Yes, I Had A Miscarriage And Yes, I Flushed

I had a miscarriage and I flushed.

I was not well prepared for what it would be like to have a miscarriage. I figured there would be blood, but I didn’t realize how much. I assumed there would be cramping, but I didn’t know it would be so intense.

I had vague ideas of what it would be to have a miscarriage, but there was one part I had given no thought to.

I had no idea there would come a point where I would have to decide what to do with the remains of my baby.

I had never imagined being in a situation where I would have to choose how to “take care” of the life that ended inside of me. It’s an impossible decision with no right answer.

What was I supposed to do with the baby my body rejected?

I am one of the ones who flushed. In fact, I’ve flushed twice. I’m saying this out loud because it’s one of the parts of miscarriages that is still heavily cloaked in shame and contempt. It’s the part of the story that you often skip over. When you do share the details, you worry that your listener will be disgusted with what you have done.

I am done worrying what others will think. All I can do is hope that those who turn away, never have to make the same decision I did.

The first time I flushed was in the bathroom of my old apartment. 

Just three days before I had been standing on that same worn linoleum floor staring at two blue lines. 

Now, I stood hand poised over the silver handle saying my silent goodbye and wondering if I should wake my husband.  Was this something we should do together?  Was this the kind of thing that couples share?  I did it alone.  Not because I wanted to, but because I had never done this before and I never wanted to do this again.

Six months later, I flushed again.

We were two hours into our road trip to Maine.  We had stopped at the usual place so we could stretch our legs and buy junk food.  The days before had been a steady stream of blood and cramps and worry.

But that morning it had all stopped.  No more blood.  No more cramps. No more worry. Optimism crept back in–my baby was okay.  I didn’t know for sure, but I felt like I was carrying a boy and I felt like he would be fine.

He wasn’t fine.

My hands caught him before he hit the water. 

In my hands was my baby– the size and shape of a small water balloon and the deepest shade of scarlet.  Holding my bundle, carefully swaddled in toilet paper, I pushed open the door and leaned out.  My eyes frantically searching for my husband because this time I didn’t want to be alone.

Our eyes met and he rushed back to the restroom door. He looked down at my hands and lifted his eyes to meet mine.  There, reflected back at me, I saw my fear and my heartbreak and my last grasp at denial.  Maybe this was something else. 

I wanted it to be anything besides the end of another pregnancy. 

We had already dreamed so many new dreams for this baby and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to those dreams.  Not there.

But, we did.  Again, I stood on an unremarkable tile floor and said goodbye.  I watched as everything I ever wanted swirled around and around…and down.

I shuffled out of the convenience store, traumatized by what had just happened. At the time, thinking I was traumatized because I chose to flush. Now, knowing I was traumatized for a different reason.

I was traumatized because having a miscarriage is traumatic.

The trauma does not just lie in the horrors of watching dreams and children die, the trauma comes in the questions we face and the decisions we must make about the most difficult moments a person will endure.

I wish I had an eloquent answer for why I flushed. I don’t. I just flushed. And because I don’t have the answers and because those moments hurt so very much, I choose to tell my story.

Hoping that somewhere another woman will read this. Hoping it will be a person who can say “I flushed too.”

Photo by Naomi August on Unsplash

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30 thoughts on “Yes, I Had A Miscarriage And Yes, I Flushed

  1. Hugs❤️ I flushed too. Twice in the last two months…it’s never easy and these decisions aren’t either. Don’t feel shame. Our bodies are just vessels, your child was no longer in that vessel. Take comfort in knowing this.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. I remember the day after I flushed the toilet wondering if I did it wrong, was I supposed to do something different, how could I have just flushed the toilet? It’s so important to share this part of the story to break another shame cycle we all have felt. 💜

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  3. I have also flushed I was very young and didden’t know back then what was happening and I was so scared. Now that I have read your story I feel ok about the decision I made and glad to know there are more people out there that have been through the same experience.

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  4. Currently “flushing” for the third time in the last six months. 😦 Troubles conceiving through Ivf and not having all the right parts in each transfer. I’m angry at my body, why won’t it allow me to have my rainbow baby! Currently an angel mumma to 4! No living children. But I’m not ready to give up yet!

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    1. It took me 7 before my rainbow baby. Where we get the strength I’ll never know. Wishing you success and happiness. Stay strong. And yes I flushed 4 times.

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    1. I didn’t realise how much I needed to read this. I was in a public bathroom when I miscarried the day before my 12 week ultrasound. There was so much blood and I panicked and flushed. I’ve regretted it to this day. The guilt makes me feel sick to my stomach. I went home and planted a Rose, gave her a name “Ella Rose” (I was convinced she was a girl) then cried for 3wks straight. Thank you for sharing your story and all those that commented and shared too.

