Today’s post will once again be detailed and perhaps would fall into the “TMI” category, so feel free to read, but please oh please don’t get after me if you find it all too graphic or upsetting. Its important for me to write this kind of thing out. I’m resisting adding pictures of him in here, to be respectful of the audience, but I’m not leaving out the information. So read on with caution, or just don’t read on. I’ll reiterate that I am NOT offended if you don’t want to read these posts. They are upsetting and sad, trust me, I know.
I left off yesterday right when I got my first dose of medication. It was actually placed right near my cervix, which was a bit silly, actually. The medicine can be placed internally, or swallowed, or left to dissolve in the inside of my cheek. Its my understanding that its just the dosage that changes, but the effect is the same. When I took the medication at home, I just swallowed it like a normal tablet. Somehow, though, lines got crossed and whoever ordered the medication was under the impression that I was already bleeding and that my miscarriage had “started” (Oh it had “started” all right, being that the baby had already passed away and all…) It didn’t really matter to me, though, how I got the medication. It was already ordered, and it wasn’t worth the fight to make it more comfortable for the ten seconds it took to take it. I just wanted it done. So, we did it up, and somehow, both my mom and I managed to squeeze in a few more hours of sleep.
The OB that was on through the night was not my OB, but another wonderful woman who was so warm and caring. If it hasn’t been made clear, there was not ONE person who made me feel like I was just some routine, standard miscarriage patient number whatever. Everyone who we encountered apologized and spoke for a minute or two about how unjust it was to lose a baby, and how they really acknowledged our grief. No one cut me off when I’ve cry or blubber or rant. I was given all the room I needed to talk through things and ask for anything I wanted. They even hung a sign on my door that made me feel so safe and cared for. The care I received was unreal. I remember even one time, hearing the woman in the next room starting to really feel her labour, and she was crying and moaning, and just a minute or two after that started, my nurse came in and basically apologized that we had to hear these things, and see if there was anything she could do in that moment. Like, I’m not kidding, they kept CLOSE tabs on me. It was pretty amazing.
During the night, I rang the nurses station once, and my nurse came very quickly. I told her right away that I wasn’t in pain or cramping or really anything remarkable, but that I had a wicked headache. Technically, I believe a headache is something they consider to be a red flag in my case, or maybe in the general case of labour, but my nurse was wonderful, and totally understood that my day had been huge and a headache was pretty much inevitable. She brought me some pain meds, a couple of warm blankets, and a heated IV bag. Did you guys know about those things? They’re strong like a hot water bottle! She encouraged me to tuck it under my neck or head or wherever was comfortable, and my headache was gone in decently good time. I snuggled it beside me afterwards, and it helped me fall asleep.
When the morning came, so did the night OB. She asked all the questions you’d expect. No, I wasn’t bleeding. No, I wasn’t cramping. Yes, I had peed, and there was nothing exciting in it. For all intents and purposes, I had nothing exciting to offer. She checked my cervix and the thing was still rock hard, closed, no change whatsoever. So once again, I consented to a dose of medicine. No big deal anymore, at that point. I was feeling quite numb.
***** Its going to get graphic right away here. You’ve been warned <3
Roughly ten minutes later, at 6:38 am, with zero warning, my water broke. I still cry when I think of it, because I totally panicked, and I wish I hadn’t. I had no idea my water was about to break, and the moment it happened, I thought “blood” and I panicked. I jumped out of bed and raced to the bathroom, asking my mom to ring the nurses. I thought for sure I was about to bleed out. You’d think I’d know the feeling of water breaking by now, but I didn’t. I panicked. I’m still so embarrassed by that. But regardless of regret or not, thats what happened. I ran to the bathroom, pulled down my humungous hilarious hospital underwear, and out he came. He fell into the little catch-all “hat” that was waiting in the toilet for me. I sat unmoving and waited anxiously. My nurse came rushing in and I remember saying “I think it happened. I think I had the baby.” She came into the bathroom and very calmly advised me to stand up if I could. I did, and she led me from the bathroom. There was really no time lost there, yet somehow, my bed was completely refreshed, and towels were laid over the mess I made on the floor from running to the bathroom, etc. She helped me get back to bed and and set me up, once again, with warm blankets. There was a lot going on in those moments, but I remember on one hand, my nurse and a couple of other people noting that I wasn’t bleeding at all yet. On the other hand, I remember seeing someone walk out with the the toilet hat containing my baby’s body. Really, that person walked out with my number one priority. Just moments later, my OB came in (I guess she had traded the night OB at that point) and informed me gently that the baby’s placenta hadn’t come out with his body. She said they were going to give my body time to deliver it on its own, being that I was barely bleeding at all, but that if it took much more than an hour, we’d have to go in for a follow up D&C. I knew this was a possibility, so I said that was fine. There was an enormous IV already in my arm, just waiting to be needed, whether for meds, blood, saline, etc. Before my OB left, I asked her when I could see my baby, and she said she’d find out for me right away. It was just a few minutes later than they brought him in for me, all wrapped up in a soft cloth. My mom and I shared a big cry as we held him and examined his little face. We prayed together, and kept crying. Once he was finally in my hands to stay, I called Brady and told him that his baby was born. We made it a quick conversation so he could get out to see us. Thankfully, Jerilee had left her phone on for us all night, and was easy to get a hold of so early. She headed to our house right away, and Brady basically tapped her in and drove to us as fast as he could.
