Navigating Through a “Missed Miscarriage”

This post is not intended as medical advice, nor is it meant to be a persuasive piece. My husband and I experienced a “missed miscarriage” in July of 2011, and since then I have been prayerfully considering whether it was appropriate to write about here on my blog.

I now know that it is very relevant and important to talk about, primarily because of our belief that health decisions should be made prayerfully and with a peaceful heart, not out of fear and desperation. My hope in this is that those with a similar diagnosis would find peace in their own decision through learning of our story.


Kevin and I were surprised but excited when we found out last summer that we would be expecting again. I had a beautiful pregnancy with my daughter, Ruby-Claire two years prior, even in the midst of a cancer diagnosis, so the idea of any complications were something I felt invincible to.

So when at a routine 10 week ultrasound, the doctor told us that they couldn’t find a heartbeat and the baby’s gestational sac was misshapen, my husband and I both went through denial and eventually tears.

I was blessed to have a holistically minded OBGYN who gave us our options without any added pressure. He spent 45 MINUTES answering our questions and educating us on our choices:

1. We could allow my body to release the “contents of the conception” naturally, a process he said could take hours to months in the most rare, but extreme cases. He discussed with us what to watch for regarding signs of infection and the need for immediate antibiotics and a “D & C” if that were to occur.

2. I could take an abortant pill to encourage uterine contractions and eventually miscarriage.

3. I could elect for a “D & C” or surgical process where the doctor manually opens the cervix and vacuums and scrapes out the “contents of the conception.”


That day in his office, I remained outwardly calm and listened to our options, but my heart was screaming a familiar call: “JUST GET THIS OUT OF ME.” Those were the SAME EXACT WORDS that my heart cried when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. My impatient and wanting-to-be-immediately-gratified spirit wanted to be pacified.

I recognized this immediately and I knew what my choice should be. I needed to wait. Not only because of my belief in holistic healing, but because in that moment, I felt that perhaps God was calling me to pause and settle my anxious heart.

We went home that day thinking it would be a few days or perhaps weeks until my body recognized that the baby had stopped growing. We told family and friends and my mind began to gradually shift back to the reality of being the best mother I could be to my one living child.

After almost a month of waiting, my obsession with “WHY HASN’T ANYTHING HAPPENED YET?” grew. I read stories online of women who had false readings in their miscarriage ultrasounds and began to wonder if this was my case.

At this point my heart reverted back to my frantic and emotional “I JUST WANT IT OUT OF ME” mindset. I went to a new doctor, one who I secretly hoped would ORDER a “D & C,” OR in a miraculous occurrence, find a thriving baby.

He didn’t find a thriving baby, and sure enough, ORDERED a “D & C.” He probably spent about 7 minutes with me.

After I went home that day and began digesting the reality of my upcoming “D & C,” I felt unsettled. I realized the emotions that had led me to this frantic decision were (once again) very anxious and impatient.The peace that I was looking for wasn’t there.

Many deep breaths and “on-my-knees” prayers later, I realized that my choice was made out of fear and “quick fix” emotions, echoing my cancer diagnosis past once again. How easily I could slip back into that!

After MUCH prayer and discussion with Kevin, the next day I called and canceled the surgery. I would continue to wait, pray and TRUST through the lingering voice in my head of “HOW LONG?!”

Over the next few weeks, my body seemed to begin to cooperate with me. I started having symptoms of activity regarding the miscarriage. Among them, my belly seemed to shrink and my hormones began to regulate. My doctor did mention that sometimes the body absorbed the “contents” of miscarriage and only moderately heavy bleeding would occur with mild cramping.

Since this was what was happening, I moved on busily with my life throughout that Fall. September, October, November…all passed with continued signs that my body was trying to complete the miscarriage. My holistic OBGYN reminded me to watch for signs of infection, but that he knew of patients who had taken months to miscarry naturally. This may come off as incredibly bizarre to many American women (where about 50% of miscarriages are completed through medical intervention,) but in many parts of the world, waiting out natural miscarriage while carefully monitoring for infection is considered safe.

