Monday, February 8, 2016

The Lesser Death

I used to think it would be harder to lose a baby after I already had other children. That, if I had lost a baby before I had kids I wouldn't have fully understood what I was missing. But, if I lost a baby after kids I would know exactly what I was missing and that would make it harder.

To be quite honest with you, I have no idea. Would it have been easier if this had happened 8 years ago? I highly doubt it. I believe so deeply that life starts in the womb I would have been devastated at any point.

Somewhere along the way we started believing that a miscarriage is a lesser death. Even those of us who have had them will compare them. We're glad it happened early, or it wasn't a stillborn, or one of living, breathing children. But, aren't they all living? I can't make the comparison. I've never lost a child or had a stillborn. But, I'm here to tell you that miscarriage is far more painful than I ever fathomed. I had no idea. If you haven't had one, you have no idea either. I still think I would prefer it to the pain of losing one of my other children. But, that doesn't lessen the pain.

We need to stop downplaying the unborn as much as we need to stop downplaying miscarriage. When our friends miscarry we need to do something for them. We need to show them the love of Jesus, because He cares. We need to take them a meal. Ask them how they are doing. Tell them we are sorry. Connect them with others who have experienced the same loss. Give them a memento or a nice note.

And, I'm not just talking about the first two weeks. We need to remember. Months down the road they need us to remember. Because they do. They have not forgotten. They are still grieving. It takes a surprisingly long time to recover from losing somebody you never met. And it is lonely because society has labeled them with medical terms instead of what they are, babies with beating hearts like the rest of us. Beings, who were put here on purpose even if it was only for a little bit. Just like every other being out there. It is lonely because they may be the only one really grieving this loss. It is confusing because they don't expect it to take so long.

Let's be a sisterhood who help each other when we're down. One who starts spreading the truth of these living beings. One who treats miscarriage like it deserves to be treated. Because it is not a lesser death. It is a death. And death is painful to the people left dealing with it.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Medically-Induced Miscarriage

WARNING: This post is detailed, graphic and uncomfortable to read. I found other blogs very helpful for sharing their at-home miscarriage stories. I hope this is something you will share with your friends in a similar situation, or that people will stumble upon this while searching like I did. And, if you think it's weird or gross that I wrote about it then don't read it. For every one of you, there is a frantic mama on the internet trying to ease her mind before medicating herself and that's who this is for :)

There is both a long version and a short version below along with a list of how I prepared before taking the meds.

First of all, if you are reading this because you are needing to medically manage a miscarriage, I am so, so sorry. It is so hard. It is so draining in every sense of the word. Physically and emotionally. Waiting for a miscarriage is hard work and you are not alone. Please reach out to your friends. Many will come out of the works to tell you that they too have suffered one or more miscarriages. If you're comfortable, please share your story in the comments below to help others searching for info.

When I finally decided to induce miscarriage I would have been (per my calculations) 13 weeks pregnant. The size of the gestational sac was about 7 weeks (per sonogram). After miscarrying I did not find a baby in the sac. There was a tiny fleck of white that may have been a 4 week or so old baby (based on my guess) or may have also not been baby at all (it is possible to reabsorb the baby or to have a Blighted Ovum and there never was a baby). All that to say, I really don't know how far along I was other than the sac being about 7 weeks in size. I had been bleeding almost nonstop for about 18 days and had been spotting for about a week before that. I had been cramping and clotting, but not productively miscarrying.

Constantly watching and waiting takes a toll on you. Additionally, your body is not functioning at it's best in this time. I was extremely tired and emotional. It was also starting to interfere with life in general and I was ready to move on from the whole thing. I had a prescription for Cytotec (also called Misoprostol) as well as Tramadol for pain. Physically, this was hard, but much easier than I expected. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer and might have done it sooner had I known how it would go.

Here's a list of what I stocked up on and prepared beforehand:

  • Adult Diapers (this is a MUST HAVE in my book)
  • Thick Pads
  • Heating Pads (bladder bags or formable heating pads are helpful, the bladder also provides a little weight). You need at least two heating pads (one for back, one for abdomen). Additionally, you may be back and forth between bathroom and bed, couch, etc so consider if you want cordless or one in the bathroom. I was ok with one plug-in and a bladder bag. Also a MUST HAVE.
  • A couple of movies.
  • Gatorades and cups of water in various places I thought I might be.
  • Taped together trash bags to lay on the bed. Not about to ruin the new Temperpedic :) I tried to buy those pads you lay on the bed after birth but I got the wrong thing. Trash bags were fine.
  • Ready and available husband, Mom also came over on no notice after this began. Having two people on hand was very helpful. Do NOT attempt this alone.
  • Anti-nausea meds and anti-diarrhea meds are also recommended. I did not have either. I threw up once and that was it. A lot of people have diarrhea or nausea.
  • Cytotec (Misoprostol) for induced miscarriage and Tramadol for pain, both prescribed by doctor.
  • Orange juice, bananas, yogurt for protein. Orange juice came back up a few hours in, not sure I recommend it. Supposedly helpful for blood sugar (per the blog world).
  • Put away bath mats and covered the floor (bed to tub to toilet) in towels I didn't care about. MUST DO!


