CW: Miscarriage, Abortion, Blood
If you follow me on Twitter you no doubt have seen what a bonkers 4-6 weeks we’ve had at home. I thought I’d take some time to reflect on what’s been going on and then take some to also thank the community for the huge amount of support we’ve received.
About two months ago we found out we were pregnant. It was frankly a bit shocking given how long and what all it took to get pregnant with Charlie (3 years!). We were both excited and anxious. We both were slowly adjusting to the idea that we might only have one child, which I was pretty comfortable with, but my wife was wanting more. So we gave it a go and ended up pregnant again. Pretty much from that moment on, Missy’s anxiety went into overdrive, causing her high levels of exhaustion, irritability, and just overall lots of unpleasant things.
We both began to feel pangs of regret. Maybe we shouldn’t have tried again. We have such a good thing with Charlie and our current life. What if something was wrong with the baby? What if the baby was much harder than Charlie (who was arguably a very easy baby)? What if? What if? What if?
I began to spend a lot more time offloading Charlie during the weeks, trying to give Missy the space to process her feelings and the time to rest. We ramped up supplements, therapy, and other things for her - trying to give her anything she needed to be comfortable and happy.
We woke up the day of the ultrasound to a dead refrigerator, it’s 3 years old! I decided to deal with it when we got back. So, we went in for the Week 10 ultrasound, the first ultrasound. We had my mother-in-law in town to stay with Charlie during that appointment and some other errands we had to do that day. What we found in the ultrasound was unexpected. We found an empty gestational sack. I thought maybe the doctor just didn’t have the probe set properly, but the look on her face told me everything I needed to know - there was no fetus.
The doctor talked for quite a while, but my mind was elsewhere. Are we going to be able to take care of the miscarriage in Ohio? If we chose to do a D&C, would we be able to do it here, or would we have to have this traumatic experience out of state and recouperate in a hotel? How would we handle childcare?
Notice how none of these thoughts were about how my wife was processing this information - how I was processing this information - it was an immediate panic attack of how would we get the basic medical care we needed to complete the miscarriage safely. Thankfully, Ohio hasn’t passed all of it’s highly regressive legislation that is currently in committee. We were able to have the doctor prescribe misoprostol and pick it up at our local pharmacy.
Over the next 24 hours, Missy was able to continue to process the miscarriage and we thought the worst was behind us. In the meantime, I worked on offloading work (did I mention I was already operating at a level of stress 10x’s higher than I normally carry), reached out to my friend Scott and asked him to track down a fridge that could be delivered in the next few days while I fought the warranty company. He actually found an apartment sized fridge (perfect for our basement), that could be delivered the next day. Thanks Scott!
About a week later, at the follow up ultrasound, Missy was told that there was still pregnancy material that needed to pass. The options were wait it out, another round of misoprostol, or D&C. My wife, who always chooses the least level of intervention, decided to wait it out.
A few days later she texted me from upstairs “COME UPSTAIRS NOW”. Alarm bells went off for me. I sprinted up the stairs to find her on the couch hemoraging blood. This was not a level of blood that seemed reasonable so we called 911. In the meantime we also reached out to our neighbor to come stay at the house with Charlie while he slept, our cousin also came and stayed because he didn’t have to work for a few days (Thanks Joe!).
The paramedics came, loaded her up on a stretcher, and we headed to the hospital. While following behind in the car, I could see them working on my wife. She was stable, alert, but it was obvious there was a need to be moderately concerned. I called my sister in law on the way to the hospital and asked her to figure out how to tell her mom and dad.
It took several hours for us to get into a room and get settled in. Her hemoglobin was low, but that was unsurprising given the blood loss. She was able to miscarry more while we were in the hospital. But after another ultrasound around 2-3am it was clear this could go on for a long time without more intervention, so we opted to do a D&C - an abortion, as it was marked in her chart. They scheduled it for 2pm the next day and we arranged for support back home.
A cancellation enabled her to get in a bit earlier for surgery. It was successful.
Missy is at home, resting and healing. I’ve been primary with Charlie, while trying to manage work, home stuff, food, and more. We’ve had a lot of support from my Mother-in-Law, my sister, our cousins (Joe! Kate - OMG Kate!), neighbors, friends, and tech twitter.
Several people from Tech Twitter have helped with meals, or contributed to enable us to up the freqency our cleaner comes for a while until we get on our feet.
Work stress was mostly alleviated once I talked to my VP. She gave me the support and space I needed to focus at home. My team rallied around me and helped us get across the finish line for VMware Explore.
I’m still planning on going to VMware Explore, largely at my wife’s prompting. She sees what the last couple of months have done to me and I am on E. Traveling to a 20k person conference will sadly be more restful than being at home right now. We have tons of support coming in while I’m gone, but it doesn’t reduce the level of guilt I have for leaving. But I know it’s the right thing.
After the conference, I will be assessing where all my work is, and then scheduling at least two weeks of vacation. I have to disconnect. I have to rest. I have to take time to process what has happened over the last few months. Additionally, my wife and I will be finding a weekend where we can go away just the two of us and relax.
It’s times like these where the world reminds you that it’s okay to ask for and accept offered help. It also points out the things in your life that just aren’t important or need changed. So there will be some changes over the next few months, but I’m not allowing myself to make hasty decisions. It will take a long time to process everything that has happened and making any decisions now would not be the best idea.
Thank you everyone who has offered support, love, happy thoughts, and so much more - you mean the world to me!