I’ll be straight up here and say the next hour was unbelievably painful. I had no physical pain whatsoever when left alone, but to aid my body in delivering the placenta, I was given a uterine massage every 10-15 minutes. If you’ve gone through this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t forget those things. If you haven’t experienced one, simply put, a nurse would come in and massage my lower abdomen hard, digging in as deeply as possible, in an effort to push my placenta and whatever else out of my body. It is not only gross, but amazingly painful. Everything is already so tender and irritated, having just delivered a baby, but then to have SO MUCH shoved out of it constantly was almost too much. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the procedure, and I see the value in it. I would never say no to having it done, because I believe that it is necessary. But it was so so painful for me 🙁 It was made slightly better by the fact that I was able to hold my baby boy the whole time. In between my uterine massages, we were left alone, for the most part. At one point, a couple of nurses came in and said they had tried to bring our baby in so quickly that they hadn’t had a chance to check for the gender. We all gathered around, and sure enough, we had a baby BOY!! It was so exciting to finally know! I had been waiting. Not too long after we found that out, Brady arrived <3 My mom stuck around for a while, but we couldn’t convince her to stay very long. She wanted to give us room to just be the three of us, so we finally released her into the wild, lol, and let her go home. What an amazing gift it was to have her stay with me in the hospital. Mom, I could NOT have done any of it without you!! <3
After an hour of uterine massage, and what felt like POUNDS of blood but no placenta, I figured the inevitable was a D&C. I was prepared for it. I was so finished with the pain of the massages, and so ready to be done and home. My OB came in and informed me that, since I still wasn’t bleeding “too much” and things appeared to be under control, she wanted to wait just a liiiiittle bit longer to give the placenta a chance to come out on its own. And once again, with that, I was frustrated with the plans changing, and having to accept and come to terms with one plan and then going a new route. But clearly NONE of our plans were playing out as we had thought, so I tried hard to just roll with it. My nurse finished her shift and we met the nurse that would see us through the rest of the day and eventually discharge us.
Maybe two or three uterine massages later, it finally happened. She pulled the puppy pee pad out from under me and exclaimed “I think this is it!” She called the resident and a couple of other people in and they all huddled around my weird blood pile in the bathroom. I heard whooping, and had to laugh. The resident on that morning was so great, and seemed to have the perfect radar for just how positive she could be without being insensitive. She came out of my bathroom and celebrated with me. “You did it! Thats exactly what we needed! Great job!” Let’s be real, that was nothing I had done, but it was nice to see some small success. Small victories, right?
When my OB resurfaced, she checked over all the goodies that has been shoved out of my body, and said the placenta appeared to be in one piece, which is very encouraging. The fact that it came out the way it did, with no pulling, was very hopeful that nothing would be left on the inside that didn’t belong. I was informed that, of course there is always the possibility of a surprise, but at that point, everyone was feeling more confident, and they told me I could eat breakfast.
So I did. My sister had sent me a Starbucks gift card overnight (Yay for a hospital that has a Starbucks, and a sister who understands her sisters needs <3 ) so Brady went down and got me a latte and himself a coffee. We traded off, and Brady held our beautiful baby while I ate something and tried to regroup a little.
I have to say of our nurse that morning, she was so good to us. My favourite thing was how normal she made us feel. She’d come in to check my vitals so often, and each time, she’d take a peek at the baby, say how sweet he was, ask if we had named him, etc. It didn’t feel taboo. It was less about the fact that our baby had died and more about the fact that we had just had a baby. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it felt great to be able to talk about him just normally, like the part of our family that he is. I loved that. But besides that, she was making a clear point to be sensitive, and only one time she told us that we should let her know anytime we were ready to talk about our options of the aftercare of our baby, but that there was NO pressure and NO rush. And we felt it. No pressure, and no rush. Only time and sensitivity. Everyone there knew this was our one chance to hold our baby. They got it.
