Please note: the following is long, and has graphic parts. However, I feel this is different enough from other Cytotec threads to justify its own thread. This is about a positive experience with Cytotec (misoprostol) for treatment of a missed miscarriage. I realize that there are other threads about this, and it seems like I read through every one in the past week, searching for some re urance. What I got was the opposite: terror. Although I am incredibly grateful to every other woman who bravely and honestly posted about their experience with this medication, whether it was positive or negative. It seemed that everything I could find on the internet were more or less horror stories, and so I became literally terrified and could not compel myself to take the medicine.
I am posting this to hopefully help someone else who is going through what i just went through, but also because I am, by profession, a writer, and the way I deal with emotional pain is by writing about it. Having my words in front of an audience of others who understand my experience is how I get closure. However, because this loss has been so intimate and raw, I have decided to post in a forum as opposed to my own blog in order to maintain my privacy. While miscarriage is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, I am not ready to expose my pain to everyone I know personally just yet.
For those who may be reading this, thank you for being my outlet, and if you're reading this because you find yourself facing the same situation, I am so sorry for what you are going through.
With that said, I want to make one statement before describing my own experience: DO NOT COUNT ON ANYBODY'S PERSONAL EXPERIENCE BEING SIMILAR TO YOUR OWN. I say that because I went through 4 awful, terrifying days of refusing to begin taking the Cytotec (misoprostol) because I had scoured the internet first and come up with too many stories of terrible experiences, which I believed were what I should expect with the medication. I did not find any positive stories, though I'm sure they exist. This is a positive story and I hope it reaches somebody who is as frightened and hesitant as I was this week.
My wonderful, brilliant and empathetic OBGYN has termed people like me "the Doctor Googlers". She warned that nothing good could come of it, and she was right. After my first hour online following my trip to the pharmacy to fill the prescription, I was headed to the ER for what turned out to be an anxiety attack, but what felt like a heart attack. Googling "cytotec for miscarriage" essentially led to my being prescribed a sedative on top of everything else that was going on.
Some background: I am 31, the married mother of a kindergartener. This is not my first loss. Four years ago, on the day of our daughter's first birthday party, I learned I was pregnant. Sadly, at 23 weeks, I went to a routine ultrasound and found that our son had p ed away due to nuchal cord. Because this was technically a stillbirth and not a miscarriage, I had to go through labor and delivery. Mercifully, I do not remember that awful day.
For the next 3 years, I tried everything to get pregnant again. Taking my temperature each morning, charting, ovulation tests, blood test after blood test, rounds of progesterone followed by estrogen to try to mimic a cycle, round after round of Clomid.....all to no avail. I simply was not ovulating, and after 3 years, I gave up, believing I was inexplicably infertile and afraid to waste any more of our savings on a fertility specialist.
And so, believing I would not/could not get pregnant, my husband and I skipped birth control routinely these last 4 years. Lo and behold, early last month, my breasts became sore and I could smell things like a bloodhound and each morning brought hourly bouts of vomiting... I knew immediately that I was pregnant. My first OB appointment confirmed I was 6 weeks, 5 days along and everything looked great. Two weeks later (this past week), I noticed a light brown discharge and called my OB, who said this was likely nothing but some old implantation blood, but to pacify me, told me to come in. A scan showed that we had lost the heartbeat and the baby had stopped developing approximately a week earlier. Numb, I was given a script for 400 micrograms of Cytotec to be inserted rectally every 12 hours, and sent home, where I immediately began searching Google.
Four days and one groggy night of sedatives later, I finally got up the guts to insert the pills. My doc had told me that they can be taken orally, vaginally, or rectally, but advised me to do it rectally because the oral route can maximize GI side effects (such as vomiting and diarrhea) and the vaginal route often led to the medication being bled out. I put a drop of water on the stacked tablets to soften them, covered them in water-based lubricant, and uncomfortably inserted them up as far as they could go. This was at 5pm on Wednesday night. Around 10 pm, some very light cramping began, but it was truly insignificant and there was no bleeding. 2 am: I am anticipating a horror show to set in soon, so i take a 5 mg percocet and a 4mg zofran to combat any possible vomiting. Nothing happens, and i fall asleep. Thursday, 5:30 a.m.: I insert the second dose and lay back down. 7 am: I notice a teeny bit of pink spotting when i wipe, but no pain. 10 am: my doctor calls to check on my progress. I tell her nothing much is happening, and she advises me that it may take several doses. Not 20 minutes after i hang up with her, I start feeling what amounts to medium period cramps. I send my husband out for takeout, eat, take some advil, and lay down. I fall asleep until hubs wakes me at 5:30 pm for my next dose of Cytotec. We watch movies and i doze off around 7:30 pm. 10 pm: I wake up feeling like i have to poop. I go to the bathroom and notice that period-like bleeding has begun, but no clots. Im shocked to realize im completely comfortable despite not having taken a percocet in 24 hours. I have what i refer to as "zero pain tolerance" - meaning I cry when i stub my toe. I am perhaps the biggest baby when it comes to pain, so it seems unbelievable to me that I haven't experienced anything more than mild period cramps. I convince my hubby to roast me a pan of brussels sprouts, and lay back down on the couch to watch Dateline reruns. Midnight comes and my back feels achy. I get up to pee, and notice one or two small clots in the toilet. I wipe and stand up to pull up my pj's, and I feel something start to drop from between my legs. Not thinking, I catch it in my hand. It is the entire pregnancy sac, which looks like a small bag of water surrounded by peach tissue. I cry out in pain, but it is not physical, it is emotional. I had not been prepared for that. My husband rushes in and cleans me up and carries me to the couch, where I wail for about 45 minutes. Finally, i feel one sharp stab of pain in uterus, and I run to the bathroom, where i expel a fist-sized, flat clot.
For the next several hours, i alternate between sleeping and going to the bathroom to clean up, but there is no pain aside from some mild cramping that feels like light uterine contractions. As the day progresses, my daughter comes back from my mother's, and I am resuming my normal activities.
If, God forbid, I ever had to do this over, I'd chose the Cytotec every time. I had been terrified - more afraid than I have ever been after reading the experiences of others, and I had psyched myself up to go through hell. But it was, physically at least, as "positive" an experience as anyone could hope for in such an emotionally impossible situation. Obviously, as this has proven, experiences will vary from person to person. But my doctor has said that almost every one of her patients has said the same thing: it wasn't nearly as bad as they had anticipated. Emotionally though, it's a difficult experience all around. Nobody should have to go through this, but we do... as many as 30% of pregnancies are lost to early miscarriage according to the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I remember being terrified to give birth to my daughter, and got through the anticipation by telling myself that women have been doing it for thousands of years and continue to do it every second of the day. Unfortunately, the same goes for miscarriage. We will survive it, physically AND emotionally.
All my love, and healing thoughts.