As it turns out, writing the second half of our journey through miscarriage, did not come as easily as the first. I’ve started and restarted this post more than a handful of times, and it just never felt right. It’s hard to figure out which direction to go in, and even harder to draw the line between too much information and not enough.
But here we are, and I think I’m finally at peace with how it turned out.
If you haven’t read My Blighted Ovum Miscarriage Part 1, feel free to take a look into the beginning of our story.
If you have stumbled across this post while frantically googling your sweet little heart out, I am truly sorry. I am sorry that what drove you here is beyond your control. And I am sorry that hoping and wanting, sometimes just aren’t enough.
I am so sorry you had no choice but to join this club.
Now, I have to say before I dive in, that I decided it’s not a story worth telling, unless I tell the whole story. The reason I decided to write about any of this in the first place, was to possibly give others some solace. To give them some small piece of mind knowing they aren’t alone. When I was doing my searching, I wanted real, and detailed, and raw. So, here is your warning, it may get a little graphic and it might be crossing over into “too much information”.
But… it was pretty graphic and it was definitely too much… of everything.
12 weeks my body believed it was pregnant.
Talk about a slap in the face from my reproductive system. It really dropped the ball on this one.
Now, since I posted Part 1, I’ve had a lot of questions asking why my doctor didn’t just send me to have a D & C, which stands for some much longer and more technical words, but essentially means, the cleaning out of the uterus and all of its contents… It would have saved me weeks of waiting. I could have been in and out, and moving forward, just days after that second ultrasound. And not that I feel I need to justify my decision, but there were a few reasons my doctor and I decided against it…
The first reason being, my shear bad luck with things like this. My past OB appointments haven’t always gone according to plan and I’ve already got scarring around my cervix. That scarring, coupled with the complications a D & C can sometimes bring to the table, just weren’t worth the risk.
The second reason was much more simple and much less scientific… I simply couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t wrap my hopeful mama bear heart around the idea of purposely cleaning out my uterus. My own fault for spending too much time reading forums about blighted ovums… Too much time spent reading the one in a million stories about a baby popping up on that ultrasound screen perfectly healthy, weeks after being told it didn’t exist at all.
I yearned for that to be my story.
And, even though I knew it wasn’t, I simply couldn’t do it. Since I was young and otherwise healthy, my doctor advised me that miscarrying at home, on my bodies own schedule, was best. Something he later apologized for time and time again, even though it wasn’t his fault.
He couldn’t have known that I would be one of the women responsible for the “very rarely” part of the, what to expect when miscarrying talk. After all, there isn’t actually fetal tissue with a blighted ovum, it should have been nothing more than a very heavy period.
So, he sent us on our way after our second ultrasound. Which showed that perfectly formed, and still perfectly empty, little sac.
I continued doing weekly blood draws, and we waited.
On a Friday, roughly a month after our first ultrasound, shit got real.
That was the day I knew, there was no more room for hypothetical what ifs. No more time for my story to change. It was undeniable, I was miscarrying a pregnancy I had so desperately wanted.
I felt relieved that at least I had several weeks to prepare myself. I had talked to doctors and done hours of research, I knew exactly what to expect.
But I definitely didn’t expect what I ended up getting.
The weekend was filled with company Christmas parties and Sunday family dinner at moms, a tradition I highly recommend, by the way. It’s something I truly cherish.
We welcomed the distractions from reality.
Because remember, we hadn’t told our families yet, nor most of our friends. Not that we weren’t going to, it’s just not the conversation you want to have over Thanksgiving dinner. Especially when your original plan for the day was to announce your pregnancy with an adorable little shirt you ordered for your toddler off Etsy… A shirt that, until this day, 5 months later, sits unopened in the envelope it was shipped in. Seemed a little too morbid for the holidays. We were going to tell them, it just hadn’t been the right time.
Monday morning, Nick left for work, I made breakfast, Everest and I played and snuggled all morning. I was content to sit at home with my perfect little toddler, and let nature take its course.
But by lunchtime, nature had me wondering if it knew what in the hell it was doing.
