Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miscarriage Part 5

The nurse came in to tell me I was all set to go home. My bloodwork
had come back and was "within normal limits," and stable enough to
leave the hospital. My discharge hemoglobin level was 11 (it was 12.6
on Saturday, and had plummeted to 8 before the transfusions). My
platelet count was 108,000, up from the LOW 44,000 that it was the
night before, but still less than it should be. Normal is 150,000 to
400,000 in adults. When I later called Khristeena and mentioned what
my bloodwork was at discharge, she told me it would probably take
between 4 and 6 weeks before I felt "normal" again, and I really
needed to build up my blood again before I ever considered trying for
another baby.

The nurse quickly read over my discharge instructions. I realized
then, that she must have overheard that I had been planning a
homebirth for Samuel, because all of a sudden she started to lecture
me! "You know, homebirth can be extremely dangerous, especially with
a prior cesarean. You have a scar on your uterus and it could rupture
at home-- and you'd be too far away for any help. I know you VBAC'd
once already, but that scar gets thinner and thinner every time your
uterus expands. It's not a good idea." What the HECK??? Why does
everyone think it's ok to yell at me about homebirth???

"Ok, PLEASE stop right there. This is not an appropriate conversation
for this time. I am an OB nurse and- believe me- I have thoroughly
read about and researched VBAC and homebirth and uterine rupture. I
*KNOW* my risks and I am perfectly comfortable with them. Besides, I
am no longer pregnant and I don't know if I ever will be again... so
please, just stop."

She pursed her lips together, like she really had to force herself to
stop talking. I mean, honestly, I am also an OB nurse... I am her
peer. How the heck did she think she had the right to tell me that I
was making a poor choice? She knew nothing about me... She didn't
know that I spent countless hours reading about HBAC or that I spent a
long time discussing risks and benefits with my certified nurse
midwife (who is also a women's health nurse practitioner and a
certified professional midwife, by the way. Yes, I will trust her
medical opinion over some random nurse who has no clue what she's
talking about).

After all these frustrations with the hospital, I opened my chocolate
milk that I had ordered with my lunch. I figured a little chocolatey
treat would perk me up... Guess what? The milk was spoiled!!! GAR!
Haha... Nothing was going right!

I was REALLY getting anxious to get out of that hospital. I had been
poked, prodded, ignored, yelled at, and looked down upon. I was not a
happy patient. I had been in the hospital for over 5 hours before
transfusions were started and surgery was done. If only they had
taken care of me when I got there, I honestly don't think I'd be as
sick as I was. I keep thinking about how different things might have
been if I'd gone to the hospital that I work at instead.

::Sigh:: But now is not the time for the "what-if" game. God is
sovereign and he planned for me to go through all of these things.
I'm praying that much good comes out of these unfortunate trials, if
only the growing of my character.

The transport aid came to the room with a wheelchair. isaac had
already gone down to pull up the car to the front door. I held
Galilee in my lap as I was wheeled through the halls. I was SO glad
to be holding my daughter in my lap... I didn't feel like I was
leaving empty-handed.

We got to the front door and there was a huge line-up of cars waiting
under the overhang. We got all loaded up in the car, but then
couldn't leave because two cars were idling in front of us, waiting
for valet parking. I started to get panicky and had a little anxiety
attack. I started yelling at the cars to move. Of course, they
couldn't hear me, but I was getting so irritated with everything that
was happening and I just wanted to go home to take a nap. I was
exhausted... I hadn't slept since Friday night, and now it was Monday

When we got home, my mother-in-law was waiting for us. She had just
flown home from serving in Columbia, South America as a triage nurse
for a medical missions' trip. I knew she must be exhausted. Poor
woman. She came home to a son and daughter-in-law who lost a baby,
and to a daughter who delivered baby. Just this crazy shift between
life and death. I know it was just a weird time for everyone.

I was glad to see her. She brought souvenirs home for everyone and
showed us pictures of her trip. It was really great to hear her
stories of what God had done on her trip, but I was just so exhausted.
I told her I had to take a nap. She totally understood.

That week was filled with loving gestures from friends. We had
dinners prepared for us for the rest of the week and some of my MOPS
friends stopped by with cards and books about grieving. Those books
were so helpful in learning just how to grieve and that it was OK to

Khristeena came by the house to see me on Wednesday. She had to
repeatedly remind me that it was ok to be sad, and that I shouldn't
bottle up my emotions. "Just let every feeling flow," she told me.

I began to think about my other two babies. Judah was turning three
years old that Friday. There was NO WAY possible for me to throw him
a birthday party or go shopping for presents. I sent out a plea on

"Sigrid Chapman
I have a big favor to ask to all my fb loves! Judah's turning 3 on
Friday and because of my health issues (aka near death experience), I
don't think I can manage much to make his day special. Would you dear
friends write him birthday cards and send them to the address below in
the comments? He loves mail and I think that would be so sweet for
him. Thanks!!!"

