Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The memories we keep- my SCH experience

I've found myself posting about my SCH on the forums a lot, relating my experience to others and reminding them that while it's terrifying most SCHs resolve with no issues. Not a guarantee, but some hope. I never know how much I should tell them though. I might tell them I bled until around 15 weeks, or I might tell them I literally poured blood while passing sludge and clots for weeks. I never relate the horror though. I wrote about it here, but I still didn't go in depth.

I want to share what happened. I think I'm finally ready to relate the horror in it's entirety; not just the PC version, or the short hand, but all of it. If you're squeamish, this is your exit.

I was happy, because two days prior we had confirmed that he was still alive. With arm buds (!) and leg buds (!). It had been an amazing experience hearing his heart beat and knowing we'd made it that far. I hadn't bled in awhile too, and I was starting to feel good about things- like this might be the one.

It started while eating dinner. I'd made enchiladas, and we were sitting at the couch watching "Doctor Who." As the episode unfolded, I begin to feel pressure building, until sitting became uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what was going on, I tried to ignore it, but I knew something was wrong. I finally grimaced, set my plate aside and got up, then limped to the stairs. Walking up the stairs was difficult, and the pressure kept building. When I got to the bathroom I sat down, and saw to my horror that I was covered in vibrant red blood, I threw my underwear straight in the trash and called out to A. I shook, I screamed and cried, "Not again!"

I didn't go to the ER because I thought that they could save him, I knew there was nothing they could do. I don't think the staff there ever grasped that. I needed them to check my hemoglobin (because of the Lovenox) and then...since I assumed the worst, having been here enough times, I wanted them to collect him for testing. It feels clinical to type that, but while we knew we would never try again, I still wanted answers damn it. I needed to know if it was me, or it was him, that went wrong. Well, we know now that it's me. It's always been me. I never really had any doubt, but I needed confirmation. I needed closure.

I told the receptionist that I couldn't sit in the waiting room chairs because I'd already bled through my pad during the car ride. She ignored me, I was just another miscarrying waste of time since there was nothing they could do, so I stood outside triage and waited. I had rushed from my house in my desperation for answers; I didn't have any pads at home anyway, just tampons. I didn't have any cash to go into the bathroom to buy an emergency pad, and she didn't offer me any help. She huffed and came over with a wheel chair and told me to sit, like I was an idiot.

I was whisked through triage, asked over and over why I was on Lovenox, what clotting disorders I had, why I was there. When I got to the room I was told to disrobe and sit down, that's where things got scary. I took off my underwear and blood literally gushed down my legs. I'll never forget how hot it was. The way it burned running down my legs. The way it splattered on the floor, dripping a path to the hospital bed. I think that's when the nurses realized I wasn't just "bleeding."

They finally brought me a bed pad, and helped settle me in. I had an IV, and they ran tests to make sure I didn't need a transfusion. When the doctor did the internal exam they removed a lodged piece of something near my cervix; I don't know if it was tissue or leftover Crionone buildup, but when he removed it the pressure went with it. Blood poured out, rushing onto the floor, and covering it. The doctor rolled his chair back quickly, avoiding the splash. He collected the blob for testing, and set it on the table next to me. I looked at the floor and saw a huge puddle of blood. By this point, we had all given up hope.

I was bawling my eyes out, and I remember telling A over and over, "I am never doing this again. Never. Never. Never. I can't do this again." I held his hand, and I shook with both the emotional grief and the physical pain from the cramps. They added some morphine to my IV for the pain.

We were wheeled down to the ultrasound room, where they did an abdominal scan (not wanting to do an internal with the bleeding). And there he was... heart beating fiercely, moving ever so slightly. I went between relief and horror. Relief because, my god he was still alive. Horror because I didn't know for how long.

How could anything survive this?

So the bed rest began. I saw Dr. J the next morning, and V was still alive. She tried to tell me that she's seen worse, that SCHs are not uncommon, that I am at higher risk, that it happens.

A week went by, and I continued to bleed, although not to that same extent. We came back, and he was still  alive. Three days later, I was in bed watching "Labyrinth," eating dinner. Why always at dinner? Ugh. I felt some pressure, and started bleeding heavier. Within 30 minutes I had filled up my heavy overnight pad, then in another 30 minutes the same. I felt dizzy and faint, nauseous, and A demanded we go back to the ER. I did not want to go.

At the ER I passed huge clots, and bled more. I was shaky. The cramps were intense, and my uterus felt on fire. I was in so much pain that time. My hemoglobin was fine though and V was still alive, somehow. They sent me home with pain killers. The next morning I saw Dr. J, and I was in a lot of pain. I had trouble sitting, moving, my uterus felt shredded, like a knife had twisted in it and ripped it apart. V was still alive, and the tear in my lining had doubled in size so that it was bigger than V.

The next few weeks I bled more off and on, but it was mostly brown sludge with little clots. I was told over and over that it was good, it meant that the clot was breaking down, that it was healing. It took about 6 weeks from the last episode before I finally stopped bleeding. I didn't get off bed rest until 18wks, and pelvic rest until 21wks.

I feel like, and I'm sure other people think, that I should be over this. The outcome was positive, I endured and V survived. What more could I want?

But... there's always that but. That experience was  more horrifying in some ways than my miscarriages were. My miscarriages were bad, and the outcome has left marks on my heart that will never leave me, but the physical experience itself? I'm not sure which was worse- my second miscarriage or V's pregnancy. I still look back in horror. I still remember the sensations, the feel of the blood on my skin. How did anything survive that? I don't understand. I never will.

