Monday, October 31, 2011

To the tech who performed my ultrasound . . .

Might I give you a few pointers that may prevent future patients having to undergo the horrific ultrasound experience I had today.

First of all - smile! If a woman isn't visibly pregnant and looks like she may pop (or hell, even if she is) an ultrasound is an experience that creates anxiety in everyone.  When you call the patients name, do it with a smile.  It will immediately make your patient feel more comfortable.

2. When reading the patients history, and confirming the ultrasound is for a miscarriage, have some compassion and empathy in your voice.  This isn't a dental cleaning we are talking about here!  Most of the time bringing up the miscarriage and any questions relating to it will also bring tears.  Being a cold-hearted bitch just adds to the hurt bottled up inside.

3. While performing the external ultrasound be gentle.  Understand that your patients bladder is full and she knows there is no baby inside.  Pushing down with all your might without even acknowledging the discomfort she is in shows no heart.  (See number 3 regarding compassion and empathy).

4. While performing the internal ultrasound, be gentle.  If you have never taken misoprostal to induce a miscarriage you may not understand the cramping and pain that your patient has undergone in the last few days.  She probably wishes you never have to experience this pain. When shoving the dildo-cam up her Queen Victoria and jamming (yes jamming) it into her nether regions, know that her uterus is still cramping.  When she is laying on your table, wincing in pain with tears in her eyes, a reassuring comment, or a friendly smile would do wonders.  Also know that she has had a couple of these ultrasounds recently and she knows how they should feel.  Never once has it brought on immediate pain like yours has today.  Perhaps you can re-evaluate your technique? (Once again, read number 3 re: empathy and compassion)

I know there are staff in your clinic who know what empathy and compassion are.  Perhaps you can take a few pointers from them.  I understand you may have been having a bad day, we all have those, however if necessary be fake, smile and BE GENTLE. 


Finding Strength

Today I am having a difficult time finding strength.  I have been having some horrible cramps over the weekend - something I didn't think I would have this long.  My back also has been aching a lot.  Emotionally I am drained.  I go today for another ultrasound to see if everything has passed.  I'm frightened that it may not be and I may have to undergo a D and C once again.

Funny things about ultrasounds, when you are pregnant you pray they find something.  Sitting in a waiting room with a full bladder is torture, however, the prospect of seeing a baby and a beating heart makes it worth while.  Today, I'll sit in pain with a full bladder in a waiting room full of pregnant ladies, praying they see an empty uterus.  Just doesn't seem fair does it?

It's Halloween today. A time of year I usually enjoy.  Today the prospect of Trick-or-treaters coming to my door seems daunting.  I've yet to get a pumpkin, let alone carve it, or buy candy.  I guess I'll wait and see what today's Dr's appointment reveals to see if I'll participate in the festivities this year or not.  I'm sure our neighborhood kids will understand this one year right?

On another note it is very exciting to see the number of people who have viewed my blog since re-activating it.  Please leave comments in the comment sections! I would love to hear from some of the people looking at the site!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Its funny how mundane routines like showering, going through Tim Horton's drive through, or walks in the woods can be healing and comforting - a reminder that life can, and does, go on. Having the strength to wash my hair, get dressed and leave the house before noon gives me hope that, in time,  I will have the strength to get back to the more complex routines and responsibilities like work, when all is said and done.

However, underneath the guise of clean clothes and pony-tail are large granny panties and a super-absorbent pad - reminding me that all is not over yet and I still have healing to do.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Words of comfort

Funny how in a time like this people want to say things to make me feel better - but in reality, they are trying to make themselves feel better.  It is human nature, when someone is hurting, to say something to make the hurt go away - as if by saying something you have done your part.  Things are better now and the relationship as it once was, can go on.  It isn't that easy.  Sometimes when one is hurting, you don't want to be consoled, being consoled makes you feel as though it isn't okay to hurt, or to be sad.  That you are wrong to have these feelings.  Sometimes the best words of advice are nothing.  Or, as my dad said after the first miscarriage, Shit!  Yup - that simply sums it up...shit! Sometimes there is nothing more needed.

Words like "you are strong" "I am sorry" "If you need anything . . ." "you will be a mom one day" are fine and appreciated, don't get me wrong, but allowing someone to feel the pain they need to feel - now that's consoling. Allowing a person to be sad and validating their right to be sad is much more appreciative and shows a deeper understanding of what the person is going through.

Miscarriages are hard and awkward.  Unless you have been down the same path, you have no idea how it feels. As in all things in life, each one is probably different as well.  How one person deals and copes is different than how another person would.  Having 2 - well... there are no words to accurately describe how I feel right now. I am strong - yes I know this.  I will survive - of course I will.  Am I sad...hell yes! Please allow me to feel the things I need to feel.

