Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Calm Before the Storm

By the end of the day on July 23rd, most of the bleeding had stopped and the pain was moderate, if not minimal.  I honestly thought the worst of it was over.  Yes. I was still experiencing some pain and spotting, but it hadn't been near as bad as what I had been told it could be.  I counted myself lucky to have lived through it, and with no pain medication. 

"It was the worst possible time to be getting a call like this"

The next morning I received a call for a job interview.  I had been seeking a second job for quite some time. It was the worst possible time to be getting a call like this.  The woman who called explained that if I couldn't make an interview on Wednesday (July 25th) that I wouldn't be considered for the position.  Hearing this, I felt I had no choice but to explain what was happening.  The woman still wanted me to interview if I felt up to it so we scheduled the interview for Wednesday morning with the understanding that I may have to call and cancel, passing up the opportunity if need be.  My doctor had taken me off bed rest, stating that bed rest would only prolong a miscarriage.  He wanted me to keep to my normal routine as possible and do whatever I felt I could do, take it day by day.  I figured if I could spend five hours sitting in an ER waiting room I could attend a 30-minute interview.  I would have my grandmother drive me and go back to bed when I got home.

Tuesday morning (July 26th) I called the OB clinic and spoke to a nurse. I explained that I had passed several clots and the spotting was very light now and most of the pain had subsided.  She said it was most likely that I had miscarried. I asked if I needed to bump up my August 1st appointment with Dr C to an earlier date and she said it wasn't necessary. 

Since I was still experiencing some pain and was having a difficult time dealing with it emotionally, I figured it was okay to wait it out.  After all, the longer it took me to be released from the doctor, the longer I could have off work so that I could learn to handle it emotionally; not to mention there were a lot of underlying issues at work... 

"You should probably take care of it before it kills you."

I had recently covered an 8-week maternity leave for my team leader.  The entire time she was pregnant, she complained about it.  All I ever heard was how bad it was to be pregnant, how miserable she was.  I jumped her case about it once, telling her a million women would trade her places in a heartbeat and she should be thankful not only that she can even GET pregnant but that her baby is healthy.  She knew the trouble EH and I had faced with IF and yet she felt it was okay to complain about being pregnant right in front of me?  And to add insult to injury, I was the fortunate soul who was covering her maternity leave! Fantastic!  She was already back from leave before I found out I was pregnant, but just barely.  But surprisingly enough, she was probably the most supportive concerning my pregnancy.

There was another woman who worked in another department and sat at my lunch table with Blondie and another friend.  She had experienced a miscarriage a year prior.  She thought she knew everything about, well, EVERYTHING, but especially my life for some reason.  I honestly think she was jealous of me, but I'm not sure why.  As soon as I had the slightest problem (like the dehydration on July 5th), she started saying really cruel things about my pregnancy.  She said I was "probably going to miscarry anyway."  She once told me that it was "probably a tubal pregnancy" and, "You should probably take care of it before it kills you." She talked constantly about how her baby "looked like a little piece of liver" and how she was "only eight weeks along" when she lost it. Then, she had the nerve to tell me, "It's not even a real baby at that age.  It's not like it has a heartbeat or anything." I nearly snapped! I had to leave the room. I had dealt with it for weeks and just couldn't do it anymore.  I apologized to my friends but I couldn't stand being around that woman anymore so I started going to lunch at a different time just to avoid her.

Then, there was the HR manager.  She had been a hateful bitch to me from day one. It was like she was constantly waiting for me to mess up.  I could make the slightest mistake and she was the first one to jump my case for it. The worst of it was that she reprimanded me for mistakes that I saw my team leader and other long-standing employees making all the time.  My team leader "scheduled" her lunch breaks with her friends in other departments via email almost every day.  A sent an email to a co-worker ONE TIME to let her know how much she owed for take-out and was called into the HR office for it and reprimanded.  That's just one of a dozen examples I could give.  When I discovered I was pregnant, I was afraid to tell her.  I told my supervisor and team leader and they said they would handle HR for me.  I was never so relieved.  Then, on July 5th when I had to leave work early to go to the ER, both my supervisor and team leader were on the phone so I went to the HR manager to tell her I was leaving.  Her response was "Fine. Go."  When I returned to work, her question was "What do you mean 'high risk'?  You're still going to be coming to work, right?"  She never once asked how I was feeling.  Somehow, she caught wind of the interview I went on while on medical leave "due to illness".  She called me, pretended to be checking in, and then fired me. She accused me of lying, insinuating that I lied about my pregnancy and miscarriage, and FIRED me.  That's just what I needed after discovering I was unexpectedly pregnant with a man who doesn't love me and going through the pain and turmoil of a miscarriage!!!  My common sense was telling me to be upset - to freak out.  Granted, I did give the Dragon Lady a piece of my mind, but I really didn't react the way I thought I would, the way most people would.  Relief swept over me, a sense of peace even.  I no longer had to deal with those insensitive, sadistic slave drivers, AND I was pretty much guaranteed unemployment. There was NO WAY they were going to be able to get out of it.  You can't control what your employees are doing when they're not working and I was on medical leave "due to illness".  Sick people go to job interviews all the time.  It was a 30-minute interview, not an 8-hour work day!.. In case you're wondering, I DID get unemployment. 8~)

