  I just want this to be over, I said to him.  He put his hand on my knee.  I know, he sighed.  I know.

There was one bit of solace as the days ticked past and that was this: Aurora is the name of the Roman goddess of the dawn.  She is the mother of the winds and the morning star.  Every morning when I wake up, I see golden daylight peeping at me from behind the window-shade.  I don’t run around hailing Jupiter or anything but this one small thing, this morning light forcing its way into my room, has given me something to smile about every day.

Aurora is light.  And light is all around.

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  1. By Krista on August 24, 2011

    Oh, Sarah. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been and are going through. You’ve been in my thoughts so much.  Wishing you much love, comfort, strength and peace.

  2. By on August 24, 2011

    Sarah, thank you for your openness and your honesty.  I had a miscarriage when I was 17.  A baby that wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be there because I was a ‘good girl’.  Because of the circumstances I pushed it aside, pretended it never happened.  The truth that you put down in writing has helped me to deal with that old pain, pain that I had refused to admit was still there.  I am praying for your healing, physically and emotionally.  I wish I could be there to give you a hug and say “Thank you” in person.  Thank you Sarah, from the bottom of my heart.

  3. By on August 24, 2011

    Please take care of yourself. You have been through so much. And give Donald a big hug.  So often dads stand by stoically helping us while their hearts are breaking too.

  4. By on August 24, 2011

    My heart continues to grieve with you. Many hugs. Let the light shine bright.

  5. By on August 24, 2011

    Her name is beautiful. *hugs*

    If you are considering a necklace, check out Julie the Fish designs on etsy. They are simple and beautiful and you could add to them as you add to your family.

  6. By on August 24, 2011

    Sarah, with sincere sympathy and the utmost respect, I would like to send a message to women who have not experienced a miscarriage.  I think it’s important to note that the severity of your blood loss and the physical complications of your miscarriage are not necessarily the norm.  I’ve lost two babies myself, and was never hospitilized, weak, or in physical pain—although the emotional toll remains the same.  For those who have been fortunate enough to never have the experience of a loss, or who may endure a loss in the future, I would hate for them to think that this is what happens to all of us.

    I read your blog everyday.  Thank you for letting us into your life, and sharing with us at this very difficult time.  I know your family will grow and thrive, just as your garden does, regardless of how you and Donald get there.

  7. By on August 24, 2011

    definitely sounds like one of the toughest life experiences one would have to go through.  you are such a strong woman.

  8. By on August 24, 2011

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m so very sorry for your loss.  I’m sending positive, healing wishes to you and your family.  Thank you for sharing this intimate pain with us—I’m sure you’ve helped some people who can relate.  If you’re still looking for a necklace, I have this one:


    It’s a sterling silver heart and key, with tabs and discs that can be added on.  I have my husband’s name on the key, and my babies’ on the discs.  It’s beautifully made by a female artist, and can be added to as your family grows.  Please take care of yourself and know that we are thinking of you and your family.

  9. By on August 24, 2011

    I am so sorry for your loss. I do want to say thank you for sharing this with us. I also have suffered multiple losses and felt very alone each and every time. It is so hard to share this kind of thing unless you have been through it. People mean well but do not know what to say or avoid it altogether. We planted roses for each of ours.  I love the necklace idea. I hope you do it. A charm one might be nice and then you can add as you do. Take care and may your heart feel some peace today.

  10. By on August 24, 2011

    Oh honey…

  11. By on August 24, 2011

    I’m so very sorry, Sarah.  Wishing you healing all around.  x

  12. By on August 24, 2011

    Thank you for being brave enough to share this.  This gives me a window into a place I will never go, but will help me understand and support those who have been to that terrible place. 

    Many healing thoughts to you and your loved ones.

  13. By Sarah Christensen on August 24, 2011

    I would like to point out that Lauren is right.  My experiences with miscarriage and those of the women and doctors I’ve spoken to since this started indicate that every woman and every miscarriage is different - just as every pregnancy and child are different.  With this miscarriage, I bled very significantly up front, then slowed to a trickle, then started up again.  It hasn’t at all been ‘normal’ or what anything I’ve experienced prior to this would have lead me to believe was to be expected.  My physical pain was limited to what occurs in conjunction with blood loss - my joints ached, my head hurt, and I was endlessly thirsty.

