Project Lazurus

Just imagine my surprise this morning in my sleepless blog posting, when I hit “post”, sat on the couch for a few minutes, then felt an amazing gushing. Not an emotional “oh aint it sweet”, oh no, a physical (sorry about the tmi) “what is happening in my pants”.

About 6 minutes and two pads later (yes really), we were armed with a towel and in the car on our way to Royal North Shore hospital Emergency. On the inside, I was kind of calm. I knew what was going on, I always knew it was a risk. It was pretty clear what was going on. I woke hub-in-boots up with such a start I had to sit him down before he dressed, as he leapt out of bed then turned white as a ghost.

On the outside, though, once I’d made it back to the car armed with towels I suddenly thought of, I started this amazing howling. It was like an old part of my brain kicked in and just wailed. Part of me was sitting there going “what the F*** are you doing? Wailing is not gonna fix this. We know what’s happening. Don’t be melodramatic. Be cool.” But the rational part could not stop this godawful noise. Old brain is tough. Hub in boots did very well keeping one hand on my knee and one on the steering wheel.

He dropped me off at the door and I hurried inside, clutching my old towel. The male nurse on triage was amazingly nice. Probably owing to the shocker reputation the hospital had for a while after nearly losing a woman in the toilets with a miscarriage. They could not have been nicer. I was seriously in a bed with a hot blanket, a loo and a buzzer within 5 minutes.

We were seen by a nurse, then waited a while for a doctor. Another trip to the loo, big clots. Not pretty. It was looking like a scene from Dexter. I couldn’t get enough fluid down my throat. Still can’t. I alternated between quiet crying, noisy crying and just staring into space. Hub in boots did lots of back rubbing. I just kept saying We were so bloody close. So close to 13 weeks. I don’t want to do this all over again. I don’t want to go back to the start, and do IVF, and wait for tests, and wait for the first scan, and wait, and wait and wait. I don’t WANT a different due date. I want THIS one.

I knew full well what was happening. I didn’t hold any hope at all. NOTHING could survive this level of bleeding and clotting. Seriously.

And we waited.

The younger doctor, Kelly, came in. She was lovely, told me she understood how I felt, she’d been through one herself. Ran us through what they would do (possible drip, fluids, blood tests, referral to early pregnancy clinic for follow up later in the week). She put in a giant needle canula (apparently because of the blood loss in case they needed it later). It hurt like hell. And bled like hell! As if there wasn’t enough coming out! She said they probably would not do an ultrasound today (which was what we really wanted), but she’d talk to a registrar. Talked about the possibility of a curette at some point, but that they usually went the wait and see with threatened miscarriage. Showed hub-in-boots where to make a precious cup of tea. We were psyched for a miscarriage, a go home and wait it out, and a later visit to a clinic in the week.

Well halfway through my cup of tea, she came in and grabbed it, and said, “nope. You’re not having that. Spoke to my registrar and there’s a possibility of an ultrasound and maybe a curette today. Because you’re Dr M’s patient. And because of IVF so you could start again sooner. So no drink for a while.”

At this point, with surgery a real possibility, we realised it was time to ring family.

Next in line was the head ultrasound guy. He was lovely. Could not have been nicer. So empathic it was incredible. He was showing the young doctor how to do the ultrasound, and talked us through exactly what they were looking for, and what it could and couldn’t show. That is, we may see nothing no baby, but everything may be fine. We may see a heartbeat, but everything could be still about to go pear shaped. Ok.

And five seconds later, there was gumby. Not just alive, but clear as a bell. Waving it’s arms each with five little fingers around SO MUCH that he couldn’t get a fix on the heartrate. “Well um, your fetus is definitely alive.” Hub in boots could see, and I could not, but I could not care less. Because they were all smiling. I was just getting my head around a miscarriage. WHAT THE HELL am I supposed to feel now?

The heartbeat was a little fast at 170. Geez, there’s a surprise with freaked out mum on board with every bit of adrenaline pumping. A heartbeat? Are you guys serious? Neither of us could close our mouths. We were both stunned. They turned the screen around, and there was gumby. A little person. Clear as day. Doing a mexican wave, the arms going back and forth and back and forth.

They scanned all my organs, and they could see what’s called a subchorionic haematoma. It’s a bleed or haemorrhage adjacent to the gestational sac. In my case a small one. Well I’d hate to see the blood from a large one.

Next in line was the ONG person (I think that’s what they’re called. Obstetric, Neonatal, Gynaecological specialist). She took a full history and had a prod around my abdomen. Still absolutely no pain. Plenty of panic, though.

Fourth or fifth in line was the ONG registrar. Very reassuring. “I think you’re going to be fine. I’d be surprised if you got to 10 weeks and this caused a miscarriage. A clot can cause the placenta to come away from the uterine wall, and then a miscarriage will occur, but because you have lots of bleeding but no pain, and because you’re already 10 weeks, I think it’s going to be fine. I don’t want you do worry. Now don’t be a hero, if you get pain, if you get heavier or more bleeding you come straight back and see us. But I think this will just go away. The baby’s fine.”

