Miscarriage #2…on my birthday

I suffered my 2nd miscarriage in a row on my 42nd birthday.

I was 8 weeks along and it was totally awful as compared to the previous miscarriage that I had in January…on my husband’s birthday.

I’ve had to gather my thoughts before I wrote this because there is a lot that I want to put on the page, but it is all scattered and I haven’t really processed it all.  I’ll try to capture it, but there is simply no way to do it justice.  I don’t even have words for the sadness, frustration, and sense of helplessness that I felt and still feel.

It happened 2 weeks and three days ago…but the signs of trouble were there in early ultrasounds about a week ahead.

When I went in for what should have been a 6 week scan, there was no fetal pole.  The measurements were a little behind the markers and my HCG levels were on the low side of normal.  When I went back a week later, there was a fetal pole, but no heartbeat.  My HCG levels had risen, but not by a lot.  So it was a wait and see thing.  That is where I left off from my previous entry.

There are going to be some graphic details that follow here….just a warning.

Friday, I heard back from the RE’s office.  Thy told me that the HCG levels were up, but not by a lot.  They pushed my ultrasound from Wednesday to Monday and said that they would check more then.  I didn’t get a good feeling about it at all.  It was just numbing.  I have always said that it is amazing how my body can recognize that something isn’t right.  All along I have said that I didn’t feel pregnant.  I guess I knew all along.

Sunday was my birthday party (shared with my nephew, so really his party) at my parents’ house.  My husband stayed home to work on getting the house all ready for going to sale.  I ran some errands and then showed up early to help get things ready.  I had been feeling menstrual cramping for a couple of days.  I also smelled that iron-like smell that usually proceeds any actual flow.  I looked online and so many different message boards suggested all of that could be normal – and about the same things also suggested that it wasn’t good.  The web has yet to be reassuring, if anything, it just allows me to cling to hope when the facts line up otherwise.

After having had our dinner I was sitting and chatting with family when I felt that strange wetness that I felt when I started my last miscarriage.  I excused myself and went upstairs to my mom’s bathroom.  I had pink slimy discharge, and a lot of it.  The consistency was all mucus.  There was more mucus than I remember from the 1st miscarriage.  I knew right away it was starting.

I made my way downstairs and gathered up the to-go plate for my husband.  When I was rushing to leave, I told my mom what was going on…again.  She started to cry.  I kept it together….at least then.  She said she was so sorry.  I said I’d be okay, but that I just really wanted to get home.

It is strange to tell that to a parent who is in the home I knew for the 1st half of my life – to say I want to be home, when I’m in my childhood home.  My dad walked me to my car and gave me a big hug.  My dad will always be my hero.

I had to call my park district tennis person to explain that I was going to miss the 1st lesson of our spring series.  I never got ahold of her, so I planned on driving by the courts to see if the instructor who finishes right when I start could stay to cover.

Once I had made the calls about work, I called my husband.  I explained that I was starting another miscarriage.  He said “I’m sorry babe” and told me that he loved me.  I was teary eyed as I told him that I loved him.  But man did those floodgates open wide right as I hung up.  I cried and banged my fists on the steering wheel.  I wasn’t a maniac behind the wheel.  I was still being careful.  I actually thought, “keep it together since there are others around me who don’t need any of my tragedy causing one for them.”

When I walked in the door, he was sitting on the couch. I collapsed in a little ball and put my head on his lap.  I sobbed and bawled and he stroked my back staying quiet the whole time.  After a while the really bad cramps, probably more like contractions started.  I flopped off the couch and curled into the fetal position as the pain was a stabbing, hot sharp pain that I couldn’t soothe in any way.

I told him that I was going to take a hot bath.  I had read online that a hot bath is a bad idea as it can cause infection.  Given the pain I was experiencing, a possible infection paled in comparison.   So I drew up the water and climbed in.  I only saw little dark clots coming out.  I was still mostly pink mucus.  I sat there for about a half hour.  The cramps were not letting up, and I was just tired, so I dried off and put on comfy PJs.  I said goodnight to my husband, who was going to sleep on the couch so that my restlessness didn’t bother him, and I crawled into bed.  Both cats snuggled up to me and I blinked back tears as waves of cramps continued to wash over me.  It was agony.

