Want to catch up? Read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
First off I want to say that I really didn't intend for my story to be so long. I was having a moment the other day and wanted to tell my story in one blog post with more detail than I had given previously. I started to write. And write. And write. Next thing I knew, my story was pages and pages long. Writing it out has been therapeutic for me, but it has also reminded me of how horrific the whole experience was. I needed to re-live it. I needed to be reminded. I'm not going to heal emotionally if I bury all those details and feelings deep down. Bringing them out is allowing me to process them with a fresh perspective. And I'm glad I'm getting everything out of my head while I still remember. I never want to forget my baby girl.
I left off the night prior to my surgery, and I had taken my prescribed doses of Cytotec that was causing my body to go into labor. I was experiencing extreme pain and bleeding so I called the doctor first thing in the morning. He told me what I was feeling was normal (oh, great) but that I could take painkillers with a small sip of water (yay for narcotics) through-out the day. And you bet I did. I packed a mini over-night bag in the morning and headed to my parents house to spend the day with my mom. I planned on sleeping over after the procedure. Anytime I have a medical procedure (including my c-section), I'll stay at my parents house for a few days. My mom was a registered nurse for many years and having her around makes me feel so much better.
At my parents house, I laid down all day while fasting and going through painful contractions and bleeding. Every time I went to the bathroom and wiped my heart sunk a bit. What if they made a mistake? What if my baby was still alive and I was killing it? As much as I wanted the D&C procedure over, there was a part of me that yearned to keep my baby inside of me. When the baby was still with me, it wasn't over and it kept my peaceful. And seeing all that blood made things much more real.
I tried to numb my mind from what was happening and lose myself in mindless television. I think the fasting all day really took my mind off of what was happening - I was starving and super thirsty! I tried focusing on my starvation and even teased myself by watching Food Network. Pretty soon all I could think about was food. Glorious mashed potatoes with gravy, roasted chicken, biscuits - I told my Momma to have it ready for me when I returned home that night. I wanted a home cooked meal!
Around 5pm, Andy returned home from work and we started to prep for the hospital. I had to be there by 6pm and I wanted to leave at 5:30pm. We arrived at the hospital on time, and headed over to Admitting. At admissions, I had to sign a bunch of forms that say "Missed Abortion" all over them, as well as endure a million questions about "how far along I was," etc. And then we had to pay for the procedure. Yes it was covered by insurance, but my out of pocket portion was 25% of the procedure which was still well over $1,000. It's one thing to prepare financially for the costs associated with actually HAVING a child, it's another to fork over a lot of money just to leave without our baby. It made me sick actually.
After checking in, I was led to the surgical prep room. Routine vitals were taken and I put my gown on. I was asked a million questions a 2nd time about my surgery, due date, etc and then the nurse tried to start an IV. This is where it gets REALLY fun (as if it wasn't a blast already). I'm a difficult stick when it comes to drawing blood or starting IV's. I was hospitalized for 10 days once with a really crazy meningitis like virus and I learned then that it's VERY difficult to get blood or start an IV in me. It's also much more difficult to get blood or start an IV from someone who has not had anything to eat or drink all day. When you are nourished your veins open and your blood flows. My nurse spent about 15 minutes trying to get my IV going. She stuck me in both arms several times and then went for my wrist and hands with no luck. Minutes later the lab tech shows up to get blood because my routine blood work didn't specifically test for something that they require prior to surgery. The tech also joined in the fun of trying to get a needle in a vein - and it wasn't working. I'm still bleeding and cramping heavily, and now I have two nurses poking me with needles - and it hurt. I started to cry from the pain. And they continued poking me with needles. Eventually my nurse got an IV in a small vein on my hand, but it was too small to take blood. She started the IV and within minutes it blew. Ugh! They started to call the ER doc's to tell them they couldn't get an IV or blood. I asked what would happen if they couldn't get my IV going or get blood. She said that never happens. They will eventually put an IV anywhere there is a big vein. They always find a way. I cringed and pictured an IV coming from my forehead. Finally another nurse came around to give it a go. She found a deep vein in my arm and stuck me, it hurt like hell but they were in - hallelujah!
