Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wimp in training

I tried my best to treat the visit like any other appointment. I was pretty good about feeling normal as long as I didn't think about what had happened and what was about to happen.

The office scheduled me for 1:45pm but told me to come in before 1:15pm so that I could take some medications to prepare me for the procedure. Tim left work at lunch to pick me up and drive me there. I had told him he could take a book or laptop with us so he could do something while he waited. He told me he didn't need anything because he was planned to stay with me the whole time.

When I checked in, the receptionist gave me a clipboard with three documents to sign. The sheet listed out all the details of the procedure, the inherent risks, and the post-procedure care and warnings. We read through it all together to ensure that we'd both know what to expect and what to watch for once I went home. The list was very thorough including a space for an initial next to each post-procedure warning.

Once I turned in my forms, the nurse assistant came out and showed me the pills I needed to swallow. From a little plastic cup, she poured out the three pills. The first pill was cut in half, some Vicodin for pain. The next pill was 200mg of Valium to help my muscles relax. The third pill was this humongous, green oval which I can't remember its purpose. Perhaps it was ibuprofen to help with the inflammation and pain. The main thing was that it was 800mg which must be close the maximum size pill anyone could possibly swallow in one gulp without choking.

So we sat in the waiting room for 15-20 minutes waiting for my drugs to take effect. I couldn't help sit there observing the pregnant women who came through and wonder if they simply thought I was going to my first prenatal appointment rather than ending my pregnancy. It was hard to be in that moment knowing everywhere else around me there was new life.

I felt fine when they called us in. Never having taken Vicodin or Valium, I had been waiting for something interesting to happen. Given so many people get addicted to these drugs, I thought something cool would happen. The nurse took me into the procedure room where a paper gown and heating pad lay waiting for me on the exam table. Tim tried to keep the mood light by keeping my ass warm with his hands while I changed into my gown.

Dr. F came into the room and asked if we had any questions. She assured us that the procedure has a tiny risk of complication and that we could go back to normal after one period had passed. Tim was very struck by the wording in the post-procedure instructions, "No foreign objects should be placed in your vagina for at least two weeks." You can guess at the types of silly comments he made later. He asked whether any tests would be done to determine the cause of the loss. Dr. F. said that's usually not done with a first pregnancy. Despite my age, she said it's rare there's anything seriously wrong and that only if I miscarried again or demonstrated other problems would they perform any tests because of the expense.

Once I laid down and put my feet in the stirrups, the usual examination techniques started. Dr. F. was good about telling me what she was doing a second ahead so that I wouldn't be too surprised. As a local anesthetic, she injected me with lidocaine which quickly became noticeable by a tingling in my mouth. Since I'd had a crown done over the summer, the sensation was very familiar.

What was odd was how quickly all the drugs that were running through my blood interacted with each other. I think I still had my head on, but it didn't feel like it. Moving my head even one centimeter made everything feel like it was spinning. Naturally, as she started preparing for the D&C, my discomfort grew. Let's face it, going to the GYN is never fun. Was the valium working at all?

At one point, she touched me without any warning and I pop up. At the time, I thought it felt uncomfortable, but Tim told me she had just swiped me with a cotton ball. The emotions, the medication, and the discomfort had gotten to me. I remained a good patient the rest of the time and didn't move. I squeezed Tim's had tightly through the cramping, pinching, and poking. Of course, I thought about the baby. But really, what was more concerning to me was my reaction to the pain. Am I a total wimp or what?

The procedure itself does not take too long. I swear the doctor and the assistant were gone within minutes after they told us it was done. The assistant told us to take our time leaving the room. I wanted to get up, or at least turn sideways to try and alleviate the cramping, but my head was having none of that. The dizziness was overwhelming.

I didn't have any feelings of nausea or pain, just the dizziness and cramping. I thought about what labor must be like and scolded myself for whining over this. I mean, come on, if this bothers me, I'm not going to survive labor. This pain can't be more than a five on a scale of one to ten. All I could think about is "wimp, wimp, wimp." It's just like me to think about something totally off the wall when I should be focusing on more immediate things.

I could see Tim and the room fine. Opposite the exam table, I spotted a brown, canister vacuum-like machine. No doubt it was the source of the suction I heard during the procedure. I couldn't help wonder if what was left of our baby was somewhere inside it. Now, it was just a soup of blood and tissue that would be discarded with the other biohazard trash.

I must have tried four or five times to sit up, maybe another three or four to stand. Considering how small I am, those drugs all must have whomped me good. I leaned on Tim the whole way out. I was proud to have survived the elevator ride given that the nursing assistant had said it seems to cause women trouble. I slept most of the way home and proceeded to crawl into bed. I slept away the afternoon while Tim went back to work. I'm so lucky that I have him to take care of me.

By evening everything seemed fine. I was pleasantly surprised that I never felt the need to take any ibuprofen. No wonder there was no take home prescription other than three days of antibiotics. We ate and watched tv together the rest of the night.

Since then, I've talked a little bit about miscarriage with a couple of friends. I don't know how much it helped. The rational side of me already knows all the literature and facts. I know that miscarriage is common early in pregnancy (> 20%), and everything will be fine. Talking about it only seems to make me upset for reasons I can't fully explain. Heck, I even got upset when I open the medical insurance bill for that week. It's wonderful to know I have all the love and support of friends, but it doesn't change what happened. I'm sad, I'm angry, I'm disappointed. Only time can make that all fade. Until then, I just keep preparing myself for better days to come.


Anna May Won't said...

i hate pain too - maybe more the anticipation of it than the actual feeling - and you seem to have been a trooper through the whole thing, despite feeling like a wimp. :)

it is indeed great that you have tim there to support you, physically and emotionally! i like how he joked around with you. very loving.

teahouse said...

Hey, I'm glad that Tim was there for you, and that it's over. You were very brave. Better days are ahead!

Sitcomgirl said...

Drugs of any sort scare the hell out of me, so like you I would expect some crazy interesting feeling to come about from taking valium or vicoden. Tim sounds like such a wonderful, supportive, caring husband you are so lucky to have him there. I can't imagine how hard this was, so know you aren't a wimp and take care of yourself.