Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Miscarriage Sucks. This is my story.

MISCARRIAGE
Some people hate using that word, but for me, it fits.  I will miss out on carrying my babies in my arms.  I will miss their smiles, their laughter, their tiny, fat potato feet, their bright eyes, and the lifetime of joys and challenges they would have brought us.  This blog post is is meant to be a resource for others who are going through this, and a resource for those who know someone who is going through one.  I'm not a medical expert, a doctor, or a nurse, just a gal who's been there.

IDEAS FOR HELPING A FRIEND WHO IS MISCARRYING
  • Send her flowers if she likes them.
  • Send her this book if she believes in God. I'll Hold You In Heaven  by Jack W. Hayford
  • Pray for her and her husband if you believe in God.  This is one of the toughest things they will ever go through as a couple.
  • Bring her a hot meal that you made.
  • Bring her a box of raisin bran and a big juicy steak from her favorite restaurant, because she needs the iron right now.
  • Send her an email or a Facebook message with a link to a comforting song. (see some song ideas below)
  • Don't tell her the story of your own miscarriage right now.  Her experience is completely different and she just wants comfort and prayers right now, not your story.  Let her know you've been there and you'd love to listen, and if/when she wants to know more, she'll ask.
  • Check in with her about how she is doing later on.  A week later.  A month later.  A year later.  It will still be on her mind and she will still be needing support. 
  • Offer to babysit or cook or clean or grade papers, or do whatever other duties she would usually have right now, because she may just want to stay in bed or be a couch potato while she's feeling awful both physically and emotionally.
MY ADVICE TO SOMEONE IN THE MIDST OF A MISCARRIAGE (or who thinks she may be)
I'm not a nurse, or a doctor, or anyone who has any medical training or authority whatsoever.  In fact, you probably shouldn't listen to or follow any of my advice.   I'm just a woman who has been through this twice, and has her own "learned the hard way" experiences to share.
  • Call your OB and go to the closest ER immediately.  They will likely do some blood tests to find out what's going on.  Request a prescription for a good strong pain medication.  You may need it later when all the pharmacies are closed, and then you'll be happy you have it. The ER will tell you what to do from here. 
  • If this is not your first miscarriage, be aware that it's probably not going to be any easier than the first one was.  In fact, it might be more painful than your previous one(s) depending on how far along you are.  See the next thought. 
  • Your experience is going to vary greatly, depending on how far along you are.  If you are 1-5 weeks along, your experience is most likely going to be less physically painful than someone who is farther along.  During my 5-weeks-along miscarriage, I bled for about a week total, and it was just a little worse pain-wise and amount-wise than a really heavy, sucky period.  You will want to have Advil on hand because the cramps are gonna suck.  There will be clots--icky, irregularly shaped chunks--in the bleeding, which is the lining of the uterus and the other "products of conception" as they call it sloughing off and coming out.  If you are 8 weeks or more along, you are probably going to have a completely different experience.  It is probably going to suck way worse than the worst period you have ever had, maybe even worse than labor.  My miscarriage pain was about twice as bad as my labor pains when I gave birth to my daughter, in my best estimate.  Get yourself some serious pain medicine (the prescription type) because you are gonna need it.  Forget Tylenol and Advil because they aren't going to touch the pain. If your OB offers you a D & C, consider it, because although it is more invasive and less natural, there is a lot less pain you will have to suffer through.  If your doctor offers for you to go to the ER and miscarry there, do it, because they can manage your pain better than you'll be able to at home. 
  • You are going to go through both emotional pain and physical pain, and sometimes at the same time.  For the emotional pain, everybody deals with it differently.  I cried. I had friends come over and hug me while I told them my story.  I read the book "I'll Hold You in Heaven" which helped me a lot, I ate a lot of chocolate because my hormones were dipping fast and my body was craving some endorphins. I stayed home from work for a day or two the first time, then I thankfully was off work the second time, because I would have been off work for five days.  My husband and I were sad for months after the first miscarriage, and I think he actually suffered depression from it.  We sought the advice of our OB and I ended up taking a fertility related medicine and having an HSG procedure to help us conceive again, so we did learn a lot from having that first miscarriage.  Four years later, I still think about what my little one would have looked like, and I stop and calculate how old he or she would be, once in a while.  I've been able to help a few friends who've gone through this since then with a listening ear and by recommending that book to them that someone so kindly recommended to me. 
  • You will probably want your house quiet, with just one or two people there to help you out when the bleeding is at its worst.  If you have a child at home, call someone up and ask them to come over and watch them in a room far away from you, or to take them to their house, so you don't have to take care of anyone but yourself right now.  
  • Know that you are not alone.  The statistics for how many pregnancies end in miscarriage are absolutely astounding.  You know someone who has had one, even though they might not have told you about it yet.  In fact, you probably know dozens of women who have gone through it.  Women start coming out of the woodwork when you start telling people your news.
  • Know that this is not your fault.  You did the best job of being pregnant that you could do in whatever situation that you were in.  Many, many times there is a genetic problem that causes the miscarriage.  No, your stress level from your work, your worries about money, your not eating as many vegetables as you possibly could have, or whatever other "what ifs" that are running through your mind did not cause this.  And no, God is not punishing you for anything you did or did not do.  This happened, and it sucks.  Take comfort in knowing that this pain will not be this intense forever and that there are days of joy ahead of you. 
  • Your miscarriage may last a few hours, days, or even weeks.  During my 5-weeker, I bled hard for one day then had spotting for about a week.  During my 8-weeker, I bled heavily for two nights, with two days in-between, but the whole miscarriage process started on a Monday night and the heavy bleeding didn't end until Saturday early morning.  I bled lightly for three weeks after that, like the last day or two of a period. Buy two boxes of the giant boat-sized overnight maxipads.  You'll go through most of them if you are 8 weeks along or more.  Also buy a box of regular sized pads to wear for the after-bleeding.  The light bleeding can go on for up to 4-6 weeks after the miscarriage, just like after a delivery. If the bleeding is heavy, wear black underwear and black sweat pants until this is over with.  You'll be getting blood in places you can't imagine, and you don't want to ruin your cutest cozypants. Put a dark towel on the bed where you sleep to save your sheets, or try using one of those paper puppy training pads. 
  • Reach out.  You are going to want some help, maybe with watching the kids while you go to the ER or while you go through the miscarriage at home, or for meals, or just for a hug.  This is not the time to be alone and strong.  This is the time to be strong enough to ask for help.  You'll at the very least want someone to be there to heat up your heating pad, rub your back, bring you water and food, and let you get snot on their shoulder while you cry.
  • Eat.  You are going to lose blood, so you are going to lose iron.  Eat meat and other iron-rich foods. Also drink lots.  Water, juice, milkshakes, gatorade, anything you like and can get down.  You don't want to get dehydrated, which is easy to do when you are both crying and bleeding simultaneously. 
  • Sleep when you can, because the pain and the process may come in waves.  I dozed and relaxed during the days, then the contractions and heaviest bleeding would kick in at night. 
  • You might throw up or feel nauseated.  This has to do with the blood loss, and can also happen if you are taking painkillers.  My ER doctor prescribed an anti-nausea drug, which I didn't use but there were moments I did feel nauseated.  You might want to ask for that when you ask for pain medication. You might get dizzy.  I was dizzy while pregnant anyway, and that didn't get any better during the miscarriage.  Try to lay down and pass the blood into a pad instead of sitting on the toilet, as much as you can, because when you are upright you bleed faster and can tend to get dizzy.  I passed out, hit my head, and had to make a second trip to the ER.  Stand up slowly when getting out of bed, and keep hydrated and well-fed to keep dizziness at bay. 
  • Don't push.  If you've had a delivery, you know how to do this.  I don't suggest doing this at any time throughout the miscarriage because then your uterus contracts harder, causing the cramp pain to increase and you to bleed faster.  Just let your body do the work at its own pace. 
  • Follow your doctors' instructions.  Make those follow-up calls and appointments as you are told to. 
  • The father is grieving too.  He may not show it exactly the same way you do, but he is feeling the loss too.  He may become sad, or seem angry, or be distracted.  He may show these emotions now, or it might hit him weeks or months later.  Tell him that you know he is sad too and reassure him that it is perfectly normal and natural to grieve in his own way. 
  • Look for comfort on the internet, in books, or in other resources you have available. I found some beautiful songs, scriptures, pictures, and poems online that helped me cry and deal, and they were cathartic.  I'll share some of the ones that meant the most to me here. 

