Thursday, January 01, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

It wasn't over. Even after the horrible night on Monday, even after passing what appeared to be all of my internal organs, it -- unbelievably -- was not over. And I have a night in the hospital, marks from three IV sticks and another surgery under my belt to prove it.

Like some sort of miscarriage vampire, my symptoms had again disappeared during the day on Tuesday, only to return like clockwork at 7 p.m. Tuesday night. This time it became clear there would be no avoiding medical intervention. The bleeding was alarming, and everything just seemed "off." My husband called the on-call doctor again to let her know we were coming in to the ER.

I wish I could say that I felt brave during the hours that followed. That I felt more like a mother (albeit one losing her baby) than a child. But truthfully, I felt vulnerable and small. What we learned through hours of waiting, testing and more of the same, was that while the main "products of conception" (i.e., the gestational sac) were completely gone, my endometrial lining was still too thick at 12 mm (they wanted it under 10). I was also developing an infection -- my white blood cell count was highly elevated -- and they suspected the cause as retained products embedded in that thick uterine lining. I needed to spend the night in the hospital ("night" being relative, since at this point it was 2 a.m.), they said, so they could administer IV antibiotics while I waited for a very necessary D&C in the morning. I don't know if upon hearing this news I became the biggest crybaby the ER had seen, but I didn't take it well. I was exhausted, starving (they'd banned food and water since I'd arrived, apparently having seen enough of these cases to know where mine was headed) and anxious, and I just wanted to go home where I could feel safe in my own bed. But of course I knew what I had to do. Smart doctors were taking all of the mystery out of it, and even with my fear there was comfort in knowing that the ordeal of this failed pregnancy would soon be over.

Combined, my husband and I probably got a half hour of sleep all night. Once I got admitted to a room at 4 a.m., there were countless interruptions for bloodwork and questions about my health history and noises from the patient next door. Despite my having successfully conquered my fear of anesthesia for the egg retrieval in November, I still had reservations about having it again. I was also worried about potential complications from the surgery, including scarring (the one ovulation problem is more than enough, thank you very much). But I was well aware that the D&C was no longer optional.

The anesthesiologists, surgeon and attending physician trickled into my room once the light started filtering into my window. Even in my fatigue-, fear- and fever-induced delirium, I was adamant about their using as little anesthesia as possible. I am sure they all thought/knew I was a huge nutjob, but in the end the experience proved what you'd think I would have learned by now but so clearly have not: that my fearful anticipation is always, always worse than the reality of an experience. It's not like the D&C was fun -- I mean, I wouldn't necessarily want keepsake photos or anything -- but it was painless and over in a flash (I ended up with local and very light "conscious sedation"). And I instantly felt 1,000 times better.

I'm not sure yet what the big lesson is in all of this -- all of the physical and emotional pain of losing this pregnancy. I did learn that taking the miso*prostol to try to avoid surgery did nothing but prolong the inevitable and wreak havoc on my body. And that ER doctors are not the gentlest with a speculum (I mean, really. No pleasantries, all business. And ow.). I also learned that morphine is a very nice drug if you ever find yourself in the ER with excruciating cramping (ask for it by name). Maybe a bigger lesson will slowly come into focus.

There have been several points along the way of trying to conceive when I have thought that if I got pregnant then, I would be able to look back and think that getting there hadn't been so bad. That all of the pain and frustration and physical discomfort I'd endured would sort of fade away, as they say about the pain of childbirth. At this point, I can safely say that that seems like much less of a possibility. Still, as I look out on the snowy afternoon of this first day of 2009, finally feeling like myself again, it does seem possible that someday -- and maybe someday just around the corner -- these days might seem like long, long ago.

15 comments:

birdsandsquirrels said...

Oh my gosh, I am so so sorry you had to go through that. I got your comment about having to have an emergency D& C, and my heart just sank. I am so glad you are feeling a little better now. It's just not fair.

Amanda said...

Wow, how terrible. I was hoping it was finally over for you. I hope this truly is it for the bad news and better days really are just around the corner. ((hugs))

Mo and Will said...

Oh. I am so very sorry that you went through this. Miscarriage is terrible enough without having it be drawn out and end up with a D&C.

You are in my thoughts. Wishing fervently that 2009 marks a turning point in your journey.

Mo

JamieD said...

Oh, what a nightmare! I am so sorry you had to got through all of that. As if the miscarriage wasn't enough.

Wishing you thoughts of peace and strength

anofferingoflove said...

{{{{{hugs}}}}}

Michelle said...

That sounds so horrible. I am sorry you had to go through that. I am glad you are feeling a little better now. I hope 2009 is good to you!

barrenisthenewblack said...

I am so so sorry. Take care of yourself. Can you do the vacation in a few weeks?

kirke said...

Seriously...I think you've had enough now. Whoever is testing you can just stop. I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of this.

I'm thinking of you and hoping for better days.

histmedphd said...

You are a good egg, and you and R will get through this. Breathe deeply. We're all thinking of you.

Nicole said...

Sending wishes of strength and sanity your way. I hope that the next couple of days start to show that the tide is turning!

~nicole

Celia said...

Oh man. I hope the horrible cramps end soon. I spent a week in the same pajamas living on chocolate and french fries when we had our loss.

You are spot on that it is so terribly unfair.

Heather said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through the D&C. That said I agree with your last post that the pain and mess of a natural miscarriage is just unspeakable. I've had three miscarriages in my quest for a baby. The first was natural and it was the most horrible thing I've ever experienced. The other two, the doctor did a D&C as I was too far along for him to want me to proceed on my own. I cried before each surgery and the emotional stress was there, but the physical pain was greatly diminished.

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

Good grief! You have not had an easy go at it my dear. Seriously, we need to be cut a little slack this year. By god, I know that it is our year. We are going to kiss the backside of infertility goodbye! Rest and relax, you deserve it. You also deserve a pint of ice cream and a ton of cuddling from the hubby...blogger orders!

mylifechronicles said...

My God... that is one scary experience. Isn't it enough that one has to go through a miscarriage to begin... Why does it have to be so difficult? I hope you are feeling better now. Thank you so much for asking me to check my lining. I will make sure to ask. Like V said, 2009 better be the year for us!

the Babychaser: said...

Reading this post brought tears to my eyes. I remember when I, too, passed the point where I thought I might someday look back on this and think it wasn't so bad. For you, for me, for many of us, it IS so bad.

Sometimes I think the only upside to all of this is learning just how much suffering you can really take. Which isn't a totally worthless lesson, just one we'd rather not learn.

Hugs and hot chocolate to you. Take care of yourself.