Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Miscarriage Experience

Confession: Today is my 33rd birthday. Yesterday, I lost my unborn child at 7 weeks.

Let me stop myself from being too emotional, I don't want to make this whole post sad and depressing. Although I want to put it out there that I really am heartbroken, and I am fighting all my demons right now - and will continue to do so for the next few weeks I assume - to not break down and lose myself in tears.

Inhaling. Exhaling.

K. So why am I writing this post then? I don't know. I need an outlet, maybe? Or I'll lose my mind if I don't let this out somewhere. But what I'm sure about is I want to share my story just in case someone out there needs to read something like this. And I want to be able to help. And because I didn't find any information about anything like this when I needed it.

So here goes.

July 18, 2015
I will never forget how I felt when I first saw the pregnancy test show off two strong lines just a few seconds after I did what I was supposed to do to make it work -  a.k.a pee on it. It really was surreal. I mean after 7 years of just having to deal with one child, it all felt like the first time once again. I told my husband right away and he was ecstatic. We told our 7 year old daughter and she was - well, she had mixed feelings about being a big sister at first but she was nevertheless happy and excited about it. After two more pregnancy tests with beaming positive results, I accepted my fate of being momma x2. My daughter happily called me and my tummy "Positively-positive".
July 19, 2015
I contacted my cousin who is an OB GYNE and consulted about my pregnancy. She gave me the usual daily pregnancy vitamins: Obimin Plus and Folicard Plus. We set a schedule to meet up and I continued on with my regular day to day life: mom, wife, work, mom, wife.

July 29, 2015
It was a pretty normal day for me, nothing too tiring or strenuous when I felt cramp-like pain on day end. I must admit that I got worried right away because I don't remember feeling that during my first pregnancy so I contacted my OB and asked her what it was. She advised me to take 10mg of Duphaston - which from my understanding is a drug that closely resembles progesterone and this helps in keeping the fetus in its right place (helps in preventing spontaneous abortion) - for three times a day. Together with it, I was advised to take Isoxilan for the cramp-like pain as it is for relaxing the uterus. In short, the cramp-like pain I'm feeling was a sign of contraction. And for me, any contraction during the pregnancy before the due date is not a good thing. I was advised to go on bed rest for 7 days.
**Note that these drugs were personally prescribed to me, and to me only, and this is in no way suggesting that anyone reading this should take the same medications without proper advise from their own physicians. This doesn't in any way encourage self-medication. Again, I was personally prescribed by my OB GYNE who knows my medical history and background. What works or doesn't work for me doesn't mean that it will have the same effect on other people reading this post.

August 10, 2015
The medicines I was taking felt like they were taking effect coz the cramps stopped and I am back to my old self. But not for long. I felt tired and the cramps came back so I was advised once again to take the same dosages and go on bed rest. I really couldn't take not knowing if the baby is ok anymore so we decided to visit a sonologist to have my first ultrasound. 

August 14, 2015
By this time, my count for my term was at 9 weeks. I thought I was officially 2 months in but to my dismay, the ultrasound showed otherwise. 
I was apparently only at 6 and 3/4 weeks. I really didn't understand this but the sonologist briefly explained that it could be because I have an irregular menstrual cycle and that the counting can get screwed sometimes (don't worry, that's not how she said it). Then as if this is not enough to burst my happy bubble, another sad news blew me away. As she press the transV tool uncomfortably around, what I saw - or what I didn't see scared me.

There was a sac but nothing inside it. No baby. No heartbeat. After a few more clicks on the machine, she explains that the sac is present but there's no baby yet, and no heartbeat yet. But she assured me that I was pregnant and then advised me to come back after two weeks to check again.

Another shocker? I noticed that when she took the transV tool out, there were brown spots on it-much like the discharges that one gets during the last days of menstruation. Thing is, although I was having cramps, I didn't see any spotting or signs of bleeding beforehand. So yes, this shook me a lot.