Scriptures:

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. Psalms 23:4

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.  Psalms 46:1

For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden His face from Him, but has heard, when he cried to him.  Psalms 22:24

Truly, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me...You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again. John 16:20

But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

Prayers:
Jesus, bring Your healing touch to the parents who have suffered the loss of their unborn child through a miscarriage. We believe that this baby is now with You. Still, the pain of loss is great. We loved this child from the moment we knew of the baby's existence. We know this unborn child will never experience the joys of life on this earth. Yet our hope in eternal life remains firm. Watch over this family and give them comfort that they will one day meet their child in heaven with You. The baby's parents may give birth to other children, yet this unborn child will always be special to them. Please dry their tears and strengthen their faith in You, who are the source of all goodness and love. Amen.

Heavenly Father, your ways are hidden from our eyes. Comfort, we pray you, the parents who grieve at the loss of their baby. Grant them grace to face the future with courage and gallantry. May they understand in faith that your love, as a Father, will not cause them a needless tear and that they will meet again in a fuller life the one whose earthly body they prepared on earth. Amen.

Lord, you know the pain that this couple has experienced.  The child they lost is now safely in heaven waiting to join them again.  The pain from the temporary separation of this family can only be healed through you.  Lord, in the name of Jesus, cover this unbearable loss.  Take the pain away, and restore this family to complete wellness. Amen.

