D & C

First of all, I have to thank everyone for all the warm wishes and condolences on our loss. I knew we had amazing friends and family was I was honestly surprised by the number of people who took the time to write either CJ or I a note. Many were from the usual close friends and family. Some were from acquaintances and there were even a few from old time schoolmates whom I haven’t talked to or heard from in over 10 years. It’s amazing how as a human race we come together in times of sorrow to care for one another. I am truly thankful for all of you and my heart is full.

Many have commented on how brave I am to share this experience with the world. I don’t really think it’s all that brave. To me it’s just being honest and open. Sadly, many women feel they can’t talk about having a miscarriage because they think it’s shameful or somehow their fault. It’s not. As women we want to blame someone and the natural inclination is to look inward at ourselves, the one carrying the baby. But unless you’re out smoking and drinking every night, it’s not your fault. It’s just natural selection. It’s nature recognizing a fetus that is somehow too malformed to survive and so it just stops forming. Believe me, it helps to talk about it. Though my original intention was admittedly more of a selfish one – therapy for me – if sharing my story can help someone else then I’m happy to be able to give back.


It’s nearly 4 am as I write this post, 3:52 to be exact. I can’t sleep. My mind is racing from all the things that have happened and those yet to be done. Since writing, and this blog, are a kind of therapy for me, I thought the best thing to do was just get it all out and hopefully I can sleep peacefully when that’s done.

I went in to work on Wednesday just trying to get through the day. Just after lunch, my Director Instant Messaged me to go home. I told her I didn’t have the extra PTO days. She said not to worry about it. To take the rest of the day, along with Thursday, Friday and Tuesday if I needed it (since Monday is Labor Day) and not to enter any PTO time. She would cover me. Another seemingly small gesture that really means a lot. It means I can spend the extra time with my family without having to worry about going in to the hole on hours at work. Another gift.

We spent Wednesday evening out to dinner as a family and then walked around the outdoor mall where we were at. Isabella loves the fountains they have so we strolled over to those and made some wishes. This was the first time she had actually thrown the pennies in herself. Before she made us do it. The first time we took her there was in the Spring. I wished for our dream home and a baby. The next time we took her there was a few weeks ago. That time I used my pennies as gratitude offerings for both my wishes having come true. This time, I didn’t make any wishes at all.

making a wish

Wednesday night I had to take a shower with a special antiseptic soap. Then I scarfed down some food because I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight.

Thursday was the big day. Surgery day. I was expecting it to be very emotional but surprisingly it was not. I only had a couple moments of heartache. The rest of the time was just getting through it. I had to take another shower with the special soap and wasn’t allowed to put on any lotion afterwards. All my jewelry was to be left at home as well. We packed up Isabella and dropped her off to spend the day with her boyfriend Owen. Many thanks to Heather and Jeremy for watching her so that my mom could be with me at the hospital. Another gift.

We got to the hospital and it is beautiful. It’s a new hospital just for women and you can tell they have thought through every little detail.

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I checked in with the gal at the front desk and verified all my information. Then she informed us of logistics like where the cafeteria is, which floor to go to, etc. She also mentioned that if we hear music played overhead, it means a baby was just born. I’m not sure if she knew why I was there but I imagine that’s part of her standard speech. Not 30 seconds later the music came on letting us know a new life had been brought in to the world. That was my first emotional moment as I realized I wouldn’t be hearing any music today. 

We headed upstairs and got checked in there. I was led back to my room and went through more paperwork. At one point we had to talk about the remains. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about this because the baby was so small, only 7 and a half weeks, that I assumed nothing could be done with it. But apparently you can have either the hospital cremate the baby, along with all the other hospital tissue needing to be disposed, or have your own cremation done. If the hospital does it, it’s free but you don’t get to keep anything. With a baby this small, the ashes only amount to about a teaspoon in size. Not really prepared to make a decision, we opted to have them hold the remains aside for us until we could figure it out. Today I have to call funeral homes and cemeteries to see what I can find out. At first it seemed silly to me to have a vault or plot for a teaspoon of ashes. But it’s not silly as it’s more than just ashes. It’s a life. It’s my baby. It deserves a proper place of rest.

Then it was time to change in to my lovely gown and get prepped. These gowns are actually very nice. They’re thicker, warm and even have a hole in them that can attach to a blower so that if you do get cold, they can pump warm air in. Nice! The nurse put my IV in, attached a heart rate monitor and checked my vitals.