Our Journey...

Well a lot has happened since I started this blog - since it didn't really have a purpose before, I will give it one now.  Dealing with a second miscarriage since June, I will use this space to track our fertility adventure and hopefully obtain some peace with the process as we try and wait for a baby.

It all started back in April 2010 - we decided that we were going to finally start trying for a family.  Having not been on birth control for over 4 years, we thought the process would be easy.  Unsheathe the Johnson and have fun!  Well a few months later, when nothing was happening, I started to track my cycles and I realized that there were never the same.  Some months were 28 days, others 21 all with spotting.  After doing a bit of 'Google' research, I realized that this wasn't normal and that it could indicate a hormone problem.  I booked an appointment with my family Dr (who was a nimrod) and thought I would get to the bottom of it all.  Well, Dr. Nimrod said that to stop the spotting, I needed to go on birth control.  He didn't really see the reason why I was in his office.  I told him that I wanted my hormones checked and  a referral to a specialist.  We had 'technically' been trying for only a few months, but given the length of time we were off Birth Control, I lied.  BEST THING EVER! I was given this advice my a friend going through the same crap - and let me tell you, if you are in the same boat...lie! The wait lists are so long, and the journey is so rough...they don't need to know the truth!

So Dr. Nimrod sent me for tests - but didn't tell me when to go (ie what part of my cycles etc). So I ended up going right away which was the wrong time to go. But he also referred me to the local Fertility clinic.  My appointment was set for February.  I knew, that with 8 months until the appointment, we wouldn't need to go - that we would be successful by then. For sure! Having the appointment was a mere back-up.

Skip a head a few months, nothing has happened and we are now actively trying all the time.  I decide to see a Naturopath specializing in infertility.  I figure maybe we can go the holistic route and have success before the Fertility appointment.  She confirms my belief that I have a hormone imbalance and I start acupuncture therapy and   vitamin therapy  to boost my hormone levels.  We had 1 or 2 months of 28 day cycles and no spotting! I figure it was a success!

Then I get pneumonia.  Horribly sick, in bed for a week.  Out goes all our 'trying' and it is right at the same time we are supposed to go to the Fertility Specialist.  That's okay - I didn't want to go anyways.  I wanted to give the holistic route more time.  I postpone the appointment.  We couldn't go anyways.  I had a fever of 103 and was in bed sick.

Skip ahead 4 months, we are now seeing the fertility specialist for our consultation appointment.  Is this really happening? It has been a year now since we have started trying (truly a year) and we haven't gotten anywhere.  So we go - she doesn't tell us much just that we need to do the testing.  Dr. Beaver-lady (extreme buck-teeth like a beaver) is as how all her reviews say, very cold, quiet and down to the point. So we wait for Aunt Flow to show up so I can start the investigation cycle. Just as anticipated, I start spotting on day 24 - just like most months.  I couldn't do any holistic treatments or acupuncture as she wanted a baseline.  Makes sense. I make the appointment with the clinic to start the testing and embrace myself for the journey ahead.  However, the day before my appointment, I realize the spotting hasn't gotten any heavier, and I am super tired.  I think that maybe, just maybe, I could be pregnant.  The morning I am supposed to go in for my first ultrasound to start the fertility testing, I take a HPT and it comes back POSITIVE!! I am in disbelief! We were pregnant - finally!  I call the clinic and say that we were pregnant but still had spotting.  They bring me in for blood work to confirm the HPT.  I go for 3 rounds of blood work every 48 hours and am put on progesterone supplements as my hormones were low (go figure! what I thought all along) and the spotting stops.

Starting this pregnancy with spotting was the most difficult thing that could have happened.  It made it so I couldn't rejoice in the pregnancy as I was worried the entire time I would see more blood.  Hubby and I were always at odds with one another as I was so anxious and scared.  At 6 weeks we went for an ultrasound and saw a heartbeat - however the dating was off by 5 days (I thought I was further than what the ultrasound had measured).  Everyone told me to relax - I just couldn't.  Also, at the same time, I find out a co-worker is pregnant as well. We are just days apart.  She gets hit by the pregnancy symptom train really hard - nausea, vomiting, the whole works. For me, I feel nauseous, but wonder if it is 'true' symptoms or if it is the effects of the progesterone.  I constantly compare my pregnancy to hers and wonder if things are okay.  In June, at 12 weeks I go for another ultrasound.  Thinking this will be the one that puts my fears at ease - only to find out that there was no heartbeat.  The fetus died at 9.5 weeks.  I had no spotting, no cramping, nothing to indicate I had lost the baby - only this lingering feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I then have to fight the medical system and take matters into my own hands in order to get medical help to bring on the miscarriage.  Waiting up to 6 weeks for my body to expel the pregnancy wasn't an option. I get the drugs to dilate my cervix and pass the fetus on my own.  What an ordeal.  I've never seen so much blood in my life!  After passing a mass of tissue, I think things should calm down, when contractions start.  Like I'm talking 10 out of 10 on pain scale contractions. Given my follow-up OB appointment was the next day, I just wait them out.  I go to the OB and she sends my for an ultrasound, only to find out that I have retained product and need an emergency D and C.  Off I go to surgery.  Hubby and I are so consumed with the physical elements of the miscarriage, I haven't even been able to deal with the emotional healing yet. 