Lord, this couple has so much love to give. Lord, they want to obey you.  They desire to have a family that is centered around you.  You said in your Word that you would not withhold any good thing from your children.  What could be better than the honor or rearing a family that fears the Lord?  In Jesus’ name, please supply them with all their needs, and the desires of their hearts. Amen

Poems:
Catching Air by Bridget
Sometimes, when I think of you
I feel like I’m catching air
With my fingers.
I close them
To try to keep you here
For a few minutes more
But when I open them, to check,
They’re still empty.
You weren’t here for long
But for long enough;
For us to know you,
To know ourselves,
To know what we’re made of.
Sometimes,
It’s all we get:
Some time.
One day,
I’ll close my hand again
And this time,
Yours will be there,
In mine, holding it.
Your little fingers curling around my own
Like I dream they do now.
I just have to wait.
I have to wait
For the day my life
Begins again.
For the day my life
Becomes real.
One day,
When we’re both
Alive,
Both home,
I won’t be
Catching air with my fingers anymore.

FOR NATHAN
There’s a little girl in heaven
Who is just about your size,
She plays peek-a-boo with Jesus
And watches angels fly.
And when she needs to have a hug,
She climbs on Jesus’ knee,
He wraps His arms around her
And loves her perfectly.
Sometimes he tells her stories
About her mom and dad,
And how much her family loves her,
I know that makes her glad.
Jesus cares for children,
So if she ever cries,
He takes her up into His arms
And gently dries her eyes.
I watch you growing bigger,
And as you learn to stand,
She learns to walk in heaven
By holding Jesus’ hand.
- by Martha Teal

Daddy please don't look so sad 
Mommy please don't cry 
'Cause I am in the arms of Jesus 
and He sings me lullabies. 
Please try not to question God 
Don't think He is unkind 
Don't think he sent me to you 
And then he changed his mind 
You see, I am a special child 
And I am needed up above 
I'm the special gift you gave him
The product of your love 
I'll always be there with you 
And watch the sky at night 
Find the brightest star that's gleaming
That's my eyes shining bright
You'll see me in the morning frost 
That mists your windowpane 
That's me, in the summer showers
I'll be dancing in the rain 
When you feel a gentle breeze 
From a gentle wind that blows 
That's me! I'll be there
Planting a kiss upon your nose 
When you see a child playing 
And your heart feels a little tug 
That's me! I'll be there 
Giving your heart a hug 
So, Daddy please don't look so sad 
Mommy don't you cry 
I'm in the arms of Jesus 
And He sings me lullabies.

These are my footprints,
so perfect and so small.
These tiny footprints
never touched the ground at all.
Not one tiny footprint,
for now I have wings.
These tiny footprints were meant
for other things.
You will hear my tiny footprints,
in the patter of the rain.
Gentle drops like angel's tears,
of joy and not from pain.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in each butterfly's lazy dance.
I'll let you know I'm with you,
if you just give me the chance.
You will see my tiny footprints,
in the rustle of the leaves.
I will whisper names into the wind,
and call each one that grieves.
Most of all, these tiny footprints,
are found on Mommy and Daddy's hearts.
'Cause even though I'm gone now,
We'll never truly part.

What Makes a Mother? - Author Unknown
I thought of you and closed my eyes and prayed to God today.
I asked, "What makes a Mother?" and I know I heard Him say,
"A mother has a baby; this we know is true."
"But God, can you be a mother when your baby’s not with you?"
"Yes you can," He replied, with confidence in His voice.
"I give many women babies; when they leave is not your choice.
Some I send for a lifetime, others for a day
And some I send to feel your womb, but there’s no need to stay."
"I just don't understand this Lord, I want my baby here!"
He took a breath and cleared His throat and then I saw a tear,
"I wish that I could show you what your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile with the other children and say. 
'We go to earth to learn our lessons of love and life and fear,
My mommy loved me oh so much I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a mom who had so much love for me,
I learned my lessons very quickly; my mommy set me free.
I miss my mommy oh so much, but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep, on her pillow’s where I lay,
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear,
Mommy don’t be sad today, I’m your baby and I’m here.'
"So you see, my dear sweet one, your child is okay,
Your baby is here in my home, and this is where he’ll stay. 
He’ll wait for you with me, until your lesson's through,
And on the day I call you home he’ll be at the gates for you."
So now you know what makes a mother.
It’s the feeling in your heart. 
It's the love you had so much of, right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize until their time is done,
Remember all the love you have,
And you ARE a special mom!

 Unknown Author 

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss
     and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.
I will be better not because of genetics, or money or because I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.
Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.
I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream.
My dream will be crying for me.
I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.
I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.
I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.
I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my own body.
I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.
I have prevailed. I have succeeded. I have won. So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort.
I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.
I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and when life is beyond hard.
I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.
I have learned to appreciate life.
Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.
Source: http://vampl.wordpress.com/category/miscarriage-sucks
 
Quotes:
"They say that time in heaven is compared to 'the blink of an eye' for us on this earth. So sometimes it helps me to think of my child running ahead of me through a beautiful field of wildflowers and butterflies; so happy and completely caught up in what she is doing that when she looks behind her, I'll already be there."

"There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world."

Blogs:

Images:
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MY STORY
A comedy of frustrating errors, and a feeling of terrible aloneness and helplessness come to my mind foremost as I sit down to recount the events of my second miscarriage.

Sunday, May 27th, 2012
I take a pregnancy test and it is positive!  This is our third pregnancy.  I had one miscarriage in 2008 at 5 weeks along, then gave birth to a healthy baby girl 15 months ago. I take four more home tests over the next two days just to be sure.  Yup...all positive!

