Trying to just get over my now multiple miscarriages is complicated. I work at a residential treatment center with young women who are suffering. Some because of things they have done, some because of things others have done to them, others because of things that just happened, and most some combination of the three. It is a therapeutic environment where we are constantly confronting them on their choices and behavior. As you can imagine, it is exhausting for all involved. I have learned so many things from my time on this job. The most significant thing I have been able to develop is a set of coping skills to use when I get overwhelmed or stressed.
Like I often tell my girls when we are trying to find an effective coping skill, “There are positive and negative coping skills. Let’s try and pick good ones, so that we don’t have to deal with negative consequences on top of everything else.” Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by grief or pain, that none of our decisions are well thought out or even very good. With my girls I will sit and problem solve with them so that they can get some help making plans and deciding on coping skills.
This line of problem solving is really good, as long as you have someone in your life to help you make good decisions when you are overwhelmed. The Lord opened the windows of heaven, and gave me my wonderful, compassionate, loving eternal companion Karl. With him, I have been able to develop a set of coping skills that work for us. Not all are positive or negative. Most sit in the middle of that spectrum somewhere. Some of my coping skills include: eating rich foods, shopping for new things we can afford, sleeping, Karl squeezing me tightly, cleaning and organizing my home, being creative, crying, bicycling, drawing, reading the scriptures, talking to a friend about it, and writing it down.
Writing down the timeline or the story of a series of significant events is a very effective therapeutic tool in understanding what exactly has happened to you. If we passively live life, never reflecting on difficult things and how we felt, and what we did, much experience will be lost.
I can hear Karl’s voice in my mind at this point, “Therefore what, Allison, therefore what?” Therefore, as a coping skill, and to make some sense of all that has happened to me, I am writing down the story of my two miscarriages. I share them to make them real, to hopefully get some feedback, and help my loved ones understand what has happened to us this summer.
Even as I sit here writing this, my vision is blurring from the pains coming from my abdomen. Just this morning I have taken four 200mg Ibuprofens and one 1000 mg tablet of Lortab. I didn’t even know what Lortab was before this horrible process. It did cost $100, AFTER insurance so I figure it has to be some good stuff though. After reading up on it I found that it is a mix Hydrocodone (a narcotic) and Acetaminophen and is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Which I assure you, I am in.
Every night for the past week I have been awaken from my sleep with really bad cramping. This was happening before I even knew I was miscarrying. I have decided now, after my second miscarriage, in almost as many months, that cramping is bad when you are pregnant. Well, maybe. The truth is (and I know this is a total cliche’) the more I know, the more I realize I really don’t know anything at all and it is this fact that is the cause for so much continued anxiety in my life right now.
When Karl and I first got married we were young in the middle of school. From the beginning, we prayed to know if it was time to have children. I was, as always, anxious to do the right thing. It really wan’t until we moved to Provo that we felt the time had come. It wasn’t until we were here almost a year that we really started to try to have children. It was almost a year after that, that we realized that there was a problem.
I wan’t having a period. I had been on birth control for over two years and things seemed out of whack since I had been off. So I went to the doctor. I met with Nurse Partitioner Casey Sullivan. Casey was nice enough. She had me do a progesterone treatment that basically thickened the wall of my uterus and to make me bleed. She said it was to “try and jump start my cycle.” She also had a thyroid test run, and we found out that I am hypothyroid. I went to see an endocrinologist for more help with it. She put me on a diet for my elevated blood pressure and high glucose level. I lost 45 pounds. Then in July, we found out we were pregnant!
We were so excited, we told everybody in the family as soon as we knew. We sent a text with the picture below:
It was exciting for many differnet reasons. Mainly because finally after nearly four years of marriage (two of those year trying) all of our fasting and prayers had been answered we were going to have a little baby. Also, so many of our other family members were having children, we would have a baby just their age to be friends with.
I went in for an examination on the next Tuesday. I was having really bad constant cramps, and I was worried. My doctor told me that cramping was normal and to just eat well, start prenatal vitamins and to read What to Expect While You’re Expecting. She did send me to check my thyroid level, and a pregnancy panel. (Check my progesterone, iron, etc.)
Everybody call, flowers came, and tears of joy were shed. Unfortunately, before the flowers wilted, problems arose. One Monday morning during work, I passed a little pink pea sized mass. I knew what it was. In my heart I didn’t want to believe it. I stayed at work because I didn’t know what to do. When I finally got out of work four hours later I was a total mess. I was able to keep it together, but just barely.
