*Warning* This post will be detailed and graphic and if you don't want to read about this kind of stuff, then skip this one and come back in a few days for more normal blog content.
I'm choosing to write about this because I think that women don't talk about it enough. It happens all the time, but when it was happening to me and I was desperately searching for information online about what a miscarriage experience is actually like, I came up with no helpful information. Not real true helpful information. Here's my attempt to put it out there and fill the missing gap of information. I suppose though that it might be different for everyone. And incredibly painful emotionally as well as physically. And maybe some people just can't talk about it at all. But I've found that talking about it helps me. As I've told several people over the last few days it has gotten easier for me so here we go...
Maybe you've noticed that I haven't updated my status on Facebook in a couple of days. I've thought about it, but all I could come up with was stuff like
Michelle Simmons is bleeding.
Michelle Simmons feels empty.
Michelle Simmons is an emotional wreck.
That stuff just didn't seem appropriate so close to Christmas and all.
All along with this pregnancy I've not had a good feeling. If you followed about a month ago you remember that I was just sure that it was not growing but then they found a heartbeat and though I was shocked, I accepted it that I was just wrong about feeling so not pregnant. And after every hour+ run that I completed and felt fine, I wondered how it was possible to feel so fine when you're growing a baby? Shouldn't I be more tired?
I woke up Sunday morning feeling whacked out emotionally. I mean. Whacked. Out. I cried about all sorts of stuff all day long and just couldn't stop. It was really weird because normally I'm way more emotionally steady than that. When I start crying over every little thing (and nothing) I *know* that my hormones are messed up somehow. Anyway, I went for a run and felt especially bad. I walked up every little incline and just felt so overwhelmingly bad... I figured this was the beginning of the end of my pregnant running.
A few hours later I started feeling crampy, which was weird b/c I haven't felt crampy at all since being pregnant. I went to the bathroom and out plopped a big bright red clot. Uh oh. Not sure what that was about. I did not panic right away because I know that it is possible to bleed during pregnancy and still have everything be ok. But I brought Moana downstairs to Scott and told him to entertain her while I rested b/c I wasn't feeling well.
I went to the bathroom every 15 minutes for about an hour and every time saw big bright red clots. It wasn't stopping. I should call the doctor. But it's Sunday. Clinic is closed. Maybe I'll just wait until tomorrow.
But I'm not that patient. I called the after hours advice line and told them what was going on. I was instructed to go to the ER right away.
I told Scott to stay with Moana so I just went alone. Maybe not the brightest move on my part, but Moana needed to eat dinner and go to bed and I knew that this visit wasn't going to be an especially quick one so figured I'd just handle it on my own so her schedule wouldn't be messed up.
At the ER I was checked and the doc said my cervix was still closed, but that I was definitely bleeding a lot. She called it a Threatened Miscarriage and said it was 50/50 at this point. But then they ran labs. Hcg test. I waited about an hour there in the ER for those results. Doc came back in and told me that my hcg came back at 20,000. 5+ weeks ago it was at 22,000 and then 33,000, so the fact that it had gone down was a pretty clear sign of what was going to happen.
The doc talked with me a little bit about a D&C but I told her that I trusted my body to take care of this on its own. My body is good at a lot of things. It knows how to get pregnant, it knows how to deliver a baby, it must know how to get rid of it when it's not right. So I left telling her I would trust my body.
I was sent home and told to come back if the bleeding got out of control, and to call my regular doc in the morning.
I cried the whole drive home alone. You know, I never wanted to be pregnant. I don't want another baby right now. I really don't. But again, that doesn't make it any better when you find out you are going to lose it at almost 11 weeks.
I took an ambien to help me sleep because I knew that was my only possible hope. My eyes were so tired and stingy from crying so much all day long. I had a splitting headache right above my eye and my blood pressure was up at almost 140/90 at the ER. I was a mess.
At 1:45 I woke up with cramps that felt like contractions. And I knew this was it. I think since I'd been through labor before I knew what those contractions felt like when they start opening your cervix. I knew my cervix was opening. I went to the bathroom and filled the toilet with red blood clots. Back to bed. Repeat every 15 minutes or so for the next hour.
And then came the worst part. The absolute worst part. The ER doc had warned me about the tissue that I might see pass. She told me it would not look like a baby (like it does in the movies) and she was right, but there was no mistaking the tissue for just another blood clot. This was something different. This was my baby.
What do you do at this point? It's 2:45 AM and you're all alone in your bathroom passing this... this... tissue... "products of conception" they call it. Um, that was my baby and what am I supposed to do? Flush it down the toilet? But what else could I do? It's not like I could not flush the toilet. It was horrible.
I cried. And then I flushed the toilet.
I went back to bed but continued to feel the cramping and was still up every few minutes and back to the bathroom for most of the next hour. All in all, it about about a two hour event which was the actual passing.
I called my doc first thing this morning and they had me an appointment within two hours. I went in and she did an ultrasound and confirmed that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do in this situation, when something is not right with the baby, and it did it completely. This was maybe the only positive thing about the day- that I didn't have to do any more procedures to help my body finish the job.
I never wanted to be pregnant. But the sight of my empty uterus on that ultrasound screen was numbing nonetheless.
I really wanted to know when it had stopped growing. We'll never know for sure because the couldn't do any measurements on my empty uterus. But doc said that with a current hcg of 20,000, it probably stopped developing not too long after the 6 week ultrasound where they saw the heartbeat. Which is creepy in it's own way- to know that I was carrying around a dead baby for maybe like four weeks before my body finally let it go?
Mother's Intuition is strong. With Moana, I did not have a single worry. Not ever. I knew for sure the whole time that everything was going to be just fine. This time, I just didn't feel right about it. I told my doc how I was feeling (right from my first appointment with her I told her that it wouldn't surprise me if this didn't pan out) but she was much more confident than I was. Today, she acknowledged the power of a Mother's Intuition.
Anyway, a miscarriage is nothing I would ever hope on anyone. Miscarriages suck. They make you feel empty and incompetent and unworthy. Even though intellectually I know that those things are not true, I can't help but feel them. Not wanting to be pregnant doesn't make having a miscarriage any easier. I take that back. As much as it sucked for me, I can only imagine how much more it would suck if I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time and then finally did with my first one and then had this happen. I don't know. I don't know how you'd get by. This experience has made me 100x more understanding of the frustration a woman would feel by not being able to grow a baby. At the doctor's office after I saw my empty uterus I saw a pregnant woman. I had a little twinge of jealousy. Her body could handle the pregnancy. Mine did not. Ugh.
I will get through this. I have been showering Moana with attention and reminding myself how nice it will be to have her all alone for a while longer. I will not have to split my attention away from her. And that, my friends, is the silver lining for me right now.