I couldn’t sleep and I was pretty much cried out.  The ‘contractions’ were so bad that I finally just decided to draw another bath.  It was after midnight, so now it was officially my birthday.  I got into the tub and saw more clots.  I had put a little Ziplock baggie on the counter, within reach, just incase I could gather tissue.  Nothing happened for a while, but then some really intense cramps hit and sure enough, there was a large “chunk” of something dark red that came out.  I just looked at it sitting on the bottom of the tub.  It was about the size of the palm of my hand.  It was dark red and had a little “tail” like thing hanging from it.  It was like a gooey dark red deflated balloon.  I gently picked it up and put it into the baggie.  Physically I felt better.  So I dried off and went back to bed.  I still couldn’t sleep.

Just as soon as I was in the covers the cramping started again.  Even worse.  My whole body was churning and I just laid there and took it.  I pet the cats and I prayed that it would be over soon.  Finally around 4 a.m. I went back to the bathroom.  This time I sat on the toilet.  As soon as I sat down two huge “plops” came right out of me”  I moved off the seat and looked in…there were these white/pink chunks of tissue that looked like nothing I saw before in the previous miscarriage.  It had to be “tissue” so I scooped it up and added it to the red tissue in the baggie.  The first piece was about the size of a clementine.  The second piece was just a little smaller.  I washed my hands and sat back on the toilet.  No other tissue came out, but I was bleeding pretty heavily.  I put on an overnight pad and placed two towels on the bed.  I crawled back under the blankets and just thought about how fast everything was happening.  The first miscarriage drug out for days…and this was going very fast.  I was hoping that the worst was past me.

I didn’t sleep, but I might have dozed.  When it was 6:30, I went downstairs and curled up on the floor just in front of the couch where my husband was starting to wake up.  The pain was still very bad.  I started to cry.  He asked me if he should stay home with me.  I said that I didn’t know and that I didn’t want him to get in trouble for missing work.  Somehow, in the craziness of the previous night, I was able to line up subs for me at work.  I knew I was ok to be home, but I wasn’t sure it would be okay for him to stay home.  He decided for me and called his supervisor to say he wouldn’t be in that day.  I was crying and saying how sorry I was.  He must have felt helpless since there was so little to do but wait.  I knew that this was all bothering him so much.  He stayed strong for me and I’m so grateful for that.

When It was 7 a.m. I called the doctor’s office.  I got the friendly nurse who I really do so appreciate.  I told her, “I’m having a miscarriage.”  She said, “are you just have cramping and bleeding?”  I said, “No.  It is tissue and pieces.  I think I’m through the worst of it.  I have much of it in a baggie that I can bring in.”  She told me that she would get me in right away at 8 a.m.  This clinic is great like that and I felt better knowing that I was going in, even though I knew what I was going in to.

We left a little before 8 and got there just fine.  We walked hand in hand and stayed quiet.  I had to rush to the bathroom right when I got into the office.  I had brought extra pads with me and was ready for the gush.  As soon as I was washed up, they called me back.  It was the same technician that I’ve had all along.

The room was all dark, and man if this was NOT the way I had imagined that my husband’s first visit for an ultrasound was going to be.  He was standing next to me and holding my hand.  He had tears in his eyes and a little quiver to his voice, but otherwise he was a rock.  The technician began her scan and right away I could see there was pretty much nothing there.  She analyzed blood flow and she took pictures and measurements.  She was quiet and so were we.  She explained that it looked as if I had naturally miscarried almost all of the “contents of my womb” – which was a nicer way of saying “dead fetus.”  I said that I thought so since I had experienced so much pain and “stuff” coming out.  I added that the timing sucks since it was happening on my birthday.  She paused and said, “I’m so sorry.”  Then she said she was done.  Like before, she tore the photo printout from the machine and kept it.  Only, this time, I saw her crumple it up into a ball in her fist.  She was clearly upset.  I’m guessing our sad experience was no great start to her day.  I think about how hard it must be for her being on the front line of both great news and (in my case) really sad news.  There is no doubt that certain professions have such extra burdens like that.  I immediately felt sorry for her.

I also felt sorry for my amazing husband who was weathering all of this sadness with me…silently and steadily.  He was super strong, but I know him enough to know that the reality of the loss had really struck home.  He had allowed himself the thoughts of when, while I had kept myself reigned in with if.  He was sad and I was heart-broken for him because HE WILL BE AN AWESOME DAD!!!  I want that for him so much.

