My Trip To The E.R Post-Miscarriage & What I've Learned From It
TRIGGER WARNING: In this blog post I talk about a traumatic trip to the emergency room, my miscarriage, blood, and I describe my pain in detail. If you have suffered a loss or feel this post could be triggering to you in any way, please do not read. I have posted a short/brief update on instagram that you are welcome to read instead.
Last night was the scariest night of my life, well so far that is. To make a long story short so I can tell you all of the important details, Kerry had to drive me to the emergency room at 9:30 at night because I was losing a lot of blood (vaginally) and the pain I was in, was some of the most intense pain I’ve felt in awhile. It may have been more intense than our first miscarriage… which honestly says a lot.
It started earlier in the afternoon, I realized that my bleeding was getting heavier. I was still bleeding from the miscarriage on Saturday but until this point in time it really hadn’t been heavy. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the bleeding was getting heavier and heavier and by 7 p.m. I had really painful cramps and pelvic pressure to match the heavy bleeding. I was starting to get concerned. Around 8 I called the midwife on call (my primary doctors office is a birth center) and she asked me about the extent of the bleeding, my pain level and how I was feeling. At this point I had filled 2-3 pads within 90 minutes and that was significantly different from how the blood flow had been. And it was continuing to get heavier and heavier. With the on-call midwife’s advice, I went to the nearest emergency room.
When we were 10-15 miles away from the hospital, I felt the bleeding get heavier as I was in the car. I knew what this feeling was like because I had felt it before, I had just passed something and whatever I passed, was going to be big in size. After we checked in, I ran to the bathroom. As I pulled down my pants I started to sob because this scene was all too familiar. The tissue that I passed was large, it looked a lot like the tissue I passed during my first miscarriage. From this point on, whenever I shifted or walked, I passed tissue.
Luckily there wasn’t a long wait so we were taken back to a private room in the E.R. They started an I.V to give me fluids, they did basic blood work, checked my blood counts to make sure I wasn’t losing too much blood and started the process of helping me.
Again, my blood flow continued to get heavier and heavier. I was working my way through my pads and I was nervous that I didn’t have enough backed up.
Shortly after getting settled into the room, they took me for an ultrasound. This is where I felt that I got worse.
When I got into the ultrasound room, I was told to undress form the waste down (most of us know this drill by now) but when I took off my pants, there was blood everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. I tried to undress right next to the bed so I could sit on the bed pad but (TMI WARNING) blood was just falling everywhere. The sight of this made me very uneasy. This was more blood than I had seen come out of my body… what was happening to me?
I started to sob uncontrollably because there was blood all over the floor, all over my legs, all over the bed and I couldn’t clean it up 1) I didn’t know where the towels or anything were in this room and 2) If I moved at all, more blood would fall on the floor. So I just sat there and cried. The ultrasound technician came in and helped me. She cleaned up the blood, offered me wet towels to clean myself off with, and made sure that I was okay before we did the ultrasound. She was honestly very kind and helpful to me in these moments.
The ultrasound showed tissue and blood clots (just as it did on Tuesday when I went in for my regular post-miscarriage follow-up) but everyone agreed that the bleeding was still heavier than the doctors would like to see… darker than I would like to see come out of my body.
When I got back from the ultrasound room, I was given pain medication. At first, that medication didn’t helps so I asked for something heavier because my pain was so intense. They would ask me “on a scale 1 - 10” and my pain was either a 10 or over, each time they asked. It was terrible. The stronger pain medication helped within minutes, finally I was almost pain-free. I still had pressure but it wasn't difficult to move or breathe with the mild pain.
We waited around for awhile until the E.R OB came to talk to us after seeing my blood work results, ultrasound results, and talking with his team. Basically, he could send me home with another dose of Cytotec to take or I could have a D & C but he did mention that he was uneasy and not comfortable about sending me home because the amount of blood that I was losing was becoming alarming so he made it clear that the D & C was the better option. I explained to him that with my previous losses and even this loss when we learned that we would miscarry again, the reason why I didn’t choose a D & C was because of the cost - even with insurance. He said that he understood that and that they could do the D & C in that triage room instead of the operating room and that would save a lot on costs. Instead of being put under a general anesthesia, I would be put under local using heavy pain medication, anti-anxiety medications all by I.V so they would work fairly quickly. After talking about the risks of doing that, we chose to move forward.