Here's the quick version of my night:

  • I inserted the Cytotec (Misoprostol) vaginally at 10pm. Went for Tramadol pain meds at 11 prior to really needing them (didn't take again the rest of the night). Bleeding came within 20 minutes and was very heavy the first hour. Beyond that it slowed significantly. After pain meds I felt some constant cramping, but it was light. By early morning most of everything had died down. Took a nap at 10am and woke up to pass the whole gestational sac, thankfully before I took the second set of Cytotec.
  • The worst parts were minimal. Once I almost passed out, ended up throwing up and feeling better. I had no other nausea otherwise. Additionally, I was very pale and woosy most of the night. When I got up I would shiver and feel like I was going to pass out so I didn't get up much.


Here's a breakdown of how the night went:

  • 10 pm: Inserted two Cyctotec (Misoprostol) vaginally. This sped up my process a lot based on what the nurse told me. Bleeding came fast and the pills fell out 3 times. I finally gave up, clearly they were working.
  • 10:25 pm: Felt something pop in my stomach, not painful, reminded me of my water breaking. Immediately started gushing and ran straight to the tub. A friend recommended bleeding into the tub to see what comes out. You do want to know what you have passed so that you know when you have passed everything. A lot of blood came out and it was very clotty. It seemed like my water was breaking with it. I put on an adult diaper and bled quite a bit into that as well. 
  • 11:05 pm: At this point I was freaked out. Best guess I had filled close to two pads in an hour. I called the night nurse and The Officer called my mom to drive out in case we ended up in the ER. She told me what to watch for. Bleeding started to slow. Starting to cramp now, though not terribly. I took a Tramadol before it got too bad. I didn't want to panic and also be in a lot of pain so I just went for it.
  • 12:15 am: Needed a new pad. Tramadol definitely helping. Cramping had gotten worse before I felt it start to work. Also, it is true that you will cramp more before you pass a clot so it comes in waves.
  • 1:10 am: New pad needed again. I tried using a pad in the adult diaper, I think the adult diaper alone was a better route. Passed a big clot into the toilet, approximately a mandarin orange in size. I felt like I should go to sleep but I was scared to bleed too much so I just hung out with my mom. My face was very pale, no other symptoms though.
  • 2:10 am - 4:10 am No longer soaking pads/diapers, but changing for comfort and keeping an eye on bleeding. Feeling a lot more cramping but passing little.
  • 4:10 am Non-stop light cramping. Still passing little. Wonder if cramping is due to Tramadol wearing off. Slept 1 hour. Felt like hospital sleep, in and out, weird feeling.
  • 4:30 am Bleeding picking up, but still minimal. Somewhere around here I started to feeling very woozy and tried to go to bathroom. Laid down in the floor instead, was close to passing out. Immediately became nauseas, threw up and the entire feeling subsided.
  • 4:50 am Hungry. Ate a little toast and yogurt. Tried to walk to kitchen. Every time I get up I shivered and felt faint. Back to the heating pad.
  • 5-6:30 am Slept finally, cramping settled and feeling a little better. Continued to feel faint the rest of the morning when I walked. Cramps were lighter than a period most of the morning. Felt something sore and uncomfortable inside. Called the nurse who guessed I had passed it all, said to get some sleep and take the second dose after 12 hours.
  • 10 am: One hour nap. Felt a something like a bubble coming down, assumed it was a clot and went to sleep anyway. Was exhausted.
  • 11 am: Woke up needing to go to the bathroom and could tell something was pushing out. Moved to the tub and squatted to push a little. The gestational sac came out whole. Immediately I felt relieved and continued to feel better and better. Walked across the street a few hours later and almost passed out before I got back home, but otherwise feel pretty good.
  • The Week After: Cramps disappeared right away. I was very tired for a few days, slept the night through that first night. Had not done that in weeks. Had minimal spotting for 6 more days. After 5 days I felt pretty much normal. The doctor did confirm I had passed the sac and most likely the placenta came out with it. She is testing hormones for now and that's about it. We spent the weekend out of town and it was a good distraction.
I would love to hear from you in the comments. Please share your own stories if you want, I promise they will benefit others reading. I spent a lot of time reading through the comments section of another similar blog post.