Next I had to go get blood drawn.  They were looking at my HCG…which would most certainly have dropped.  They also drew a CBC should I need to go for a D&C.  I had not eaten or had anything to drink since everything had started the night before.  My medical know-how had suggested that and it was good, because the nurse asked me about that just incase they needed to bring me in.  I also handed her my ziplock baggie of miscarriage material.  It was strange how I had that gently protected in my purse.  And when I handed it over, I wasn’t worried about getting it back.  I know that I wondered if I should ask for it back to bury it, but I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it.  So it was just a matter of giving it to her.  She explained that the doctor was downstairs doing a procedure and that if we waited she would take it to him to see if there was anything that he could work with in order to do an analysis.

So we waited.  We sat silently and watched people come and go.  I was also aware of the staff watching us.  It was all surreal and it seemed like an eternity…just sitting there feeling the wetness of the blood and the pain of the cramps.  It was probably only a couple of minutes.  The nurse came back over and explained that there was enough material and they would be able to analyze it.  She said that she didn’t think I’d have to come back for a D&C.  She could tell I was in pain and said I could take extra strength over the counter pain relievers.  If I got worse or started a bad fever I should call them right away.   I heard it all, but I also knew this routine from just three months prior.

We left the office, retracing our steps hand still in hand.  When we got to the car, my phone was lighting up with texts from friends and family…most were like this: “Happy Birthday…have the best day ever!  Have fun today!  Hope your day is great!”  How could anyone know that their wishes were so far from any possible realization.  A great day?  No, I was having a shitty, shitty day….but, I also realized that in my loss I also was very much not alone.

There is the silver lining.

There is no doubt that a miscarriage SUCKS….it is painful, it is emotional, it leaves one feeling angry, hopeless, and very sad.  However, I was also very poignantly aware of the love I have in my world.  I have a husband who is simply perfect for me.  He is my quiet warrior and I felt so secure with him there by my side through it all.  I’ve suffered some medical frights before and felt terribly alone.  But not here.  This sadness was buffered by his love and devotion.

I also realized, once again, the amazing support of my tennis community.  I have a very special network of amazing women.  Whether I coach their kids or coach them, I consider myself lucky to count these women among my friends.  In sharing with them, I received their understanding and condolences.  And the family (his and mine) has been a blessing.  I am a lucky, lucky woman to have so much care and concern present in my world.  I know that if I am meant to have a child, it will be brought into a world full of fantastic people.

Later that same day I had to return to the doctor’s office to sign a release form for the fetus to be sent FedEx to a lab for analysis.  The receptionist was sweet.  She said, “I don’t know if this will help you, but I hope it will.  Just so you know we all cried for your loss after you left.”  She explained that the ultrasound technician came out of the room and was a wreck…when she said how sad she was for us and that it was all happening on my birthday she cried and other nurses and staff began to weep too.  I can’t say it helped, other than to know that the people there really do care about us and hoped right along with us.

The rest of the day was a lot of bleeding and cramping and just feeling terrible.  We told our families.  It was all very sad.

I ended up taking the next day off work because I was still feeling so terrible.  I continued to pass clots and other bits of things.  It was crazy that when I thought that I had gathered so much, there was still more.  I slept a lot which was good since I had not slept well since everything had started.  It was peaceful to snuggle with my cats – I swear they can tell when something is physically wrong with me.  They were both extra attentive.  It was all so strange though…one minute I’d be okay with a positive outlook and in an instant I was a hot mess of despair and hopelessness.  I’m sure a lot of it is hormones…I guess.

The days have sailed by.  I’m working more, we are focussing on house matters, and Mother’s Day is this weekend – which is bittersweet since that would have been when we could have announced…and I’m not going to be a mother…at least for now.

This past Sunday morning, when my husband and I were eating a nice breakfast, I confessed that I was still feeling blue.  I promised him that it wasn’t him, it was just the situation and my worries about having two miscarriages in a row combined with getting another year older.  It was when I said this that he started to cry.  He said that it has all been hard for him too.  I went to him and hugged him.  I certainly didn’t mean to upset him, but we need to both turn to one another in order to cope with and work through this loss.  I think that we are doing that, but I know he is worried and taking on a lot with all of the house preparations.  It is daunting.  It is very overwhelming.  We just keep going forward and we continue to hold onto hope.

I have another blood test tomorrow morning.  It is to see that my HCG has zeroed out.  Once we have that we will get back to waiting for my cycle to return and then reassess our options at that point.  It feels so far away.  I just need to be patient.

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