Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Over

I was spotting Wednesday, bleeding Thursday afternoon, cramping Thursday night. But then it all faded away. Friday morning the cramps returned in earnest and I was truly in labor – there's no other word for it – until the early afternoon. Luckily J~ was able to get away from work to be with me throughout. B~ (my stepson) was at a friend's house. The timing was good.

It was exactly three weeks after I'd gotten the bad news that pregnancy hormones were not increasing rapidly enough for this to be a viable pregnancy. Three weeks sounds about right to me. I mention this because so many women are convinced by well-meaning professionals that their interventions, either surgical or medical, are needed to help things along. I know it's hard to wait on a miscarriage, but in my opinion, the time is precious. It allows the body to gently switch hormonal gears. It provides space to think and to grieve, assuming you can let yourself be in that space, in that physical window of time before the menstrual cycle and all of life's busy routines crowd a very real loss into obscurity.

And then there is the reassuring miracle that our bodies know what to do. Even if all the tissue isn't expelled at this time, the next cycle will wash the stray bits out. That has been my experience anyway, and I trust it. After all, women have been having miscarriages for thousands of years without ultrasound and drugs, let alone surgery!

I don't mean to make light of the pain, because there is pain. My sister-in-law, whom I supported through a late first-trimester miscarriage, said her pain was no less than the pain she felt as she labored birthing her children, except that it ended at the point that she would normally begin to feel the urge to push.

For me, there is also comfort in seeing what comes out with my own eyes in the privacy of my own home. As I have always done, I collected the mass in a plastic container and took it to an area with good light. I invited J~ to join me if he wanted to see, which he did. (This next part is graphic, so skip the next paragraph if you're squeamish.)

This time there was a mass of deep red, what I took to be placenta, about four inches long and an inch or so thick. Attached to it was a wrinkly white tube which I eventually understood to be the mostly-deflated gestational sac. At one end there was a chickpea-sized bubble where fluid remained. After consulting with J~, I broke this open to find a half-inch long translucent little tadpole. A splotch of blue-black blood lodged in its center — the heart? And a second, much smaller dark area seemed to be in the head. Perhaps the beginning of eyes?

It was reassuring to see this, to understand that my body had built and tried to preserve a little cocoon for this creature though the sac had mostly given way. I don't know what went wrong, and I suppose I never will. But I'm glad to see that for some time anyway, things progressed in at least a semblance of the manner that they should.

I'm still bleeding, still cramping, though with less intensity and frequency as the days pass. And I'm beginning to feel better, more and more like my old self. Deep breath. Phew.

8 comments:

Daniele said...

Amy, I am crying and hurting for you. I had SUCH high hopes. I was refusing to see anything negative and kept my spirits up for you for the last few weeks and have been sending good wishes your way.

I've been following your blog and life for years and I feel so incredibly sad for what you are going through, time and time again. You are a very, very strong woman and I admire you and your mental strength. Hugs to you and J.
Love, D.

Emily said...

I think I like your argument for letting nature take its course. for my recent miscarriages, Ive opted for the d&c just because Ive been emotionally truamatized apon finding out that my fetus didnt make it. If i should be in this situation again, I think I would do what you have done, really letting yourself have the expereince has to be better for processing it, in the long run. I am SO SORRY you have gone through this again. There are some of us out here who really do understand as well as possible, and Im personally always available for support.

Emily

Suzanne said...

I'm so, so sorry. Can you save the tissue and have it tested (put in freezer)? Because if it was normal chromosomally you will know to address the immune issues.

I feel very sad right now.

Lots of love to you both.

Paula said...

I am so sorry for your loss and wish you strength as you go forward.

In my case, one of my best friends and I got into a HUGE argument when she made seemingly cavalier "Why don't you just adopt?" and "I hope you don't put yourself through IVF" comments. I lashed out a bit with how I'd supported her through her decisions to end unwanted pregnancies, and why couldn't she support me as we tried to have a successful pregnancy.

In the end, I forgave her because I understood that she just didn't want me to have to endure more pain and sadness. So many people like to be problem fixers--which makes them want a quick fix of a d&c and to propose the supposed "quick fix" (not) of adoption.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes for loss, heartache, and sadness. Know that even the most insensitive comments usually come out of places of caring and wanting to help.

Some friends I know suffered a miscarriage long before ours (my husband made the insensitive comment of asking "whether they were trying?" which made me cringe). They planted a tree to memorialize their loss. Maybe you can find a way to mark your losses that feels right for you. Perhaps this blog is one way, too.

Ellen said...

You are so strong (even though I'm sure you don't feel like it sometimes) and I am sending good thoughts your way. Stellar times MUST be around the corner for you and J-. One foot in front of the other...

r3 said...

I'm so sorry. I hope that your body bounces back quickly (you sound really healthy so it should) and that emotionally you come to an OK place so you can proceed with your plans to see a specialist.

Regarding the D&C option, it is a choice I would make after two natural miscarriages. I am actually very good at handling physical pain (I had no drugs in labor), but emotionally, I can't stand laboring over a miscarriage. And my body actually takes a long time to resume to normal after a MC. It's a personal choice.

Mel @ The Preconceptionist said...

Thanks so much for sharing, Amy. I ache for and with you. This is the first I've ever read someone's real experience of miscarriage.

Jamie said...

I found your blog about a year ago and I have sporadically followed it. I am so very sorry for the loss of your little one. I just wanted you to know there are others out there thinking about you and sending you support during this time of deep sadness.