It was Christmas night that I awoke around 1am, CLEARLY REALIZING that my body had not absorbed the pregnancy. I had a natural childbirth, a 49 hour labor with my daughter, and KNEW EXACTLY what was happening. No one had ever told me that miscarriage FELT LIKE LABOR!

After about 7 hours, the long wait was over. It had taken 5 months for my body to recognize its need for miscarriage, and finally the world’s lengthiest miscarriage (not official, but it felt like it) was over. After about 10 days, the bleeding stopped completely and I did not require any additional care.

Looking back at that season in my life, I truly know that I did what was right for me at that time, for my growth in Christ, and for my body. I was very aware of all of the things that COULD have gone wrong (mostly the stories of worried family members or online forums,) but I was confident in my decision and trusted the plan laid out for me. I am not sure if it were to ever happen again, that I would be led down that same road. Thinking about doing all of that again is painful to consider, but I would once again pray through my situation and ask God to show me what to do.

I believe that He guides everyone if we listen with a calm spirit. Really listen. He knows each of us individually better than we know ourselves, and if we ask Him, He will peacefully guide us.

Update January 2016:

Baby #2: 2013

Baby #3: Homebirth 2015


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38 thoughts on “Navigating Through a “Missed Miscarriage”

  1. Hi Cortney,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. God continue to bless you and keep you.

    Today feels like my worst day in 20 years. It is not cancer or miscarriage but for me it is possible financial ruin. Yes, possible, maybe even likely, and that is where your post is helping me to remember to allow the One to show me what I can do in each moment, one step at a time, being open to having my heart uplifted in Love, Joy and Peace.


    • I am in tears. Thank you so very much for sharing your story. My story is almost exactly the same as yours. My hubby and I found out that I had a missed miscarriage exactly 3 months ago now. Our baby passed around 12 weeks. We have been through many very tough situations in life..but nothing has ever tested my faith, my patience and trust in my body as much as this process has. I have definitely had my share of days of great frustration, anger, and wondering..when??? And why is nothing happening!? Scheduling and canceling a d&c, scheduling the pill process, then canceling. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. My labs have been excellent this whole time, so I knew everything was fine in my body…it’s just not time yet.
      Finally, one week ago today, I spotted for the first time. It’s been consistent with lots of lower back pain and some cramping. So I’m just asking the lord to help me keep going, and I will continue to wait.
      This process has most definitely strengthened my relationship with Him, and has opened my heart in many different ways of understanding. I have learned that the body is so weird! But also, pretty amazing. My midwife has been a great support, thankfully. And my hubby, close family and friends have also been very supportive. I sure have needed it.
      Thank you again for sharing your story, it has encouraged me so much! I can’t believe out of all the searching and stories I have read in the last three months, I am just now finding yours! God just knows what we need right when we need it.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, sweetie.

    With both of my miscarriages, I chose to have them pass without medical intervention. And although mine certainly didn’t take 5 months, I know the pressure from friends, family, and doctors is immense. Good for you for sticking to what you felt was right. The moments when you doubt your decision are the hardest. I’m glad you got through them and are stronger for it.

    You are wonderful! Say hi to Kevin and RC for me!

    • Hi Cheryl Friend!!!

      Thanks for your sweet words. (: I had been putting this story off for a while, but am glad I finally put it out there. It’s such a personal decision. I’m not sure if, knowing how long it took, I could do it again like that…but one step at a time. I know Hawaii is paradise for you. Wish we could visit soon!

  3. Cortney, So sorry for your loss. My second daugther was stillborn so I know the heartache you will always feel for your daughter. She is never forgotten and is with you now. You are so wise to let God lead you.. Sending many prayers and hugs your way.

  4. Cortney, I had no idea you were going through all of that. You are always so outwardly cheerful and full of joy; you are the strongest and most inspiring woman I know. I’m very sorry about your and Kevin’s loss. I’m proud of you for being so brave and sharing your journey. That has to be really hard.

  5. My sympathy’s on the loss of your little one, Cortney. Our lives paralleled so much at that time, but leaving it all to God leaves us with no regret. It was nearly impossible to find other women who chose to have a natural late miscarriage, such as myself, but the one’s I did manage to find brought great comfort and knowledge to me so I did know what to expect and I was grateful for that. Nothing prepares you for the loss of your child though. It’s an emotional journey that no woman ever want’s to be on. But now my beautiful rainbow baby is cooing for my attention as I write. God bless you in your journey!!

