Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Miscarriage II: Surgery

You can read Part I here.

D&C, also known as dilation and curettage, is a surgical procedure often performed after a first trimester miscarriage. Dilation means to open up the cervix; curettage means to remove the contents of the uterus. Curettage may be performed by scraping the uterine wall with a curette instrument or by a suction curettage (also called vacuum aspiration), using a vacuum-type instrument.

Thursday morning 6:20 am and we got out of bed.  We moved about silently, preparing things, clothes for the boys to wear that day, cell phones in bags, and Brandon ate breakfast.  At 5:45 sharp, Julie was at the door with a sad face.  I hadn't cried yet that morning, so I was calm as I explained when Chandler had to be at school, and that he would need his backpack.  We said thank you, and got in the car.  And then we sat in the car for two or three minutes sobbing.  My husband was going to drive me to the hospital, and they were going to take my baby away.

It was dark, and the hospital check in staff were kind, but it was obvious this was just another day for them.  I was doing really well with the check in lady until, she explained that she needed to collect our insurance deductible from us at the time of service.  It was going to cost *several* thousand dollars for me to loose my baby. But I knew we were making the right choice with the procedure, so we paid.

In the hospital bathroom, I splashed water in my face in an attempt to look like I was holding it together.  In hind sight, I wasn't fooling anyone.  The nurse left Brandon in the waiting room, weighed me, and left me in a "room" (a small space with a bed surrounded by curtain).  She gave me a plastic bag to put everything I had on my body in.  While I was struggling to tie the back of my robe, the nurse came back with Brandon and said, "We usually don't let husband's back until you're all prepped for surgery, but we've made an exception." (Remember how I was totally letting people think I was keeping it together... not).

I sat in bed as the nurse took personal history, set up an IV and fielded our questions.  Then we met the anesthesiology.  Doctor Ahn was a big African American man with a large shiny head and big caring eyes.  He came in a held my hand as he introduced himself and explained when different drugs would be administered and how I would most likely react to them.  Every interaction with Dr. Ahn was great, he looked right in my face like he really cared about me.  When my doctor came in to talk to me he said, "The anesthesiologist is really concerned about you, and wants to give you something to calm you down."  (Remember how I thought I was totally keeping up the appearance of keeping it together?).  The "something to calm your down" drugs were great, and I didn't cry again  until long after we got home from the hospital.

It gets, drug induced, fuzzy after that.  I remember people explaining what would happen next, and there was a male nurse about my age that made me blink twice.  I remember saying goodbye to Brandon and the nurse telling me it was going to be cold as he wheeled me through  large set of doors.  The OR room was fascinating to me.

It was a very large, mostly white room.  It had the typical big lights that move on long arms on the ceiling.  To my right there was a collection of shiny tools, which probably should have freaked me out but I had the "something to calm me down drugs."  To my left, were the windows where you always see doctors washing their hands on TV shows.  I was very cold and shaky, and I remember someone putting more blankets on me.  The nurse man put some message things on my legs that I was told was to prevent blood clots. Dave Mathews Band was playing and the last thing I remember was the nurse putting some serious stirrups next to my hips, and thinking 'Those are too tall'.


Brandon says about half an hour after the nurse took me away my OB came and talked to him in the waiting room.  Everything had gone perfectly and they just had to wait for me to wake up.  He says it was about an hour until they let him back to see me.

It was the best sleep I have every had: sound, peaceful, dreamless, no fear, no sadness, no feelings at all, just peace.  Dr Ahn was very close to my face when I woke up.  He said my name quietly and told me it was over and everything was great.  He squeezed my hand one last time, and I don't think I will every forget him.

I spent a while thinking I was awake but weird things kept happening.  I closed my eyes for a minute and the man in the bed across from me disappeared.  I asked the nurse if  I could see my husband and she said no, so I decided that I really didn't like her.  At some point she must have decided I was awake enough to go home because I closed my eyes and then I was in a different room where Brandon was waiting.

Brandon helped me get dressed; pulling the clothes out of the plastic bag from earlier that morning.  He tells me that I told him that I had forgotten how to put a bra on, but I don't remember.  The nurse gave me some apple juice and wheeled me out to the car.  It was really cold, but it was warm in the car and it felt good to be alone with Brandon.

Brandon got me a smoothie from a store by target, and we drove home.

Brandon carried me upstairs and laid me in bed.  After a few minutes he came back and sat next to me, per  my request, while he made a series of phone calls.  Which I totally remember thinking I knew what was going on, but now I remember very little.

We had only told a hand full of people we were pregnant, and they were all full of love when we explained there would be no baby in September.  He called my mom, his dad, and his mom to tell them we were home and everything went great.  He called my friends, Julie and Lisa, who were tag teaming watching my kids and made arrangements for Chandler to be picked up from school.  We spent the entire day, sleeping, resting, watching TV on the computer, and just being together.  It was a blessing to have Brandon all to myself, and he was so wonderful.  He made sure I was drinking enough, brought me lunch, and pain killers.  But most importantly Brandon was present, emotionally and physically, Brandon was present and supportive through the whole thing.

Around six Julie came with dinner and a two year old.  Around seven Dave (Lisa's husband) came with cupcakes and a five year old.  By the next morning I was feeling emotionally and physically a lot better, but recovery continued for the following week.


I want to, at this point, record some of the wonderful blessings we experienced over those two days, so I will always remember.

