Tag Archives: Miscarriage Issues

Feeling Free, Feeling Good

After a considerably hard weekend, I decided to take two days off from work.  Sickness and pain were my nemeses and I had only one remedy: sleep.  I also made some dietary changes and limited my food to saltines and soup with the occasional sandwich.  For whatever reason, these switches have positively impacted my after miscarriage stuff. While I am still feeling slightly ill, the back pain is almost gone and my mind is just about free of fog.

It’s strange, really, to have these excessive emotional highs and lows–to go from hating life to feeling excited for tomorrow.  Hell, I’ll take the positives, they keep me going and my world incredibly interesting. Eh, I guess I can handle the lows if they make life exciting and this couldn’t be possible if there isn’t one (or two, or 10) sh***y day a week.  I know because my Guide to Life says so.

(What is my Guide to Life?  Well let me tell you.  Nah, I’ll just redirect you.) (This book is on a pedestal in my household and we read from it religiously.  RELIGIOUSLY I say.  It’s my replacement bible.)

(Speaking of the bible, Emily comes home singing new Christian songs that she has learned in preschool about once a week.  My favorite is God Is Great. She sings this every meal time while Ben and I sit and laugh.  It’s just so darn cute!  Also, she doesn’t like it if I try to change the lyrics to “Emily is great!” or something similar.  I guess she thinks I’m being cynical.  Where would she get that idea?)

ANYWAY.

If my life were a musical, I would be singing “The Hills Are Alive” or “Defying Gravity.” If only I could attach wires from my brain to the TV so my amazing thoughts could be transmitted to the BIG SCREEN.   Picture this:  Me, in a beautiful dress, singing and dancing my way through life.  It would be priceless.  And entertaining.  Mostly entertaining.

(Have I mentioned that Emily dances like a Hip Hop star?  I guess my regular Zumba work-outs HAVE taught her something.  Like how to shake her hips and booty.  I feel slightly guilty in encouraging her but, frankly, it’s hilarious to see my 3-year-old shaking her thing better than most pop stars do.)

AHEM.

I return to work today and I feel like doing some jumping jacks–I am THAT excited.

Is this what feeling free–from anger–is like?  If so, I really like it.

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Why Miscarriage Isn't Simple

In life, events have scripts.

After giving birth, a woman is pampered–she sleeps as much as possible, people bring meals, the boss expects her to take time off of work, etc.  People like to see the baby and are typically conscientious of what the mother needs.  In reality, all mothers and fathers know how those first few weeks are more exhausting than any other point, but the script is still available.

If a person experiences an unexpected death in their immediate family–spouse, parent, child, grandparent–concerned family members and friends surround them and provide food, cleaning, and whatever else they need.  They take time to grieve and people give them space to do so.

But if something happens that has no script, what do we do?

Take this miscarriage.

After I started bleeding, I went to work.  I figured that the harder I worked, the less I would think.  I ignored what was happening inside my body by focusing on things and people I could help. I accomplished what I set out to do: I successfully ignored the miscarriage, only thinking about it when I needed to share the news; however, it didn’t alleviate the physical pain or the increasing morning sickness.

The difficulty with a miscarriage lies in the ambiguity.  I enjoy research.  When something is happening in my life or in my immediate family’s life, I like to find out all I can so I am fully informed.  That way, when I meet with a physician, I can ask appropriate questions and answer their questions with specifics that will help with diagnosis.  I observe, I document, I form my own hypotheses, and I try to find the root cause–even if it means my opinions are wrong.  With a pregnancy loss, there are no specific answers.  There isn’t a FAQ sheet I can look at to make sure everything is going okay.

For example, my primary care physician sent me to the ER last Tuesday. I went, they did tests, and found what could be leftovers from the miscarriage.  They insinuated that I might have to have a D&C and encouraged me to make another appointment with my Primary physician.  I did, explaining that I was still feeling very ill and hurting as much as before.  He listened, patiently, and decided to talk with my Ob/Gyn to see what he suggests (as he is the specialist for this kind of thing). My Ob looked at the ER sheets, called back, and explained to the doctor that my hCG levels were very low and that a D&C at this point could do more harm than good. He then asked me to return to the office if I started feeling worse.

But what if I don’t feel any better?

At this point I feel resigned to not having any answers.  I would like to focus on healing, but where do I start? I didn’t have a live birth; instead, I bled and cramped until all the remnants of the primitive placenta and embryo were discharged.  So what is the script?

