Warning: If you’re at all squeamish with talk of blood or pain or women’s things, you might want to skip this post! Or have someone read it to you and substitute the words “blood, cramping and uterus” with “milkshakes, hugging and koala”.
As few people know, I had a miscarriage in late March which was the single most heartbreaking thing I have ever been through. As soon as we were allowed to try again we did, and I was pregnant immediately, just like the first time. About a week after I found out I was pregnant, I started bleeding. A lot. Scary bright red blood and cramping. Things that aren’t supposed to happen to pregnant people.
I called my doctor and was scheduled for an ultrasound at the hospital’s imaging lab since my obstetrician’s office didn’t have any appointments available that afternoon. Once there, I was bleeding profusely and the sonographer seemed surprised that I had bled on the table. Um, yeah lady, that’s why I’m here. She proceeded to do her thing and said the dreaded words, “I don’t see anything in your uterus. I’m sorry, it must have already passed.” Mike and I both broke down and held each other as she left to phone in her report to my doctor’s office. How could this be happening to us again? This wasn’t fair. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. For as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to be was a mom, why was this happening?
As we rode home from the hospital, my phone rang and the doctor on call that evening very pleasantly told me that it might just be too early to tell at 5 weeks if there was still a baby in there or not. She was trying to be very reassuring and very sweet, but all I could do was try not to cry long enough to utter words like, “okay” and “uh-huh”. She told me to come into the office the next day to have my hormone levels checked to see where they are and if they had gone up from my last test a week prior, this might very well still be a viable pregnancy.
I was programmed to expect the worst after our miscarriage and I was just trying to accept the fact that this was happening again. Though this time, in a much more horrible way since I was bleeding and in a lot of pain. My earlier miscarriage was what they call a missed miscarriage – the body doesn’t recognize that the baby’s heartbeat has stopped and it just hangs on to the pregnancy. Your body still goes through all of the normal pregnancy symptoms, your uterus grows, therefore making your belly grow, you still have all of the food cravings and aversions and morning sickness. It’s such a false sense of reassurance. This time I just knew I was miscarrying because how on earth would a baby be able to survive after losing so much blood?
The next day I went into the doctor’s office for my blood test, still feeling horrible and sad and pessimistic. It was a Friday and I spent the rest of the day completely terrified of the call I was going to get saying my hcg levels had fallen from the previous week and I was indeed losing the baby. The day was over and I didn’t hear a word from my doctor’s office. I was kind of relieved, to be honest, because I couldn’t bear to get horrible news over the phone and cry more tears. I spent the weekend in bed, still bleeding and just felt depressed. By the time Sunday came around, I was pissed that the doctor didn’t call me. On a whim, I decided to check the online patient portal that my doctor’s office has available for test results and correspondence. In the past, the recording of such results has been spotty at best, but I thought what the heck? And this is what I found, “very reassuring rise in your pregnancy test. Hopefully you have an u/s scheduled next week so we can check location and viability. Yeah!!! congrats!”
What?! I mean, WHAT?!?! “Mike? Mike! Omg, read this!!” I said, shaking. The response I got was something along the lines of, “What?? Wait, you’re still pregnant??” We hugged and cried and smiled and tried not to get our hopes up too high lest they be crushed again. We immediately texted our parents on two continents and just sat there wondering what was going on. I called the doctor’s office as soon as possible on Monday morning and was scheduled for another ultrasound the following day.
I was shaking, I was nauseous, I was numb as we sat there in the waiting room awaiting our ultrasound. I have never been so nervous in all of my life. We were called back and as I settled onto the exam table I was terrified. Mike grabbed my hand and I just waited. The sonographer immediately said, “I see a heartbeat.” I cried. I think I managed to get out a, “Really??” She smiled and said, “Yep. Look at that flickering.” And there it was. The most beautiful sight I have ever seen. I was gobsmacked. We both were. This was perhaps the most amazing moment of my life. I was in shock, still am most days.
