Monday, April 27, 2015

Too Sad, Even For Mom's Gossip

My lack of fertility has been my mom's favorite topic for a long time.  She doesn't tell jokes about being fertile, instead she makes everything about my OMG IVF.  She told everyone and their dog about my first pregnancy, and then my dramatic emergency ectopic.  Thanks mom!  She told my accountant I was doing IVF when I was two months into Clomid.

At Christmas, my failed IVF was her favorite topic.  Even over my dad's fight with cancer.  Her neighbors and her church club and her bridge club all know some completely inaccurate version of my whole uterine battle.  She asks for a million details and then tells anyone who will talk to her some part of the details and some details that came from her imagination.

She was actually supposed to be at that scan where there was no heartbeat.  But instead something came up with her dogs or the dentist.  Something important.  And that's my mom.

We had a big family event this weekend.  Everyone was there.  I was prepared for this to be a Christmas repeat, this time with fun miscarriage!!!  But my mom didn't say anything.  And nobody asked any questions or said shit.  This is creepy.

That means my mom either spread this gossip respectfully and appropriately with concern for my feelings (!!!).  HA.  Who am I kidding.  They must still think I'm working on IVF since the Christmas failure.  That means my mom actually kept her promise when I told her she could tell NO ONE BUT DAD that I was pregnant.  And that she kept that promise after I was no longer pregnant.

I would like to think this means that she knows how hard this is.  That this was different and that it was too sad to even gossip about.  Maybe she knew this loss has shaken something loose.  This loss is testing my faith.  This loss has gutted me.  Maybe.

Or maybe she believed me when I told her that if she violated my trust she would get no more information.  Because I meant it.  Either way, I'm proud of her.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Fund My Miscarriage!

Unlike some others, I don't think I'm on board with total TMI openness about infertility and pregnancy loss.  I don't think that coworkers and random relatives and Facebook friends should have to emotionally deal with your reproduction, which is really none of their business.

Which brings me to tonight.  My husband's aunt, yes, that is correct, his aunt, had an 11 week miscarriage like six months ago.  She is in her mid 40s.  She put it all over Facebook, along with the previous one 18 months earlier.  Graphic photos.  The kind I didn't even take, and I could have.  We get it.  You had a miscarriage.  Like everyone else.  So, once a week she or her husband post some stupid quote that by not recognizing loss you don't recognize a person, or something about angel babies.  Some shit like that. Six months later!  I'm trying to get through my shit and see who is on a glamorous vacation, and there's your miscarriage again.  Thanks for the reminder.  They already have four kids BTW.

So, tonight they started a GoFundMe for the six month ago miscarriage to have a funeral and make a headstone.  This will cost $5,000.  Really?  And what has been happening to the fetus since then?  I grossed myself out with that idea.  And what costs $5,000?  Is this headstone encrusted in rubies or something?  Or maybe they also spent $915 on genetic testing and then want a ruby headstone too.

I'm grossed out about this begging for money/attention grab for something this, well, common.  If anyone gets how bad a miscarriage is, it's me.  But this is so common.   15-20% of pregnancies result in miscarriage.  Depending on how you count it, I've had 4.  I got it, I don't need to see it on Facebooks for months.

And I really don't want to see the money grab.  I get that people process loss differently and want to deal with loss differently, but begging for money and attention six months later is WAY past my decorum line.  It makes me cringe.  I'm cool with whatever way you want to deal with a miscarriage, as long as I don't have to hear about on Facebook and you aren't hitting me up for money.  These people have four living kids to deal with.  And I have none.  Blocked.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Cheese Stands Alone

I have been blogging over nine months, and haven't managed to birth anything but a lot of bills.  When I started the blog, I was already two years into this process.  I thought I would just blog about my then-looming IVF, it was a lot to process.  And update Graciela without a bunch of dramatic emails.  And blogs were SO helpful in gathering information about IVF.  There was no way books or doctors could have told me all of this.  After that, I thought this would all be over.  HA.