Tuesday, May 29th
We just moved in February and I have not chosen a doctor or an OB yet, so I go through that annoyingly long process.  I then call the selected OB's office to schedule an appointment, and I tell them I am pregnant.  They say that I need a referral from a primary care physician and that they do not do pregnancy tests at their office.  I am surprised by this.  Last time I found out I was pregnant, I called my OB who then scheduled an appointment for me there, and we did a urine test then and there to confirm.  I explain that I have taken 5 home tests and they are all positive and that I have not yet met my primary doctor, so can I please schedule an appointment.  They agree (I guess they can make exceptions?) and it is set for Monday, June 11th. 

Friday, June 8th
I come down with strep throat and go to my primary care doctor for the first time.  She is on vacation so I see her physician's assistant instead.  I tell her I am pregnant and she offers me pregnancy panel bloodwork. I accept her offer, knowing that this is what my OB had requested in the first place. 

Saturday, June 9th
I go to the only local blood work place that is open on a Saturday, and have it done.

Monday, June 11th
The hubby and I go to my first appointment at the OB's office.  It ends up being with a medical assistant who just takes our history.  She asks how far along we were, which I don't know, so she gives us an order for an ultrasound.  She also hands us an order for bloodwork, some of which I just did yesterday.  To avoid duplicating the same tests, I try to get a copy of my bloodwork, but the bloodwork place doesn't receive results, and my doctor does not return my call.

On Wednesday, June 20
We have our first ultrasound.  The tech finds that the fetus is measuring at exactly 6 weeks old.  It's heart is a tiny flutter on the screen, and it is beating at 122 beats per minute.  We are so relieved to see that everything is looking good. We don't get to hear the heartbeat, and we don't get any pictures to take with us. This is the only time we see a live baby.

Thursday, June 27th
It has been 2 1/2 weeks since the bloodwork was done, and there's still been no call from my doctor with the results.  I call her office again but get no return call.

Thursday, June 28th
Pap and physical with the PA at my OB's office. When I ask about the ultrasound results, she says that everything looks normal, and that my due date is Feb. 10.  I am scheduled for my first appointment with the actual OB doctor for July 26, when I will be 11 weeks along.  I have not met the OB yet (and I don't until August 23rd). I ask her if my bloodwork results have come in, and they have not.  She asks me to fill out a release form so she can request them again.

July 5 or 6
Still no bloodwork. The OB's office faxes them again and I call them for a third time, and the results are finally sent to my OB's office. Hurray! It only took a month!

Monday, July 9, 2012
I start bleeding at 9 weeks along.  It begins at 7:45 at night. No warning, no cramps, no backache, just all of a sudden while I am walking to another room, I feel a small gush.  I go to the bathroom and find watery blood, as though my mucus plug has disintegrated and come out.  I call the OB's office but they are closed for the evening.  The recording says to go to the hospital, so we rush to the ER.  Four and a half hours later, I have had a pelvic exam, gotten blood drawn to see where my HcG hormone levels had dropped to, had an ultrasound (that my husband wasn't allowed to attend and during which the tech didn't talk to me or make eye contact with me), and received a rhogam shot because I'm RH negative.  The ER doctor on call tells us to our surprise that there was not one baby, but two, and that neither has a heartbeat.  One measures at 6 weeks old, and one at 9.  She explains that there's no way to know for sure why they are different ages, but most likely one just stopped developing at 6 weeks (which is probably why the ultrasound at 6 weeks showed only one heartbeat).  I post what's going on on my Facebook status, and we get 91 comments in the week that follows.  I am floored by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers that our friends and families offer us.  I am hardly bleeding so we are sent home with the advice to follow up with our OB the next day, and it is deemed an incomplete miscarriage.  The ER gives me a piece of paper that says that if I bleed through more than one pad in an hour, for three hours in a row, to come back.

Tuesday, July 10
I call my OB at 9:30 am (when they open) and tell them what is up.  The nurse advises me to come in and pick up a bloodwork order the next day to see how fast my hormone levels are dropping.  My husband stays home with me, and we spend the day crying, hugging our 15 month old more tightly than ever, and letting our friends and family know the news.  My mom sends me a beautiful flower arrangement, with two bright yellow sunflowers in the middle, reminders of my two little ones.

Wednesday, July 11
I go to the OB's office to get the paperwork.  I wait 30 minutes, as it is not ready.  It orders 3 consecutive blood tests (every 48 hours) and another ultrasound.  The bloodwork place is next door, so they tell me to go and get the first draw done now. I do. I bleed very lightly all day. The ultrasound place calls me to schedule, and say they can squeeze me in at 10:45 the next morning.

