My Miscarriage Journey

Last December we announced we were pregnant with our first pregnancy. We were excited, scared, and I was sick as a dog all winter break. We weren’t trying to get pregnant yet but we also weren’t preventing anything. If it happened awesome, if not we wanted to get through the holidays.

So to my Surprise in mid-December I was two weeks late, completely forget I had even missed my period we were so busy between work and the holidays. Every week I was gone for work for a month and every weekend we had some social engagement be it a thanksgiving meal with my family or the in-laws then it was the company Christmas/ End of Year blowouts. With my husband’s company you don’t miss that, it’s an amazing party.

I saw my doctor at 5-6 weeks because I couldn’t function. Every 5 minutes I was throwing up. Every second of the day I felt like I needed to throw up. At one point I was waking up in the middle of the night just to throw up. If I rolled over in bed, I threw up. If I laughed too hard at my husband being silly, I threw up, and then he felt really bad because I threw up. It was literal hell. My doctor prescribed me something for the morning sickness but insurance wouldn’t fill it. So we went the cheaper route and did a Unisom + B6 vitamin and made it ourselves (for $20 mind you). In the month after I found out I was pregnant I lost around 13 pounds. That was around 6% of my body weight at that time. That put me clinically at hyperemesis gravidarum levels. My blood pressure was somehow fine, I went in for my 10-week ultrasound and I had a health little jelly bean flapping around in my belly. It’s head-to-bum measurements were right where they should’ve been for my gestational age. It had a heartrate of 170 bpm which my technician was having a hard time getting because it was moving so much. We came out of that and everything looked great.

I was just starting to feel my uterus expand forward. It wasn’t anything that would constitute ‘showing’. It felt like I had a really really full bladder. Just the tiniest bump.

And then two weeks later happened.

I started to spot on a Friday. I continued to spot but it didn’t get any worse throughout the weekend. Spotting happens during pregnancy. Was I working myself up over nothing? Did I do too much? I called my doctors office on Monday and they wanted me to come in and have another ultrasound just to check the heartrate Tuesday morning. I hadn’t purchased a fetal doppler because I would be the person who goes bananas with it and constantly uses it

By Tuesday morning I was still ‘spotting’ but there were clots in there as well and I had the first satisfying bowel movement in 3 months. It was at that point I’d pretty much convinced myself we’d lost the baby. We’re in late January now.

I went into the doctors office, already a wreck. I knew. And the ultrasound confirmed it. The jelly bean was there, but there was no movement, no heartbeat. We’d lost our little jelly bean. We were devastated. I cried for days.

We met with the doctor after the ultrasound and I was given 3 options for what would happen next.

  1. I could let it pass naturally. Higher risk of ‘product of conception’ being left behind and I would have to have a D&C to have it removed. He didn’t recommend that option.
  2. Use the abortion pill and force my body to expel the material. Had the highest success rate. Lowest risk for complications and generally saw his patients get back to their lives quicker.
  3. Schedule and D&C and have everything cleaned out. It was a full surgery and I’d be under general anesthesia. So normal surgery risks apply in that situation. But that was the ‘nuclear’ option by my doctors own words.

I decided on option 2 and my doctor felt that was the wisest choice. I’d insert 2 pills vaginally every 8 hours for a total of 6 pills and it would expel. There’d be lots of blood and I was in for a rough 24-48 hours but after that it shouldn’t be as bad. Heating pad to help with the cramping and Motrin for the pain. We go to the pharmacy and pick the pills up and I go ahead and do what I need to do and just wait.

The fetus passed quickly and easily. That wasn’t the bad part. It felt like passing a huge clot during my period. At that time it was only 3 cm long. It was the rest that absolutely sucked and put me in the emergency room.

I had used the first set of pills and the fetus passed, the second set of pills though is where everything went horrible for me. Almost immediately after using the second set of pills I felt the worst pain in my entire life. There was no build up in the contractions. It was constant. It was 0-100 in no time whatsoever. I was on the toilet trying to push out material that hadn’t dislodged properly yet. I was puking in my trash can at the same time because my reaction to severe pain is to puke. I was literally screaming in blinding pain. I have broken bones, sprained every joint in my body, ripped tendons, been hit by a large truck. None of that even begins to compare to this pain.

We head to the hospital for pain management because Motrin isn’t even touching this pain level. It would’ve been like using a dropper to put out a forest fire. I get admitted into the ER quickly and after an initial exam the doctors tell my husband I haven’t been dislodging it. The doctor on call that saw me just looked at me and says ‘Oh it’s just child birth, these are just contraction’. To be honest I was livid with that comment. It wasn’t childbirth, there was no child. There wasn’t anything for me to resist against in order to push out. My body had absolutely nothing to work against. That doctor had a few choice words thrown in her direction. As did the nurse who told me I needed to be quiet because there were other patients and I might be scaring them. Sorry not sorry lady. I was gonna scream.

