Friday, April 18, 2014

An Unexpected Journey

Two weeks ago today, I started miscarrying our (baby, embryo, fetus). I don't know for certain which word to use here. I knew that inside of me was growing the beginnings of a life, but, this beginning, I wasn't thinking of it as a baby yet. It was a potential. I don't have the correct word.

Regardless, I want to share my story. When I posted the news on Facebook, I had several people tell me I was brave for talking about my miscarriage so openly. I thought this was odd at the time, and I am still wondering why the perception of bravery. Perhaps I am extremely lucky, I have not had one person say even the slightest negative thing to me. Perhaps I am immune in a way, I have a strong understanding of biology and developmental process. I know that there is nothing that I did or didn't do that would have changed the outcome of this pregnancy. Something in the development process didn't happen correctly, most likely because of a genetic malfunction, but regardless, it was nothing I could have controlled. A reminder that knowledge is power, and this knowledge, I wore like armor at first, ready to stop any slings and arrows of blame coming my way. But the thing is, they never came. I have been lucky enough to surround myself with remarkable people.

So, I feel that telling my story is something I need to do for me, to help process, to help grieve, to help me move forward. But I also want to tell my story for others - to perhaps offer women and men who have, are, or will go through this some...well...something that might help them, whatever that may be. Each person, each couple will feel differently, grieve differently, process the experience differently. That's just fine. I know that I am different, you are different, she is different.

So what happened? Thursday morning - a little blood, a little spotting. I called the nurse, per my instructions,. She wasn't worried at that time, especially since I wasn't experiencing any cramping at the time. A woman's cervix is more prone to damage and to bleeding when she is pregnant, especially after sex. I was told to just monitor the situation.

Thursday, I will say, was a hard hard day for me. When I first saw the blood, I lost it. Yes I knew there were reasons for the bleeding besides miscarriage, even before I called the nurse. It didn't matter. Thursday was when all my worst nightmares came to the front. Thursday was squatting in the shower, crying heaving sobs with the hot water streaming over me. Thursday was sitting out in the rain at a nearby park, hidden away, over looking the highway, tears streaming down my face. Thursday was telling this potential life how much it was wanted and would be loved, pleading and begging for it to stay, to share life with us. Thursday was a lonely day, with me afraid to tell anyone but my boyfriend, for telling others made it seem more real. Thursday was HARD. Then the bleeding stopped, and I hoped that I was just over-reacting.

Then Friday late afternoon - more blood appearing - again, not much. More worrying was the cramps I started feeling. Not as bad a cramps from a normal period, but there were there - dull, persistent. Friday was beginning to accept that miscarriage might be a reality. Friday was false cheerfulness while hanging out with friends, publicly denying what I was privately beginning to accept. Talking about how awesome a Halloween birthday was, about names, and the future. Friday was hope despite what I was feeling internally. Friday was staying up reading Fantasy Novels to take my mind off of what was happening, until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Then Saturday morning came - still not a lot of bleeding, but more with cramps that were getting stronger. I woke my boyfriend up at 8:30 - 9:00 and said, I think we need to head to the emergency room since the doctor's office was not open. We had a very short wait, and amazing care. The nurses and the physicians assistant were both wonderful - cheerful and upbeat as we went through all the tests and exams. And I say we because my boyfriend was beside my side the whole time, cracking jokes, making the nurses and I laugh. Thank goodness for friends we were messaging on Facebook - again, keeping our spirits up. Then the ultrasound. I only heard one heartbeat. The technician said, the doctor will go over this with you. When she walked into that room, I could tell by how she carried herself, that she did not have good news to share. And indeed she did not - the fetus had stopped growing a few weeks ago, their was no heartbeat. She said kind words, we were released from the hospital.

I still have the paper with the diagnosis on it: Inevitable miscarriage: there is nothing you can do to stop this from happening. I was sent home with prescriptions for pain medicines, and instructions.  We had lunch with friends - Saturday was hope and then despair. Saturday was numbness. Saturday was drinking mimosa's and eating greasy hamburgers and cheesy fries with good friends. Saturday was thank goodness for friends who can take my mind off of what has just happened and what will be coming. Saturday was a three hour nap.  I don't even remember what we did Saturday night, after the nap.

Sunday was pain, blood,clots, grossness, and sadness. Sunday was off-color jokes. Sunday was angry because I couldn't drink alcohol  (negative interactions with the pain meds I was on), because I couldn't even take a hot bath (risk of infection). Sunday was the end.

Then comes Monday. Oh Monday Monday. . . I was to call the doctor again, to make a follow up appointment, At that time - severe pain, lots of bleeding, lots of clots. Then a call to the boyfriend - "you need to come home, you need to take me back to the ER". He did. Unlike Saturday, the ER on Monday was busy - a convict waiting to having his hand looked at, in chains, with a police man guarding him. Two strokes, a woman who fell and broke her back (when I finally got a room, it was a shared room with this poor woman), at least one car accident. But we finally got in. The bleeding slowed, but the cramping did not. We spent all day in the ER - we got there about 9:30, and didn't leave until about 5:30? I don't remember. Monday was boring and gross. Monday was waiting, hunger, and thirst. Monday was bleh.

When we finally saw the doctor - after ANOTHER vaginal ultrasound - this one painful, and not because of the technician, he was gentle, I was told, "you still have a lot of tissue. Once expelled the bleeding might stop, but it might not". So I decided to have a procedure called a D and C (Dilate and Curretage). Basically they scrape out the uterus with a spoon-looking instrument. This was done for me under a general anesthetic. I want to talk more about this procedure. I am curious about the experiences of others, but I need to do other things yet today.

Right now - two weeks later, we have been given the green light by the doctor to try again, and we will.
Now to enjoy this beautiful spring day hanging out with some of my best friends.