Day 5 of 100 Days of Grief
"We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey."
Today I got out the to do list. I was making my way through it, keeping busy. While running I was watching a show and a certain song just sent me reeling. It wasn't even about miscarriage or anything related but the feeling of the song just triggered the sadness in me and I cried through the rest of my running. It seems like each day is getting a bit easier but I still get caught off guard by the enormity of the emotions. It's like each day I get a reminder that my baby did die and it's like I am experiencing hearing those words, "there is no heartbeat" all over again. I think during the rest of the day I can make it through the day pretending like it was all a bad dream. But then something reminds me that wave of grief covers me.
Today I think I'm prepared to write about yesterdays prompt. I'm going to combine it with today's prompt. Today's prompt is all about embracing the pain of the loss. I think writing about it will bring up those feelings. In the book it talks about how embracing pain sounds counterintuitive but by feeling the pain you can reconcile and integrate your loss. The author say's "you must feel it to heal it." So here goes.
Yesterday's prompt is: Tell someone about your miscarriage today.
Today's prompt is: Dedicate 15 minutes right now to thinking about and feeling your loss.
I have to kind of back up a a bit to let you know what pregnancy is like for me to lead up to hearing those words that still haunt me. My pregnancies are pretty horrific. At least for me they are. Most of the times the way I find out I'm pregnant it's because I'm sick. Not just sick but violently sick. Pretty much from the moment I'm pregnant.
I remember going into my OB's office for a viability ultrasound. Can I tell you how much I hate those words. Viability ultrasound. This was right after I found I was pregnant. I didn't know how far along I was because I stopped tracking everything. Nick and I were told we couldn't get pregnant without medical help. I went into the office sick and shaking. I was so scared to go into that ultrasound and find that I was going to lose this baby. I remember laying down on the table shaking because I was so scared. The ultrasound technician thought I was cold but it wasn't the temperature.
On that first ultrasound they found a "gestational sack" and determined that I was 4 weeks along. She asked why I was holding a puke bag and I told her I was sick. I'm pretty sure she was skeptical I was already sick. She told me we'd have to do another ultrasound in two weeks to actually call this pregnancy viable. During those two weeks I got sicker.
I went back this time with Nick by my side. By this point I couldn't keep food or water down. I went in and she found the little heartbeat. I saw it on the monitor. The small flicker of a heart. I'm pretty sure I cried. The sweet technician printed out a picture of our baby which looks like a ring in an empty space. I thought it was silly she was giving me a picture considering you really couldn't tell it looked like a baby but now I'm so grateful she did because this is the only picture of my baby that I have.
From that time the sickness got worse. I believe it was the next week I went into my general doctor because I was delirious and had all the signs of severe dehydration. He hooked me up to an IV and gave me two bags. He also helped us set up home healthcare to where I would get IV's in my own home. This was a huge blessing. With Henry I didn't receive any help because my OB didn't believe me how sick I was. With Hannah I had to have a friend drive me to the hospital every other day to get the IV's.
Two days later I was back at the doctors office getting hydration again. The next week they came with all the supplies for my IV's and the nurse came to place my IV port. My veins are terrible on good days and because I couldn't keep water down my veins were collapsed. The poor nurse tried four different times to get the port in and called it quits. She called another nurse to come out that night and luckily that lady was able to place it after two tries.
From that time on I gave myself hydration every other day. The first time Nick hooked me up we had a pretty big scare. The doctor also gave me vitamins to put in the water because I wasn't getting anything from food. Nick opened up the valves to let the hydration start and within five minutes my heart was racing and I was having trouble breathing. I told Nick something was wrong and I couldn't breath. He called 911 and the paramedics came. By the time they got there my heart had slowed but my I was still struggling breathing. After they checked everything they said everything looked good and they thought it was a panic attack. I've had anxiety all my life and have had multiple panic attacks and I knew that this was different. But they left and Nick and I tried to recover from the scare.
The second time we did an IV it happened again but I made Nick wait for 5 minutes. It seemed worse this time but again the racing heart stopped and I was able to calm my breathing. The next time we had a nurse come out and we determined that I was having an allergic reaction to the vitamins. I was also having an allergic reaction to all the tape and plastic taped to my sick so my arms were covered with hives and bruises from the nurses trying to find veins.
My IV ports only lasted maybe 3-4 days so we'd have to call out a nurse to come and place another port in a different vein. They tried my hands, my wrists, my lower arms, my upper arms. They tried everywhere. It usually would take 2-4 times to get a vein that would actually work.
Night times were the worst. It didn't matter if I have food in my stomach or not. I'd spend most of the time violently throwing up. I remember sitting on the cold bathroom floor with Nick holding me while sobbing between wretching because my muscles hurt so bad from throwing up. I think most nights Nick and I would get between 2-3 hours of sleep. That was usually in 10-15 minutes stints too.
Nick literally had to do everything for me. He helped me to the bathroom. He would hold me up while I showered. Showering was the worst. It always made me throw up. I still hate getting into the shower scared that I'll start throwing up. He tried to find food I could eat. He'd go to the store and buy small things of everything hoping it was something I could keep down. Once we found something I could keep down I'd eat it as long as I could until I'd start throwing that up and then we'd start all over again. He took the kids to school, he fed them, he tried to keep them entertained all while trying to work an 8 hour job. Luckily he worked from home but I'm not sure how he got anything done.
I was told before pregnancy that zofran wasn't safe for pregnancy anymore. This helped me with Henry and Hannah so trying to survive without it was pretty rough. The nurses and the doctor decided that giving it to me was worth the risk of birth defects. That decision still haunts me. Did that medicine kill my baby? I don't know. I took the zofran and it helped a little but I still couldn't keep much down. I joked with my sister that I was down to my goal weight. She jokingly asked how I did it. I told her you eat 10 cheerios for breakfast, a popsicle for lunch and vomit the rest of the night. That wasn't a joke though. That's really all I was able to eat each day if I was having a good day.