Somehow, even infertiles have managed to lap me.  Of the original dozen or so infertility blogs I had on my reader, like all but a couple are now pregnant.  Ouch.  BFP after BFP, they all left the barren club. I mean, I guess that's good, modern science and all.  I should be hopeful?

There's nothing worse than an infertility blog bitching about how to rent a breast pump.  The shit I hear at all baby showers in real life.  How sad for you.  If I ever manage to stay pregnant, I hope everyone has to unsubscribe because I'm a smug pregnant woman too.  I was feeling so alone.  The cheese stands alone.

Even my infertility sisters are all pregnant, and I'm still here.  My first baby should have been over two years old.  Has it really been over three years?  Will it really be 2016???  My god.  Am I the only one still stuck here?

And then I checked my email.  And I saw those messages from women who have never met me and don't even know my name.  You know who you are.  You took the time to write a complete stranger with love after my miscarriage.  And then I went back and read those comments.  I was just writing into the universe.  I was just writing those awful feelings down because I had nothing else to do with them.  Feelings of being lost, being not good enough, giving up. 

I never expected those words could give me back the love I needed.  I am so touched by the love and the kindness of strangers.  I can feel it.  It is very real, something I would have laughed at before this blog.  I never thought the words of strangers could mean so much.  Words are so powerful.   So, thank you.  Thank you for your words.  Thank you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cried for You

A friend of mine had a drama situation and she had to leave her fiance.  Get an apartment, hide money, do it all in secret.  Cancel the wedding.  I've been helping her for weeks, picking up a box when he's still at work, calling vendors to explain.  And talking it through over many, many drinks.

So, now she's in her new place, and she just seemed so happy.  And I asked her why she wasn't more sad, and she said she felt relief because she should have done it years ago.  I never saw her cry, so I asked her if she cried about it at night, and she said no.  She said:

I cried for what you've been through, not me.

Wow.  My god.  Is that right?  Has my situation been worse than a Lifetime movie situation of dramatic leaving a lover in secret?  Dear god.  Even when she said that, I thought she was going to cry.  Yea, I think maybe it has been that bad.  Yes, I think maybe 0 for 4 has really been that bad.  And there is no relief because I don't have a safe apartment to move into.

And suddenly I was so moved that someone else was so touched for me and for my pain that she had cried for me.  I was so moved that my pain had been heard, that it had been felt, that I wasn't alone.  I was so moved that someone in a very dark chapter in her own life would feel this for me, and would hold my struggle so close to her heart.  We had a Steel Magnolias moment right there.  As sisters in our vulnerability.

Here I was dealing with her crap to avoid dealing with mine, and she was worried about mine and not hers.  That's a true friend.  Helping someone felt good, especially when there were actual things I could do to help the situation.  Like call the florist or pack a box.  I was doing something.  There's nobody to call to fix it when you're five weeks out from no heartbeat.  And yea, I guess I have been through a lot in the last year, and it just keeps coming.  And there's nothing anyone else can do for me except be a friend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Whole World Is A Pregnancy Support Line

(an irrelevant flyer)
The insurance company sent me a flyer.  I get a lot of mail from the insurance company with my diligence at that $5,000 deductible.  But this was a flyer for the insurance company's pregnancy support line.

First WTF.  Isn't that private?  This was like a folded postcard with a sticker anyone could have poked in.  It had my name all over it!  Isn't that a HIPPA problem or something??  And what if someone opened that I didn't want to?

Second WTF.  What if I'm NOT EVEN PREGNANT ANYMORE?  Maybe I filled a Rx for cyctotec and billed $915 to my deductible for my baby/medical waste FOUR WEEKS AGO. Shit, even that doesn't get you off this mailing list?  And wouldn't I have needed this pregnancy hotline like five weeks ago anyway?

I just sent in preapproval forms for IVF.  Again.  And you sent me a flyer with a happy pregnant lady?  Right at the exact time miscarriages are likely?

