Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Stroll down Memory Lane (part I)

WARNING: Contents may be graphic. They are straight from my journal. Do not read if you are easily disgusted or upset.

Okay, here’s the story of what has happened in the past couple of days (or at least the first part of it). Details may be a little out of order, given the nature of things.

On Sunday evening, around 9 PM, I decided to take a break from work to get in my exercise for the day. I was about 10 minutes in to the exercise routine when I felt that all-too-familiar rush of fluid between my legs that signaled that I needed to get to the restroom and change my pads. When I got to the toilet, I discovered that my pad hadn’t been soaked yet, but I felt a blood clot pass. And blood started dripping. It just wouldn’t stop. I could hear it dripping steadily, a little stream, into the toilet bowl. It wasn’t reminiscent of a river, like the doc told me to keep an eye out for, but it was steady and unceasing. I sat there, wiping, dabbing, daubing, until my legs went numb. I worked my way through a full roll of toilet paper.

Finally, I realized I had to stand, or I wouldn’t be able to. I hurriedly stood, making sure to get the pad in place so I could walk around and wash my hands (which were, of course, pretty messy by this time). I flushed the toilet and saw something that looked different from all the other blood clots I had passed, plus the red in the bowl was darker than any I’d seen since the first night of big bleeding I had…maybe even darker than that first night’s. At first, I thought that the bit of slightly different color I saw was the one or two pieces of toilet paper that I had accidentally dropped in the bowl earlier, but on second glance, I realized it was too large (about the size of a sheet of notebook paper) and slightly gray. I realized I had passed the placenta. I flushed the toilet and washed my hands and felt that familiar gush…yup, blood clots that would surely flood my pad and panties.

So I spun around to the toilet again. And the trickling continued. But at least my leg was awake again. I asked M to bring me my glass of water, because I knew I would need to stay hydrated. This had the feel of a long one. My lips started to kind of tingle, like they do when I’m donating red blood cells and the plasma and saline is almost ready to be pumped back into me. I finished that glass of water and asked for a refill. The tingling in my lips stopped. I was starting to feel nauseous off and on, but I didn’t know if that was because of the blood loss, the water I had basically chugged, the distress I was feeling (C’mon, can’t we be done with this, already? It’s been weeks! I’m tired of bleeding, and I want to move on. I’ve already prayed for healing and a “clean out.”). Realizing that this may be the very “clean out” I had prayed for, I calmed down and continued cleaning.

The bag in the trash can was full. I had gone through another roll of toilet paper. M brought more TP and gave me another bag to put in the trash can. I started getting dizzy and felt filthy. The smell of everything reminded me of a wet dog…not at all pleasant. I wanted to shower. I had tried getting up a couple of other times, but each time, I felt the surge of a clot and had to sit down almost immediately. Finally, I decided to try to shower to clean myself up. I walked around long enough to get some towels and some fresh clothes, then got into the shower. I discovered that standing in the shower made me feel a little less dizzy…at least for a while. I rinsed off but discovered that the mess was only getting worse because, although things were now draining into a drain, they were also falling onto a hard surface and splattering. And, if anything, I was bleeding more rather than less.

I turned off the shower and stood there, trying to figure out what to do next. I began trying to wash the streams of blood off my legs by using the sink. I stood in the shower and leaned against the countertop while rinsing the washcloth, but I soon wondered if that yellow washcloth would ever be yellow again. I asked M to bring more washcloths. I filled the sink basin with water and rinsed the first washcloth in it, then realized that that wasn’t helping. I alternately stood and leaned, rinsed and cleaned, making no progress. Finally, I told M we needed to go to the hospital. I told him he needed to get a trash bag and two towels for me to sit on when we went because I knew I would bleed through pad, panties, and pants. He gathered those while I tried to figure out how the hell to get myself cleaned up enough to walk through the house without tracking blood everywhere. Already, the toilet had blood spots all over it, the floor had a few, the sink was filled with bloody water, and the shower had spatters and a pile of blood clots that I had pulled off the washcloth to better rinse it. While I kind of panicked, trying to figure out what the hell to do, M threw some clothes in a duffel bag, along with some pads, some extra towels, a couple cans of Coke, and some saltines. I asked him to make sure to grab my planner because it had all the dates of all my bleeds and doctors’ visits and such. Finally, I had him get me a new pair of panties, and I threw them on with a new pad, then tried to wipe the blood streaks off my legs as much as possible. I didn’t even try to clean my feet. I knew that would be pointless.