    I would also like to explain that I was admitted to the hospital voluntarily.  Once we were certain that we had lost the baby, Donald and I called the office of the obstetrician who provided my prenatal care with Charlotte.  The doctor did not respond, and because I am Rh- we only have a 72-hour window to operate within for getting a shot of Rhogam.  After a flurry of phone calls, on Friday afternoon we went to the hospital because we knew they would have Rhogam available.  Our obstetrician responded shortly thereafter and asked that we stay in the hospital to assess my blood loss - since he was working out of a different office that day, it would have taken us over an hour to reach us and he felt that if my blood loss was excessive then it was safer to stay where they had the measures to handle a hemorrhage.  My blood loss happened to hit it’s peak while I was in the hospital on Friday afternoon, which accounts for why my earliest accounts of how my miscarriage unfolded deals with the hospital.

    Had I been Rh+, could we have ridden the worst of the miscarriage out at home?  Undoubtedly, yes.  And had it not been a Friday and had my doctor called us back earlier, I think we probably would have either stayed at home or only visited the doctor unless things had been much worse.  I did not lose so much blood as to completely incapacitate me, although I did lose enough that I think right around the time Donald found out I was ringing blood out of diapers he probably would have insisted I be checked out.

    At the end of the day, I have been left with the distinct impression that although this miscarriage did not follow the most common pattern that miscarriages do, my experience is not unheard of either.  There are several factors that can influence a woman’s volume of blood loss during a miscarriage: how many babies are carried, how far along a pregnancy is, whether or not an infection is involved, endometrium thickness, etc.  Many women lose much more blood than I did, even in early miscarriages.  Many women experience symptoms that are much, MUCH worse than they should be - and this is often attributed to the emotional toll a miscarriage can take and how a person individually responds to that stress.  In this, my miscarriages could not have been more dissimilar.  If I ever miscarry again, I feel safe saying that I will not be surprised by anything.

  14. By on August 24, 2011

    Hi Sarah,

    Wow. I can really hear your pain here—both physically and emotionally. And you’re talking so bravely about a subject that, unfortunately, most people never speak of. As a therapist who’s in therapy, I hope that you feel free to seek professional help, in addition to all of the wonderful support you get from family and friends.

    Warmest wishes to you and your family,

  15. By Naomi on August 24, 2011

    Hugs Sarah!

    I had an easy miscarriage in comparison. 11 weeks, natural at home, heavy menstrual style blood loss and not too emotional. I also was able to avoid any medical personal and interventions. I know my experience is one of the wide range of how woman experience them because of a vast array of factors.  Of course ANY talk of losing a baby, especially in blog world is good for a worried woman looking for stories. You are brave with a sensitive heart and I salute you.

  16. By on August 24, 2011

    i am so sorry. i think of you so often and send you thoughts of healing and comfort. take your time - however and whenever you find comfort and healing is in your own perfect time.

  17. By Cynthia A on August 24, 2011

    <3 Just thinking about you always my friend. <3 You are an amazing and strong individual.  I commend you for sharing your story, I am sure you will help others in doing this.  My heart is with you.  <3 Aurora <3

  18. By on August 24, 2011

    Oh my goodness. Sarah, my whole being just aches for you and Donald and Charlotte. When I read your posts I am just so filled with a myriad of emotion. I read what you write and am so connected by that immense love of a child. I can’t imagine being able to be so strong and so present during such a time as you have endured recently. Blessings and love to all of you. I hope that morning sunshine and that beautiful little Charlotte can be your strength in the times to come.

  19. By on August 25, 2011

    there are no words…..Even tho I don’t “know” you, I love you and your family and am so grateful you allow us on your journey, both happy and sad.

  20. By momiss on August 25, 2011

    I had no idea how bad having a miscarriage actually was until I read this.
    You are so brave.  I have learned a lot from you, girl.
    Wishing health and peace for you all.  You obviously have a lot of strength already.:)

  21. By on August 25, 2011

    Thank you for sharing.  I am so sorry you have had to go through this.  Let the light shine bright indeed, Aurora is with you always.  Always. 

