May 19, 2017

baby number four {part two}

This is the second post detailing the story of our fourth baby.  You can read the first part here.  I am sharing the details and the emotions from my miscarriage and D&C.  I am being rather blunt and open.  If that sort of thing bothers you please do not read.

When I woke up the morning after we found out our baby girl was gone, the sadness hit me like a truck.  Reality was setting in, all the emotions were flooding over me.  My body didn't know the difference.  I still felt sick.  But the perfect little baby inside me, it wasn't alive anymore.  I managed to pull it together long enough to get Ryann ready and get her on the bus.  Then I called my OBs office.  I told them that I was struggling to find the heartbeat with a doppler and wanted to be seen.  I left out the part that we had already used an ultrasound, because Chris wasn't necessarily supposed to take it home.  My OB wasn't available but they said a nurse could see me at 9:30.  I could tell they weren't putting much merit into my concerns, I'm sure just assuming I was an overly anxious pregnant woman.  I dropped Elsie off at school, then headed to the doctor with Thea in tow.  It was a snowy morning, and as I turned a corner my car slid out and hit the curb.  It was just a little bump, but I lost it.  I was bawling.  I hated everything about that moment.  Somehow we made it to the office in one piece.

Tears streamed down my face while sitting in the waiting room.  I tried to hide it, but I'm sure everyone could see it.  I didn't have to sit long though before we were called back.  The nurse had me lie down on the exam table and she put the doppler on my stomach.  After a few seconds you could hear a heartbeat.  She said "there it is."  Nope, not so much.  "I think that is my heartbeat."  "Really?  It is beating a little fast, are you sure that's you?"  Of course my heart is beating fast, I'm here so you all can officially tell me my baby is dead.  "I'm pretty sure."  She grabbed another nurse, she agreed that yes, it was my own heartbeat, and after having no luck finding the baby they went and got my OB (who I had never met).  When she walked in she said "So I hear this little baby is being stubborn and hiding!"  "I don't really think that is the case."  She seemed a little taken back, by my lack of hope.  She asked why I was so sure something was wrong and I told her that I was generally pretty efficient with the doppler.  She spent a little time searching for the heartbeat, obviously with no luck.

I felt bad, letting them all search for the heartbeat knowing full well they weren't going to find it.  But at the same time, maybe I was holding on to a tiny bit of hope that Chris and I were wrong.  My doctor stepped out to find out if they could get me in for an ultrasound.  About five minutes later they were able to squeeze me in.  I had Thea sitting on the exam table with me.  It didn't take the tech long, she said "I'm so sorry, I'm not finding a heartbeat."  "I know."  I tried not to cry, I tried to hold it together, but that couldn't stop a few tears from burning down my cheeks.  I hugged Thea so hard.  My doctor came back in and told me she was sorry.  We discussed my options.  She told me the chance that my body would completely miscarry on it's own was only about 40%.  I decided to talk it all over with Chris.  When I made it to my car I didn't hold it in anymore.  I cried hard.  I desperately wished there was something I could do to change things.

Eventually I pulled it together and made the drive home.  But it felt like the hardest part was yet to come.  How did I tell my family?  My parents were in Georgia.  But I knew I couldn't wait until they got home.  I couldn't do it face to face.  I decided I couldn't even say it out loud yet.  My poor mom, I ended up texting her the news.  Of course she wanted to call me.  We chatted a bit, but ultimately I didn't want to talk to anyone too much.  I was so confused, so lost, so heart broken.  I felt so helpless.  I spent the rest of Thursday in a fog, but again, Chris works half days on Thursdays so he was able to come home and be with me and the girls.  We talked and decided a D&C was the best route to go.  I wasn't sure how I'd handle a natural miscarriage, and taking care of three kids while going through a natural miscarriage sounded like it's own version of hell.  Not to mention the fact that my doctor said there was basically a 60% chance I'd wind up needing a D&C anyway.

