I haven’t been here in a while… and this is not a post I ever thought I’d have to make. It’s been a busy few months–I went back to work full time, and shortly after I found out that we were expecting our fourth baby. It was a whirlwind of change and insane busy-ness, but all of it made us so happy. We felt so blessed.
It’s taken me a few days to be able to say this without crying… but we lost the baby. I had a miscarriage on Tuesday and we’re trying to wade through this new reality and everything that has come with it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this, but I feel like I need to process what happened, and writing and sharing has always been my therapy.
I have had three completely normal, uneventful pregnancies. I worked through each one, and have never experienced a single complication. I began this pregnancy thinking it would be exactly the same, as really, I had no reason to think otherwise. For almost 13 weeks, it was a textbook pregnancy.
A week ago, on Friday morning, I realized that I was spotting just as I was heading out the door to work. It wasn’t a lot, and my midwife told me that it can be totally normal, so I did my best not to panic as I drove into work. I took things extremely easy that day and put my feet up whenever I could. The spotting stopped within an hour, so I attributed it to the fact that I had had parent / teacher interviews the night before and hadn’t gotten home from work until almost 9pm. I knew I was tired, so that had to be it.
I rested all weekend, and everything seemed normal. I went back to work on Monday and had a really great day. During my fourth period class, I started to feel a little off. It suddenly felt like my (black) pants were wet, and I wasn’t sure what to do. Part of me wanted to pretend like nothing was happening, and the other part wasn’t sure who to call to cover my class. I waited out the last 20 minutes of the period then ran to the bathroom. My underwear were covered in blood, and even though I did my best to stay calm, I cried my eyes out alone in the bathroom. I waited until the hallways were clear, then ran back to my classroom and closed the door. I paged my midwife, and while I waited for her to call me back, I called M. I was sobbing by this point and he did his best to comfort me over the phone. Almost immediately, one of my midwives called back. She had me describe what had happened, and she thought that I had had a subchorionic hematoma. She told me to go home and rest, and booked me an ultrasound for the next day. She told me not to worry until we knew more, and since she didn’t sound overly worried, I was able to calm down and drive home. I laid down immediately, and shortly after the bleeding totally stopped. We went to bed concerned, but hopeful that everything was still alright.
I went in for my ultrasound the next morning. The entire experience was agony. First there was some issue with my requisition, so they made me wait with an extremely full bladder for a full half hour past my appointment time. When I finally got in, I begged the technician to tell me anything as she was scanning, but she remained mute and wouldn’t let me see the screen. She asked me to stay in the waiting room until she could fax the results to my midwives, which I suppose should have been my first real warning. I left the office with no answers or resolution.
I stopped for a bite to eat on the way home, then as I was pulling into my driveway my phone rang. I expected my midwives to call me for an appointment, but when I answered, she sadly expressed over the phone that no heartbeat had been detected during the ultrasound. She encouraged me to go to emerg immediately to confirm, and I somehow managed to hold it together during the call. After she hung up, I sat in my van and wept. I called M to let him know the results, and he immediately left work to come be with me.
Within ninety minutes I was in emerg waiting to be seen. M dropped me off, then went to sort out care for the kids so he could come back. I told my parents, and they immediately began preparing to come down to help us through whatever was coming next.
I spent about 3.5 hours at the hospital that afternoon. They did some bloodwork that confirmed that my hormones levels were low, then the doctor we saw went through the results from my ultrasound earlier that day and confirmed that I was having a miscarriage. He gave me a vague idea of what to expect, and as we left the hospital around 6:30pm, I felt the cramping begin.
I was not prepared in any way for what happened next. I was told it would feel like I was having a heavy period, and should expect some strong cramping. The doctor wrote me a prescription for T3s, but I didn’t think I’d need them. Within an hour of getting home, I was experiencing contractions as strong as some I have felt during the transition phase of labor. I had to grip my countertop and rock back down on my heels to endure the contractions. After about 30 minutes of this, I was so tired and emotionally exhausted I asked M to go fill the prescription. He was getting ready to go when I had a particularly strong contraction and I felt my water break. This was more shocking to me than anything, as no one ever told me that this could or would happen. As devastating as it was, the pain relief was immediate. The contractions stopped, but the bleeding began. I knew that my body was expelling all the products from the pregnancy, but I felt so unsure about what was considered normal.
I was so exhausted from the day that I wasn’t really watching the time, but eventually my mom came and knocked on the bathroom door to ask if I was okay. She let me know that I had been in there for more than an hour, and was concerned about what was happening. M came up a minute later, and I began to feel unwell. I told him that I thought that I might need to go to the hospital, and he stepped out to pack a few things in a bag to take with us.