    There is a poem I wanted to share with both you and your blog community.  It focuses on the pain of no one understanding the impact of a miscarrage emotionally which may not be aplicable to your situation (I hope) but may be to others who read this and the love for the writer’s unborn child, echoing yours, made me think of sharing it here.  This poem makes me cry everytime, much like your blog entries.  Reading your blog over the past year, (which is when I happened upon it), I have cried both over the profound joy (crying and smiling and laughing together) and, recently, over the profound pain. Love to you.

    Someone else’s words, as an offering for your words.

    Just Those Few Weeks
    bySusan Erling

    For those few weeks
    I had you to myself.
    And that seems too short a time
    to be changed so profoundly.

    In those few weeks
    I came to know you…
    and to love you,
    You came to trust me with your life.
    Oh, what a life I had planned for you!

    Just those few weeks
    When I lost you,
    I lost a lifetime of hopes,
    plans, dreams and aspirations…
    A slice of my future simply vanished overnight.

    Just those few weeks
    It wasn’t enough time to convince others
    how special and important you were.
    How odd, a truly unique person has recently died
    and no one is mourning the passing.

    Just a mere few weeks
    And no “normal” person would cry all night
    over a tiny, unfinished baby,
    or get depressed and withdraw day after endless day.
    No one would, so why am I?

    You were just those few weeks my little one
    you darted in and out of my life too quickly.
    But it seems that’s all the time you needed
    to make my life so much richer
    and give me a small glimpse of eternity

  22. By on August 25, 2011

    Sarah, thank you for being so open and sharing.  As well as the rest of you!  I had my first loss over Mother’s Day 2010.  I too lost huge amounts of blood and the pan was terrible.  My second was again on Mother’s Day this year.  I was prepared for the worst and it was past in 3 days, I ovulated and now I am 16 weeks pregnant without ever getting period. 

    Don’t give up hope.  It will happen for you and there will be all new pregnancy stories keeping us all busy!!

  23. By Amy on August 25, 2011

    Thank you for your honesty.  I am so sorry for your loss.

  24. By on August 25, 2011

    Thank you for being so open about this time in your life. I just wanted to let you know that I recently purchased a necklace from The Vintage Pearl. You can have charms with initials or names placed on the chain. I have one with my triplets initials that I wear every day. They are 22 years old and the light of my life.  I pray for comfort for you and your family.

  25. By Rachael on August 25, 2011

    So heartbreaking! I just started reading your blog and I have found it fascinating, though this particular moment in your life I just want to give you a hug. You will be in my thoughts and your family too! I am so sorry :(

  26. By Kaylie on August 25, 2011

    We named the baby we lost in miscarriage Llewella, which is Welsh for light. We named her that before we lost her. If this current baby is a girl, we’ll name her Seraphina, which derived from Seraphim which are the closest angels to god in Judeo-Christian mythology. It also means little angel.

    I have the bean pendant from Tiffany’s for Llewella, which I wear everyday close to my heart. I’m thinking of you and wish you healing during this difficult time. Be kind and patient with yourself.

  27. By on August 25, 2011

    Happened on your blog…my heart just hurts for you.  I have ordered from this company…and am very happy with it.  Check it out…
    Praying for peace

  28. By on August 25, 2011


  29. By Dianna on August 27, 2011

    Oh Sarah, I am so sorry you and your family have had to go through this. What an awful turn of events from the day you posted about Aurora. You, Donald, Charlote and Aurora are in my thoughts. I’m sure that sounds strange coming from a stranger, but I’ve been reading your site since Charlotte was a little bean in your tummy. Anyway, when the time is right it will happen and your family will be blessed with a true little miracle.

  30. By Heather on January 05, 2016

    I remember reading this post so clearly.  Cradling my 3 month old in my arms so glad I had never had to experience this.  The physical discomfort combined with the mental anguish. 

    Now almost 5 years later I get it.  The tree.  The necklaces.  The need for something permanent.  In the last 12 months I’ve lost 3 babies. The first loss awful for its sudden and unexpectedness, the second resigned, the third physically horrendous and most heartbreaking after seeing the heartbeat on ultrasound.  My heart aches.  I’m so sorry you had to go through this but knowing that you went on to have more healthy babies is of comfort. 

    I miss your posts.  I hope you and your family are well and settled.





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