Yellow Blog, Up High in Banana Tree

I love the beautiful world at night.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Whistling in the dark.

I'm a big liar. In previous posts, I may have given the impression that my miscarriages (one last August, one in progress) haven't been bothering me much.

Oh, but they have, and they do.

I didn't notice the fear and grief too keenly until this afternoon. I got to a part of the book I'm reading (sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone) where the female protagonist suffers a very nasty, must-go-to-the-ER kind of miscarriage. Blood everywhere. Ugh. I read that and noticed my heart started beating very fast, and my head was swimming.

I'm waiting to finish a miscarriage right now. I've been waiting for two weeks. What's going to happen? Will it be like last time? I'm scared. I'm glad I'm going to my ob-gyn on Tuesday, but in the meantime, I'm afraid to be anywhere too far from a hospital.

I keep thinking about my trip to the ER last August. I don't want to be brooding about it, but since I can't seem to stop thinking about it, I'll write about the experience a little. Maybe that will help, to get some of it written down. It's going to be a bit graphic, okay? I can't help that. The experience was gory.

First, there was the drive to the ER. I remember feeling my vagina fill with blood, over and over, and gasping every time it poured out into my lap. I wanted so badly to hold it in, but I was utterly helpless. I tried tightening my pelvic muscles (Kegels?), but I was fighting too big a force, like trying to stop the tide with a little pile of pebbles -- laughable, almost. The loss of blood felt like a lapse of self-control, weakness. Each gush surprised me, so I gasped again and again. M, who was driving as quickly and safely as he could, jumped every time I gulped for air. I'm often his navagator when he drives, so I suppose he kept thinking I was seeing things in the road: *gasp* "What?" "So much blood," -- pause -- *gasp* "What?" etc.

I gave up on trying to stop the blood with my muscles. I thought, 'Let's pretend I just got a rattlesnake bite. Let's slow everything down: my breathing, my heart, my mind -- calm, calm, calm.' This seemed to work a little. Once in a while, I felt a brief surge of rage at the doctor who told me to wait for a natural miscarriage: 'Aw, great. Now I'm going to bleed to death, naturally! Why?' Then I remembered the rattlesnake bite. Calm, calm, calm.

When we finally got the hospital, M helped me out of the passenger side of his SUV. Dark red bloomed over the front of my white shorts. Blood poured down my legs and pooled, slick and sticky, under my feet in the flip-flops I was wearing. M held me up and we stumbled into the ER. I felt very weak and cold, and I started to shudder violently. The rattle of teeth was so loud and annoying. One absurd thought I had: 'Why do they have carpet in here? I'm bleeding all over it. This must happen to them all the time! Stupid carpet.'

M held me up, spinning me a little from side to side as he and Eemie spoke to various intake people. It was like we were dancing. Over his shoulder, I saw a pretty little girl who was seven years old, maybe. She was with some adults in the waiting room. Incongruously, she appeared to be dressed for some fancy occasion: white ruffly dress, bow in hair, shiny black shoes with buckles, her hair in neat ringlets. I took all this in at once, and her eyes locked with mine. Then she looked down and saw the blood on me and around me. Her hands went to her mouth; her eyes widened. I felt guilty and sad. That perfect picture of innocence had to see this? 'So very sorry', I thought, and tried to project calm pleasantness to her: 'Oh, this? I do this all the time, yes. No big deal.'

I got a wheelchair and was pushed to a room, laid in a bed, and hooked up to monitors. Eemie and M waited with me, anxiously, holding my hand, comforting me. I kept bleeding. Filling, emptying. Over and over. I thought, 'blood is life, blood is life, there it goes.' I start to get fuzzy about the next part. I was having some trouble staying conscious.

Some kind of inexperienced hospital worker appeared, looking frazzled. Someone had told her to 'clean me up'. She stripped away my clothes, glanced (embarrassed?) at the ridiculous amount of blood glistening on my pubic hair, and timidly started dabbing at it. Another gush. "Oh, it just keeps coming out!" she exclaimed. 'Oh, you're new,' I remember thinking. 'I'm an old hand. Welcome to the club. Yeah, it does that.' A few more gushes. She captured and disposed of a particularly large jiggling clot (palm-sized! I was almost proud of that one), then she admitted defeat and fled, apparently relieved.

More time passed. My heart rate dropped. It continued to fall. I got colder, then felt terribly hot. Did the hospital forget I was here? Sweat poured down my face, and into my eyes a little. I turned my head to look at my heart rate, as I had been doing for a while. "No, no!" M and Eemie cried in unison, "You don't need to look at that!" But I saw it, and it said 48. I tried to focus on the light above me to stay conscious, but I so wanted to close my eyes and fold up into nothing.

I'd discovered a new sense, like heat, touch, cold, pain -- it was death. Are there death receptors somewhere? I felt immensely heavy, hot, pushed down, crushed, but it wasn't as scary as you might think. I also felt peaceful and enveloped. A lot of thoughts scrambled around, for example: 'My son will still have two parents, it was a good life, I wonder if Beanie will remember me, I love M and Eemie so much, I'm so grateful, I love my boy, thank you, try to look at light, I'm dying, but it's not so bad'. I was letting go, relaxing, uncoiling.

I shut my eyes and talked to Jesus for a minute. I couldn't see him, but I felt He was around. He seemed amused, almost, but in a friendly way. I thought at Him, 'Oh, it's you! Have I made you up? Is it just because there are a lot of Christians around here that I'm talking to you, and not someone else? Oh, well. It doesn't matter. Hi. I'm sorry if I ever offended you, I was always trying my best. Does talking to you count as believing in you? I don't know. Anyway, I'm sorry, thanks, it was a good life, thanks, thanks -- hey, wait a second, I don't want to die now! Open eyes, look at light! I want to see Eemie and M again!'

I cranked open my eyes with much effort and looked at M and Eemie. I remember deciding that I'd prefer to live. Thankfully, at that moment a nurse showed up, utterly unruffled, and gave me IV fluids. Was that all I'd been needing? Fluids? He also put a cool washcloth on my forehead, which was unspeakably wonderful. After a few minutes, my heart rate started to climb, and I didn't feel the oppressive crush of dying anymore. I could stay conscious effortlessly. I was still bleeding, but it mattered less. I thought, 'IV fluids: the water of life -- again, thank you, thank you.'

There's more to this story, of course, but that's all I can write for now.

You can see why I don't want to do it again?


  • At 11:06 AM, Anonymous chasmyn said…

    Oh my, girl, my heart...I am weeping as I read this. Never mind that I am pregnant, I believe I would weep anyway. My miscarriages never got that bad. I never lost that much blood. I am so so sorry.

  • At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Keep breathing, keep drinking liquids, stay close to your family. This too shall pass.

  • At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Montana Mom said…

    So good to talk to you today. Keep blogging away.

    I love you so much.

  • At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a terrifying experience. I don't blame you for being anxious again. I am sure Pat will know just what to do.



  • At 10:27 PM, Blogger Benevolist said…

    Oh no. Not again. I had no idea. Fuck.

  • At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was there and didn't know. I'm with you again today but in spirit yjis time. I love you Katala.



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