I didn’t believe it was happening. My mind was not processing what was happening. I had carried and delivered three healthy amazing human beings, how was it possible this was any different. I rationalized. I googled. I researched. I meditated. I read articles and advice columns. I slept. I relaxed. I did everything I could to put the brakes on the run away train, but by Sunday afternoon, it was clear that nothing I was doing was going to stop this nightmare I was in.
Saturday night, after feeling sick all day, I saw the first signs of something going wrong with my body and my baby. Tiny droplets of blood on the tissue. My mind went into survival mode and began to weave a story that would carry me to Sunday. It’s just a reaction to being sick today. I had been throwing up, so there was nothing left in my stomach, so it must be the trauma of dry heaving. It’s hard on a body. After all, throwing up in pregnancy is a good thing right? I spent the better part of the day on the couch Saturday, so I hadn’t done ANYTHING that would have possibly hurt the baby..right?
Sunday morning was quiet. My son had gone to my mom’s house Saturday because I was so sick, so I had no one to take care of except me. I stayed on the couch, flipping channels and surfing the internet. Thank goodness for netbooks and wifi! I had a bowl of oatmeal, something soft and easy on the stomach. Called my mom and let her know that I still felt bad but was taking it easy and would keep her posted. I didn’t tell her about the bleeding. After all, I didn’t want to worry her too, because there was nothing wrong…just my body reacting to being sick. I called my midwife and let her know that the spotting was still happening from last night and she gently told me that it was possible I was in the early stages of a miscarriage, but to stay calm and relax, there were other things it could be and that some women do have slight spotting in pregnancy. My mind was racing and I was trying to work out just what was happening and what I could do to STOP whatever was going on. I had three healthy children, how could this pregnancy be any different?
I went back to my couch and slept for a few hours. Around 3 pm, I woke up and knew in my mind, something was different. Something was terribly wrong. I headed to the bathroom and knew that this baby was is deep trouble. No more watery pale blood, this was deep red, filled with the destiny of my baby. The life was draining out of me and there was nothing I could do about it. I called my mom, because who do you call when you are in a crisis? Your mom! I called her crying on the phone that I was losing the baby. She told me that she would be right over. I hung up, called the midwife and told her that I thought I was losing the baby. She told me that the best thing I could do right now was to lie down and relax. If that really was what was happening, I needed all my strength to face what was happening. Was I alone? Yes, but my mom was on her way. Where was Big Red? At work but I would call and let him know what was happening. Did I want her to come over? No, but I would let her know what was happening. I called Big Red, told him that I was losing the baby and his stream of questions just about pushed me over the edge. I know he was trying to cope with it in his own way, but I felt like he wasn’t listening and just trying to make it harder on me. In that moment, I was so angry at him. Why was he trying to make this harder on me?
I hung up the phone and waited for my mom to get here. I was on twitter asking my friends what they would do and many of them encouraged me to get to a hospital and find out what was really going on. My mom arrived about 3 pm and I struggled with what to do. If I really was losing the baby, the hospital was the last place I wanted to be. I remembered reading stories of women having a miscarriage in the emergency waiting room and that wasn’t going to be me. It was happening all over Canada and I did not want to endure that suffering in a waiting room. I also knew that they would probably send me home, so why go out in the cold to just be sent back home. After talking to my mom and friends, I decided that I would go into the hospital. If it wasn’t a miscarriage, they would be able to have a look and see what was going on and maybe save the day.
I have to say, the Lougheed was great. I was seen immediately and put right into a room. They took blood, etc etc and then put me in a room to wait for an ultrasound. The doctor came in and explained…AT LENGTH, what may be going on. While I appreciate his willingness to lay out the entire hoe down to me, I really just wanted to have an ultrasound to have some piece of mind, or to move forward. Thirty minutes later, I was on my back getting the ultrasound. Unfortunately, there was no heartbeat. I wasn’t sure how to feel. Cognitively, I knew that if anything was wrong with the baby, this was natures way of making sure that a sick baby didn’t suffer. Emotionally, I was numb.
They did a brief pelvic exam to make sure nothing life threatening was going on. Everything looked okay and they would send me home. I was to come back if I was loosing a significant amount of blood, felt dizzy or light-headed (more so than the shock of losing the baby), or was violently ill. We headed home and I settled back into the couch. I hadn’t really lost anything major from my body at this point, so I still held onto the hope that maybe this was just a weird going on and that everything would be okay. Big Red came home from work early and my mom stayed over for the night, just in case.
