Nobody ever thinks to tell you what to expect when you miscarry. The doctors don't prepare you for what is about to happen, they do not tell you what your body is about to go through, and no emotional or physical support is provided. If you are one of the unlucky few to experience a first trimester or second trimester miscarriage, you are all alone. Unless there is complications, you are sent home to suffer in silence. This is the story of my first miscarriage, something that will forever haunt my memories.
March 2009. My husband and I were elated to discover that after the first month of unprotected sex, we had conceived the child we had dreamed together of for over three years. We were over the moon! Our dream was to come to full fruition on December 8, 2009. Those first few weeks of knowing I was carrying around our dream, the fulfillment of our love, was the most awe-inspiring experience. There was no hint that anything was wrong. We got a free ultrasound at a women's clinic since we weren't married at the time and I didn't have insurance. Seeing that tiny little flicker was breathtaking!!! I had never seen anything like that before. Morning sickness was more like all day sickness. I grew quickly, and everything looked great with baby Thelusma.
In June, my stepdaughter Izzy had to have surgery to remove a benign tumor that was growing on her butt. We checked into the hospital June 11, 2009. My heart broke for this tiny little six month old baby laying in her tiny little hospital bed. I had taken the day off from work to be there with her and my husband, as her biological mother didn't see the necessity in being with her daughter. Izzy's surgery went well, and they brought her out into recovery about five hours later. My husband and I took turns holding her, comforting her, and feeding her. She was covered in monitors and IV's! I remember thinking how small and helpless she looked. We both opted to stay in her room with her overnight, even though my husband tried convincing me to go home so I could be comfortable in our bed, but I told him its not comfortable sleeping anyway at 14 weeks and 2 days, so I wanted to stay with them. We layed together in a hard rubberized hospital recliner, dreaming out loud of when we would be back in the hospital to give birth to our special little baby. We spent the night rubbing my belly and talking to our little one, and making plans for the future that looked so bright. We discussed names, coming home outfits, what the nursery should look like, the fact we would need a bigger apartment, all of the things that come with an expanding family. We had no idea the tragedy, horror, and heartbreak the next two days would bring.
June 12, 2009. The morning after Izzy's surgery. I woke up early in the morning with pain and the feeling of being wet. I thought the pain was coming from ackward sleeping position I had spent the night in, and the wetness from all of the extra pregnancy induced CM. I stretched, kissed my husband good morning, and went and looked in Izzy's hospital crib to check on her. So peaceful and beautiful she was laying there! I walked into the bathroom down the hall as there wasn't a bathroom in Izzy's room, and was horrified to see blood. I started screaming and yelling for help, and a frenzied nurse rushed into the bathroom and asked what the problem was. I explained to her that I was a few days over 14 weeks pregnant, and I was bleeding. I sat on the toilet shaking, terrified, and wondering what was going on. A doctor agreed to check me, heartbeat was confirmed, and I was told I had a clot or a tear that had resulted in the blood loss. I was ordered to go home, stay on bed rest for a day, and if the bleeding didn't let up, to go see my doctor. We were told everything would be ok, I just needed rest, and to see my Dr in a day for a long term high risk pregnancy plan.