  • Should I take time off from work?  If so, how long?
  • When can I expect the “morning sickness” to go away?  If it doesn’t, what should I do?
  • How long will I cramp?  Will my back ever not hurt?
  • When can I start exercising again?  Should I have stopped?
  • Is mental confusion typical (i.e. fuzziness in the brain)?  What causes the mental confusion and how can I decrease the negative effects so I can work and parent again?
  • Where is the What to Expect When You Miscarry book?

For a research-minded person, like myself, this experience is incredibly vexing.  A doctor will be the first to admit that there is limited miscarriage research and the reasons behind recurrent miscarriages are almost impossible to detect.  I did everything I could think of doing when I had my second miscarriage.  My doctor and I discussed options, ordered blood work, and felt that this was only bad luck.  When I became pregnant the third (really fifth) time, I was put on progesterone, had weekly blood draws, and went through several ultrasounds.  After that miscarriage, Sue ordered more blood work and with great frustration exclaimed, “what is going on with your body?”  I felt so glad that someone, besides me, had these feelings.

Naturally, with this being my fourth, the irritation is mounting.  My Ob/Gyn called to make sure that I would be coming in so he could “figure out why you keep miscarrying.”

I’ve never really had the desire to write a book; weird, I know, for a blogger.  However, I am seriously considering collaborating with an obstetrician to write a go-to book for women that miscarry.  Maybe something good will come out of all these losses.

But the answers for my case may or may not be forthcoming.  I do know that I’m tired of this experience.  I would like to put it all behind me, but my body refuses to let go of whatever it is that is keeping the morning sickness alive.  So instead of moving forward, I am stuck in a place that I hate: ambiguity and bed rest.  I have to take time off of work because I can’t focus on anything.  I forget what I am saying mid-sentence.  I feel dizzy, nauseous, and in pain–like a clamp is stuck to my lower back, sending waves of pain whenever I move, sit, or do anything.

Sometimes I really want to sleep and not wake up.  At least the pain and sickness would disappear.

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I Blame My Hair

I remember when I was young and care-free.  I would wake up, work-out, shower, eat breakfast, blow-dry my hair, and all those other things to make myself beautiful.  I loved the mornings.  I didn’t like to get up, per se, but I did like the feeling of waking before the birds and completing tedious tasks long before I needed to set out to work or class.  I felt accomplished and I did my hair.  Every day.  No exceptions (ok, unless I didn’t wake up early).

Around the time of my third miscarriage, I had grown to hate that hair styling tool meant to blow dry my hair into beautiful locks.  It never did.  Instead, I would labor in front of the mirror getting sweatier by the minute, blowing that darned heat in the direction of the wet mop on my head and willing it to style my hair so I wouldn’t have to use the straightener.  Alas, my wavy tresses made that impossible.  And my kids made the task not only tedious but life-threatening as they attempted to touch the socket, grab the hot straightener, and cause all kinds of havoc with their sweet, little hands.

I decided to shower and work out at night.

Once we arrived in MO, and started medical school, things shifted yet again.  With Ben’s schedule changing weekly, there are nights he is at home and nights he is gone and no advanced warning as to which it will be.  It fully depends on his homework load and his studying pace.  As my love for mornings dwindled with each pregnancy, I have scorned the thought of getting up before my children.  Surely there would be opportunities to workout and shower at night.  But here we are, 2 months into our routine, and I still don’t have a routine.

Did any of you read NPR’s article entitled “Prioritizing Health or Hair?”  I am sure the idea in this–that women are choosing their locks over their health–caused quite a few guffaws from educated readers.  Unless they were moms.  I mean, who has time to exercise AND look beautiful?  When I actually find the energy to straighten my hair, do you really think I’m going to ruin it by exercising?  Heck no.

For many of you readers, you must remember me bemoaning the 20 lbs I gained from birth control.  I ditched the evil pill and am now contending with the extra weight.  Clearly I must decide between styling my hair and exercising–it’s one or the other folks.

I think I might go back to AM exercising.  My kids don’t wake up at night so I really don’t have an excuse for limited Z’s until I remember that IT’S THE MORNING.  Who wakes up just to sweat in the morning?

So I blame my hair for my extra weight.

Until I remember that I don’t do my hair, either.  Drat.

Heather has asked that we just write. So I did. You can too.

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