We headed to bed about 1 am…of course I’d been dozing on and off all day, so I wasn’t tired, add to that the panic I was feeling of being powerless. I tossed and turned and at about 2 am got up to go to the bathroom. I am sure at this point you don’t need details. I stood up and the room spun around me. I grabbed onto the counter before I hit the floor and sat back down. I called out to my mom and she came running. I was dripping sweat off of me, the room was spinning, I couldn’t breathe and I was going to throw up. My mind was not functioning. They were asking me questions and I wanted to answer but I just couldn’t get the answers out. My mom called the ambulance and I am pretty sure they were there within 10 minutes. Off to the hospital we went.
3 am…waiting, waiting, waiting. At 4 am, I told the on call doctor that I had to have something to eat. Hadn’t eaten since 8 pm the night before and if they were insisting that I wait until 10:30 am for an ultrasound, they HAD to give me something to eat, otherwise I was going to have a migraine and being throwing up long before the ultrasound. They relented and gave me a couple of packs of crackers and a small plastic cup of juice. They also told me that they hoped I would get in sooner for the ultrasound. The waiting was killing me…just laying there…nothing to say, nothing to stop what was happening. I could feel the life draining out of me.
At 8:30 am, they called me to go for the ultrasound. Wheeling me down the hall like a circus exhibit curled up on a stretcher I headed to the room that would tell me that the baby was gone. He was nice enough…conversational and bland…but at least he didn’t ask me stupid fucking questions about how I was feeling? How was my day? He did his scan and left the room. He came back in and said he needed a few more pictures and that he would break his own rule and let me know that there was no fetal heart beat and no fetal pole (to be honest, I wasn’t sure what the last part meant, but I knew it wasn’t good) He also told me that the “sack” appeared to be around 6 weeks, not 11 like we had dated the pregnancy to from last cycle. Wow, 5 weeks ago things had started going wrong and I didn’t know. What the fuck was wrong with me, with my body, with my womanly intuition? My mind was swimming with emotion and questions…questions that had no answer to them.
They wheeled me back to my waiting area in emergency and about an hour later, a resident gynecologist came in and let me read the report. It was a very medical rationalization of the death of my baby. No fetal heart beat, blah blah blah…in black and white, my baby had died. He had a job to do…now to dispense information to me so I could make some decisions.
By this time, Big Red had arrived at the hospital along with Gorgeous. They were present for the conversation that came next.
“I’m sorry for your loss. There are some things we need to cover to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision. Whatever your decision is, we will move forward with that. The baby did not survive. As you can see from the report, the baby stopped growing about 6 weeks ago. You have lost the major portion of the fetal materials through a spontaneous abortion your body is undergoing. The fetal sack remains in your uterus and we have to decide how we are going to deal with that. Here are your two options. One: We can schedule you for a D & C (dilation and curettage) and remove that material with a small vacuum. It is a quick procedure and you will be home tonight. Two: We can send you home now and wait and see what your body does naturally.” I asked if those were the only options, and he stated yes. I said I would prefer that things go naturally, as we had planned on a home birth and clearly we had a more natural hope for this, rather than a medical one. He was very nice and said that he would take that information to his supervisor, the Gynecologist on staff and they would return shortly.
At 11 am, the “doctor” or the guy who is in charge came back with the junior resident. He was a very nice man and went over my options again, this time, he wanted me to have more information. “Option One: Best option, we get the material (my baby!) dealt with quickly and there is a lower concern of hemorrhage. What were the risks…uterine puncture from the equipment, hemorrhage on the operating table and possible death. At this point, my daughter started to cry…she didn’t want mommy to die. Suddenly, I was acutely aware of the people surrounding me…my mom, Big Red, Gorgeous, two doctors and three nurses…this wasn’t happening…how the hell did I get to this point? How did this happen??? I turned to Gorgeous and told her that it would be okay, mommy was okay and the doctor had a responsibility to tell mommy ALL the things about the surgery and give me all the details no matter what. It would be okay. Option Two: I could go home, allow my body to try to deal with it naturally. The risks were a possible hemorrhage at home with no assistance available to me immediately. A hemorrhage at home would most likely result in my death as I could bleed out quickly. Hundreds of years ago, that’s how women dealt with a miscarriage by going home and waiting, but now there were other options.
