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Misoprostol

** WARNING :: Post contains description of a miscarriage induced by misoprostol. I want to share this because I want women facing a similar experience to have an idea what to expect. **(5 wk Embryo and yolk sac. Image not mine)

 

At 11 weeks 4 days I received the misoprostol pills. I was dreading using them because I knew what process would come after. And because this was a second miscarriage the OBGYN asked if I could collect the miscarriage for pathology testing to see what might have caused it. It’s usually chromosomal they say.

At 12 weeks I had worked up the guts to just do it. Hubs had the day off and I could take the time I needed. The instructions from the nurse was this:

  1. Eat a meal
  2. Take the max dose of Tylenol (1000mg) and Ibuprofen (400mg) to minimize the labor cramps/contractions
  3. Take a gravol and prepare a hot water bag to counter the side effects of the drug (nausea, vomitting, feeling cold, shivers)
  4. Insert four misoprostol pills as far into the vagina as you can
  5. Go to bed and stay home

So starting after lunch, I did this. While waiting for the meds to kick in I read on some forum the terrible and painful experiences some moms had with this medication. (But these moms also weren’t given the instructions I was.) I began to dread what was ahead. My sister told me to stop reading stuff and just sleep. (If you have to take misoprostol as well, stop reading anything else after this post. ) The Gravol kicked in and I slept.

I woke for a light dinner. No pain (thank you Ibuprofen and Tylenol!) though I had a few sharp pangs in my pelvic region. Two girl friends, @whereiskp and @kimby came by to keep me company a while. I understand everyone will go through this differently in terms of who they share this with but I just highly highly recommend walking through this with supportive people around you. Whether they send dinner (Thank you @whereiskp! Love you!!) or come over to play with your kids so you can take a mental break (Thank you @Kimby! Love you!!) or to listen and pray and give hugs (Love you all Friends and Family!). Giving your thoughts an outlet to listening ears keeps them from eating you up inside. You need community more than you think.

At 10pm, eight hours after the pills went in, I had a bit more bleeding as well as some larger clots. As a side note, it’s a good idea to stay on top of the pain meds for at least 12-24 hours. I washed up and went to bed.

Around midnight, 2am and 4am I would feel something expelled, bleeding got really heavy (filled a pad in an hour), and a large palm-size piece would be passed into the toilet. The hospital provided gloves for me to retrieve and put into the specimen container. Each time I’d have to put the container in the fridge after. It’s probably as gory and traumatic as you imagine but through the process I really turned off the emotion part and kept it “scientific”. It’s for pathology testing after all. And I really didn’t want to flush the embryo away like I did the first time. After the 4am run, the bleeding reduced greatly. I slept until 8am and Saturday continued per normal with toddler routines and their demands. There wasn’t time for emotional processing. I noticed that I didn’t notice the offensive scents in my kitchen anymore. And I thought to myself, “Ok, well, I guess that’s done.

On Monday while at the hospital dropping off the specimen container at the emergency room, I suddenly felt a heavy blood flow. Going to the bathroom I felt another large piece pass but this time there was no way I could retrieve it. I really really hoped that was not BB3. All the other times I didn’t closely examine anything because I didn’t know if I could handle seeing the embryo. But having this happen at the hospital was a bit of a blow. I realize I’ll never know so I’m letting it go.

The bleeding for a few days after is like a regular period. Then spotting for a few more days. I was drinking red raspberry leaf tea through it all as it’s supposed to help tone the uterus (postpartum) to help stop the bleeding sooner. Not sure if that’s why I didn’t bleed as long as some women described in the forum. Or perhaps because the embryo stopped developing around 6 weeks that everything didn’t get as big as it would’ve been had it grown to a full 12 weeks. (And I think I’d be a complete wreck if I held a full 12 week fetus in my hands.)

It’s been just over four weeks since the miscarriage and am still slowly processing emotionally and spiritually. All I can say is don’t bury it inside but give yourself time to recognize the thoughts and feelings that come. More on that another time.