There were days I would sob into Nick that I couldn't do it anymore. That I couldn't be pregnant anymore. It was too hard. Another thing that haunts me. If I had been stronger and not wished for that would my baby be alive? Did God grant my wish of not wanting to be pregnant? I wish I could take back those words.
There was one Sunday that my IV port went bad again. We called the nurse and she came out that night. She tried 4 different times and told us that she was the nurse they sent when people couldn't find veins that worked. She was the best and she couldn't get one in. She told me I needed to call the doctor get a picc line put in. I was scared.
I went into the doctor the next day to ask for a picc line. He told me that the risk was too great for pregnant women to get a blood clot and that he wouldn't allow me to have a picc line. He said I would need to start going to the hospital each time I needed a new port. I told him how I had intense cravings for things. There were times I would ask Nick for chips just to lick the salt off of them. I couldn't keep the chip down but the salt tasted like the best thing in the world. This concerned him because he figured I was having some pretty bad deficiencies. He ordered a bunch of labs and talked with another lady to start me on nutrition services or something like that. At that point I had lost 25 pounds in 3 weeks.
I was so grateful that he was so willing to listen to me and help me. My other OB's never believed me but Dr. C. listened and was doing his best to help me. He told me that I was the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum he'd ever seen. With that he said, "let's get an ultrasound." You could tell he was excited to help me find some joy in this hard experience. I was pretty excited too. If I could just hear the heart beat it would make all the pain and sickness worth it.
I got up on the table and moved the wand around on my pelvis. Since my first miscarriage I've been scared of ultrasounds. So I turned my head to the side. I didn't want to see anything until I heard the sound of the heartbeat. The room was silent. The doctor kept moving the wand around. It was silent for an eternity. I heard him say, "I'm a little concerned." I knew. I think when I went in that day I knew something wasn't right. I turned my head to look and there on the screen was my baby. She had tiny toes and fingers. But she wasn't moving. He said, "I can't find the heartbeat and the baby is measuring only at 9 weeks and you're 11 weeks." He said that the machine was old though and so we could either wait a couple weeks or go to the hospital. I told him I needed to know and he scheduled the appointment for the ultrasound at the hospital.
We dropped the kids off at a friends and Nick and I headed to the hospital. In my head I kept chanting, "have hope, have hope, have hope". Over and over again. Their machine was old, maybe they didn't calculate the birth date right initially, maybe she was just sleeping. I tried to come up with all the reason why she was still alive. She had to be.
I remember sitting down after registration in front of the elevators that lead to labor and delivery. I knew that I would never be going up those elevators. Tears ran down my face. Have hope. Have hope. Have hope. Nick came in from parking the car and they called my name. The technician asked why we were there and I told him we couldn't find the heart beat at my doctors off. He asked if the machine was old and I said yes. I laid down on the table and he started the whole process over again. Silence. Absolute silence. No thump of a heartbeat. No reassurance that my baby was alive. Then, "there is no heartbeat." My heart sunk. I tried holding it together asking him what I did next. Do I stay there, do I go home. He said to go home and my doctor would call. I pulled down my shirt and sat up and stood up to go. Once I was outside the door it all fell apart. I crumpled to the ground devastated. My baby was dead. Sobs echoed down the halls. People were talking to me be but I couldn't hear them.
Nick took me back to the ultrasound room and I remember sobbing over and over again "WHY?!" I was sick. They always told me if I was sick it was good. I was sick and my baby died. "WHY?! WHY? WHY?!" Nick stood up and we walked down the halls to go home. He drove home and I stared into the darkness. Unable to comprehend what was happening. We picked up the kids and took them home where we told them that their baby had died.
They didn't understand. Why did their baby die? I don't know. I don't know. Nick answered most of their questions as tears ran down my face. I was numb. I couldn't do it. The kids went to bed and I tried to lay down by Nick but the sickness overwhelmed me. I was still sick. It was a cruel joke. I was still sick and my baby was dead. Nick fell asleep and I went out on the couch and sat in silence. I was surrounded by silence. No heartbeat. Silence.
The next day we had to talk about what was next. I had googled it. There were three ways to do it. To remove my dead baby. The first was to wait and let it happen naturally. They said it could take weeks. The second was to take a pill that made your body expel everything. The third was to have a D&C. It's a surgery where they basically scoop everything out. I couldn't do a D&C. I couldn't put even more of a financial burden on us with the cost of a surgery. I didn't think I could wait. Wait for my body to finally realize my baby was dead. The only thing left was to take a pill. And yet I didn't think I could do that either. My baby had toes and fingers. Would I see them? I would I see my baby? I think I would mentally break if I had to see her in that way.
I had some good friends who helped me choose to have a D&C. I knew that it would put more strain on my family but I really felt like if I tried to do it the other way I would break into a million pieces. I didn't want to see her. I couldn't see her dead. I couldn't do it. I needed to find a doctor to do the procedure. The next day I got up and called around to find a doctor. I found one that could get me in two days later. He was good and got me into surgery as quick as he could schedule it with the surgical center. I was terrified that my body would start the process before then and I would have to do it alone at home.
Everything went well he said. Everything went well. My body was empty. I was still sick. But I had no baby. Everything went well.
Everything else has been a blur of numbness and heartache that doesn't ever fade. Here I am facing it and feeling it. My baby died. We won't have anymore babies. My body can't handle it and I can't put my family through it again. And I'm terrified because my body keeps killing these babies. So here I am trying to face the pain and feel it and accept that I won't get that joy of holding my newborn baby.
My soul is burning with pain each day. It gets easier right? How can it? I've lost my baby.