Sunday, January 16, 2011

When life hands you a miscarriage

Where do you start when writing a post about miscarriage? I guess I will start by saying that I remember hearing the term several different times growing up.  I remember hearing people talk about it and I knew what it was.  I remember in my young, ignorant mind, thinking that somehow it didn't seem like a big deal because I had heard about it so much.  It just seemed like a nonchalant thing.  And it certainly never crossed my mind that it would be something that I would ever experience-  it was one of those things that only other people would.  Not me.  Well, little did I know.  

Paul and I had been married for about 1 1/2 years when we decided it was time to start trying for a family.  Infertility was also one of those things that only happened to other people.  Not me.  Again, little did I know.  We started trying for a baby.  That first month I was so giddy and nervous to find out if I was pregnant.  My period came.  Another month went by, and another and another.  A year went by.  A year and a half went by.  I went through the roller coaster of emotions that I'm sure so many women understand.  Sadness.  Bitterness.  Anger.  And then back to sadness. And then I finally found a state of calmness that I just knew that it would happen when the time was right.  We visited a fertility specialist.  We were about to start clomid and artificial insemination when after 19 months of trying, that positive pregnancy test appeared.  We cried and cried with joy and relief.  We were so thankful to Heavenly Father that we were finally pregnant! At 6 weeks, 4 days I started spotting.  Even then, it didn't even cross my mind that anything could be wrong.  At 6 weeks, 5 days, while working, I went to the bathroom and bled.  I knew that it was way to much blood.  I knew in those moments that I had had a miscarriage.  I cried.  I called Paul.  I called my doctor.  I went and had my blood drawn a few times and they confirmed that I was no longer pregnant.  We cried and mourned the loss of the pregnancy that we had celebrated so dearly.  We hadn't announced to anyone yet that we were pregnant.  And after the miscarriage I didn't feel like going around announcing the sad news.  So no one knew but ourselves.  And it was really hard.  

Three months later we were able to conceive again.  We prayed with the most sincere hearts that I would be able to carry out the pregnancy full term.  We literally prayed every single night we would have a healthy baby, if it was the will of Heavenly Father.  Just over 8 months later, we had the most beautiful baby boy.  He was perfect in every way, with an imperfect heart.  But he was alive, and perfect to us anyway.  

After Conner was born I went on birth control.  I felt strange about it.  I didn't really want to, but I started it anyway.  After a few months Paul and I talked and decided that I would stop birth control.  I had been having feelings that I should stop birth control.  I felt that although we might not ever feel totally ready to bring a second baby into the world, that Heavenly Father was in control, and he knew what we could handle, and would send us a baby when He knew the time was right.  After all, it took us 2 years to get pregnant with our precious Conner, and it could take a while again.  I got off bc in July and decided that we wouldn't put pressure on the situation.  We wouldn't be actively trying to get pregnant, nor would we stop it.  In November this past year, I waited for my period to start.  I had a dream that an old man told me I was pregnant.  I started to gag when I brushed my teeth (a pregnancy symptom for me) and I had a huge, constant battle in my head for 3 days while I waited for my period.  "You're pregnant.  No I'm not.  Yes you are.  Maybe I am.  I think I am. No I'm not."  I couldn't take it anymore, and on that 4th morning, after Paul left for work, I ran to the store with Conner and bought a pregnancy test.  It was positive.  I cried with happiness.  Paul and I were so thrilled to be expecting a second, tiny, beautiful baby into our family!  We again started praying that we would have a healthy baby, be it the will of Heavenly Father, and that all would be well with the pregnancy. 

