Friday, October 10, 2014

Where to Begin

So much has happened since I posted a week ago. I did have my follow up appointment Friday where the obvious was confirmed - a missed miscarriage at 14 weeks, baby measuring 11 weeks. I was scheduled for a D&C Monday morning in the Ontario Kaiser Hospital and was sent home to wait out the weekend.

During the weekend I struggled to figure out my emotions. Besides the tears I shed Thursday after first finding out, I felt kind of normal and I felt bad about that. Shouldn't I be devastated? What kind of mother was I? I looked up some missed miscarriage stories online and found out that many women felt similar in the interim between finding out the baby was dead and having the D&C. It's a numb, limbo feeling. You're pregnant, but not pregnant. You're a we, but at the same time just a me. Even though your mind knows, your heart is still coming to grips. I guess you could call it denial. I did have some anger. I felt a bit annoyed that I had been sick for so long for nothing. That after already having a miscarriage I was having another one. Most of my feelings were anxiousness for the D&C. I just wanted to get it over with and move on and deal with the emotional side of things.

Beside the small amount of spotting Wednesday, nothing else had happened to indicate my body had any idea what was going on. I figured since my body hadn't recognized the fetal demise for 3 weeks I was pretty safe. What was 3 more days? Saturday night, after waking up in the middle of the night to pee, I saw some brown spotting. My first thought was...uh oh my body just might be catching on. But I ignored it because I still had no cramps and everything seemed fine. More googling convinced me I could have several days of brown spotting before things really got going. So I didn't worry and just prayed that I would make it to Monday morning. As nervous as I was for the D&C, the thought of doing it naturally was worse. I did not want to do it naturally.

Sunday passed uneventfully and I was feeling pretty confident I would make it the few hours left until Monday. At bedtime I started feeling little tight and twisty contractions. They were so mild I would compare them to late term braxton hicks. I still wasn't worried so I fell asleep with a small warning to Mark that I was having small contractions. Around midnight I woke up with much worse contractions, but still no blood so I went out to the couch to watch a tv show to get my mind off the pain. It got worse over the next couple hours until it seemed to reach a pitch. I was in the middle of an intense contraction when I felt a pop and gush. I stood up quickly to avoid getting the couch wet and bloody and ran to the bathroom. Basically my water had broken and when I sat down over the toilet I felt something fall out of me. When I looked down I saw the baby hanging from the umbilical cord. It wasn't bloody or in the sack. It was a 3-4 inch, 11 week developed fetus! I don't know what can prepare you to see that. I started screaming for Mark hysterically. He came stumbling into the bathroom and was a bit disturbed at seeing the baby. I finally managed to detach it from the cord and just held it in a piece of toilet paper in my hand sobbing. Here was the grief I was waiting for. He was perfect! (I feel very strongly it was a boy so I'll just call it a "he"). He had two little eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, arms, fingers, legs, toes, a belly button, everything. I couldn't bear to just flush him down the toilet! I finally wrapped him in toilet paper and put him in a bag. I would later hand him over to a lab technician. I should receive the results within a month or so.

Little Baby Andreasen. He really wasn't this gray/green color. The light in the bathroom made the picture this color. I couldn't give him away to the hospital without taking a picture. He was not disgusting to me in any way. He was my baby and I wanted to remember him forever. 

Once that emotional outburst was over, my body decided it was going to go in to full blown miscarriage mode. The cramps came back with a bang. "Cramps" doesn't even do it justice. These were not cramps, these were contractions and they HURT! I started to gush blood and clots and tissue. I sat on the toilet for an hour or so just watching life drain out of me. Within an hour or so I started to feel light headed, weak, and dizzy. Next came the dry heaving. I don't know if it was from the dizziness or the blood loss or just the trauma my body was going through, but every 15-20 minutes I would have to move from sitting on the toilet to leaning over the toilet so I could throw up. My body was so weak at that point that I had to prop myself against the toilet, throw my arm over the toilet bowl and lean my head on my arm so I wouldn't plunge face first into the toilet. I was getting worried that I might be losing too much blood and there was no sign of it slowing down. I was still a few hours away from my scheduled appointment time and I just couldn't imagine waiting any longer. I called Kaiser and after listening to me for a few minutes they told me to hang up and call 911 and get to the nearest ER now! Mark assured me he could get me to the closest ER (which wasn't Kaiser) as fast as an ambulance and I agreed. He woke the kids up while I laid on the couch and called our amazing friends the Clowards. They woke up ready to have 2 extra kids come over at 5 am. (I will forever be grateful to all the people who took our kids during that day with no notice - the Clowards, the Horrocks, and Molly Fox. I was so thankful that Mark could be with me the whole time and I never had to worry about my kids!) Anyway, Mark basically carried me to the car because I could not walk on my own.

