I mentioned in my TTC Update 2017: Miscarriage and Beyond post that I had a serious complication with my last miscarriage and I’ve been wanting to write out why and what happened. I’m not sure why I’ve put this post off for so long. Maybe the realization of how serious the whole experience was, still scares me. So much. No matter; I need to get the word out and let other women know who are TTC how serious too much blood loss can be while miscarrying.
I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s start at the beginning.
I’ve done this before, I got it
When I found out that I was having another missed miscarriage, I knew what I wanted to do. I didn’t want surgery and I didn’t want to wait for my body to decide it was time to miscarry. For me, it was just time; right then and there to get it done and over with. I waited 3 weeks with my last miscarriage and the waiting was horrible. Knowing I had a deceased fetus in my body was almost too much to bear day in and day out. I wanted to start the process as soon as possible and leave this horrible moment in the past. I didn’t feel like I could even start the grieving process while still going through it.
Evan still hadn’t come home from his deployment and I wasn’t sure he would so I filled my script for Misoprostol, which is a pill you insert vaginally to start a miscarriage, and went home. The plan was to start the next morning and hopefully have it done by midweek. I woke up the next morning on a Saturday and proceeded. It didn’t take long at all to get things started and I bled all morning and into the afternoon.
By late afternoon, I felt the need to push, so I went to the bathroom and did so. It was that moment when I knew I had most likely passed the baby and most of the tissue and even some of the placenta. Evan just happened to call just a few moments after so I laid in bed and cried to him on the phone. It was as horrible, sad, and hopeless as I have ever felt.
This is not normal
After, I think I fell sleep for awhile. When I awoke, I was still bleeding heavily. I went to the bathroom and became so dizzy and out of breath. Sweat came pouring off of me, despite feeling cold, so I went ahead and laid down on the floor. I kept thinking, “What the heck is going on?” and “This can’t be normal.” I can’t be sure but I think I passed out for a few moments. It felt like I was in trouble so I called 911. Even though I was alone, at least I could still get up to do that.
The Emergency Squad transported me to the hospital where they gave me some fluids and a medication to stop the bleeding. An ultrasound confirmed that I had passed everything … or so we thought.
It’s not over
Evan arrived home on Monday and I was asked by my OB to come in for another ultrasound. Tuesday morning, we arrived at my OB’s office and ultrasound showed that even after all that trauma on Saturday, I still had products of conception in my uterus. I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe it’s not over.” During my last miscarriage, though, I needed to take a second dose of the medication, too. So again, not a huge deal; I just wanted it to be done so badly.
We filled the script again and I went home. My doctor told me to take it that night and that I’d have another Ultrasound on Friday to once again check that everything was gone. I explained all that happen to me on Saturday. She was sure it wouldn’t happen again and because Evan was with me, she felt safe having me try it again.
My nightmare of a night
Once again I inserted the medication and it didn’t take long for the bleeding to come. This time, though, I had the worst pain with it. I felt like something was ripping me apart inside. Pain is normal they say, so despite being extremely uncomfortable, I just took it. Another extreme side effect: I had to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so for 4 hours and release these giant blood clots. I thought it was strange but maybe it was the end and my body was just getting rid of everything.
At around midnight, I became very, very sleepy and I just wanted to sleep. Before falling asleep, Evan and I discussed being concerned about the amount of blood I was losing. They had given me a pill to stop the bleeding, just in case, and I briefly considered taking it. Ultimately, I decided to just let it finish, though; that’s how eager I was to get it over with.
There goes my consciousness
At around 2 pm, I suddenly felt like I was swimming in blood and I realized I had bled through the super-jumbo pad I was wearing. Instinctively, I jump out of bed and run to the bathroom calling to Evan, “I’m bleeding all over the bed!” I get to the toilet and pull down my pants and sit. Suddenly, I start breathing hard and feel like I’m going to pass out. I remember starting to make myself drop to the ground to lay down like I did on Saturday but unfortunately, I didn’t make it before completely passing out and landing on my face.
I remember was going in and out of consciousness. And choking on a pill. Evan was trying to give me the medication to stop my bleeding. And then I was out again. It was like being in a bad dream and I just couldn’t wake up. The next thing I know, my legs are propped up and I can hear Evan on the phone with 911. I feel like I’m going to vomit and I may have a bowl movement. It’s hard for me to admit I almost pooped myself but that’s just reality. I was cold and sweaty and drowsy and thirsty. I had to keep my eyes closed because the light was too bright.