I went home, layed down, and my husband called to have a friend come watch Izzy and myself so he could go to work. When our friend came to pick Izzy up, I rode with her and Izzy to her house because I didn't want to leave Izzy's side. By the time we got to our friends house, I was in a lot of pain, to the point I was doubling over. I called my Ob/Gyn, explained the situation to the after hours nurse, who called the doctor I had seen at the hospital. I was told to stay home, stay laying down, and go in in the morning, that the pain would pass. I layed on the couch for a couple hours, communicating via text message with my husband. He was on duty on base, and couldn't come home to be with us. Seeing as we weren't married, his command didn't give him the same freedoms as a married man would have received. I started getting stronger pains, and I felt a rush of warm between my legs. The doctor at the hospital had warned me this might happen, as it was the clot passing completely out, so I walked to the bathroom to clean up so I could go lay back down. When I got into the bathroom, my heart dropped. Something told me this wasn't just a clot! My legs were covered in dark red blood, and more was gushing out. My stomach felt like it was being ripped away from my spine, and deep, stabbing pain rushed up my back. I felt like a searing hot rod had been shoved up into my uterus. Pain that took my breath away and left me gasping for air left me on my knees in front of the toilet, hugging the rim, crying and screaming. Our friend rushed into the room and looked at my blood soaked pants and demanded to take me to the hospital. For some reason, I told her to call my Ob/Gyn instead. The nurse had the emergency Ob/Gyn call me, and I was told I was miscarrying, to stay home as they couldn't do anything for me, but she would call in a pain prescription to the closest pharmacy and that I needed to call the next day and make an appointment for a follow up appointment to check for "retained fetal tissue." My friend asked if I wanted to go the ER, and I told her to just try to get my husband home. By this time, a good seven hours had passed since my official labor had started. I had no clue that this was just the beginning of the longest, hardest, stretch. I curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, sqeezing my legs together, praying, crying, and hoping that this wasn't really happening. My friend convinced me to get into the bathtub for a while. I stripped out of my bloodied clothes and slid into the warm water. I could watch my stomach harden with each progressing contraction, and I had to keep emptying and refilling the tub as the water turned red. I stayed in the tub for about an hour and a half, then felt a sudden, extreme need to push. I was so weak from all the blood loss by then that I could barely get out of the water enough to squat. I started pushing, all the while in denail my precious baby was gone. I had just heard his heartbeat a little over ten hours earlier! This wasn't happening!!!! By now, the contractions had me fully in their grip. Each contraction would make my back curl up and I felt as if someone was pulling my insides out. I didn't think labor at almost 15 weeks would be so intense. My legs were quivering and I was seeing dark spots. I heard my husband's voice and looked up, desperate for his support and presence, and I saw our friend holding the phone out to me, a look of deep sympathy on her face. My husband was crying on the phone, telling me he wished he could be there, talking to me, comforting me as best he could. I was holding onto the edge of the tub, panting between contractions, hovered over a towel that was to catch my child. I felt a little pressure, and reached down to touch, and between all of the clotted blood, I felt a tiny shape. There was our baby. I felt sick to my stomach, turned my head, and vomited repeatedly all over the floor. This is not what we planned, this isn't supposed to be happening, our baby will NOT be born this way... I didn't have a choice. I don't remember actually pushing our baby out. I woke up about fourty five minutes later lying on our friends couch wrapped in blankets, and was told I had moved to the toilet, said I wanted to be alone, and at one point had flushed the toilet. A loud thump was heard, and I was found face first on the floor, no sign of my baby anywhere, except for the remaing placenta bits on my thighs and in the toilet. In my grief and without thinking clearly, I had flushed our child down the toilet. There was no going back, no undo, no getting our baby to bury and memorialize. I had passed out from the blood loss, and I would never remember the last few moments with my child, other than feeling him crown.
By this time, it was the next day, my husband was on his way home, and I was taken to the ER for an IV, ultrasound, pain medicine, and an exam. I was pronounced "OK" and told to take it easy, stay off my feet for a few days, and come back in two weeks for a follow up visit. My husband picked up my pain medicine, which was the beginning of a near fatal pain medicine addiction. That was the start of my living hell.
A day never goes by that I do not berate myself and question why I did what I did, what was going through my consciousness to cause me to make those decisions, but I know there is nothing I can do to change it. I wish things had ended differently. I wish I had better care. I wish I had delivered in a hospital room with my husband close by so I could have buried our child. Instead, I have to cope with the fact that I flushed my toilet. Even writing this, I am sick to my stomach and I feel as if I am the lowest scum on the planet. Grief causes us to do things we think we would never do. For a while, it almost split me and my husband apart, but it also brought us together. Now, almost four years later, I still regret how things happened that day, but I never remembered those final moments. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise, I will never know.