NOTE: Artsweet and I live in the same town, but this probably applies to any grocery store, so I thought I should be a good blogger and warn you all.
DO NOT go to the fabu grocery store by us on a Friday night about 7PM. There were — and I am not exaggerating — 14 heavily pregnant women wearing super-tight t-shirts and rubbing their enormous tummies there tonight. It was like a freaking circus. THEN, just when I thought I could not take it anymore, the guy behind me in line brought his super-preggo wife, who was, of course, also standing right behind me as I attempted to flee the premises (but not before paying for my organic yogurt smoothies, soy chips, and green tea), pink roses “just because she was such a beautiful mommy-to-be.”
Public Service Announcement, Part II:
Contrary to the posters of the smiling babies and the big banners that read “BABY SALE” all over the front of the store, they do not actually sell babies at BabiesRUs. Bastards.
Ever since I started trying to get pregnant over a year ago, I have been very aware of how many women get pregnant every day. I also noticed, since I have had my first miscarriage, that there seems to be some complex formula in my head regarding how happy (if I am happy at all) I am when someone announces they are pregnant. Is there some notion among women who have infertility or pregnancy loss that some women “deserve” to be pregnant while others do not? Can this be codified into an algebraic formula?
Happiness regarding announcement of pregnancy =
How much you like the woman and/or couple
Plus number of months trying to get pregnant
Times number of miscarriages
Times number of neo-natal losses
Divided by how closely related they are to you
Divided by the degree to which you will have to directly experience the pregnancy
Minus the number of children that they already have
Any thing to add (or subtract, multiply, or divide?) Please post a comment!!
I am in a holding pattern: waiting, waiting, and more waiting.
I am still waiting for the embryonic karyotyping results. I went to my OB today for my post-D&C visit but she did not have the results back yet.
My husband and I gave our blood today for our karyotyping, but we will need to wait several weeks to get the results back.
Now I wait for my post-D&C period. I still had a faintly positive pregnancy test last night, so I assume I will be waiting for at least 2-3 more weeks.
Then, once my period arrives, I need to call my OB and schedule a sonohystogram to check for any uterine abnormalities. She wants to do it as soon as my period ends, so I should not have to wait more than a week to have the procedure.
Once I have my period, I then have to wait until day 22 to get the rest of my blood work done, as she needs a progesterone level. This is when they will also run the fancy “miscarriage panel.”
I have to then wait for all the test results to come back.
I am still waiting to see the RE, but I can start calling next week to see if I can get put on their “cancellation waiting list” for an earlier appointment.
Once I have the results back, I have to wait until the end of that cycle before I can start trying to get pregnant again.
Then I have to wait to ovulate.
Then I have the evilest monster of all: the two-week wait.
Then I have to get pregnant, which will probably be another few months of waiting.
The optimist in me says: “then I have to wait 9 months to meet my baby.”
The pessimist in me says: “then I have to wait 6 weeks to schedule another D&C.“
I was at a conference this past week and a group of my colleagues decided to go out to dinner together. We all work in different parts of the country, but we have been attending these conferences for years and know each other personally. It was five of us: myself, three other women, and one man.
We went to dinner at a lovely sea-side bungalow restaurant in Southern California. The man, whom I will call Bob, got up to take a phone call from his wife, who is nearing the end of her second pregnancy. When he got back to the table, we all inquired how she was, and Bob said she was doing just great. I asked if she was huge and miserable, as she is 37+ weeks along. Bob looked at me — I have no idea if he knew about my miscarriages, but I really doubt it — and quietly said, “no, actually, she is just so happy to still be pregnant.”
The last three words hung in the air for what seemed like forever. Still. Be. Pregnant.
I tried to think of something to say. All I could think of was “I am sure she is looking forward to holding her healthy baby in her arms.” Bob nodded.
The look on my face or the tone of my voice must have suggested that I was empathetic to the situation, as he then explained to me that she has had a total of five miscarriages: two before their daughter was born; three before this pregnancy. I told him I had just had my second; he smiled understandingly. I have always liked Bob as he is a smart man and a gentle soul. This conversation, however, cemented out friendship.