It's Like Pregnant-Tired

Written in the waiting period of a miscarriage. I had no idea the process that could be involved and take so long. I have since managed the miscarriage at home with Cytotec and will write a detailed blog for those who are looking for information to do the same.

It's like pregnant-tired. Minus the baby. That's just wrong. Waiting on a miscarriage is emotionally and physically exhausting. I don't even know what's making me tired. The physical or the emotional? Probably both.

There are little reminders everywhere, starting with my camera roll. The pic I sent my best friend the minute I found out I was pregnant. I was returning the favor, of course, for the two positive tests sent from her phone. We were going to have a baby within months of each other! The video of telling our kids we were pregnant and the memories that come along with it. "What does it mean if I tell you you're going to be a big brother?" "That I have to set the example." That's all he could come up with! There are the unrelated photos that still carry the memories. Each mentally categorized based on it's pin in the timeline of Pregnant to Miscarriage.

Oh, miscarriage, that thing that hasn't actually happened yet. I figure it's been at least 4 weeks since I should have started miscarrying, though likely nothing legitimate has happened. Thankfully my doctor is in no rush. So I wait. In the meantime I am increasingly tired and emotional. I'm not just talking tears-emotional. Cranky in a way I can't even explain.

Then there are the texts. Also running on a timeline they move from congratulatory to pregnancy woes. And on from there to "I'm so sorry's" and "What can I do?" Numerous updates to my friends and family about the process.

The process. It hasn't been a quick one. Only a week and a half after finding out I was pregnant I saw blood. Up to then it was spotting. When I turned to blood I suspected something was wrong, especially combined with the burst of energy I had a few days before. Too much energy for pregnancy.

I called my doctor the next morning and was in her office the next day for a sono, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015. My doc was out of town so I saw the NP. She started Progesterone and took blood. The sonographer didn't show up that day so I waited until the next day.

I've never showed up for a sonogram that looked empty. There was a little something, but nothing distinct. I was possibly too early to tell though. I knew something wasn't right when the sonographer told me nothing. Didn't show me a heartbeat or let me listen to one and "wasn't allowed" to discuss the results with me. I waited an awful 20 minutes or so in an office for another doctor who still was not my own. She said it could go either way. Either I was too early and they couldn't see a heartbeat or I had lost the baby. Thus began the waiting.

I went home and cried for two days. All I heard was "no heartbeat" and I knew in my heart something was wrong. I had felt it the entire time I'd known I was pregnant. On the third day, Saturday the 8th, I awoke with a peace. I knew there was no baby. Two of my strongly held beliefs helped me move forward with peace. 1. I believe God starts life and it starts at conception. 2. I believe God gives life purpose.

Believing that my baby had a purpose, even in the short time we had known about him gave me the peace and courage to move forward.

Within hours I started cramping and bleeding picked up. I was sure this would be it. That Monday I had another sono, still confirming nothing. The sac was too big, she could not see a "fetal pole". This time I saw MY doctor and she wasn't sure there had been a fetal pole the week before either. She wanted to wait another week and look again. But, due to the size of the sac and the lack of baby she was certain it was not a viable pregnancy.

The Officer went with me this time and we lightheartedly joked with my doc about how everything falls apart when she leaves town! (Remember that time I almost died after a C-Section, yup, she was gone for that too!) She has been forewarned not to travel during any future pregnancies. If so, I'm out! New doctor! Hah. He also had certain things to say about the ahem, rather personal, sonogram. He really lightened the mood and it was honestly appreciated.

So, I waited another 9 days for a new sonogram. I continued taking Progesterone, I think that may have slowed down the miscarriage process. August 19th, 2015 she confirmed that she didn't see life on the sonogram and the sac was starting to collapse. I had bled enough at this point that I thought for sure I had at least passed something. I had not. I was given the options. Cytotec or D&C. Or, wait it out naturally provided I don't develop an infection.

It's been almost a week since that last appointment. Minimal has happened. I have undoubtedly passed some tissue. I have become more physically exhausted. Weary. But no miscarriage. It's like when you get a splinter and that discomfort is there until it's gone. There is something inside of me that no longer should be there, but I can't make my body do it's job. I can only uncomfortably wait or take unpleasant measures to make it happen.

If you want, read about my medically-induced miscarriage here using Cytotec (also known as Misoprostol). WARNING: Graphic and may be disturbing.

Waiting Room

There's the woman in the corner, tired, with a newborn. The baby is outside daddy because she's crying, newborn legs flailing about. I wonder if the new mom misses her or is relieved for a small break.

