It has been two weeks since we found out that our baby wasn’t going to join us earthside after all. I feel like I’ve had enough time to absorb what all went down, and while I’m not in any way done processing it, I really want to share more details on our hospital stay, everyone I encountered, and how that long day actually played out. I know this post won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and thats fine. I’m not offended if you read, or don’t read, or never ever read and have no idea what’s going on in our lives. This is still important to us. I want to remember the details.
My day began at my doctors office for my routine 16 week prenatal appointment. It was a good appointment, all things considered. I hadn’t brought the family, and we had taken a good chunk of time to discuss some important things. We had made a plan to better my sleep, and we had talked about some nervous feelings I was having. My doctor expected me to be somewhat anxious, thanks to my previous loss this year. When I was pregnant with Theo, I had no indication there was any problem, but the one hang up I had was that I couldn’t feel my bump. You’ve all been through this with me. When we found out he was gone, it was hard to shake off that I had been right, and that there was a problem. This time around, I was trying to ignore the tiny little issues, but one thing I was having trouble shaking off was that my hair never really stopped shedding. When you’re pregnant, certain hormones make it so your hair grows in super thick and lush and you don’t lose even close to as much as you would otherwise. And my hair just kept on shedding, making me worry about hormones and deficiencies. I was right the last time, so it was hard to see past it this time. You get it. We were able to talk through it though, and decided more likely I was incredibly stressed out (true) and was maybe to the point of losing my hair :/ Not an unbelievable explanation, unfortunately. When it came time to listen for the baby’s heartbeat, as you know, she wasn’t able to find it. After a long effort, she asked if she could do an internal check and see if she could judge the baby’s position in my body from that. I consented, and she quickly discovered that my uterus was tilted waaay far back, which would be an easy explanation for why we couldn’t find the baby, if it was tucked way far back behind my pubic bone. We agreed, though, for reassurance, we would call for an ultrasound in the next day or two. I left with almost no concern, fairly confident all was well.
I called my ultrasound place as soon as I was in my van and they got me an appointment for early that afternoon.
You may remember that Brady was sick that day. I went to Walmart right after my appointment to grab some meds and Gatorade before going home. Brady took a break once I was home and I got the kids lunch. I called my mom and told her what had happened, and she offered to join me at my ultrasound. I weighed my options and thought about asking her to go be at my house with the big kids while the little ones napped, so Brady could have a nap. But I selfishly agreed to have her along with me. I couldn’t imagine being alone if my scan suddenly did go wrong.
This turned out to be the best decision I could have made. My tech came out to the desk before she even knew I was there, and greeted me by name. We all went back together and she tilted the screen more towards her than to me, which isn’t common. It was very quiet in there. All too familiar. Now that I’ve been through enough of the sad, scary ultrasounds, I know a little bit more. When the color on the screen changed a certain way, I knew it was basically the last resort search for life. Life that wasn’t there. A very quick sweep over to each ovary and she put the wand back in its little cup holder. I could feel my heartbeat in my stomach, and I tried to ask as casually as possible, “Doesn’t look good, hey?” My poor tech could barely lift her head and meet my eyes. She apologized, but said that no, it wasn’t good. My mom and I started crying, and our tech passed over a box of Kleenex. I asked her how far along the baby was, and she told me 14-3. A full two weeks ago. And then she asked if she could hug me! I sat up and hugged her. She cried with us. She told me she felt like I was family, and she was so hoping for our family. She knew how badly we wanted this to work, having seen us through our loss in January. She gave us some pictures and told us to take our time. She stayed with us. I started to spout and speculate after a while. She stopped me and aaaaall on her own, she offered up that she believes that these little souls are with the Lord in heaven. Now that is a ballsy move for a health care provider, I’d say. Especially since she wasn’t even supposed to really tell us our baby had died. But I appreciated it SO MUCH, because somehow, I think she knew that we felt the same way. She was so warm and safe and loving, which is what we really needed in the moment. I love her.
She sent my mom and I directly back to the doctor, where I was supposed to get the official “news” and report and everything else. It was a bit frustrating because the radiologist called my doctor but the front desk didn’t get the memo, so I kind of had to push my way in and no one seemed to know why I was there or what I wanted. Thank goodness, after a while, Dr. Guselle came into our room and we had the big talk. She was pretty surprised, as neither of us were really concerned at all that morning at our appointment. We talked options, but she told me it wasn’t as safe to just go home and try to do it on my own based on how far along I was. She asked if I’d consent to a D&C, and honestly, guys, I didn’t even miss a beat before saying I would. At that point, I just wanted it done. I was SO hurt, and SO upset, and with my miscarriage in January, it had taken so long doing it at home, even with medication that was supposed to make it happen. I said yes, sure, do a D&C, I want to go home. I wanted to see my husband and my kids. There was a lot of back and forth around whether to do things that day or the next. I wanted to see Brady so badly, but he was sick. But he was also supposed to work the next day. But would he even be better enough to work tomorrow? Or to come to the hospital? There was so much unknown. Dr. Guselle called and came back with the news that today was preferable, and we agreed to go. She sent the radiologists report along with me, and the name of which doctor I was to see, with instructions to go through RUH emerg. So we went.