None of the other women at the table had children or had ever been pregnant. You could see that they felt awkward as we talked so openly about miscarriage and physically squirmed, pretending to read their menus. I didn’t care. I told Bob that I thought the pain of miscarriage was something you could only really understand if you had been there. He agreed.
Sympathy is one thing; empathy another. I don’t want anyone to have to go through miscarriage(s), but it sure is nice to find someone you can talk to who has.
Warning: The Following Post Contains Information that is Exceptionally Vain and Selfish
I am overweight. My BMI is currently 29.4, and anything over 30 is considered obese. For my height, I can weigh 169 lbs. and still be considered “normal,” which is a BMI under 25. This is new for me. I was very athletic growing up and never, ever worried about my weight or what I ate. Youth is wasted on the young.
This whole weight issue started when I had to take Prednisone for my colitis in late 2001. Everytime I would wean down my dosage, my symptoms would come back, so I had to stay on it for over nine months. I gained over 50 lbs during that period and have the nasty red stretch marks to prove it. My doctors were sympathetic but not concerned: it was better to be in remission and have stretch marks than be dangerously ill without them. I really thought (which is funny now!!) when I stopped taking the medicine that the weight would just come right off. I didn’t realize that it would take me over a year to lose 30lbs and the last 20 just refused to budge. This was okay, though, because I was still at a healthy weight.
When you have a D&C, most women are given antibiotics prophylactically to prevent infection. I was and took the 3-day course of antibiotics without even thinking about it. This was early October. In mid-December, I was hospitalized because I had C-diff (click here for more info on C-diff), which as best we can determine, was caused by this three-day course of antibiotics. (I took antibiotics after D&C #2, but they were specifically chosen by my Poop Doc because they don’t tend to cause C-diff.) I had a huge colitis flare. I was miserable and sick and did not even really care that they put me on Prednisone because it helped me feel better so quickly.
Now, as I sit here though, I care. I gained all the weight back from the first time I was on the steroids. I feel fat. I am tired of not fitting into my clothes. I am tired of looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself. I am tired of feeling like my body is not my own. Sounds a lot like pregnancy, right?
Here’s the problem: I am already overweight and it is going to take me months to get back to my normal weight, even with diet and exercise, because of how the steroid messes with your metabolism. I am worried about starting out pregnant at this weight. Vain, I know, but if knowing how pregnant women describe their bodies at the end of their pregnancy, how will I feel then if I feel this now?
I got pregnant this last time and decided I would not let it bother me. Now that I am not pregnant again, it bothers me, even thought I do not want it to. Am I really this shallow? Would I put off trying to have a baby again because I don’t like the way I feel when I look in the mirror?
Can someone who has had two miscarriages even think like this? How can I be worried about my body image when I might not be able to have a healthy baby? If I am overweight now, will I increase my risk of complications later in the pregnancy?
My Diet Coke and I are going for a walk.
Maybe my internal angst will help me burn some more calories.
Hormones, it may be argued, are what help make us women. They regulate our menstrual cycles and, for some, they help ensure a healthy pregnancy. They can also be a bitch.
My hormone levels are out of whack. My doctor told me last time to expect this post-D&C, but I forgot how annoying it was. It is all the unpleasantness of adolescence combined with the post-partum blues. (At least with the post-partum blues you have a baby.)
I have horrible acne. Horrible. I am sitting here with a mud mask on my face, hoping this will help. I am also indulging in Dr. Hauschka products because even though they probably do not work any better than the other stuff, they are organic and smell good.
I am bloated. I am so glad we sprung for the “comfort” wedding bands, because even thought my ring is tight, it is not actually cutting off circulation. Yet.
I have bad headaches. I long for the days when I could pop some Excederin and feel better. (You should not take aspirin or ibuprofin if you have colitis.) FYI: Tylenol is a lame excuse for a pain reliever.
I have a yeast infection. Hormones do not cause yeast infections, they just make them worse. Considering that the antibiotics I took for the D&C probably started it in the first place, I still blame this on the miscarriage.