  6. Cortney, I’m so sorry for the loss of your wee one. Thank you for sharing your story – your honesty and transparency is such a source of wisdom and inspiration to tune into our bodies and the innate wisdom they contain. You continue to be a source of light xx

  7. Thank you for sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes as I recalled my own waiting. I have had 3 miscarriages. I really appreciate the fact that there are people who honestly share their stories…to the benefit of others. So thankful for the faithfulness of the LORD to guide us…and fill us with hope and peace through such hard times. Blessings on you and your family!

    • Hi Rachel!

      I think that we should be sharing our experiences so that good can come out of them. We need to help others with how we overcome difficulties to give HOPE! (: Thank you for your kind words!

  8. I feel like I am going through what you went through, mine just hasn’t been as long. But then again, mine still isn’t over. I found out at 10 weeks along that there was no heartbeat or growth since about 9 weeks. This was back in mid October. So it has almost been two months now. Last week, I saw an OB (not my midwife) and she prescribed me misprostol which is supposed to speed up the miscarriage process. The first night I took it, I had some really bad cramps. The next day, I didn’t have any pain but just some light spotting. Since then, I’ve had zero symptoms of miscarrying. It has been like this for a few days now. I go back next week for a follow-up appointment. I’m not sure what they will say, I really don’t want to have to have a d/c.

  9. Hello. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. This has been the only helpful thing I’ve read. I am currently experiencing a missed miscarriage. I am now 13 weeks. We found out a 9.5 weeks that the baby had stopped growing at around 8.5 weeks. I’ve had lots of spotting and light bleeding since the beginning of the pregnancy. The spotting finally turned red last week, and I had contractions all weekend, which have now stopped. I am back to spotting and the miscarriage is still not complete. I’m finding this whole experience very confusing and difficult emotionally. I just want it to be over! I am not having an infection and my nurse midwife says I can continue to wait. I guess I just want to know how long?! This is my third miscarriage. My second in a row. I’m emotionally exhausted. Thank you for listening. I really do appreciate your sharing. HC

  10. Hello,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I found out at 12 weeks that I had lost my baby around 8-9 weeks. I’m now almost 16 weeks (so it’s been 7-8 weeks since baby died), and I have had no symptoms of miscarriage except for some very mild cramping that feel like early braxton hicks contractions. I’ve tried to keep this as quiet as possible, but I did end up telling a couple of people who are worrywarts and who have told me scary stories. It’s so hard not to be anxious! I’m now past all stages of grieving because I just want this to be over. My midwife is keeping tabs on me and I’ve tried blue and black cohosh with no success. I don’t want to overdo it on those herbs because I’m worried it will damage my liver. How many weeks did it take before you noticed any cramping or spotting at all?

    • Hi, Erin. I’m not Cortney, but her cousin who also suffered a late miscarriage around the same time as her. Although the gestational age of your babies are much more similar, I’ll give you some information on mine. And just like every pregnancy/labor/delivery are different for each person (and each pregnancy), so are miscarriages. This I have learned. I was 21 weeks pregnant when we lost our baby girl, Margaret. She had made it to 18 weeks and 5 days. I had similar choices as to what Cortney had, except they would have wanted a D&E instead of a D&C and I was NOT going to let that happen! My midwife supported me in my decision for a natural late miscarriage. My cramping and bleeding didn’t start till after we decided to stop all herbs. I did this about a month after we lost her. It took another month before I started cramping and bleeding. I started bleeding a week prior to her delivery. My labor wasn’t as difficult as a normal labor, but most women told me it would be. I had some timeable contractions, but nothing I couldn’t continue talking through (like early labor). Less than an hour later I delivered our baby girl, in her bag of waters, with her placenta and all. She had her cord wrapped around her neck three times and knotted. This was the reason for our miscarriage.

