(Please be aware that the below post contains detailed information relating to my miscarriage)
I knew the word. I felt badly for people I knew who had miscarried. I couldn’t fathom how they must feel. I had certainly never thought about the logistics before. I guess you typically hear about spontaneous miscarriage – people discovering because they are cramping and their body is in the process of actively expelling the baby. Well here I was, going through a miscarriage and discovering I knew nothing about the process. I was in a different category than the ones I heard about before. I had a “missed” miscarriage. The embryo had failed to develop after a certain point, but my body hadn’t realized there was anything wrong, in a word, my body missed it.
While we were trying to process all of this on Friday, we also tried to figure out whether or not I would be up to going to a friends’ house for dinner on Saturday. The only reason we we were worried about this was we were going to meet their newborn and emotionally we thought this might be too much. This is hilarious in retrospect because there was no way physically I would’ve been capable of going to dinner that night. On Friday I was still in a fog, I didn’t get it, I didn’t understand what I was about to go through. However Saturday morning we canceled our plans and I went ahead and took the misoprostol.
Saturday morning I ran errands – I went to the store to get some snacks to have on hand. I rented some DVDs. I took the dogs on a walk. If you came across this post because you’re preparing for taking misoprostol, please take this advice – do not interact with other people on the day of. Those random little words that are said at check-out – “How are you today?” and “Have a nice day” – you can’t collapse and tell them life SUCKS, that this is one of the worst days for you – but it’s also so hard to smile and play along with the game. You just don’t have the energy to pretend. So you respond minimally, not saying anything that would invite questions, hoping that you can get back to the shelter of your home as soon as possible. The place where you don’t have to answer any questions and you don’t have to acknowledge the world around you. The cocoon of safety, of the ability to isolate yourself from the world around so you can focus on what’s about to happen and let yourself feel anything and everything.
At 9:30am I inserted 2 tablets internally. By noon I had some cramping but no bleeding. I went ahead and took 1 pain pill to ward off the pain to come. At 1:30pm I placed two more tablets internally. The cramping continued (akin to my heaviest day of my period and starting to get worse). I had expected something to happen by now, but it wasn’t until 4:15pm that I had any spotting.
Around 5:30pm my husband took one of our dogs on a walk. Ironically enough it was only 15 minutes later that the pain went from cramping to ow-ow-ow and continued to increase. At 6pm I took another pain pill and started to move around to help manage the pain – walking, sitting on my exercise ball, focused breathing, and more walking. The constant motion seemed to provide comfort to me – distraction mostly. The cramping was continuing to increase significantly. The breathing helped for awhile and then everything got worse. While I have not been in labor I would argue that one could call these small contractions. Around 6:30pm I was curled up on my bed crying, I couldn’t handle walking or breathing. I think the biggest thing to realize is that you don’t have any endorphins to help you out during this process. There isn’t happiness waiting at the other end of this. There are minutes when the pain is so bad you just want it all to end and you don’t understand how anyone could ever go through this. You question whether or not you will be able to make it through childbirth eventually if this is what it feels like at only 12 weeks.
My husband came back during this time and asked what he could do. The answer was simply to sit next to me and be there. Hold my hand, touch my back, just be present. He also convinced me to take another pain pill – I argued against it. It’s amazing how much I fought taking the pain meds during this whole process. Part of it could be the fact that I had spent so many months weaning myself off prescription pain meds (for migraines) and keeping my body completely free of any drugs (prescription and over the counter) that now taking medication again just seemed WRONG. I wasn’t supposed to be allowed to take any pain meds, this wasn’t supposed to be okay. I was mad. In any case, I’m now grateful. It was time to take medication, it was time to use the aid of medicine to make this process easier.
Someone asked me to quantify the pain – was it the worst pain in my life? It was hard to answer – it was a very different pain. The headaches I get with my migraines are dull aches with sharp twinges. They hurt, but there’s a way to manage it to some degree, a way to make it hurt less. Sometimes they last for several days. Sometimes I’m laid up in bed and just letting tears stream down my cheeks because it hurts to move my face at all. This pain was different – it was sharp as a knife, it came in waves but never truly subsided, and the worst part was I didn’t know how long it was going to last. Was this the beginning of a six hour experience or would it be over in 30 minutes? In the end, the excruciating pain only lasted for about an hour. At 7:20pm, 10 hours after I took the first two pills, I felt a “burst” and blood just gushed out of me. A lot of blood. I was sitting on the toilet and it sounded like I was peeing – like I had been drinking tons of water and stuck in a car for five hours and only now getting a chance to use the bathroom. You never realize how much blood is truly in your uterus until it all starts to come out of you. I think that part terrified my husband the most – being told that the noise he just heard was all blood. For me, as soon as there was a burst the pain decreased significantly. I could breath normally, I could sit up straight. I stayed put for awhile to let more blood escape, but after a bit I got up and went back to sitting in bed.
Nothing other than blood came out during that episode. Based on reading I had done I expected that I might go through another set of this later on in the night. Nothing came. I was still cramping during the night, and took another pain pill at 11:30pm, but by Sunday morning the pain was completely at a normal level again. I was still cramping but nothing like before. Sunday was physically easy, and emotionally a day of tears. I had lost a lot of blood, but my little embryo, my little baby who nature determined wasn’t ready was still inside of me.