As most women know, out of whack hormones can make you moody or depressed. Having a miscarriage can also make you depressed. Whacked out hormones because of a miscarriage leave you really, really depressed and slightly crazy.
I know that hormones do not make you stare longingly at all pregnant women you see, but in my depressed/slightly crazy state, I feel like blaming the hormones. It is nicer than blaming the pregnant women, even though it is clearly their fault for being so insensitive and selfish, isn’t it?
“You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence”
— Don Henley, “The End of the Innocence” (1989)
I think the most difficult thing about my first miscarriage, aside from the immediate emotional and then physical pain, was that, to quote Don Henley (and, really, who doesn’t love a good Don Henley quote??) it was the “end of the innocence” in my life.
Even writing this, I feel weird, because my life had not been perfect or simple up to then. True, I have a fantastic marriage, a (usually) challenging and fulfilling job, a supportive (if somewhat nutty) family, and by most accounts I am a very lucky person. I do not want for food, shelter, companionship, or love. I worry about things but I don’t really worry about things. I am very aware of how good I have it.
Yet I also have some major things in my life that are not so good. I have two chronic illnesses, clinical depression and ulcerative colitis, that kind of suck. My depression, thankfully, responds very well to Prozac and, if I am taking the proper dose, is completely under control. The UC is a little more prickly and requires lots of doctor visits, fistfulls of medicine (up to 40+ pills per day), regular colonoscopies, and usually lands me in the hospital every couple of years. The drug that has saved my life many times over, Prednisone, also has unpleasant side effects such as sleeplessness, bloating (doctors refer to it as “moon face”), and dramatic weight gain (which is hard to lose because it also screws up your metabolism for months after you stop taking it). Still, while I am the first to tell you that UC is not fun, I could still honestly say that “it could be worse.” Even when laying in the hospital being pumped full of steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and waiting for an early morning colonoscopy, I still felt that “happily ever after” would not fail me (yes, again a Don quote from the same song).
I can pinpoint the exact date when I found it would: Monday, October 2, 2006. Yom Kippur.
I was, at least I thought I was, 10+ weeks pregnant by this point. I was scheduled to have my first ultrasound. This was my first pregnancy and I was SO happy. I got pregnant after 5 months of trying, called my doctor, and was scheduled for my first prenatal appointment (yes, that fateful day when I willingly gave my demographic information to Enfamil, aka “Satan’s Henchmen.”) My husband went with me and, according to my doctor, everything looked good. I could schedule my first ultrasound at my earliest convenience.
I had a horrible feeling that something was wrong starting a few weeks before this. The books I had stated convincingly that all women fear that something is wrong and that this was “normal” and “to be expected” for a first-time mom. Well, in my case, my instinct was right. There was something wrong: there was no baby.
I started getting really nervous a few days before the sonogram, but I tried not to let it bother me. We told close family friends about the pregnancy; we bought a rocking chair. The morning of the scan, I distinctly remember walking through the parking lot to my doctor’s office repeating my mantra: “75% of pregnancies are fine. 75% of pregnancies are fine.” This is one reason why I was still “innocent” — I still thought that I could be on the winning side of the statistics. Everything would turn out okay, right? Everything (mostly) had before in my life. I would be in the 75%+ percent of women who saw the positive pregnancy test and then had a healthy baby. Why should I think any differently?
This is and was the worst part, for me, of miscarriage. The loss is awful, the physical pain is wrenching, but the hardest, and saddest part, is that it changes your world view. You don’t think “everything is going to work out just fine” again. Your optimism, your naivety, your “innocence” are replaced instead with pessimism, fear, and cynicism. You will never be caught off guard because you have changed and you will forever see the world through different lenses.
