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Archive for June, 2016

**Warning: Lots of “womanly” talk, miscarriage talk, bleeding talk

I haven’t typed in my blog in a long time, and I’ve been debating on whether or not I should start it back up. I’ve been debating whether or not to make this a post. I think what won out is the fact that this is still a topic that is widely considered something “we just don’t talk about,” and I think that needs to change. There is so much sadness around this topic, and I am a firm believer that if you talk about something, and the more you talk about something, the easier it gets to accept it and move on.

I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety my whole life, and I’m pretty good at “getting over things” and moving on, but this is something I’m struggling with. It hasn’t been that long, only about a month and a half, but it is something that sits very uneasily inside of me. I will find myself at work just staring at my computer screen, heart beating a little heavier as I rethink some of the events that happened that day. I’ve tried talking to people about what happened, but it’s a difficult thing to really comprehend until you lived through it. I consider myself a pretty empathetic person, but I can attest that this is just something it’s hard to wrap your mind around until it happens. I had a coworker say she had 13 miscarriages until she finally was able to carry a pregnancy to term. And I felt sad, but not as sad as I did after having one…and then even sadder, after having two. After one miscarriage, I had the (what I would think would be) common thoughts and feelings of sadness, guilt, depression, and general existentialism toward the universe. Why me?

My first miscarriage happened on Christmas Eve. It started as spotting at work. Everyone told me to calm down because some spotting was normal. When I got home and it turned into what seemed to be a normal period like bleeding, I went to the ER with my husband. I had a miscarriage. I spent a few hours in the ER, getting blood and transvaginal tests. The doctor told me that “these things happen.” They wouldn’t say right there that it was a miscarriage because they had to wait for the tests to come back, but I knew. I knew then and spent all of Christmas Day crying when I could away from everyone because the bleeding wouldn’t stop, and I definitely knew. I still cried when the doctor called the next week to confirm my thought.

I spent a whole year trying to get pregnant after the blood tests and the okay that my body was back to “normal.” When I took the pregnancy test literally a year and a week after getting the okay, and it finally said positive, I was so excited. It was 5:00 in the morning and I woke my husband and couldn’t wait to tell my best friend at work.

My husband and I went to the first doctor appointment. I knew that we probably wouldn’t hear the heart beat, because I would only be 8 weeks along, but I was hoping we could hear something. I had been so nauseous and had the worst food aversions, and I was just tired and needed a pick-me-up. I didn’t get one. The doctor tried to be positive and told me the fetus was only measuring at 6 weeks because I had my timing messed up. But I had taken ovulating tests that were saved in my phone and I had taken a picture of the pregnancy positive test. I knew all of my timing was correct. I managed to not cry in the office, but I did once we left. My husband tried to be positive, but again, I knew. I had almost no hope. The next week I went to a lab to have another sonogram done. If the fetus grew at all, then there was hope. The lab doctor either didn’t know why she was doing this test or didn’t read it very carefully, because in her asking different questions, I knew the answer to mine. They got the doctor on the phone for me to tell me that the fetus must have died at 6 weeks, because I should have been measuring at 9-10 weeks at this point, but I didn’t even need her to tell me. I had basically accepted it.

But now there was a choice. This was considered a “missed miscarriage,” in which my body should have had a miscarriage but somewhere my mind got mixed up and didn’t recognize it as something that needed out of my body. Do I take a pill to force it? Sign up for a D&C procedure/minor surgery? Or just wait? I chose to wait. The thought of taking something to force it out horrified me.

After a few more weeks and as my symptoms gradually went away, nothing else happened. There was no bleeding, no cramping. I considered and talked with my husband. My doctor told me since it was so early on that the pill option should work just fine. It would cause cramping and I would have really heavy bleeding for a few hours, and then it would basically just be like a period. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was actually medication for stomach ulcers…except you take it vaginally for this case. And a lot of it. I took off a Monday and decided to take it early Sunday. Nothing happened as I took dose after dose as prescribed….until about 3:30 in the afternoon. It started out as minor cramping and some bleeding, and I told myself I could do this. Until my trip to the hospital that was to come, I considered this the worst day of my life.

