My New Year’s Eve: Looking forward and looking around right now

Thanks everyone who followed the link over here. It’s good to be back to online journalling.

So, I said I’d post a 2013 New Year’s Projects list (in lieu of “resolutions”, because I like “projects” better:

*volunteering at Springfarm CARES
*learning to (like to) sew
*doing a pysanky/hand-knitted trade with a friend
*is this the year we finally figure out how to reupholster the two chairs I got for that purpose? I would like to make it so.
*Appliance Apocalypse Aversion Plan–see below
*learn to improve gardening, including garden planning
*work through the La Banda Rossa catalogue of music in flute/piccolo practice
*get to the Beaver Lake Nature Center
*go cross-country skiing at Great Swamp Conservancy

So about this Appliance Apocalypse Aversion Plan–OK, my mother bought the trailer we currently live in Summer 2002. All of the appliances–washer, dryer, hot water heater, regular heater, central air conditioning, oven/stove, refrigerator, and something I’m probably missing–were new. And all of those appliances have a lifespan of approximately 8-12 years. So I got this idea that maybe we should plan to start replacing them, or to know what brand/model we want to replace them with, and save the money for that, so that in case of the Appliance Apocalypse, should they go one at a time or all in a row, we would be able to make well-researched decisions instead of panicked replacements.

Of course, this weekend our hot water heater is starting to go. We have a little hot water, enough to take a tepid shower, say, but this is gonna have to get addressed soon.

For real, hot water heater? We’re knee-deep in our second miscarriage, and you’re gonna make this all about you? *Sigh* Fine, let’s kick it Little House on the Prarie style and get a kettle going.

I feel weird even mentioning it sometimes, because miscarriage is such a hushed thing. I don’t exactly relish talking about it, but I don’t want it to be this weird off-limits thing either. I guess I want to have control over how much *or* how little I get to talk about it, a right I’d respect for anyone.  So I’m not gonna post about it on Facebook or anything, but if you’re a friend of mine, and you ever have a miscarriage and you think it’d be helpful to talk to me because I’ve had that experience (and I do understand that every situation is unique and I won’t share or understand all of your feelings, but I will most certainly validate them and honor you right to talk about them), then please, do. Write me here or on Facebook or email if you need to talk about it. I’ve found it very helpful to talk to other folks who have had miscarriages.

So yeah, the physical part of the miscarriage is on its way. I’ve been trying to take it easy, because the cramping is worse when I move around more. David got us movies from the library and we have a ton of books and the cats have been taking shifts “helping Mom” (sitting next to me, keeping me company).

I’m surprised at how well the herbs worked. I don’t know how to make cuts yet, so if you don’t want to read specifics (although no “gory” details, but still), then probably stop here. But I think it’s good to have different voices talking about their experiences. So I’d like to talk a little about my experience with using herbs to “complete” the miscarriage. They’re the same herbs you’d use for an abortion, as well. I’m definitely pro-choice, so if you think I’d be helpful to talk to me about herbs for that purpose (and/or give you a referral for an excellent pro-choice herbalist), then again, let me know.

If you’re not familiar with miscarriage, there are various ways it can happen. I had no idea it was such a long drawn-out affair; I think a lot of us get the idea that it’s a discrete “event”, like a day or something, but it’s usually not. It can be like a period, where you start bleeding and then everything comes out. That’s what happened the first time. Or it can be what’s called a “missed” miscarriage, where the baby stops growing and..well…the word “dies” doesn’t really apply, I guess, but there’s no more heartbeat. But in a missed miscarriage, your body doesn’t register that, and you might not know anything happened. I had no idea until the ultrasound.

So that’s a punch in the gut, and then there’s the Waiting. It can be weeks until the baby (or embryo, or fetus, or what they will refer to as “products of conception”–there are so many unpleasant and fucking offensive obstetrical terms…) comes out. We got the first ultrasound on December 11, and the second to confirm on December 18, and I had no symptoms except that I was feeling “less pregnant”–no more food aversions or bloating that I’d been having, and my boobs were a little less sore. That’s it.