I sat in the office, waiting to be called in by the sonographer. My husband had joined me and we held hands, hoping to come out of that room with a pretty black and white picture of our shrimp-like spawn. I remember telling the sonographer how far along I was, having her smile, and tell me that I was far enough along to use the abdominal probe. I smiled. My husband smiled. She put the goo on my stomach and the room got very quiet. I knew. She quietly asked me how far along I was again, and then told me that she needed to switch to the trans-vaginal probe. I started to panic. I kept looking at the screen hoping to see a baby, or anything resembling a baby, but there was nothing. The sonographer was very quiet and just kept taking measurement after measurement. I asked her if there was something wrong. Still looking at the screen, she quietly replied, “there is not baby, only an empty sac.”
I remember that I started to sob and that I kept saying to my husband “I knew something was wrong.” Time seemed to stand still and speed up simultaneously. I literally felt my heart breaking. Somehow I made it into another room, and called my mom, who wasn’t home, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law. I needed to talk to someone who was a mother, someone who could understand how badly my heart was breaking. I was sobbing so much that I could barely talk. My doctor came in at some point and talked to me about a “blighted ovum” or an “anembryonic pregnancy” and about a D&C, but it is all a blur. I walked through the parking lot with my husband still sobbing and gagging (due to hormones and emotions) and somehow made it to the car, made it home, and made it into bed.
This was a Monday and the OR was not open for the D&C until Friday.
I cried until I literally could cry no more. I was sad. I was broken. I was defeated by life. It was indeed the end of my innocence.
The second miscarriage was also difficult, but I approached it, from the second I got a positive pregnancy test, as if something could go wrong. I did not let my guard down, lest I be sucker-punched again. I trust that the physical and emotional pains will heal but I do not believe I will every be the way I was before that day. Perhaps only holding your own healthy baby in your arms can help you believe that life can be filled with “happily ever afters.” I hope so, but that feels a wee bit too optimistic.
This tidbit is from a newsletter published by my new, magical RE’s office.** I like how they bury the information in #5 right in the middle of the list. I think, like, maybe, that this should be first? Or at least second?
**Artsweet and Pili have gone to the same magical RE who was, uh, (how to say this delicately) less than magical for them. So, in honor of their experience, I will now refer to him by Artsweet’s name (even though I have yet to meet him), Dr. Short-but-Sweet (Dr. SBS).
When does it make sense to see a genetic counselor?
If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you may want to consider genetic counseling in the following situations:
1. you need information about genetic testing
2. you are female and over age 35
3. you have family members who have genetic disease, birth defects, mental retardation, learning delay, or unusual health problems
4. you have a history of fertility problems, multiple miscarriages, stillbirths or infant deaths
5. you and your partner are related
6. you have concerns about conditions more common in your ethnic group (ex: Cystic Fibrosis in Caucasians, Sickle Cell Anemia in African Americans, Tay Sachs in Jewish Americans, etc.)
7. you are considering adopting a child with a genetic condition
8. you have concerns about prenatal exposure to medications, drugs, chemicals, radiation, or infection
I just want to thank Aliza from Babyfruit and Artsweet for posting about my blog. My readership has grown exponentially in the past two days thanks to their promotion. I have only been blogging for a little over a week, so it is amazing to have
200+ 300+ people even look at my musings.
One of my husband’s friends is a medical librarian who also happens to publish Women’s Health News. She would like to learn more about miscarriage and infertility blogs so she can make this information available to her broad readership. Since I am new to this game and there are so many of you who have been blogging/reading much longer than I, can you tell me your favorite miscarriage/infertility blogs? I have Julie’s list from A Little Pregnant but I just want to be sure I am not overlooking anyone.
I just got a BFP (Big Fat Positive). Bugger.
As anyone who has ever had a miscarriage knows, there is a huge difference between having HCG in your system and actually being pregnant. I am most certainly not pregnant, but I still have HCG in my body, according to my internet cheapie pregnancy test. It is actually still quite a dark positive.
Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger.
It has been 11 days since my D&C, and I was hoping the hormones were out of my system by now. My last beta (before my D&C) was 44,000 and it had gone down to 1300 a week ago, which is quite a substantial drop, but, alas, it is not back down to zero.
The good news is that my hyper-sensitivity to smells (like, to take a totally random example, dog diarrhea) is not a product of my imagination. The bad news is my OB doesn’t want to do the “miscarriage blood panel” (at least she didn’t use the term “habitual aborter”) until I have a menstrual period, and that isn’t going to show until the hormones are well out of my system.