Well, my insurance company has a phone bank of OB nurses.  Even if you're deaf or don't speak English, which would make this flyer tough if there weren't a smug pregnant woman on it.  If I were pregnant, that might be helpful.  Then I might appreciate this flyer.  But screw you insurance company and screw you pregnancy support line.  The whole Internet is a pregnancy support line.  Hell, the whole world is a pregnancy support line.  It's the black shroud of infertility that we're supposed to keep to ourselves and not burden anyone or make anyone uncomfortable.  Where's that support line?

Monday, April 13, 2015

His and Hers Thoughts

I finally heard from my sperm donor.  He yelled at me for getting his parents involved in this miscarriage.  That's misdirected anger, and it's stupid, but whatever, I'll take it.  Since this miscarriage, he was completely shut down and refused to talk about it or anything else.

I say that he never showed any emotion, but I'm not sure how accurate that is.  I think he mourns differently than I do.  He drinks a lot.  He goes out all night. I get that, not to feel it.  And then he POURS himself into work.  After the IVF failed, he seemed to not even care.  He didn't say a word about it.  And then he went and bought a two seater convertible without even telling me.

Well, this time was no different.  He went on some kind of Gordon Ramsey rampage at work.  Always screaming at someone.  Always with a new spreadsheet to get someone fired.  I guess that's good because he gets shit done, and puts the anger and the feelings somewhere.  This recent January rampage got him a gig that he gladly took traveling 75%.  And I don't mean good travel.  I mean small towns, crappy hotels, McD's kind of travel.  And he took it.

This most recent screaming fest, I just let his anger about his parents come out.  I got it.  It wasn't about me, and it was a bigger point of this being unfair, or him feeling embarrassed, and him feeling pissed off at the world and his sister.  His five years younger sister, who will have the first grandbaby.  I get it.  He's mad too.

This degenerated into him saying he couldn't do this anymore.  That he couldn't be all excited and then "all crapped out" anymore.  He couldn't take this anymore.  When do we accept this just isn't going to work.  How much money will this take?  How long will this take?  Maybe we need to come up with another plan.  Obviously, these are all things I have said here to the universe, but I'd never heard them from him.  He said no more IVF.  I was actually very calm.  And I said that if he didn't want a baby anymore, then we need to come up with another plan for everything.  He later modified his position into a break (mandatory anyway) and then he said he just didn't care.

I kind of wish I had never seen a heartbeat, that this had never been real to him.  The ectopic and the failed IVF were way more real to me than they were to him.  But seeing a heartbeat and then not was a completely new level of failure for both of us.

He was always my rock in sense that he always at least appeared in control, and he was always on board with the bigger, better, next option.  He didn't go to a lot of appointments, and he really didn't know a lot, but he was always on board to escalate.  In the past, he would have said he took this gig to pay for IVF.  He didn't say that.  We don't have any more options like that.  I know there's no way he'd go along with IUI.  And now I am not sure we can handle another full round.  Maybe the plan to go fresh is too much and the freezer isn't such a terrible idea.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Funk

I haven't been able to shake the funk that Easter dinner put me in when I saw my sister in law Hermione with my due date and the first grandbaby.  The first time I got pregnant, Princess Kate got pregnant shortly after with Prince George.  This time, I have a local pregnant princess.  In my face.  Hooray for the royal first grand baby.  Due in November!

Other people being pregnant -- co-workers, Duggars, neighbors -- I could handle, well, sort of.  Some, I was vaguely happy for.  Some annoyed me and so I tried to forget about it. And, ok, I blocked a few on Facebook.  Some, I was indifferent.  Even if I was upset, I could shake that feeling eventually.

But Hermione.  God.  How cruel does the universe have to be?  To snuff out my baby's heartbeat, and then to face the first grandbaby with my fucking due date?  As if failing IVF wasn't enough.  Or emergency ectopic wasn't enough.  Or miscarriage wasn't enough.  To have to bear this?  How can I possibly be happy for this?  How can I be happy for anything?  Mostly I feel nothing.  You could transvaginally probe me, and I would feel nothing.

