Don’t worry, there’s not going to be a “processing a miscarriage (part 10).” I didn’t know there would be more, but I think this is it. Oh, I hope.
*I talk graphically in this post about blood and stuff. I’m positive it’s over-sharing. I really don’t care. Feel free to click out of my blog right now and spare yourself.
Again, I’m writing this for myself and maybe for some other woman who has a similar experience in the future and is muddling through. It’s faster to type and process than to write with my pen. I’m perfectly fine if nobody reads this. Maybe they shouldn’t. It’s long and overly detailed and stream-of-conscience and in desperate need of an editor. I just need to sort through what happened, I think.
Those who want to come along for the ride, let’s go.
Gushing blood weeks later?
Blood pressure tanking?
Possible blood transfusion?
What? Nobody told me about this part.
I got back from the hospital this week after Matt took me to the emergency room Tuesday night.
I thought a miscarriage was a one day thing followed by a few days to a week (maybe two) of period-like bleeding, that eventually tapers off.
“Alright, that sounds doable. I’ll opt for that instead of surgery,” I thought a month ago.
Fast forward three weeks. The bleeding hadn’t stopped. I thought some days it was about to stop and felt hopeful. Then a few days later, another big gush and passing more blood clots. My heart sank and I felt frustrated every time that happened. It was just dragging on, this miscarriage business.
I thought myself admirably steady after the first day(s) of miscarriage, until Matt came home and found me in a pile of delayed-reaction kleenex the next week. My hormone levels were all whacked up too, so that was probably a factor.
My delayed reaction gained momentum with each passing week of bleeding.
Still, I was never overly concerned about my health because I was reading account after account on the internet of other women who bled for weeks after the miscarriage started. I only read about ER visits if their pain got really bad. I had no pain at all, so I had a false sense that I was fine.
I was annoyed by the dragging out, but not alarmed because I had no cramping, no dizziness, nothing. I went about my days, grocery shopping, meeting friends, cleaning. I appeared pretty normal on the outside and felt pretty normal on the inside.
And my doctor’s office seemed unconcerned when I went in for routine lab work after the first week. In fact, I had to advocate for myself to even speak with a nurse because nobody was following up on me. When I told her how much had come out that first day, she said I had probably passed the majority of the pregnancy tissue and the bleeding would probably slow soon.
So I figured I just needed to wait it out.
From day to day, the bleeding would slow, seemingly. Then, nope, nope. Not stopping.
A gush could happen at anytime. Once when I was standing in the kitchen. Another day when I was sitting on the couch. It caught me off guard every time. And I would run to the bathroom, blood dripping down my legs, tears stinging my eyes. When is this going to be over, God? I’m done with this! I’m ready to move on already!
Then I’d wipe my eyes after a few seconds, rally, and move on, thinking “It’s almost done, Li. You can do this. That was probably the last one…” Exhale.
I was at the park with some friends this past Tuesday night. Felt fine. Laughing, talking, normal stuff. Matt was at home studying for his National Boards Test which is in two weeks. (It’s arguably the biggest test of his life and will help determine his residency. He’s done with med school classes but still has to take the big bad Boards.)
Driving home from the park, another gush. A big one. A really big one.
It’s nighttime. I’m in the driver’s seat alone, fifteen minutes from home. I tried to hold it in but it kept coming. I could feel the seat of my jeans filling with blood and clots. I felt it going down my legs to my ankles. I drove as fast as I could home, trying to recite Psalm 23 out loud, choking back tears. It was horrible. Horrible.
Made it to my parking spot at home, lost it emotionally, waddled up the stairs, the back and inside legs of my jeans soaked down to my feet.
Once inside, Matt got me to the bathroom, took my clothes to soak them, wiped the floor, and sat with me for the next hour since I couldn’t leave the toilet. It had slowed but just wasn’t stopping, a constant drip/stream. I had calmed down though and was reassuring Matt that I felt physically fine, because I did.
Matt kept asking if I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I honestly didn’t and resisted him taking me to the emergency room.
me: “We can’t afford that. Lots of women bleed for a few weeks. This is normal. It’s startling, but it’s normal. You have to study. You need sleep. I really don’t feel dizzy at all…”
Matt (eventually): You’re losing too much blood. I’m not asking you, I’m telling you that we’re going to the emergency room.
We had just been to a doctor’s appointment that same morning for Matt’s anxiety, and I knew he had taken some medicine that makes him sleepy, so the thought of us driving to the ER at 11pm with him all hopped up sounded ridiculous to me. But he assured me that he was 90% clear-headed, so off we went to the ER. 90% will have to do.
We laughed at what a mess we were. “We’re quite the pair right now,” I said. 😉
At 1am in the ER, I sent Matt home to sleep because he had slept maybe 4 hours in the past 2 days. His anxiety was persisting lately, and he was running on empty from studying for his Boards.
When he was gone, my blood pressure dropped more, and I passed out in the bathroom giving a urine sample. I don’t remember getting from the bathroom down the hall to a bed. I woke up with all the doctor and nurses’ faces staring over me but couldn’t hear what they were saying. They’re voices were like Charlie Brown’s mother’s voice – all muffled. Mwa-mwa-mwa-mwa. But then I came to and started apologizing as tears streamed out the corners of my eyes into my ears (I don’t know why). The ultrasound tech did his thing and the nurse monitored me and changed my IV fluids over the next few hours. Everyone was very kind and attentive, but I wasn’t allowed to go home because of the whole passing out/losing too much blood thing. I tried to sleep but couldn’t.