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She was a very nice lady and I was glad to have her as my nurse.

The Anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. He was very nice too. He hung out and chatted with us for a bit and then went off to get ready. After that the surgical nurse came in. The first thing she said to me after introducing herself was, “I’m sorry for your loss.” That was the first time of the day someone had said the words out loud to acknowledge it and why we were there. I got teary eyed. My second emotional moment of the day.

Now it was waiting time. We were waiting for the doctor to finish with another woman and come in to see me.

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Finally she arrived and we were ready to go. The surgical nurses came in, put a special thermal hat on me (sorry, no pics…there are some things you just don’t need to see) and off we went to the OR.

They had me move over to the operating table and put more monitors and wires on me. I heard the anesthesiologist say that he was going to start the medicine and to let him know when the room started to spin. A few seconds later I said, “There it goes!” and the next thing I remember I was in the recovery room.

I went in and out of sleep for about an hour and when I was fully awake, she brought me juice and toast. After 16 hours of no food or drink, that was the best juice and toast I’ve ever had!

We headed up to the room then and they told me I was pretty much free to go since I wasn’t nauseous or anything. I decided to wait for a bit, just to make sure I was steady on my feet.

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My mom laughed at me when I took this picture. I told her I had to document the journey. This was post-op. I wanted to smile to show that I wasn’t in any pain and overall feeling good but it came out looking a little crazy. I’ll blame it on the drugs.

Finally it was time to go and they wheeled me out to the car. We dropped my mom off at home, swung through the McDonald’s drive thru to get a shake and then the Taco Bell drive thru for food. On the way home I started to panic as I could feel my nether regions getting very warm and hot. I wondered if that was normal after this procedure until I realized it was because I had hot tacos on my lap. Again, I blame it on the drugs.

It was too late to nap by the time we got home and ate, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep later if I took one, so I watched some TV and read a magazine. Samson was my constant companion.

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CJ left to pick up Isabella. I called ahead to let Jeremy know he was coming and found out that when Jeremy got home from work Isabella asked him if he’d seen her mommy. That warmed my heart. She missed me as much as I missed her.

CJ picked up dinner on the way home and we all ate as a family. We got La Casa pizza because it’s my fav. I ate the whole small pizza by myself while CJ and Isabella split some spaghetti and bread. CJ carted Munchkin off to her bath while I rested, watching some pre-season football (hurray!). When she came back out we snuggled on the couch, watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and then read some stories.

After she went to bed I sat down and enjoyed a piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake I had picked up from the Cheesecake Factory on Tuesday, after finding out the news. I needed the chocolate for comfort then but only ate half of it, knowing I’d want something yummy today. It was worth waiting for.

Now it’s 4:56 am and I’ve pretty much poured it all out. Today will be spent calling funeral homes and cemeteries, napping and just enjoying my family. I will want to pack and clean and do a million other things but must force myself to take it easy. There will be plenty of time for all that other stuff.

And now I’m off to bed where hopefully I will drift to sleep and dream of cheesecake, wet toddler kisses, and new life.

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Another Angel

Last night, as I was crafting this post in my head, it was going in a whole other direction. I was going to have a picture of Isabella posed in a special shirt and proclaim to the world that she was going to be a big sister.

But then life took a turn. Let me step back.

Back in 2008, before Isabella, I was found out I was pregnant on a Friday evening in February. I took the test and we jumped up and down with the positive results. We immediately called up my parents, took them to dinner and broke the news. We were young and happy and had just been blessed with a miracle.

2 days later I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. I was 5 weeks along and miscarriages at that stage are pretty common. People quoted the statistics to me and part of me felt silly for being so sad. I mean, we’d only known the news for 48 hours. Is that long enough to bond with a baby?

Yes it is.

We had embraced the fact that we would be parents and were overjoyed. We talked about names and nurseries and genders. We bonded with that baby. Now that child is up in heaven, an Angel watching over us all.

So imagine my fears when almost exactly 1 year later we again got a positive pregnancy test on a Friday night in February. This time we were cautiously excited. We told our family but that was it. I was terrified when Sunday came around. I was just sure history would repeat itself and we’d have another loss on our hands.

But no such thing happened and our beautiful darling daughter was born 9 months later.  And what a gift she is!

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That was nearly 2 years ago. Isabella’s birthday is September 30th and her present will be a new house!