      I’m so very sorry for your loss. I too needed that closure of her delivery. I was grateful to have those extra 2 months with my baby girl so that I could grieve. It gave me time to plan her funeral and process all that was happening. I was different from Cort in some of her grieving process, but in talking with many mom’s, we all grieve differently. There is no right or wrong way. I’m glad you’ve gone through your grieving process and I pray you have some closure soon. God bless you and your little baby!!

  11. Thank you for sharing this. I am going through a missed miscarriage as well. For me it has been one week today since we found out there was no heartbeat. I have a feeling they will start pushing for a d& c especially since my placenta is still pumping out a lot of hormones. But like you we are bathing this in prayer and a quick fix is not always the right answer. I do pray I will learn to suffer well through this.

  12. Thank you so much! It has been exactly 5 months now for me of waiting for the miscarriage process to come, so your article was so encouraging to see I’m not the only one that is taking so long! Blessings to you and your family!

    • Oh Abigail, just reading your post makes my heart ache because I know what you’re going through. I am glad to bring you some comfort during this time. I know it’s tough, but it’s a season and God is doing a work in you, you’ll see. 🙂

      • Two weeks ago we found out the baby we had tried two years to conceive (with help of fertility intervention) no longer had a heartbeat at 9 weeks. I opted for a natural miscarriage and have already received a lot of pressure for a D&C from well meaning loved ones. It helps so much to find conversations like this online and connect with people who understand.

      • Hello again! I’m curious to how your miscarriage played out? Was there a lot of tissue and large clots, or had your body absorbed any of it because it was in there so long? Thanks!

  13. Hi Cortney,

    Thanks for your transparency on this. Miscarriage is something I have pretty deep feelings about, having gone through one myself. I am so blessed to have had a doctor that let me miscarry naturally…in fact, he didn’t even bring up a D&C! It being my first pregnancy, I didn’t know there was even another possibility. It was a deeply spiritual, heartbreaking experience. If you have any interest, I wrote about it here: I am also an employee of Samaritan Ministries! I appreciate your blog quite a bit!

    • Hey Amanda, I’m pretty obsessed with Samaritan Ministries. It’s dreamy in many ways! 🙂 I read your blog post and can relate to so much of course. And the picture of your family is beautiful!

  14. Hello! Can you tell me the name of your OB GYN? There are no holistic doctors in our area, and therefore no one to support waiting it out. They’re pushing hard for a D&C, but we just want an honest opinion on both sides of the spectrum! Praying for peace and wisdom…

  15. I thank you so much for sharing your story. It has been 5 weeks since we were told our baby had no heartbeat. I have decided to wait and miscarry naturally. I began frantically searching for SOMEONE who waiting longer than the “few weeks” that it COULD take. I came across your story and it eased my heart and mind. Thank you for that.

  16. I’m so happy I found this. I had a missed miscarriage. I found out at 9 wk 6 Days that baby was 6 wk and had no heart beat. I’ve been waiting to pass naturally. I do not want to do a d&c I’m deathly scared and I don’t know how long to hold out for.

  17. Thanks for sharing your experience Cortney, it has been such an encouragement to me. I was told on August 8 at 11 weeks that my baby had died at 9 weeks. It was so heartbreaking, I don’t think I’ve cried so much before. I was determined to get the D&C so that I could have everything over with and move on, especially considering my age (33) and that this was my first pregnancy. But after seeing an OB and talking through my options I spent a couple of days processing what had happened and praying about what I should do and I changed my mind and felt more at peace about letting things happen naturally – I wanted to trust the way that God has designed our bodies and the process of these things. But when 6 weeks rolled on I started to feel disheartened that nothing had happened, and one night after many tears and crying out to God I found your blog post at the top of a google search. I don’t believe too much in consequences and what you shared spurred me on to continue trusting the answer to prayer that God had given me at first, particularly in amongst all the concern and advice from friends (one friend told me to be careful because her friend had “almost died” after choosing to miscarry naturally!). It’s now 9 weeks since I found out that our baby had died and a few days ago my body finally started to miscarry. This has given me a new strength and trust in God, and has taught me a lot about listening to Him and surrendering all, especially through future pregnancies.
    …and you are such a brave, strong woman to have persevered for so long through the natural process!