 I became sick just like with Conner.  As week 6 and 7 went by I nervously prayed that there wouldn't be a miscarriage.  Week 8, 9, and 10 went by.  Then 11 and 12.  After the 12th week of pregnancy the likely-hood of a miscarriage dramatically drops.  At 12 weeks, 5 days, I went in for my 12 week check up.  Just a few hours before my appointment, I went to the bathroom and there was the tiniest specks of blood on the toilet paper.  It made me worried.  I went into the appointment and told the nurse who took my blood pressure and weight.  When my doctor came in, he asked me about the blood.  He immediately did an ultra sound.  As I laid there, I waited for my doctor to say something.  He just kept moving the wand around on my tummy, searching for that ever important heart beat.  He then had me look at the ultra sound machine screen, and explained what he was looking at.  I could see the baby.  I couldn't see a heartbeat.  Neither could he.  He told me that he was going to have me move rooms so that he could use their new machine to see things better and more clear.  I waited in the room.  Conner was with me.  He was getting impatient because I had left him in his car seat.  I tried to entertain him.  I pulled faces at him and played peek-a-boo.  Several different times during my attempts to entertain him, I caught myself tearing up with the thought that there really may not be a heartbeat, but refused to let myself dwell on it, since nothing was confirmed yet.  I was finally moved to the other room.  They had one of the other doctors come in and do the actual ultra sound.  My doctor was in the room to look at the ultra sound as well.  They talked about where the heart activity should be.  Then after a looking around for a minute or so, they both confirmed that there was no longer a heartbeat.  My doctor put his hand on my shoulder as I lay there, and told me how sorry he was, and it was indeed a miscarry.  Tears rolled down my cheeks, but I tried to stay strong as they took measurements to try and figure out how far along I was when I miscarried.  It was hard to hear the other doctor say that he could tell the little body had already started to collapse, and yet it was still pretty recently that the miscarriage happened.  It was determined by measurements that the miscarry happened at some point during the last week.  The doctor cleaned my tummy off, and helped me sit up.  He left the room, and I was left with my doctor.  We sat down to talk.  My eyes filled with tears as he sat across from me, with sadness in his eyes as he asked what questions I may have.  We talked.  He told me that he was heartbroken to have to deliver such sad news, especially after all we have been through in the past year with Conner.  He explained about the D&C and said that we would do it the coming Friday, the day I would have been 13 weeks.  When my doctor finally left the room, I started gathering my things, and that's when the sobs came.  I tried to hold them back.  I could feel the aching in my heart bursting and all I wanted to do was be at home in the arms of Paul.  I left the office and drove home.  The whole way home I cried.  I cried as I thought about telling Paul.  I cried as I thought about telling our families, whom we had announced our joyful news to on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  I thought of our friends faces who were so happy for us.  I thought of everyones faces who had expressed excitement, love and support for us.  And then I thought of having to tell them.  We didn't have a heartbeat anymore.  We are not going to have a baby in July anymore.  No more siblings 18 months apart.  

Paul was aware of the blood incident before I went to my appointment.  When I left the house for my appointment, Paul was at home with a friend putting in a new disposal.  When I was leaving the hospital, I texted Paul and asked if he was still home, and if the friend was still there.  Paul told me later that he just knew that something wasn't right when I had sent that message.  I got home, walked in, and was in the process of taking Conner out of the car seat, when Paul came down the stairs.  I, of course, was crying, and he came over, wrapped his arms around me, and I sobbed as I buried my head into his chest.  He got Conner out of the car seat and let him go play with his toys in the room we were in.  We sat down on the couch and talked about the appointment.  Talked about how there was no heart beat.  Talked about the ultra sound and the measurements.  We cried.  We sat in silence and then cried again.  We watched our sweet little boy, playing with his toys, babbling and having fun.  He had no clue.  He was so innocent and sweet.  He made us smile. 

