If you've been reading here the past couple of weeks you'll already know this, but if you're just arriving, here is a little history before I launch into what happened recently: we found out we'd lost the baby during an ultrasound at the beginning of January. And then we waited, because I wanted to allow my body time to miscarry naturally. My midwife had said she didn't want me to go longer than 4 weeks, and we were just beyond the 3-week mark and nothing at all was happening. My midwife suggested I take an herbal tincture that can aid in uterine contractions- which would help get things started. I took it for three days and did start bleeding on the third night. I was feeling slightly menstrual- a bit crampy and achy, but no severe cramping or noticeable sign of things progressing.
On Friday night I spoke with my midwife, who indicated that she thought my body was being "stubborn." Indeed. She was a bit concerned at the blood I was losing, and said that if nothing happened over the weekend, we'd proceed to other options.
I really wanted to miscarry at home. Honestly, I looked at any other options with a fair bit of dread. The D&C seemed too invasive for me, and the description of it is unsettling.
Friday night we went to bed late-- I had been really sad that evening, and Mark and I stayed up late, talking. And I cried. A lot.
I woke up at 2:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and realized I was in a good deal of pain. Half-hour later I woke Mark up because I was having regular contractions, one on top of the other. For a period of time I was counting them out- I would count up to 16 or 18, sometimes 20- the contraction peaking at 8 or 10, and then I'd try to take deep breaths and was only able to get 8 in before another contraction would hit. Those type of contractions went on for hours. I'd lie in bed for awhile, on my side- clutching my heated rice bag over my cramping uterus, get up after 20 minutes or so and go to the bathroom, change my pad, peer into the toilet to try to measure blood loss and look for clots and any sign of the baby. Sometimes I'd run the bathwater, sit in the tub and hold a hot, wet washcloth to my stomach.
Mark stayed awake with me most of the time- breathing along with me, rubbing my back, putting pressure on my lower back during contractions, even getting up with me for my bathroom trips, reheating my rice bag. He was mostly quiet. There were times I thought he'd fallen asleep but when I asked him he'd say, "No. I'm just praying for you." He was great. So tired and so sad for me, but he was amazing.
Towards morning- 5 or 6 o'clock, I can't remember-- the contractions really increased in intensity. They were much more painful, but not as close together. I cried through every single one of them, and was in the "I can't do this anymore. How much longer will this go on?" stage. I was having a hard time relaxing and taking deep breaths in between each contraction- even though I had more time between them. During those contractions, my bathroom trips showed heavier bleeding and clots. Still no baby.
At around 7 o'clock-- 4 1/2 hours from the time they'd started-- God gave us a reprieve. There was about an hour, maybe an hour and 20 minutes where we were lying in bed, facing each other, waiting for the next one to come... and it didn't. I think I only had one contraction in that hour. Mark slept. I dozed. I woke to Audra climbing into our bed, chattering, and I was confused. Were we done? I knew I hadn't seen the baby come out yet. What did that mean? More labor? And- if so-- was I going to be able to keep at this?
I got up to go to the bathroom- Mark still slept- and within 20 minutes the contractions were back, painful and frequent. We just picked up right where we'd left off, except now the kids were waking up. Mark tried to settle the kids with a movie and then breakfast and then herded them downstairs to play--- trying to be quick with each thing and get back to me, because I needed him. I labored for another hour or so, and Mark was getting increasingly worried about me, and I was beginning to feel weepy and desperate. I asked him to have the kids come up and pray for me, and he did. When they walked into the room, I started sobbing. I was so comforted by their presence and their sweet prayers for me. Then I asked him to text others, and he texted our moms and some close friends and asked them all to pray and gave them a brief update. Then I encouraged him to call Winni, our midwife, to update her on what was going on. (I was hoping that his conversation with her would reassure him and make him feel less worried.) They chatted for a bit- Mark asking me in between contractions for clarification on times/loss of blood. Loss of blood was her primary concern. Mark got off the phone and said, "Winni is worried about you."
OH. So much for my plan for Winni to reassure Mark.
Winni said that most of her moms will start cramping and the baby will come within three hours. And after that point, things taper off from there. THREE hours. Here I was, going on six hours, and I'd been bleeding since Wednesday (remember, it's now Saturday morning). She recommended that we go to the ER.
So now Mark is REALLY worried, and I immediately accepted the fact that this is not happening at home anymore, and that we'll be going to the hospital.
[For Part 2, click here.]