Every time I think of Hermione's magical special pregnancy, I start with this anger reaction.  Anger at the universe.  Anger at this shitty situation.  I feel hot.  I feel flustered.  And then I have two other emotions that alternate, pity and blame.

The pity.  Sometimes I feel like I am just the most pathetic excuse for a woman to live.  Like everything will always go wrong and this will just never happen for me.  I'm just pathetic.  Why would a good man like this stay with a loser like me?  What am I supposed to do with my sad little life now?

The blame is a new one.  I have started mentally listing all my cosmic affronts that would make me deserve this.  Why can't I be happy for Hermione?  Of course I don't deserve a baby.  I'm too self-absorbed to even be happy for Hermione, who never did anything to me.  I drink too much.  I'm terrible with kids.  I've been a shitty friend, especially lately.  I SHOULD HAVE LOST MORE WEIGHT.  I should have taken more vitamins.  I should have done this when I was 25.  I got this career, but at what cost?  This client, this conference call are what I wanted more than a baby.  I shouldn't have lied about having the flu.  I should have been a better aunt.  I shouldn't have shoplifted that candy bar when I was 15.  The list goes on and on.  My sins are many.

And then comes the hopelessness.  What's the point?  The weight of all these emotions comes crushing down on me, and I start crying.  In the car.  At work.  Something has snapped this time.  I always cried at night before, and I could always find something to keep it together, at least within a few days after my monthly failures.  But it's been weeks since there was no heartbeat and the Cytotec, and I can't shake it.  Before, I could just push through.  I've got a plan!  Clomid will work, injectibles will work, IVF.  For a long time, I held on to hope.  I actually believed the next time would work.

At some point, the common thread is me, and it can't all just be a bad break.  I can't just keep blaming luck or someone else.  It's not someone else's fault.  I accept responsibility.  It's my fault.  I missed my chance.  I waited too long, and now I pay the price.  But why does the universe have to take my babies and then do this to me to top it off?

Monday, April 6, 2015

An Easter Lamb to Slaughter

We ended up going to Easter dinner, even though my sperm donor had said we weren't going.  For various reasons, this was just my husband's immediate family.  Some cousins or aunties would have been helpful to handle this occasion, but nope.  Just my in laws, his siblings and their various guests, and my pregnant sister in law Hermione.  With my due date.  I had a miscarriage, and she still has my due date and will be having the first grandbaby.  There you go.

I still haven't googled how pregnant I should be, I think it's about 12 weeks.

When we first showed up, Hermione was with a stepkid at the kitchen table.  I brought presents.  A picture frame for a sonogram, like the one Awaiting Autumn bought.  Won't need that.  A video baby monitor someone gave us.  Won't need that.   Some earrings with her baby's birthstone.  I'm thoughtful like that, right.  I don't even think she said thank you.  I guess she didn't know what to say.

Later on when she got up, I was shocked.  I mean, I wouldn't know anything about being 12 weeks pregnant, but she was in a full on maternity top with a bunch of extra fabric that would have made anyone look pregnant.  She's a bigger girl, so the overall effect was stunning.  I didn't see that one coming.

The anger flashed in me.  She was only trying a few months.  She will be the third chick this guy has a baby with.  She is 30 years old, just like I should have been.  She's due right before Christmas like I should have been.  And she is having the first grandbaby.  I should have been.  I felt myself get hotter.  I felt sheer anger.  I didn't say anything.  I didn't even make eye contact.  It was like 30 seconds of red hot anger that stopped my breathing.  I could feel tears welling up.

Then the sadness kicked in and I excused myself to be alone in another room.  None of this has anything to do with her, obviously.  It's me, and my three years of failure.  I paid $915 to ship my baby off as medical waste, and they are just lala happy happy.  I felt the darkness come over me, and I cried in that back room.  No one came to check on me.  No one said anything about it.

Four beers later, it was still very dark.  I keep a happy face.  I told jokes.  But it wasn't real.