Finally, we were off. We got to the hospital right before 11:30. I had started bleeding around 9:30. I started giving the admissions people my information, and then they started the process to get me a quick check-in, and I had to visit the restroom. M gave them information and I went to the public restroom and then made a mess there. If cleaning up massive amounts of blood is difficult with super-absorbent Charmin, it’s damn near impossible with the tissue-paper-like stuff they put in public restrooms. I had bled through my pants, but there was nothing I could do about that. I changed pads and tried to wipe the excess blood and blood clots from my thighs. I flushed the toilet three or four times to try to flush down all the paper I had used.

I heard a knock on the door and, “Stephie? You almost done?” I tried to wash up and clean the blood off the toilet seat as best I could, washed my hands, closed up the duffel bag, and stepped out. I was led to an interview room of sorts and asked to sit down. I gave some information, all the while feeling horribly uncomfortable because I could feel blood clots and blood passing alarmingly fast. After getting the immediate information from me, the admissions nurse led M to the desk to get me completely admitted and then led me to a room.

As she led me to a room, I saw a little boy on a bed, attached to monitors, while his dad sat next to him. I prayed for that little boy. And I prayed for M to have the strength to deal with all this. People and stress has never been his peak operating situations. I was led into my room and given a gown and sheet, and a couple of bed pads were laid out for me. The nurse left, telling me to change there and lie down and relax, and asked if I needed anything. I asked if I could have something to drink because I was very, very thirsty. She said we’d better hold off, in case they wanted to do a D&C that night, because they didn’t want me to have something and then aspirate. As soon as she left, I felt another huge clot pass, and I said, “Shit.” I knew it was going to be bad when I took my pants off. Sure enough, as soon as the pants came down, a huge clot fell, and blood splattered all over the floor. I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do about it. I just hurried to get onto the bed and onto those pads as quickly as I could.

A few moments later, the ER nurse came in. I warned her as soon as she opened the door that there was a mess. I apologized, of course, knowing it was stupid to apologize, but she understood. She got everything cleaned up and told me that she wouldn’t need chemicals like on CSI: to know that blood had been there. I laughed a little. She introduced herself as Pam and talked to me to help me kind of calm down. I was upset more by all the mess than the situation, honestly. Crazy what we focus on when we’re upset. She told me that she had had a miscarriage, too, and said, “Guess how many daughters I have now?” Then she raised a hand with all fingers spread wide and mouthed, “Five.” The whole time we talked, she kept telling me she was glad she was there for me, glad that God had sent her to help me that night. I was, too.

Finally, M came in, and we talked. All the while, I felt blood and clots passing and filling up the area between my legs. Pam told us the doctor would be in in a bit. All the while, bleeding. Some of the first blood I had passed once I had laid on the bed started to dry, and it was becoming uncomfortable. The ER doc came in and chatted with me and said he didn’t feel we were in a big hurry to have a D&C, and I agreed, because we all pretty much thought this was my body’s final push to get everything out and wrap up this miscarriage. He was going to call my doc, he said, and would have someone from the lab come in and draw some blood. He saw no reason for me to not have some water, because if a D&C was going to be done, it wouldn’t be until the next morning. He stepped out, then walked back in a minute later with a glass of water and a straw. Bless him.

Not long after, Pam and a lady from the lab came in. I think I had just remarked to M that my lips were tingling again. The lady from the lab started telling me what she was going to do, Pam, about the blood pressure measurements they were about to take. I started feeling really hot, and I couldn’t breathe right while I was trying to talk to them. Everything went out. I think I heard someone say I was passing out. The next thing I know, I was being wheeled across the hallway into a room and they were getting me hooked up to saline. M was standing beside me, looking very freaked out. I kept telling him I was okay, I was all right. I looked at the clock. It was about 12:15, I think.

They got me stabilized, and I kept telling M I was okay. But I was covered in sweat, I was burning up. M had to calm down, signaled for me to not say anything. His adrenaline had kicked in when he saw me pass out, and now he was coming down from the high, feeling a little nauseous. The doc came in to make sure everything was okay, then he and Pam stepped out for a bit.

