Friday, February 10, 2017

Some things are so taboo...

Today, I read a post on social media about another mama having a miscarriage and not knowing what to do. Her doctor gave her options and she was asking for help from anyone that had been in her situation.

While, I don't talk about it often, I've also experienced a miscarriage. When Bella was nine months old, we got pregnant again. Eight short weeks later, we went in for our first ultrasound and pregnancy staging. My mom was there and my husband. My mom was videoing the whole thing because she was so excited. I remember not seeing the little blip of the heartbeat on the monitor. I remember telling my mom to turn off the recording. I'm pretty sure I even said some profanities. I remember being taken to a small office to meet with my OB and her telling Ryan and I our options.

I remember sitting in that room in shock. While we had not "planned" that pregnancy, we were both excited. It was ours together. The joy of being pregnant was suddenly taken and the shock and sadness overcame me. There was nothing I could do to bring it back. The baby should have had a heart beat by then... but instead I was staring at an empty sac on a screen. The hopes for this baby were taken before I could even swallow the lump that sat in my throat.

Not only would I go through the stages of grief, my body would also have to experience this loss. It wasn't just over because the screen said so. My body had to do it's thing to absorb or expel what would have been our child. I was initially in denial that the heart beat wouldn't start.... as expected.

We spoke of our choices. I could let things happen naturally, have Cytotec inserted vaginally or have a D & C. Cytotec is a drug that would speed the process. A D&C meant a surgical procedure to have the tissue cleaned out. Being the hippie mama that I was, I wanted to do what was the easiest for my body and the least amount of stress. I also wanted to just take some time to soak in what was happening. I was still nursing Bella and didn't intend to quit. Under the guidance of our doctor, I opted initially to wait a few days to see what my body would do.

At follow up, nothing had happened. There was still no heart beat. No tissue had been expelled, instead my hormones and body still thought I was pregnant. We were literally at a stand still. I was shocked and in disbelief. What was wrong with my body that it wasn't doing anything! I was angry. I was angry that I was going through this. I was angry that I was sad. I was angry that my body wasn't working. After speaking again with my OB, we decided to Cytotec. After round one, nothing happened still. I bled a lot. Like couldn't leave the toilet a lot. Once again, at follow up, it was confirmed that the tissue was still there. The cramps were horrible. I was nauseous. I sat on the toilet, bleeding, as I held a trash can waiting to puke.

We opted for a second round of Cytotec "Sometimes the first one just gets things going and the second dose is what really gets the tissue to expel". Okay I thought, well I'm already going through hell so why not speed this whole thing up. I wanted to be over. I begged and pleaded with God, with my body, with any higher power that I thought might listen. Please just let my body work! In the meantime, I was still nursing Bella and trying drink as much as I could to produce the milk that her little body needed. She was the saving grace. She needed me and I needed to be needed. However, the second round was worse. The bleeding and nausea increased. The pain and cramping increased. I cried in the wee hours of the morning because I was so uncomfortable and my body felt like it was against me.

Back to the doctor a couple of days later and still nothing. It was confirmed that all the bleeding wasn't causing the tissue to expel. What the actual hell! I was even more angry. I remember wanting to punch something. Why did my body hate me? I just wanted to move passed the part of physical pain. I wanted to move forward with the emotional part and how could I with all of this still happening? At this point, I opted for the D&C. The part that gets me though is it is listed on your chart as an abortion. It pissed me off. I was NOT aborting my baby, I wasn't choosing for this to happen to me or to our family. Why must we as a society label EVERYTHING?! Whatever, I'd explain it when people read my chart if I must. I didn't want to be a stereotype of someone who made this decision... but society didn't care. That's a whole different post in itself! So I opted for the D&C and scheduled asap. 

The day came for the surgery. It was once again confirmed via internal ultrasound that the tissue was still there and no progress had been made. I was taken for surgery. I remember nursing Bella moments before then handing her off to Ryan. I remember waking up to a nurse asking me how I felt. I remember a volunteer handing me a little metal pin that had two foot prints on it, it had a little saying that said something about "we're sorry about your loss".  I remember thinking that was something that I would carry with me forever, I still have it. It sits hidden in a special spot. I remember being wheeled out of recovery and meeting Ryan and Bella. 

The physical journey had ended but the emotional journey had just begun. How do you deal with the loss of someone that you never even met but just loved just the same? You just do... you find your own way. I remember journaling. I remember wondering what the future of our family held, did we start trying for another baby soon, did we wait, what was the right thing to do? Looking back, there was no "right" choice... or wrong choice for that matter. I remember us making the decision to try again and getting pregnant shortly after. I remember the fear of possibly losing another baby. I remember trying not to emotionally attach and not to think about the future... until the heart beat was confirmed. 

Six and a half years later, here we sit. With three beautiful, healthy, spunky children. Our family is complete. Do I still think about that baby we lost? Yes, from time to time it comes up. I'm reminded often that Grayson is our rainbow baby, the one that came after our miscarriage. I'm also reminded the he saved my soul when my dad passed away and that our lives would be different had all of that not happened. I wear a necklace around my neck with a charm with each child's name... and a heart. The heart is the symbol of the baby we lost and the baby I loved. The others are a symbol of our life, the one we live, the one we love.

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