Thursday, July 12
I wake up at 7 am with contractions, cramps, and heavy bleeding, and realize that I am not going to make it to the ultrasound.  My husband calls and reschedules for Monday.  Most of the day I bleed like a heavy period.  At 9 pm,  really heavy bleeding begins.  Like the kind of bleeding I had the day after my daughter was born. Like the heaviest hour of your worst period.  Except it doesn't stop.  I have a backache, cramps, and contractions just like the ones I had during labor, but the contractions are spaced only 3 to 5 minutes apart.  I breathe my lamaze breathing and that does help somewhat. The pain gets really intense, and I tell God, "Okay, just take them. I can't stand this pain anymore!"  The bleeding keeps increasing and the contractions keep coming.  It is hard to tell how many pads in how many hours I am bleeding through because as I sit on the toilet, it just keeps dribbling out and I can't even wipe it up fast enough to be able to stand up and pull up my under gear without bleeding on my clothes. I have to start throwing the toilet paper and the baby wipes into the trashcan instead of the toilet because there is so much of it that I am blocking up the toilet, and standing up to plunge hurts too much.   I bleed on the floor, on my under gear, and on my cozypants every time I try to stand up and get back into bed.  I manage to go back and forth from the bed to the bathroom several times.  I start to get concerned about the volume of blood I'm losing so I ask my husband to go get my mom.  She is an RN, and she just happens to be staying over at our house that night.  She takes my pulse, notes that I am not hemorrhaging (which is apparently so much blood, it's like a faucet turned on; mine is just a constant low trickle) and advises me to get off the toilet and lay down because that position is probably causing the bleeding to come faster.  She also says I should probably not take Motrin (Advil) as that can increase bleeding, so I take two extra strength Tylenol instead.  I manage to go back to bed for a few minutes at a time but keep feeling full, like I have to urinate, and each time I sit down on the toilet there is a torrent of blood and clots.  Feeling clots come out of you is the most disgusting feeling in the world...like chunky diarrhea coming from the wrong place or something...soooo gross!!!

At two o'clock in the morning I'm in the bathroom again, but after I have been sitting down for a minute, I pass out and fall off the toilet, hitting my left shoulder, left arm, and left side of my forehead on the bathroom counter/cupboards. What scares me the most is that I didn't see it coming...no seeing stars or sound fading away.  One second I was sitting, and the next second I was waking up on the floor.  I call for my husband, who helps me back onto the toilet.  I pass out briefly again and fall backward toward the wall and he grabs me and steadies me. I get really hot and really sweaty everywhere all of a sudden (signs of shock?).  He helps me stand up and lie back down on the bed.  I think for sure I am bleeding to death and passed out because I am losing so much blood.  I tell him to take care of our daughter and I ask him to call 911.  He keeps saying, "You are not going to leave me.  I am going to take you to the hospital."  He manages to get me to agree, and walks me to the car.  He runs back into the house and wakes up my mom, and asks her to watch our little one while we are at the hospital.  She comes outside to say goodby and takes my pulse again, which is normal.  When we arrive at the same ER we went to on Monday night, my husband tells them what is going and asks if I can lay on a bed right away.  They triage me, start IV fluids, give me a heated blanket, then take me to a room.  The same ER doctor is there again tonight.  She orders the fluids, some bloodwork, and some pain medication.  A nurse takes my blood pressure, administers the pain meds through the IV, and gave me some pads (which are tiny compared to the ones I have at home, and I soak through them quickly).  Once my bloodwork comes back, the doctor comes in and says that my hemoglobin level is normal, and that I am not bleeding to death.  She explains that I probably passed out not because of the amount of blood loss, since it is mostly "extra" blood that had been supporting the babies, but possibly because my brain did not have enough oxygen or blood for a moment.  She orders me an anti-nausea medication and a painkiller prescription (Norco) to take with me.  When I am released, my pulse drops and I have to wait a little while before I am allowed to leave. We leave the hospital at about 6 am Friday morning and we crawl into bed as the sun comes up. I end up with lovely bruises on my left arm and shoulder, and a little bump on my head. 

Friday, July 13
We sleep until 9 am.  I feel pretty good the rest of the day.  Just some more light bleeding and some occasional cramping.  My hubby goes into work at noon because I am feeling pretty good.  My mom stays with me to keep me company.  We spend the day chatting and making paper snowflakes for my upcoming moms group craft.  She goes home once my husband gets home from work.

Saturday, July 14
Most of the day, the cramping and bleeding are light and I am not too uncomfortable.  I take some Tylenol twice during the day and pretty much stay in bed all day watching movies and reading.  Foolishly, we do not fill the prescriptions I had gotten from the ER doctor on early Friday morning.  Partly because I am not in much pain, and partly because my first miscarriage had not been very painful. Today is 5 days after the miscarriage began, so I figure that the worst of it has already passed.  Surely there can not be much blood left in me after all that bleeding! A dear cousin of mine brings us a hot dinner which we eat ravenously! My body is craving iron as so much of it has been lost with the bleeding.