 

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Step of faith and then…

12 weeks

We stepped out in faith towards the vision of family we had and got pregnant right away! I was excited. I was nervous. But I was happy. We were having a third! And I know the drill. Stay on top of multivitamins. Healthy, clean diet. Exercise. Those 40 weeks were long but very short. I anticipated the morning sickness at week 7 which came like clockwork. The scent of meat, garlic and oil became disgusting to me. I dry heaved over every scent in my house; especially in the kitchen. It was worse than my first two but I was thankful to be keeping all my meals down. I couldn’t wait to tell the kids (after week 13). I expected by week 21 I’ll have gestational diabetes again. And I couldn’t wait for that first ultrasound to meet BB3.

It was scheduled at week 9.

Hmm, the pregnancy appears a lot earlier than expected. You’re probably not as far along as you thought.

My heart sank. The last time I heard that, we experienced loss. The ultrasound tech showed me a uterus with a yolk sac and no visible fetus on the screen, much less a heartbeat. But then she found a shadowy form that was barely visible and said the radiologist would go through everything and my doctor would fill me in on the report. Hubs and I went home with heavy hearts.

My doctor called and said the fetus measured the size of a 5 wk fetus. Heartbeats are not detectable before 6 weeks so another ultrasound was scheduled a week later. The whole week I dreaded the coming ultrasound. I wanted to pray for a heartbeat, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. So I didn’t pray. I didn’t hope. I just waited.

At the ultrasound on week 10, the radiologist herself came into the room to tell me there was still no heartbeat so it confirms a failed pregnancy. She apologized for our loss and asked if there were any questions. I asked why I was still having morning sickness. She said my doctor will be able to answer that but the she could confirm that the pregnancy was nonviable. We drove away in silence.

But a minute later the phone rang. It was the radiologist. She said, “You know, there’s still no heartbeat but the fetus is slightly, and I mean slightly, bigger than last week. It measures 5.5 weeks in size and the heartbeat would still be undetectable so to be on the safe side I will recommend you come in for another scan next week. The timing doesn’t make any sense but you’re still feeling pregnant and I’ve seen a lot of strange things so let’s just confirm things then.” Hubs had renewed hope. And while my heart lifted, I really didn’t want to hope. God could do this miracle…I knew He could…but I didn’t know if He would for me. I didn’t expect it. I hoped. I didn’t hope. I didn’t pray because I didn’t know how to. It was a rollercoaster.

The ultrasound at week 11 was fast. The tech said, “No heartbeat and the fetus is the same size as last week. It’s probably a miscarriage. Sorry.” Rollercoaster end.

Good thing I didn’t hope, I told myself. But I felt crushed anyways.

My doctor called to confirm the diagnosis and referred me to the BC Women’s Early Pregnancy center where they will go over my options. She advised I request one more ultrasound for peace of mind.

At week 11 and 4 days, I requested that last ultrasound. The OBGYN doing the scan was fantastic, talking me through everything she was seeing and not seeing but should be. The pregnancy stopped at around week 5.5/6. Morning sickness continued because the placenta missed the memo regarding the halted pregnancy and kept producing the pregnancy hormone, hCG, which caused morning sickness. That last flicker of hope for a heartbeat was stilled. My options were to

  1. Wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally,
  2. Take misoprostol to induce the miscarriage, or
  3. Do a D&C which meant having your uterus vacuumed.

I didn’t want to wait any more and didn’t want the more invasive route so I chose option 2 and got sent home with the pills, instructions and an empty heart.

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Deciding on #3 (Part 2)

A week into Hub’s decision making process regarding having a third or not, he shared that while he was praying for an answer, he didn’t feel a strong answer either way. I emailed our Pastor for perspective and insight and the main thought that stuck was, “Are you deciding based on FAITH or FEAR?

