Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Miscarriage

The past week has been quite an experience for both James and I.  I am taking my time to write this in hope that it may help others find some comfort when going through the same hardships as we have.  I personally found a bit of comfort in hearing from others about their experiences as well.  It makes you feel less alone when facing something as difficult as a miscarriage.


A week ago, on December 15th I had a regular scheduled doctor appointment to check on the progress of our baby.  James met me at the doctor's office.  We were happy and excited because we were anticipating hearing the heartbeat.  James joked with me and said that he was going to make our doctor guess what the gender of the baby was based on the heartbeat.

The doctor came in and began trying to find the heartbeat.  She told us that sometimes you can't hear it due to the baby's position and such and said that it wasn't uncommon.  She tried for a minute or two with no luck.  She then decided that she would do an ultrasound to check the baby.  At our first appointment we were able to see the little heart beat so we figured it'd be the same sort of thing.  James stood behind the doctor as she was looking.  The computer was faced away from me so I couldn't see what they were seeing.  James had a look of confusion on his face.  The doctor then told us that she couldn't find the heartbeat because the baby didn't have a heartbeat.  According to the size, it appeared that the baby had died around 9 1/2 weeks.  The heart had stopped beating and growth had stopped at that point.

I had that horrible sinking feeling through my entire body when this news was presented to us.  I was numb for a minute, maybe shocked.  The doctor told us she'd give us a minute and then she'd discuss our options from here.  As soon as she left the room I burst into tears.  James held me and we cried together.  That was the moment that I knew how much I really did have a connection with the baby growing inside of me, whether I knew it before or not.

When the doctor came back in, I was still sobbing and could barely pay attention to what she was telling us.  She told us that we have 3 options.  The first was to let my body take care of everything on it's own, without any help.  This could take weeks and with me being at 12 weeks at the appointment and the baby already being dead for approximately 2 1/2 weeks, I was at greater risk for infection.  The second option was to be given pills that would force my body to start the miscarriage process.  She told us that the cramping could be painful and the bleeding would be bad.  The third and final option was to have a surgical procedure done, a D&C (which I later found out stands for dilation and curettage).  She explained that they'd go in and dilate my cervix and then use suction to remove all of the remaining tissues.  All of this is done while under general anesthesia.  She told us that she'd recommend the D&C.  There was less risk of infection and said that if we did the pills and they didn't clear everything out, we'd still end up having to do the D&C.

Now to make the decision.  I asked James what he thought.  He wasn't sure.  He told me that he honestly didn't hear a thing that the doctor had said.  He was in such shock still.  I trust my doctor and decided to do the surgery.  They could get me in the next day and told me that the hospital would call me later to let me know when to be there.

In the mean time, passing the news onto family was difficult.  There were a lot of tears and undeniable emotions.  If I could have had it my way, I probably wouldn't have said anything to anyone.  Probably not healthy, but talking about it in the moment was hard for me.  My 3 year old niece was so sad to hear that the baby didn't have a heartbeat.  She understood everything that was happening.  Smart little stinker.  She cried genuine tears with me.  It touched me to know that she cared so much.

Later Thursday evening the hospital called and told me to be there the following day at 12:30.  I couldn't have any food after midnight and nothing to drink after 7:00AM.  I woke up Friday morning and surprisingly felt OK.  Maybe just more numb than anything though.  James and I drove to the hospital in almost complete silence.  When we arrived, I check in and was told to wait at registration to go over my insurance and such.  We were called back and I was in for a huge surprise.  The woman that was going over everything with us was a bit cold.  One of the first things she asked me was "Are you pregnant?"  I almost immediately burst out crying.  She then told us that we needed to pay $1,300.00 right now for the surgery.  The $1,300.00 was what remained of my deductible that needed to be met.

We were in shock by this as the doctor told us that this would be something covered by insurance.  By her saying that, James and I both thought that we wouldn't have to pay this much out of pocket.  The woman assisting us called their finance department and had me talk directly to them.  The woman I spoke to explained to me that this procedure would cost $7,000.00!!  If that were the case, our responsible portion would be about $2,500!  Oh, and this is just the facility fees.  This doesn't include any fees from the doctor.  When all said and done, the surgical procedure would end up costing us just as much, if not more than it would to have a healthy baby. 

We felt this to be a slap in the face after all that we had been dealt in the past day.  We decided against the surgery and figured I'd talk to my doctor about doing the pills instead.  We left and I think I cried nearly the entire 20 minutes home.  I didn't (and still can't) understand why it would cost so much more to have something medically necessary done as opposed to have a healthy baby by choice.  I felt like I was being punished for something that I had no control over.  It was like pouring salt on an open wound.  I would have to deal with the loss of my baby and then still have to pay all sorts of money to have nothing in return but grief and pain.  When you have a baby and pay the charges, you at least have a squishy, cuddly little person smiling at you.

Later that afternoon, my doctor's assistant called me to figure out what we wanted to do from here.  She explained to me how the pills work.  They are inserted vaginally and cause the cervix to dilate and the uterus to contract to expel the tissues.  This is what I opted to do.  I scheduled my appointment for Monday and tried to enjoy my weekend.

