Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stuff and Things

Well, I have neglected this blog for quite a while, and mostly it's because the thing that has been filling my mind lately is something I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about. Partly because I'm trying real hard to be positive about stuff, and partly because I think I've gotten to the point where I have about even numbers of people I know in real life and people I've only met through Flickr and such reading this blog. But, this is sorta my journal, so here goes. This will most likely be too much information, and if words like "vaginal ultrasound" are something you don't want to hear, you might want to skip this one.

If things had gone differently, I'd have two babies right now, a couple of weeks old. Instead, I am in the  middle of what seems to be the longest miscarriage ever. I am mostly OK with what happened in December. I'm still sad, I don't know why things happened the way they did, but I'm at peace about it. It was hard and awful, but we survived, and are stronger for it. I'm sure I'll feel the same way about this in 8 months, but for now it is pretty hard.

So, back on July 6, my period was two days late. I did a test, which was negative, and then my period started that day. After ten days of bleeding, we were super worried. Like when I found out I was pregnant with Max, and when I got the positive pregnancy test last time. This time the test was positive. After the awfulness of the surgery and missed ectopic pregnancy last time, I had to find a new doctor. I spent all day calling doctors, asking friends for advice, and totally stressing out. I honestly was kinda mad. Scott & I had discussed just buying a Kaiser plan for me a few weeks before (so I could see my old doctor who I love), and decided not to. I really wanted to, but it's hard to justify choosing to spend an extra $3600 a year when you can have something similar for free. Eventually one of the offices I left a message for called me back, and I went in that afternoon. My new doctor was pretty amazed at how "educated" I was and my giant 3-ring binder with copies of all my records. At this visit we just did an hCG level. It came back at 228. This is so low, we were hoping that maybe I had already mostly miscarried, and this would be a short easy thing. Two days later it was 448, two days after that it was 584, then 3 days later (weekend) it was 1365. I had been talking to my doctor, and they kept saying that it was going up, and almost doubling appropriately, but things could go either way. I had my first ultrasound on July 23. The gestational sac was so small, that the ultrasound couldn't do it's calculation of gestational age--so it measured less than 4 weeks, and should have been 5 1/2. I told the ultrasound tech about last time, with having BOTH an ectopic and a uterine pregnancy, and he was so surprised--he said "so you're one in 50,000!" I had another ultrasound a week later on the 30th, and there was a visible yolk sac, but the gestational sac still only just measured 5 weeks (should have been 6 1/2). I had my next ultrasound two weeks later, on August 13. This time we confirmed that there is no baby--there is a growing mass of tissue, but it's not baby-shaped, there's no heartbeat, nothing. I have my next ultrasound Wednesday the 29th. Basically, all this time I have had the option to a) wait until my body figures out that this isn't a viable pregnancy, b) have a D & C, or c) use Cytotec to convince my body to finish miscarrying on my own. And I am choosing to wait. I can't even read that whole D & C link I put up there. I can't do that unless I'm going to die without it. And Cytotec has all kinds of labels about "DO NOT LET PREGNANT WOMEN EVEN LOOK AT THIS OR THEIR UTERUS WILL EXPLODE!!!" right on the bottle (it's used in animals for other things so I saw plenty of it at work), is used off-label and against the recommendations of the FDA for use in labor, so there's NO WAY I'm doing that.

So. I've been bleeding for 8 1/2 weeks. I've been weak and anemic and nauseous and having mood swings and hot flashes and my hair falling out like crazy for 8 weeks. I've known I am carrying a baby that died a long time ago, and I'm hoping for the painfulness that will mean that it's all over. Some days I feel pretty good, and wash some dishes or something, only to have to spend the rest of the day laying on the couch. It's hard to be ill when you're not laid up in bed, because most of the time you look alright. I've felt bad asking people for help, or accepting help, because I can probably make Mac & Cheese for my kids. I can probably function at 100% about 30% of the time, which is enough to pick my kids up from school and go to church, but not enough to vacuum or go grocery shopping. But I'm grateful for that. I try to do the best I can with the time I feel good every day. There are some days when I don't feel good at all, and I'm stuck in a fog of depression, and can't wait until Scott walks in so I can crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep in the fetal position. I've also been hoping against hope that maybe I haven't miscarried yet because the baby is OK, and all the doctors and ultrasound machines in the world are lame and wrong! But last night I finally gave up. I realized that I should be 11 weeks pregnant. I should have a sizable bump. I should be starting to feel little fluttery baby movements, which are one of the very best feelings in the whole world. And there's nothing there. No hard little mound on my belly, no wiggly baby. Just more waiting.

This is a great article on pregnancy and infant loss, with helpful hints of things to say and do (and not to say or do): Understanding and Supporting Pregnancy Loss: Do's and Do Not's