On Friday I went in to the hospital at 11:30am.  I was scheduled for 12pm.   We (Paul and I) were taken into a curtained room where I changed into a gown and got in the hospital bed.  I hadn't eaten or had anything to drink since midnight, per doctor's orders.  They let me know that I wouldn't be going in at the scheduled time because there was still another patient ahead of me.  So we watched a movie and entertained ourselves.  I had my I.V. started a few hours later.  I was given medicine to soften my cervix.  I became anxious about the procedure.  Paul was wonderful and reassuring.  He told me everything would be ok.  My doctor came in and talked with us and answered questions and gave us comfort.  They took me back at about 3:45pm.  When they wheeled me into the operating room, the male nurse who had been helping us prepare during the afternoon, put a mask over my mouth and nose and told me to breath deeply and that it would put me to sleep.  Tears rolled down my cheeks as I tried to breath evenly, not allowing my tears to turn into sobs.  

The next thing I knew I was slowly blinking my eyes to wake up.  I felt like I was waking up from a wonderful afternoon nap.  The kind that you just feel so relaxed, so calm, and so comfortable.  And then I slowly remembered where I was, what had happened, and what I had lost.  The nurse watching over me took out the breathing tube from my throat and asked me if I was ok.  She asked if I was in physical pain, and I gently shook my head no.  No physical pain.  And then tears started to form and roll down my cheeks.  Moments later my doctor came to my side and asked if I was in pain.  Again, I gently shook my head.  But my tears wouldn't stop.  I was still coming out of the anesthesia, so it was all a little blurry and hard to remember.  But I remember his caring face and worried expression.  He told me that he would go let Paul know I was awake and that he would meet me in the next recovery room.  When he talked to Paul, he let him know that emotionally I was in a lot of pain.  When they wheeled me back into the curtained room, I was in there for just a few minutes by myself where I continued to cry.  When Paul walked in he came straight to my bed, held me and let me once again sob and release all the hurt I felt.  I cried for 10 minutes straight as Paul continued to comfort me.  

In the following 24 hours, I thought about what it was exactly that was so emotionally painful after I had woken up after the procedure.  What was so different about it then just knowing I had had a miscarriage?  I have concluded this: For the two days that I was aware of my miscarriage, I knew that I was carrying with me a little tiny forming baby who had passed away.  The miscarry was with me physically.  I mourned the loss of a baby and I had the physical reminder of that in my tummy.  I would touch my tummy, knowing that there was no heartbeat and feeling the sadness of that.  When I woke up after the D&C, I mourned the loss that physically wasn't there anymore.  I mourned the fact of the finality of the miscarry.  I so dearly mourned the emptiness and loneliness I felt from the miscarry being removed from my body.  It made it so clearly permanent. Paul and I talked for a while.  We laughed and we cried. We finally left the hospital at 7pm.

The next day we kept ourselves mindlessly busy with time consuming things.  Facebook, email, computer games, cleaning, etc.  Nothing too important.  But enough to make us feel a little numb.  Numb enough to not think too much on the previous day.  To not have to think about the email that I didn't get from babycenter the previous day, happily announcing my 13th week of pregnancy.  I had the smarts enough to cancel it before I would receive it.  Later that evening, my sister brought over dinner.  We were so thankful for that act of service of love.  When she left, we walked into the kitchen to bless the food so we could eat.  I started to say the blessing and couldn't finish because I started crying.  Paul finished the prayer while he held me.  We talked about how easy it was to numb ourselves from having to think about the miscarriage.  And when my sister came by, it pulled us back into reality and reminded us of why she was bringing dinner.  We are still hurting from this miscarriage, yet we truly know that Heavenly Father has his reasons for why things happen.  We do not doubt that all will work out for the best, and we continue to hope for when we will be able to bring the next baby into our family.  We really do believe that everything has a purpose and that we are being shaped and molded into the people God needs us to be.  Heavenly Father teaches us in many ways.  He knows how to help us become more humble, more Christ-like, and more teachable.  When we experience sorrow in our lives, it teaches us how to be more charitable towards others and allows us to feel empathy and compassion.  How wise and just Heavenly Father is.  How tender he is that he lets us all experience joy and happiness while also teaching us with trials and hard times.  We continue to thank Him for all that we have, for our beautiful and wonderful baby Conner, and for each other.  What an amazing life we 3 have with each other.