I called the office and after a little shuffling they were able to get me in first thing in the morning with my OB for the procedure.  I was grateful for that.  I wanted to start the healing process as soon as possible.  Chris's mom stayed at the house Thursday night so we could easily leave bright and early for my 6am check-in time.  Per the instructions from pre-op, I wasn't to take any medications Thursday evening on.  Naturally I threw up before going to bed.  That was a stab in the heart.  My body, just carrying on like nothing was wrong.

my only 'bump pic', 12 weeks, the morning of my D&C

My alarm went off a little before 5am Friday morning.  My eyes could barely open, they were so puffy from crying so much.  I showered and got ready to go.  I hoped the girls wouldn't be too concerned that Chris and I weren't there in the morning.  We hadn't told them anything yet.  (spoiler alert, they were unphased, Grandma 'Nita, woot!)  I tried so hard not to cry the whole drive to the hospital.  It sucked so much.  I knew crying couldn't change a thing, I didn't want to, but man it was hard.  And I felt like such crap.  Between all the crying, not taking any meds, the stress of it all, my head was pounding, I was having hot flashes and I just wanted to puke.  I ended up having to sit down while we were waiting in line to check-in, because I was feeling so sick.  Eventually we got all squared away and Chris came back to my pre-op room with me.

The nurse asked me what procedure I was there for and I had to swallow hard before saying it.  Then she handed me a gown and asked me to change in the bathroom.  I didn't expect that to be so emotional, but standing in the bathroom, putting on that hospital gown.  Ugh.  I've only put on a hospital gown three times.  And each time I came home with a baby.  This time there would be no baby... It was just under two hours from the time we checked in until when I was taken back.  While we were waiting Chris and I tried to chat about anything but the current situation.  But it was hard.  At one point we got on the subject of Jurassic Park.  Why, I can't remember, but we'll come back to that.

Overall I did a pretty good job holding it together while waiting for my procedure, but when the nurse came in to wheel me to the operating room I couldn't handle it anymore.  Chris and I hugged.  I didn't want to let go.  I didn't want this to be real.  Tears poured down my face the whole way.  I swear we had to go to the furthest possible room.  At some point I just closed my eyes, and barely opened them again until after the procedure.  I didn't want to look at anyone.  I did mentally note that operating rooms are absurdly bright.  I helped move myself onto the table, but I didn't have to put my legs in the stirrups or anything.  Then my doctor came in.  She and the nurse just held my hands and let me cry until I was asleep.  It couldn't have been more than a few minutes from the time they wheeled me in until I was out.

As I started to come out of the anesthesia I was immediately crying again, but thought I was being chased by dinosaurs.  No joke.  I was in the middle of Jurassic Park running from a TRex.  Of all things to be thinking when you wake up.  HA.  I came to pretty quickly though.  They wheeled me into recovery and asked if I needed any pain meds.  I wasn't in any pain.  Actually what I immediately noticed was that I didn't feel sick in the least and my headache was gone.  I know they put some zofran in my IV, but truly I felt surprisingly good.  A silver lining, I guess.  After a bit my doctor came in to talk to me.  Apparently I lost a fair amount of blood during the procedure so they wanted to push a few bags of fluid before I could go home.  Lame.  I felt like I was in recovery forever.  All I wanted was to be back with Chris.  But they were waiting to take me to my room until I got rhogam.  Dang RH- status.  The guy in the bed next to me was in a lot of pain, and I guess on a lot of morphine.  They kept yelling at him, "Grant! Grant. You have to remember to breathe.  Wake up Grant!"  Funny and not funny.  Whatever.

After about an hour I was moved from recovery back to the room I started in.  Still just struggling on and off to keep it together.  Once all the fluids were pushed and they were pretty confident I wasn't going to pass out, I was able to get dressed to head home.  As I was tying my shoes, a lullaby jingle played over the speakers.  I froze.  "What was that?"  Chris paused a moment, "a baby was born."  Cue more tears.  There was no lullaby for my baby.  My baby didn't get to come home with me.  I didn't even get to see my baby.  I wanted out of there.  After a bit we were officially discharged, the nurse walked me to the front and we were on our way.