Naturally, I immediately consulted my OB and showed her the results. And she explained it this way:
It is perfectly normal to be a few weeks off with term count because this may depend on the regularity of one's period. And like I said, I had an irregular one so this most probably stems off from that fact. The ultrasound machine diagnosed me to be only in my 6th week of pregnancy, and this age is apparently too early to see the baby at this time. Moms are often advised to come on the 8th to 10th week in order to be sure to see some fetus growth or development. While it can be pretty alarming to not see a baby or any development in the womb, it is pretty normal as well as common. This is why I was advised to come back after two weeks. Then while we were on the subject of fetus development, she then explained to me the possibility of having a blighted ovum. 

Hold up. A what now?
A blighted ovum, according to google, is a fertilised egg that implants into the uterus but stops developing into an embryo or doesn't even form at all.

At this point, my train of thought is zooming faster than any superhero could ever imagine running and my heart sinking, sinking somewhere very deep. Yes, I got so worried after learning this, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. I've always been the kind to want to know all truths and possibilities no matter how ugly it is just to prepare myself for all worst case scenarios.
So she further explains that the two weeks given to me was enough to properly determine whether it is indeed a blighted ovum or not. The thing is though, blighted ovums are naturally rejected by the body most of the time which results to miscarriages. Sad fact.

Ok, so I have to go on bed rest for two weeks and then go back to the sonologist. But wait, what about the spotting I saw come off with the transV tool? My OB further explains that the results show that I have subchrionic haemorrhage - ok another hullabaloo term - to simply put it, it's some kind of internal bleeding. I may not have it showing on my undies yet because it's still in some "mild" stage or something. For this, I was to take Duphaston and Isoxilan and strict bed rest.

The Next Day
The spotting finally showed on the undies. Brown spots. Not too heavy.
I asked the OB when I should go to the ER, she said to rush to the ER if bleeding became "gushy" and cramps turn for the worse. Otherwise, I should just stay in bed because I would only be given the same prescriptions and advise in the hospital if I get admitted - plus I.V. and I don't like that.

The Next Day
The spotting didn't stop, brown spots turned reddish and quantity is now more than what it used to be.

The Next Day
The spotting became heavier. Red. Like regular menstrual flow. Cramping is still present. 

August 18, 2015
Bleeding is still present and in the afternoon, I noticed that the cramps gained a rhythm. It'll annoyingly hurt for several minutes then slowly subside then as if there's no pain at all, and then it will all repeat after a few minutes. So I decided to time it. The cramps came every 5 minutes or so. And then the pain became heavier to the point that I preferred to go on all fours to make the pain bearable.

At this point, I'm realising that I am having contractions much like labor pains. The thing is, I didn't experience any labor pains at all during my first pregnancy. The worst I felt then was my tummy hardening and then we decided to get admitted to the hospital for a C section, and that's it. No labor pains, no contractions at all. So all this are new to me. Also, it is important to note that my husband is now really convincing me to go to the hospital - which I declined because I thought this wasn't the pain that my OB was pertaining to - plus I didn't have any heavy, gushing bleeding at all. 

Or so I thought.

I sneezed.

And out came the pool of blood. (Just a line of grossness here, skip it if you're queasy.)
Bright red, bloody, mucus-y, and chunky blood.

I swear I almost fainted.

Husband called my OB and then we quickly washed and changed and then rushed to the ER.

In The ER
I was still having contractions and the gush of blood is still gushing. I was hooked to an I.V. and then the resident OB there did an I.E (Internal Examination). She said that she could feel the blood clots and that I may be possibly having a spontaneous abortion. The thing is, they can't just abort the baby right then and there for so many reasons including moral, ethical, and my personal choice, because it hasn't totally come out yet. So they gave me drips of Duvadilan through my I.V. to control the bleeding and some other drug that would help with my contractions. We were to wait until the next morning to get an ultrasound and see if we could still save the pregnancy. 