After several hours of holding our baby, we could tell it was almost time for him to go. His little body just wasn’t ready for earth, and while it was such a precious time for us to spend with him, we also know, as Christians, that our baby was already in heaven. His body was SO special, but it was simply flesh. We took a good handful of pictures, knowing full well that we’d regret it if we didn’t. I don’t expect I’ll ever forget his face, but just in case, I didn’t want to risk it. He is a family member, and incredibly valuable. We sat together, the three of us, and prayed. We told God we didn’t even know how to pray or what to pray for, but we thanked Him for holding our baby, and for loving him so well. We prayed for strength, and peace, and a lot of things that we’re still actively praying for today. We cried hard, but found the tiniest shred of peace, which is probably the most we could ask for at that time. When we felt ready, we buzzed for our nurse, and told her we were ready to learn our options. Lucky for her, we had already sort of decided the route we wanted to take, so when we brought the pamphlets and such, we did a quick scan of them and knew right away which one we would choose. She gave us another chunk of time to say our last goodbyes, and we finally decided it was time for him to go.
I handed him to her, and she took him so gently and carefully from my hands, making sure to readjust his little blanket around him. Never a single ounce of disrespect. She asked if there was anything last minute that we needed, and we said no. Out she walked with our baby, leaving Brady and I to weep together until we physically couldn’t anymore. It was SO awful, but we knew it was time, and felt peace in that decision.
For those who want to know, Brady and I chose the option of hospital organized cremation, which means we gave our Jamin to the hospital to send to a nearby crematorium. Rather than having a full internment and having his ashes dispersed in their little garden that is just specially for children, we opted to have his ashes held for us to come retrieve. Brady and I both felt that, if his ashes were to be anywhere, they should be with us. So, once again, please respect our decision, even if you think you would have chosen differently.
In the time between giving her our baby and getting to leave, we saw our nurse a number of times. She was so professional, but surprised me at one point by offering up a personal story. On her way out of our room, she turned around at the last minute and told me she had a miscarriage once. She was quick to say that she knew our situations were different, but I told her losing a baby is hard no matter when it happened, and I urged her to continue. She cried a little as she reminisced about how difficult it was, even though it was early. She talked about how, the moment you find out your pregnant, you plan your life with that baby. You see everything with a little baby added to the mix. Your whole life changes in that beautiful blink of an eye. And then losing that baby. Its so helpless and life altering, regardless of when it happens. We agreed, and had a little cry together, and then she left my room. That short conversation was over in an instance but it made everything just that much more personal. If you know me, I respect professionalism, but I LOVE when the professionals loosen up a little and get just a little more personal. Its SO special to me, so obviously, this encounter was also very special to me.
It took longer to be released than we expected, which isn’t really uncommon. I didn’t put it all in here, because I don’t remember when it all happened, but I had SO much blood taken from me, and between giving our baby away to our nurse and going home, I was supposed to have yet another blood test before I could go home. So. Much. Blood. After a couple of hours of waiting, someone finally came to take my blood. We then waited at least another hour for the results that would hopefully allow us to go home. When our nurse came in to give us results, she looked so upset. She told us that the man who had taken my blood had under-filled the tube, and I would have to wait AGAIN. I didn’t complain or throw a fit over it, but I was obviously annoyed. I was SO ready to go home. Everything was done, I was alive and bleeding the “right” amount, we had had our time with our baby, then given him up, and now we just wanted to leave already! I didn’t say any of these things, of course, but our nurse seemed more annoyed than I was, even. She offered up that she was just going to call my OB, and when she did return, she basically admitted that she went to bat for us and our OB agreed to release us without this last blood test. I was SO appreciative of that. She knew how exhausted and finished we were, and waiting around for another couple of hours just for another blood test when every single one up to that point had been fine was just a waste of time. So we thanked her profusely, she took my vitals one last time, and then told us I could get dressed and pack up our stuff.
We checked in at the nurses station once all was gathered and we were ready to leave, just to let her know we were officially leaving. She wished us the best, and we said the same. Being the awkward person I am, I started to say something along the lines of “See you again soon” but it felt pretty dumb to even think that way, so I cut it off and instead said “See you maybe someday down the road.” She followed my awkwardness up by telling me she really hoped so, and that she thought we would be back there all in good time. It was a good encouraging hopeful comment that stayed with me. Maybe it was just lip service, maybe not. She seemed pretty genuine to me, and I appreciated that.
We haven’t seen another medical professional since that day, but there are a lot more appointments coming up in the near future. September is going to be a fairly crazy month, but its all very important. I’m assuming, if you read this far, you’re not too put off by this kind of talk, so hopefully the blogs about my upcoming appointments won’t be too off-putting for too many people. I’ll keep rocking the disclaimers.
I appreciate the love and concern you’ve all put into me by reading and keeping up with our family. As I’ve said, I’m an open book. I’m willing to talk about pretty much everything, so if you have a question that feels taboo, please feel free to ask. If I left out the information on here, I probably just forgot. You guys know I’m not a private person at all. Don’t be afraid to ask. We want to talk about our baby, and that includes the difficult stuff, because while this story is gut wrenchingly sad (for us, anyway) it is the birth story of our Jamin.