I had a prescription for a medication to help my uterus contract that I was supposed to take at 2pm, I think it was 11:30am at this point?  We stopped at Hyvee to pick it up where it had been called in, and they said they actually didn't have that medication in stock, but I could get some on Monday.  Well that wasn't going to work.  We moved on down the street to Walgreens.  They didn't have it either.  I called my OB's office and asked what to do.  They said they'd start calling pharmacies.  We went home to check on Elsie and Thea, made them some lunch, and Chris called a couple of pharmacies himself... Dillons, Walmart, the hospital pharmacy.  No one had the damn medicine in stock.  Around 12:15 the OB's office called and said they had found the medicine at the Walgreens by the hospital.  Alright fine, we'll go there.  I put Thea down for a nap and got back in the car with Christopher.  When we arrived at Walgreens, they said actually, they didn't have the generic that had been prescribed, and my insurance wouldn't cover the brand name.  The 8 pill prescription was going to be $550.  !#@^%^!#@$ You have got to be kidding me.

Of course I lost it again.  I already hated everything going on, who knows how much the D&C was going to cost us, and now we were supposed to spend another $550, when the generic would have been $15?  Chris just wanted to pay for it and call it good, but I couldn't handle that.  I called the doctor's office yet again.  She said if I took it easy and watched my bleeding I could probably get by without the medication, but we decided to call a few CVS pharmacies.  Thankfully one of them did actually have the generic, so we headed in the that direction.  I think it was after 1:00pm by this point.  I was so drained.  As we were waiting in line at CVS, Christopher realized one of his patients was talking with the pharmacist.  Initially he turned his back so the woman wouldn't see him, but we could overhear the conversation.  She was explaining that whatever she picked up wasn't what she needed, but the pharmacist responded with "unfortunately that is what your doctor prescribed and I can't give you something different."  I told Chris he better get his butt over there and fix the situation.  :o)  When he walked up to the window the little old lady was initially confused, but once she realized who it was she was exclaiming that he was her guardian angel and was just so happy.  It was adorable.

While Chris was dealing with all of that, it was my turn at the window.  I handed the woman my prescription, and she started to go through her little series of questions.  While looking at the paper she asked, "Are you pregnant?" I choked on my words, completely blindsided by the inquiry.  "Uh, um, no.  No."  And then again, I lost it.  She began to apologize, she said she wasn't even thinking when she asked.  I understood.  But hell, that was the first time someone had straight asked me 'are you pregnant' and I had to respond with no.  It hurt so damn bad.  So I hid in the aisles of CVS and cried while waiting for my prescription to be ready.  I was so freaking over it all.

We got the prescription, made our way home, and I took the stupid pill on time.  I spent a little time hanging out in the basement by myself resting, but being alone wasn't really working for me.  It wasn't too much longer and Ryann was home from school.  She questioned Christopher, "Why are you home? You're usually only home on Thursdays, but I had gymnastics last night so today is Friday and why are you here early?"  He told her he'd explain later, and that was good enough for her.  We wanted to wait a little closer to bedtime before breaking the news to the girls, hoping they could just sleep off a lot of their feelings.  We hung out on the couch watching shows for a bit, and had some dinner.  Then we decided it was time to tell them.

It was tough.  I didn't want to just say she was dead.  That didn't feel right.  So we told them that baby sister's heart had stopped working, and that she couldn't come home to live with us because her heart didn't work.  I think Ryann asked why the doctors couldn't just fix her heart, and we told her it just wasn't an option.  We said that we had gone to the hospital that morning and that a doctor helped take the baby out of my belly.  But that I didn't have any cuts or anything.  Ryann cried.  Elsie cried because Ryann was crying.  Thea had no clue of course.  Overall they took it better than I expected, but it still broke my heart even more.  We gave the girls a bath, and then we all snuggled in the basement and watched a movie before putting them to bed.