I was shaking with nerves, I had never had a procedure before. I was still passing a lot of tissue and now I was out of pads and had been using the pads that they offer which were thin and short. I had to constantly change the pad. Blood was getting on my clothes, I was uncomfortable to say the least. The doctors were all great, explained how this would work, explained how I would feel on the medication, etc. Once they set up, we got started pretty quickly. Kerry stood next to me and held my hand the whole time. The medications that they gave me made me feel drowsy and very out of it. For the most part, I felt no pain. I did feel pressure and cramping when they were doing the actual procedure but honestly, it was no where as painful as the natural pain I had been feeling for the last many hours.
We were finally able to leave the hospital and go home around 4 a.m. It was a long, long 6 hour stay. We were emotionally drained, stressed, and heartbroken over what we were having to go through. I know that it was really hard for Kerry to see me in a hospital bed, in pain, hooked up to I.V and EKG machines.
I was pretty loopy from all the drugs so when we got home, we went straight to bed. Today we have been taking naps and recovering the best we can.
What we learned about miscarriage care at our hospital(s)
I can’t stop thinking about my hospital stay for a few reasons but one of the main reasons being, the hospital is so unprepared for miscarriage. You read that right - a hospital was unprepared. I had to explain to nurses, doctors and the ultrasound technician how terrible miscarriage was because they were under the assumption that it was “just a heavy period” and I told them like it is, it’s not like that one bit. I’ve said that once, I’ll say it again.
Another thing, related to not knowing what miscarriage is like, when I described my blood clotting they didn’t seem to understand how large the clots were, how painful they were, how they were just flowing out of my body. I had a miscarriage before this, I knew what that one was like and the miscarriage that I experienced on Saturday felt similar. I didn’t have this many blood clots during that miscarriage, so what was going on?
They didn’t have any adult diapers and heavy duty pads available and this makes me think - when you go into labor and give birth - is all they give you mesh underwear and cheap pads? Because that’s terrible. When we miscarried the first time, I shared in a blog post that one of the things that made my recovery the easiest was adult diapers and I still stick by that. I know I’m not the only woman to come to the E.R with heavy vaginal bleeding - what do they do? I brought my little pouch with diapers and pads in it but like I said earlier, I ran through them because I was bleeding so much. If I learned anything from this, is that I should have brought many, many extras but to be honest - I was in a rush and didn’t even think of it.
This makes me feel so passionate about helping other women realize what items they need in a time like this and I can’t stop thinking about how I can help women prepare. So I hope that if you are reading this post, that you never have to take my advice, but if you do - adult diapers and pads. Keep tons of extras in a bag in your car just in case you have to go to the hospital or really, anywhere last minute.
I feel broken at the moment
I won’t sugarcoat this, I feel broken. Right now, I don’t know how I can keep going. I don’t know how I can keep trying when this could be the outcome. I was in a great deal of pain, I was losing so much blood. I had traumatic blood scenes in the bathroom, in my pants, and I couldn’t escape it. Miscarriage has traumatized me before but this was a whole new level. While we were in the hospital I started to cry uncontrollably to Kerry. All I wanted was this baby, I wanted this to be our rainbow baby. I didn’t want to lose this baby but here I was suffering through this loss. I felt powerless, weak and fearful. Will I ever have a successful pregnancy? Will I ever get to experience the joy of pregnancy? What if I have a third miscarriage? A fourth? I just can’t do it.
I obviously stayed home from work today and will stay home tomorrow. Since the D & C my bleeding is pretty minimal and i’ve been on pain meds so I really don’t know about the pain but I need a few days. This loss has taken a lot out of me, it’s really taken so much. This grief is so much different than the first go at this, not to mention I hate that I have two miscarriages to compare and contract.
For now, we heal and we try our best to keep moving forward. We are still going to continue with testing. They did collect tissue from the procedure yesterday and plan on testing it - they said they are testing it make sure its fetal tissue. I’m assuming that means that they will have information about the baby, so we are struggling with not wanting to know those results. But that could be a whole other story.
Thanks for all your support you guys, you mean the world to me. Seriously!