Saturday, November 6, 2010

the beginning of the end

It's finally over. We finished this morning.

in the week since we found out the baby had passed i spent a lot of time googling what a miscarriage would actually feel like. i was so afraid. and what i was able to find wasn't actually a lot of help. most of it was emotional and traumatic, but no one was ever able to describe in clinical terms what would happen. so i vowed to serve my fellow mothers-in-waiting by doing just that once i experienced it. i wanted to make sure than anyone who googled "what will my miscarriage feel like?" would get a clear answer; a step-by-step review of what happened. and now i can't.

what was it like? devastating. it was really the worst day of my entire life thus far. everyone wants to know why i didn't just get a D&C and get it over with, but i knew i could never do that. i'm someone who has to see it to believe it. i knew if i just went to sleep and woke up with my uterus scraped clean i would never be able to believe it. i'd still be hoping they were wrong, waiting for a miracle. still half believing i was pregnant. i also knew that i needed to experience this for closure. i also think that maybe deep down i wanted to punish myself. or maybe the opposite is true, maybe i wanted my power back; maybe i needed to know that my body was capable. i just know that i needed to do it this way.

i want to invite family and friends to stop reading here. this will get graphic and horrible and i fully intend to not hold back. fellow googlers- i cannot tell you what your miscarriage will be like because so much of it will be wrapped around the emotion of what is happening and that is different for every person. this blog is the story of our baby and this is where it draws to a close. 

on saturday 10/30 we found out that the baby had passed. i spent a lot of time grieving and trying to get things started so that i could finish this. i stopped taking my progesterone that same day. on tuesday 11/2 i started spotting. by wednesday i had a flow that would be described as an average period flow. that went on until thursday night, when i started having horrible cramps. people told me to expect period-like cramping, but they were nothing like period cramps. it was horrible. my midwife called in a prescription for painkillers and i was taking 600 mg of advil every 6 hours. it was really bad. what does it feel like? it feels like there is a vise in your midsection squeezing your uterus. it's this horrible combination of pressure and pulling. i can't really describe it. it's not painful like a knife wound, it almost feels like there is a whirlpool in your pelvis trying to turn you inside out.

here's the thing i absolutely did NOT expect: when you miscarry you will have a sort of mini-labor. i've had this thing called a "chemical pregnancy" before and that was just like a period, maybe a little heavier, maybe a little crampier, but nothing like labor. this miscarriage was nothing like a chemical pregnancy.

here's where it gets gross: blood loss. the blood loss is something you cannot prepare yourself for. it is unbelievable. the clots that come out of you are huge, most will be about the size of a small plum, maybe a lime. it is truly terrifying. remember when you read the pregnancy books and they told you that by the 6th week your blood flow will be up almost 40%? well all of that has to come out-- and it's a lot. you will probably end up just sitting on the toilet because no sanitary pad can contain it. at the peak i was going through a pad every 20 minutes for a few hours. i spent much of the night heavily bleeding. luckily my amazing midwife checked in every few hours and helped me through it. by friday the flow had started to slow down. i began to think that maybe i was finished. then late on friday (maybe around 3:30-4) i began to have painful contractions that were like nothing i had ever experienced. i was literally doubled over. the painkillers got me high and took the edge off, but i could still feel the pressure on my cervix. when it first started a lot of clots were coming out, but then in spite of the contractions nothing was coming out. i could feel something pressing on my cervix, actually i could feel it sort of coming out. finally, going crazy from the pressure i reached inside to try and feel what was happening. my cervix was dilated to about the size of a nickle, which was insane to feel. i have never felt my cervix so open. and there was tissue poking out of it. i was in so much pain i thought that maybe i could just pull the tissue out and be done with it. i started to pull it and instead of coming out, a large piece tore off. it was part of the placenta.

i cannot fully describe my state of mind after that. i started to lose it. i was terrified that i had horribly fucked something up by trying to pull it out and it felt like it was just stuck there, plugging up my uterus like a cork. i paged the midwife on call who was a total moron, "ok hun, what's happening is you're having a miscarriage and you're going to see a lot of tissue come out of you and that might be scary..." ugh, no help at all. did she even listen to my question? then i called my doula friend carissa who was helpful and said i didn't have to worry about anything getting infected, my body would take care of itself if i just waited. but for godssake do not put your hand up there anymore!

then thank goodness my amazing midwife Gina called just after and talked me down off the ledge. i needed to take more painkillers and some ambien and try to get some sleep. i couldn't force it to happen, i needed to wait and try and be patient.

i did just that, and passed out around 10. the painkillers made me crazy though, and i kept hallucinating horrible things like the devil sneaking into my room telling me my baby was with him and laughing. i'm not sure how much sleep i actually got. orion said i kept waking up crying about demons. i do not tolerate painkillers very well.

i woke up saturday morning around 10:30 in the worst pain of my entire life. seriously, i always thought i had a pretty high pain tolerance before this, but i think the combination of being scared and incredibly emotional made the whole thing just unbearable. the contractions were coming hard and fast. i reached inside (sorry carissa) and could feel something the size of a tennis ball, or maybe a lemon pressing against my cervix. the pressure wreaked havoc on my bowels. i won't go into that too much, but suffice to say i was on the toilet for more than just blood loss. every time i had a contraction i had a bowel movement. this went on for about an hour. finally i turned on the shower as hot as it would go and got on my hands and knees so that the spray was hitting my lower back. i rocked back and forth and tried to focus on pushing it out. although the hot water was comforting the pain killers started to kick in full force and i was feeling this pressure like i needed to be able to open my legs more. i got back on the toilet and felt something change. i knew it was coming out.

i started to really push and all of the sudden it fell out. it was such an emotional moment for us. we just both started sobbing. it was all over. i looked down into the toilet, it was about the size of a lemon. orion and i tried to clean everything up as best as we could (my bathroom looked like a murder scene) but i was so exhausted all i could think about was holding a heating pad to my pelvis and going to sleep.

as of 11/6 i was no longer pregnant. we said goodbye to the baby and the pregnancy and we held each other and cried.

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