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  5. I flushed too. I can’t tell you how much your article meant to me. My MC was medically induced at home a few months ago and no one talks about what happens when you actually “pass” your baby. It was by far one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever gone through and for some reason without even thinking flushing seemed to be the only thing to do at the time. I wish no one to ever have to go through this but we do and it helps to hear other women like your self be brave enough to speak the truth. Thank you for this. ❤️

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  6. I did too. I lost mine at almost 4 months, he was completely formed and my first instinct was to pick him up and hold him. I went to the bathroom because I felt pressure but didn’t know what was happening until I heard a loud plop. Looked down and saw him. I was devastated! My husband was at work I was in the hotel with my two year old, crying my eyes out, hugging a toilet that I seemed to have an unnatural attachment to. I cried and once my husband got to say goodbye, I too flushed! I still see my tiny boy and remember him every single day. His name is Warren Lee Williams. Forever in my ❤!!

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  7. Thank you for this piece 🙂 Its been almost 17 years now and I too flushed. It’s been something that has hung heavy in my heart all these years. I am so grateful to know I am not alone.

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  8. I flushed too…thank you for writing about this. I took a picture before I flushed, I, too, didn’t know what to do. Then I said goodbye…I can’t thank you enough for sharing ❤️

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  9. I flushed! I thought I was the only one in the world!! I flushed because I was so hurt and angry because I had all these hopes and dreams for this baby and I couldn’t bare doing anything else with it. I think I thought if I flushed the pain and the hurt would go with it. Thank you for posting this I don’t feel like a heartless crazy person now.

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  10. This was profound. I flushed once maybe even twice. What else could we do? Traumatize ourselves (further) with a scoop or a shovel? A funeral? Ultimately we all go back to nature.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this I too had only shared my story with a select few. I have also flushed , I had been with my ex and we lived in a camper on his parents property this was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and at the time was only 18 and didn’t know how to , or if I handled this already tramatic situation the right way ..and it just makes it that much harder to deal with.. there is not a day that goes by I don’t think about the what ifs and could have beens. There was a long time I suffered from postpartum and did think I needed help or if I even had anything wrong with me .. it took 6 or seven years for me to find myself again and I just wanted to let u know I’m so grateful you have shared ur story .. I have always known I wasn’t the only one who has had to do this or make this decision . And just want to let u and all these other strong and wounderful women know that it’s ok to talk about it and it helps . You don’t necessarily have to let go but to learn how to cope. And stay strong … Again thank you for being brave and courageous and getting ur story out . It will make a tremendous difference and reaching out to help so many others and this swept under the carpet kind of topic…. 💕💕💕

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  12. I was 19 when my girlfriend at the time went through this. At first the title of this story infuriated me because it surfaced the old feelings from almost 20 years ago. After reading through blinding tears I was no longer mad but just incredibly sad. 20 years later and I still cry about a clump of cells that were CREATED in part by me and shared my genetic code. I cry as I imagine it swirling in the water being flushed down to join the ranks of human waste. No more pomp and circumstance than a dead goldfish. I cry because of the times since then that I was glad that I wasn’t stuck raising a child without a mother around (she ended up in federal prison years later). I cried because that made me feel SO guilty and selfish. Thank you for sharing your story. It means a lot to me as a man that has been a part of something similar.

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  13. OMG. This is a thing. I’ve had to flush 4 times. It was the part I could never talk about. It was the thing about it all that “made me a monster”. All of the taboos and the silent shame of not even being able to “woman” properly. All this time I never dreamed I wasn’t the only one. Going through it. After all these years I’m not alone. Time for a doozy level cry.

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  14. This hit home to me. I can still remember the day I, too, flushed. Actually, my scooped it out of the toilet for me because I was lying on the bathroom floor. She put it into a container for me to see and then I threw it in the toilet when I realized what happened. I was 12 weeks along with no baby inside. All the planning you do in those 12 weeks washed down in the toilet along with everything else. I feel your pain and thanks for sharing your story!

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  15. It’s been 10 years since I flushed, and I think of my would be baby often. I had a daughter prior to the miscarriage and I’ve since had 3 more beautiful daughters, but every now and then I think of that little baby and wonder if it was the son I’ll never have.

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  16. Sitting here bawling so hard. I flushed. I’m SOOO ashamed that i didn’t even think to reach in and get my babies! I’m horrified it didn’t cross my mind until later. Later, when it was too late. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t have back that moment and it hurts so bad. Even 17 years later.