Note: Even with my sedative, the labor pain shot past the 10 mark. The drugs took effect after several minutes but before then the pain was so terrible. If I had a choice, I maybe would have opted not to get the sedative. (I didn't ask if it was really necessary then, I just assumed it was.) Being sedated with that much pain is terrible because I felt so weak trying to get past the heavy contractions. Imagine, I would fall asleep and then be woken up by the pain and not have any control of my consciousness whatsoever. It was seriously terrible.

August 19, 2015
I woke up without feeling any pain which was a relief. The resident sonologist came and gave me an intraV ultrasound. This is what showed:

What used to be a hollow sac is now just what looks to me an obliterated chunk of confusing matter. The doctor was pointing to some stuff in the monitor and explaining things but truth is she already lost me the first time I saw what came out of the monitor. I already had my crying feat before we came to the hospital but the ultrasound just further confirmed the obvious. I guess there was still a part of me hoping that my pregnancy will be saved and that the baby will continue to grow. 

It's really hard to come into terms with this fact. I'm still trying to recover from it.

SO the doctor advised for a D&C (Dilatation and Curettage). This procedure is often done to women who had miscarriages to ensure that there won't be any infections in the future as well as bleeding. 

The D&C
The OB and the anaesthesiologist came to visit me to give me a run through of the procedure. The OB explained why they did not push through with the D&C the night before and it was for the same reasons as stated above. And then they further explained that I was to be sedated and to be given spinal anaesthesia. Now, some of you may be wondering why they had to give me spinal anaesthesia when they could have just given me the one that would just put me to sleep. This is because I am overweight. I think, although the anaesthesiologist was careful not to offend me, this is because the sedating kind will not be totally effective on me. I am not entirely sure to be honest. But I was terrified for my life. Like seriously terrified. And I didn't complain or anything because I, again, assumed that they know best. 

The doctors and nurses assisted me and made me feel comfortable and safe the whole time but it wasn't an experience that I'd like to go back to. The spinal anaesthesia felt like nothing I've ever felt in my life. It was painful, yes, but more than that, it felt so uncomfortable and like they're doing something that's not right to my body. Lol. Sorry, I don't know if I'm making sense, but that's the only way I can describe it. I was given the same thing before when I had my C-section but I was given a numbing anaesthesia before that. So I didn't literally feel the drug lining my spinal cord. The effect was pretty mild though, that I can say. Because I could still feel my feet and legs as opposed to not really feeling anything from the bellybutton down.

The D&C process was fast, I think if I wasn't totally under drugs, the whole procedure only took 5 minutes or so. And then the next thing I knew, I was back to my recovery room. I dozed off for about an hour and the first thing I did when I woke up was try to move my legs. It was hard at first but slowly I was able to gain control. 

After an hour more, the resident OB came and did one last I.E. to really make sure everything's fine down there. Then I was allowed to go to my private room to fully recover.

There, my loving husband and beautiful daughter are waiting for me with big smiles and warm hugs and kisses. 

I was admitted there for another night and then was discharged the afternoon of my birthday. 

It is now 3 days after the experience as I end writing this post. A part of my heart still remains broken and I think it will be for a long time. It is a sad thing to go through but I know I can't be this way all the time. I have to look at life in a brighter light otherwise I will just get sucked in into the darkness and I can't live like that. I have a very smart, kind and loving daughter and a husband who loves and cares for me no matter what. These are big things to be deeply grateful for everyday. They are my rock, my sanctuary. We remain a cozy family of 3 but we are still complete. Someday, when everything's in the right place, we'll have more additions to our happy family - or maybe not - but for now, I am grateful for what I have. 

If there's any of you out there who's experienced/experiencing the same thing, it's a tough thing to deal with, but know that you are allowed to weep, to be sad or be angry. But never forget that there are still other things in your life to be grateful for and that there is always a good reason for everything. We might not know it yet, but one day everything will be crystal clear. God is good - or the universe is good, whatever your beliefs are - and your life will never fail you.

Be safe,

1 comment :

  1. Carla-- My heart goes out to you! The experience of this miscarriage sounds incredibly painful, both physically and emotionally, and I hope you are healing. Keeping you in my thoughts.