WOW, did we get a great response! Judah received over 40 birthday
cards in the mail that week. Some of the envelopes included stickers
and gift cards. We received over $100 for him in his cards to buy him
presents (although most of that money went into his savings account
for later use!). We received balloons, a cake, a lots of toys. He
got art supplies, cars, play dough, a toy cell phone, a dairy queen
gift card. Amazing! He really had a great birthday, and we got to
celebrate all week long. Everyone's spirits were lifted when we would
open the mailbox every day to discover a dozen colorful birthday

I also received lots of sympathy cards. I was very touched. One
anonymous friend (I didn't recognize the handwriting and there was no
return address or name written on the card) sent me a beautiful
sterling silver necklace with a baby footprint and "Psalm 139:13"
written on the charm. On the back of the charm it says "Our little
angel." It is beautiful and I wear it every day. The same person
(same handwriting, still anonymous) sent Judah $20 for present
shopping. To whoever you are: THANK YOU!!!!! What an incredible
blessing you are to my family!

The first few days home from the hospital are all a blur in my memory.
I think I slept more than I was awake. Isaac took care of everything
at home (and I know he was also exhausted, so this is amazing). I had
to keep taking that methergine in pill form (with those terrible side
effects), iron, strong antibiotics, and some motrin for the cramping
pain that I still had. My midwife also recommended that I take
probiotics to counteract the antibiotics I was taking to prevent
infection. I started taking Floradix, a liquid dietary supplement
with iron, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C, instead of those
hard-on-the-stomach iron tablets. I had so many pills to keep track
of (some with food, some on an empty stomach, no iron at the same time
as my synthroid, etc)... there were so many rules. Isaac kept track
of all my medicines and supplements and actually set an alarm to help
me to remember when to take them. I felt like such an old lady.

We had lots of visitors. Including my sister-in-law and her new baby.
I was SO NERVOUS to see a newborn for the first time after the
miscarriage. I did ok, I think... (I didn't freak out!). I think
that because he was such a reality to me before the miscarriage, that
I was ok with him. I'm more nervous about when my friends that were
also due in February start to give birth. My midwife told me: "But,
Sigrid, you'll be a different woman in February. You'll be in a much
better place then. Just take each day one at a time." Great advice.

My sweet baby nephew, Devon, was just beautiful. I even held him for
a little bit... although he cried the entire time he was in my arms!

We got word a few hours later that my brother's wife had just had her
baby. My niece, Eden was born! Oh my goodness, so many babies at
such a vulnerable time for me. God was really testing me.

Later that night, after we put the kids to bed, Isaac and I both sat
and wrote letters to Samuel. What a heart-wrenching time! I poured
out my soul to him, telling him how much I missed him and that I would
always love him. I asked Isaac what he wrote in his letter and he
said "I told Samuel that I can't wait to meet him in Heaven one day."

I knew we had to bury him. (It was so hard to see that little white
bundle of his blanket every time I opened the fridge door!).

We placed him inside his blanket and then we both kissed it. We
wrapped that in a green cloth (the one we laid his little body on to
take pictures of him right after he was born), and then placed
everything inside a brown keepsake box. Isaac and I decorated
Samuel's box with stickers and then duct-taped it closed. We then
placed the box inside a large zip-lock bag. It was ready. Isaac had
already dug a big hole in the backyard earlier that day. We picked a
little shady spot next to some evergreen trees in the corner of the
yard. It was dark outside by now, so I brought a flashlight, and we
walked out to Samuel's little grave. We prayed over our little baby
and just simply said "Goodbye." I gingerly placed his little box
inside the hole and then Isaac started replacing the dirt over top of
it. This was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever had to
do. I ran to the front yard and grabbed a colorful garden pinwheel
out of my flower bed and stuck it in place over his burial site as a
marker. The pinwheel is so colorful and happy-looking. It makes me
smile whenever I see it.

Over the course of the following week, I started to notice that my
sadness was affecting the rest of the family. I could tell Isaac was
exhausted and getting frustrated. Galilee was much more clingy and
needed to nurse more often than she had before. Judah started moping
around the house. One morning, I caught him just laying on the wood
floor sucking his thumb. He looked so sad.

"Oh, honey, what's wrong?" I asked.

"Mommy, I just sad, like you."

Later that day, Judah came up to me and told me (like every other day)
"Mommy, the baby in your tummy stopped growing." Then, he started to
look worried. He furrowed his brow and asked: "Mommy... will I stop
growing, too?"

My heart just broke! "Oh, honey, of course not! You are healthy and
strong! You are a big boy! Our baby was little and very sick. You
will just keep growing and growing, taller and taller! I love you, so
much, Judah!"

"I love you, so much, Mommy."

I knew at that moment that I had to do something to distract us out of
this cloud of sadness and grief. My family needed something joyous
and exciting!

I asked Isaac: "what do you think about adopting a dog?" We had been
discussing dog adoption for a long time. We seriously looked into it
about 6 months before, but then, we got pregnant, and I said there was
no way I was taking care of a dog and a newborn!

But now... life had changed. And we desperately needed to do
something to bring us some happiness! I knew that Isaac was home on
vacation for another week and would help me to acclimate a dog to our
family. I looked up the Erie County SPCA and saw what seemed like the
perfect dog on their site. A 4 year old Spaniel-Retriever mix.
Judah's only request for a dog was that he was a "big black one!"
Well, this dog was a "large medium" black dog and Isaac agreed that we
could go to the SPCA to check him out.