Hubs confessed his reluctance to have a third was based on fear. Fear of not being able to financially provide the best opportunities and reasonable comforts for his children. Fear that three will be too much to handle without extra family support and help. Reasonable and practical fears. But fears nonetheless. There was no “good reason” to have a third. Yet he couldn’t bring himself to close the door. How to process through it? 

Interestingly, encouragement and support came through his clients at work the next couple of weeks. 

“If you can have three, you should do it. Not everyone can though they might want to.”
“The finances will take care of itself. You will never regret having another child to love.”
“You won’t regret not working more when you’re old, but you might regret not having a third.”
“You should totally do it! I’ve always wanted three kids, that’s my perfect family size, but I barely made it to two so we have to stop.”

Hubs reconfirmed that he could see us as a family of five. While his prayers about whether or not to proceed with having a third weren’t answered by a clear yes or a no, he felt God might be saying either choice wouldn’t be a bad one. The vision of a family of five would be there for him to respond in faith to. 

So, at the end of the month he told me, “Okay Hun, I’m still afraid, but I’m going to take a step of faith and say, ‘Let’s try for #3!’

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Deciding on #3 (Part 1)

Some moms and dads know: One and done! or Two and through! 

We were more like: Three? um. Mayyyyybe?

Right after giving birth to Obiwan, my immediate thought was, “I don’t feel done.” I waited for it to hit during the 3am feeds but it didn’t come. I still didn’t feel done. Even while juggling two and being hit by sporadic waves of feeling overwhelmed, if I envisioned my family a few years out, we were a family of five. I knew the early childhood years were going to be in the trenches but a blurry third child was in my mind’s picture. And it was going to be fun. Chaotic but fun. It wasn’t a rational thought, I knew. People would comment, “Oh you have a girl and a boy! Perfect! You’re all done!” But my gut said, “Well, not really.

I remember when we had our ultrasound with Obiwan and the technician told us we were expecting a boy. My husband was relieved that we could be done at two. And I was relieved that we don’t have to worry about having three girls in the future. (And if you have three girls that’s FABULOUS! I just wanted some variety and less PMS drama.)

Which leads me to how my husband felt. He thought one of each was great and two was a good number to stop at. I asked if he could see us as a family of five and while he could, he felt, practically speaking, two would be easier on the finances and scheduling and future opportunities and on us, as the majority of our families are out of province. Yes, I agreed, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would regret not trying for a third. I read up on parent forums where others were asking similar questions about how parents decided to have more than two. The advice that came back:

“Do it! You’ll never regret it!”
“Yes it’s tight on finances and life gets chaotic but everything works out and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“If you don’t feel done, keep going!”
“The only way you’ll stop wondering is if you just do it.”
“They go through SO. MUCH. MILK. but seeing the three playing together is best thing ever. We’re so glad we had three. No looking back.”

That confirmed it for me.

But life isn’t always about me is it? Hubs and I were a team and both had to be equally on board otherwise someone is going to get resentful. Resentment is a marriage killer so no way we would do that to our family. But how to move forward? I decided to just stay quiet, pray and give him time. Obiwan turned one. Then he turned two. Still, while Hubs was kind of open to the idea, a third remained an impracticality in his mind. The age gap to the potential third was growing bigger than I liked, and I wasn’t getting any younger, so I finally asked Hubs to decide; if it’s a firm NO, then out of love and respect for him, I would release my vision of a family of five. And I gave him a month.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Gardening with a toddler is no walk in the park

We faced some garden challenges to say the least.

First the resident squirrels saw the new garden box as a great place to start hiding their acorns and peanuts. Their digging dug up a few of my seeds.

Then some birds thought the corn seeds might be good, but as it was sprouting roots already, it must not have tasted good and they left my seedlings drying in the air.

Followed by Obiwan who found the newly sprouted leaves to be pretty neat so he pulled a few up.