Why was I even here?  This is not my family.  This is her family.  And her baby will be the grandbaby.  I am just this sad vortex of pain and suffering that they tolerate because it's Easter.  If I weren't here, they could talk about cribs or names or something.  But since I'm here, the fun is over.  Try not to make eye contact.

Nobody said shit.  I have a friend who is really into therapy, and she says people just need you to say something to feel validated.  Even if it's "I don't know what to say."  Nope.  Nobody said shit.  No pregnancy talk.  No miscarriage talk.  That is probably for the best.  I would have busted into tears.  Or made really dark jokes about dead babies and skinny jeans and you aren't sure whether to laugh; they all know I'm capable of that.  My sperm donor was right.  I wasn't ready.  I'm not sure I ever will be.

We stayed two hours.  We drove home.  I cried on the drive home.  I'm not sure if my sperm donor noticed.

This is only going to get harder.  She has my due date, and she is having the first grandbaby, and that is only going to get more real.  That was already more real than I could handle.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Aborting Easter

My sperm donor, who still isn't home, has aborted Easter.  He has been to four cities since he left, and he is supposed to come home Saturday, in theory.  He said I "wasn't ready" to see his family.  By family, he means his now 11 maybe 12 week pregnant sister who is having the first grandbaby.  I can't bring myself to Google how pregnant I should be right now.

My sperm donor still will not talk about anything.  He refuses to talk about IVF plans, about what happened.  I'm not even sure he knows what it meant when I texted him that I took the pills.  He refuses to talk about any of it.

And then I'm not "ready" to face his fucking pregnant sister while he refuses to own any emotions at all.  I don't know that I am ready, but I'm not that opposed.  I mean,  I can't say I really want to drive a couple hours, face the MIL who saw the color run out of my face when there was no heartbeat.  I can't say it will be fun to deal with someone who is OMGPREGNANT bitching about how the smell of eggs makes her throw up.

At least my recent foray into missed abortion meets the Catholic guidelines for abortions, I looked it up.  I just barely made it with the technicality that I'm no longer considered pregnant after the fetus is confirmed dead.  Whew.  I'd hate to have gotten another abortion that Catholics don't agree with after playing god in my forbidden IVF and being so rude as to almost die with a live fetus still in the tube.  Actually, talking about Catholic reproductive doctrine would be more fun than talking about my miscarriage.

What actually would happen is no one would talk about it at all, and it would be this silent weird thing that they protect me from.  GOD I'M SO PATHETIC.  It was bad enough when it was failed IVF at Christmas and everyone felt so fucking sorry for me and didn't say a word.   At Christmas, when I thought this time it would work.  It was going to be twins! And then Easter, when I should be the most glowing happy preggo planning a joint gender reveal party with my SIL for the first grandbabies or something.  But no.  I'm just too pathetic to even talk about.  And who the hell would want to talk about it?  Do I want a big group cry over a bonfire toasting some marshmallows?  Some kind of unfuneral for a piece of tissue that is now medical waste at some lab $915 later?

I'm not opposed to driving out there.  I can buy a bottle of whiskey, and I can drink.  Hell, I even have some hydrocodone left.  I can go anywhere and not be there.  God knows I haven't been here in a while.

After Easter was aborted, I went to the fancy grocery store in the middle of the day.  Some lady in a gym outfit that cost more than my wedding dress was trying to wrangle a 2 year old and was really pregnant.  She was blocking the path.  I was such a bitch to her.  I hate pregnant women.  And tears were in my eyes because it was her fault and every other fucking magically pregnant woman.  I hate pregnant women.  My next door neighbor is due this week, and she is still running.  They were installing a car seat and joking about how they can't go to happy hour anymore.  I hate pregnant women.