We went on Monday (a week after discharge from the hospital). We
spent the whole morning with this dog, and he just seemed perfect. He
was very gentle with the kids and mild-mannered. He's so mild, that
after a few days, Judah proclaimed that the doggie was "broken" and
needed "batteries." He was going to be great for us. We didn't want
to make a rash decision, so we put a deposit down and went home for
lunch. The volunteers told us that if we didn't get him, he would be
gone by the next day, since he was such a nice dog.

We went home, put the kids to bed, and then prayed about it. We knew
that if we didn't get him today, we wouldn't be able to get this dog.
We weren't interested in any other dog there, so it was either him or
no one. Call us crazy, but we decided to go for it!

We named him Lincoln and he's been a great addition to our family. He
was very attention-starved when we got him, and he is constantly
looking for affection. He is such a lover. Judah keeps exclaiming "I
just love my big doggie!" The first thing he asks every morning is
"where's my doggie?" Galilee just giggles and giggles at him. It's
really beautiful to see my kids so happy! Isaac and I decided that
Lincoln would be our five year anniversary present to each other.

I know it's going to be a long road... full of bumps. I have no idea
how I'll be at work. I am a newborn nurse and attend births and take
care of babies for a living. I'm praying that by the time I go back
to work, I'll be emotionally prepared. I do alright most of the time,
but there are definitely things that "trigger" my grief to rise to the
surface and I often just need a good cry. Isaac has been so
supportive, allowing me to rest and grieve (and not do any
housework!). I can't even make breakfast without getting short of
breath. My lungs just start to burn if I'm moving around too much.
I'm anemic, and I just don't have enough oxygen-carrying red blood
cells to feed my body. I know it will take time to recover, and it's
so hard to not be able to do things as simple as walking around the
block or carrying around my daughter.

I've been very burdened by the question: "will we have any more
children?" I absolutely loved being pregnant with Judah and Galilee,
but as of now, I'm terrified of trying again. This last pregnancy
almost killed me. I had my heart set on having a third baby, once we
knew we were expecting Samuel. But... if we have a third baby, it's
not a replacement... it's not the same. It will be different timing
and an entirely different situation. I'm just not ready to make those
kinds of decisions right now, and I'm not even ready to talk about it
with Isaac. This past week, in church, I felt God telling me to just
release this burden back to him and let him carry it for me. He told
me that if I'm to have more children, he will surprise us, and I don't
have to worry about this. What a relief! [update 1/12/12: it turns
out that I became pregnant again 3 months later, and lost that baby,
too, at about 6 weeks... it's been a VERY difficult journey!]

I love my family. I love my friends. I love my God. I miss my
baby... but I do believe that I'll see him again one day. And who
better to take care of my child for me, but God himself? Jesus loves
children. And I know he greatly loves me!

Miscarriage Part 4

I later found out from a friend at my hospital that here, in NYS, a
miscarried baby before 20 weeks is considered "nothing" to the state
due to abortion laws. I, as the mother, can do whatever I want with
my baby's body.... the hospital had NO RIGHT to the baby, and all the
hoops they made me jump through to take him home were unnecessary.

At this time, the doctors all came back in and said they were ready
for me, for surgery. Khristeena-- bless her heart!-- said she would
stay with Isaac until I was awake. I really don't know what I would
have done without her. She blessed us with her kindness more than she
could ever know.

They wheeled me into the hallway. I remember thinking that I must look
just terrible... pale, sweaty, in a bloody tank top... I tried to not
make eye contact with anyone in the hallway. When we got to the
elevator, some paramedics were bringing someone in on a stretcher.
"No... you guys go first," they said. "This looks important, and we
can wait." Oh... I look that bad, huh?

They took me up in the elevator. I asked someone to hold onto my
glasses for me. I explained that I really can't see very well without
them, and waking up from surgery will be hard enough without being
able to see. They told me "well, there's not going to be much to
see... but ok."

A sweet woman came up to me and said she'll be my anesthesiologist.
She asked if I had any false teeth, dentures, etc. and then asked to
see my teeth. "Oh, perfect mouth!" she said. I thought, "well, at
least something about me is nice right now!"

Darlene, my circulating nurse, introduced herself to me. "I'll be with
you the whole time. I'm not going to leave."

"Thank you for taking care of me," I said.

They made me take off my wedding ring and engagement ring in case they
had to give me more fluids and my fingers swelled. I was very sad
taking them off. It almost felt like I was saying goodbye to Isaac. I
tried to just tell myself that I was being overly sensitive and
dramatic, but I think he was thinking the same things. He leaned in
and gave me the most sensitive and sweet kiss we've ever shared. "I
love you so much, Sigrid."

They wheeled me into the OR. I saw animal murals on the ceiling...
this was a Children's hospital after all. "Oh... this is a happy OR,"
I mumbled to myself.

Then, Dr. Hunter (the male OB resident that was rough with me) came
into the room. He was the one to assist with my surgery?? Oh man... I
was really not happy about that. I knew I had to try to make amends
with him for telling him off earlier-- before I was unconscious!

"Is Dr. Hunter here? Dr. Hunter, I want to apologize for yelling at
you and screaming during your pelvic. It wasn't you..."

The nurses all began to snicker. I think I embarrassed him. Oops! "It
was just the dilaudid making her loopy," I heard him whisper to the

They had me scoot over from the gurney to the OR table and put my feet
in the stirrups.

Next thing I knew, I'm breathing some "Oxygen" through a mask and all
of a sudden got very sleepy.