In the middle of typing this post, my local RE’s office finally called to schedule my consultation. IN. OCTOBER. Yes, it is June 15th right now. OCTOBER 3. He must be a magician or something, because she assured me that “he has things he can do to help maintain a pregnancy.” Yeah, okay. I can call for cancellations once they get my paperwork and it is “very likely” that I will be seen before then. Super-duper magical RE is super-duper popular (or he could totally suck but he is the only game in town? Naaaah, I am sure it is because he’s magical).
I am so tired of waiting.
My blog stats have ovulated!!
Husband: “Huh. Maybe your readers will find it amusing.”
Yesterday I got to deal with my favorite things in the world: sick cat and dog (both vomiting, dog had/has diarrhea) and an eye injury. I can deal with most gruesome medical stuff just fine, but vomit and eyeballs just do me in.
I was taking out my contact lenses Monday night and my eyes were very dry, making it difficult to get them out. When I took my right lens out, it felt like there was something still in my eye. I looked in the mirror, expecting and eyelash, but there was nothing, even though my eye was tearing. I went to bed and when I woke up, my eye really hurt, so I assumed (and this was confirmed by my husband who has had a scratched cornea before) that I must have scratched it with my fingernail. (Ewww!!, I know, I know, eyeballs are gross, so I will not get any more graphic than this, both for your sake and mine.)
I waited a few days, thinking it would heal itself, but it was still driving me crazy yesterday. My eye was spontaneously tearing and for the people who knew that I just had a miscarriage, I looked like I was falling apart mid-sentence in the middle of the day. (Please!! I do my falling apart in private, thank you very much.)
I went to the urgent care to have it looked at, and also because it had been a few days since I had had hospital bracelets on (ID and drug allergy information) and I was going through withdrawl. We did all the usual pre-medical appointment stuff: blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, etc…. Then, because I had an eye injury, she tested my vision, which, thankfully, is fine. We went back in the room and she stared getting the drops and equipment ready for the doctor, when the nurse remembers she forgot to ask me a question. THE question. The one they always ask that always throws me, because who walks around with this kind of knowledge in the forefront of their mind?
“Date of last menstural period?”
I am sure she was expected a flustered, “uh, well, um, huh, well, it was a few weeks ago? I think? When was _________ [insert recent holiday]? Yeah, it started like 3 days after/before that.” Or even a matter-of-fact “Monday, June 4th.”
Instead I snortled loudly, which is something between a snort and a chortle (which is itself a cross between a snort and a chuckle). I know they need to ask this question because the don’t want to do any procedures or prescribe any medicines that are contra-indicated during pregnancy. Still, I was here for a scratch on my eye. Now I had to give this poor unsuspecting nurse the latest chapter in my woefully pathetic obstetrical history all because of said scratch on eye.
I assured her I wasn’t pregnant; she wanted a date “even if it was approximate.” I knew that once I told her, the whole dynamic between us would change. We would either have to endure that incredibly awkward silence when you tell someone you miscarried and they don’t know what to say, she would tell me all about her sister/cousin/friend/neighbor who had ___ [insert number] miscarriages and now has ___ [insert number] healthy kids, she would give me a pitiful look, assure me “these things happen” and that I am young and can try always again, or (this rarely every happens) she would confess that she too had a miscarriage(s) and that it majorly sucked.
I told her that technically my last menstrual period was way back in early April but that I had just had a D&C a week ago. I got the third option from the menu above.
4mm corneal abrasion. I should let it heal on my own and put anti-biotic ointment in my eye for a week.
Then I went home to clean up new cat vomit and dog vomit. I had to leave the dog diarrhea (I did put paper towels over it) for my husband because I almost threw up, even though I am quite sure the pregnancy hormones are either gone or very low by this point.
FYI: Any man who will clean up dog diarrhea, even begrudgingly, is a keeper.
14. Have sex with Kevin Federline. This man is a baby-making machine, even if the latest rumor is not true. Really, Darwin, really??