When we got to the ER they took me back immediately. And finally, after a few questions I got relief thanks the the beauty of morphine. Even through the morphine I could feel the contractions, but at least I didn't want to die. At this point I called my mom and told her everything that was going on. Using her mom intuition she got ready to come be with me and help me. She knew I would need it. My amazing cousin, Crista, who works for delta, put her on a flight using a buddy pass and got my mom here by 8 pm. I seriously can't begin to explain how much love I felt that day!

 Anyway, I continued to bleed very heavily and my vitals were becoming unstable. My blood pressure was alarmingly low, along with my oxygen saturation, and my resting heart rate was crazy high at about 120-130. A simple lift of my finger would send my machine alarms into a frenzy. To make an already long story slightly shorter I spent about 8 hours in the ER here in Apple Valley while they tried to figure our what to do with me. A pelvic exam showed that my cervix was still open and my bleeding refused to stop. My hemoglobin started to fall quickly. I went from a 13 to a 10 within a few hours. They finally decided that they needed to transfer me to a Kaiser hospital an hour away in Ontario, but I couldn't go on my own so they called for an ambulance. My vitals were too unstable and they wanted me to be monitored every second. And so I experienced my first ever (and hopefully last) ambulance ride.

Getting ready to be loaded into the ambulance. I took this picture because Tyler thought it was pretty cool I was going to ride in an ambulance.

At the hospital my hemoglobin continued to fall until it reached an 8.8. To put that in context, they won't do surgery if it's below 8 and at a 7 your organs are effected. So I was low...really low... and getting lower. They informed me that I would need a blood transfusion and a D&C that night to stop the bleeding and replace what I had lost. This all sounds really emergent and crazy, but really it was all done in a very calm, non emergency kind of way. I never felt that I was in trouble or that things were going too fast or out of control. I knew it was serious, but I wasn't scared for my life or anything.

I was soon rolled into pre-op and prepared for the D&C. I didn't know it, but for the procedure you are put under and intubated. That kind of terrified me and for the first time since that morning I started to cry and get scared. I was just so weak and tired - mentally, emotionally, and physically. Mark prayed with me and we knew my mom would be there soon so I calmed down and waited for them to come get me. The rest of the night was a blur, if not completely forgotten. I have a memory of being given "happy medicine" and then nothing until they put the mask on me in the operation room. There's nothing after that until I woke up in recovery. I was pretty loopy in recovery and Mark videotaped me saying weird things like "Did I pee my pants?" and "Do I have Ebola?" and "Mark, you have 4 eyes." Soon my mom arrived and was able to come sit with me as I came out of the fog. There had been a piece of tissue or placenta stuck in my uterus causing the hemorrhaging. The D&C removed that piece and everything else, effectively slowing my bleeding to almost nothing. During my surgery I received 2 units of blood. I had a slight reaction to it causing a low fever, which is really common so they just waited until my fever came down and my vitals stabilized and sent me home. They were impressed at my quick recovery after surgery and I was SOOOOO happy I didn't have to stay the night. After 18 hours in a hospital, an ambulance ride, blood transfusion, and surgery I got to go home.

Since then, thanks to my mom being here to help, I have been able to rest and recover. The first couple days I felt like I had been hit by a truck after running a marathon. Everything hurt, even my skin and hair. Today is the first day that I feel physically normal. Emotionally I've been all over the place. That night when I laid down in my own bed after everything that had happened I felt gratitude. It wasn't an emotion I was expecting. But I just cried tears of gratitude for the baby, for the doctors, for my family and friends and husband that had been with me through the whole day, and for my life! Had I lived in a different time I might not have survived. The sorrow has come since then. I'm grieving and mourning the loss of this baby. I miss him and I miss all that I had planned. But I feel like he is mine and will be mine forever!


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