I saw that heartbeart and then I fished it out of the toilet.  After three years of shots and calenders and dashed hope.  God.  How stupid was I for ever thinking this would work.  All this dream has ever brought me is more pain that I could have imagined.  I feel so alone.  So much a failure.  Everyone else is just passing by me.  And everyone else is pregnant.  And she is having the first grandbaby.  And I'm sure the smell of eggs is just intolerable.  And there will be no Easter eggs.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

TMI About Cytotec

WARNING:  Though pro-Cytotec (misoprostol), this post is going to be gross, TMI, and probably triggering.  It's gross, graphic, and sad.  In fact, there's no reason for you to read this at all this unless Cytotec is an option in your life because you are facing a "missed abortion."  So I hope you found this when you Googled something like "cytotec and pain" or "cytotec experience" or "how long misoprostol take" or "cytotec pros and cons."  If not, nothing to see here.  THIS IS SAD AND TMI AND GROSS.

I wrote this because I found so little information about Cytotec (misoprostol) when I was considering my options.  I was grateful for the personal accounts I found on message boards, but really was surprised how rarely anyone writes about this, and everyone seems to regret it.  There were very few positive experiences with Cytotec.  I mean, this has been around since the 80s!  I'm nothing special, but maybe this story about Cytotec can help someone.

I decided to take Cytotec because I did not want a natural miscarriage that takes weeks -- with no painkillers!  And go in twice a week to the clinic anyway.  Nope.  I also wanted to avoid a D&C/anesthesia/possible uterine damage if at all possible.  And I didn't want to pay my 20% of the surgery in my insurance.  After years of fertility treatments, privacy was important to me.  I just wanted to be left alone.  Cytotec seemed like a good solution for me.  I had a couple days to spare (no work) and I was willing to take on some short-lived intense pain to avoid weeks of bleeding out or surgery.  Though I was 9.5 weeks pregnant, the embryo was only measuring 6 weeks, so this seemed reasonable.

You can read my preparations here.   My painkillers and the Cytotec would have been about $30 without insurance, and it took two scans to "confirm fetal demise" and to check up the next day - about $150 total with no insurance.  Apparently, some doctors check up later than that or less than that.

The doctor put the Cytotec WAY up on my cervix at 10AM. Uh, hello there.  I had four pills, which was the max dose on the consent form.  She said they use four because one or two might fall out, which is no big deal.  I could feel something was happening.  Not pain, just kind of gurgling, if you will.  I could feel the gurgling 15 minutes later when I went shopping for my provisions.  I took my Hydrocodone and waited.  Luckily I ate before all this started, no way I would have eaten anything after this started.

I spent a lot of time on the toilet because it felt like things were happening, but nothing was happening.  I wasn't in pain, I just parked on the toilet because I felt like I had to #2 the whole time, but nothing happened.  About noon, nausea hit me like a truck and I threw up half my breakfast.  From sitting on the toilet, I barely made it in the toilet.  Then the nausea was gone and that was over.  About 12:30, the diarrhea kicked in, curing my last pregnancy symptom, constipation, then that was over.  I felt pretty great after that.  With that, I lost a pill in the mix, maybe two, and that was over quick.  I had thought I could put them back, but, uh, no.  Then nothing happened.  I just hung out on the toilet, no big deal.

About 2PM, I took more hydrocodone because nothing was happening, and I was thinking I either lost too much of the medicine or things were about to get real.  Then it gets hazy.  I think the real contractions kicked in around 2:30-3PM.  This must be what labor feels like.  The painkillers helped, and somehow I worked really hard to drift in and out of sleep.  This was far beyond period cramps, but it was nothing compared to my other gynecological adventures: emergency laproscopic surgery and egg retrieval recovery without painkillers.  Someone on a message board said this was a 10 on the pain scale.  Well, I've experienced a diverse rainbow of gynecological pain.  I'd give this a 7.5, maybe an 8.  And it was SHORT, only a few hours, not like IVF recovery, which took days.

Don't get me wrong, this definitely required painkillers, and you need to get out in FRONT of this pain because if this hits, it's too late.  Hydrocodone was good, I'm sure oxy would have been even better.  Sometimes I felt like the only tolerable position was a fetal position.  Sometimes I stretched my whole body out as long as I could go.  Sometimes I laid out on the cool tile.  Sometimes I was on the toilet, but nothing was happening.  My dog thought I was crazy.  She sat at a safe distance staring at me the whole time.  It made her nervous and she was barking at every little city noise, ha.