As soon as my bike and I were off of campus I started sobbing. I decided I needed to call my doctor. I jumped off my bike and stepped into a pile of dog poop. This lead to more tears and by the time I finally got through to my doctor’s office I was hysterical. I squeezed me into an ultrasound appointment just to check on the baby. I called Karl, no answer of course because he was at work on a call. I called Krysta who promptly borrowed a car from a neighbor to come and pick me up. I waited outside of the Bajio at the Riverwoods and tried not to make a sobbing spectacle of myself. I am not sure what a appeared like when Krysta got there, but her face and the hug that followed said it must have looked a mess.
Karl called once we got to the doctors office. They were just taking me into the ultrasound room. While laying on the table, the woman asked me to pay my copay, ran my card and then proceeded to check me out. She didn’t say a word. I was told to drink as much water as I could so I had to pee SO bad. She was putting tons of pressure on my bladder area, and it was super painful. She finished up and sent me to the bathroom without a word. Then to back to the waiting room.
My uterus was empty. Not that anyone told me that. They just said they couldn’t see anything, and that I had to do an HCG quantitative lab that day. It was at this point that Karl arrive, walked over and embraced me. Krysta left and went to get my bike. (I love you KRYSTA!) They also ordered a Rhogam shot, just in case I miscarried. Thinking back in it now, there is no reason to believe that I hadn’t lost my baby, all the evidence was there. So I just did as I was told and went to the lab. By this time it was 4 o’clock. They took my blood but told me that they needed time to get the shot ready. So I went home and a little over two hours later they called me a told me to come back. They said they were short staffed, so they told me I had to go and pick up the shot myself, and bring it back to the lab.
I was really confused, but did what I was told. It took us a while to find the place. When we arrived we realized by the surprised responses we got, that this was not a place patients usually visited. The man that helped us to find the blood bank said, “They should have called us, we would have brought it to you.” We got to the lab, and the woman that prepared the shot was not there. Just an intern who was confused, because there was a note on it that said, “Why is this person taking this shot?” He wouldn’t give it to us, so we waited there for another half hour. The woman arrived and finally with annoyance gave it to us. We then drove all the way back to the lab. When we got there we were told there was no nurse on that level to administer the shot. She told us to hurry up to the 4th floor, there might be a nurse there.
There wasn’t. Back down to the lab we went. We were then sent all the way to labor and delivery, and another wing of the hospital. We road the elevator up with a very pregnant girl and her nervous looking husband. It was really sad. We were buzzed in, and the woman asked me for my ID and insurance info. It was then I snapped. I said, “I have had to present my ID and insurance info like 10 times today! I just need someone to give me a shot. I have been here for over two hours, and have been given a total run around. I can assure you, once this is over I will NEVER come her again.” The nurse left, and I took this picture.
That is the shot in question. She brought us to an examination room and after waiting another 15 minutes until a nurse finally arrived. This nurse knew I was upset. She listened and after I was done with my rant, she called my doctor, who up to this point I had never met. He said to wait until I was sure that I had miscarried to take the shot. I went home thoroughly discouraged.
The next day while I was in the temple, I got a call from my doctors office, she said she was looking at my thyroid levels and they seemed high. That’s right, those results come back in two hours, and she didn’t bother to even look at them until after I had come in with miscarriage concerns. My thyroid that had been showing normal levels, was now over 7, astronomically high. My progesterone levels were also low, not that they mentioned that to me either.
Two days later the bleeding started. Then the cramps. I went into my doctor, who prescribed me my current pain med, and sent me on my way. I left that office knowing that I would never go back.
Getting over it the First time
Our anniversary was the next weekend and I was ready for the break. I was off my diet for a week, and then lost another 5 pounds. I had ice cream for the first time in months:
Things were going really well, but after a couple months on no period, and a noticeably elivated basal body temp, I took a pregancy test, or two.
I went in and took an HCG level, over 1000, really great. My progesterone level was also really strong. My thyroid level was ok, still too high, yet all signs seemed good. The night after all those great labs, I had some spotting, so I was concerned.
I was with a much more attentive doctor this time. She sent me right in for blood tests. The prognosis was not good. My HCG was now at 217. When I found out I was at work. I called my supervisor and went home for the rest of the week. This time though, my doctor wanted to know why. So she sent me in for some more tests.
All the empty viles pre blood.
This is interesting, there were so many different blood samples needed she used a different mechanism, so that the vein wouldn’t collapse.
Half way there!
The finished product: 16 little beakers of blood.
A wrapped arm to show for it.
After all was said and done, all the labs came back negative. In this case, negative is good. So far the only thing that seems to consistently be too high is my thyroid level.
I had an ultrasound done and met with my doc, a holistic doc, and an ENT and they all seem to agree. Thyroidectamy. Not even necessarily for the purpose of fertility, but also to be able to get my thyroid level under control. So I guess this is my announcement. On Thursday November 4th, I am having my thyroid removed. For more details, call me.