I guess the surgery itself only lasted about half hour, because Isaac
said Dr. Baliya came in shortly afterward and said I was all done and
"did great." He explained that there had been a lot of clots still
inside, and I had a very irregular and thick uterine lining that they
had to remove. The surgery had been absolutely necessary, otherwise I
would have just kept on bleeding. I was gone from Isaac and Khristeena
for a total of two hours (from about 9:45 pm until 11:45 pm), so I
must have been unconscious in recovery for a while.

When I woke up, I remember seeing a dinosaur with a spiky tail painted
on the ceiling. I was so confused. Where was I again? And then... oh
the pain! My right hand shot up to the right side of my mouth. Did
they punch me in the face? Why does my mouth hurt so bad?? My head
started flopping back and forth from the left to the right. I felt
like I had no control over my head.

"Why does my mouth hurt so bad? Can you support my head? I can't
control it. Please help me. My throat feels like it was burned with

"You sound just like one of my little kids... that's what the children
all say," my nurse said.

She seemed like she was in a terrible hurry, but she did help fluff up
my pillow so that my head stopped flopping around. Someone handed me
my glasses. They had been right... there really wasn't much to see and
I just closed my eyes anyway.

"What is wrong with my mouth? I have a fat lip!"

"That's just from how she taped the breathing tube... your lip is fine."

For the next four days, the inside of my right upper lip felt
completely raw. I had terrible mouth sores. My teeth hurt, like I had
gotten punched or had fallen face first on the ground. My throat
burned so bad from being intubated. The plastic smell and sensation of
burning was painful. In the following days, I could tell that my vocal
chords had been badly irritated, because it hurt after too much
talking and forget about yelling or singing.

As I lay there in recovery (I was the only one there on a Sunday
night... and the nurses all made it a point to tell me that they had
been called in from home for my surgery. Sorry that it was so
inconvenient to you that I was dying!), I overheard Dr. Hunter
dictating about the surgery. "26 year old Gravida 3 Para 2 presents to
ER for hemorrhage after missed miscarriage..." "emergency D&C..."
"Dilated the cervix to 9 cm..."

Wow. I was dilated to 9? That's a lot. I think maybe he meant 9mm...
but I swore I heard cm.

I got wheeled up to room 515. As soon as they positioned my bed, I saw
a poster of a mom holding a baby, and a handwritten note on the
whiteboard saying "forms to complete before discharge: Shaken Baby
Video." This was their postpartum overflow floor. I immediately asked
Isaac to erase the note off the whiteboard and turn the poster around.
"Isaac... this is the first time I'll leave a hospital as a patient
without a baby in my arms."

When the nurse, Cindy, came to introduce herself, I begged her to not
let me feel any pain. "After my c-section, they didn't tell me that I
had to ask for pain meds and everything wore off. It hurt so bad...
please don't let that happen."

"Oh, dear, you shouldn't have any pain. Probably just more cramping.
There's no incision, it's not that kind of surgery. You should be
feeling better soon. Tell me if you do have pain, and I'll help."

I asked her why I felt I had to pee again so badly. She told me that
they always give lasix (a diuretic) to transfusion patients so that
they didn't go into fluid overload. I told her that my bladder was
painful because it was so full.

"Well, let's get you up to the bathroom!" she said.

Was she crazy? I couldn't stand up! I was still lightheaded and dizzy,
and very very weak. "I can't," I said.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes... unless you want me to pass out!"

"Oh, well, maybe next time."

She gave me a bed pan. Then, she stayed for a few minutes in our room.
The first 15 minutes that a bag of blood is hung for a transfusion,
the nurse must be in the room in case of a transfusion reaction. [I,
unfortunately, did have a delayed transfusion reaction 3 weeks later.
I didn't know that this was even possible! I had a terrible immune
response to the blood products that caused a hot, itchy rash, muscle
aches, and joint pain. But... that's a story for another day!]

Before she left, 15 minutes later, I told her I had to pee again.
"Seriously?" she asked.


This was going to be a long night. The stupid lasix had me up and
peeing every 20-30 minutes (on a bed pan!). The IV kept beeping
anytime I would bend my arms. Cindy had to come in to change the blood
bags every couple hours. I didn't get any sleep.

During that second bag of blood, I experienced something very strange.
I described it to Isaac as "waves of silence." Every few seconds, a
sound like an ocean wave would crescendo in my ears, and then die down
to absolute silence. The ocean roar was deafening, but it was followed
with absolute nothingness. It was very disturbing. I didn't know what
it was, but it was frightening. I had just been given my second
methergine shot, as well (another bee sting!), and that made me very
anxious with a pounding heart and heavy breathing. I began to think
about all the things that had happened to me in the past two days, and
I became very sad. ('Sad' seems like such an inappropriate word, but
it really does describe my emotion the best).

I was finally alone in my room... it was dark, the nurse was gone, and
Isaac was sleeping on the pull out chair. I began to pray. I needed
strength!!! I was overwhelmed with grief and started to pity myself. I
had kept all emotion walled up during the craziness of the day, and it
was all hitting me now, like a ton of bricks. "Jesus, please help me.
I need you!"

