*WARNING: Parts of this post may be graphic*
Exactly a week ago, I hit a sad anniversary. I planned on writing this post then but I just couldn’t. That day was the 2 year anniversary of the delivery of the last baby I lost. It was my latest loss and the only one that required delivery. I’ve never publicly shared the story so I’m hoping maybe doing that will help with the healing,
I’ll spare most of the details leading up to this. The short background is I had 2 losses in between my girls. Both of those were fairly early. Just 6 months before the loss I’m about to tell you about, I had another loss, later than the other 2, that required a D&C. I had been tested after the first 2 losses and they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. They tested the baby after the D&C and couldn’t find anything wrong with her (yes, it was a girl) either. The whole thing was puzzling since I did have 2 healthy children.
When I found out around Mother’s Day in 2009 that I was pregnant again, I was thrilled and anxious. We had moved to FL just 3 months before and we didn’t know many people nor did I have a doctor. So I found a practice that I felt comfortable with. I had all my records so they were aware of my history. My doctor ordered an early ultrasound to check for a heartbeat which they found right away. After that, we started to hit other milestones. I got past the first trimester. And then I had my Nuchal translucency test and genetic testing. All of that was fine but I was still nervous after that test because my previous loss had happened RIGHT after that test. So when the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat at my next appointment, I panicked. They scheduled me for an ultrasound the following week (our insurance sucked…it wouldn’t allow me to have an ultrasound in the office…I had to go to the hospital downtown).
The day of the ultrasound I was just about 15 1/2 weeks. I was honestly surprised when the tech said everything looked fine. The baby was measuring ahead and looked great. My placenta was anterior (attached to the front) so that was likely the reason the Doppler hadn’t picked up the heartbeat. I started to feel much better. I started to believe everything would be OK. We started to tell people and we picked out names. It started to seem real.
So when the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat again at my next appointment, I wasn’t worried. I was measuring on target and my BIG ultrasound was scheduled soon so I decided to just wait. I was so convinced everything was OK.
Only a few days later, on a Sunday, I got up to go to the bathroom and saw blood when I wiped. My blood ran cold. I told B and then called the doctor’s office. They told me to go to the triage area of the hospital. I called my mom to tell her what was going on and then I called a friend (the only friend we really had then) to come and watch the girls. L was old enough to know I was having a baby so we explained we were going to check on the baby.
We got to the hospital and waited in the triage waiting room for what seemed like forever. Then, they took us back to a room. A nurse told me my doctor was on call upstairs and that he had told her to check for a heartbeat using the Doppler. If she found it I could go home. If not, I would have an ultrasound. I wasn’t really thrilled with the going home part because I WAS bleeding and I wanted to know WHY…heartbeat or not. But, of course she couldn’t find the heartbeat so they sent me for an ultrasound which confirmed the worst. I think I just started to cry and ask “Why.” I didn’t get it…things had been going so well. And in the middle of it all, I knew this was it. My dreams of having a third child had just been crushed. I couldn’t go through it again. Little did I know, it would get worse.
I went back to the little room I had been in before and the nurse told me my doctor would be down soon. When he came in he confirmed what the ultrasound had showed. He also said that the baby had passed away some days ago because it had already shrunk to the size of a 14 week fetus. It likely passed away shortly after my last ultrasound. Then he said something neither B or I expected…he told me I would have to deliver. He did a quick exam to confirm that and said that because of how far along I was, bones had already formed and a D&C would be too dangerous. They called up to L&D to see when they could admit me. They were told to send me back around 7 that evening. My doctor told me to go home, relax and be with my kids before I came back.
We picked up food from Wendy’s on the way home. My friend knew what was going on but we had to tell L. God, that was hard. She was sad but we let her have her space and just waited for her to ask questions.
The next thing to tackle was how we were going to handle this. L was starting Kindergarten the following week and had KinderCamp the next DAY. We knew I would still be in the hospital then and we didn’t want to disrupt her life any more than necessary. So, it was decided my friend would take me to the hospital that night and get me settled and Brian and the girls would come get me when it was over. I know the idea of me being alone probably sounds weird but in the end, I think it was the right thing to do for a variety of reasons.
The rest of the day we called family, packed me a bag and I had a mojito. I figured, why the fuck not??? I just sort of felt…numb. It almost seemed like a dream. And then my friend came to get me and I knew it was ALL too real.
I got to the hospital at around 7:15 and my friend stayed with me until 10. It took until 11 to get my IV hooked up (saline and Dilaudid…the GOOD stuff!). They also took a ton of blood too to rule out certain infections (they also did a drug test, I would find out later). They asked a lot of questions about afterward…would we have a funeral (no), did I want them to take care of the baby (yes), did I want to see the baby (no), did I want a memory box (no) and did I want a pathology done…HELL YES!
So at 11 they gave me my first dose of Cytotec. I hung out a while and the nurse had told me they had Ativan on order for me so I eventually asked for that. I had my laptop and some magazines so I read for a while. I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the computer and go online. I finally went to sleep at around 1 and “slept” if you can call it that, until 5 when they gave me the second dose of Cytotec. I had some bad cramping at around 6:30 so I hit the pain pump and it was gone in seconds. I got up at 7 and went pee and debated ordering breakfast since I knew once I delivered, no food until the placenta came and they were sure a D&C wasn’t needed. I opted for sleep. Around 8, I got up to go to the bathroom again and had some more bad cramping. Hit the pain pump again and was going to order breakfast. 5 minutes later my water broke. I called the nurses and they got stuff changed and put me into a new gown and as I sat up to get comfortable, I felt a plop. I said Uhhh, and they looked and that was it….there it was. It was about 8:20. They were very careful to wrap it in a towel since they knew I didn’t want to see it. I did ask one nurse if they would be able to tell what it was and she said they might so she would look for me. She came back and told me it looked like a little boy (it turns out it wasn’t…it was a girl). I was exactly 18 weeks.
At that point, they hooked me up to the pitocin for the placenta. About an hour later she checked and kind of tugged on the cord remains and asked if I could push so I did and plop, out came the placenta…all of it she was pretty sure. So then I just had to wait for the doc to check to make sure it was all gone and then I was able to EAT! B and the girls came to get me around 1 and I was home before 2 and I went right to bed.
It was a rough couple of days after that. B was really upset he hadn’t been with me but I explained to him it was for the best. At my follow up visit, we learned that once again, they could find no reason for the loss which further cemented the idea that we were done. It was time to move on.
It still amazes me the things people say after something like this happens. Things like “it was for the best,” “obviously something wasn’t right,” and my favorite, “Be thankful for the 2 healthy girls you DO have.”? What the FUCK does that even mean? That because I HAVE 2 healthy kids I don’t get the mourn the 4 I lost…that they don’t count??? All the babies I lost were STILL my babies no matter HOW long they were with me. And our last little angel was with me for 18 weeks. She was STILL our baby girl. Why don’t people understand that?