Our Miscarriage Story – Part 4 of 5| What Miscarriage is Really Like: Real, Honest, and Raw
If you haven’t done so, Read Part 1 / Read Part 2 / Read Part 3
Sunday – Tuesday
Sunday, Ryan and I took it easy. We were visited by some friends and family, then I felt like I need to get out of the house, so we headed to a greenhouse. We decided to buy a plant as a sort of release/representation of our baby and placed it in the nursery room.
Monday and Tuesday were kind of a blur as I was trying to regain strength both emotionally and physically. Tuesday I had an appointment with my Family Doctor (which was originally a scheduled appointment to track my pregnancy…). I felt like this appointment was a bit unnecessary as it just brought up the emotional pain of losing my baby, and my doctor said 6 of these “10 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Has Had a Miscarriage”. The worst probably being “It was not the right time…”
Why was this the worst?
Ryan and I have always been told “you can’t plan your pregnancy…”, “There’s never a ‘right’ time to have children…”, etc. etc. However, we somehow managed to both feel ready to be parents, and plan out our timing perfectly. I am a teacher, and it’s hard to leave your classes part of the way through a semester..(I know…I know, people do it all the time…) but I’m not most people…
We had managed to get pregnant and have my due date in September! It meant that I could finish off the school year, have the summer to relax, before taking maternity leave starting in September. We even high-fived each other as we were so excited for our “family planning”…So “it wasn’t the time”…was a sensitive topic for us…because it was our time…
One of the worst days of my life.
I had my appointment at the EPAU. Here I met with a resident doctor who went through a set of questions with me, asked if I had any questions, and was told I would have another transvaginal ultrasound. Unlike the ER ultrasound, we were told that Ryan could be in the room, and that we would be given an answer right away on how we needed to proceed. Thank goodness!
The attending doctor performed my ultrasound to measure my uterine lining. I was told they like to see 1.5cm or less in order to let the rest of the uterine lining and pregnancy tissue pass naturally…I measured 1.82. She mentioned that if they let me pass naturally, I would be bleeding (although less than a normal period) for too long, and it can cause infection.
She told me that they were going to prescribe Misoprostol for 3 doses. I didn’t have to take all 3 but instead pay attention to my body, if I only needed 1 dose, she said to just take the 1. At the same time, I was asked if I needed pain medication, which at first I refused. My miscarriage on Saturday was quite painful, so when I thought about it again, I figured I should probably ask what the pain was really like before I downright refused pain medication, as what most of the doctors had been telling me over the past week hasn’t been the case for me. So I then asked the resident doctor if the pain would be similar or worse than my miscarriage. He assured me it wouldn’t be as bad as my miscarriage and if I got through that without meds, I should be okay to take the Misoprostol without pain meds as well.
Well…He was wrong.
I was told to take the pills (there are 4 pills in one dose) with food. I ate a large bowl of vegetable pasta salad, then took the dose. Literally within 30 minutes I started to have cramps, worse than I’ve ever had with any normal menstrual cycle, but not as bad as my miscarriage, until about 3 hours later.
I was laying on the couch watching a show, and it hit me, an intense pain in my abdomen followed by a rush of blood. What? This again? I thought I was through my miscarriage, someone already cleaned me up internally, why is this happening again. Once again, I was sent home wildly unprepared for what could happen and the intense pain and amount of blood I could experience.
I sat on the toilet in our powder room bleeding and vomiting from pain for about 4 hours before I felt exhausted and my butt was sore from sitting on the hard toilet seat that I just wanted to lay down. I had Ryan get me a new pad and an old towel to hold between my legs so I could make up upstairs without getting blood everywhere. I only made it to our upstairs hall before I keeled over in pain on the floor. After a few minutes I was able to get up and apologized to Ryan for the vulnerability and what he would have to see, but decided it would be easier to sit in our shower than on our toilet. I would be closer to the ground if i needed to lay down or keel over, and it would still be relatively easy to clean up.
I was losing so much blood and clots that I felt utterly exhausted and needed to lay down. I felt myself getting quite week, and laid down in our walk-in shower. Ryan suggested that it may be more comfortable to lay in our bathtub (he was right), so I switched over to it. I felt so bad that every time I moved I left a puddle of blood that Ryan cleaned up, not to mention he was also changing out my puke buckets that I needed every 5 minutes or so…
I bled and continuously vomited for another 2.5 hours and started to get very light headed. I asked Ryan to call the ambulance. This time there was no way I could get downstairs to meet them. I felt super vulnerable as I laid in a puddle of my own blood on a saturated towel, in a bloody t-shirt without any pants or underwear on, and now I needed to be taken by some strangers out to the ambulance.
The paramedics arrived, 3 men (one of which was my age, and another younger man that was in training…), to find me curled up in a ball surrounded by blood in my bathtub. The took my blood pressure and heart rate and then debated on how to get me downstairs. They asked me if I could get up to walk, and I could barely push myself up to me knees, and everytime I did, I felt like I was going to pass out. They determined they needed to use their chair to get me downstairs. I somehow was able to get to my knees and wrap myself in a blanket they gave me (remember I didn’t have on any bottoms), and they assisted me onto the chair.