All of a sudden, I felt His presence in the room. It was so real to
me. I imagined Jesus behind me in my bed and he was wrapping his arms
around me. I was filled with peace. It was indescribable. I knew
people had been praying for me, and Jesus was answering their prayers.
It was so weird... I really felt like I was in this place in between
life and death. I've never felt anything like it before.

My faith has definitely been strengthened in all of this.

This is my facebook status update from Saturday night:
Grieving the loss of our little baby... I am having a miscarriage.
Please pray for God to quickly heal my body and my heart. Praise the
Lord for his faithfulness in all circumstances!!!"

54 comments of love from my friends following:
Leanna: Oh Sigrid! I will pray God to be right by your side. Love you!
Bethany: oh Sigrid I am so sorry. Praying that God wraps you in the
comfort of his arms.
Peter: We are so sorry for you and Isaac. Remember God is Sovereign.
Hang on to Him"
David: Sigrid, I pray you and Isaac experience God's love and
presence, and his peace. So sorry for your loss.
Cara: So sorry! Praying right now that the Lord will wrap His loving
arms around you all right now and comfort you.
Andrea: Dear Sigrid, I am so very very sorry to hear your news. My
thoughts and prayers are with you. God is close to the brokenhearted.
Hold on to that. My heart is heavy with you. Praying.

Little did they know just how real God's presence would be that weekend!

Sunday night, in room 515, after my surgery and during my
transfusions, I used my iPod touch (I am SO glad I had that with me!)
to read all these encouraging notes and prayers. I updated my facebook

Thanks for all the prayers. I definitely feel supernatural peace. God
is good. Please pray for my physical recovery now... I am in the
hospital, got 4 units of blood, a unit of plasma, tons of fluids, and
had to have surgery. I feel very weak. But when I am weak, I am
strong!!!! I will therefore delight in my weakness.

Chrissy: So powerful to read those words, Sigrid. Praise His name for
the peace that passes understanding and strength He provides in the
most difficult of situations. ♥ you!
Candi: Sigrid-you are one of the most amazing people I am blessed to
know. You have this Godly, strong faith that is such a testament to
Christ and his sacrifice! I am praying for you, Issac, and the kids.
Let me know if you need anything. I would like to make you dinner, if
you need it. Let me know if I can bring something over!
Diana: Praise the Lord for how you are giving glory to HIM even in
your pain and sorrow. This trial is gold for you, Sigrid!

Going through my text messages on my phone also made me smile.
While I was in surgery, Leah texted: "Go Holy Spirit - charles just
prayed such profound words regarding your guys' faith and for your
whole family."

It was a long night, full of lots of tears, and lots of prayers.
Eventually, I think I just accepted the fact that I would not be
having another baby, but that I had two beautiful and perfect children
waiting for me at home.

In the morning, I decided I was WAY past due for a shower, and finally
felt strong enough to stand. I was still wearing my bloody tanktop and
my legs had never fully been cleaned of all the bleeding. At
Children's hospital, there are two public showers on each floor. I
gathered the little bottle of shampoo and the meager (thin and tiny)
towels and washcloths they gave me as well as the change of clothes
Isaac grabbed as he headed out the door for the ambulance on Sunday. I
hobbled down the hall to the shower, hung my things on the little
hooks in the stall, and decided to keep the hospital socks on as I
showered (who knew what lurked on the hospital floor). I undressed and
turned the water on. It felt so warm and so relaxing. I hadn't
realized just how sore my muscles were. As the steam filled the little
shower room, I just started to cry. I had been through so much in the
past two days. It was totally overwhelming. I looked own at my
abdomen. It was totally flat, where just the day before, I had the
beginnings of a cute little baby bump. I was so excited those last few
weeks of pregnancy because I had finally started "to show." All of my
colleagues at work had started to notice that I was expecting. I was
so looking forward to feeling my little baby kick, swish, and roll
within me. I was excited about being the "cute pregnant girl" again. I
always felt so much more beautiful when pregnant. And now... that baby
bump was totally gone.

It already looked as though I had never been pregnant at all.

I had gone through nearly 3 months of nausea and fatigue in the first
trimester of pregnancy. I remember thinking, as I was living through
it, that it was A LOT of work to grow a baby! Then I had labored and
birthed, bled, and almost died. And now I had *nothing* to show for it
all. It was as if that whole chapter of my life-- joyously
anticipating the birth of our third child-- had been violently ripped
out of my life story.

I took my washcloth and gingerly tried to wash the tape residue left
over my IVs from my arms, but the bruises were too tender. The tape
residue remained on my arms for a whole week-- another lingering
reminder of my "trials."

I got out of the shower, pulled myself together emotionally, and got
dressed. It felt so good to be in new clothes! I felt so much better
to be clean and dressed.

When I got back to the room, true to her promise, Sister Brenda came
to visit. She brought us a sweet surprise-- our little baby. He was
untouched, in his little bag. She had tenderly wrapped his bag in a
soft white blanket with little ties on the side. This kind of blanket
was designed for cradling little babies that leave the world before
their time. It was so so so sad to see that MY little baby was inside.
She gave us some paperwork about miscarriage from their bereavement
program and gave us two little golden rings as mementos to help
remember our baby. I plan to make a necklace with mine, and Isaac will
carry his in his wallet. That way, we will always have a reminder of
our sweet little angel.

