WARNING: this post is not for the faint of heart. You should not read it if you are 1. a coworker who may already think I come on a little too strong or just doesn’t want to know a LOT about me personally 2. a client or prospective client who wants to see my professional side 3. anyone who doesn’t like to keep it really, really real and just wants me to be all professional and stuff. 4. one of my haters (yes, I have a few. If you are among them, you can please fsck off right now. This is not for you.) Many would say that, professionally, I should not publish this. I have my reasons, and the biggest one is a belief that I owe it to other women to share a horrific experience that I don’t want them to ever have to go through. Also, more selfishly, I have never talked about this and think it is really healthy to do so. There’s a secret club out there of so many women who have suffered through miscarriage and never talk about it until they know you are in the club, too; it’s time for us to come out and support each other. Or at least for me to offer my advice, support, and prayers for you.
Allright if you’ve made it through that warning and are still here, God bless you, I love you and thank you for your support. First off, I have to say God bless my mother in heaven, who had THREE miscarriages and a STILLBIRTH before she had the perseverance to have my two older brothers and me. I cannot imagine how strong she must have been. Then, I have to say how incredibly grateful and blessed I am to have my wonderful son, Griffin, and how much my heart bleeds for women who want to have children but cannot, including one of my very best friends. Believe me, I know how lucky I am.
Oooooookay then. Finally. Here’s my story…
My son was born five and a half years ago. I am often asked why we only have one child, and every single time, it shatters my heart all over again. (So, uh, think twice before you ask people that question, K?) We, like many couples, envisioned having two children. I would have been delighted whether the second was a girl or a boy. But, the girl had a name, and her name was to be Grace. Griffin and Grace…that was the plan. Sadly, plans don’t always go how we want them to.
Just over two and a half years ago, in the summertime, I found out I was pregnant for the second time. I was, of course, delighted. Exhausted and sick as hell, but delighted. They gave me the big binder on healthy pregnancy, scheduled my ultrasound for the next week, and sent me on my happy way to tell my husband and son that we were having another baby.
They had suspected a possible miscarriage the summer before, but it was so early in the pregnancy that they couldn’t be sure. Basically, while trying not to be TOO disgusting (and failing royally at that), some tissue had fallen out of me into the toilet that looked like it might be a very small person. OK, that’s so disgusting that it’s making me laugh…stay with me here…so, uh, they wanted the ultrasound to happen right away. At 39 I was no spring chicken, and at 53, neither was my husband. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
They did the ultrasound. And the heartbeat we were so anxious to see…wasn’t there. There was a well-developed amniotic sack…with nothing visible in it. They said there was a 90%+ chance that I had miscarried, but we’d wait another week to be sure. Try going to work every day with a smile on your face knowing that you probably have a dead baby inside of you…awesome. A week passed miserably, they repeated the ultrasound…still nothing. Definite miscarriage-in-the-making.
After my sobbing subsided a little, they gave me three choices: 1. wait for the miscarriage to complete itself on its own, which could take weeks or months. In other words, keep going to work every day with a fake smile on your face, knowing that you have a dead baby inside of you that might choose to come out at any time. Mmmm…no. No thanks. Not a great option. What else you got? 2. Have D&C surgery. Mmmm…I get massively sick from anesthesia. What else you got? 3. Take a drug called Misoprostol, aka “the abortion pill”. This will cause you to miscarry at home. From my vantage point now, I don’t know WTF I was thinking at the time, except probably just wanting to be curled up, at home, in the (irony) fetal position. I chose option three, the Misoprostol.
I scheduled some time off work, picked “the day”, and crammed some tablets up my vagina periodically as instructed, every few hours. (“Not now, Griffin…mommy is busy…”) It took seemingly forever, but I started cramping and, uh, “stuff” started coming out. I’ll actually spare you the details of that…suffice it to say that it was long and protracted and disgusting and painful and heartbreaking and there are no existing words that can describe it.
When that part was done, I started bleeding. Profusely. Like, WTF am I doing at home right now, why would they let me do this here, profusely. Soaking through pads in a matter of seconds. It was evening. I called my doctor’s office, and there was no one available to talk to me. Umm…I kinda think I’m bleeding out here…”we’ll have the doctor call you back.” Yes, thanks, that’d be swell. I called my friend and asked her to come over right away and watch Griffin so we could go to the E.R. The doctor called me back, and said yes, yes, that would be the right thing to do about now. And just as my friend arrived…the bleeding stopped.
OK, it’s over. Except, it’s not. Not everything came out. So I kept bleeding, and ended up having to go in a week later for the D&C surgery that I should have had in the first place. I had to give the hospital permission to bury my baby’s (I am sorry, I cannot bring myself to call her a fetus, and if you do I will punch you in the face) remains in a cemetery. And they gave me this, which still makes me sob, two and a half years later, every time I see it.
I have no way of knowing, of course, whether that baby would have been a boy or a girl, but in my heart, I know that was my Grace. This experience was so devastating, I was never strong enough to bounce back to the point where I wanted to try again. I wish to God I had been as strong as my mother was. So, we’ve never really tried, and we’ve never really tried not to.
And now, as I write this, I’m 42, and my husband is about to turn a very young 56. I’ve bounced back to the point where we could try again, but pregnancies at our age are risky and very unlikely to succeed. That doesn’t mean I am not open to it…I would be thrilled.
The moral of the story…if, God forbid, you are ever presented with this choice, and I pray to God that you never are, I would strongly encourage you to just have the D&C and move on. Misoprostol sucks beyond expression.
This Mother’s Day, God bless all Mothers…and all who want to be. In my view, if you ever had a baby inside of you, then you are a Mother.
Thank you for listening. Please share your experiences here if you’d like to talk about them and get some support.