I wish to share my story for the sake of sharing. I have this urge to talk about my miscarriage, yet I cannot make it roll over my lips in real life. Writing seems like an easier way to release the tension that occupies my mind.
My first pregnancy was a huge success. My husband and I were starting to think about getting pregnant and we got pregnant before actually planning or trying it. I had no complications and had a very easy, fast natural labour (without the need for pain killers). Some of my friends made jokes like: 'your body is made for making babies'.
So when my first reached the age of 9 months, we wanted to get him a sibling. Due to our experience with our first pregnancy, we thought we would get pregnant immediately. But we didn't. I bought an ovulation tester kit, but the smiley never appeared. I bought a more expensive ovulation tester kit (with 2 hormones) and although the first hormone did kick in (and we made an attempt to make a baby), the second hormone never showed on the tester. I became convinced that I didn't ovulate yet. Maybe my body was still recovering from the first pregnancy. But to my surprise and joy, I got pregnant that month.
Being pregnant felt great for the first 2 weeks. I was so happy with this baby, due in summer. My two children would be close in age, it was all I could have hoped for.
One morning I woke up and it just didn't feel right. I started to feel pain. A week later, we had an appointment with the gynaecologist (the first one) and to my surprise we saw a heart beat. However the heart beated slow, especially in comparison to the first heart beat I saw for my first born. I asked the doctor about it, but she said it was fine. I told her it didn't feel right, that I had stabbing pains. She told me that was normal, it happened a lot during second pregnancies (especially when close together). I told her I didn't have morning sickness, in contrast to my first pregnancy. She said that every pregnancy was different and NO it was not an indication of sex of the baby. I felt like I had been worried for nothing, apparently my biggest concern was the sex of the baby. My husband reassured me and said that maybe the heart beated more slowly because this would become a more tranquil child (our first born is a very very active child). With each day that passed after that, I grew more and more attached.
I did look up statistics online: If I make it to this mark, how much chance do I still have for miscarriage, ... I didn't have any bleeding or other worrying signs until week 13, coincidentally the day of our second appointment with the gynaecologist. I told myself not to worry: I was already this far in my pregnancy (beyond the feared 12 week mark) and there were a lot of stories about bleeding during successful pregnancies. I was wrong. During the appointment the harsh truth came out: the baby had died between 8 and 9 weeks. I had been walking around with a dead baby inside of me for 5 weeks. The doctor briefly said she realised it was bad news for us and then gave me two options: D&C or waiting for nature to do it's thing. She told me to think about it and call her when I knew my answer, but I interrupted her. This was something I already knew: I did not wish to carry a dead, rotting baby in my belly. I wanted this to be over. I wanted a D&C. She confessed that they only performed it once a week and that it had been the day before. I had to wait a week for my D&C. She sent us home. The next morning I realised I had to go to work: I was too shocked to ask for a doctor's note to stay home & the doctor hadn't offered any such thing.
My colleagues saw something was up, two of them asked what was up. I didn't want to talk about it back then. I was still trying to accept the fact that this was real. It was happening to me, the one with the 'body made for making babies'. The next day, I also went to work, but tragedy striked. I was explaining something to a colleague (while standing up) and I felt something coming down between my legs. I thought it would have been the sac, or some clots. I left my colleague and ran to the restroom. When I took down my pants there was blood everywhere. The sanitary pad I had placed 'just to be sure' was soaked with blood, my underwear was soaked in blood and my pants had a red colour between my legs instead of blue. I thought this was normal. I didn't know what amount of blood or gore to expect with a miscarriage. I had a colleague escort me to the EHBO facility at work and asked them if I could contact my husband to come pick me up. It was against their policies. We agreed that they would have me picked up by an ambulance and the ambulance would take me to my hospital. The lady from the EHBO called my husband, telling him I was heading there. She arranged the transport, but told them it wasn't urgent. She was wrong. A half hour later, I started to have contractions (or something very similar) and these were so very painful. I started hyperventilating due to the pain. I couldn't cope. This was far worse then going into labour. This was the worst pain I had ever been through. The ambulance arrived, but as it turned out it wasn't really an ambulance equipped with medics. Rather an upgraded taxi with two people in it to help with the transport. I later heard that calling a real ambulance is bad for the statistics, so whenever possible they first call this type of service. These non-medics refused to take me with them, because I was loosing too much blood. If they would transport me, it would be at their risk and they were not willing to take it. A real ambulance was called this time, but it took them another 10 minutes to get me. I was angry: If my husband had picked me up, I would have already been in the hospital 20 minutes before the moment we finally departed from my work. Because this was a real ambulance, I couldn't choose which hospital I would go to. I would be a different one than the one where my husband was already waiting for me. They called him and said 'your wife has lost too much blood, we're taking her to another (closer by) hospital' (He was terrified.)