I couldn’t sit up, and begged them, literally begged them, to let me bend over as I felt so much pain and felt like I would pass out if I had to sit up. Well, obviously they wouldn’t be able to carry me on a chair without being strapped in, so they forced me to sit up, and you know what… I immediately fainted…
I woke up when they got me to the top of my stairs and they carried me out to the stretcher at the ambulance outside my house. I felt refreshed, it was weird, as if the slight amount of rest I got from passing out made me feel better. I was cracking jokes in the ambulance (I think I asked the paramedic in training if he had ever experienced a woman having a miscarriage to which he answered “no” and I said, “well…surprise!”), they were asking me questions about our house, what my husband and I did for a living, etc. They continued to monitor my heart and my blood pressure, which was low. They tried for an IV, but with my veins, in a moving vehicle, after the main paramedic couldn’t get it in one poke, and taking a look at my already bruised arms and hands, he decided we were close enough to the hospital and he didn’t need to put me in more pain than I already was.
They brought me to the ER, where Ryan met us, and I was immediately taken into the Trauma Room as they wanted to check to make sure I wasn’t “bleeding out”. Here I had a doctor, and two nurses. They gave me a transabdominal ultrasound, took my blood, and gave me an IV. The ER doctor was PISSED. I’ve never seen a doctor react this way. He told me he paged Gynecology to come assess me as I told him I had been in and out of the hospital since the previous Thursday, officially had my miscarriage on Saturday, and was given Misoprostol the day before and ended up where I was, laying on his bed in his trauma room. He was pissed because Gyno said that since it was more than 3 days since my miscarriage that essentially I “wasn’t there problem”.
He said that my situation happens more often than we realize, women having a miscarriage are sent home unprepared for the bleeding or the pain and are being told it will be like a “heavy period” and then end up passing out, or loosing a lot of blood and end up in the ER. He was pissed because they refused to see me on a technicality. Once they were ready, the nurse took me to an ER area. My doctor came to check on me and offered my morphine for the pain, which I had originally refused in the trauma room (he convinced me to take it if I needed it). I was given a coagulant in addition to my IV to slow the bleeding (which I thought was the morphine because I felt very spacey and out of it…so I never asked for morphine) but it turns out I was feeling that way because of the blood I had lost and was still losing. I was still without underwear bleeding onto a flat pad on my stretcher bed, in my same blood soaked t-shirt, covered in blankets. Feeling totally open ‘down there’ in a room of strangers and other patients felt very uncomfortable.
Eventually Gyno came down…but not to see me. My ER doctor tried to advocate for me and for all the women who are sent home unprepared, and all I remember hearing the Gynecologist saying was “I’m not going to talk to you about this now, when we can sit down and have a proper conversation, we can talk about it”, and he left… They then wheeled me over to another area in the ER, there was a man with dementia a few curtains down from me who must have been in a lot of pain and scared as he continued to scream out the entire night.
In this new area, the nurse continued to check my vitals. At one point the IV in my right hand was causing me extreme pain in my forearm that I asked Ryan to get the nurse. This nurse has been complaining quite a bit, that she was tired, that her back hurt from rolling over some larger patients, and that she needed to drive her friend to the airport in Toronto in a few hours… it didn’t really bother her to check on my IV, but it was extremely painful to the point I had to hold and squeeze my arm to mediate the pain.
When the nurse arrived,I mentioned that my veins have been difficult for all the nurses tonight, and she decided to try my left arm (which was the most bruised and sore). She put in the IV, and it hurt more than the pain I was experiencing in my other hand and arm that I begged her to take it out, and I would just deal with the pain I already had. She didn’t know why it was hurting me, and touched my right arm and figured it was because it was cold, and got me a warm blanket and wrapped my arm in it. It helped a bit.
For hours I laid in my now crusty shirt in a puddle of my own blood and blood clots. At one point, a resident gynecologist came down to see me and ask questions. I was so tired as it was about 3:00 am that I can’t remember most of the questions she asked, but I believe it was just typical questions about by miscarriage history, if this was my first pregnancy, and why I was now in the ER. She left and went to get the resident gynecologist who came down around 4am, looked under my blanket at my blood loss, and decided they would have a look internally.
They talked about how they have been advocating for a gyno room in the ER to perform internal procedures, but with no luck. So they had to give me ‘privacy’ by putting some medical tape on the curtains of my space, had me lay fog-legged on the bed, and once again inserted a speculum to have a look. Something else that was a bit weird was the light they needed to use to do the procedure didn’t work, so they asked to use their cell phone flashlight.
Without any local numbing, they went in with some sort of surgical forceps and started to pull out clots and pregnancy tissue from my cervix. It was painful, I was cringing and crying, but they were hopeful that by removing these blockages that my bleeding would stop. They finished up, changed out the flat pad under me, and said they would be back in about 30 mins to check on me.
I was still having cramps and could still feel a lot of blood coming out of me so I had Ryan tell the nurse. I also asked if I could have some water as my mouth tasted disgusting from vomiting and was dry from breathing heavily during the contractions I was having. They had to refuse as they weren’t sure what I would still need to have done. The nurses paged Gyno to come back. They did, saw that I had soaked the bed, and said that it could be because they had just removed the blockages from my cervix and this may just be the blood that was trying to come out but couldn’t. They changed the pad again, and said they’d be back in 20-30 mins, and left.