A few minutes later the anesthesiologist up. Um, can I just say he looked over 90? Serial. I was terrified. He went to shake my hand and his own hand was trembling. This is the guy that is responsible for my life?? What if he puts me too far under? What if, what if, what if? Could I ask for someone a bit younger? I felt bad saying anything, but then again this is my life! I would hate to die because I felt bad insulting someone. But of course I did not. And I put my life in the hands of this elderly man who couldn't keep his hand steady.
I was wheeled in to the surgical room and met my surgery nurse. She was super sweet - blond, bubbly, and cheery. I had to ask her what I should do about my underwear and giant pad I was wearing. I couldn't take it off before because I was gushing blood, and now that I'm in surgery they needed to be off. She helped me remove them. I'm a pretty modest person. And I no longer could be. I had to surrender my body to my doctor and nurses, and my 90 year-old anesthesiologist. And I cried. Blondie nurse inserted my catheter. I have no idea had they do that, and I don't want to know. Then I was introduced to the doctor assisting my doctor. He looked about 30 and was drop-dead gorgeous. I wanted the very old man to put me so far under that I wouldn't wake. And that's the last I remember.
I woke up very roughly. I couldn't open my eyes and my throat burned but I could hear muffled voices around me. I kept trying to open my eyes. It felt like I was coming out of a deep coma. I was able to open one eye but it stung so I closed it. My mouth was on FIRE and had never felt so dry in my life. They had a tube in my throat, and because your mouth is open for an hour or so, it is completely dry. The weirdest feeling ever. I cried for water and kept trying to open my eyes. No, they couldn't give me water, they said, because they didn't want me to vomit. HELP I CAN'T BREATHE BECAUSE MY MOUTH IS SO DRY, I'M DYING. NEED WATER. And they finally did. Andy came in just a second later and he was terrified. My face was completely white, I couldn't open my eyes and I could barely speak. Because I had bleed more than expected during surgery my doctor prescribed a blood clotting medication that would also help my uterus contract back to it's normal size faster - and they sent Andy off to fill the script before I could even talk to him.
After several glasses of water, and several injections of delicious pain medication I was alert. And I had to pee very, very bad. One of the nurses walked to me to the bathroom and sat me down. And I couldn't pee. I tried so hard. I sat there for 20 minutes. I turned the water on, everything. I couldn't go. The nurse led me back to my bed and told me that I wasn't allowed to leave until I peed. Great.
Finally Andy returned and he saw me giggling and smiling while I was making my way to the bathroom a second time. I started speed walking because I really felt like I had to pee. The nurses laughed and told me I shouldn't be walking so fast yet. Andy said I was a complete 180 of how he had left me 30 minutes earlier. He was relieved to see color on my face and a smile. But back in the bathroom I still couldn't pee and begged for them to let me go home. So they did after my doctor allowed it.
Once home I ate my chicken dinner and mashed potatoes and headed for bed. But before I tried to pee again, nada. And then again, nada. Around 2am I started to get freaked out. They told me if I didn't go by midnight I had to come back to the ER right away. I decided I wasn't leaving the bathroom until I peed. I sat for what seemed like forever, but I eventually did and it hurt. It turns out the catheter had done same damage "down there." But within a few days I was fine.
The entire recovery took a few days - I always recover quickly from most medical procedures. The bleeding subsided within 2 weeks, and my regular period returned within 6 weeks. I've recovered physically but emotionally the scars are still there. We opted for genetic testing of the fetus and were told it could take up to a month. We didn't know the sex of our baby at this point. I was told the baby probably had a chromosomal abnormality and that this was the leading cause of miscarriage. I wanted to know. Another 6 weeks later and I had my answer. The baby was 46xx. No missing chromosomes or abnormalities that the testing revealed. According to the report, the baby girl was a perfectly formed fetus of her age. I still have no answers to why my baby girls heart stopped beating and this terrifies me.
The last part (I promise), coming soon. Emotional healing, life after miscarriage, and how some people react inappropriately.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Want to catch up? Read Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.