Remember, I warned you…
Every trip to the bathroom brought me further away from a heavy period and closer to a full on crime scene cleanup. By the time Nick got home around 4pm it felt and sounded like I was losing gallons of blood and tissue each time I sat on the toilet. Literally… gallons.
Just to ease our minds, I called and spoke to the on call doctor. She told me, “if you are soaking through a pad in less than an hour, come in, just to be safe”… And all I could think was, what the hell does that even mean?! I’m supposed to sit in a diaper filled with my own blood until it’s completely soaked, so I can judge how long it took?! Nope. I was changing them left and right. Because let me tell you, nothing makes you feel more sorry for yourself than sitting in your own blood as a constant reminder of what’s happening.
She also asked me if my heart was racing or if I felt faint… to both of which, I easily answered no. I felt completely fine. So I convinced myself, against Nick’s better judgement, that everything was perfectly normal. It couldn’t last forever at this rate and I was sure it would have to slow down soon.
I could not have been more wrong.
Less than an hour later, as I stood at the stove stirring my homemade chicken noodle soup, I found out exactly what that doctor had meant.
In the fifteen steps from my stove to my toilet, I had done it. I had not only soaked a pad, but my underwear, my leggings, and my carpeted bathroom floor.
Nick walked in on a straight up massacre.
Think, The Shining…
There wasn’t much convincing needed after that, we had to go in, just to be safe.
Back track for a second to when I said it hadn’t felt like the “ideal time” to tell our families…
Well, I can tell you with complete certainty what the least ideal time is… When you’re sitting on the toilet and it sounds like someone is dumping a five gallon bucket out underneath you. And you have to call your mom and tell her, not only were you pregnant, but then you weren’t actually pregnant, and now you’re pretty sure you might be losing too much blood as you miscarry that kind of pregnancy. So can she maybe possibly watch your two year old while you head to the emergency room?
Thank goodness for moms hey?
The hospital, and my mom, were about 45 minutes away. No biggy, I still felt totally fine. She would simply meet us at the hospital and take Everest home with her for a few hours. I didn’t think it would take much longer than that for them to tell me this was normal and send me on my way. So we very calmly, packed up a bag for Everest, fed the animals, got the house in order, and hopped in the car.
I still felt fine…
Right up until I didn’t.
Halfway into our drive I felt the switch flip. Racing heart? Fast pulse? Feeling faint? Check, check, and check. I could feel panic set in as I tiptoed the line between fine and not.
You always hear about tunnel vision before you faint… but they don’t tell you everything else tunnels as well, and its freakin terrifying. I felt my vision, my hearing, my speech, even my ability to hold my head up, all start to slip away… I vaguely remember telling Nick I was about to pass out… and then out I went.
I had no concept of time, but Nick tells me I was unconscious about 5 minutes. It felt like 20 seconds and an hour at the same time.
When I started to come to, I could hear Nick talking to what I could only assume was a 911 dispatcher. He sounded miles away, like I was hearing him through a super long tunnel. The only thing my eyes could make out were the very blurry headlights of oncoming traffic.
And the only words I could muster up were, and I quote, “this is bad, I feel like I’m dieing”.
Which in hindsight, probably shook Nick to his core.
It felt like I was watching myself from outside of my body. The most surreal experience I hope I ever have.
All I could think was, we waited too long.
I waited too long.
What if I die trying to have another baby, while my already incredible child is in the back seat? What if trying to give him a sibling, leaves him motherless?
Nick told me he had an ambulance meeting us at the Holiday Gas Station and that they would start taking care of me… and terrifyingly enough, I had no clue what that meant. I had done this exact drive THOUSANDS of times in my life. I had stopped at that exact gas station more times than I could ever begin to count… but, for the life of me, I could not grasp it. I couldn’t remember even vaguely how long it took to get there or how far that was from the hospital. Nothing.
All I could spit out was a fragmented sentence resembling something like “how long?”
And I very clearly remember Nick telling me, 5 minutes. I remember it because it was like a weight lifted off of my heart at that point.
5 minutes. I could totally do 5 more minutes. I started focusing solely on breathing. I told myself, I can’t die if I’m still breathing. Seriously, that was my mantra.