I resorted to stabbing sticks and hanging mesh around the garden box to deter animals for a while so my seeds would have a chance to sprout and take root. With Obiwan I showed him the sprouts and said, “These are babies. Don’t touch them or they’ll be hurt.” And so far so good.

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But then I missed watering the garden for two days when the weather was nice and the more tender seedlings dried up.

And lastly we kept seeing rain in the forecast so I kept holding off watering but three days later there’s still no rain and more of my seedlings have dried further.

I’ve also determined that this location just doesn’t offer enough sunlight for half the veggies I’m growing. What’s growing has gotten quite thin and leggy as they try to reach for the sunlight. Apparently the rule of thumb is vegetables where you harvest leaves can tolerate some shade; vegetables where you harvest fruit/roots need full sun.

My green onions and kale looks good though. That might be all we’ll have this summer.

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My dried and scraggly veggies

The kids like to come, squat by the boxes, point at bugs crawling around, point at the little shoots that have survived so far and repeat the names of the vegetables. Nessness is particularly helpful in instructing Obiwan, “Didi these are peas. Don’t touch or mommy will be very angry.” So not all is lost yet.

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Where do carrots come from?

My kids are starting to think our food somehow magically comes in bags and boxes from Costco or Superstore. I’d like them to see how our vegetables actually take a while to grow, how they need care, and how birds and squirrels can dig up your seeds sometimes. So I threw myself into making a couple garden boxes from old fence boards while they napped the last few weeks. The large box took two hours to build and set into the ground. The smaller boxes took three hours total to build and install. Leveling them when installing probably takes as much time as building them.

It’s physically quite taxing but it’s also invigorating to labour away in fresh air and long-awaited sun!

Some technical info : In the large box, I didn’t line it with anything other than cardboard at the bottom because I read plastic next to wood keeps the moisture and warmth in, which causes the boards to rot sooner. My dad insists the plastic lining is necessary to protect the boards, especially since I used 1x6s instead of 2x6s, so I’ve lined the smaller boxes (but only half way up). I also stabbed a lot of holes into the bottom of the lining for water to drain. We’ll find out in a few years which box holds up.

Another caution when using old boards is knowing the age of them. Pressure treated wood from before 2003 are unsafe for vegetable gardens because of the chemicals used. Lead paint was banned after 1978.

What am I going to grow? I’ve picked vegetables we eat, of different heights and that will involve the kids for harvesting. In the large box there will be corn, cucumber, zucchini, pole beans, peas, spinach, leaf lettuce, Kale and green onions. I’m also growing nasturtium flowers because they’re supposed to attract the bugs that would otherwise eat my vegetables. In the taller, small box, I’m going to grow cherry tomatoes, carrots and basil. In the lower small box I’m growing herbs and maybe garlic.

We’ll see how we do!

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I get a little bit sad…

When my kiddies were infants I marveled over their little hands and feet. My fingertips delighting in touching their soft and perfect skin. (Apart from the cradle cap, baby acne and mild eczema anyways.) The palms of their hands and the bottoms of their feet were beautiful. Nibbling on their backs to get some baby giggles was the best. These perfect little humans were ours. That itself boggles my mind sometimes.

Then they get a little older. They start rolling, crawling, toddling, walking, climbing, running….and with that comes tumbling, tripping, crashing, falling, smashing. I see torn nails, cuts, raised bumps on their heads, bruises, scrapes and scratches. And I get a little bit sad that they’re growing up. With growing up comes the owies that mark up their skin. Which makes my heart ache little bit more knowing one day there’ll be owies that won’t be seen because it’ll be hurts of the heart. Or of the spirit.

So I pray. I want to pray they’ll be protected from all of that but I know that’s not how life is. Life, this fallen life with fallen and broken people, will bring pain. So I pray for strength, for courage, for bravery, for perseverance, for patience and ultimately for assurance that they are secure in Love. God’s love and our love. May they always be able to rest and trust in that. But I’m still a little bit sad thinking about it.