But why was I bleeding? That’s when we found out that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage (sch). A subchorionic hemorrhage is bleeding under one of the membranes (chorion) that surrounds the embryo. Somehow in the course of implantation and where I was at 6 weeks, I had a bleed in my uterus and it had formed a clot, yet still had active bleeding. No one really knows how these happen. It could have been a twin that didn’t survive, or a tear that happened by chance when the egg was implanting. No one knows and no one knows how to stop it, it either has to heal on its own or it destroys the pregnancy. My doctor gave me the standard answer on these things, “We will just have to wait and see. Let’s try to make it to 12 weeks.” Mine happened to be right above the cervix (lucky me), so that meant a lot of bleeding. Sometimes these things reabsorb into the body, but since mine had an easy exit, it used it. Frequently. Over the course of the next 7 weeks, I had a major bleed at least once a week, sometimes more. What constitutes a “major” bleed, you ask? Are you sure you want to know? You can turn back now if you want to and I won’t fault you…
A major bleed for me lasted approximately 12 hours, sometimes longer, and involved a ridiculous amount of blood. Bright red, scary blood. We’re talking at least a few cups of blood each time which is much, much more than a normal period that runs over the course of a week. At times, I would sit down on the toilet and it would sound like I was peeing, but it wasn’t urine. It just poured out of me. Also included in this glorious journey were a lot of clots passing. Anywhere from dime sized to palm sized. PALM sized. The size of my freaking PALM. I cannot tell you how terrifying that was. That was much larger than my baby at that time and if I had not found a wonderful online community of women who had gone through this or were going through it themselves, I would have freaked out. And gone to the ER on many, many occasions.
Along with all of the gore, came intense cramping. It literally felt like a bear had reached up inside my abdomen and was ripping out my insides with its razor-sharp claws tugging and pulling until nothing was left. Let me tell you, hours and hours of running to the bathroom, cramping and trying to sleep is not fun. These major bleeds usually happened overnight for me, some nights I would lay down for 20 minutes and then be up and running to the bathroom to sit there in agony for 20 minutes, then start the cycle all over again. A few nights I gave up and made a bed out of towels on the floor in front of the toilet and just cried, shaking on the cold tile.
Needless to say, my doctor wanted me to be on modified bed rest until it cleared up and also to come in for weekly ultrasounds. I cannot tell you how much peace of mind this gave us. To be able to see that little heart beating away each week, and later an extremely wiggly baby, after losing copious amounts of blood usually the day prior was so reassuring. During my last major bleed I remember praying over and over that it was finally leaving my body. As a matter of fact, I did a lot of praying over those 7 weeks. A lot of it was during big bleeds and consisted of things like, “Jesus, please keep my baby safe… Jesus, please make the pain stop… Jesus, please keep my baby safe… Jesus, please heal me… Jesus, please protect my baby… Jesus, please help me get through this…please Jesus. Please Jesus.” It was a mantra that I whispered over and over until the pain had stopped and repeated over and over again as the next waves of pain washed over me.
During my first ultrasound at the high-risk doctor at 12 weeks, we saw a perfect, active baby as per the usual and were so happy. One thing neither Mike nor I noticed, however, was the ever present dark blob to the right of the gestational sac that we were used to seeing. You know, that blob that kept growing and was touching the corner of the placenta and seemed to never want to go away? Mike asked the sonographer, “Do you see the sch?” His reply was, “Nope. I’m not really seeing anything…” I almost leapt off that exam table and hugged the man! I could not believe this was finally over!! Could this really be over?? I think I asked, “Seriously? You really don’t see a bleed??” about 27 times.