I asked him for a moment to talk to Big Red so we could make a decision together. He stepped out of the room and I asked Big Red what he wanted to do. He looked like he’d been side swiped by a bus. He was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. I hated the thought of going into surgery but at this point, I didn’t really feel like I had any other options. We called the doctor back in and told him that we would take the surgery option. He then stated we would be put in as an E6…meaning I would be into surgery in 6 hours or less. At noon, they moved me upstairs to the day surgery unit and we waited…and waited and waited…for almost 8 hours for the surgery.
I slipped in and out of sleep during the day. Gorgeous would come in and out of the area, checking on me, asking me if I needed anything. She would sit with me quietly, not talking just sitting. It was nice to have her there…even if she was just 10 years old. My mom would pop in and out..asking if I needed lip balm. The wouldn’t let me eat anything or drink anything. I had asked for a piece of ice as my mouth was so dry and they said yes, but the ice never showed up. At 4 pm, I told the nurse I felt a migraine starting up and that I needed something before I got really sick. She hung something on the pole and attached it to my saline drip. Thank God for that…it probably saved my brain from a total melt down.
We waited and waited as surgery after surgery was wheeled in before me. The six-hour wait came and went. Finally at 7:30 pm….8 hours after the doctor told me it would be 6 hours…I called the nurse and said, “if I”m not in surgery in the next 15 minutes, I am going home. Come what may, I am not waiting here any longer. I could have eating crackers at 11 am and been fine for surgery 8 hours later. I have had nothing to eat since 4 am that morning…now 16 hours later. I know it isn’t her fault or her problem, but I am done sitting at a hospital waiting and I am going home.” The nurse was awesome…thank you Jody at the Lougheed! She said she would get right on the phone, she would be upset too and yes, I could have eaten at 11 am and been fine with crackers and some water. She left my bed and got on the phone. I could hear her talking to someone and I was gathering my things to go home. About two minutes later, she came over and said “you better go to the bathroom, you are going in right now.” Wow, if I had been a bitch earlier, maybe I would have gotten in sooner.
The surgery lasted barely 5 minutes…in and out…and my baby was gone. Nothing left but a broken heart and a sheet filled with don’ts for the next 24 hours to six weeks. After everything, my weekend boiled down to instructions on a sheet of paper. The words swam on the paper in front of me. Mom took the sheet and folded it up and put it in my coat. Mom brought over a wheelchair and I put my clothing back on, tossing the hospital gown on the bed. I sat in the chair and mom wheeled me out to the car. The day was over. The baby was gone and life would be irrevocably changed for me.
No longer did I trust that my body knew what to do to grow a baby. No longer did I feel comfortable as a woman. My body had failed me. As I headed home, I counted back 5 weeks. Guess where that date landed…December 28th. I had written this post on December 31st. On January 4th, I wrote this post. Both of these posts tie into the tremendous amount of stress I was, AM under and how hard it had been. Through all of that, I had lost my passion for many things in my life. The toxic place I was in was shaving away everything I thought I knew about me. I had always been strong, able to cope with anything. Thought I could handle any situation that came my way. I was wrong.
Doctors, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists can tell me all they want it was a simple coincidence, but the will never convince me of that. It’s funny, “they” warn you to minimize stress in your life while pregnant, yet when the stress is overwhelming, it’s only a coincidence that you lose your baby. Interesting.
Today, I feel empty. I feel lost and I feel like the sun will never shine again. I get up, move around and pretend to do the things that need to be done, because after all, I am a mom and people are counting on me. I ghost through the day, wondering if I’ll ever feel normal again. I worry about my kids and the effect the loss of this baby will have on them. I worry about my relationship with Big Red and will we be able to survive this loss. So many questions and no answers.
I hold onto my sanity by my fingertips…almost wishing my mind would just collapse because then I would have a reason to not be strong for everyone else. In spite of everything, I am a mom. I have people who are counting on me and people who need me. I will myself to get out of bed, stand up, put on my clothes and move forward. I have cried more tears today than I have since it all started on Saturday. The realization that all the plans and dreams I had for this coming year are changing. Life will go on and I will go on. I look towards tomorrow wiser and more cautious.
I would love to hope that no other woman will go through what I’ve been through. I know I am not the first, nor will I be the last. My best advice is to reach out. Hold onto the people who love you. Ask for help and cry until you can’t cry any more. Get pissed off. Yell and punch the shit out of your pillows. Don’t answer the phone if you don’t want to. Stay in your pajamas all day for a week if you want to. This is about YOU. Not your job, not your bills, not anyone else but YOU.
I mourn the loss of my baby. I am making a plan to release the sadness and release this baby to heaven. I hope that one day, it won’t hurt so much.