At about 9:00, severe cramping, backaches, and contractions begin.  I take four XS Tylenol to try to take the edge off the pain, but it doesn't even make a dent.  I use the same heating pad that I used during labor, but it doesn't give me any relief either.  Mind you, I had back labor, so I felt plenty of pain during labor.  Lamaze breathing helps very little now...much less effective than while in labor.  I feel my cervix opening with the contractions, then a half hour later I have a lot of bleeding and clots, then things mellow out for a while, then it all happens again.  That cycle repeats at least three times.  I stay in bed and use large pads, trying not to get up so I don't pass out again, but I have to keep getting up to change them because I can feel that they are completely full and I'm starting to leak onto my pants.  Quarter, golf ball, and larger sized clots come out each time I use the bathroom.  The pain level keeps increasing and increasing until the tears start coming.  I don't cry from physical pain...ever...not even during back labor...but this is ungodly.  By 10:00, I am on my knees and forearms on our bed  rocking and breathing and weeping.  It is the worst pain I have ever felt in my 38 years of life. I'm praying that God will make the pain go away and I'm getting this dark, scary feeling that He isn't listening and that I am just going to have to make it through this on my own.  I beg God to help me.  I beg God to let me pass out.  I beg my husband to do something, anything-- to bring me some medicine or some alcohol or something to lessen the pain.  I storm to the front door and grab my purse and the prescriptions we didn't fill, determined to find a 24 hour pharmacy, but a contraction sends me kneeling on the living room floor, unable to walk.  My husband orders me to bed, tells me he'll go find a pharmacy, and heads out into the night.  He calls me at 11:30 to say that he cannot find an open pharmacy anywhere.  I get online and search for a 24 hour Walgreens, and find one a few miles away.  He asks me to call them and make sure they can fill it before he drives there. I call, and the pharmacist explains that someone has called in sick so it will take 30-40 minutes to fill it, but he can do it.  Half an hour never sounded like such an eternity to me before.  I text my husband and let him know, and ask him to get more giant-sized overnight pads too, as I have just put on the last one.

He calls me back at 11:23 to tell me that he waited for the prescription for 20 minutes when suddenly the Walgreens computer system went down and therefore the prescription is not going to be able to be filled there, nor at any other Walgreens in southern California.  He explains to me that every Saturday night the computers go down for 3-4 hours and no prescriptions can be filled.  Are.  You.  Freaking.  Kidding.  Me.  So now I'm home alone and suffering the worst pain of my life only to hear that he is going to come home empty handed.  I hang up and I lose it.  I cry, I yell, I swear we will never have sex again, I think about getting divorced because I can't stand the thought of being touched again because I never, ever, ever want to go through this again.  I rock, I bleed, and then I pass a clot so big that when I dig it out of the crimson toilet to check for embryo sacks, it is bigger than the size of my palm, and almost as thick in the middle. Holy mother of god, no wonder this hurts so bad.  When my husband comes back, I yell at him for not doing enough, for not staying right by my side all day to rub my back and to re-heat my heating pad.  I yell that I feel so alone and am in so much pain, and I yell that he doesn't seem to believe how bad the pain really is.  I am a mean, hurting, delirious animal to him.  I yell so much that our 15 month-old wakes up, and he rocks her to sleep in her room and falls asleep in the rocking chair himself.  I writhe in pain for another hour or so, planning my divorce strategy, cursing myself for not filling that da*n prescription, and wondering why I had been so blindsided by this pain.  This was absolutely nothing like my first miscarriage.  In fact, it was not even on the same planet as the back labor that I had gone through in labor without any medication.  Why didn't anyone warn me that this was going to be so bad? I get onto the internet on my phone and google miscarriage pain versus labor pain, as I writhe.  That's when I find the truth. Woman after woman has posted on blogs and on message boards that when they miscarried at 8 weeks or more, the pain was ungodly, worse than labor, and much, much worse than those women who posted about miscarrying at fewer weeks along.  At least I'm not crazy; at least I'm not the only one who finds this pain unbearable, I think. The pain subsides gradually over the next hour, and I finally fall into an exhausted and much-welcomed sleep.

Sunday, July 15, 2012
I wake up feeling a lot better, but dreading what the night will bring, as night is when the pain has kicked in on the other days.  It doesn't.  Praise God. 

Monday, July 16, 2012 (our 8th wedding anniversary)
Time for the re-scheduled ultrasound.  This one is meant to see if everything is gone from my uterus or if I am going to need a D & C. I fill my bladder with 32 ounces of water like they told me to, but have to wait 45 minutes before we are called into the ultrasound room.  That's just plain torture if you ask me. The technician will not tilt the screen so I can see anything, and will not let my husband come over to where I am so he can hold my hand and see the screen either--he has to sit in the corner about 8 feet away.  She says that because this is not a "show and tell" ultrasound but rather a diagnostic one, he is not allowed to watch.  As she finishes up, she suggests that we call our OB and have the order changed to STAT, which makes us worry.  When we check out before leaving, the kind receptionist changes the status for us so we don't have to do that ourselves.

At 4:30 pm, I call my OB because I have heard no results yet.  The nurse I speak to can't tell me the results, but says I do not need to worry about having a D & C.  I ask if I should come in for a follow up appointment, and she says that I would have to contact my primary physician and get a referral because I am no longer pregnant.  I am shocked and angry.  Really? I can't come in and find out why our first ultrasound showed one baby and a later one showed two; I can't see my bloodwork results that finally came in after a month of waiting, without going to see another doctor first, mind you the same doctor who took a month to send me paperwork?  I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo done.  I explain that I have still not met my primary doctor and that it took a month for her office to do the simplest thing, so do I really have to go through her?  The answer is still yes.  Ok.  Fine.  Whatever.  She suggests that I change primary doctors, and I agree.  She suggests a doctor, and gives me his name and phone number, but when I call his office, they had closed at 4 pm, and I later find out he's not even with their medical group anyway.