The perinatologist came in afterward and confirmed that there wasn’t a bleed appearing on the ultrasound anymore, but to keep it to “princess” status for the next two weeks to continue to heal. I felt like I was in a dream. The most wonderful dream I have ever had. I am not completely out of the woods yet, but the fact that the hematoma was gone and I made it past 12 weeks is HUGE. And when I had my regular ob appointment the next day, you should have seen my doctor’s face when I told her it was gone. I think she was as overjoyed as I was.
you have to stand in a long ass line for everything. even to go stand in another line.
all escalators to the raised walkways are broken. always. especially if you’ve been walking stairs all day.
it’s really windy. bring a hair tie. and a barrette.
people on the street pass out little cards with naked ladies with stars covering their nipples on them. they think that if they snap the cards as you walk by and then shove them in your face you will want one. they are mostly wrong.
i saw two different guys collecting every single nudie card they could. the snap must’ve worked on them.
sequins are king. if i ever go back, i will be purchasing something sparkly and ridiculous to wear at night. or in the daytime.
you will get lost in the hotels. you just will. the signs really don’t help you get out. they just trap you inside for hours.
you can buy a margarita in a plethora of containers. we’re talking eiffel towers, blenders, five foot tall glasses, plastic guitars that are strapped around your neck. i must have an eiffel tower. i must.
i will not stay anywhere but the venetian. omg the venetian…
everyone and their grandma is either smoking or drinking or both. at all times.
if you try to walk anywhere but the sidewalk at the airport you will get a whistle blown at you by a cop. welcome to vegas.
if you don’t bring purell and use it every .006 seconds you will contract horrible, horrible illnesses that will last for weeks.
all in all, vegas was an experience. once i forget this three week germfest that is still currently residing inside my person, i might go back. but i am not leaving my hotel.
dress...check! flowers...check! most awesome fiance in the history of ever...almost check!
so. last weekend i found my dress. just like with love they are soooo right about just knowing when you find the right one. how cheesy, right? yeah, but i hate to admit that it’s also true. and of course it’s nothing like i thought i would be wearing on my wedding day. save for the fact that it’s white. ;-)
and today i notified the florist i met with a few weekends ago - the one who totally almost had a fight in a coffee shop with my bff - that i wanted to go with her. they made up. if the florist had *really* fought with my bff, it would have been on. like the donkey.
tomorrow i go pick mike up at the airport! ten amazing days spent with the most amazing man on the planet! just in time for valentine’s day (barf!), too. <3
sasquatchohmigod!! why? why? why can't you calm.down!
so, i felt really bad about writing an email to the apartment manager. i felt bad that she, in turn, put a note on your door asking you to simmah dan nah. i felt bad that i had to email back a week later, per the manager’s request, to let her know that it still sounds like you’re disco pogo-sticking across every square inch of your beautiful one bedroom, one bath sprawling west seattle apartment. i felt uber bad that she had to call you to tell you that you’re. not. getting. it.
you’re a nice girl, why don’t you get it??? you seem smart. i’ve seen the medical books in your car. i think i am going to have to resort to hammering things into my ceiling. yeahhhhh… i’m gonna hammer your ass through my ceiling!!! i’m going to wait until 8am on a saturday though. and then 11:05am. 3:22pm. 7:04pm. 8:43pm. 9:09pm. and finally 4:13am sunday morning.
i just received the most wonderful sentence in my inbox.
"On January 10, 2011, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129F PETITION FOR FIANCE(E)."
you did?? really?!?!?! for reals though????????? this isn’t a dream?!?!?!?!?!?!??!
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! step one has finally commenced after over 5 months of watching, waiting, commiserating… (sorry, i go the way of the song a lot).
we are past the longest part of waiting in the dark for this visa to come through and i simply cannot be more excited. now for the next steps of medical exams and an interview at the us embassy in london (all for him). and MUCH shorter waiting periods!
you were right in front of me pulling into the garage tonight. what are the chances of THAT?! none. we have never, ever, never gotten home at the same time in 10 months.
did i cower and drive extra slow hiding behind pillars and walls within our underground garage? yep.
did i almost let the rolling door hit the roof of my car in effort to be that far behind you? yes, i did.
did i come to a full stop behind another wall right before turning to our parking area and then realize you would see me cowering when you went into the building since it was right in front of the door?! yeah. sure did.
did i pretend to be very involved with my phone as i was creeping slowly toward my space which is, of course, right freaking next to yours?? yessir.
thank god above you weren’t in your car by the time i made it to my spot. thank god again that you weren’t checking your mail as i walked slowly toward the communal boxes. thank god you weren’t at the elevator, or in the stairwell as i climbed up. i would have died a thousand deaths of embarrassment. or faked total shock that you are the offender.
