Sunday, December 28, 2008

In with the New

Christmas always seems to me a time of renewal. Of course the purest symbolism of the holiday is about hope and better things to come. And I think there's something about bringing in new things that always makes me want to clean out my closets, recycle old magazines, make bags of donations to charity and start fresh. This Christmas, with all of its complication and sadness and upheaval, is no exception. I long for a clean slate, to say goodbye to what's been and look forward to possibilities ahead.

It's been quite a journey from the shock of my first "bad" ultrasound to here. First, I had to endure a second ultrasound to confirm what we already knew. Unfortunately, through this experience I also learned what my due date would have been -- knowledge I had been trying desperately to avoid. I have no need for such a specific trigger for suffering. But now I know, and rather than share it here I am just going to try to commit it to that part of the brain where old algebra equations and what you ate for dinner last Monday go to disappear. Try.

Once we had this confirmation, I realized how ready I was for this process to be over. There was something so deeply sad about feeling pregnancy symptoms because my body still had not clued into the failure of this pregnancy -- and I wanted to release it from its duty as soon as possible. So I called my clinic and asked for the medication they use to enduce miscarriage. I thought they would just call in the prescription to the pharmacy. Not sure why I thought this would be this simple when nothing in this process ever is, but once again I was wrong.

Apparently because the drug is also used for voluntary termination of pregnancy, I had to go in and see a doctor to get it. And because there were no doctors that day at the local clinic where I'm usually seen, I had to go to the big hospital downtown. This created a few problems. One, I had no idea where I was going within the endless halls of that place, since the only other times I've been there were for my retrieval and transfer, in a different wing. So my husband and I proceeded to get very lost. That, combined with my alarm over taking this medication and my empty stomach (note to self: eat lunch before dealing with major life events), led to a massive anxiety attack. I was sure that I would become the first patient to require care in both the IF clinic and the cardiac care unit on the same day. But I recovered with some Sun Chips and deep breaths outside, and after a few minutes felt ready to go back in. When we finally found the right elevator for the clinic, the security guard stopped us. The floors above were on "lockdown," and I overheard his security guard friend on the radio say that someone had a nurse pinned against the wall. Perfect.

Once we were allowed upstairs, after an hour wait we saw a 12-year-old doctor (husband's assessment) for the prescription. I asked a ton of questions, and then waited some more while she went and got another doctor and the printed prescriptions. Apparently, because my doctor wasn't in, one of her senior colleagues was supposed to come in and make sure I wasn't overly depressed or confused or something. Unfortunately, the doctor available to do this was the one in the practice who missed bedside manner training day, and he proceeded to tell me that I still might need a d&c after taking this medicine. Thanks, buddy. That's great news, because clearly I'm looking for all the torture I can get, and more to worry about until then.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, I woke up and, hands shaking, took the miso*prostol, anti-nausea medicine and 800 mg of Motrin and settled in on the couch, prepared for the worst. What started happening six hours later was not pretty or painless, and I definitely wouldn't recommend this drug for recreational use or anything, but for me it turned out to be a very good alternative to surgery (note to anyone considering taking it: DO NOT read the horror stories available out there via Dr. Google). It was more or less over by Christmas morning, and an ultrasound on Friday showed that I'm now clear to just wait for my period to come (I have been assured it will once the hcg drops to zero) or the follow-up visit with my doctor scheduled for Jan. 12, whichever comes first.

There is so much I could say about a Christmas Eve spent on the couch having a medically induced miscarriage while my incredible husband baked pies (yes, you read that right) in the kitchen for my family get-togethers. About the exhausting effort of wearing a brave smile on Christmas so I wouldn't dissolve into a tearful heap over what might have been that day. It was deeply sad and painful in all the ways you can imagine.

But it happened -- for whatever reason, this miscarriage on Christmas has become part of my story -- and somehow, I survived. Crying more tears and feeling more anger over the unfairness of it all will not change this, and though the tears and the anger will still continue to come (they did today with surprising force), my overwhelming desire now is to move forward, out of this time and place. I want to feel hopeful once again that what's ahead is better than what I've left behind. I have to believe that. It's the only way I can keep going.


Michelle said...

I am sorry you had to endure that. I hope the new year brings you peace and the much needed hope again. ((HUGS))

bunny said...

I think our two most recent posts could be twins! I titled mine "out with the old" and yours completes it with "in with the new". I too,love the opportunity to start fresh, to make resolutions, to create new beginnings. New years couldn't be coming at a better time!

I hope you are on the mend and ready to seize the new year and all the promise it holds.

Anonymous said...

hi - i just found your blog when i saw your comment over on the egg dance.

i read back over your recent posts and burst in to tears. i am so, so, so sorry about your recent loss.

i had almost the same experience recently - an ivf cycle...a long awaited ultrasound with no heartbeat. losing a pregnancy after IVF is pure hell.

sending you a big {{hug}}. if you need someone to talk/rant/cry to, i am here.

JamieD said...

I am so sorry you had to experience that at all, much less on Christmas.

I can so identify with your feelings here. Especially about my body no realizing my baby was dead. I feel like my body wanted those babies as much as I did.

Hang in there and we are here for you.

Amanda said...

What a terrible Christmas. I'm so sorry. How truly heartbreaking. I really, really hope that 2009 is better. Have another ((Hug)).

Vikki a.k.a "V" said...

Sending you many blessings for the new year.

Lisa DG said...

Dear good egg hunting,

I am so very sorry for what you have endured over the last couple of weeks. What an utter disappontment. I know it doesn't make it any better, but you are not alone. We can all grieve together and hopefully support each other as we move forward towards motherhood.

Please feel free to reach out to me any time on my blog or email.

To an infinitely better 2009...

Nikki said...

We all have such stories to tell, don't we? I took comfort in your comment on my blog, so now I'm here to say that I also hope that 2009 brings you everything you're hoping for...
and yes, we'll keep hoping. We are definitely lost without that.