For about three hours, I had such intense pain I thought I was going to die. The doctor had said cramping, but failed to mention that basically my body was simulating labor. It was hell. She had prescribed me Percocet, and I took two…and they did nothing. It was coming in waves, and I would be in a ball on the couch, then crouched on the floor, then pacing, then bent over….it was absolute hell. My dad stopped over because I asked my mom for her heating pad, desperate to try anything that might help. My mom said he was in tears when he got home because I was just in so much pain. My husband kept telling me to go to the ER, but I knew there wasn’t anything they could do, and I didn’t think I could make it. I was bleeding clots so heavily that I soaked through a pad in five minutes at times. I finally did something that some people might consider stupid, but I was desperate. I gave the two Percocet about two hours into my system and I took two tramadol that I had for normal periods. Finally the concoction worked and the pills were starting to wear off. I drifted off to sleep around 11 at night. I had passed what I assumed what the fetus from what I had read.

The next Thursday, I experienced such extreme back pain that I did something I literally have almost never done–I called off work. I was popping pills once again as I couldn’t sit or stand or be comfortable in any position. The doctor said it seemed “normal.” I was just fed up with everything.

Then all seemed quiet for the next week. The next weekend I made plans to go to the movies with some friends. After work, I started having really heavy bleeding again. I started passing huge clots. I almost had an “incident’ at the movie theatre. I could literally feel the clot pressing inside of me while I sat, and I managed to get up and out of the theatre and into the rest room because the clot dropped. My pad (an overnight one) was literally soaked through. I had also luckily shoved another pad into the top of my skirt before I sneaked out. I managed to get through the rest of the night. Only one friend knew what was going on, and I didn’t want to look too weird to the others. The rest of the weekend I bled and passed clots. But by Monday, it had stopped, so I didn’t call the doctor.

In the meantime, I was supposed to have another sonogram to check the progress of everything. The radiologist told me that it looked really bad and I would have to have a D&C done. I was crying because I had went through all of that pain and suffering for nothing. My doctor met with me and told me everything looked fine to her. Unless I insisted on having the procedure, she said to wait because my blood hormone count was dropping normally and I seemed to be doing fine. I went with that option. I didn’t even want to consider surgery. I had already cried to my manager and got the days off for it, and I was half embarrassed and half relieved to stop in her office the next day and tell her I didn’t need those days. She told me she was glad that I didn’t.

Then Friday came. It was a normal morning. I thank my lucky stars that I decided to go with comfort that day. I had on leggings with a black loose skirt and a shirt with a cardigan. I started to feel some light cramping around 11 AM, so I took a tramadol. That wasn’t uncommon for me. But then I stood up, feeling some pressure like I had to pee, and I felt it. That horrible, horrible feeling that a clot just passed. I had been wearing a panty liner all week, but for some reason I had put on a pad that morning. I don’t know why, but again…thank God. I hurried to the restroom with another panty liner and was very dismayed to find myself bleeding heavily with large clots. I changed the pad and went back to my desk. Literally five minutes later, I was back up and in the bathroom. I had started bleeding so much that it soaked through my underwear and leggings. I changed the pad but it wouldn’t sit right because my underwear was soaked with blood. Somehow it didn’t get on my skirt. If I had been wearing jeans, someone would have screamed and called an ambulance. Blood was everywhere. I managed to clean up the stall. There was blood all over the toilet, on the floor, and all over me. At this point, I was shaking badly.

When I got back to my desk, I went to my one friend on my team that knew. I looked at her and said, “I’m bleeding really, really badly. I need to go.” She followed me to my desk and I just shoved all of my unfinished work in her hands. She kept telling me to calm down and she would do anything I needed her to (in a nice way meant to calm me, not in a condescending way). I was starting to cry at this point. Another person asked my I had blood on my arm. I knew I just needed out of there.