if you ever confront me and knock on my door to apologize, that’s exactly what i’ll do. “whaaaaaat??? no way!! omg, i am SO embarrassed!! i had NO IDEA that was YOU!!”
but i might be cursing you on the inside. just a little. because you’re still stomping. butthole.
hello twenty-eleven! one of my resolutions for the year is to write on this blog more… so here we are, day number 2 in the new year and I am updating. at least a little. :-)
2010 has been a big year for me, pretty much the biggest of my life. i packed up and moved from my family and friends in dallas to return to my hometown, jobless and having only a meager savings. somehow i managed to rent an apartment online (thank you so much, andrea!) and land a job within the first month and a half of moving.
a month after that, i reconnected with who turned out to be the love of my life right under my nose (okay, across the pond). he flies over every two months or so and even though it’s getting harder and harder to be apart, i know it will be worth it in the end. the wedding is in october of this year and i could not be happier! please forgive me if my upcoming posts are slightly wedding-centric.
obviously 2010 has been no less than a major God-thing. no one can persuade me otherwise. :-)
here’s to everyone having the best year of their lives!
please don’t talk to my dog whilst he is mid poo. i know he’s unbelievably adorable, even mid-hunch, but try to refrain from a “hi buddy!”
and i beg of you, mr. gary busey doppelgänger, stop trying to continue the conversation with “i can never tell if it’s poop or pee!” as i am bent over picking up said excrement. and that would be great if you didn’t nearly trip over yourself walking down the hill, twisted toward me trying to chit-chat, while i have nothing but a thin bag between my skin and what is about to be firmly planted on your face.
sasquatch has a name. it's chrystal. cristal. krystalle. chris.tuhl.
i liked it better when you were nameless, sass. when you were nameless and just stomping above my head. now we’ve talked on many occasions and you’re nice. i’d totally be friends with you. you suck for that. why can’t you just be a horrible bitch and have offensive amounts of body hair? you even asked how my dog was in the elevator this morning! do you know who he is? do you know that he’s the sad howler who you complained to the maintenance guy about a few months ago? i wonder if that look of realization was real or imagined by me when you asked if i let him run around the apartment while i was at work and i said no, he has to be in his crate. i swear i saw your face drop. just a little. you know what’s up. and now you know my name. and i know yours. sasquatch.
hi. we are no longer friends on facebook. in fact, i ignored your first re-friending request last month. you should be able to figure that out, right? so why, praytell, are you insisting on sending me another friend request? i. don’t. like. you. i understand this may be hard to believe since i generally like everyone i come into contact with, but not you. you i do not like. you were cool and then became a major asshole. you need to disappear. quit trying to friend me. go away.
i hate to be the bearer of unpleasant news, but after an impromptu conference with two sets of neighbors in the hall the other night, it appears that you have a myriad of nicknames. 219 across the hall calls you “baby elephants”. that’s plural, babycakes. for you are so heavy footed that they refer to you as an entire herd of one of the largest creatures currently roaming the earth.
next door to me (home of the putz) has affectionately named you gigantor and was in shock when i told him that you are, as i have heard, a tiny girl. either you inhabit an insanely large apartment, or your floor houses a virtual zoo of heel stompers. i presume it’s all you, sweet cheeks. i give you the honor.
that said, please shut the mug up and quit walking altogether. slither. get a set of wheels for legs like those poor amputee dogs. levitate. i don’t care what you do. i am far too polite to bang something on my ceiling. instead i will continue to be passive aggressive and berate you on my blog.