When people say they're pregnant and bleeding, I want to console them. I want to tell them that anything is possible. I do believe it is, but at the same time I had bleeding with all four of my pregnancies and only one survived. The one I bled the most with. The one that went on and on. The one where I had issue after issue. Still, statistically what are the odds? Reality and hope don't always offer the same comfort. I don't believe in offering false hope, but I know now that stranger things have happened. Who am I to deny that improbability is often mislabeled as impossibility?

SCHs can cause miscarriages, but they often don't. I know women who have lost to them. I've seen women who've made it through. I've seen lingering ones that last until delivery, causing issues until the very end. Mine was one of the worst cases I've seen, but not the worst by far. For something so relatively common, I find it mind numbing at times how wide the variation in severity.

And here's the thing: I'm at high risk of this happening again. I knowingly am opening myself to this possibility again. Dr. J, and Dr. M, they tell me it's probably inevitable. But that hopefully next time it'll be less severe. Hopefully... that's the best we can do.

SCHs are more common in patients who undergo fertility treatments. Check.
Women who suffer recurrent miscarriages. Check.
Who have clotting disorders. Check.
Who use Lovenox. Check.
Who've suffered them before... well, Check.

That's assuming we can even get me pregnant, right? One thing at a time. There is a chance I might get lucky, I might not have any issues. It's possible... not probable, but I'm not going to worry over the semantics of all that. It'll either happen, or it won't. Just like I'll either get pregnant, or I won't. It's all in the luck of the draw.

If you've made it this far, thank you. I never told our families what really happened, I never posted the dirty truth of it on the forums, not the whole story here, and besides A... I just needed to put it out there. Maybe it'll help someone. Maybe it'll shed some clarity on the drama within me. I don't know.

But thank you just the same.


An Aspiring Mom-To-Be said...

I'm glad you decided to share. Uh. That was torture for you to go through. I had some bleeding at the beginning of this pregnancy, but nowhere NEAR what went on with you. My little bit was absolutely terrifying, I can't even imagine going through this. And reminded of what a miracle V is!

You continue to be in my thoughts. Hoping, hoping for another viable pregnancy and that MAYBE you are able to defy the odds and not have to experience these things again.

The Steadfast Warrior said...

I get probably a fraction of that experience from my second miscarriage when the misoprostol caused me to haemorrhage so badly I had to go to the ER. It's terrifying! But to go back and forth between okay and then not and still wondering if the baby will survive? It must have been torture and I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I can only hope that you don't have that same experience with another pregnancy (I'm going to be hopeful for you here :) ) said...

I am so sorry for the a$$hats who didn't take care of you upon entering the ER. I cannot imagine living in that in-between place for WEEKS!!! I hope you never have to experience anything similar ever again!! (The SCH/bleeding/losses)

Jennifer said...

That was really hard to read. I'm so glad that your LO survived, but I'm sure you must have PTSD over it.

Celia said...

It is normal to still be so emotional about this. My husband and I are still very traumatized from our first miscarriage. Because we found out something was wrong after the most amazing sex ever. That was lubricated by a "Carrie" level amount of blood. It was everywhere, all over the lower half of both of us. I just laid in bed and wept while my asshole dr told me it was normal. Except it wasn't.

It permanently changed our sex life. It was just so horrible. Even though I know it would have happened no matter what, how it happened was just so terrible. I put it on my blog but I had to do it in two parts because it was just so hard to write about. And the actual miscarriage itself took forever. WEEKS. I should have had a DnC but I was too incoherent to advocate for myself.

We had some bleeding with both peter and James, but nothing major. Just enough to give us flashbacks.

AnotherDreamer said...

ASMTB: Thank you for your well wishes and thoughts!

Steadfast Warrior: I can't imagine the hemorrhaging related to the misoprostol, then the loss. With my second the blood wasn't as bad as the contractions, and it's hard to process either. It really sucks that any of us have to go through any of this.

Melissa: When it happened I was just so dejected I crawled into myself, but later I got so angry at the staff in the ER. The receptionist in particular, because she was just so detached and you could tell without a doubt that she wasn't taking me seriously. She knew I'd already lost three, and she just... didn't care. The further out I get, the angrier I get. Of course, there's no sense in getting angry, because it's been so long that there's nothing that I can do anymore anyway. Thank you for you wishes.

Jennifer: I think I might, I know I did after our second miscarriage. Maybe mild, but I certainly had flashbacks. With what happened with V, it seems the further out I get the more I'm processing and remembering. I mean you'd think the memory would fade more, but instead it gets clearer.

Celia: I can't imagine having an experience like that, but I can see how it would be traumatizing. Some of our episodes of bleeding (with the earlier losses) came the day after we did the deed, and that turned us off that during pregnancy in the future, but nothing ever started during. I'm so sorry you went through that!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine going through all you went through. I mean, I understand it, but EMOTIONALLY ... it's no wonder you are traumatized and it's amazing you have the strength to try again.

In my dream scenario, we would have three kids. There are several reasons why this one will be the last, though. Our age, PCOS, we've run out of fertility insurance coverage are the biggies. And although I do dream of three kiddos, in my heart, I am so glad we are done and this chapter will close soon.

It's not just the physical damage, it's the emotional and mental trauma. I'll be praying for you guys that your dreams come true on this try and your pregnancy is completely boring and uneventful.

Just the way it should be. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh. Oh my gosh. I had NO idea. I mean, I knew you have gone through some intense craziness... but this was beyond my comprehension. I am SO GLAD that V is here!!! He is a miracle!!! My best friend has MTHFR and just had her 4th miscarriage in 4 years, and I always think back to you and all you've been through... where you've come and what you've overcome. Thanks for sharing your journey, it truly helps a LOT of us.

Infertile Minnesota said...

What a horrific ordeal you went through. My blood boils when I hear the way the receptionist at the ER treated you. Thank you for sharing your story. You will be in my prayers!