With tears in her eyes, Carmen Broesder told the camera that she was “bleeding out” in the emergency room.
“I’m just gonna fucking bleed out on this table before somebody actually comes and helps me,” she said in a video posted to TikTok.
Broesder, a 35-year-old mother of one in Idaho, knows about miscarriages. She had four in 2022, and three of them felt like a bad period, she said. But the most recent one, which happened after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, lasted for weeks and was severely painful. And due to Idaho’s strict abortion laws, Broesder said she was not able to get the healthcare she needed.
Angry and overwhelmed, Broesder turned to TikTok and began documenting how she was feeling throughout the miscarriage and multiple frustrating hospital visits. Her 12 videos about her 19-day miscarriage ended up being viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
On Dec. 8, when Broesder was six weeks pregnant, she began to bleed heavily.
“I knew this miscarriage was different than the others,” she told BuzzFeed News. “I was bleeding massively. I was having massive pain. I needed help.”
After an ultrasound, the doctor told her they could not hear a heartbeat. Broesder knew the fetus was dead, so she asked for a D&C, also known as a dilation and curettage procedure, which removes tissue from inside a person’s uterus.
“I knew the baby was not going to come back to life,” Broesder said. “There’s nothing I can do and I didn’t want it inside me.”
Because performing a D&C on a pregnant person leads to the same outcome as an abortion, Broesder’s doctors in Idaho refused to offer it to her.
“I was angry,” Broesder said. “I was livid.”
“Nobody is actually coming to help,” Broesder said in her TikTok.
In another video, Broesder explains that she couldn’t travel out of state because she has a young daughter to care for.
Normally, only 100 or so followers see her content, but her miscarriage TikToks quickly went viral and resonated with a larger audience. Women flooded her comments with advice and donations, encouraging Broesder to go to the emergency room again.
“I was in excruciating pain by the time I went to the third ER visit,” Broesder said. Ever since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June, pregnant people’s lives are now being put at risk because in states where abortion is illegal, doctors have to refuse to offer certain treatments that either are considered abortions or may lead to them; otherwise, they risk being prosecuted.
Still, with her healthcare professionals unable to perform a D&C, Broesder said she was only offered tranexamic acid, which treats heavy periods, and told to only come back if the bleeding got worse.
“They said they’re treating this basically now like a bad period,” Broesder said in a TikTok.
This miscarriage, which lasted 19 days, was awful for Broesder. In 2006, she delivered a stillborn baby at full term, and even with that experience, she said this miscarriage was worse.
“I had experienced the worst-case scenario of having a 9-month child inside me that was dead,” she said. “I got induced 36 hours later. I had the baby and then I got a D&C with light bleeding. Within like two days, I was done. I thought that was horrific.”
Broesder said this miscarriage was especially painful because she and her boyfriend had put a deadline on how long they would try for another baby and this was their last shot.
“I have a body that fights against me,” she said. “I want to have babies, but it doesn’t carry for a very long term.”
Even though Broesder wanted a baby, she said Idaho’s strict abortion laws still directly affected her, and she wants to make sure people who plan to keep their pregnancies are aware that their health can still be impacted by laws they may theoretically support.
“We need the law to change so people don’t die,” she said.