You may recall me saying this culture of working yourself to death, through sickness and health, because we are married to our jobs, is just how it has always been. It’s “normal” for a veterinarian to work while being ill. We’re team players. We don’t want to let our clients down. We don’t want to let our team down. We don’t want to let ourselves down.
We fear failure.
I follow Natalie Crawford MD, reproductive specialist and social media doctor. So I keep coming back to that. Dr. Crawford worked through her miscarriage and tried to work through an ectopic pregnancy in her Fallopian tube.
The perfectionist in us does not want to give up!
We do this to ourselves. We are resilient. We are strong!
Yet, working through a miscarriage is a terrible experience. I kept working because I didn’t have any other symptoms other than severe cramping and huge blood clots coming out.
I filled the menstrual cup, which is 30 mls… 2 Tbsp!! Filled it… 5 times in half my shift.
I bled through the liner, my underwear and my pants.
I always keep spare pants at work in case a dog urinates on me.
But I don’t keep spare underwear. Nor did I have any other products with me. But when you work at a vet clinic, sometimes there are Depends underwear. Those are uncomfortable, but they do the trick when you’re the only doctor on during the ER hours, and can’t leave without ensuring your patients are stable.
So at 4am Thursday, I was collapsed on my bathroom floor due to extreme nausea.
My hubby took me to the hospital. While waiting for all the diagnostic testing, I had another episode of severe nausea and was laying on the floor of the waiting room.
After a few tests, it turned out that all my symptoms were because I was having a miscarriage. I kept thinking, well, I have an answer now. Miscarriages occur all the time. The blood clots were slowing, I should be good to go back to work tomorrow.
Hubby put his foot down, saying a few hours ago you were collapsed in the hospital. You cannot just take half a day to recover and go back to work! He convinced me to take Friday off as well, saying I’ll be good to go on Monday.
Physically, I’m a bit light headed. Emotionally. I’m torn. I convinced myself this is normal. This happens to women all the time. It’s happened to me before, and I survived. I don’t need to be emotional about a miscarriage, it’s fine.
But now it’s not.
It’s not my fault that this happened, but I’m worried that it will affect my future ability to get pregnant or to carry a pregnancy. What is happening inside me does not feel normal. Here I am trying to normalize reproductive issues, but normalization does not mean that it’s anatomically and physiologically normal. Trying to bring awareness to reproductive problems in women does not mean that every problem we go through is normal.
No one wants to talk about the gory details of a miscarriage. How you feel like your insides are being extruded through your cervix. Because we don’t want to talk about it, it down plays the seriousness of it. Not to mention the hormonal roller coaster that your body is taking you on.
I guess I’m lucky to be in this profession. My profession is predominately women. It’s easier to talk to a woman about the female issues we go through. Despite being in a medical profession, I spare them some of the gory details.
But I wanted to write about it. Women need to know that they can take time off from work to recovery. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then you cannot take care of others.
I feel a bit better having written about it. Photo for blog tax ;)