Tuesday, 6 October 2009

It sucked and I cried

*warning lots of medical gore and mentions of girly parts to follow* click through at your own risk.

I honestly thought my run-in with anti-abortion protester would be the last chapter in my miscarriage story. I was fairly determined that a D&C was the route to go because I didn't want to be waiting days or even weeks for my body to pass the contents of my failed pregnancy down the toilet. And when I woke up from the procedure I felt like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I wasn't carrying around a dead baby anymore and I could move on with my life.

But then I stood up and I realized something wasn't right.

Nurses were scuttling around and my bed looked like one of those war movies. There was blood everywhere, and now it was all over the floor. Crap. Two shots of some mystery drug later, I'm up and and about without any bleeding. It's time for me to go but I've good god do I feel weird, like after I've given blood or something. Perhaps that was more to do with wonderful effects of morphine and not having eaten since last night. Plus they've already called The Suit, who by that stage left 7 increasingly panicked messages on my cellphone. We had not parted on good terms that morning and I guess he was worried I'd do something stupid like stomp around Auckland in an enraged state like I had the previous evening during what turned out to be a highly dramatic thunderstorm. So we left the surgical clinic for a late lunch and then the Suit went off to the visit the child at her mother's house while I slept for a while. When he got back 30 minutes later I was standing in our dining room with my phone in one hand and a blood clot the size of my fist in the other.

'Umm, do I need to take you back to the hospital?'
'I just called the surgical centre. They didn't seem too worried, I suppose this stuff happens a bit post-procedure.'
'It looks like a hunk of placenta'
'What should I do with it?'
'I suppose I should flush it, do you think it will clog the toilet?'
'Your call'


I don't remember much about those days after the procedure. It all passed in a haze. The Suit was trying desperately to cheer me up with minigolf and the movies. I played along but the only thing that really kept me sane was going back to work because I hated my job. Hating my job is something I had done before I got pregnant, whilst I was pregnant and now I was no longer pregnant. It was something to hold on to, something normal in amongst all these other emotions I'd rather not deal with.

But underneath the 'I'm fine thank you and you' exterior, I was still feeling a bit sore and bothered my bleeding had started to pick up a week post-procedure. The Suit finally called bullshit on the whole facade, and by the time I had made it back to my GP's office a few days later I had gone a ghostly shade of white. The GP wondered how I had managed keep working despite showing signs of being very ill. She wanted me to take some time off, but I wasn't having a bar of it and headed off to a friend's birthday party later that night. I really didn't feel that sick, just a bit tired and uncomfortable, but the last thing I wanted to do was spend anymore time at home feeling sorry for myself.

Thus began my first cocktail of antibiotics and a rinse and repeat the cycle of my brain wanting things to go back to 'normal' and do normal things like running while my body wasn't up to it. Anything more physical than walking at a nana-like speed was giving me cramps, back pains and extra bleeding. I wasn't feeling any worse, but I wasn't feeling any better either. But the worst thing was that it felt like my miscarriage was NEVER going to end. Again it was the Suit acting as the canary in the mine shaft that forced me to go back to the GP again. More blood tests, and an excruciatingly painful emergency scan where some mention was made of possible 'retained product.' But I hadn't heard anything from my GP after the scan and over the weekend things seemed to have calmed down. I was still a bit tired, but surely I had my fill of medical malady for the year right?


I should have known trouble was brewing when my GP's office called at 9 in the morning and my doctor herself called me again not long after that. And then again 30 minutes later. Apparently the scans from the previous weekend hadn't made their way back into her hands until the previous night, but they weren't good and I needed into the hospital right then for some IV antibiotics. Thinking I'd be hooked up for a few hours and then be free to go about my day, I went up to Auckland hospital. More rehashing of my seemingly never-ending miscarriage story, yet another exam and then the doctor mumbled something about admitting me for at least 24 hours.


First of all aren't you a little too young to be a doctor and second what do you mean admit me to hospital? I'm not feeling that sick, can't you just hook me up to the drugs for a few hours and then let me go home Doogie? Of course I already knew that if I a doctor was telling me that I needed to be admitted to hospital, then it was about time to give up on the idea that I was fine. Clearly I wasn't fine and hearing the word 'septicemia' mentioned during the explanation of why going home would be a bad idea sealed the deal.

Apparently a lifetime of watching various medical dramas had led me astray. Hospitals are actually very boring places if you happen to be a patient. You spend most of your time waiting. Waiting to see a doctor, waiting for food, waiting for drugs, waiting to go home. And because I had no idea that I wouldn't be going home that evening, I had nothing to do but stew in my own thoughts.

Rather than feeling sad I was mostly envious. Envious of the heavily pregnant women I had seen on my way in, the women in the adjoining ward who were in labour, I was even envious of other women who had natural miscarriages during the early stages of pregnancy. Why did it take my body take 5 weeks to catch on that there was no baby? Why didn't the D&C work properly? Why wasn't I more assertive earlier when I had an inkling something wasn't quite right so I didn't up in here? Why me?

I eventually summoned up the courage to call The Suit to tell I wouldn't be home that night. He sprung into action immediately bringing books and then a few hours later showed up with my ipod and most importantly a home cooked dinner to make my hospital stay slightly more palatable. While I wasn't happy about being in hospital he was relieved that I was in the right place to get my problems taken care of.

The next day I had another visitor. She turned out to be a grief counselor who noted that being in hospital due to complications and how might be helpful for me to talk about my loss.

I glared at her.

In the past four weeks I had notched up 4 hospital admissions in 2 countries, 2 consults, 2 GP visits, 1 D&C, 4 blood tests, 3.5 weeks of bleeding, 3 external examinations, 2 internal examinations, 2 external scans, 1 internal scan, 2 lots of oral antibiotics and I was now well into what would be a 2 night hospital stay being pumped with antibiotics every 8 hours through my arm (to be followed up by a 10 day drug cocktail, yet another blood test and GP visit) and here was another bloody person coming in to rehash all the details of this failed pregnancy.

My journey from the land of the un-pregnant to that of the not pregnant had take far too long for my liking and I was done. Done thinking about my miscarriage, done talking about it and that point would have gladly handed over my uterus just to get the hell out of the hospital.

'Well it sucked and I cried what more do you want me to say?'


Deborah said...

Being a solitary, introverted type, I much preferred to do my weeping and howling in private when we were dealing with our infertility.

Part of what grief counsellors are doing is helping people to articulate their feelings. If you are an articulate and verbal person, then you probably will not need extra help in order to do this.

Also, if you are highly literate, then you may do better with a book discussing grief and grief processes, so you can do it all in your own time and space.

Showers are good for crying in.

Azlemed said...

you have been so strong going through all of this, everyone grieves differently for their loss and the longer the medical stuff is sometimes the more you are "over It".

i found the physical invasion of my body the hardest bit of my loss... the scans, the operation, the poking and proding.

And I'm with Deborah on the crying in the shower....

Megan Rose said...

I'm so, so sorry for your loss and the horrible time you've been through.

I had an eptopic pregnancy early this year and I still feel like punching pregnant woman. Not very generous, huh? But I guess it's a sign I'm still grieving. But obviously grieving in my own imaginatively violent way!

stargazer said...

i've been wanting to say something about this post, which has really moved me. but all i can think of is to send you electronic hugs, and hope that things improve very soon.