Dear New Mom, We have more in common than we realize.
On Thursday evening I visited a friend who had just had a baby. Needless to say this was a very difficult visit and I’m glad I was able to do it without bursting into tears – even though it was quite clear I was unhappy. I was there with two other moms in addition to my friend, so you can imagine what the topic of conversations were mostly about.
Labor stories and postpartum stuff.
As I sat there, holding a very cute baby and trying hold back the tears, I began to realize I could actually relate to some of what they were talking about. IVs… Hospital staff… Catheters… Hormones… Bleeding for weeks… Pads… Exercise… Discomfort… Pre-pregnancy jeans… Delivery not turning out the way you’d planned…
I’ll admit I was ignorant. I’m as surprised as you probably are that I can actually kind of relate to new moms right now, even though I don’t have a baby of my own to hold and what I’m experiencing is on a smaller scale.
I assumed there were three steps to a miscarriage: lose baby, be sad, try again.
I didn’t have a complete miscarriage, so when a woman goes through one of those I will admit that I don’t know what you are supposed to expect other than the bleeding and emotions. Things were a little different for me since my miscarriage was incomplete (or “missed” as some people call it) and I opted to have the D&C instead of waiting to see if I would miscarry naturally.
So let me enlighten you folks. It’s not as easy as 1, 2, 3. In fact, there are a few more steps to this dance.
With a D&C the doctor actually scrapes everything away from the uterus. In my case there was one particular spot where the placenta didn’t want to be removed, so it was a little more difficult for the doctor to scrape it away (I really need to find another word for “scrape”; it makes me cringe). I was given medication to help shrink my uterus – I swear I could feel it shrinking at times. I had cramps every time I bled. I bled for a week, it stopped for 5 days, then I bled for another week. That’s a lot of cramping and feeling miserable. I couldn’t wear tampons and I hate pads because they make me feel even more disgusting. I was frustrated because my body didn’t seem to know what was normal anymore and I didn’t know what was normal for recently having a D&C. I bled into my third week after being told I should only bleed for two. Thankfully since the bleeding in my third week was light and spotty it wasn’t anything to to concerned about. The doctor said it can be normal to have light bleeding and spotting 2-3 weeks post D&C. I just wish she had mentioned that at my post-op visit.
I gained weight in my first trimester. Whether this was bloating or my body thinking I was still had a viable pregnancy, I don’t know. After the D&C I gained a few pounds more. I feel like I’ve gained more that the scale says I have. I definitely can’t fit into my jeans, even though I could at the beginning of February. I’m still using the rubber band trick at times. Stretchy pants (ie. yoga pants or PJ bottoms) have become my bestest friend ever and I’m sad I can’t wear them to work everyday (the couple of days I wore leggings or a dress to work were the most comfortable I’d been at work in 4 months). Since I sit for about 8 hours a day the jeans cut into my stomach, sometimes in lower abdomen where my uterus is (stupid low-risers), and it’s uncomfortable, although not as bad as it was when I first went back to work after the D&C. I change into PJ bottoms as soon as I get home from work if I have somewhere to go later that evening, or if I don’t, I just strip down to my panties and climb into bed.
I can’t exercise until I get my period. I’m not sure if it’s because of the tricky spot the doctor ran into during the surgery, the fact that I had bleeding in my third week, or if it’s what she tells all her D&C patients. Again, I’m upset she didn’t think to tell me this at my post-op appointment. This was one of several pieces of information I could not find an answer for on the internet (on a legitimate looking website, NOT a message board). I had to call the doctor for the answer. When people have asked when I can start exercising again, they’re shocked by this little piece of information. A lot of people seem to believe that once you have a miscarriage you’re able to go back to your normal routine pretty quickly. That may be true if you had a complete miscarriage, I don’t know. Aunt Flow won’t show up until somewhere between this Wednesday and April 2. If it shows up in April., that will be almost six weeks post surgery. I’ll have been waiting almost as long as I would have to if I had given birth to a full term baby vaginally. After I spoke with the doctor’s office, I came across a website that said exercising can actually prolong the healing process post D&C. I’m done with the random bleeding and cramps, so I went out and bought new jeans instead of testing fate by climbing onto the elliptical.
I realized the week before last I didn’t have much of a desire to leave the house. Last week I felt the worst emotionally than I ever have since finding out we lost the baby. I was weepy. And I got weepier and weepier until I found myself weeping at work all day on Thursday. As much as I thought it would be helpful to see my friends Thursday evening, the fact that they are all moms I’m no where close to that now wasn’t. I honestly thought about not going, but then I felt like I’d be an even worse friend for avoiding them all, especially the friend who had just had her baby. When the weeping didn’t stop on Friday I called my regular doctor to make an appointment with her. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety before, and I knew I was flirting with the very fine line between being sad and being depressed. I was scared.
Then I started thinking…Can women who miscarry get postpartum depression?
They can. I found one website that addressed the subject in a single post. They admitted that even less was known on this particular subject than the postpartum depression brought on after having a full term baby.
I know have a few friends who would balk at this and tell me I’m crazy. That I’m just sad and that’s normal. Postpartum depression is for women who have full term babies. But guess what bitches? No matter how it happened, I had a baby. It doesn’t matter that it was tiny and it died before my first trimester was over.
I’m glad to say I’m feeling a lot better than I was Thursday and Friday. I still feel like I’m walking in a fog and I still don’t have any desire to really go out and see people, but at least the crying has stopped. I’m very tempted to cancel my doctor’s appointment (which is tomorrow). More than likely the doctor will tell me it was my hormones that was making me so weepy. But given my history, I figure it would be a good idea to keep the appointment in case there’s any advice she can give me. Plus the waiting for the chromosome results has me on edge. I don’t like being this anxious either.
New moms, I may not be able to tell you how to cope with a crying baby, dirty diapers, and breast feeding. But if you ever want to vent about crying jags and pre-pregnancy jeans, I’m here for you.
For everyone else out there who also thought that miscarriage was a three step process, let me tell you I fully believe there are about five:
Lose baby, be sad, heal (physically), heal (emotionally), try again.