If you haven’t read Sunday’s post, please do so before reading this one. This week’s blog posts will be back-dated journal entries of what I experienced over the last 11 weeks regarding a pregnancy that will end in miscarriage.
So that brings us to the present day. Well, to yesterday, really.
Yesterday I had what I hoped to be my last ultrasound of this whole awful ordeal. The ultrasound tech and I smiled weakly at each other, both knowing what I was there to see (or, not see). After much poking, I quietly asked, “Has the heartbeat stopped?” and she nodded. To my surprise, I felt nothing but relief. I have had time to be sad and cry and mourn, and now all I feel is an intense need to move on. Keep chugging. Try again.
My midwife saw me quickly and we talked through my three options again. Benjamin and I had decided that we would try medical management at home (that is, taking a medicine to induce the miscarriage at home) instead of waiting for nature to take its course or getting a D&C/D&E procedure. I was still scared of what it would feel like, and even more scared that I would be part of the 15% for whom it just “doesn’t work”, who still end up needing a procedure, or, worse yet, an emergency one if something goes wrong. Lots of things to worry about, no matter which option I chose.
I had originally planned to take today off of work and take the pills this morning (Friday morning). But my midwife encouraged me to taken them when I got home on Thursday and then try to sleep. The medicine can work as quickly as a couple hours, or take as long as 2 days (and sometimes even longer… like a whole week!). She said generally, though, if it’s going to work, it will work in a few hours. The earlier I take them, the earlier I can get on to the rest of my life and “enjoying my weekend” as she said. Ha.
With the pills, I had two options. I could take them orally (letting them dissolve under my tongue) or as vaginal suppositories. I chose orally, because I thought it would be “easier”, but let me tell you, if I had to do it all over again, I would NOT make the same decision! The pills took ages to dissolve (30 minutes?!) and got all powdery and disgusting in my mouth. Yuck.
I took the first dose at 5:30pm. At 8:30pm I had only very minimal cramping, so I took the 2nd dose (some people don’t need both doses, it just depends on your body). By 9:30pm I was having extreme, consistent cramping. Almost everyone had told me, “It won’t be any worse than your worst period cramps.” Well, maybe my periods have been good to me, or maybe they are all liars, or maybe my reaction to the medicine was different, but these cramps were a lot more intense than regular period cramps. I was hunched over on my couch with a heating pad and still in a lot of discomfort. I had a slight fever and debated calling the doctor’s office, since both of these things were on the “Warning Signs” list. Finally, around 10pm I popped one of the painkillers I had been prescribed as well. Probably should have done that sooner.
Just like when your body goes into labor (because really, let’s be honest, that’s exactly what my body was doing), everything softens. And I do mean everything. So the first and only real symptom I experienced other than cramping and bleeding were some pretty extreme, uhh, how shall I put this… loose bowels? Essentially I was shivering cold, having super uncomfortable cramps and couldn’t get off the toilet. Loooovely.
So, all in all, almost exactly what the doctor told me to expect. Still, it felt awful.
I shuffled to my bed with my heating pad at about 11pm. I know, I know, you’re not supposed to sleep with heating pads on, lest you catch fire in the middle of the night, but I knew I wasn’t going to be doing much sleeping and it was the only thing that seemed to cut the pain. The cramps got continually worse and my temp climbed for the next 2 hours, and finally I reached the climax. I passed the pregnancy tissue in one piece. It was actually kind of amazing to see it. I felt the same sort of awe at what our bodies are capable of as I did when the doctor held up my placenta for me to see after Owen was born. Bodies are AMAZING.
To be honest, I expected to feel a deep sadness or sense of loss at that moment. I was, in that moment, no longer pregnant. But what I really felt was an overwhelming awe for my body and what it had done and complete and total relief that it was OVER. I don’t know how to explain it, but I honestly wanted to wake Benjamin up and give him a high five. Maybe it was the hormones, but I felt so darn happy that my body had done exactly what it was supposed to do. I climbed back in bed with an exhausted smile on my face.
Over the next few hours my temp normalized, the cramps reduced and it began to feel just like I was having a normal period. I barely got a wink of sleep (I think my adrenaline was pumping and I was still somewhat uncomfortable with cramps for the rest of the night). I’m still bleeding this morning and feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, but I’m OK. I did it. I survived.
In hindsight, I probably should have waited until Friday morning to start the process so that I wouldn’t have lost an entire night’s sleep. Alternatively, perhaps the D&C would have been a simpler and more efficient way to get through the hard part. One will never know.
All I need to know now is, it’s over. And it’s time for a nap for me.