After watching daytime TV, I have come to the conclusion that we probably don’t need the genetic testing to figure out why I have miscarried twice. We clearly just need to radically alter our lifestyle in order to ensure healthy future pregnancies, because clearly the happy-marriage, steady-job, prenatal-vitamin-taking route doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.
1. I need to start regularly using some illegal substance, preferably crack
2. My husband needs to start regularly using some illegal substance, preferably crack
3. I need to start beating my husband
4. My husband needs to start beating me
5. My husband needs to leave me for another woman
6. My husband needs to leave me for another man (but still keep sleeping with me in order to bring about successful pregnancy)
7. My husband needs to stay with me, but have an affair with another woman, who will get pregnant at the same time I do
8. I need to leave my husband for another man
9. I need to stay with my husband, but have an affair with another man, with whom I will immediately get pregnant with twins/triplets
10. My husband needs to lose/quit his job
11. I need to lose/quit my job
12. My husband and I need to figure out that we are distant cousins
13. My husband and I need to stop trying to get pregnant, and instead drink a lot of cheap beer/wine coolers, regularly have sex in the back of a car/at a frat party, and pray, pray, pray/cross our fingers that I don’t get pregnant
Anything I have missed? Feel free to post a comment!!
I get it, okay? I get that you want me to have a healthy baby, not because you care about my well-being, but because you want me to feed said baby with your product. I get it, I really do. You’re a company, you need to keep you stock-holders happy, blah, blah, blah…, but your hyper-aggressive marketing campaign is just cruel. Not cruel for the women who have healthy babies (for those with healthy babies that chose to breast-feed, I am sure you are just annoying) but for those of us that don’t.
I went to my OB way back in September of 2006 and was SO happy to be pregnant that I got sucked into your evil campaign. I filled out a card with my EDD (because once you get a positive pregnancy test, you obviously give birth to a healthy baby, right??) and gave it to my OB’s office. In return, I got lots of free stuff. It was great. I was happy. I had your glossy advertisement-cum-magazine with pretty babies and life was good because in nine months I was going to have one of those, too!
Except I didn’t and apparently you didn’t get the fucking message. Before my EDD, you started sending me more stuff, including formula samples. Then you started sending me Enfamil Family Beginnings: A Time of Transition that just pours salt in my already painful wounds. Then I got pregnant again and you know what? I still found your stuff annoying. Now after this most recent miscarriage, every time, like this afternoon, that I open my mailbox and see one of the doe-eyed little babies on the cover of one of your publications, it makes me sad. Fuck you, Enfamil. I don’t need more things in my life making me more sad than I already am.
I know that I signed up for it, but maybe you could remember that 15-20% of women miscarry in the first trimester, and we don’t need you to remind us of the fact that we don’t have babies at home to feed. Can’t you offer a “rescind my Enfamil registration because I had a miscarriage” card? Or can’t you wait until perhaps the second trimester to start your marketing campaign? I can unsubscribe to all the web-feeds I naively signed up for the first time detailing the minutiae of daily or weekly embryonic and fetal growth (I was not such a sucker the second pregnancy). Why can’t I unsubscribe from you? How can I make you go away?
BUT (isn’t there always a “but?”) I am still hoping to have a healthy baby and I do like all the free stuff. So maybe your corporate whoring to new mothers is not such a bad thing. I, however, am not a new mother and not everyone who gets pregnant will be, either. So, in the interest of not pissing off all the miscarrying women of the world, hold off on the free stuff, at least until the second trimester and please give us the option to stop the happy-faced baby mail.
MC, the miscarrying non-mama
[For another letter to Enfamil, see Barefoot And…’s Nov. 2004 posts, the inspiration for my rant.]
1) Buy lots of toys for your cats (What can I say? They were 20% off.) It makes you look like a crazy cat lady.
2) Buy lots of new XL underwear.
3) Buy a lot of maxi pads and pantyliners. I wanted to explain to him that I was post-D&C and tampons were a no-no, but I think he would have passed out.
