I am 1 in 4.

1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.

1 in 4.

1 out of 4.

I never thought I would be the 1 in 4. I never thought I would go through the pain of losing a child albeit a very small one.

July 27, 2017- I had the positive test. My husband and I were pretty excited. We were looking to finish out our family. We had always wanted a larger family but not so large that it was unreasonable. We wanted to be able to give each child a special time and place and make sure they had enough love.

I hadn’t told anyone except for a small group of women whom I love dearly. They are my tribe. They complete me in every single way possible.

#scrunchiesforever

I didn’t have any morning sickness which is very weird for me but I took it as a sign that this would be the easiest pregnancy yet. My boobs hurt like a mother and I was super tired and hungry. We went through our day to day.  We talked about names and settled on Tyler for a girl and Jack for a boy. We had discussed how we were going to tell our other children. I panicked at the idea of telling my family because they don’t really like that I have so many kids already.

August 31, 2017- I went to the bathroom and there was some blood when I wiped. I started to get upset. My husband and children were all asleep. I decided to watch it and see what happened. There were no cramps so I didn’t see the need to rush to the ER at 10PM.  The next morning, I woke up and told my husband and he told me to go to the ER. I went to our local hospital. I tend to avoid this hospital because they are notoriously terrible. I got there at 8AM. The doctor ordered a urine test. I had to wait an hour to get the results. Then an hour later, they sent me for an ultrasound. The US tech was quiet and rude. She didn’t particularly seem the nicest. She wouldn’t let me see the screen and said nothing besides, “You can get dressed again and I’ll take you back to your room.” Okay.

Nearly two hours later, the doctor comes in and says, “5%. That’s the number of women who have healthy, full term babies. The US showed a fetus measuring 6 weeks and 1 day and no cardiac activity. I can’t say for sure that its a miscarriage but go home and we’ll test your HCG in a few days.”

I got home and told my husband. He doesn’t respond well to sad news. My birthday is just around the corner. I end up taking it easy for a few days and on my birthday, I start bleeding heavily. For the next four days, I bleed heavily and have the most painful cramps cascading while I pass clots over and over again. Some felt as large as softballs. It felt a lot like my post partum hemorrhage with Ollie— the sliding out of clots that you can’t control.

On the fourth day, I get on all fours in my shower because the pain is constant and I just let the waves take me over and then as quickly as they came, they stopped. I sobbed and sat in my own blood. I made a joke to myself that I felt like Madame Bathory.

The bleeding stayed pretty heavy for the next few weeks. I ended up needed to take iron. I made an appointment with my OB/GYN out in Cleveland and he did an US just to verify that everything had passed. I had done it all on my own.

Many people don’t know this but I have never felt so proud of my body and uterus. I have had four cesareans. One was a failed induction. One was a repeat. One was an emergency and the other was a failed VBA3C. Failure runs rampant in my reproductive systems. I thought for sure I was going to need a D&C to finish this out but I had done this all on my own. I couldn’t give birth naturally in the water but I could birth death naturally in the water.

Such a macabre thing to say but when you’ve lost a pregnancy that was so very wanted, you have to find the positivity.

We were given the go ahead from the OB/GYN to try again as soon as we feel ready. How do you decide when you’re ready? I guess we’ll find out.

To help myself heal, I decided to create digital art of how I felt. To check out my other works, visit my business page on Facebook.

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An unending cycle of dependence

In February of 2016, my husband lost his job. He had a very good job. It paid well and we were able to pay for everything we needed and have extra left over for fun stuff. We were middle class and I was okay with that. We didn’t depend on any sort of welfare to get by.

As soon as he lost his job, I applied for assistance to make it less stressful. My husband applied for literally hundreds of jobs and I applied for some as well in addition to my design work and art. He went to a few interviews and never heard anything back. After 5 months, he found a job making half of what he had earlier but I told him, “We’ll make it work. We always make it work.” 

So he’s been working for over a month now and he’s make 1/4 of what he normally does so far. The money is gone before the weekend is over with paying bills.

A few days ago, I got a letter from the ODJFS that we needed to verify income. That’s fine. I’m not trying to scam anyone and we send it in. They’re cutting our benefits in half. So seeing our predicament, I started applying for more jobs. Seeing as I have a college degree, I figured I could make more than minimum wage but alas— there are no jobs where I live that aren’t minimum wage.

So I look into daycare.

$500 a week. So I look up child care assistance… by working, I make myself ineligible.

So then I think, “What if we work alternating shifts?”

All jobs in my town seem to require open availability and won’t let me just work one shift and my husband has been working different schedules because of training.

Its a never ending cycle.

Starving Artist PT 1

I always remember being a kid and my parents telling me that I had to pick a job where I’d make money.  Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t make myself love doing anything but creating beautiful things.

Every career seemed all about money and progress and promotions. I honestly, just hated the rat race. Every job was about who could do the most and best for the least amount of money so I said FUCK IT and started working for myself. I refined my abilities that I had long since forgotten. I relearned skills I hadn’t used in years and then I took the leap and started posting.

Part of me thinks that people just comment about how amazing something is because they’re too nice. You post it up and no one buys it. Is it because mechanical reproduction and Pinterest have cheapened what I do? Is it because people really are that poor right now that I’m not marketing to rich enough people to put a poster on their wall? I don’t get it.

