Katie’s Story

In early February, after taking a home pregnancy test, my husband and I discovered we would soon be expecting our second child. We were beyond excited! We did everything as we should, scheduled my 8 week appointment, started talking to my son about what was going to happen, etc. Normally I would have told my family right away, but for some reason I asked my husband to hold off on telling everyone until after our first appointment. I wanted to make sure everything was okay. Guess that was the first sign from my body!

My husband and I headed into the doctors office for my 8 week check-up excited to see our new little one happy and healthy. Except that’s not what happened. While the doctor was conducting the ultrasound I knew something was wrong. It looked like an empty black spot on the screen, and there was no heartbeat. The doctor tried to reassure me that it might just be his machine that’s not able to see the embryo and that he suggest I go to radiology for them to use a more powerful machine. Again, I knew something was terribly wrong at this point.

He told me to get dressed and then started to explain what he thought might be going on, but wouldn’t know for sure until the results from radiology. The word blighted ovum came out of his mouth and I had no idea what he was talking about. He explained to me that the egg had attached itself to the uterine wall but never developed into an embryo. The black area I was seeing was the pregnancy sac. And to me it was a very empty pregnancy sac. More of a black void. As I am an eternal optimist I tried to reassure myself that everything was going to be okay.

However, radiology later that day confirmed what my doctor had told me. I was instructed to get blood taken every other week to track my HCG levels down to zero and that I would have to wait for the miscarriage to happen.

Here’s the snag though…4 weeks from my first appointment I was scheduled to head to Texas to meet up with 22 members of my family for my grandfather’s 90th birthday. The only thing running through my mind was….that’s when it’s going to happen! And with my luck it will happen on the plane.

2 weeks later still nothing had happened. 3 weeks…still ‘pregnant.’ Week 4. Oh week 4!

We were scheduled to leave from Virginia to Texas on a Thursday. The Tuesday prior, I had started to spot a little. The nurse at the doctors office had told me that the whole process would be just like a period, only a little heavier than usual. I wasn’t even going through a pad a day with the spotting, so I started to believe her and didn’t think it was going to be bad. I did however call my mom and let her know what was going on and if she could by some pads for me so I didn’t have to fly with a supply!

Enter Thursday. Of course I wake up and the blood is heavier. More like a period flow, although I have a little more cramping this time. I take some Tylenol and we head to the airport. I’m standing in line and the cramps are getting pretty bad. It also feels like I’m peeing on my pad, which was a very strange feeling. My plan was to change my pad before I got on the plane and then once more while we were on the flight. Of course security was long and we were running behind, so I didn’t get to change my pad.

Sitting in my seat on the plane was awful. Cramps were intensifying, it still felt like I was peeing, I was starting to get flushed and feeling a little sick. The instant the fasten seatbelt sign went off I grabbed a pad and went to the ONLY bathroom on the plane. What I found when I sat on the toilet I will never forget.

Blood soaked pad and pants. My worst nightmare was coming true. As I watched myself pee it wasn’t urine that was coming out. It was blood and large golf ball sized clots. I was terrified and completely embarrassed. How was I going to hide what was happening to me on a plane of all places!

Luckily I had a sweatshirt to tie around my waist and cover my backside as I walked to and from the bathroom several times during that flight. I knew something wasn’t right and I started to fear the worst. Here I am in Texas for my grandfather’s 90th birthday and I’m having a miscarriage.

As we get to my parents house, I tell my mom I’m going to jump in the shower for a bit. That’s when I knew something was really really wrong. As I was standing in the shower, that peeing sensation I was having on the plane was happening. I was essentially hemorrhaging blood and passing very large clots still. I knew there would be a lot of bleeding with the miscarriage, but didn’t expect it to be this much.

I called my doctor and he asked if I was soaking a pad an hour. YES! Probably more like 2. Not the words I wanted to hear next. I was to go to the hospital.

I got put through the wringer there. Vials of blood taken, ultrasounds taken, more blood taken, sitting in a room forever and then the doctor from the hospital comes in. Apparently the ultrasound showed that I had a 6 to 6.5 cm in diameter clot in my uterus that they needed to get out. (Just for perspective, a tennis ball is 7cm in diameter)

I had to shift up into an awkward position, bear down as if going through child birth, have huge cotton swab looking things be poked all around inside me and then all of a sudden she said she got it. She explained to me that this clot could be the culprit for all the bleeding I had been having. I then had to stay for another hour (my mom and I had already been there for 5 hours) to monitor the bleeding.

Miraculously the bleeding pretty much stopped immediately after the clot was removed. I was amazed and relieved. I was hopeful I would be able to leave the hospital soon and spend time with my family who I was missing so much.

The hour goes by and there is barely any bleeding. I felt a huge milestone when I ventured to the bathroom at one point and actually had urine come out instead of blood. I knew I had turned a corner at this point. The doctor felt it was okay for me to be discharged. Best feeling and news ever!

As much as I wanted to keep this whole process very private, when my mom and I weren’t at the celebration for 6 hours my husband and dad had to spill the beans. It was very hard to walk into a room of 15 people or so after I had spent 5 hours in an airport/plane and then 6 hours in the hospital suffering a miscarriage. But at the end of the day, I’m glad I was able to be with my entire family. Emotion filled the room as I walked in and the support everyone gave me the entire weekend was amazing. I think all the love and prayers I received that weekend from my family really did help me heal faster.

12 weeks it took for all of this to come to an end. I had good days and very bad days for several weeks after the miscarriage. But now at a month and a half after it all, I’m already looking towards the future and the opportunity of becoming pregnant again.

Sterling, VA
Published 5/29/13

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