We go out to dinner at 6:30 pm to celebrate our anniversary.  I receive a phone call at 6:49 from a discharge nurse at the ER.  She had been an OB nurse for 35 years.  She asks how I am doing, how the care was at the hospital, and if there is anything else I need or anything that I want to tell her.  I tell her that I wish someone had told me how painful it was going to be and had encouraged me to fill that prescription even if I thought I wasn't going to need it.  She asks what happened and I tell her about my Saturday Night from hell.  She asks me if I am going to my OB for a follow up visit, and when I tell her that I can't since I'm no longer pregnant, without a referral, she gets angry and says that that should not be necessary, and that she will contact my health group in the morning to see if I can get in without a referral.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
A flurry of phone calls.
10:05 - The same nurse from the hospital, asking for my primary care physician's name and phone number.  She called the health group and found out that it really is a policy that you can't see your OB for a miscarriage follow up appointment without a referral from your primary doctor.

11:57 - My OB's office telling me that the hospital nurse was mad and on the warpath about my not getting to be seen.  They ask how I am doing and I tell her I am feeling much better thank you, but it would have been nice to have a heads up about the level of pain, and that I would really like to know what is going on with the conflicting ultrasounds.  She said that their office did not ever receive a copy of the ultrasound from the ER visit on Monday, just the bloodwork.  She says she will try and get it, then give it to the doctor, then she will call me back.  She never does.

1:15 - A representative from the Health group asks how I am doing and asks if I have been to the doctor since the miscarriage.  I explain that I can't go without a referral and that getting a referral would be a huge ordeal based on my experience with my primary doctor so far.

1:30 ish - The health group representative again calling to say that I have been granted an emergency authorization to get a follow up appointment with my OB.  When I ask why I was allowed the exception, she says it is because my primary doctor has not shown good follow through and this will make the process easier.

1:56 - The hospital nurse calls again saying that she has an authorization number for me, and that if I don't hear from my OB by 3:30 to call the OB. 

2:24 I call my HMO to switch primary doctors.  I call the only number on my health card, and get the advice line with a nurse on call.  I vent to her about how much it sucked to go through a miscarriage alone at home with no pain medicine and how much it sucks that now I can't get a follow up appointment.  She is sympathetic but of course can't fix anything.  She offers me the number for the behavioral health line...Do I sound like a crazed lunatic on the phone, I wonder? Probably.  She transfers me to a person who can switch my doctor, and after 7 minutes of holding, he tells me that the doctor that was suggested by the OB's office hasn't been in that group since 2005 so I can't go to him.  I get a list of other doctors who ARE in the group and I am instructed to call them all until I find one that is accepting new patients, then call them back to switch.  Okay.  But I just did this a month ago.

4:26 - No phone call yet from the OB.  It doesn't really matter anyway, does it.  The babies are still dead, no matter how many of them there were.  I still experienced excruciating pain without benefit of medical attention, since "that's the best way" to miscarry. My husband and I have made up, and I'm not going to file for divorce or anything.  Kinda surprised he isn't either.  We survived.  But having sex ever again....he's going to have to be very convincing.

5:38 - The OB office calls and I've got a follow up appointment scheduled for three weeks from now.  He must be a very busy, important man...I wonder if his first name is Oz.  Maybe the follow up appointment will bring us some closure.

August 4, 2012
Three days before my follow-up appointment, I get news that I have a job interview on the day of my appointment.  I call to re-schedule, and am given Aug. 23rd, and told that my approval runs out on the 16th so they will have to try and get me an extension.  It does go through.

August 12, 2012
It's been 4 1/2 weeks now since the miscarriage began, and I'm still bleeding every day in some form. Sometimes it's bright red, but mostly it's brownish and has tiny clots in it.  I cry at the drop of a hat, and my face is breaking out like I'm in high school again--my hormones are raging.  Strong cramps kick in at about 10 pm, and I pass a chunk of what looks like solid tissue, not just blood.  I'm also dizzy again...a low, constant annoying dizziness.  I google passing clots long after a miscarriage and find that this could mean that there is still tissue in there and that a D & C may be necessary. It also suggests calling my doctor and getting my HcG levels tested, and says that if my doctor won't do that to take a home pregnancy test to see if I still have active pregnancy hormones because my body is trying to sustain some leftover tissue in there.  I save the tissue in a tupperware container and dump in some distilled water.  No, I am still not getting used to all of this grossness.  And yes, I promise I will not store any food in that particular tupperware again--I don't have it anymore, actually, as it ended up at some lab somewhere. 

August 13, 2012
I call my OB to let them know I've passed tissue, and the nurse says it's probably just my period starting, and that first periods after miscarriages are often irregular.  I'm not convinced.  She tells me to just keep my appointment next week. I hang up and decide to take a pregnancy test as suggested, and sure enough, it is faintly positive.  I call the OB back, and the nurse says that this changes everything.  She asks me if I've had sex without birth control since the miscarriage, thinking that I might be pregnant again.  She asks me to come in and pick up another order for a 3 day HcG blood test.  I ask if they want me to bring in the tissue sample, and they do.  Afterwards, I try to get the first blood draw done, but they closed at 4 and I get there at 4:04.

