Thursday, March 14, 2013

Personal Post: My Experience with Cytotec

I almost didn't write this post because I feel like I have been doing a really good job of moving on and not focusing on the negative (read that story here).  I mean, I still want to throw my phone at the wall every time I see a Facebook post featuring the inside of someone's uterus, but in general, I have been doing much better.  The only reason I feel the need to write this is because I found much solace (and tons of helpful information) reading about others' experiences when I was getting ready to take this medication and I think I owe it to any others in the same position to pay it forward.  If this isn't something you can relate to, and I really hope you can't, then by all means bypass the rest of this post...just don't forget to come back and see me tomorrow!

Alrighty, here we go.  When I first found out my pregnancy was not viable, I opted to wait for things to happen on their own, naturally.  I wanted to avoid surgery and drugs if at all possible.  A couple of days later, I called my doctor and asked for the drug because I just could not handle the tension of waiting.  I scoured the internet for stories and personal experiences with Cytotec (also called misoprostol).  The only other time I had heard of this drug was on an episode of Law and Order: SVU--not the best reference point, you can imagine.  Some of the stories were scary, some were helpful, some were sad, but I was so glad I took the time to read them because otherwise I would not have known what I was getting myself into.  My doctor is a male, and while he can give me doctorly advice, he has no idea what it feels like to miscarry, or even to have cramps (the most common comparison to the effects of the medication).

Let me preface this by telling you that I am no stranger to INTENSE menstrual cramps.  When I was younger, I used to get debilitating cramps almost every single month, to the point where I would not even be able to stand up.  I was even hospitalized because of them one time, so when someone says, it feels like bad cramps, I know exactly what that means.  That was the prep I got from my doctor, "It will feel like bad cramps."  And that was about all I got.  The rest of my info I gleaned from my internet studies.  So here is how it went for me, what I did that was helpful and what I would do differently.

Before anything, I ate a good breakfast with lots of protein.  I also drank a Vitamin Water and tried to hydrate.  I had read how it might be able before I wanted to eat, so I tried to get some good stuff in before the pain began.  I also made sure to stock up on maxi pads--the super duper thick kind, and one wise internet poster recommended baby wipes, so I grabbed some of those too.

I took the drug at about 1:00 in the afternoon.  I inserted the pills vaginally and laid in bed for about a half an hour afterward to make sure they stayed where they needed to.  After that half hour I started to have very mild cramps.  I laid down with the heating pad and it alleviated most of the pain.  About an hour after I took the Cytotec, I took ibuprofen.  Looking back, I should have asked for a stronger, prescription pain reliever.  I think it would have made a world of difference.  When it got down to the nitty gritty, the ibuprofen didn't do much for me.

The intense cramps started about 5:00.  I used the bathroom pretty much right away and passed the largest of the clots I passed almost immediately.  Everything I read online said once the biggest clot passed, the cramps stopped.  Not so for me.  For almost three hours, I was in the worst physical pain I have ever been in.  Granted, I have never broken a bone or had surgery or anything major, but I have a high pain tolerance--especially when it comes to "female" pain.  The difference between this experience and regular cramps is that there was absolutely no relief.  It wasn't like five minutes of pain and then five minutes rest--it was constant pain.  I was basically curled up on the couch with the heating pad, clutching Mr. B's hand for the entire three hours.  The only reason I held it together was because I knew that eventually it would stop, and at that point my only choice was too tough it out and wait.

Around 8:00 the cramps started to die down.  During my three hours of torture, I could barely swallow water (the pain left me feeling nauseous, but I didn't ever throw up), so as soon as I started feeling better, I hydrated and took another round of ibuprofen.  I went to lay down in the bedroom for a while, dozed a little bit, kept the heating pad going.  By 9:00, I was feeling much better.  I was able to walk around a little more, and I was starving.  I loaded up on homemade pasta my mom had brought over, and drank another Vitamin Water.

Once I had passed my large clot, I bled pretty steadily for a little over a week.  I have always had a heavy flow so it wasn't much more than I was used to, but it definitely went on for a long time.  By the next day, I felt well enough to be up and moving like I normally would.  My mom and I went to a movie to help keep my mind off of things (we saw Gangster Squad--nothing makes a girl feel good like Ryan Gosling in a three piece suit).  For the rest of the weekend, I felt okay, just sore and tired, kind of like after having the flu.

My periods have still been a little wonky, almost two months later and I am not back to my normal cycle (which for me is odd since I have always been very regular), but physically speaking, taking Cytotec was probably the best thing for me.  After I stopped bleeding, I went back to my doctor for an ultrasound and everything was fine.  I had feared that I might have to go in for the surgery anyway, but the drug did it's job and everything that needed to be out was out.  For me, the decision to take the Cytotec was a good one.  It was easier than sitting around and waiting for it to happen naturally and much less invasive than surgery.

If you are going to be taking any form of misoprostol, please ask your doctor for a prescription strength pain killer.  That is the number one thing I would have done differently.  Also, staying hydrated and eating a solid meal before you take the pills will definitely help.  Make sure you have someone who can stay with you throughout the experience, for both moral and physical support (Mr. B had to help me to the bathroom a couple of times).  And just know that no matter how much it sucks and feels like it is never going to be over, it will end, and when it does, you will physically be almost back to normal.  Emotionally things might take a little longer, but for me, once the physical stuff was done, it was much easier to start moving on mentally.

I hope I haven't grossed you out too much, and if you are struggling with a similar situation, please hang in there.  I promise it will pass.

1 comment:

  1. You are so brave recounting your experience here and I know it will be helpful to others in the same situation. I didn't want to read at first because I knew it would break my heart. It did. But I figured if you were strong enough to write it, I should follow your lead. I'm so proud of you and your strength. You continue to amaze me every day. xo