*All excerpts taken from my private, online journal*
On October 22, 2006, I wrote:
The nightmare continues
And here we thought this was over…
This afternoon I started bleeding more …and cramping. … All of a sudden I felt something coming out of me so I went to the bathroom. I thought maybe I passed a bunch of blood clots but when I looked at the pad it definitely was not blood clots. I called [my husband] in and asked him what he thought was happening to me. He called the midwife and talked to her and inspected what I passed while talking to her and is confident it was the baby. I went in and looked too and we saw two tiny eyes and everything.
I don’t know what to think. I had a D&[C] so what in the world did they remove?!?!? We called the nurse on call and she said for me to make an appointment for tomorrow. I am just speechless really.
I remember feeling angry and confused and frustrated and sad. I wanted an end to our grief and I wanted an explanation for what was happening to me.
We went in to the see the Dr. again the next day (since it was a Sunday when it happened). She confirmed that I did pass the baby, fully intact. That in itself was a miracle since I had had the surgery. I still don’t really know how that was possible but we had the evidence in front of us to physically see.
She saw the baby [and] said it looked to be 6-8 weeks. [My husband said he saw] hands and feet and I never saw that. So, he showed me and I saw everything! It was amazing! I know maybe some people would think that was weird but it was so incredible how small our baby was. It was like maybe a half inch long with two little eyes and it was all curled up like you see in the pictures. I can’t believe how tiny it was.
I was thankful that the worst part of the D&C for me hadn’t actually occurred since here I had my baby right in front me, not ripped apart like I had feared. God had answered my prayers in this regard and I was thankful for that.
Unfortunately there was more bad news for me though. After a very painful exam and ultrasound, the Dr. discovered a good deal of tissue still remained even though I’d had the surgery. I had two options: wait to see if it would pass on its own or take Cytotec (a controversial drug that the first Dr. I saw said was an extremely painful option). I was scheduled for another ultrasound 3 days later to see if anything had passed.
I would have to have the surgery again if I did not pass the rest soon.
On October 27th, I got what I thought was some good news.
I am so happy/relieved, etc.! The Dr. said the surgery wouldn’t be necessary and she is fine with my passing the rest on my own!
I had been passing tissue (at work which was awful, of course) but I was hopeful that this would be the end of it. But November 4, almost a month later, it still was not over. I had a really bad incident in work where I had to leave because I was bleeding so much.
Thursday I had an appt. at the OB’s office for my 7th ultrasound and another lovely pelvic exam. I was really thinking since I have so much last Friday and this Wednesday that he was going to say it was all out and I was done and this nightmare was over. Unfortunately he told me he had bad news. He said I still have quite a bit in there and in his experience, I won’t pass it on my own.
He went on to say I would need another D&C after all. I remember being kind of numb to this news. Honestly, by that point, I was kind of numb to life.
He said I could take the Cytotec but in his experience it wouldn’t work for someone like me. He said it would make the surgery easier for them though since the Cytotec softens the uterus and opens the cervix.
I was assured that they would make sure to remove all of the tissue next time by doing an ultrasound during the procedure. Apparently, normally a D&C is what they call a blind procedure but, because of my unusual circumstances, they would do the ultrasound and check to make sure it was complete.
I asked if it was dangerous to have the procedure again so close to when I just had one and he said it was like being stuck between a rock and a hard place. It wasn’t good for me to have all this tissue still up there and the risks of the surgery aren’t as bad as the risks of leaving it up there. I asked about the increased risk or a recurring placenta previa with each D&C and he said I was already at higher risk because I had one in the first place.
Because I really wanted to avoid the surgery if at all possible, I decided to take the Cytotec. As I mentioned before, the drug is controversial, so much so that we had to try several pharmacies before we could find one that would even give it to us. This left me with a bad feeling but I felt like the surgery was a greater risk. I also had Darvocet for the pain. I had done some research and talked to some other people that had gone the Cytotec route and everyone had assured me it was quite painful.
The Dr. wasn’t optimistic about it working but said I could go ahead and try it and then come back on Monday for my 8th ultrasound and we could decide at that time about the second surgery.
I really just hope the Cytotec works, but I don’t really think it will honestly. I just really miss my normal life. Nothing has been normal since this has happened…. I hate feeling like this and being this person…. I don’t want to be like this. I feel like I’ll never be normal again.
As it turns out, I never felt any pain. And taking the Darvocet was a big mistake. I took less than the prescribed amount but that still ended up being too much for me.
I felt totally drugged. … I slept and was groggy all day Sunday. I only got up to eat twice and then went back to sleep. I tried to stay up one time…but I was just so tired I couldn’t. [My husband] was afraid I wasn’t going to sleep through the night since I slept all day but I did.
I ended up having to stay home from work on Monday because I was having trouble seeing, walking and concentrating. I was back to normal though once the drug was finally out of my system. Another trip to the Dr confirmed I would need the D&C and that the Cytotec had not worked.
An interesting thing, the scheduling lady said that in her 10 years of doing this, she has never heard of anyone having to have a repeat D&C.
I guess all of this just makes me not want to get pregnant again. I am afraid my body doesn’t work right and it would just make pregnancy, if I could even carry a baby to term, difficult and full of medical interventions that I don’t want.
November 9, 2006 I had my second D&C, about 3 weeks after my first one. I had thought since I had already been through this once, I would feel a little less scared but I actually was more upset this time around. I was shaking so badly the anesthesiologist had to give me something to calm me down which ended up completely knocking me out prematurely. This means I actually have less memory of this experience than the first. They also had a hard time bringing me around after the surgery, probably because I was more drugged this time. Like last time, I was put in the same recovery area as those who had just had babies. My husband actually knew the couple next to us from work. They were with their new baby. We were still mourning the loss of ours.
Unfortunately, when I arrived home I passed A LOT more tissue. After trying frantically to reach the Dr., we finally reached another Dr. who told us to take a sample of what I passed to the hospital. So my husband had to leave me and drive in rush hour traffic back to the hospital. He was able to actually talk to the Dr. who did the procedure and was told it was, luckily, only a blood clot.
[The doctor] said that after the procedure he massaged my uterus to get it to contract and close and he said it must not have been done and a bunch of blood was up there and clotted and then came out when I got home.
I again had another issue with excessive bleeding and passing blood clots shortly before Thanksgiving so back to the Dr. I went and had yet another ultrasound. It was my last…finally.
On November 29, I wrote,
Maybe it’s over.
And it was…the physical aspect that is. The bleeding had finally come to an end right around that time and I felt like I was finally ready to emotionally heal.
Our baby, Shannon, is celebrated every year at his/her due date. This year (October 15, 2011) marks 5 years and 3 days since we found out and his/her 5th birthday would have been around April 22, 2012.