August 19, 2012
I think I finally stopped bleeding today.  So, let's see.  July 9 to August 19, that's 41 days. 5.8 weeks.  Let's hope that's the end of that.  I bled pretty heavily over the past few days, so maybe they were right and that WAS a period. 

August 22, 2012
I finally get the last of the 3 blood tests done today.  The first one was on Aug. 14, but the second one didn't happen on time because of a thunder storm that I was not going out in, and a weekend, which threw off the third one too.  I wonder what we shall see on the results.

So, over the weekend, a family member brought up a point over which I have been puzzling ever since.  If I had low progesterone levels due to still nursing my daughter, could that have caused the miscarriage?  If so, the very first blood test I did back on June 9th may have shown a low level, and since those results were not sent to my OB until July 5 or 6, they did not have a chance to go over those results with me or check to see if those levels were low.  And if the first blood test results had come back on time, perhaps another blood test would have been done between June 9 and July 9, so we could have seen a change in the Progesterone level. Hmmmmm.

August 23, 2012
Well, we finally meet the Wizard.  He actually seems really nice and pretty knowledgeable, despite it being almost impossible to understand him through his thick Columbian accent.  He answers most of my questions the first time I ask them, and seems to want to help.  He starts out by telling us that it's up to us when we want to try to get pregnant again and that we need to use some form of birth control until then.  Since that is so not what I'm worried about right now, I jump into my list of questions.  Here we go.

Am I still pregnant or pregnant again?
Nope.  The HcG level came back at a one.  From 1-5 is considered negative.

Were there one or two babies?
He does not have the ultrasound from the ER that showed two.  He'll have to call me back on that one.

Could a low Progesterone level have caused the miscarriage?
There's no way to know.  Even if the first bloodwork had come back on time, that wouldn't have helped, because Progesterone is NOT one of the things tested on a standard pregnancy panel.  If I ever get pregnant again, he will order me a prescription for progesterone and baby aspirin to take right away just in case.

What was that big ol hunk of tissue I passed 33 days after the miscarriage began?
The lab tests show that it was, in fact, part of of the placenta.

So why did the ultrasound come back that my uterus was empty?
Because maybe it was too small to show up.  (it was about the size of a quarter).

Is that piece of tissue why I bled for 40 plus days?
Probably.

Can I have a picture of the baby(ies) from our first ultrasound?
Go back to the place you had the ultrasound and ask them.  They do not send any of the pictures to us.  They may have to get a supervisor's permission to give them to you, and you may have to sign a release.

So, we head out, he back to work, and me to the ultrasound place.  Sure enough, the lady in charge of medical records can't give me any pictures and says she'll ask her supervisor then call me back.

August 28, 2012
I still haven't gotten a call back from either the ultrasound place about getting pictures, or from the OB about whether there were one or two babies.

I go to my primary care doctor today to meet her, to discuss my crazy hormones, to remove a suspicious mole, and to see if I should go back on Metformin like I did before getting pregnant with my now 17 month old.  I want to get her on my side, and help her put a face with a name so maybe next time she'll fax my bloodwork when I ask her to.  After waiting for 80 minutes, the same PA that I met last time comes in, and I find out that my doctor is not there.  Again.  She removes the mole and I decide to ask about the hormone issues.  She issues me an order for bloodwork....

September 20, 2012
Still no call back from the ultrasound place or the OB.  Surprise, surprise.  I guess I would have to go back in person and raise a ruckus if I wanted to get anything done.

December 6, 2013
I never did get a call or any information from the OB about whether there were one or two babies, and I never got any ultra sound pictures.  I haven't been to an OB since.  I went to another primary doctor last month finally, after avoiding doctors altogether for over a year.

9 comments:

  1. I Googled bc I was looking for a particular drawing of Jesus holding a baby that I had seen before and was going to use in an upcoming talk. I ran into your site and being a crafter, was intrigued. Your miscarriage story was profoundly special and brave and as a woman who has suffered three-I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your candor and courage. It is a rare type of grief and one that people don't understand if they've never gone through it. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Sherri! Thanks so much for your comment! It's been a rough road, but I know that my stinky attitude about it all isn't helping. Perhaps some good will come of it in the end...that's my hope anyway. I'm so sorry to hear that you have been there three times!!! Uggggg. No woman should have to walk this road alone, that's for sure!!!

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  2. Dana, Thanks for posting this, I know it took courage, and hopefully through the process allowed for a little bit of healing...

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  3. Wow, Mrs. Weygandt, what an inspiring and heart-wrenching story. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  4. Ma'am-
    I do not know how to properly thank you. I miscarried on 6/9/14. To this day I am still bleeding. I prayed that God would give me a sign that I didn't do anything wrong, and I found your blog. This post gives me Hope. Thank you for sharing your story, which is so similar to mine. May God Bless you and your family.
    Amanda

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    1. Amanda, I pray that your heart is healing and that your hopes of holding your very own precious one have been fulfilled!

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