Well, another day at exciting physical therapy! Dave & I are really hitting it off! We talk like we’ve known each other for a month instead of 2 weeks! We talk a lot now about:
kids (we both love them)
Today Cora Lee <another physical therapist> asked me if I would be interested in volunteering on Dec 5th (Saturday) 10:00am-1:00pm to help with the big Christmas activities program there. Of course I said sure. She said she was still working on Dave to come, so later when I was sitting across the room from her & Dave, she said that I was coming and he immediately said, “Ok!!! I’ll try to come!!” So that worked!! Anyway, when I was on the electric stim machine he came over & talked to me out of the blue! He came over & said, “How’re ya doin’ over here Jessie?” I said, “Okay.” He said jokingly, “Boy time flies when you’re having fun, huh?”!!!! Anyway, Cora Lee is going to bring the negatives from Halloween with Dave in it on Monday. Happy Time!!
well then. it seems that i a) had an affinity for beginning sentences with “Anyway,” and #2. felt the need to explain dates and times in excruciating detail. let’s see, what else… it felt as if dave and i had known each other a whole *two weeks* longer than what we actually had!! omg! it must be fate!! and we talked about such deep things like how much we adore children! obviously he does. dear god he was a pedophile. or just a horrid, mean 24 year old who liked to string on poor, defenseless, clueless 14 year old girls who drooled over his every move whilst their arm was immobilized in a variety of scary contraptions like e-stim. and did you notice my wicked conversational skills? I said “okay” to him. wow. no wonder he was blown away by my maturity and non-fourteen-year-old-ness! he could totally take me to cocktail parties and no one would ever know i was a teenager because of my amazing skills!
and what’s up with the vernacular?? was he a cowboy?! my attempt at making him sound cool and west coast with the “doin’” and the “ya” makes him sound like a freaking hick. um, and i’m pretty sure i wasn’t going to any raucous parties as a sheltered young teen from private school. what was i talking to him about? the rager at my friend’s house last weekend that involved kool aid and playing scrabble? okay, i wasn’t my grandma, but still. the most daring thing i remember doing at 14 was sitting on the corner of my upper-middle class neighborhood with my friend stephanie trying to covertly capture cute boys walking by with my camcorder.
one of the many joys of moving is unpacking. and when you stumble upon old diaries from your burgeoning youth (or terribly awkward, hormone laden teen years) it makes it all the better. let me share a personal experience that shaped my adulthood, as told by my 14 year old self.
Monday, November 2nd 1992
Today I went to physical therapy for my right arm <note: i was always getting injured. let’s just say sports + jess (usually) = injury>. There’s this really cute guy who works there. His name is Dave. Anyway, I brought Stephanie Hofferbert along with me & Dave was doing my ultrasound in the whirlpool room. When he was done, he bent over to pick something up and while he was halfway up I pretended to goose him (grabbed his butt without actually touching it) & he turned around & he saw me so then I pretended to wave at Steph! Lame!! So anyway, I totally couldn’t look at him for the rest of the day.
Friday, November 6th 1992
Okay, I did it! I gave Dave a birthday/apology card! He opened it in front of me too!! I told him that he was going to blush & laugh! And boy did he! He read: “I’m sorry for goosing you last Monday! I guess it was just hormones or something!! Happy birthday (Saturday)! THE BIG 24!! Love, Jessie McClure” Then you will never guess what he said. “I didn’t even know you did that!!!” Liar! (I said to myself). Everybody knows he saw.
so let’s break this down. not only was i the most awkward, suave-wannabe 14 year old trying to hit on my physical therapist ten years my senior, but i was idiotic enough to try to be all mature and face the music with an APOLOGY BIRTHDAY CARD!! what the crap was wrong with me?!?! and the best part is that he had no idea i even did it. i could have gotten away scott-free. and i blew it. hardcore. now he knows i attempted to grab his butt in front of my friend so i could look edgy and daring. and he knows i have a mad crush on him. an awkward, spiral permed, too much lipstick, teen infatuation. and then i still had to see him three times a week because i was also a spaz who got injured playing volleyball.
i feel that there will be future dear diary sharings. there have to be more gems in here.
while waiting for the elevator at 11pm tonight i could hear someone talking in the elevator all the way down to the lobby. as the door slid open, out walked two tall, lanky uber hipster dudes… one guy still talking about “the tallest building in the south”. i smile, they smile. i say hi, they say hi. i get in the elevator and as the doors are sliding shut i overhear chatty chaz say, “that was awkward!”
what was awkward??? i wanted to shout after them. but then i thought, that would DEFINITELY make the situation… awkward.
