Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Blow - Part 2

There are no words to prepare any woman for this conversation. Shock. Devastation. Disappointment. Disgust. Bewilderment. Confusion. None of these words even come close to describing even the first 10 seconds after the ultrasound technician left the room. I felt like I had been robbed, like someone had stolen a vital organ from me… and then a couple seconds later my thoughts shifted to self infliction.  My mind started to rewind and review every little thing over the past week. Trying to think of anything I did differently in my routines - maybe it was the pregnancy workouts, or maybe it was the sushi we ate, or maybe I stood in front of the microwave at work for too long (that thing is like 50 years old and could be putting out some major radiation!)… I didn’t want to be touched, or looked at, or talked to… I just wanted to drown in the silence of the room. My husband just wrapped his arms around me and squeezed so tight I almost couldn’t breathe. I heard the door open in the middle of heaving and tried my best to gain some self-control so I could focus on my OB. Needless to say, I barely heard a word of what she was explaining because all my energy was being occupied by trying to keep myself in one piece and not splat all over the walls. I did hear her mention something about it wasn’t my fault, and this happens to about 20% of all pregnancies, and how the most probable cause of the miscarriage was chromosomal abnormalities… blah, blah, blah. Okay, so I did hear a few key notes behind what she was saying, but I was still mystified. Then she asked me if I had any questions and I think I just stared at her blankly. What did she expect me to say, "Sure, lady… I have a million questions. Do you have a day or two to talk things over? Want to have lunch and talk about it?"

She handed my husband a bunch of pamphlets and literature on grief and loss, and asked if I wanted her to schedule a D&C (dilation & curettage – basically they heavily sedate you before entering vaginally and remove the dead embryo and yolk sack) for that afternoon. I was taken aback by how quickly and easily this question was asked and that it looked like she actually expected an immediate answer from me. 3 minutes ago I found out my baby had no heartbeat and now she just wants to suck it out like it never happened and send me on my way. Ridiculous! Instead of grabbing and shaking her and asking her why this could have happened, which is what I really wanted to do, I stayed composed and told her that we would have to take a day or two to take in everything and would get back with her on Monday on how we would move forward. She then led us to the back entrance and bid us farewell. I understand why they do this, but I felt like I was infected with some kind of disease being ushered out the back like that. We waited for the elevator with 2 other very pregnant couples, and I just bawled.

Let me take this moment to state that I have my own personal opinions which are acknowledged in this blog, however, I would never judge any woman on what intervention (be it medical or natural) that she chooses to relieve herself in a situation like this, especially when it comes from an educated mindset. Too many women think that there is only one approach to situations like this (and many other future topics that will be in my blog) because the doctor only offers one and that is just NEVER the truth. If your provider ever tells you that there is only one way to deal with whatever it is you are going through, that should raise a big red flag. There are always alternatives and it is your right to make the choice that is best for YOU, not your caregiver. Remember, they work for YOU… You pay them big bucks to provide medical advice and care for you. Yes, they went to medical school and are certified, but you have to remember that they all have their own opinions, too, and a way that they like to do things and they like to stay within their comfort zones. Giving you a limited number of solutions is a sure fire way for them to predict your decision. It is your job to take a few minutes or hours or days, if you need to, to think about your decisions because you are the one that has to live with them, not your doctor.

We decided against the D&C and chose to see if we would miscarry naturally. After the initial shock, I knew I would need closure. Having a procedure in which I would hardly remember sitting in the waiting room before hand would have traumatized my already fragile frame of mind. I can totally understand, though, why women choose this option. It just wasn't the right choice for us. I did research online about what it would look and feel like when I actually had the miscarriage. I read tons of literature, and blogs, and asked questions on a few discussion boards I was a member of. Before I knew it, 2 weeks had gone by and still nothing was happening. So I called to set up an appointment to talk to my OB about options. She knew that I was against D&C and came to the meeting prepared with an alternative, Cytotec (Misoprostol). To keep the description short, this drug is a medication to prevent or treat ulcers and all explanations of this drug warn severely about its effects on pregnant women. It is also a medication preferred by some OBGYN’s to induce labor. It causes uterine contractions and thinning of the cervix. It is these side effects that make it a useful option for missed miscarriages (meaning the fetus has died, but the miscarriage has not yet occurred). This is a very controversial treatment and should never be taken without consulting with your physician.

We weighed the pros and cons of our situation and decided to go for it. The past two weeks had been torture for so many reasons and we were ready to move on. My OB explained that it would take about one hour for the medication to start working and the whole process shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours and I would need a few days to recover. So that Wednesday after work, I filled the prescription and told my husband it was time. This is where the past 2 weeks of preparation and research came in handy. In some ways, I’m glad I wasn’t surprised by the miscarriage because both my husband and I would have been scared to death. My heart truly hurts for women that this just happens to out of the blue. We were lucky in that we had some control in at least this one part and had a chance to mentally prepare ourselves for what we were about to go through.

The following is a little graphic:
I inserted the two little pills vaginally about 5:45 pm. About 7:00 pm I started feeling a little queasy and tense, so I ran a hot bath. By the time the tub was filled, I had started bleeding red. I sat in the tub for about 20 minutes before I started getting really uncomfortable. I tried several positions and just couldn’t get right, so I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet. Immediately I was nauseated and yelled at Eeb to get a trash can to put in front of me. I was pouring in sweat and had some back cramps. I kept trying to just focus on the lining of the trash can, but my damn dog (bless her heart, I love her) insisted on sitting between my legs and licking my calves which distracted me terribly. My head started getting very heavy feeling and my husband came to stand in front of me for support. The only comfortable spot that I could find was sitting on the toilet with him bent over facing me and my head in the crease of his neck and shoulder. Little did he know, I would demand him to stay in this arrangement until it was all over. The next 45 minutes consisted of constant pressure in my lower abdomen and pelvic floor, combined with involuntary pushing with very short 10 second intervals of rest here and there (think of having terrible diarrhea and not being able to control the release – ew!). It was very intense, but honestly, it was never actually painful. Then all of a sudden, it was over. It was like someone had slapped me in the face and woke me up. I remember telling Eeb, “It’s over, I think it’s over.” I freed my arms from around his neck and he just sighed. He was just as exhausted as I was and probably sore from bending over for an hour. I waited a couple of minutes to see if any any more remains where passing. Then I cleaned myself up, put a maxi on and we went to bed.

The next day was hard, but not as hard as I thought it was going to be. My Granny came to stay with me for the day so my husband could go to work and I slept most of the day away, not really wanting to converse with anyone. By Saturday, I was up moving around and cleaning my house (my natural stress reliever). Again, I truly believe my recovery went so smoothly because I had time to educate and prepare myself on what it was going to be like. While I never found firsthand accounts, I had a chance to process and except what was happening. It wasn’t in anyway easy, but it was manageable and I would not have changed any of our decisions would I have to make them again. Our experience, while tragic and painful and heartbreaking, brought us closer as a couple and we have a stronger bond between us because of it.

Within the week, I was cleared by my OBGYN and back to my life. I picked up where I left off, working out and eating healthy and spending as much quality time with my sweet husband as I possibly could. Before we knew it, a couple months had gone by and summer was approaching. I went to get a new bathing suit because all my other ones were a bit uncomfortable. And then something hit me as I walked though the entrance door where two guys were smoking… a wave of nausea! I sprinted through the doors holding my breath and did not let go until I got in the bathroom. I leaned over the sink and splashed water on my face. I looked in the mirror, mascara smeared down my cheeks like a hooker on a rainy night, and a thought crossed my mind… “I’ve had this feeling before, but that’s impossible???” Well, apparently nothing is impossible!