I found that if I kept busy, that helped keep my mind off of things.  When I was just sitting with nothing to do, my eyes would well up with tears.  Even James just hugging me would make me start to cry.  On the bright side, I was able to get all of my Christmas shopping and wrapping totally complete.

Monday came around and again, James met me at the doctor's office.  The doctor came in and answered the millions of questions we had.  I was told what to expect, cramping and bleeding of course.  If the bleeding was consistently bad for more than four hours, then I'd have to go to the ER and have an emergency D&C done.  We kept our fingers crossed that wouldn't happen.  She then inserted 4 pills vaginally and gave me a prescription for Ibuprofen 800's.  I was also given a lab slip to go have blood drawn to check my HCG levels.  I have to continue getting my HCG levels checked until they are back to normal.  I feel like a human pin cushion these days.

The waiting game then began.  I had read that it could take up to 4 hours for the pills to start working.  About 2 hours after the pills were given to me, I started feeling some cramping.  Nothing too bad but I kept up on the Ibuprofen just in case they got unbearable.   I didn't start bleeding until about 11:00 that night, so about 7 hours after the pills were given.  I had the weirdest sort of feeling ever when it all started.  I literally felt my insides starting to move and in a hurry.  There was no stopping it or even time to get from a laying position to a sitting position.

The first hour or so I was in bathroom maybe every 15 minutes.  From here until the morning I was up and down about every 2 hours.  I passed a few larger clots, the first or second I thought was probably the baby and sack.  From there it was just smaller clots.  The bleeding tapered off throughout the day.  I felt pretty good.

I went into the doctor again yesterday, Thursday, for a follow up appointment where I had another ultrasound to see what, if anything was still left in my uterus.  The doctor did an exam and found some tissue stuck at my cervix that she had to remove.  She then did the ultrasound.  The sack and the baby had definitely passed.  She told me there there were still some tissue in my uterus and said that I could let it come out on its own or I could get more pills.  I chose to have more pills.  My first experience with them wasn't bad and I just wanted to hurry everything along so I can get back to my normal self.  I also had more blood work done to check my HCG levels. 

It seemed that the pills worked a lot quicker this time.  Within about an hour I started cramping, heavily.  Within the next hour I was bleeding, heavily.  The cramps were so bad.  The Ibuprofen wasn't even phasing them.  I passed so many clots this time.  I was actually getting a bit worried that I was hemorrhaging.  After about 4 hours of very heavy bleeding and passing large clots, everything subsided.  I'm now back to minimal bleeding and very few, if any cramps.

I go back to the doctor on Tuesday again for a follow up appointment and to have more blood drawn.  I'm very hopeful that this will be the end of the physical side of this.  I'm so ready to get back to my normal self.

I have talked a lot about the physical and medical side of things here but I think it's always nice to hear about that side of things too.  I didn't know what to expect with anything when I was faced with this.  If you haven't noticed by now, I'm the type of person that likes to know what to expect so I know how I will or should be able to handle the situation. 

That being said, I know I haven't touched too much on the emotional side of things to I'll share my thoughts and feelings as well.

Dealing with a miscarriage has by far been more of an emotional challenge to me than anything else.  I feel emotionally stable one moment and the next I'm crying uncontrollably.  I don't know how to change that and I don't know that I can.  I'm sure that my hormones are all over the place right now too so that doesn't help.

I find myself somewhat bitter or maybe just jealous to those that are pregnant or who have recently had babies.  I get an overwhelming sense of sadness when I see pregnant women or babies.  It also makes me so sad to think that we don't get to hold our baby in our arms.  It makes me angry that there are so many people out there that don't want to have a baby or won't take care of their kids.  We wanted a baby.  We would take care of our kid.  And this is what we get?  It just doesn't seem fair. 

I feel so helpless.  I didn't realize that in such a short period of time I could become so attached to something that I've never touched or seen.  It's so surreal.  There's not really much anyone can say or do to make me feel better.  I have felt a lot of comfort from having so many friends and family by my side.  I'm especially grateful for everyone at my office though.  They have stepped up to help me and take that load off my shoulders for a few days while I've needed the time to heal, physically and emotionally.

Another thing that has brought comfort to both James and I has been the friends that have come to us and shared their similar stories.  You don't hear much about those who experience miscarriages.  At first we felt alone, that there was nobody around us that could relate.  It's yet another one of those things that people don't seem to want to talk about.  Why not share your story if it will help someone else get through a difficult time?  So here I am sharing our story.  I hope that our story can help bring comfort to someone else going through the same things we have recently gone through.

The good news in all of this, my doctor says that many women that have miscarriages go one to have a healthy pregnancy with their next try.  She said that we can try again after 2 cycles so maybe come March we'll be good to go again.  I'm trying to keep a positive outlook on everything and continue to smile.  Oddly enough, the day that we found out I had miscarried, we had my work Christmas party.  We had Chinese food and the fortune cookie I chose seemed to be so fitting.  It said "Remember three months from today.  Your star will be shinning brightly".  Three months from that day will be March 15th.  We will see what the next several months of our lives will bring.  We will one day have our very own little baby to hold and cuddle.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing. I really liked reading your post and it was helpful to me. Gives me a good perspective on how another woman would feel reading mine. Sending you lots of love and light.

  2. Sending you lots of love. I am so sorry for your loss xxo