A Personal Story

Submitted: Jan 19, 2006

Shared by: Bridget

Age: 26
Weight: 165 lbs.
Height: 5 8

Where are you from? What country? Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Did you have a pregnancy test? Yes, through Planned Parenthood
When was it taken? When my period was about a week late; or about three weeks after ovulation.
What was the result? It was positive, which I suspected. I really had it only to be 100% certain, instead of 95%.

How was the pregnancy ended? I miscarried, but believe it was the result of my own efforts.
Were you successful in using the herbs? I believe so, combined with determination, imagery and massage.
Would you try herbs again, or recommend them to a friend in the same situation? Yes!
Is there anything that clued you in that the herbs might be working before bleeding started? Not much. I began spotting lightly two days before the miscarriage began in earnest, but I have heard that some spotting in pregnancy is okay. So I wasn't sure if it was a definite sign or not.

Is this your first pregnancy? Yes

How many weeks pregnant were you when the herbs were started? Three weeks
For how many days were the herbs used (total)? Four days

Were you using birth control? Yes
What kind/method of birth control/contraception were you using? The Fertility Awareness Method, one of the charting methods.
Do you know how/why it failed? Yes. I didn't have a complete enough set of temperatures before the expected ovulation time and I had an illness with a fever right around the time of expected ovulation that might have masked the temperature rise. But mostly it was not taking my temperature regularly enough followed by not being careful during sex in a time I knew was high-risk.

Did you experience any symptoms or signs of pregnancy? Only abnormally high temperatures, nothing else.
When did they start? Immediately upon fertilization!

Please include a summary of dosage information.
Name of the herb: I used only Vitamin C.
Form or method taken or used: I used what I had on hand, which was a buffered vitamin that did have some bioflavonoids, too. A day and a half later I purchased a pure, crystalline Vit. C product and continued taking that at the same dosage
Amount taken 500 mg
Frequency: Every waking hour beginning the evening of my pregnancy test. I didn't make any special effort to wake during the night to continue taking the vitamin, and sometimes I would go several hours forgetting to take my pill.
Duration (dates are useful): I began on a Thursday night, Jan. 5th and continued through the next Monday morning, Jan. 9th when serious bleeding began.
Side effects: After the first two hours taking the unbuffered, pure vitamin C, my stomach was a bit upset, so I tried to take the vitamins with a bit of yogurt, milk, or other light food from then on. After that first day, however, I stopped this as I didn't notice any further discomfort. No loose stool, either.

Other comments: Also beginning Thursday night, the evening of my pregnancy test, my boyfriend helped by giving a strong, deep, steady uterine massage almost every evening and morning before going to sleep and before getting up in the morning seemed to work well. And finally, he brought home a book on guided imagery and I used two particular scenarios throughout each day whenever I had time to think about it.

How did the herbs affect you? I didn't notice any affects at all.
Any positive effects? Im pretty sure it worked!
Where there any negative effects? None noticeable.
Do you have any health problems or issues? None.
How did being pregnant make you feel physically? No different physically. I never would have known that I was pregnant except that my period was late and the test confirmed it. I might have been more emotional than usual, but cant tell if it was hormonal or situational.

If the herbs caused miscarriage, how did you feel just before bleeding began? And when bleeding started - How was the bleeding, cramping, etc?
Before the bleeding started, I had no warning symptoms at all, which is normal for me just before a regular period. I had seen some light-brownish spotting on a Saturday, but didn't know if that was normal for early pregnancy or not. Sunday I was too busy to notice anything at all. Then about midmorning on Monday I began to bleed as though my period had come. The only difference was that the menstrual blood seemed darker and thicker, more coagulated and clumpy.

After about an hour, I decided that this was probably no longer just spotting, and I began to notice very, very mild cramping, nothing unpleasant. Because I wanted to keep close track of the whole process, I inserted my Keeper (one brand of natural rubber menstrual cup I highly recommend it) so I could save and examine all the blood.

As soon as I put in the Keeper, my cramping became much stronger. It still wasn't excruciating, but I was rather uncomfortable and it made me crabby but I was excited too. The first time I emptied the keeper I noticed a lot of small, dark red clotts about the diameter of a baby pea in addition to the normal menstrual blood. I continued checking until I saw the actual yolk-sac, which I passed before 1:00 pm that same day. Then, to minimize the cramps, I removed the keeper and went to Glad Rags. I also passed one really nasty chunk of tissue that must have been a big section of the endometrial lining, although I dont really know. Except for the color it was like the thickest phlegm I ever coughed up while sick with a serious chest cold or bronchial infection. Cool, but gross. I probably shed only and ounce or two of blood total on Monday.

Mild cramps and somewhat heavier than normal bleeding continued through Tuesday. There were more small, pea-sized clotts, but mostly just menstrual blood, perhaps a little thicker than normal. Wednesday, the bleeding continued, but was lighter (no more cramps), and by Friday it resembled spotting again, just a brownish smear, which disappeared completely by Sunday.

Your Story -
The most traumatic part of my first pregnancy was definitely the few days before I got the pregnancy test. I knew I was pregnant my temperature was abnormally high and then my period was late. Unless I had an ovarian cyst, I was definitely pregnant. But it wasn't until I decided to get an official test at the Planned Parenthood clinic that the significance of being pregnant set in and I really knew and accepted the fact with my whole being. And then I was scared.