My OBGYN was fantastic.  He was caring, but informative and not shy to answer questions.  He was real, on the morning of the surgery he asked how we were doing, but followed up by saying, "If you say great I'll know you're lying."  I felt loved by him.

The nurses, and the anesthesiologist were all fantastic.  Except that last one who was probably lovely, but I decided I didn't like her.  For them, this procedure is common place, but never was a made to feel like what was happening was anything other than life altering and totally horrible.

The drugs deserve a place.  They were great, and I am grateful for modern medicine that allowed me to handle a difficult situation the way I wanted to.

My friends, Julie and Lisa were amazing.  They watched, fed and loved our kids for us while we were incapable.  I am so grateful to have friends who were not only willing, but falling over themselves to come to our rescue.  And I didn't have to worry, I knew that my kids were well taken care of and probably just having a blast.

Brandon's parents and step parents were the most surprising of my blessings.  Brandon later relayed to me that his dad had a hard time sleeping, and his mom spent a good long time crying.  I know they all offered prayers on our behalf.  Mostly, I have never really felt this kind of love from my in laws before.  Not because  I don't think they loved me, there just hasn't been the opportunity for the out pouring.

My parents, always loving, were supportive and kind.  My mom experienced a very similar loss many years ago, and she helped me feel relateable, and hopeful.

Like I said before, Brandon was a rock.  Ever present, doing everything possible to make sure I was as happy, and as comfortable as possible.  He's always been the best husband a girl could ask for, but he really upped his game those two days and over the following weeks.

Heavenly Father sent peace so many times, but I know I needed to experience the pain too.  My understanding of the gospel tells me that these things, and these people weren't coincidences, but blessings given to me from him because he knew I needed them.  And I am immensely grateful.

Read: Miscarriage Part III: Processing

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Miscarriage I: A Story About Loss

I wrote these blog posts shortly after my loss.  I am grateful that I wrote them down, and I wanted to have the experience on record for myself and for my children.  But it has been a difficult decision as to if I should post them for the whole world to see.  However, I found a lot of strength in friends who were willing to write about or share their losses with me.  For this reason I am going to post my entries over the next couple of weeks.  I feel so nervous about this that sometimes I feel like I will throw up.  Please be gentle, this is still a sensitive issue for Brandon and me.  Also, our children do not know; please keep that in mind.


It was 7:00 am, Wednesday, February 20th, the morning of my first ultrasound.  I sat up sharply as someone in my dream yelled at me, "Bethany, you're bleeding!"  I got out of bed and went to the bathroom for the check, nothing.  Deep breaths, I told myself, it's going to be fine.

The anxiety of miscarriage had been very present during my first 9 weeks of pregnancy.  In the bathroom that morning before my appointment, I looked at myself in the mirror and repeated the words I had been telling myself for weeks, "It's going to be okay.  No matter what happens up there today, everything is going to be okay."  Then, like every time before, I said a little prayer the spirit sent me peace.  Everything was going to be okay.

The ultrasound tech was young and very pregnant.  Brandon sat next to me on a bench in the small dark room, Sterling was milling around, breaking things.  I took a deep breath, held Brandon's hand, and watched the screen.

I'll never forget.  I knew right away.  The kidney bean baby was solid.  No flickering heart beat in the middle.  The tech moved quickly, taking some measurements, but said nothing.

"Is there not a heart beat?" I asked.
"There's no heart beat." She said, with a sad face.

Then it was over, and the screen went dark.  I wanted her to leave it up, the still image of a tiny baby that was mine.  It was the only time I would ever see my baby.  I wanted to reach out and hold my baby, or  go back 2 hours to when I was pregnant and there was hope of something different.  I wanted it to be different, anything but that still baby.  But it was over and she left.

"I am going to go tell the doctor what I saw, you can get dressed."

And then we cried.  We cried as I got dressed, we cried when the moved us into an exam room, we cried as the doctor explained our options, we cried as he talked about the statistics, and the facts of nature.  We would have a D&C.  We cried while Brandon canceled his plans for the rest of the week, and when Brandon cried, then I really cried.

I had to cancel my maternity appointments through June at check out.  Then I had to leave the office, I had to make my way through what felt like a sea of pregnant bellies.  It was obvious what had happened, I had seen the women take these walks before; tear stained and heartbroken.  And we cried hard in the parking lot.  Really cried, deep sobbing cries for something different.

We spent the rest of the day making plans for surgery in the morning.  Julie, I called first, and it was a horrible mess...

"There just wasn't a heartbeat," I stumbled through the words, gasping.
"I will be there," After I asked her to be at my house at 5:45 am the next morning.

We got through the rest of the calls with a little more, but not much grace.

Before bed on Wednesday, I looked in the mirror.  My eyes were blue, the kind of blue that I only see when I cry.  My face was puffy and the skin around my eyes was raw.

A deep breath, and Heavenly Father blessed me with a very sound night of sleep.

Read: Miscarriage Part II: Surgery & Miscarriage Part III: Processing

Monday, April 1, 2013


Yay, Easter!

On Saturday night we dyed eggs... 

Forget those crappy, metal stick things, using your whole hand works better anyways..

Sunday morning the Easter Bunny had come!

("What's in here?") 

(This picture makes me giggle)

After the hunt they weren't allowed to eat candy until that sat still for pictures.. ;-)

(Holy, cuteness!!)

Happy Easter!

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