When Brenda left, I just cradled that soft little blanket in my lap.
It was so nice to have something to hold in my previously empty arms.
I kissed the bundle and snuggled it close. I read Psalm 139 to my
little baby and told him how much I missed him. He taught me so much
in his brief life.

I knew we needed to name our baby. He was too little to know for sure
what gender he was, but Isaac and I both felt in our hearts that he
was our son. I told Isaac that his name had to reflect how God had
strengthened our faith. I looked down at the Bible in my lap for
inspiration. We had just read about how King David had lost his baby
boy that he had with Bathsheba. The passage was from 2 Samuel. "How
about Samuel David?" I asked. Samuel was a little boy dedicated to the
Lord and loved deeply by his mother Hannah. David was a man after
God's own heart, who knew the pain of losing a son and who
demonstrated great faith. It seemed fitting.

It was nice to have a name for our baby. I spent the rest of the
morning cradling Samuel in his little bundle and just thinking about
all the sweet plans we had for his life. Isaac and I were very sad and
solemn that morning. At one point, Isaac kissed me and told me so
sincerely that he loved me very much and he was glad I was still with
him here on earth. He had the most beautiful smile. I have always
loved Isaac's smile lines-- the little crinkly wrinkles by his eyes
and the deep dimple-lines around his mouth when he grins. With the sun
streaming in through the window, his colors- his skin, his eyes, his
hair- were all radiant. He was just incredibly handsome to me in that
moment and my heart swelled with pride that I was his wife. I realized
that he loved me so much and was showing it in the best way he knew
how-- by just listening to me grieve while holding my hand and telling
me how proud he was of me.

I then realized that Judah had Vacation Bible School that morning. We
called my mom to ask her to drop him off. Isaac then called the church
to tell them that Judah's grandmother would be dropping him off,
because his parents were in the hospital. They asked if we would like
if someone from the church came to visit us. I told them that I would
like that very much!

In the course of the morning, two of the men from Kenmore Alliance
came to see us. We were so blessed... we had only been going to
Kenmore Alliance Church (KAC) for about 6 weeks. The first visitor-
Gerry- was so sweet and so kind. He said his wife had had a
miscarriage many years ago and we could tell that he felt very
sympathetic to our pain. He got choked up emotionally when he prayed
for us, and I could tell that he was still affected 20 years later by
his loss. He prayed for us and I felt so encouraged.

After Gerry left, another man, Dave, came to see us. He told us that
his first baby had been born still. He was also deeply connected to
our grief. He shared a passage of scripture that resonated strongly
with me. 2 Corinthians 1: 3 "Praise be to the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all
comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort
those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

This had been the basis for my nursing philosophy that we had to write
in nursing school. God was telling me yet again that the experiences
that he was allowing me to live through, as difficult as they were,
were only going to refine me and shape me. I would be able to take the
comfort God was giving me and share it with those that will need
comfort in the future.

After Dave left, my mom came to pick us up from the hospital. Isaac
had ridden in the ambulance with me, so we didn't have a car to drive
home. She was watching the children, so of course, she brought them
with her. When they first popped into that hospital room, I was
SHOCKED at how beautiful Galilee was! I didn't remember her being so
gorgeous! Those big blue eyes just sparkled and her her sandy blonde
hair shined in the sunlight from the window. She smiled a big toothy
grin, waved her little hand at me, and said "hi!" My heart just
melted. I felt so privileged in that moment to be her mom. I will
never ever ever again take my babies for granted. They are such
miracles. Just Beautiful!!!

Judah climbed right up into my bed and started playing with the
buttons to raise and lower it. He remembered the hospital from when
Galilee was born. He was so excited... he had just finished his first
day at Vacation Bible School. He showed me his craft that he had made
and his picture he had colored.

He took a good look at me and smiled. His last memory of me had been
of me moaning and yelling as I was laboring to birth Samuel, and then
of the paramedics taking me away on a stretcher. He seemed relieved to
see me sitting up in bed, smiling at him. "Mommy! You all better
now!!!" He exclaimed. "You come home with Judah?"

"Yes, honey, I'm coming home... and I am much better. But Mommy is
still sick and weak and I'm not all better yet."

"Oh," he said as he pondered what I had said. He thought for a minute
and then said "our baby stopped growing in mommy's tummy." He looked
thoughtful. "Maybe there will be a new baby in your tummy, Mommy!"

"Oh, sweetie... I don't know about that! But I am so glad that I
already have two beautiful babies!"

"Judah and Galilee!" he said cheerfully. Oh my, I love my little cuties so much!

Miscarriage Part 3

After a while, the nurse who had told me to clean myself came in and told me "I have to take the fetus."


"I was told you brought the fetus here, and I have to take it to pathology."

"NO! You are not allowed to take my baby!" I screamed at her.

"I have to... it's the rules."

"I won't let you! He's not yours, he's mine! I had him, and he's my baby!"

The nurse seemed very unsympathetic and actually appeared annoyed that I wouldn't let her take him. What is wrong with this picture? I just had a *traumatic* miscarriage. Everything was still so fresh. Where was the compassion??

"Well, rules are rules. I'll have to call the chaplain in... you can talk with her. She was the one who told me to take the baby." And then she walked out.

At this point, I was shaking. "Isaac- hide the baby! Put him in my purse! They can't take him if they don't know where he is!"