Fast forward to a Friday night in July. My period was a week late and sure enough, two pink lines showed up on the test stick. I was pregnant again. We rejoiced at the news but were still hesitant. We know what can happen.

I went for my first pre-natal appointment on August 3 and saw the heartbeat and got a picture of the little bean.

Here’s a picture I took of myself on that day. It was the first in a series of belly pics.

6wks 8.3.11 side

What a relief that was! To see the heart beating was so amazing and a good sign of things to come. 2 days later I woke up to blood in my underwear. It was just a little but the sight of it sent me in to a panic. I cried in CJ’s arms. I told him I was sure the baby was gone. He calmed me down and said we’d call the doctor and see what she said. She wanted me to come in for an ultrasound. I went in and everything was fine. Again I saw my little one’s heartbeat clear as day on the monitor. The bleeding was simply implantation bleeding.

angel 2_8.5.11_6wks3days

Phew.

Life went on. We sold a house. We bought a house. Everything was falling in to place.

Then I woke up today with more bleeding. It was very slight and faint so I wasn’t too worried. There could be a million reasons for that. But it’s better to be safe than sorry so I called the doc. She asked me to come in. I was scheduled for a regular check-up tomorrow anyway so might as well move it up a day.

When I got there she had me hop on the table and she broke out the Doppler machine which can detect the sound of the heartbeat at 10 weeks, which is where I’m at. She moved it around and worked it for a good 3 minutes without finding a heartbeat. It was that dreaded moment that every mother fears – going in for a regular exam and hearing nothing on the machine. She said that sometimes you can’t hear it yet and we’d do an ultrasound. After a minute of not seeing anything on that she moved to the vaginal ultrasound. I already knew at this point. My heart knew. My mind knew. Even though the doctor hadn’t said the words, I knew.

After taking some measurements she turned the monitor around and showed me that there was no visible heartbeat. According to her measurements, it looked like the baby had stopped growing at 7 weeks 4 days, which was 3 weeks ago. But she wanted to be sure. So she sent me upstairs to radiology, where they have better equipment. She cautioned me not to expect a miracle but we needed to make extra sure the baby wasn’t viable before proceeding with anything else.

I headed up to radiology and while waiting, called CJ. Saying the words out loud to him, “They can’t find the baby’s heartbeat” made it real and I lost it there, alone, in the waiting room. I squeaked out the rest of the details to him and slowly pulled myself together. We talked for a bit and then they called my name.

As the tech did her thing, checking all the areas and taking measurements, I just watched the monitor. I saw the little bean that was my child, laying in its little sac. It looked peaceful and still. Very still. No heartbeat. No movement of any kind. Just a shape.

The tech gave me her condolences and had a nurse come up to take me down to the doctor. We went the back way, through the staff only hallways, so that I wouldn’t have to go out and see all the expectant mothers in the lobby. We chatted and she was very nice. I kept myself composed, not one to cry in front of strangers. I don’t really remember what we talked about. I’m pretty sure I gave all the right responses but I was in a fog. I remember walking by a door that had a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar on it. That was going to be the theme for our little one’s nursery. It stung a little to see it, but I just kept walking.

very-hungry-caterpillar

The doc explained the options to me. I could either take some medication that would empty the baby and tissue out of my body or have a D & C surgical procedure. The medicine would be painful and involve a lot of bleeding over the course of a day or two. The surgery would be in and out in a day. I opted for that. No sense in dragging it out.

I’ve been pretty numb most of the day. With the first miscarriage, my emotions were all on the surface and the slightest little thing – seeing another baby, thinking about nurseries, hearing a lullaby – would drive me to tears. Not so much this time. At least not yet. Maybe it’s denial. Maybe it’s having done it once before. Maybe it’s just coping. Who knows.

Sometimes my mind drifts to thoughts of wondering what went wrong. Was it something I did or didn’t do? I know the answer to that is “no”. But I can’t help but wonder.

Thursday I go in for the D & C. By Thursday afternoon I will  no longer be pregnant. I imagine I’ll be emotional, thinking about someone pulling my baby’s lifeless body out of me. Of never being able to hold that baby or see it or even know if it was a boy or girl. I will mourn.

Then I will go home and hold my beautiful daughter close and most likely cry in to her soft sweet hair. I will snuggle with Samson and make him kiss me even though he pretends to hate it. I will lie in the strong arms of my husband and together grieve over the loss of our third child.

We now have 2 angels watching over us in heaven.

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