4) Throw in an economy First Response pack o’ pregnancy tests. Be sure to put them on the belt right after the economy packs of maxi pads.
I feel like I am finally able to write about my most recent D&C, although it has not even been a week. I am hoping writing about it will help me process things a little.
After finding out the heartbeat was non-viable (54 bpm) on Friday, we went in Monday for the D&C at 6:30AM. I woke up a little before 6AM only to find that I had already started bleeding, even with 5+ days of 200mg progesterone suppositories. We got to the hospital before the surgery center even opened, so we had to check in at the Emergency Room. I changed into the fashionable gown, had my blood drawn, and waited for the u/s technicians to arrive.
My husband went with me to the u/s and we got the worst possible news: the heart was still beating at about 54 bpm. I was crushed because I was really hoping that it had stopped by now, especially considering that I was bleeding and starting to really cramp. The nurse had told us that the doctors would not do a D&C if there was still a heartbeat. I was terrified and confused. On the one hand, the thought of having to leave the hospital and possibly miscarry naturally horrified me; the thought of having a D&C that actually stopped the heartbeat — even a very slow non-viable heartbeat — was also horrifying. I take comfort in the fact that both my doctor and my husband didn’t hesitate and decided to do the D&C right then. I just started sobbing. I was so upset that I didn’t even know what I wanted. I didn’t want a D&C because I wanted a healthy baby. I just remember telling my OB to do the genetic testing but that we didn’t want to know the gender, only if the embryo was genetically normal. I have never been so thankful for the pre-operative IV sedative as it knocked me out almost instantly.
When I woke up, I had bad cramping and the nurse in the recovery room gave me two doses of Demerol (REFRAIN). She told me, as my OB told my husband, that when a natural miscarriage had already started, the cramping is worse after the D&C. They also, in an attempt to avoid what happened last time, had done the D&C with an u/s in the OR and had a Pitocin drip in my IV just to make sure everything was expelled. When I got out of the recovery room, another nurse gave me two Percocet and told me I had to stay on the Pitocin for an hour. I have never been so happy to be drugged out of my mind, for both physical and emotional reasons.
I am not sure why, but anesthesia really makes me crave cheeseburgers, so when I awoke I had a cheeseburger from Burger King — none of the generic hospital burgers for me today!! — waiting for me courtesy of my awesome husband. It was honestly one of the best burgers I have ever had. I peed. The nurses were happy that I had peed and eaten, so I was discharged, given the sad look that nurses overseeing your D&C give you, and went home.
I was okay the first day, I think, because I was still groggy from the anesthesia. However, the guilt, if that is even the right word, of having had a D&C when there was still a heartbeat still haunts me. I know it was a non-viable pregnancy, but I just wished it had stopped on its own. The miscarriage had already started as I was spotting and cramping, so I like to think that my body had figured out the pregnancy was non-viable. I also know that embryonic testing is important and can only be done right after a D&C; this many give us clues as to why this miscarriage happened.
The blighted ovum was so much easier because I was just having the procedure to remove an empty sac that was still cranking out nausea-inducing hormones. No baby. No heartbeat. No guilt.
In the spirit of never doing anything the easy way, I had some complications from my most recent D&C. I am writing this a little (okay, a lot) hopped up on Vicodin, so please excuse any non-elegance.
Yesterday I woke up to cramps and bleeding. I re-read my discharge papers after the D&C and comforted myself with the knowledge that “YOU MAY HAVE SOME VAGINAL BLEEDING AND DISCHARGE ON AND OFF FOR 2 WEEKS. SOME WOMEN HAVE NO BLEEDING WHILE OTHERS HAVE CRAMPS AND MAY PASS CLOTS.” While the symptoms were unpleasant, I did not really think there was any cause for alarm.
Yesterday afternoon, I was still feeling crampy and decided that taking my umpteenth nap of the week was certainly the panacea. I think I slept for a few hours but when I woke up about 6PM, things were noticeably worse. The bleeding was heavier and full of clots and the cramps were now out of the menstrual cramp and into the “get me some &^%$ing pain medicine, please” realm. I called my OB’s office and spoke to the midwife on call. She told me to go to the ER. I cried and swore and went to get my husband, but he was already waiting and ready to go.