There are three pregnant women. Two, fairly far along. One is not, escorted by her mom I assume. Maybe she's finding out the sex today, but she's a little big for that. Maybe she's on bed rest and requires a ride to the office.

One other lady looks about as happy as I am to be here. She looks tired and emotional. I know the look.

The waiting room of my OB's office. Usually it is a happy place to be. I love my doctor and am generally here for better reasons like I assume these other women are. Usually I am leaving with the sound of a heartbeat echoing in my ears. A black and white role of pictures to hang on my fridge. Or a new knowledge of a little girl or boy.

There are eight of us in this waiting room. Statistics I've read say two of us have had a miscarriage. I am here because I am one of them. I will not be leaving with any pictures or sounds of a heartbeat. In fact, over a month, in five visits, I have yet to leave this office with a happy face. Today will be no different. Though I am peaceful, though I have a lot of happiness, I am with great sadness at the loss of a child I will never hold this side of heaven.

Written yesterday on a scrap of paper while in the waiting room of my doctor's office, perhaps the worst place to be during and after a miscarriage. There is more to come of this story. May it help break the silence and awkwardness of the miscarriage conversations. And may it comfort others. There is great comfort in knowing we are not alone. In fact, we are in very good company.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

My other miscarriage posts: 
You can read about the waiting period of my miscarriage here.
You can read about my medically-induced miscarriage here. You may find it graphic or disturbing. It was induced using Cytotec (also Misoprostol).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Six Flags and Planes


This Spring we participated in the Six Flags reading program. Since I'm a homeschooler
they gave both myself and my son a free one time pass for the summer.
We've had some unusually cool weather for Texas lately so I thought I'd take advantage and
use our passes before it got TOO hot. Don't get me wrong, it was still hot! 


These little Frogg Toggs are AWESOME! Seriously. The Officer scored two free at a Hershey's 5k he worked. Not only did they pay well they handed out free chocolate milk and Frogg Toggs afterwards!

This was my "Just in case you get lost" picture.
We made our way in to Six Flags around 11. The heat really wasn't terrible. It was hot, but it stayed under 100. Barely. We hit up Bugs Bunny Boom Town first for a mini roller coaster, jet planes and a water spraying ride. I hadn't been to Six Flags in well over ten years so this was new to me. This little section was great! It was kind of like carnival rides but a little more sturdy.


"WOAH, that was scary"!

After getting drenched on the water buckets we headed over to Aquaman. Beemer was super excited about Aquaman until he started seeing the ride in action. He wanted to get outta there. We were already part of the way through our wait so I convinced him to stay. It was a big drop for the likes of the two of us. We aren't big on heights! It was fun though. We stood on the bridge afterwards to be completely soaked. My shoes were squishing.

Wanna do that again? Nope!



The sprayers and fans really helped and there were many of them. Though I think they could add a little more shading around the Boom Town rides they have done a pretty good job at interspersing water in the park to help with the heat. (Major bummer Roaring Rapids is closed!)

Twisting back and forth in the water.
 When I told Beemer we were going to Six Flags this morning he said
"YAY, we're gonna get Cotton Candy!" 
I'm not sure what gave him this idea but it was the one thing we bought while we were there! It was a nice little break. $7 is a big steep for cotton candy but it was huge! It would be perfect for a family! We had tried to bring our lunch in but had to eat it outside the gate because they don't allow it. (I'm sorry, but for the price of tickets and parking I ought to be able to bring in my sandwich lunch. We did manage to circumvent both tickets and parking though so I guess we beat the system.)

 
After our cotton candy break we did the carousel. Beemer asked if they would be
around to buckle him in on the horse. When I said no he promptly moved to this seat while
I rode the horse. As soon as the ride ended he promptly ran over and picked up a
piece of trash somebody left in the floor. He takes this kind of initiative frequently.


We rode the antique cars. Beemer drove and I pushed the gas. I distinctly remember
riding these with my cousin as a kid. We fought the whole way about who got to drive.
Hey, somebody had to make up for me not having a brother! Beemer liked the cars.
This was more up his alley than much else we did. I pretty much drug him onto the Mini Mine train and then promised him I wouldn't force him onto any more rides. Even though he said it wasn't that bad he did not want to do it again! I think Aquaman traumatized him a little!


After our carousel ride we wandered down to Mexico and rode the Sombrero. Before it started Beemer said he wanted to get off and not do it. I told him we were already on so let's just go for it (as I thought to myself, I'm going to regret this.) In his words, "It was HORRIBLE." It killed me for the rest of the day and I think it made him a little sick too. I just can't spin in circles and go up and down like I used to. Even swings on the swingset make me dizzy. I haven't felt right since we got off of that darn Sombrero! Up. Down. Slanted. Backwards. Too much for this old lady.