A little while later, Sister Brenda, from Pastoral Care, came in the room. I knew she was there to take my baby away, so I immediately felt like I couldn't trust her.

She came to the side of my bed and whispered, "I'm so sorry this happened to you..."

"Can you pray for me?" I asked her.

"Of course... Lord Jesus... please bring comfort and healing to Sigrid in a special way..." Her prayer was beautiful and heartfelt. I still just could not bring myself to trust her.

She began to explain the situation. "I talked to our legal department and to pathology. We're going to need to see the baby for testing... and then I'll take him to the undertaker. And then we'll give him back."

"How much will that cost?"

"I know an undertaker who will do this for you for free. But... your baby will have to be cremated."

My heart started screaming inside of me. I got very upset. "NO! You CAN'T burn my baby! I gave birth to him whole and perfect. He's mine! I don't understand! Why do you think you can take him away from me?? He was never yours! He's ours!" I began shaking and hyperventilating.

"Sigrid, breathe! In and out. Just breathe. Breathe." Khristeena was very serious. I knew she meant business. I was getting so worked up. It wasn't good for me.

"I'll make some more calls and see what I can do," Sister Brenda said. She knew there was no reasoning with me at that time. Apparently, my reaction caused quite a stir on the floor. We began to hear a lot of mumblings between doctors and nurses that I wouldn't let them have "the fetus." When the doctor came in later that night, I heard him whisper to the chaplain: "did you take care of that issue yet?"

What a terrible night this was. The emotional weight of everything was just crushing. I began to think about Judah and Galilee. It was bad enough that I lost one baby... what if my other babies lost their mom? I really thought I could die.

The residents came back. I had started bleeding again. They wanted to "evacuate" my cervix of clots. I begged for them to let Khristeena do it. "Honey, they won't let me" she whispered to me. She held my right hand while Isaac held my left. It was torture. I definitely began screaming again.

"I just can't believe how anterior your cervix is!" Dr. Shields kept exclaiming. "I honestly can't believe that you had a vaginal birth with the way your uterus is tilted! And you're so small, too! How did you have such a huge baby??" Ok... first, you insult my body... then you insult my baby... not cool.

"Isn't it great that birth works?" Khristeena said to try to quiet the resident from making these ridiculous and insensitive 'observations.' Oh man, she is my midwife-role model!

The OB attending physician, Dr. Baliya, came in and told me that we were just waiting for the ultrasound tech to get here (wow, that sounds familiar! Deja vu!) to do a sonogram to determine how much tissue was still inside of my uterus before they could decide if I would need surgery or not. If there was still tissue inside, my body would just continue bleeding to try and flush out all those clots unless they went in surgically to remove them with a D&C. I desperately did not want surgery!

Khristeena kept telling me to imagine my uterus closing up. I tried so hard. I visualized myself just turning off a faucet. I felt a lot of cramping and was hoping that the pitocin was working to close off all those blood vessels... but it wasn't. I was still bleeding very heavily.

At that point, Dr. Shields, the female resident, came in and said I had to have Methergine. It's a drug that will also help to contract my uterus down. Apparently, at this stage of pregnancy, I didn't have enough oxytocin receptors in my uterus for the pitocin to work effectively.

A nurse came in and gave me the methergine shot in my arm. It felt like a bee sting. Shortly after, I got very lightheaded and my heart started pounding. I felt very anxious. Apparently these are all side effects.

The nurse then came in and drew a vial of blood from my IV. "Are you drawing another CBC?" I asked.

"Type and Screen" she answered.

"Oh." I knew that meant I was getting a transfusion. Wow.

At that point, the ER doc came in and told me that my Hemoglobin count went from 12 to 8 in about an hour and that I was going to get four units of blood and a unit of fresh frozen plasma. WHAT? Seriously? That's a lot of blood!

The nurse came in and hooked up the first bag of blood. The IV in my right arm began throbbing. It hurt so bad. I told her it didn't feel right. I think the IV had infiltrated, because I now have a large bruise at the site. She unhooked it and reattached it to the IV in my left arm. Much better.

After about half hour, the ER doc came in with the transfusion consent form. "Sorry... I signed off for you as emergency consent because you were so critical." I was? Really? Wow...

I tried to pick up the pen and sign my name for consent, but my hands were so weak and shaky. I remember thinking "I hope this is ok, because that doesn't look like my signature!"

Finally... at about 9:00... 5 hours after we left our house by ambulance... the Ultrasound tech finally got there! It was the same sweet woman that I had the day before. She was so nice... but why the heck did she make me wait HOURS two days in a row? She recognized me: "Oh, it's you again! Honey, I'm so sorry..."

She did the sonogram at the bedside and it was determined that I did, indeed, need surgery and then I'd be admitted overnight for observation. They just needed to wait until I got my first unit of blood and they had to call in all their on-call surgery people in from home. Note: if you are going to hemorrhage, don't do it on a weekend! Dr. Baliya explained that they would use a special tool to dilate my cervix and then use a suction curette to scrape out the lining of my uterus and any remaining "products of conception." I kept asking questions about how they were going to dilate me, since I knew that was the riskiest part. "Oh yes, it's risky. I could puncture the uterus! But, of course, that's not going to happen to you! Don't worry. And, I just want to tell you, that this didn't happen because of anything you did. It is not you or your husband's fault. Usually these things happen because there was a mistake with the baby."