I was actually able to sleep through a lot of it, just like the doctor said.  It was some kind of cool body defense mechanism, or maybe just how the drugs work, but I'll take it.  I slept through most of it, so the three hours was mostly not actively involved.  It started to hurt too much, so I would will myself to sleep.  People texted me, and I remember thinking I couldn't answer because I was in too much pain to reach for my phone.  I had an idea of something I wanted to Google and realized I had no way to do it because I couldn't even see my phone and there was no way I could possibly move.  The TV was on something annoying and I couldn't move to change it, so I just went back to sleep so I wouldn't have to hear it.  The lights were too bright, but there was no way to turn them off, so I went to sleep.  I can see how this could be different with another person there.  For me, it would have been harder to sleep.

I think I was in serious cramps for three hours.  Then the cramps were just gone, like nothing had happened, and I felt perfectly normal, no pain at all.  I didn't feel pregnant, I didn't feel like my period was coming.  I felt nothing.  I called my mom and chatted on the phone for a half hour.  I told my mom I thought it had failed and she would have to take me for a D&C anyway, LOL.  I took some more hydrocodone, but that turned out to be unnecessary because there would be no more cramping.

At 6PM, I started bleeding like a normal, light period.  No pain.  This was the first blood.  At 6:30PM, the sac passed.  I could feel instantly that this was not the usual things that my vagina encounters.  Based on some gross Google searches, I was able to confirm this was the sac and placenta, intact, passed at once.  It was like a thin dumpling skin with an intact sac full of fluid, bigger than I expected.  Almost the size of my palm.  The placenta looked like ground beef. And inside was a fetus.  Amazing, really.  I put it in the specimen cup, then in the paper bag, and then in the fridge next to some hummus and some yogurt.  It was very emotional to see it.  I can see how this could be a dealbreaker for some, but for me it was cathartic.  I was glad to be able to handle it myself, with privacy, and to know for sure and see it with my own eyes.

Then no cramping, no pain at all.  I bled the rest of the night, just like a regular period with some clotting.  No pain, no more urges to sit on the toilet.  At about 8PM, I ate something and rehydrated.

The next day, I had a scan to make sure I didn't need another dose.  Everything was clear except some of the lining, just like I expected.  I bled for another seven days, like a period on the heavy side. I would have been able to go back to work the next day for sure.  I was well-rested and felt great.  Mostly the next seven days was like a regular period, but there were a couple times when the bleeding kicked in, and couple other times when the pain really kicked in, maybe four days later.  The pain was always at night.  I took a little hydrodone twice.  Of course, gardening for four hours three days after cyctotec and helping someone move five days after Cytotec were probably not the best choices.  I got my period back 6 weeks and 1 day after the day I took the Cytotec.  That's about normal for a D&C or a natural miscarriage as well.

I was alone because my sperm donor was traveling.  I think this worked out well for me because I was able to sleep during the rough parts and put all my emotional energy into just dealing with it.  It would have smart for me to have someone to check in on me, but oh well.  I think being alone was the best thing for me.  The whole thing was very emotional to me, and I was grateful to be able to do it in my home with some privacy.  I just wanted to be left alone in the dark with some ice cream and some Real Housewives.  I didn't want another clinic visit, like I had every other day when IVF failed.  It felt healing and empowering in a way.

Overall, I consider Cytotec an inconvenient day on the toilet, three hours of INTENSE pain (tempered by painkillers and sleep) and then a 8 day heavy period.  To me, this was a good tradeoff considering the other choices.

A few tips:
Eat before this starts
Take your painkillers BEFORE the pain
Buy mega maxi pads and rehydrating drinks
You need a couch or bed very close to a toilet.  Maybe improvise something on the ground.  You won't be able to make it far, and you won't care that it's an air mattress.