At this point we had walked the entire park so we headed back over to Boom Town while I quickly called The Officer to come pick us up (thanks Six Flags, but you can keep your $20 parking spots). He had been out with Sister running errands and playing/eating lunch at "Walmart." Oh wait, I mean Central Market. Sister was a little confused about their whereabouts! Beemer rode the trucks one more time and wandered up to a cash-only game. I only had $4 so the very nice dad next to us offered us the extra buck and played against us. We lost, but we still came home with a superhero cape.

After getting cleaned up, popping another Excedrin and eating a quick dinner we went to the movie theater with our FREE tickets! We scored 4 from Summer Reading at the library and The Officer was given 4 at work. We saw the new Planes, it was really good. My favorite of all the Cars movies. As usual, the music was great. The kids danced up front at the end.



It was nice to spend some one-on-one time with my sweet boy and a night out as a family. We haven't done that much lately. It's also technically our last day of summer, we plan to start 1st grade tomorrow! You know us though, we'll still be out having fun when school starts. Day 1 we have a date at the pool. Like I said in my last post, in under 2 hours a day school is done so we get to play!




Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Sat


Just as I was about to drag the trash to the curb it started pouring rain. I did something I rarely do. I pulled out a chair and I sat. Not with my camera. Not with my phone. I sat to watch the rain, to listen, soak it in and relax for a rare moment. Soon, two little bodies joined me on a stool and in a stroller. We sat. But, you know how that goes with kids!

Timidly, they threw a toy into the rain and jumped out to get it. Sister opened her mouth wide and caught the rain coming off the house. Giggles of pure joy escaped. Quickly timidity turned to adventure. Running and squealing across the front of the house took it's place.

Beemer offered to drag out the trash for me. "I better go help him," I thought. The water was pooling up on the side of the trash can. "WOAH" the trash can is moving! Look, it's making a dam! The squealing moved to the street, running up and down the gully of the street in the rushing water. All of us in our pajamas might I add.

"Maybe we can make a dam," I offered. Twigs and sticks were drug from the yard. A large rock came from somewhere. Beemer ran in to grab his rock collection. Teamwork at it's best. Science at it's best. Learning, at it's best.

Sometimes when we sit our problems dissipate. The stress of life slows down for a minute. We discover joy that has been forgotten in the moments of craze and to do lists.

We are less than a week from starting First Grade. All summer long I have had my doubts. Can I really do this? Am I really up for it again? Are they missing out on the fun of friends, colorful classrooms and teachers?

But these moments solidify it for me. They are the ones that make it worth it. Because dams aren't built inside colorful classrooms while familial experiences are left at home. Because when it rains and pours it should be taken advantage of. When the sun shines we should soak it up. Because children can learn reading, writing and math in a couple of hours a day and spend the rest playing, creating, and exploring what interests them. Those are the real gems in life. These are the precious memories.

And this is while I homeschool.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Take a moment. Sit. Watch the rare July rain and enjoy the cool. Joys will be unearthed. Passions will be renewed. Stresses will fade.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

BIG Field Trip Day

Back at the beginning of the month we headed out to tour the vet tech facilities at one of our local community colleges. I wasn't sure how excited the kids would be, but they did really well and enjoyed it! We also had some other homeschool friends tag along and that was fun too.

One of the school vets gave us the tour, it was very nice of him. We saw xrays of several animals.


Why look at xrays when you can hang on Nana's shoulder?


Ummmm, don't get bit kids! We've been there and done that...


One of my favorite parts, seeing the horses.


The kids enjoyed feeding grass to this beauty!


The cows also all came running in hopes of food. The boys were really excited to get to see one pee!


After our friends left we visited the Anatomy lab for a few minutes. Beemer was really into it! Mommy was really embarassed at her lack of knowledge as to where things go.
 

This was such a simple part of my day, but probably my favorite. Right as we were leaving I heard something hit the floor. I feared we had broken the body! It was actually a tiny little baby that fell out of the model uterus. It was a nice moment to teach my kids about where life truly begins and have them see it with their own eyes. One of many seeds of truth being planted.


We also visited the rooms where they practice their nursing skills. I think this was where
Beemer hit the patient. You're not going to make a very good nurse buddy!

 
 Beemer is trying to figure out if this guy is here for a broken leg. Hah!
(The Officer broke his leg back in December and spent three days in the hospital.)


 We headed on from here to Texas Discovery Gardens where we visited the Butterfly House.
Check it out here! It was a long day, but a fun one and very educational.