They wanted to call Matt to tell him I had passed out, but I requested that they please don’t call him and just let the man sleep for a few more hours. I’d call him in the morning. What could he do, anyway? I was stable. It’s best to let him sleep.
They admitted me to the hospital, and Matt came early the next morning.
He can’t afford not to study right now, Lord! He needs his rest, Lord! You say your timing is perfect, but this seems like the worst timing to me. Let me be okay for now, then afflict me after June 23rd when he’s done with his Boards. Deal?
I wasn’t allowed to get up from the hospital bed or be alone because I was a “fall risk.”
The trick is Matt had to study, much as he wanted to stay with me. He finally turned to me and said, “We need help.” So we sent out an SOS to our friends and asked if any lucky takers would be willing to sit in a boring hospital room and babysit me to make sure I stayed conscious, yada yada, while Matt went to study.
Friends came and were wonderful. Matt left and tried to study but came back in 10 minutes to be with me because he said he couldn’t focus. Poor guy. He kind of looked like a wreck, not that I looked much better. I felt like such a burden to him (not because he made me feel like that, but because there was no way around this situation being burdensome to him. I hated that so much. He was so concerned.)
I was given a medicine to make me pass any pregnancy tissue I hadn’t passed yet. This would cause more bleeding, but once everything that was supposed to be out was out, the bleeding would stop.
Bleed more I did. Think Grandma’s jello mold, but it’s not see-through, and it’s very dark red and has melted into a puddle but you can still see giant clumps of the jiggly jello on top. That’s what I was sitting in in my hospital bed. Cups of blood and clumps. The nurses and Matt helped me get up to change me and take me to the bathroom (fall risk, remember). I desperately wanted to feel clean and was cleaning myself up when I felt lightheaded and heavy-legged and passed out again.
Matt caught me, dragged me to the bed, and lightly slapped my cheeks and yelled my name until I came to about 30 seconds later, I’m told. Again, I don’t remember getting from the bathroom to the bed. Just woke up, this time to Matt’s concerned face looking at me and nurses putting rags on my head and doing stuff. I ached seeing that look on Matt’s face. He has to study, Lord. He doesn’t have time for this. He doesn’t need this right now.
My coworker Jean had come to the hospital at about that time, and I saw her face appear above my bed. She had tears in her eyes and cupped my face maternally, which made me tear up. I always feel free to cry with her. She’s my friend and coworker, but deep in my heart, she’s my Kansas City mom.
I didn’t want to cry with Matt because of the pressure I know he is under; I didn’t want to add to that. He said I could cry with him, but I really fought it and found myself downplaying the situation for his sake.
A chair potty was put by my bed, now that I officially was not allowed to take any steps anywhere. Here is picture of said chair.
Day turned to evening. I was hooked up to a heart monitor, and my blood pressure was taken regularly. I could see Matt’s concern at the numbers; he knows what they mean better than I do. 80/50 I guess isn’t good.
My hemoglobin (blood count) levels had dropped from 11 to 10 to 9 and eventually to 8 that day. (12-16 is the normal range). The doctor told me they would consider giving me a blood transfusion if it reached 7.
Ok, blood transfusion possibility. That isn’t likely, I thought. More upsetting to me at that point was that I wasn’t allowed to shower because of “vasodilation”, blah blah blah. I felt so gross and wished I had showered the day I ended up coming to the ER. I had been moving out of my classroom that day, packing books in boxes, sweating in the KC heat. It was a baseball cap/no makeup kind of day. I had come to the hospital in that sweaty baseball-capped state, and now I just felt downright disgusting. I was ready to get this show on the road so I could get home and shower.
The doctor was a different bird and kept saying that my body was smarter than she was and that it would eventually figure out what it’s supposed to do. ???? She wanted to do more rounds of the bleeding medicine. Matt knew I would need a transfusion if we went that route and was really uneasy about it, asking the doctor if they had my blood type on-hand at the hospital, how long it would take to get it to me, etc.
When she then went into her obligatory spiel about the risks of the blood transfusion, I finally started to feel overwhelmed, and my friend Catherine handed me a kleenex.
Matt asked if we could have a minute. My friends gathered round my bed, held hands and prayed. And I felt a peace wash over me.
Frankly, the doctor seemed opposed to doing surgery because her shift was ending and gave Matt a look when we told her we wanted to go ahead with the d&c. I was nervous about going into an operation with a doctor who seemed a tad begrudging about it. Would she “accidentally” nick my uterus? My friend reassured me that she had taken the oath and would give me the upmost care she could.
I’m told the operation went well. They found the reason for the bleeding and removed a stubborn piece of tissue my body was trying to expel.
The next day, the nurse brought a shower stool and Matt gently bathed me and washed my hair. I was so happy to be getting clean! With my IV arm wrapped up and my other hand gripping the side rail, I felt helpless and pitiful. And I felt like I was getting a glimpse of our life five decades into the future. I looked at him with grateful eyes and made some reference to The Notebook. His love in that moment overwhelmed me.
My blood pressure was steadying and the bleeding had stopped, so after some instructions (including “taking it easy for next few weeks” – um, we’ve moving in 3 weeks across the country, doc. No can do.), we were told we could go home that day!
Once home, Matt wouldn’t let me climb the stairs to our apartment by myself. I told him I felt fine, but he said, and I quote, “There’s no way I’m going to let you walk those stairs.” He was still worried about the possibility of me passing out. Though I thought it completely unnecessary, I sighed and submitted and let him give me a piggyback ride up the stairs. We laughed when I said I might be safer climbing them myself because I had seen him trip up those stairs a time or two.