Rocking Thea before putting her in the crib was so damn hard.  I cried, and she was so confused.  I just kept thinking what if she really was the last baby I would ever rock?  Babies are so incredibly exhausting, but man I love them.  Once I got her in bed Chris and I settled in the basement with Pitch Perfect 2 to try and keep the mood light.  I also drowned my sorrows in a bowl of ice cream and chocolate muffins.  The movie was hilarious and definitely put a smile on my face, but once it was over all the sadness was back.  I ended up taking some tylenol pm so I could get some sleep.  And kept taking it for like a week or more, before I thought I could handle going to bed and staying asleep on my own.

On Saturday our amazing neighbors kept Ryann and Elsie at their house for pretty much the entire day.  Fed them lunch and dinner.  Ryann ended up spending the night even.  I couldn't be more grateful for them.  It was nice to just be.  To not have to take care of anyone but Thea (who napped for a good portion of the day anyway).  Megan even brought me flowers as well as some Ben & Jerry's.  Honestly I am so grateful that I decided to be open with the miscarriage.  Having to tell people sucked/sucks, but having people to walk me through a difficult time was so incredibly helpful.  Other friends sent cards, a giftcard for coffee, and just all the kind words.  They were so very much appreciated.  I felt so lost, but having other people acknowledge the loss made me feel like I wasn't a crazy person.

I spent the next several days in and out of tears.  I just couldn't help it, I'd break down out of nowhere.  Especially taking care of Thea.  She brings me so much joy, I'm so thankful for all my girls, but the harsh reality that she may very well be our last baby was gut wrenching.  I cried every time I rocked her for nearly a week.

That first week was also hard emotionally, because I just had no idea where to go from there.  Do we try again and risk another loss?  Do we embrace our three miracles that we do have and move on?  I wanted someone to be able to tell me what I was supposed to do.  I wanted all the answers right then and there.  I wanted to know what happened.  Why couldn't that little girl have been the final piece to our family puzzle?  What went wrong?  WHY?  It was so hard.  So so hard.  And on the flip side, I had so much guilt about being upset.  I am so blessed to have a loving husband, supporting parents, three amazing children.  We have a wonderful life.  One loss doesn't even compare to some of the hardships people out there are facing.  Why couldn't I just get over it?  Just move on?

And with that, I think there will need to be a part three to these posts.  I didn't intend to have so much to share, but honestly after the loss I searched for other people's stories to read.  Something to help me sort through some of my feelings.  So I will continue to share, hoping that someone, somewhere, finds some comfort in knowing they aren't alone.


Liz Runningmomma said...

I had the same feelings as you. I should be happy I have one child and not focus on the one lost, but love just doesn't work that way. I also had so much heartbreak that I may never have another child and that was where a lot of the pain came from. Luckily, I did get pregnant again with no complications and now have a daughter. Whatever you decide will be right for your family.

Stephanie and Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephanie and Ryan said...

Gosh, I just want to give you a big hug! The pain can feel unbearable, but it will lessen in time. My blog is private, but if you email me your email (mine is I'll add you to my blog so you can read our story.

Stacey said...

You are right -- I would agree you have a wonderful life reading all you listed. However that doesn't mean your feelings aren't real and shouldn't be validated. No one can tell you how to grieve or what is even worth grieving -- Only you know what truly affects your soul and this was definitely one of those life events. Take the time and confide in others just like you have been. I too have a great life but silently suffer from depression -- it's something I choose to keep to myself since it comes in waves. I do know though by looking at me you'd probably never guess I was suffering at times. Unfortunately we all seem to have something in us that pulls us to our knees. I wish you all the best and am sorry you are experiencing such heartache.