Super morbid right?
I should say quick, that I wasn’t ever actually dying at this point. But I didn’t know that.
I got my first ever ambulance ride on a cold December night at 29 years old. I don’t recommend it, but I’ve never been more grateful for a group of strangers in my life.
And I’ve never been more thankful for a single human being, than I am for Nick.
Can we just pause for a minute to talk about my husband? If anyone deserves a shining medal of honor in this story, it’s him. Dad’s often get overlooked in miscarriage stories, but their hearts break too.
Imagine standing in the bathroom door as the woman you love sits scared shitless on the toilet, and knowing that this isn’t right, that it’s too much blood. Imagine being such a thoughtful man, that without mentioning it or asking about it, you fold up a towel and lay it on the front seat as you load up the car, because you know she’ll be worried about ruining the fabric.
Try to imagine for a second, having to call 911 while the person you love sits slouched over, unconcious next to you, bleeding profusely. Having to drive your other half to meet an ambulance with your young child strapped in to their carseat.
Having to then make the hard phone calls to family and bosses and friends, saying you just put your wife in an ambulance.
Now imagine remaining calm, and steady, and levelheaded through all of it.
I’ve told him many times, he’s lucky the tables weren’t turned. I honestly don’t know if I would have handled it nearly as well as he did. His voice never quivered, his words were so sure and unwavering. He has assured me, that inside, he was terrified, and shaking, and completely unsure.
But my goodness, was he a rockstar on the surface.
Anyways, I’ll get back to the sappy stuff later.
Up until this point I would call the pain I had experienced through all of this, manageable, uncomfortable and inconvenient at best. By the time I saw the ER doctor, that had done a complete 180. It felt like full on labor. Only this time, I knew I wouldn’t be getting an adorable screaming little prize at the end.
It took the doctor a 45 minute pelvic exam, and every one of those blue absorbent pads in the ER, to realize this was more than just your average miscarriage. I was hemorrhaging. Like not even kidding, after the nurse stole all of the pads from the surrounding rooms, she had to leave the ER to get more. I was filling trashcans.
It was a scene straight out of Carrie.
Another lengthy pelvic exam and several ultrasounds later, the tissue that was trapped and trying to make its way out, was finally removed. And the relief was almost instant.
I had been dilated to 3cm… Literally trying to birth my miscarriage.
We went home the next afternoon, with a whole goody bag of medications and a stack of orders for more lab work. My doctor estimated a 30% blood loss. My blood pressure was sitting at 90/50 and my hemoglobin had dropped from 11 to 7 in the time I was there.
3 weeks, more lab visits than I can count, 3 follow up appointments, and 1 ultrasound later, the ordeal was finally over.
I snapped this picture because I looked in the mirror the day after I got home, and I was shocked at the woman looking back at me. This is what 30% blood loss looks like. Where are my lips? I had never seen myself so void of color. I remember feeling sorry for myself…
Then I heard “mom wipey my butt”, and I immediately snapped this one. Because no matter how void of life I looked or how completely and utterly drained I felt, I was here to wipe that little butt. And I’ve never felt more thankful for anything in my entire life.
The basis of my story is not unique, not uncommon. But it can be isolating, because no one talks about it loud enough.
So be kind to one another.
And you mama, I see you. I see you sitting there in that diaper filled with your own blood. I see the fear and anger and overwhelming pity you have for yourself. And I get it. None of this is fair.
It’s a club, and you can’t be in it, until you’re in it… and no one wants to be there.
But once you get here, you realize how many other women are in it with you. As soon as I started talking about my miscarriage publicly, people came out of the woodwork. Everyone knows someone.
All I can hope for you is that you can see past this. That you don’t let it define you or deter you from trying.
That you have a wonderful support system. I pray you’ve got yourself someone as calm, and steady, and unwavering as I do.
And that you eventually get all the happy healthy babies you can handle, if that’s what you want.
But, even if you don’t, you’re still a badass. You are so much more than your miscarriage or your ability to carry babies.
The Beautifully Mediocre Mama