Your heavy feet are the first thing to wake me up in the morning and the last thing to lull me to sleep at night. If you can’t find the decency to make your steps a little lighter, your gait a little less like Sasquatch, I might have to ride the elevator up one floor and stick this note on your door. Then it would be on. Like Donkey Kong.
chick tech at winston's new vet says, "i'm really glad you transferred to our clinic! i like you! i really like hanging out with you! when are you coming back?" after taking a 10 minute patient history and chatting about homeopathic animal remedies. normal uber frendliness of the pacific northwest, or potential stalker? you decide.
so, two days ago i thought i’d be posting this uber rad clickthru to my other blog regarding the fabulous day i spent frolicking (okay sitting on a log, for the most part) at the beach with my 3rd grade bff and her two tots. i uploaded the pics and then my mac charger decided to be an arse and not charge. so, here i am on the pc laptop (thank God i brought this one, too!) with the jacked up “t” key and am wishing i didn’t promptly delete the beach pics from my camera.
instead you are getting a super lame recap of my day.
7am eyes open.
8am close eyes.
9am alarm goes off. i hit snooze, but keep my eyes open.
9:08am alarm goes off.
9:10am shower. dress for interview at 2pm. not kidding. things are boring here without a job and without things to unpack. and without a tv.
10am take winston outside for pee and poop.
11am drug winston with thunder & lightning pills from vet in hopes that he remains calm with this massive separation anxiety that he has developed since moving. also, slap his anxiety acupressure wrap (i.e. scuba suit) on him.
12pm eat a pb&j since i have no food-food in this place.
1pm put winn in his crate, turn on the rain machine and then leave.
1:01pm silence! i make it around the corner to the elevator and as the doors are closing i hear loud crying. boo. sadness. guilt. suck.
2pm good interview. good drive home. good stop at drugstore for shampoo and cereal. what? i don’t have anything to cook with yet!
3pm get home to… silence? nope, little whimpers heard through the door, but at least no strangled screams like the last time i went down to check the mail!
3:30pm decide to see if he will let me leave again since his eyes are half mast in a drugged out stupor. not so much. i attempt the go out, shut door, open door, give treat. go out, shut door, stay a little longer, open door, give treat. i got all the way down to my car in the parking garage AND talked to my neighbors for about 5 minutes without him uttering any audible utterances. score!! he was, however, in the exact same spot in the foyer that i left him, staring at the door awaiting my return with treats. sigh.
5pm made appointment with new vet for separation anxiety issues tomorrow.
whoever said dogs are training for children was right. my kids are gonna be drugged from the get go! (teasing. they will be organic, pescetarians. duh.)
I just met my across the hall neighbor who has MS and is in a wheelchair. After a 10 minute convo she offered to lend me the sweet boots she was toting along with her to wear to my interview tomorrow and told me to knock on her door whenever I wanted to. More people in this world should be so kind to virtual strangers. Here's to my awesome Seattle neighbor! Please don't get mad if my dog has a nervous breakdown tomorrow while I'm at an interview and barks for 2 hours straight!
is it weird that i often think of people from my past randomly and completely out of the blue and then wonder what ever became of them? we're talking haven't thought of them in years and years and then BAM!
for instance, i just thought about this adorably shy suite neighbor that i had in, like, 2003 when i worked for a commercial realtor in addison, tx. i have no idea why i thought of him, but i am totally remembering how he walked past my window a few times every day trying to muster up the courage to wave or smile timidly as he briskly walked by. he literally did this dance multiple times a day for over two years until he had his secretary ask me if i had a boyfriend. i’m not kidding. i was freaked out at the time, but now i think it’s cute. what was his name? david! david gibson! what ever became of david gibson? the shy guy from the office next door??
i feel like it’s mine. i mean, where i will be soon… i hope it’s mine. i pray it’s mine. but i’m also at peace. if it happens awesome! if it doesn’t, that’s okay too! really. but i feel like it’s mine…