Well bugger me.

Doctor 3 ONG came back, and she brought the speculum trolley. Oh joy. Hello lady, do you realise it’s kind of messy down there? She didn’t bat an eyelid. Had a look at my cervix, the final hurdle today, and it was long and closed. All good.

We waited out the blood test results (pretty ok I think), got the canula out, got our letter, and we were ok to go home.

TMI WARNING I was really thankful I’d read Kaz Cooke‘s brilliant “up the duff” book. She advised to keep anything you’d bled on for the doctors to look at and/or analyse. Gross!, I thought, at the time I read it. But it turns out, Exhibits A and B were pretty popular with the docs. Turns out, they prefer to make their own assessment of how heavy bleeding and clotting is, they don’t want to just rely on slightly hysterical first time mum. Which is fair. I have to say I was really glad I’d read it, and followed it, as “wrong” as it is. It seemed to help with their diagnosis. I was totally grossed out, they were really glad I’d thought of it. I only put it here because some time you might be with a friend in this situation. And I think it’s something women should know, and based on my experience, maybe it could help with the accuracy of diagnoses. It is another piece of information in the puzzle.

I’m also amazed at the difference having an Obs name and the IVF clinics name and being a private patient made. We were facing coming home to wait for days, so certain we’d lost the pregnancy, and instead came home after seeing 4 doctors, with still heavy levels of panic, BUT a visual imprint of the best thing I have EVER seen. Our supposedly “terminated fetus” waving it’s arms around wildly. Hello! I’m still in here!

Somehow, I’d even feel better about a miscarriage knowing that the fetus was so real and alive and there, that we’d done what we could.

We’ve waited out today either in bed or on the couch. I haven’t slept much; my head won’t shut up enough to really sleep. We’ve watched a bit of tennis. I ate twisties. I drank three cups of tea (unheard of in this pregnancy). I was careful to have a good breakfast and lunch. I cannot TELL you how many litres of water I’ve drunk. It must be 5, and I’m still thirsty. I’ve alternated between feeling like I could just expire, and feeling ok, then go back to almost expiring again. I feel washed out. Hub-in-boots is exhausted and stunned in equal measures. (He’s still googling cars).

We both know I’m now probably crazy high risk. We both know it could still go really wrong at any minute, the minute pain starts, or more gushing. I am going mental with every little twinge, but trying not to. And we’ll be lucky if we make another week. We know that. I’ve told work I probably won’t be in this week and I’m just staying in bed. I don’t care.

And now, here’s the list of ridiculous things that went through my head in hospital as being the cause of the miscarriage:

  • doing the nutbush at a 50th birthday party (ie dancing, thanks Tina Turner)
  • still going to boxercise.
  • sipping Stew’s wine once before we got our positive test
  • eating a buffet at a party on Friday
  • going out two nights in a row
  • eating Thai
  • Eating too much
  • Not eating enough
  • Not getting morning sickness
  • Not being relaxed enough
  • being 40
  • accidentally sampling brownie cake mix that had raw egg in it
  • wearing jeans (wtf?)
  • still taking medication my doctor told me to keep taking
  • telling people before I was 13 weeks against the clinic’s orders. This apparently makes you deserve a miscarriage, and people will go “yeah I knew she shouldn’t tell people before 13 weeks”.

Don’t know what the hell heads do, sometimes. Good to acknowledge it all as completely ridiculous.

Grover is sitting on the couch with Hub-in-boots wondering what all the fuss is about. Project Supergrover almost flew into a wall today. We’ve picked up my bed, and walked, and like Lazurus, we’re still kicking.

And waving our new little arms, and beating little hearts, and waiting.

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9 thoughts on “Project Lazurus

  1. Been where you are…a little earlier, but insanely scary. It is a,a zing how much blood there is and then you see the ultrasound and all looks well. Scary s#%&…and your brain becomes a manic jungle of nonsense. Thinking of you and hub.

  2. Oh my goodness, reading this just gave me a shock as well. And then happy feelings as you got to see your little one on ultra sound alive and kicking. I will be thinking of you and hoping hoping that this is just a crisis and that everything will be fine!! I can not even imagine how scary it must have been and still is.

    1. Thanks Irene. It’s like ivf – you just keep redefining what is “normal” experience. Madness. Yesterday was so full on. To think they could have sent us home w no scan- and we would have been thinking the worst.

  3. caliope

    I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog. Was on the edge of my seat, practically in tears reading what you have just been through and wanted to send all my best wishes to you guys; it seems this baby is a toughie and doctors don’t tell you the odds are good if they don’t believe it. I’m 40 too, pregnant for the first time after IVF (13wks so still very nervous too), and also a fan of Kaz Cooke’s book. It’s sitting right beside me now. Sending lots of positive vibes your way.

  4. Oh my gosh, what a terrifying experience! I’m so glad to hear that everything is okay. My girlfriend went throw something very similar a couple months back, and her and the baby are doing really well.

    Take good care of yourself!! ❤

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