The Waiting can be done a few ways. You can Wait, obviously. Some doctors say that you shouldn’t because of risk of infection, some say there’s no risk until you start bleeding so you can wait as long as you like, and some give an in-between. My doctor this time told me I could wait as long as I wanted.

If you don’t want to or can’t wait (emotional reasons, needing to have someone at home to help take care of you and/or kids, etc.), there’s also a surgical management option, meaning you can have a procedure called a D&C which is pretty much what they do in abortion, I think, but the risk of potential scarring made me nervous.

And then there’s medical management, meaning you can take a drug called misoprostol which induces contractions. My doctor didn’t have experience with that, so I’d have to go through Planned Parenthood, who couldn’t see me until January 8th.

I would consider herbs to be “medical management”. I’d definitely recommend being under the care of a knowledgeable herbalist, which I was. She gave me a protocol to follow with a combination of capsules of herbs from the health food store for “ripening” the cervix and three tinctures for inducing contractions, offsetting heavy bleeding, and preventing infection afterward. I took them exactly as directed and they worked exactly like she said they would. I have to admit to a little witch-doctor skepticism after burning out on unreliable hippie friends in my twenties, but this worked really well.

So that’s where I am right now. Resting, watching movies, reading, snuggling with David & cats. We made vegan coconut-rum-caramel ice cream with chocolate shavings in the thrift store ice cream maker I got David for Christmas ($4.99! Came with original instructions!)  This isn’t the best New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had, but it certainly isn’t the worst (that was when my mother died the week before, and then the years following. If you ask how I’m doing, like the nurse that called today, I’d have to say “okay…ish”.

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6 Responses to My New Year’s Eve: Looking forward and looking around right now

  1. Gina says:

    I see this on my feed, but I signed up for email notifications a long time ago, and that’s what I follow to your posts.

    Glad you are blogging again. Can’t wait to go to Beaver Lake with you guys. Hope 2013 is better for you and David. ::hugs::

  2. Lex says:

    Thank you for sharing this experience. As awful as it is, as painful as it is, it takes a lot of courage to talk about – not just because it’s so terrible, but also because it seems to be socially taboo to talk about, and I believe it would help a lot of women who experience this to read about others, to know they aren’t alone.

    The first experience I had with miscarriage is when I was young (4th or 5th grade?), one of my aunts was pregnant – and then she wasn’t. She was far enough along for them to know that she would have had twins, but they apparently didn’t separate right and the womb “rejected” them. It was a very hushed conversation in my house, and it was not mentioned again for many years later – almost like it was a shameful thing, although I never remember there being any obvious judgment or anything, but the secrecy implied it was NOT something to be discussed. It’s awful that even still miscarriage seems to be Not Something We Talk About. Thank you, again, for being courageous enough to open up about it, removing a small veil from this “taboo.”

    On a more pleasant topic, I think it’s awesome that you are seeing an herbalist (though not the reason, obviously). Also, I would love to do a craft exchange with you, too! I can’t knit much (just straight lines: scarves, blankets), but I have been canning more (if you feel comfortable eating home-canned food).

    I hope your and David’s 2013 goes much better, and that Ben and I get a chance to hang out with you again, whether by you or by us.

    • It is quite taboo, but I haven’t quite figured out what’s driving that. Like you said, there’s no judgement, but maybe people think it’s too painful to talk about? Which I totally respect, if people decide their own miscarriages are too painful to talk about. But if I decide it’s too painful *not* to talk about, there should be room for that too. Thank goodness for the internet.

      I hope 2013 is better too, and to see you guys again. Maybe we’ll be able to do the camping thing this year!

  3. It wasn’t until I began spotting I realised I hadn’t had morning sickness for a couple of days, and my boobs weren’t sore. Though they were almost bruised for how much I pushed them praying for some soreness. Any soreness.

    That gut punch in the ultrasound. Nothing quite like it.

    Thank you for reaching out to me. I am grateful. So very grateful.

    • You’re very welcome. And thank you for talking about your experience in your space. I think that sometimes the art journaling community can be very focused on positive affirmation stuff, and while that has it’s place, life is messy, and the hard stuff shouldn’t have to be segregated from the rest. I look forward to seeing any art you feel comfortable sharing that comes from your journey.

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