"I knew his liver would thank me for relieving him of his duties"

August 1st came quickly.  I informed TJ that I didn't feel I would get the emotional support I needed from him.  He was still welcome to come along to the doctor's office but I had a friend who would be joining me.  Chi has been my friend for going on 10 years.  She has been by my side through a LOT of shit!!!  We've been there for each other through college, careers, my divorce, the bullshit our husbands put us through, the deaths of SEVERAL loved ones, and all the crap in between.  Plus, she has a whole brood of children.  I knew she wouldn't be shy about all the crap they could potentially do to me, wouldn't leave the room when the needles came out, and if I got to a point where I felt I couldn't speak up for myself, I knew she would.  TJ opted out of that doctor's appointment.  In fact, I told him he was perfectly welcome to opt out of every doctor's appointment from then on out.  It had nothing to do with my feelings about him.  I know he would have been there had I asked him to, but I felt it was time for HIM to get back on track.  I could see what all of this was doing to him and I knew his liver would thank me for relieving him of his duties.

By the time Chi and I were driving to the appointment, I had done a lot of soul searching & had really begun to gain some serious ground as far as my emotional recovery.  The depression was subsiding.  I was eating again and sleeping well.  The relief of not having to deal with all the BS at work was a huge help.  I was a little worried about making ends meet in the meantime, but I just had an inexplicable peace about all of it...  While Chi and I sat in the waiting room, I heard a familiar cherub-like voice.  It was Blondie's little boy. She was there for some blood work and he had spotted me through the doorway. (He's my little buddy.)  Blondie came out into the waiting room and it dawned on me that she and Chi had never been given the opportunity to meet. I introduced them and Blondie complimented me on my dress.  I explained that I wanted to spare Chi the embarrassment of seeing me strip from the waist down, as had happened with TJ.  I figured slipping my panties off under my dress would be less awkward.  Chi laughed and said, "Awkward?  Are you kidding?  I haven't seen any action in weeks! That was going to be the highlight of my day and now you've ruined it."  We all shared a big laugh.  I know the people in the waiting area probably thought we were all crazy, but it was that kind of laughter that I needed.

"By then I was just tired of waiting, tired of hurting, and exhausted by the emotional ups & downs. I wanted it to be OVER."

In the U/S lab, the mood was not quite so jovial.  There was still a mostly empty sac and that long-lost anomaly had re-appeared.  That was NOT what I wanted to see on the GIANT television screen between my knees!  Chi and I shared a discouraged look as I did the whole "squat & wipe" routine under my dress.  By then I was just tired of waiting, tired of hurting, and exhausted by the emotional ups & downs. I wanted it to be OVER.  Dr. C. came in with a grim look on his face.  He confirmed that what I had passed two weeks prior was likely the placenta.  His immediate suggestion was the Cytotec.  He really discouraged me against the D&C due to my retroverted uterus, but he mentioned again that passing the material on my own (with or without Cytotec) could be an extremely painful and prolonged process.  He asked if I wanted pain medication (he suggested Vicodin).  I said I really don't like taking narcotics and asked if there was an alternative.  He said, "Tylenol".  Apparently any NSAID pain relievers will counteract the effects of the Cytotec.  He offered to give me the Cytotec "for now" and if I had too much pain I could call back to get the Vicodin later.  He said that a natural miscarriage would open up our options as far as pain management.  That was good enough for me.  I knew it would be at least a few days before I would take the Cytotec.  The great thing was that I could choose when to take it. (And by "take" I mean insert four tablets that looked like aspirins up my crotch.) 

The day following my appointment, Dr. C called to inform me that the "anomaly" looked to be a second sac that had never fully formed.  He said I had most likely been pregnant with Twins and for some reason my body rejected them. This made sense because twins run in both mine and TJ's families.  I was a little saddened by the fact that I had lost, not one, but two babies, but I was okay with it.  I just have a strong peace in knowing that I know my body VERY well. I'm very self aware, and my body knew what was best.

I had a busy few days ahead of me, with open mic & a family reunion.  Quite honestly, I had been feeling GREAT physically.  I wasn't looking forward to going through the whole clotting process again. I was enjoying my time AWAY from the toilet.  So, I filled the prescription for Cytotec and left it sitting on my dresser for a few days. I figured I would wait until the following Monday, after all the family had gone back home and things had settled down.

"to second chances"

In the coming days, I started feeling better and better.  I even went to Open Mic with TJ and our friends the day after seeing Dr. C.  We had an after party where the music and the voices and the feeling in the room were just absolutely PERFECT.  I can't explain the exhilaration and pure joy I felt that night. Everyone that was there talks about it like it was some kind of spiritual experience.  In my opinion it was!  TJ stole a bottle of cheap vodka from one of our friends and pulled me into the kitchen.  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Ya know, you CAN drink now."  I hadn't really occurred to me until then that it was okay to drink.  It may have been a dirty kitchen & cheap, lukewarm vodka from a plastic bottle that God only knows WHO else had been drinking from, but we shared a shot "to second chances" that night and it was a monumental moment in my life.

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