When we got into the hospital, they assigned a room for me. They brought my husband in and we started to cry in each others arms. I had been hyperventilating for 30 minutes and the pain didn't stop. They took my blood pressure but to my surprise this was also very painful. Almost as if they were cutting my arm off with the cuff. They inserted the infuse and it drove me utterly crazy. It was the worst pain ever. And just to be clear: My blood pressure has been taken before, I've had infused before. Those things usually don't hurt. But now they did. I don't know if it was due to the hyperventilation, the blood loss or something hormonal, but I was in so much pain. Luckily there was a pain killer in the infuse. There was also a liquid to compensate for my blood loss (my blood pressure was below 10/6) ) and something to calm me down. They took off my pants and underwear and gave me something clean to wear.
When my values were stabilised they brought me to the gynaecologist on duty. She told me she suspected something was 'stuck' and my body would keep gushing blood out until this thing was out. She got a phone call just before she was going to examine me: another lady was going into labour (like at that very moment). She told them to hold it off. I thought this was very strange (knowing what it's like at the end of labour, when your body starts to push the baby out) and told her she should deliver the baby first. She refused. She was so nervous (wanting to help me and the other lady at the same time). I got nervous of how nervous she was and then she told me to calm down because otherwise it would hurt. She was a very nice lady, but circumstances weren't ideal. She took the clot out that was blocking the way and stuff gushed out (blood, clots, ...) My husband almost fainted. The doctor knew I would have liked to see the baby, but it wasn't there anymore. My husband believes it was lost when they took off my pants in the emergency room. It was painful not to see my baby. It was my only request for when they would have performed the D&C. It still hurts knowing my baby was probably incinerated, together with other medical waste (waste of all kinds).
All was over, but we were held in the emergency room for another two hours. My husband had asked if it was OK if he went and bought me another pants, so I had something to wear. The nurse said there was no need: I could use one of their blankets. However when they fired us out of the hospital, that same nurse said 'oh but you have a jacket and a scarf, that's enough then'. She wrapped my scarf around my legs (like a mini mini skirt) and sent me outside. I was too tired to get upset with it.
When I got home, I was able to talk about the miscarriage. The drug they gave me to calm down (through the infuse) was obviously still at work. It may have been a good thing: it gave me an opportunity to tell my mother what had happened without all the tears and all the fuss. The days after that were not that easy. I was all tears, all cries. I was angry at people who want an abortion (while I am otherwise open minded about it), I was jealous of my pregnant sister in law, I was mad at my husband for not grieving with the same intensity. My emotions were all over the place. I was a mess.
The day I should have had my D&C they performed a check-up, to see if a D&C may still be needed. I thought there were two options:
A. Everything is out of my body, the natural way
B. There is still some residue left: we perform the D&C
Apparently there was also an option C. We tell you there is still some clutter left in your body, but we refuse to operate for this amount. If you would get heavy bleeding or fever, you may return and we will do it.
I had a hard time dealing with option C.
After the miscarriage, I stayed home from work for a week. During this week, a clot appeared in my underwear. Was this the tissue they were talking about during option C? Or was there still similar tissue left? This really drove me utterly nuts. Why oh why had I not received my very much wanted D&C. It would have given me some piece of mind.
During this week I also had to take care of my son for a day, while my husband was asleep after working a night shift. My son was having an experimental day, doing everything he knew he shouldn't. I couldn't handle it, so I lifted him into his box to cool down. He started to cry and I started to cry too. He was draining too much energy and I couldn't handle it. It was obvious he didn't understand (he suddenly stopped crying). Luckily, my husband woke up and took over.
Going back to work was hard. My colleagues acted weird: did they know but not want to talk? Did they not care about me or my absence? There were imaginary looks too: I had been carried through the building while blood was everywhere, surrounded by 2 medics and 1 taxi for medical needs and 1 ambulance waiting outside. Some people had seen how I had been carried into the ambulance. I didn't know who had and who hadn't, I was pretty preoccupied at the time.
I told myself: This week your challenge is to be present here physically. Your mind will be all over the place anyways. And that's what I did. It worked perfectly, until my first meeting. Being present at the meeting was not an issue, but then someone started to ask questions. I tried to answer, but it drained so much energy. I started to cry. Everyone stared at me. This time my husband wasn't there to save my day. I felt like I had returned too soon, but the next day I returned to work anyways. I didn't want to fail my own simple challenge. By the end of the week I found my smile back, during the small talk with the colleagues. The uncomfortable glares and silences had passed and I had allowed myself to enjoy those small moments in which I didn't think about the baby I lost.
At times I feel alright, almost as if the miscarriage never happened, but then all of a sudden all those emotions come back. At those times, the uncontrollable tears return.
I have felt so many things during this period.
I had never felt such intense physical pain.
I felt such strong emotional pain over my lost baby, the plans I had made for that baby, the names we had chosen, ...
I felt like the medical system had failed me.
I felt alone in my grief for the baby, almost no one knew it existed until it was already gone and my husband dealt with it in his own way
I felt anger, because so many people discount the pain of a miscarriage, saying 'don't worry you're still young', 'when will you try again' or 'your pain will be over before you know it'. This angered me so much because it was as if my baby didn't matter. I was looking forward to this baby. I don't believe there is much difference emotionally between a miscarriage and a still born baby. Yet even pregnant friends and relatives act as it it's no big deal to miscarry. I was angry because it hurt my feelings.
I will always love this baby, no matter what other people say or think about it.
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