Just arriving in the ER was one of the worst parts of the whole thing for me. I walked up to the front desk and someone asked me what I was there for. I told her I was there for a D&C, and was supposed to see this particular doctor. She seemed puzzled, and asked me to repeat what I needed. “A D&C,” I said. She got a bit louder and repeated “Here? A D&C? You’re sure, a D&C??” It seems so small, but for me, in that moment, she may as well have shouted it through a bullhorn. I kept myself composed, but very firmly said yes, and that my doctor had sent me. Someone was suddenly beside her who clearly knew I was coming, and they had us sit and wait for a minute before someone much more sensitive and in the know registered me. I was put in a sketchy little alcove with a bed and told to put on a gown and wait. It was there that we met the woman who will now be my OB. She was so sweet and understanding, and didn’t rush me at all. She took a bunch of info from me, and read the report I had brought along. She then informed me that, unfortunately, the baby was too big for a D&C. She said there are hospitals that have all the right equipment to do a D&C at this point, or even later, but that Saskatoon does not. She said my only real option was to do what I did last time, but instead of taking pills and having the baby at home, alone, I would do it monitored in the hospital. I told her that it had taken so long last time, but she assured me that I’d get more doses of medication than I was given at home, and while it could take a couple of days, it shouldn’t take as long as it took last time. And really, it was my only safe option. So I agreed. Shortly after our meeting, I was sent to an area to basically wait for a bed to open up for me. It was a bit of a sketchy place that I lovingly referred to as a holding cell, but it worked. My mom and I were left alone for the most part, except for someone bringing me some warm blankets. They also let me eat, which I greatly appreciated. It had been a while and I was needing some strength. We lurked there for a while, and I admit, I was feeling pretty impatient. It felt like it was the middle of the night, even thought it definitely wasn’t, but it was dark in there, and had been such a long day already. I was SO sad and discouraged, and I so badly wanted things to just start. After what felt like hours and hours, someone came with a wheelchair, and she, my mom, and I made our way up to the antepartum ward. It was the most fitting place, but I admit, I was very nervous to be on a ward with so many labouring women. VERY nervous.
Turns out, my nerves about little things were unnecessary. I was greeted by the charge nurse, and she was, once again, so sensitive and understanding and warm. I was given my own room, and my own bathroom, which isn’t actually all too common in that ward. The nurse gave me a rundown of where everything was, and basically the nitty gritty of what our next steps would be. She told me that, if there was time, they’d try to get me up to delivery to have my baby, but if not, they would be more than capable to care for me right there. I was so shot at that point, and I just stood in front of her and cried through her information. She wasn’t far behind, though. I’m sure we were quite a sight, myself pouring with tears, her trying to keep her own tears from running down her cheeks, me encouraging her to keep going, that we were going to be ok, etc. She finally got out all that she was trying to say, and said she hoped we could get my meds in and started soon. I agreed. But about a half hour later, she was off her shift and we met our nurse who we’d go through the night with. She was also wonderful. Everyone was, really.
My mom eventually ran home to gather some things for the night, for herself and for me. Brady packed me up a backpack full of all kinds of comfy clothes, entertainment, treats, etc., since we had no idea how long I’d be staying. While she was gone, Jerilee came to hang out with me. I wasn’t in the best state to be alone, and Jerilee brought some love and laughs and normalcy, which was wonderful and so so needed. She also brought me some stuff to do, which was so thoughtful and necessary. I had company all evening. But eventually, it was time to go to bed.
My mom and I lay in the dark, her on her little mattress on the floor and me in my bed, chatting. It felt like a sleepover, or camp, or something else much more fun than what we were actually doing. But it passed some time, and we did eventually sleep, which I’m not sure either of us expected. Its always a toss up in hard situations, I find, because I was SO tired but SO anxious and upset. Sleep is unpredictable. But it happened. And right around midnight, a doctor finally came in. She checked my cervix, which was hard and closed and not at all ready to have a baby, and gave me my first dose of medication. Somehow, we went back to sleep.
Thats where I’m going to leave it for today. I know that seems mean. I promise, its not supposed to be an cliffhanger of sorts, to entice you to read the rest tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow’s post will likely be far sadder. But I’m so very long winded, I think I’ve spouted enough for one day. Please still like me, even if you don’t agree with all of our decisions <3