A couple of minutes later, after M was mostly calm, Pam stepped back in to do my three BP measurements and said the ER doc was going to do a vaginal exam. They started getting things set up, and I told M not to look, because I knew there was so much blood and clots that he would be upset and worried. The doc had come in, and M made a comment about the blood clots looking like Jell-o jigglers, and I told him at least he didn’t have to eat the placenta. Then we heard Pam say, “WHAT did you just say?” The doc was kind of laughing, and so was I. I told Pam that a lot of cultures eat the placenta after it’s passed because it’s a good way to regain nutrients lost in childbirth. She said we had nearly made her vomit. M, the doc, and I were all laughing. This woman had barely batted an eye when she saw my blood all over the floor, and she had told me a couple of disgusting things she’s seen in the ER after I had kept apologizing for all the mess I was making, and then she nearly vomited at hearing about something like eating a placenta. Yup, I have to cause trouble wherever I go.

After the exam, the doc said it looked like there was just a little more blood left and that I could go home or stay the night up in OB before my doc checked me out the next morning. M and I decided we’d rather I stay, just to be on the safe side. We had quite a bit of time alone while they made the arrangements to have me moved. I had M call my mom and dad to let them know what was going on, and then he called his mom. Then we had a little while longer to talk. He said he thought he had lost me…said one minute I was there, and then I just “wasn’t there anymore.” I promised him I hadn’t gone anywhere, I had been praying for the little boy across the way and for M. He told me I should have been praying for myself. I assured him that I had been. In all my short moments alone in every room, I had prayed my thanks and prayed for help. I told him God was taking care of me and that I hadn’t gone anywhere…I had just passed out. I told him that, to save his feelings, I wouldn’t even make a joke about how I was disappointed that I hadn’t had an OBE.

Pam came in and put me in another gown, cleaned up the bed, took me off the saline, etc. Around 1:30, they finally started wheeling me up to the third floor, to OB. As she wheeled me around, Pam kept telling me that she thought M was a keeper. I told her we’d been together long enough that I was pretty sure I was going to keep him around.

We got up to my room and then the OB nurses helped me to the toilet, gave me a lovely set of fishnet panties and a gi-normous “mommy pad.” As I sat there, they cleaned my legs and feet up with washcloths and showed me how to use the squirt bottle to clean myself. They put me in bed and started the procedures, asking me all sorts of questions about my health. After about 20 minutes, I started feeling a little nauseous. I was hot and had M turn on the fan. My lips started tingling. But I was lying down. I asked if I could use the restroom, so one of the nurses helped me. I was really starting to not feel good again, so I asked if that new batch of saline was coming anytime soon. It was about 2:00 AM, about the time M and I had been going to bed. I was yawning, in addition to starting to dim. I needed fluids, and I wasn’t allowed to drink. I kept dropping hints. Finally, they got me hooked up to saline and finished asking me questions. They took my vitals and told me I had to push the call button anytime I had to use the restroom. M was not allowed to help me, because I “like to pass out.” I jokingly said that was only one time and I wouldn’t do it again. One of the nurses said her son likes to tell her he won’t do things again and then he always does, so she didn’t trust me. I laughed a little and said, “But it was the first time, the only time, in my life that I’ve passed out, I promise.” Then they left us alone. It was about 20 minutes to 3.

I was still hot, so the fan stayed on me. Everyone else was freezing. M stretched out on the chair/bed next to my bed, and he nearly froze. Every time I drifted off to sleep, I had a bit of trouble breathing and woke up. I was a little freaked out. I was worried about passing out again. Finally, around 4:30, I was able to breathe normally and sleep for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Then a truck going by on the highway or the wind blowing or the ambulance would wake me. I woke up every time they came in for my vitals and used the chance to be assisted to the restroom.

Around 5:00, I woke up for my next set of vitals. The nurse, as she was helping me to the restroom, said that they had been down to the ER and that Pam and the doc had been asking about me and talking about Mike, saying that he was a real keeper. I laughed, and the nurse told me that they see a lot of people in the ER, a lot of different types, and M had impressed them, as much as he had doted on me. Yeah, he’s a sweetie.

I got back in bed, fully alert and awake. M woke up, too, and we talked a bit, and I asked him to turn on the TV, because my bedside controls for the TV didn’t work. We watched TV for about an hour. One of the nurses came in to check on me. It was clear that she didn’t approve of me being awake. She said if she were us, she’d be sleeping and resting. I told her that I’ve learned long ago that my body decides when it wants to sleep and when it doesn’t and there’s not a whole hell of a lot I can do about it. She walked out, still kind of disapprovingly. Turns out it was a good thing I was awake, because about 5 minutes after that, a lady from the lab came in to take some samples that they hadn’t been able to get while I was in the ER. She was there until about 20 after 6, and then I was exhausted and went back to sleep.

Speaking of sleep…I’m exhausted again. Going to sign off and write more later.

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