The good news is that sometimes women have a “slow bleed” after a D&C that doesn’t manifest itself until 72+ hours later. It builds up in the uterus, and then when the uterus rightfully decides that it is not happy about the situation, cramping and bleeding ensue. This is presumably what happened. My hormone levels had dropped into the 1300 range (down from 44,000 pre-D&C), so the OB on call was confident that there were no more “products of conception” left.
I was sent home with Methergine, a drug that helps contract the uterus and stop bleeding, and Vicodin, both to be taken every 4 hours. My husband set alarms so I got every dose of my 6-pill Methergine regimen right on time. It appears to have worked as the bleeding has slowed down considerably.
Things I have discovered in the past 24-hours:
1) Methergine and Vicodin both go down better when served with a cupcake (either vanilla with chocolate frosting or chocolate with vanilla frosting), hence the title of this post. Link
2) If you ever have to go to an ER and need a pelvic exam, you can request that only an OB/GYN do one on you. The midwife who told me to go to the ER told me to ask for the “House Doctor” (i.e. the OB on call) and after my experience with Dr. Bighands, I didn’t need a whole lot of convincing. The ER doc looked almost relieved when my husband stated I wanted an OB consult. OBs regularly do pelvics, know what to look for, and know what is “normal.” Whatever the extra wait time is, it is more than worth it.
3) Inter-muscular Demerol (REFRAIN) lasts much, much longer than IV Demerol. It will knock you on your ass (perfect for your pelvic!!) so be sure to have someone there who can translate and remember medical babble for you.
4) ER nurses who advocate on behalf of their patients for pain medicine are really angels in disguise. When I told her that morphine didn’t really do anything last time, she made sure to ask for Demerol (REFRAIN). When the IV Demerol wore off, she asked the doctor on my behalf (I was too busy writhing in pain) if it was too soon for an inter muscular injection. Then she gave me said injection the second it was approved. I love you, Becky.
5) It is just as painful to get an ultrasound from a male technician when you are cramping and bleeding than from a 5-month pregnant female technician when you are not: pregnant cervixes are tender; post D&C cervixes are tender; pregnant mothers of non-viable embryos are also tender.
6) I have the best husband in the whole entire world. He is my best friend, my best advocate, and the only person I want by my side when going through this kind of yuck.
There is another part to “I Heart Demerol” which will detail my most recent rendez-vous with my favorite pain med, but the D&C was just Monday and things are a little too emotionally raw. Never fear, though, it will be filled with wit, charm, and the ever-present post-D&C cheeseburger.
I have been laying around in bed a lot this week. I don’t even feel guilty about it. Not even a little. However, I can feel that it is starting to get old and soon laying around and wallowing in self-pity may run its course.
My follow up with my OB for my post-D&C appointment is on the 26th of June. Then we can talk about testing, genetic results, etc…. My husband thinks it is prudent to wait for any and all test results to come back before we try again, just in case there is something that we can do to avoid another miscarriage. My brain thinks that, too. My heart wants a baby NOW and emotionally I want to start trying again right away.
I plugged in the big fat old “MENSES” into my fertility software today to start my cycle over last Monday. The software doesn’t even have a little message that tells you it is sorry this is your second miscarriage in eight months. It doesn’t even know you had a miscarriage, only that you were pregnant (“Congratulations!!”) and now you have a period. They really need a “D&C” option.
We also are trying (because they will not call or e-mail me back) to get an appointment with an RE. Are you infertile if you can get pregnant but keep having miscarriages? It took us 5 months and 4 months, respectively, to get pregnant each time, which is not too awful. Our insurance will cover the RE visit, so I guess there is no harm in going for a consultation. I am not yet a “habitual aborter” (3 consecutive miscarriages) nor am I infertile, because I can get pregnant but, and here is the big, but, I still have no baby. What does that make me? Unlucky? Cursed?
Less than 5% of women have two or more consecutive miscarriages.