Some people thought I was crazy for not having them call an ambulance, but I literally work in a secure area that is a cave. I have heard it takes an ambulance at least 45 minutes to get to you, and then there was the ride to the hospital. I needed to be in control. I walked into my manager’s office. She was typing on the computer with the team lead standing there. I calmly waited for her to look up. I said, “I need to go. Now.” “Okay.” “And I need you to drive me out.” “Okay.” She stood up and briskly locked her computer and she was out of the door with me following her. She calmly asked if I had my badge, and I did. There had been blood all over it, too, but I thankfully noticed and cleaned it all off. I hadn’t considered the fact that I might get blood in her car, and for the three-five minute ride to my car, I managed to lift myself up so I wasn’t touching the seat. I don’t know if she noticed. I thanked her over and over again. I was in my car finally, and I just lost it. I started shaking and crying so hard I was basically hyperventilating. I called my husband. He told me he would come and get me, and I told him, no, just meet me at home. I managed to drive about 70 the whole 40 minute drive home. I was literally hysterical.

I beat my husband home. The bleeding seemed to have slowed, so I started breathing more easily. I sat on the toilet for a while and cleaned myself up. I had panicked so hard I was now having stomach issues (I have colitis among other issues), so I went to the bathroom and decided to jump into the shower to fully clean myself. As I stood in the shower, glasses still on because I was just washing my legs, I somewhat hazily noticed there was a ton of blood washing down the drain. I shut off the water and noticed that that was because it was literally just pouring out of me at that point. I felt faint because I was starting to panic again. I got out and sat on the toilet again. I could tell that it was bad. Very bad. I called my husband again. Where are you??? He was coming up the driveway. I ran into my room, put on leggings, and wrapped an old towel around my waist. He jumped into my car. Which hospital? The one that was 15 minutes from my house had a bad reputation, but it didn’t matter at that point. I wasn’t making a 30 minute drive to the next one. I was literally hemorrhaging and I was literally hysterical again.

I will never forget sobbing “I’m going to be okay” while my husband echoed me as he tried to drive super safely. I was so certain I was going to bleed to death. That’s the only thing I could think the whole drive. I was literally yelling at him to go faster, but we couldn’t because of traffic. I started alternating between, I’m going to be okay and Omg, I’m going to die. I called my mom and managed to calmly tell her that I was going to the ER. She told me later that she had about 2 panic attacks on the way there and had to sit in the parking lot to keep from passing out when she got there. I had never been so scared in my life.

To make the rest of the story short, I had blood tests and sonograms and the doctor said I had to get the D&C. There was a clot/part of the placenta inside of me that was much too large for my body to pass on its own. My body must have realized that and went into overdrive trying to expel the rest. I was in the ER from about 12:30 until about 7:00 PM. I went to CVS to get more medication. I was sore and scared that the light bleeding I was having wasn’t going to stop.

It was literally the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced. I cried the whole time I was typing this. I was just so convinced that I was going to die. My parents were freaked out, my sister was freaked out, and my one friend at work that I didn’t have a chance to tell her what was going on, called my husband in a panic because she was so scared for me. And it’s been hard to move on as I get at least two bills a week and have had to have blood drawn every week since to monitor my hormone level dropping. I was so anemic after all of that that I was too exhausted to go into work without riding the shuttle bus in, which I had never done, even when I had the flu. I was taking iron supplements every night. Finally last week my iron count was up to 10.5 and my hormone count was down to 6. I want to try to get pregnant again, but there’s just this nagging thought in the back of my head…what if this happens again? What if I bleed to death this time?

I can attest to the uncertainty and sadness that surrounds a miscarriage. But I refuse to keep hiding it from everyone. I realize people do it because it’s hard to talk about, but it’s something I think more women can relate to than most of us realize. My only suggestion to someone going through anything similar…I would never recommend that pill. As scary as the idea of surgery is, taking that pill was the biggest mistake I have ever made. Between the pain and the days off of work and it not even working…bleeding that heavily and rushing to the ER and having the surgery anyways…it’s literally not worth avoiding the surgery.

My hearts and thoughts are with anyone who has ever had to deal with this or who unfortunately will deal with this in the future.

-AV

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