I go back to work and put on a brave face.  I know that the pregnant co-worker feels guilty that they got pregnant so easily and without trying and here I am facing this monumental loss. Good thing summer is coming.

Summer was HARD.  Once I got through the regular school year, I had to face the daemons of what had happened.  My anxiety almost paralyzed me.  My heart would race every time I had a moment to myself. I felt I was in a perpetual state of a panic attack.  Good thing I had summer school to preoccupy myself for July.  In August, I undertook redoing the basement bathroom to help keep my mind off things.  Also, good friends got engaged and I jumped into helping plan their wedding.  Thinking about the loss was just too difficult.  Hubby and I continued on the TTC journey thinking we would use the miscarriage to jump start another pregnancy.  We tried, and tried - the way I thought of coping with this miscarriage was by getting pregnant right away! The OB says she sees it all the time so that would be my cure.  Each month as Aunt Flow came, I would be in tears.  Really? Again? We are doing this all over again?  Well finally my body shut down and for the 3rd time this year, I was flat on my back dealing with physical ailment - I had the worst bout of strep-throat in my life! For 3 days I was in bed.  Summer was coming to an end and I had to prepare for another school year.

September came and it was extremely hard to go back.  The pregnant co-worker was now very pregnant.  Everyone was rubbing her baby bump and talking all baby talk.  I just couldn't do it.  At one point, as she was battling nausea again, she told me that she will never say she enjoyed being pregnant.  I just looked at her and said "at least you ARE pregnant" and walked away.  I felt guilty for being rude - knowing that her comment was innocent, however I  wasn't the person to talk to about pregnancy symptom woes.  I wanted to be able to rejoice in her pregnancy with everyone else, but it was just too hard of a reminder of where I would have been.  I had decided that we would do our fertility testing this month - once I got Aunt Flow again.  I figured the months of not knowing what is wrong, needed to stop.  We needed some answers.  Hubby went and did his part by giving 2 samples, and I waited, and waited, and waited.  28 days later, no spotting, nothing!  Could this be? Again..right before we are about to start our investigation cycle, we get pregnant?  So I take a HPT and once again, it tests positive!  Amazing!  I was so happy.  Calm and happy.  No spotting - this is it!

I told hubby and we were so thrilled - cautiously happy - but thrilled nonetheless.  It was a miracle.  I go for my blood work and once again progesterone is low so I need supplements.  That's okay, it will all work out I told myself.  I really felt different this time around.

At 6 weeks I went for an ultrasound.  I was terrified.  Who wouldn't be after our last experience.  I prayed that everything was okay.  As I'm sitting on the table, the tech asks "are you sure of your dating?" Oh no - my hearts sinks, this can't be good.  After she is done she says that I am not as far as I thought and Dr. Beaver-lady would have the results.  We had up to her office and wait for an hour. This office is TINY and is FULL of pregnant women.  What away to make a woman feel great about herself.  So we see the Dr and she says that I should be over 6 weeks, but all they see is an empty sac measuring 5 days.  I am to go for another ultrasound in a week to see if there is change.  I am devastated.  Again?  Really? So I talk to friends and hear of stories where people go for an early ultrasound and it is too soon to tell. I gain hope - maybe it was just too early! I feel positive and others around give me hope that it isn't all doom and gloom yet.

The morning of the 2nd ultrasound I go to the washroom and see blood.  First time with this pregnancy.  I prepare for the worst.  Going into the ultrasound I am calm.  The tech tells me that she wont tell me anything and that I would have to wait to see the Dr for results.  I know what lies in store.  Hubby and I go again and wait in a room full of pregnant ladies, for the result.  Blighted Ovum.  2nd miscarriage in a row, but different type of miscarriage.  I ask if I am at risk for more, and she says that because they were different it is just 'bad luck'. 

So here I am, the morning after taking the drugs which are cleaning out my uterus as we speak.  Since we weren't that far along, we weren't as invested in this pregnancy.  Hubby certainly is very pragmatic and feels since there was no fetus, it is kinda just like a regular monthly period.  However, for me the pain is great.  I know we will get through this, but this journey seems to have already been so long ... and we are only just beginning...