At that point the OBGYN on call came in after he was done with another patient and let us know that my body wasn’t dislodging the ‘products of conception’ properly and I needed to be admitted for observation and likely would need a D&C after the pill cleared my system. Morphine came to the rescue and it wasn’t until then that I could even feel I was having contractions which were occurring every 10s according to my husband. Morphine is one hell of an amazing drug.

Once we got my pain sorted out and my O2 stats had stabilized I got wheeled upstairs for observation. I had 3 nurses that oversaw me that night. My husband was amazing and slept on a reclining chair and helped me up and down all night as I passed clots the size of a softball or had to pee. I’m not sure they’ve shown some of the nurses what happens during a miscarriage because they were all shocked at the amount of blood and the size of the clots I was passing. I’m not lying when I saw they were the size of softballs. And there were several of them that I passed. There was blood all over the floor from walking to the bathroom. It would dribble down my legs when I stood up. My bed was covered in blood and I had to had my sheets changed often. Even though I was sitting on a piddle pad.

The next morning I had a transvaginal ultrasound to see if everything had cleared and after all that blood, all those clots I still hadn’t cleared everything. So I was scheduled for a D&C that morning. My regular OBGYN was the surgeon on call that morning and was able to do the procedure which was nice. Everything got sucked out and cleaned out and I was good to go.

I had to go through one normal cycle before we could try again. I was still (and did) bleed a little after the D&C but it wasn’t anything a sanitary napkin couldn’t handle. My mom came up to help Ian and I and we went home from the hospital that afternoon. In all I took a week off work to recover.

Looking back on it now, all the tears I shed weren’t necessarily tears for the child itself. 70% or more of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. I knew in the front of my mind that was an realistic outcome. We told the family early because we host an annual family reunion/ Christmas party Christmas Day and I was so incredibly sick at that time I couldn’t do anything and people noticed. Looking back I should’ve waited but I didn’t. There’s no rules to when you share the news with your family and friends. I had this idea of what I was going to have and it was gone. My mom never had a miscarriage but after I got back to work everyone offered their condolences (my boss had told everyone what had happened so I didn’t have to go through it) and every single women told me they had multiple miscarriages. My husband’s grandmother had 5. A girlfriend of mine had 3. Another several had 2. Another had 2 back to back this previous summer after I told them.

Miscarriages are normal.

There is much more that could go wrong during a pregnancy than right and the outcome when it goes wrong is a miscarriage.

There is nothing to be ashamed of

You did nothing wrong

Sometimes it’s just what happens. And it’s happened to a lot more women than you think.

Ultimately, mine had significant and severe chromosomal abnormalities that resulted in its termination. It wasn’t anything I could’ve prevented either. Once the egg was fertilized, that was the outcome that was going to happen. One bad cellular replication got through and because those cells are replicating so fast it wasn’t just one bad cell but millions in less than a week. I had gone from what I thought was a healthy pregnancy at 10 weeks to a miscarriage and hospital stay at 12 weeks.

As a society we need to quit making miscarriages seem like their this horrible taboo thing and the mother had to have done something wrong. We need to talk about it. For those wanting a pregnancy, nobody wishes for this outcome. We were shocked but ready for what this pregnancy. We had plans. We had and still have money set aside for a child. I have a Pinterest page devoted to nursery designs. I have shops on Etsy with cute accessories for a baby room. My mom is still on the lookout for some quilting fabric to make a baby blanket with me.

And now I’m sitting here in the 2020 hell that’s affecting everyone pregnant again. Doing 10,000x better than last time. But I’m also only 5 weeks along.

Maybe my body needed to prime the pump as it were. I’ve had plenty of friends who had IVF to conceive their first and had zero problems conceiving their next child(ren) without medical help. Maybe this pregnancy will end better than the last one because it’s done it once before and won’t be as shocked by everything happening. I know I’m not shocked that I’m having cramps because 90% of the time it’s gas. The other 10% it’s my uterus already expanding.

Extra saliva, sucks. so. much. But the constipation and gas is the worst. We’ll see what happens this time around.

But if you’ve had a miscarriage, there is a brighter light at the end of the tunnel. Once I ‘came out’ as having one, I swear almost every woman has had one. Most of my friends were in the first trimester, some were later and had a stillborn. Grandmas, aunts, coworkers all told me they’d had one. I had no idea how normal it was to experience a miscarriage. It is normal, by some estimates 70% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage. There aren’t tons of resources for miscarriages. There’s more resources available to stop smoking than to help women who’ve had a miscarriage. It’s a grieving process, some get through it very quickly and others it takes more time and still others never get over it. I have a few friends who post their miscarriage anniversary every year on social media, and some post more often than that of what could’ve been. It’s all in how do you grieve.

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