I knew that I was never going to carry the pregnancy to term. It wasn't happening. But I was still fearful...what if this, what if that, complications, my family...I was facing something new and unknown and I wanted to take a course that no one I personally knew had ever even contemplated. My boyfriend and I did know that we didn't want me to go through a clinical abortion because of the expense and trauma, and we knew that an herbal approach could work...but would it? What if something went wrong? Back to the What ifs! Perhaps it was a result of all the hormones of pregnancy, but I felt very fragile. All my emotions were close to the surface, and tears would break out whenever I felt ANY emotion strongly. Lots of confusion. My boyfriend urged me to tell him about it and I didn't know where to begin start anywhere, he said, just tell me something. That helped me a lot, and it helped give him a role the process. I am very lucky to have him, such a supportive, interested partner. Things would have been immeasurably harder without him.

And then I had my test. It was positive, of course. And I got all the info about a clinical abortion to take home and share with my fella. I had been reading up on home-made abortions, so the evening of my pregnancy test, a Thursday, I began taking 500 mg of vitamin C every waking hour. It was the weekend before I finished my herbal research, and the herb shops were closed. I decided to wait until Monday to begin an herbal regimen, but I figured I could do the vitamin C meanwhile, and to start something soon would be best. So I took the vitamin and didn't make any special effort to wake up at night to continue the dose.

In addition, also beginning Thursday night, the evening of my pregnancy test, my boyfriend helped by giving a strong, deep, steady uterine massage almost every evening and morning before going to sleep and before getting up in the morning seemed to work well. We didn't have any info on uterine massage techniques, so he just pushed deeply, smoothly, evenly with a whole fist or heel of the hand. Nothing sharp or jabbing, I think it should be soothing. It is a bit uncomfortable to have someone pressing so deeply into your abdomen, but it shouldn't hurt at all. It should be a tender, bonding moment. It made me cry, this close, loving touch. I could hear and feel things gurgling inside me, neat.

And finally, he brought home a book on guided imagery and I used two particular scenarios throughout each day whenever I had time to think about it. I can share them with anyone who is interested, but what will work for me may be quite different from what will work for you. My boyfriend once announced very firmly that I would menstruate before the next full moon. This strong belief of his (or at least definitive statement) was another mental hold I could grab on to when I felt badly or had doubts.

I believe those last two elements were critical. I feel my mental resolve may have been a greater factor in my success than the vitamin C. For example, there was one time in particular when I was on an elliptical trainer while watching my boyfriend climb at our rock gym and I just ran in place and cried and talked to the little spirit, wont you please go away now; cant you see him playing there, he's really not ready, please wait and come back, he will love you someday, he wont be able to help it, but not now; wait until I have a home for you. And it worked, though I was doubtful until it happened.

So my personal abortion attempt didn't even get into its planned, organized full swing before the task was accomplished. I had reserved about two weeks for the process, just in case. I arranged to stay at my boyfriend's house, checked work and school schedules, was about to schedule a clinical abortion as backup, was formulating herbal recipes... and then I didn't need any of it. I didnt even get in touch with any of my other friends for their support. It was really anticlimactic. I felt very tired after seeing the little conceptus and putting it away in the compost pile. Drained. Happy, sad, elated at my success, disappointed that I didn't even get to try the herbs (I love plants and using their medicines). But tired; I needed and got a great hug.

The day of my miscarriage, Monday, I went into the clinic just to make sure that everything was all right. They were planning on doing an ultrasound, which would have cost $400, but we compromised with doing two blood tests to see if the levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin in my blood were dropping. I had blood drawn that Monday, and then again the following day. That cost $80, plus the price of the clinic visit. Because I didn't have any signs of trouble, I regretted having the lab work done and wasting the money (about $200 total for 3 clinic visits + lab work), but altogether it was still a lot cheaper than an abortion, and if there is a next time, I now know what to expect from my body and what to look out for. I also learned that you should definitely get a blood test for your RH factor, and a shot if necessary, because it might make a big difference in any future pregnancies. And my boyfriend and I also have a very real experience of what it MEANS to make a mistake in our sexual relations, and it should help us avoid a next time. This pregnancy has strengthened our bond, forcing us to discuss things that we just never got around to until now.

Is there anything you would have done differently? If I had had more specific information before I realized I was pregnant about the herbs and which ones were available in my town, I would have started them sooner, when my temperature first went really high. But perhaps since this worked and I only used Vitamin C (and mental/physical stimuli), I saved myself potential negative effects from other herbs? Also, I would have brought in more friends. My greatest need was to feel wrapped up in love and support, and except for my wonderful boyfriend, I was a short on getting that need filled.

There are many lessons that can be learned from an experience such as this, Do you feel you have learned something from this experience? If so what?
I cant quite hope to repeat this process, but my miscarriage began so quickly that I felt like I didn't get to experience the entire process. I read so much about how likely it is to not work, that I was gearing up my mind and structuring my life to devote the next two weeks to creating my own little abortion. And then, on the fourth day, before I took a single herb, I was no longer pregnant, I hadn't even had the chance to schedule the backup clinical abortion. So, I guess I learned not to be afraid, to take advantage of each experience to learn new things, gain some wisdom and experience. If this ever happens again it will be much less emotionally traumatic. I find I really want to discuss this with everyone I know so that all women can have information about how they personally can control, or at least influence, their own bodies. I learned that we need to talk more, share stories and not be ashamed.

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