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  17. I’ve had quite a few miscarriages and later loss of pregnancy too (what they term medically in the UK as Late Miscarriage, but it may as well be stillborn. There was a perfectly formed baby, just very small). I have flushed twice, mainly because I didn’t think about what else I could do…and I was in shock. I’ve had surgery once to remove the “Retained Products of Conception”, so presume they burnt everything in the hospital incinerator. Again, I didn’t know what else could be done. It wasn’t until losing Luna (at 19 weeks), that I thought more carefully about our options. We had a funeral, she was cremated privately, we still have her ashes. I’ve since had another early miscarriage. This time, I caught the sac, I wrapped it up in tissue and I took it to the seaside. I let it go in the sea. They had told me to bring it in and they would run tests on it to see if they can find a reason for my miscarriages, but I didn’t want them having it and me not knowing what happened to it.

    Please don’t anyone beat yourselves up for what you have or haven’t done with the remains of your baby. The pain of the loss is bad enough. The shock and trauma is overwhelming and sometimes we don’t think about it at the time, or we’re in blind panic, especially if it’s the first time it has happened to you. Just because you’ve flushed, doesn’t mean you didn’t love or want your baby.

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  18. I also flushed! At the time I was going through a lot of pain with the cramping and bleeding and then it happened my baby came and I just held them in my hand looking, so tiny, so precious and so hurtful. I already had my 6 month old baby at home at this time but other than that I had to do it alone as well and I was so lost in confusion and wonder what I should do with my baby. I slowly dropped them into the toilet and said my goodbyes as I was exploding in tears and flushed…..I still remember this day like it was just yesterday it has been a year and half now since and not a day goes by that I don’t think of my baby and what I did… thanks for sharing it really changes perspective on a lot of women who do go through this… I thank you very much!

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  19. Tha I you so much, I’ve had 2 miscarriages and never really told anyone that I flushed. I was so worried about telling anyone because of what they would think, but my first baby J I didnt even look. Thank you for making me feel included and normal about this.

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  20. i lost my last baby in January of this year… After 3 mostly normal pregnancies with good outcomes it was a shock… i figured it was best to do it “naturally” and just wait it out… after 2 and a half weeks of crying and waiting i finally called my OB and asked for the medicine.. it took 3 rounds of it and then we schedualed the D&C for that monday. I knew when i passed the sac and preserved it for my husband… he had asked me to catch the body as he wanted to build a box and preserve the memory. his way of dealing with it. My sons also wanted to see it… I told them i didn’t know if there would be anything to see, but that i would try. I felt it come out, like a bubble or a marble–but when i looked in the bowl it was just clear water and dark blood on the bottom… nothing to see. I didn’t want to dig through the bowl again, and i didn’t to want to bother my husband… and i didn’t want loose my baby for real… so i said in my heart theres nothing and flushed… as the water agitated, the body floated to the surface, a purple marble… and i washed my shaking hands. I dragged myself in to find my husband and completely fell apart appologising again and again for flushing his baby, our baby… and that the boys wouldn’t get to see it and say goodbye and that he wouldn’t get to build his box.. and crying that i am sorry that i lost his baby…
    it’s now 2 months from when the baby actually passed and 2 months from when it died… and i still can’t stop reliving it. different moments over and over again. THANK YOU SOO MUCH for this blog! reading your entries and the comments gives me hope that someday i will be able to breathe again. someday this won’t kill me every moment of every day. someday i won’t be afraid to try again, or afraid to actually get pregnant because it might not last. thank you for making it clear that i am not the only one who is suffering, or has suffered and been fearful. ❤

    PS–it goes without saying, i'm sorry for your losses. but i am also deeply greatful for the comfort this blog and community has brought me.

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  21. I flushed too. I honestly thought I was alone in this. I thought, “What kind of person does this?”. I thought I did something wrong. Maybe I should have gone to the doctor? I should have retrieved my baby from the toilet and taken it somewhere….to the doctor or the hospital. This was my one and only miscarriage. In retrospect I don’t think I realized what had happened until I flushed. I didn’t know what to do. What was I supposed to do? I have never told anyone this, not even my husband. I didn’t tell him and he didn’t ask. We just mourned. My closest girlfriends don’t even know and they know some serious stuff about me. I felt ashamed. I guess part of me still does. I don’t talk about it. I had NO IDEA I wasn’t alone. It’s been almost 9 years. I had 2 children before my miscarriage and had 2 children after. Sometimes it hits me, hard! I regret. I overthink. I play the “what if” game.
    Thank you for this. This was wonderful for my heart. Just to know I’m not alone. There will be others that will benefit tremendously from this. I plan on sharing this to hopefully help someone else. ❤️

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