The ambulance arrived and they tell me to calm down because my pulse is over 200 beats per min. I wasn’t panicked at all besides feeling the need to vomit and sleep. I kept asking for water because I felt like I was going to gag but they keep denying me. The squad rushed me to the hospital; lights on, siren blaring even though it was the middle of the night. Up to that moment, I really didn’t realize how serious my situation was.
I need blood and emergency surgery
When I arrived at the hospital, I was vaguely aware of what was going on around me: The doctor talking to Evan, asking my blood type, trying to talk to me but it felt like my eyes and mouth were super-glued shut. I came around a bit after I’d had some fluids, though. It quickly became apparent that I was getting a blood transfusion. What? Was I even ok with this? I’d never even thought about that. It didn’t take long to realize that I didn’t have a choice, though; I was dying.
Next thing I know I’m being transferred to another hospital for an emergency D&C. The bleeding wasn’t stopping and by then I was expelling a mix of IV fluids and blood. I could feel so much of it quickly passing out of me.
Time to go under
When I finally arrived at the other hospital I was fully awake. My OB greeted me in a sweat suit, looking extremely concerned. She grabbed my hand and told me everything was going to be ok. She asked to see my mouth and the realization that I’m about to have surgery, like right this moment, hits me. Panic hits in the same moment. “Wait, I’m not ready for this, I want to see my husband but he hasn’t arrived yet. Wait, I may die and never wake up and I haven’t told Evan I love him.” I burst into tears and told my OB, “Please, if I don’t wake up, tell my husband that I love him.” She told me, “I will, but you are going to be fine.” She continued to hold my hand and comfort me until once again, I was unconscious.
I woke up in recovery and there was my sweet husband talking to my doctor. I didn’t really know what they were saying but I did make out that my placenta for some reason wouldn’t fully detach from my uterus which caused the uncontrollable bleeding. All the clots were just my body trying to stop the bleeding; but it wasn’t working. Eventually, my blood level became so low that I couldn’t clot anymore and that’s when it all became so scary. I spent the whole day in the hospital as they checked my blood levels, my organ functions, and made sure I was able to drink. The next day was Thanksgiving so I asked (begged) if I could please go home. They released me that night but not before receiving another 2 fresh units of blood infused and medication to take home.
The moral of the story…..
So, what the heck happened and why was I so dumb to not get help before things got out of control? That’s simple: I was completely uneducated. Nothing I had experienced prior had prepared me for what happened. What happened on Saturday and the day I almost died is called hypovolemia. Basically, your body goes into shock from losing 20% of its blood volume. It was not severe on Saturday night and I got help before it got too dangerous. The hospital never told me what had really happened so even after, I was still clueless.
Tuesday night, my body went into complete shock. I didn’t know what those symptoms were at all. So let me clue you in.
Mild symptoms can include:
- profuse sweating
Severe symptoms must be taken seriously and warrant emergency medical attention. These include:
- cold or clammy skin
- pale skin
- rapid, shallow breathing
- rapid heart rate
- little or no urine output
- weak pulse
- blue lips and fingernails
- loss of consciousness
Here are my tips while taking Misoprostol:
- Never take it while you are home alone (thank God my husband was there)
- Drink as much water as possible
- Wear a heavy pad but not the overnight ones; you can’t keep track of your output that way
- If you soak one of those in an hour and have even the mild symptoms of shock, get help.
- Don’t take the medication overnight. You need to be awake to monitor yourself.
In the end…..
This past Thanksgiving, I had so much to be thankful for. I was alive, I was healthy, and it didn’t look like I had any lasting effects from my shock. My biggest fear (besides not waking from surgery) was that they might have to remove my uterus. That would have been devastating to our family. I’m blessed to be going through IVF again right now and my uterus looks healthy with no scar tissue. If I experience another missed miscarriage, though, there is no doubt in my mind: I will opt for a D&C immediately.
If you are experiencing a miscarriage right now, know that I’m truly sorry and my heart goes out to you. I want you to be safe and I don’t want you to go through what I did on top of the pain of losing a child. Please be safe. Listen to your body; Prepare yourself so you know when to get help. Maybe if I had known these things, I could have avoided this situation.
Would you consider taking Misoprostol for a missed miscarriage?