I just nodded my head. I refuse to believe there was anything wrong with our baby. He was perfect. The doctor was only trying to comfort me. He failed miserably in the comfort, but I knew he only meant well.

This day was just getting worse and worse.

"Well... God is just giving me more opportunities to grow! I'm going to be an amazing midwife after all of this!" I joked.

I asked the ultrasound tech if our ultrasound was still on her computer upstairs and if it was possible to get a picture printed of our baby. "I'll try my best" she said. She came through for us, and I now have a sonogram picture of my sweet little baby. I'm so so so happy that I have this.

Sister Brenda came back. She found some turkey sandwiches and juice for Isaac to eat and drink. I was so grateful that she found something for him! I had been worried that he would be starving because he hadn't eaten since before noon. I had been asking all day for someone to bring something for him to drink. She also brought me a fan from her office. I had been complaining earlier because there was no air conditioning in my room and I was very flushed and sweating. That little fan felt so good!

She told me that she made some phone calls about the baby... he did indeed have to go to pathology. I made a face and started to cry. She said: "wait, wait! Listen to what I have to say! They said that they won't touch the baby... they'll just look at him through the bag to make sure that he's all there... then they'll release him back to you!"

I was so relieved. I desperately desired to have my baby to say goodbye to. We really felt we needed to properly bury him.

"But... where can I put him? Is there a fridge on the 5th floor?"

"I'll find out... but if not... I'll keep him in the refrigerator in my office."

AH! I was so happy I could kiss her! I started off feeling like I couldn't trust her... and wow, she really came through for me! I know that it is a total miracle that God allowed for the baby to come home- intact- with us.

Miscarriage Part 2

Sunday morning, I got out of bed early. I was starving. I wasn't
allowed to eat at all while I was at the hospital, and now my body was
complaining about missed calories the day before. I poured myself a
bowl of cereal and then sat at the computer. I googled "what to expect
during a natural miscarriage" and read some other women's stories. It
seemed pretty straightforward. My cramping might become more severe,
and then I would pass the baby, placenta, and membranes... and then
this would all be over.
Isaac's phone chirped. We got a text. Our nephew Devon was born that
morning. I cried.
We stayed home from church that morning. I faithfully monitored my
temperature: 100 degrees. I had a low fever, I felt lousy, and I
continued cramping and bleeding all morning. I put on red panties and
red shorts... in case I started to bleed more, they wouldn't stain as
much (little did I know!). I wrote a long e-mail to my friend Annie. I
mentioned that my cramping was starting to feel like early labor
contractions. I sent the email at 2:04pm. As soon as I finished up
the e-mail, things got WAY more intense. The next 40 minutes were
excruciating. It honestly felt like labor, except instead of
contractions a minute or two apart, these contractions were 15 seconds
apart. I got practically no break from the intense pressure. I had a
natural labor and birth with Galilee... 15 hours of labor with no pain
meds... so I know that I can cope well with pain. This, though, was so
hard. It hit me really hard and really fast and I didn't get chance to
rest in between contractions.
I tried to use my hypnobabies techniques that I learned for Galilee's
birth, but it was so hard to focus. I just couldn't cope with the
intensity. Isaac brought me my big exercise (labor/birth) ball to sit
on while I labored. I moaned and yelled... my children were so
confused. I felt terrible that I was scaring them, but I could not
control myself from vocalizing so loudly. I never thought that
miscarriage would be that intense... but wow. It was honestly worse
than childbirth.
At 2:45, I suddenly felt a "pop" inside me. I think my little bag of
waters broke. "Something's coming out!" I yelled. I got up and ran to
the bathroom. I knew in my heart the baby was about to be born, and I
DID NOT want to lose him into the toilet. Without really thinking, I
grabbed Judah's little potty training seat and squatted over it. Sure
enough, out slid our tiny little baby. I knew right away... he was
pink and perfectly formed. "Isaac! It's our baby!" I squealed. It is a
miracle that we caught him. In all of the miscarriage stories I read,
most women never see their babies. For those that do, most are still
inside their amniotic sacs. Our baby was completely whole, separate
from all other tissue, with a tiny little umbilical cord coming from
his belly. He was amazing... we could see his little vertebrae and
ribs... his arms and legs... his eyes... mouth... even his fingers and
toes. Beautiful.
I had been anxious about what he was going to look like, since he had
died weeks before. But, God really blessed us in that our baby was
whole, pink, and perfectly formed.
God blessed us then with a few minutes of peace. My cramping and
bleeding miraculously stopped for a short time and we were able to
take pictures of our sweet little one. I was, surprisingly, very
happy. It was such a miracle to get to see and hold my baby. I had
worked hard for him, and I was glad to have those precious moments
alone with him. It was such a beautiful time... just my husband and
our baby and me. I have no idea what our other kids were doing at
this time, but I'm so glad that they were behaving!
Isaac took our baby and placed him in a plastic bag with some water
and he put him in the refrigerator. Immediately, my cramping picked up
and I began to bleed. A LOT. I couldn't get off the toilet. I was
gushing blood. I called my midwife and left a message on her phone.
"Khristeena, I just passed the baby, but now I'm bleeding pretty
heavily... when do I know when it's too much blood? