Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To Share or Not To Share

It's been over two months since our loss and I've been struggling for a while now about what to share and what not to share regarding both our loss and our current journey to have another child. While we still don't have all of the answers, I have decided that I would like to in fact share a lot about our loss, what happened and to a certain extent, why it happened as I don't think that I have shared with many besides close family members and I also thought it might be a nice way for me to get some of these things off of my chest as I have felt a lot of comfort and healing through the process of just talking about our loss and writing about it. Something about that is very cathartic to me and seems to have really helped me throughout the grieving process.

I'll start off by simply stating that this has by far been the most difficult thing I've ever had to endure. David was heartbroken that we lost our baby as well, but even he will acknowledge that he cannot even begin to relate to how I feel since I was the one carrying the baby and with a much stronger connection and bond to our little one. Despite the difference in our emotions and how we both have coped very differently in the past two months, I cannot say enough about how supportive and caring he has been to me throughout the entire process. He has been my rock and has definitely kept me from literally losing it more times than I can count. It has been far from easy and we've even had problems communicating at times, but finally, it seems that things are starting to get better and we've been able to reconnect and move together as a couple, as a family and even stronger than ever.

hen I went to the ER with severe bleeding that Wednesday night, I had just had an appt. with my OB on the day prior and had heard the heartbeat on the Doppler and everything. She actually had a difficult time finding the heartbeat at first and had to get a second Doppler in order to find it, but once she did she said that everything sounded fine and just as it should for where I was at in my pregnancy. The following day I started having cramps at work, which I thought was odd, but they were very mild, so I almost thought that maybe I was coming down with a stomach virus or something. Well, by the end of the day they had worsened and my lower back had started hurting as well. We had a work function after work and while I was there the cramps and pain got so bad that I finally decided to leave. I called David as well as my mom and told them to which they both said I should probably call my OB the next morning and let her know just to be safe. I continued my drive home and once I got home I went to the living room and started talking to David about our days. Within a few minutes I had to run to the bathroom because I had started bleeding. It wasn't a lot, but enough that I was scared so I went and told him that I was going to take a bath and try to relax, but before we could even finish our conversation the bleeding started again and in full force. It was definitely horrifying and obvious that by no means should I be bleeding this much, as in it was far more than the other time I had bleeding and combined with the fact that I was having severe cramping and back pain I knew that something was horribly wrong. We called my OB's office's emergency line and left a message....within minutes they had called back and told us to go directly to the ER. We left immediately and headed to the hospital and right after we left the house we both called our parents to let them know what was going on. Mine were already in bed for the evening so I left a message, but David did get to talk to Marcia and let her know that he would keep her posted. She sent her prayers and offered for us to bring Hudson to her house, but we just wanted to go directly to the hospital and get there as soon as possible.
We initially went to Methodist where my OB practices, but the ER there was completely full and they told David that it could be a while before they saw me so he decided that we should not wait, but instead go to Baylor. So, we get to Baylor and they have me in triage within 15 minutes or so after we arrive. By this point, the bleeding was severe to say the least and I basically was having labor and back labor pains. I was admitted to the ER and after being seen by several different nurses and doctors, the ER doctor assigned to me finally came in to perform a pelvic exam. I asked for David and Hudson to leave as I was worried that it would be too much for them and did not want my Hudson in the room because of what I feared was happening. The ER doctor started the exam and simply started saying "I'm sorry". This was the confirmation I was looking for and I felt that I need not ask any other questions, but rather just continued to bawl my eyes out throughout the entire exam. It was the worst experience ever, but I was so very thankful for the poor nurse holding my hand the entire time as I needed someone to be with me and she was my source of comfort during that time. She asked me if I wanted to see the baby, to which I actually declined after we had a short conversation about whether or not I wanted to. She said that since I was less than 16 weeks along that I should remember that the baby would still not look so much like what you think a baby looks like and between that and the fact that David was not with me, I declined. I feared what I would see....I was completely horrified to see my own baby and was scared that it would be an image that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I just couldn't get it together and do it, this is something that now I am somewhat regretful of, but I am trying to continue to tell myself that I made the right decision for myself at the time and that's all I could do. She told me that she could call a Chaplain if I wanted and to also let her know if I changed my mind and wanted to see the baby because I would be able to still for a little while longer. Once the doctor completed the exam, David and Hudson returned to the room and David asked if it was over and I replied with a yes. We both cried and were just in a horrible state of shock and devastation. My world had just been shattered and I knew that nothing would ever be the same. I told David that the nurse said we could see the baby if he wanted to and he agreed with my initial decision not to. He asked if they told me the gender of the baby and I said no and that I didn't even think to ask. I did ask another nurse later on and was told this it was probably noted in the records that I could ask the OB on call later if I wanted to find out. I was interested in finding out actually, but David felt that it would just make things more difficult for the both of us. David called his mother to let her know and shortly thereafter, I was sent to ultrasound to see if everything had been removed properly during the examination. Unfortunately, the US technician was confused and after passing the US wand across my belly a couple of times, he told me that he would have to do a trans vaginal US because he "couldn't find the heartbeat." In extreme shock and upset, I told him that there wouldn't be one, that they had already delivered our baby and I was simply there to be scanned to see if any placenta or other tissue remained. He apologized that there was obviously some confusion regarding why I was there and continued with the US and then wheeled me back to my ER room. After waiting a while longer, the OB on staff came in and told me that there was still placenta in my uterus and that she would have to do yet another internal exam. So, she attempts to remove the remaining placenta and tissue, but finally states that she cannot get it all and that I must have a D&C. GREAT! Not only have I lost our baby, been through two horrible exams, had a miserable experience with the US, now I get to have surgery too, ugh, when will this nightmare end? I sign the consents, hang out in the ER for a while and then get wheeled up to surgery shortly before 5 am. Hudson is still awake at this point, poor little thing. The only thing that kept me from losing it completely while waiting outside of surgery was Hudson. He was being so sweet to me, sitting in the hospital bed with me and giving me sweet hugs and kisses. They finally take me into surgery, I am already starting to cry because honestly, I am terrified. I've never had surgery with the exception of my c-section and they were putting me under which what was even more scary to me. I tell my boys I love them and tell them goodbye when they wheel me back. I lie there crying nonstop as the team of physicians move me onto the bed and start telling me what they will be doing, they tell me that they are administering the anesthesia and that's all I remember of that. I wake up in recovery and start my lengthy 2 day stay at the hospital. Because I bled so bad trying to naturally miscarry and during surgery, I end up having to have a blood transfusion and received two units of blood throughout the next 24 hours. Once I finally get settled into my room after recovery, David took Hudson and when home to get some sleep. The next 6 hours or so were horrible for me to be honest. I cried more than I've ever cried in my life and just asked over and over again "why, why did you take my baby". I was absolutely and completely devastated and heartbroken. All of our family and friends were wonderful and starting calling to check on me and most of both of our immediate families came that Thursday evening to see us as well. That night, I decided to go ahead and share our loss by posting on our blog and also on my Facebook account mainly because not only did I think that my other friends would want to know, but also because I checked my FB account and had received several congratulations on my pregnancy from friends who had just recently found out that I was pregnant and I just couldn't face continuing to get messages like that when I was no longer expecting. I just thought it was the right thing to do and through my tears I wrote the blog post that I had prayed I would NEVER have to right...nor should I have to. We were blessed with many prayers and well wishes by all the following day and for many weeks thereafter, for which we are very grateful and feel so very blessed by all of our amazing family and friends and for their continuous support.
Devastated, confused and utterly heartbroken, the next few weeks were much of a blur to be honest. Filled with countless nights of me crying for hours and ultimately, crying myself to sleep on most nights.

The following week I saw my OB and she actually had some news for us regarding the possible cause of our loss. Apparently, she received my quad screen results that I had actually had blood drawn for at my appt. the day before I started to miscarry and the results had come back that I was or rather the baby was, at extremely high risk for Trisomy 18. A 1 in 10 chance was what my results had come back as and according to her, had I not miscarried, she would have at this point recommended for me to get an amnio in order to confirm whether or not the baby had Trisomy. She continued to say that in her expert opinion, that based on those results alone, she was confident to think that our baby did in fact have Trisomy and that was the cause of our loss. For those who are not familar with Trisomy, it is a lethal chromosomal condition / defect and most babies affected either do not survive in the womb to full-term or are born and only live for hours or days after birth. She did say that the only way we would know would be if the hospital did any genetic testing from the tissues and that they may or may not due this since it was a second trimester loss. I signed release forms so that she could request a copy of my records and then she was going to let me know once she received them.

Fast forward to my second follow up appt. towards the end of January and she had still yet to receive my records, but did say that physically everything looked good for me and gave us the green light to start trying again after I completed one normal menstrual cycle. I actually had just started right before my appt. so we were thrilled that my body was regulating fairly normal so soon after our loss. She told me again that she would let me know once she got my records if there was anything abnormal or of interest on them when she received them. So, I decided to let it go for the moment and just try to move forward with our lives until a few weeks ago when I decided to call and check in again and see if they had ever received the records. When I called, I spoke with the nurse and she did confirm that they received the records and I asked if she could possibly let me know if there was any testing noted and she basically just said that there was no further testing done and since they didn't receive my quad results until almost a week after the miscarriage they would not have been able to request any tests because the tissue would have already been disposed of. This was very disheartening to me as even though in my heart, I trust my OB and feel that she is probably right and that our baby did have Trisomy, but I truly wanted to have a confirmed cause, not just a guess. I also found out the gender of our baby, but have kept that to myself as David has asked not to know because he feels it will be more difficult to cope knowing any more personal information about our baby. I totally understand and respect his choice. I just wish that we had an answer because now I feel like we went through all of this, lost our baby and have no reason for it at all. It's frustrating to say the least, but I am trying to let it go and to let everything be in God's hands for now. I definitely struggle with this, but it's what has to be done or I will never heal.

When this whole horrible nightmare of an experience started, I knew in my heart that we were losing our baby, but I tried to remain positive, clung to my faith and just hoped and prayed that what my mind, body and heart were telling me at the time were simply not right. That was all I could do, pray that our baby would be saved and that everything would just be okay. Unfortunately, God had other plans and wanted our little one with him.

Now we are on the journey again to try to have another child and I am just as horrified. I am scared that I won't be able to get pregnant or that it will take a very, very long time. I am scared that I will be so nervous about something bad possibly happening that I won't be able to enjoy my pregnancy, but more than anything I am terrified that something might go wrong again. For all of these reasons, I continue to struggle with how soon we will announce a pregnancy whenever I get pregnant again. I will say that we are officially trying for those of you who want to know, but I am somewhat guarded about when we will share the news once that time comes. Seeing that our loss was a 2nd trimester loss at almost 16 weeks, I certainly don't plan on waiting that long to tell anyone....I mean, I have a big mouth and have a hard time keeping a secret as it is, not to mention something this huge. At the same time, I don't want to announce and then something happen....David and I have discussed it and are leaning towards telling everyone once after I have my first doctor's appt. whenever I do get pregnant again, which with the 2 pregnancies I've had it was around 7-8 weeks for both. I guess we will just have to wait and see how we feel about it once we get to that point. My OB has told me that she will be referrring me to a high risk doctor once I get pregnant again so that I can be monitored more closely due to the fact that not only did I have a second trimester loss, but because it was possibly because of a genetic disorder and also because I had a low-lying placenta condition as well. So, it will definitely be a much different experience with our next pregnancy and I can only imagine that it will be much more stressful as well. In any case, we are praying to be blessed with another baby in the near future and cannot wait to be able to share the news with all of our family and friends. We will definitely need everyone's prayers and support and we truly hope that we will be able to share some happy news with you all soon. May God bless all of you and thank you all once again for all of your thoughts and prayers throughout this time. We appreciate them more than anything and couldn't have gone through this without all of your support.


Jessatsea said...

Oh Char... thinking of you and praying for you. I'm just so sorry.

Michael & Amie said...

Char - thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sure it will help so many that have endured the same pain. Hugs, and best of luck TTC again!

OperaWife said...

God bless you and David and Hudson, Charlotte. Thank you for sharing this. I hope it was a bit of weight lifted off you to share your story. You guys are still in my prayers. Hang in there, sweetie...and hang on to your amazing family; they seem like wonderful rocks to cling to.

Meg said...

Char-- that is undoubtedly so much to go through. I am so sorry for all you had to experience. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the fam for only good things ahead!

Carie said...

I am so sorry Charlotte. It is never easy but it seems you have a wonderful support system. You are all in my prayers.