I want everyone to be able to put a picture on their wall. I also want to at least break even. People don’t realize what goes into creating a work of art. In addition to supplies— some things take hours or days to create. Is my time not worth anything to these people? Do they not care that I spend $50 a month simply on ink cartridges? Or $6 shipping just to get their letters to me and then another $5 shipping it back?

Art is beautiful. I love making things but I would also like to make some money today.

A happy medium

There’s this back and forth in the parenting world and it disgusts me to no end.

You aren’t CRUNCHY enough.

You’re too crunchy, ya hippie.

Your scheduled cesarean is a terrible idea.

You can’t have a natural birth. Drugs are there for a reason, duh.

You aren’t even going to try to breastfeed?

OMG the crap in that formula is going to make your baby retarded.

GMOS?! Eww.

You spend all that extra on organic?

It goes on and on and on.

The biggest competition (for lack of a better word) comes when you see the natural birth advocates versus the medical intervention advocates. Instead of educating each other, they bash and post malignant articles to shun the other side. Its sad. I mean from a personal standpoint, I find that there can be a happy medium between the two. I was lucky and had no complications from my cesareans. Would I wish it upon anyone else? Hell, no. Would I try to talk someone out of it if it wasn’t medically necessary? You betcha. Do I judge their choice? Probably secretly but I will be as supportive as I possibly can. Many people told me that a VBA3C (vaginal birth after three prior cesareans) was not possible. It was too risky and there were too many unknown variables. I did the best research I could with the information I could find and people’s stories and decided for me, it was in my best interest to try and have a TOLA3C in a hospital setting with constant monitoring. I would never do anything to put my baby at risk but it was pertinent for me to try and show other people that it can be done safely and to show myself and those doctors who denied me previously that I’M NOT BROKEN.

It was never about the perfect birth for me. I don’t have a perfect birth. I have everyone’s stories of their perfect births but my perfect birth is one where I am alive and my baby is perfect. Having the vaginal birth is just a perk. When things didn’t go my way with this last birthing experience, I couldn’t allow myself to be upset. I could have died but not because I chose to VBAC but because I had gestational hypertension that required magnesium and me sitting for my entire birthing experience. I was unable to use gravity and wasn’t given ample time before more interventions were used. Pitocin caused a post partum hemorrhage which could have cost me my life but thankfully the medical professionals acted fast and accordingly.

I skipped many of the extra tests during my pregnancy this time. It wasn’t because I felt the need to tell the medical field off but it wasn’t entirely necessary. I had my finger pricked at every appointment.

So when I say, there can be a happy medium where people can birth natural with safety precautions, I mean it. There’s no need for this garbage to continue. People are so set that their way is the only way but its not.

In times like we’re currently facing, we need to band together and be a community together.

An Unexpected Birth Story…

As many of my friends know, I was very adamant about delivering this baby via VBAC. I had an excellent provider and was set up to be successful in every aspect of it. There are however things you cannot account for— such as blood pressure.

On January 14th, 2016- my water broke at home. I was so freaking excited that it had done it on its own. I wasn’t feeling any contractions besides what I had already been feeling for the last month. I patiently waited for my husband to get home and then my aunt met me to take my kids to my brother’s house.

We arrived at MetroHealth and were taken into the L&D triage. There I was checked my a fellow who said my water was not broken and it was just discharge. Then a resident came in to do a speculum exam and said, “It is indeed broken.” So I was moved to the birthing room.  When I arrived in the birthing room, my blood pressure was repeatedly taken and was repeatedly high. They ordered a bunch of tests.

After being placed on the monitors, we learned that I was not contracting and not dilating so my OB suggested putting in a foley catheter. It is meant to manually dilate your cervix. As the doctor was placing it, it was a lot of pain and was very uncomfortable but nothing prepared me for when they placed the weight on it. It was death. I had to lie in bed until it finally fell out.

I was unable to walk around because of the magnesium drip. It was meant to protect my brain in case my BP got too high. After the foley fell out, my doctor started pitocin. I could see the contractions on the monitor but I could not feel them. They placed two monitor internally and it was more painful than the foley but now they could get an actual read on how strong the contractions were.

30 hours in without an epidural and I start to get a headache and very lightheaded. Everything got very blurry and at that point, we decided that a repeat cesarean is not such a bad idea to eliminate the possibility of having a stroke.

I get back to the operating room and the resident messed up my spinal TWICE and finally the doctor got it placed. There was blood everywhere but she was born and perfect with a full head of hair! After about two hours, we are wheeled into the high risk room and I start getting the post partum cramps except they hurt more than anything I have ever experienced in my life and I feel things sliding out of me. I am screaming and the doctor notices that I am basically birthing blood clots.

They start weighing the birth clots and by the end of it, I passed about 4.5lbs of blood clots.  I lost the equivalent of a two liter bottle of blood. I start feeling warm and they decide they have to do a manual DNC right there. They tried three times before the pain was just unbearable (even with dilaudid) and wheeled me back into the OR.

Another spinal was placed and I eventually passed out from the pain. I woke up back in the high risk room and was receiving a blood transfusion.

Had the doctors at Metro not moved as fast as they did, I could honestly be dead right now.

I may not have gotten to birth my baby out of my vagina like I intended but I proved to myself that I can dilate and labor without pain meds. I can do it. I don’t need a doctor to prove my worth as a mother.

So welcome to the world baby girl. You are worth every ounce of blood.