Things get a little hazy for me at this point. I remember standing up and trying to get the bleeding to stop long enough for me to put pants on. I felt extremely light headed and sick, and realized that something was really wrong. I tried to sit down, but I think I fell more than I sat. M and my parents heard me fall and came running. M found me unconscious, half sitting / half slumped against the wall. I don’t remember any of this, but he roused me somewhat as he told my parents to call 911, then I passed out again. This time M was right there and caught me, and was able to pull me out of the bathroom. I came to on my side in the hallway, with my mom at my head trying to get me to open my eyes and my dad holding me on my side in the recovery position. I could hear M talking on the phone to the emergency dispatcher, and I vaguely remember making a crack to my dad that I deserved a homemade apple pie for all of this once it was over. As I was laying on the floor, I could feel that I was still bleeding and everything felt like a completely out of body experience. The paramedics arrived seconds later and I was whisked back to the hospital.
The next few hours were a little scary. When I first had my bloodwork done in the afternoon, my hemoglobin levels were at 123. By midnight, they had dropped to 89. I was taken right into a bed in emerg, but I could feel that I was still bleeding. I was wearing two max absorbent pads, but shortly after being admitted I lifted the blankets from my side and could see blood seeping out from under me. I showed the nurse, and then things moved into high gear. They helped me out of the bed and into the bathroom to get me out of my clothes and into a hospital gown. I made it to the bathroom, but passed out again in M’s arms while we were in there. I woke up in a wheelchair as nurses were hurrying to get me back into a bed and an IV hooked up. I went through three bags of fluids and one of iron before things finally began to slow down.
The doctor who took over at 3am was extremely concerned about what was happening and began preparing me for the possibility that I’d need a blood transfusion and a D&C to make sure everything was out (and to stop the bleeding). Thankfully the many tearful prayers I had offered from my hospital bed were answered and things began to level out. I had another internal exam and an ultrasound to confirm that everything had passed, then I was finally discharged just before noon the next day.
I knew that I had injured myself somehow, as the entire time I laid in the hospital bed my tailbone was extremely sore. I hoped it was just a result of how they had positioned me in the bed or inflammation as a result of the miscarriage, but as I was helped into a wheelchair, and then the car, I knew that something was wrong. We think that I must have injured it the way that I fell when I first passed out at home, and now I can barely sit on it. It’s slowly getting better, but it has been one of the most painful experiences of my life.
It’s now been four days since everything happened, and I’m slowly coming out of the physical trauma of what happened. I can move around a little more, and M found me this beautiful pillow for tailbone injuries and I can sit up a little which is very exciting. Yesterday I felt my hormones hit me at full force, and today I just feel… numb. I feel exhausted and a little like my edges are fraying. I’m trying to ease back into “normal” life, but at the same time I feel like I don’t know what my normal is anymore. My whole world flipped in a single day, and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. It’s been hard.
I know we will get through this, and we’ve been completely surrounded by family and close friends these past few days. My mom and dad were here helping and looking after everything, and my sister and brother came to be with me for a day and provide some much needed distraction. Today is really the first day we’ve been on our own since it happened. It just feels so strange… time is passing and on one hand everything feels the same, but on the other, everything feels so completely different. We were so excited to meet this little one and have her join our family. I didn’t know for sure what we were having, but I felt so strongly that it was a girl. One minute you are excited and planning your future, and in the next, that’s just… gone. It’s hard.
I know this was long and maybe more detailed than normal, but going through this, I felt so ill-equipped for what was happening. I know I had complications and my experience was extreme, but I feel like knowing that this could have happened might have made it all seem less physically traumatic somehow. I don’t know. Maybe my sharing this will help someone else someday… and if it does, then I’m glad.
It always feels like there’s so much secrecy or intense privacy surrounding miscarriages, and while I partly understand, I just… can’t. We told our friends and family that we were expecting this baby at 8 weeks. It’s earlier than we ever have before, and even though it means that I have to also share our loss, I don’t regret that. We were so excited about this baby. We were happy, and we wanted to share that happiness. I don’t regret that I got to talk about and share this pregnancy for 13 weeks. And while our hearts are broken right now, I’m also so deeply comforted by the love that has been extended to us this because people knew. I cannot image going through this silent and alone.
So, that’s where we are. It’s been a hard week, but we’re slowly coming up for air. One day at a time, right?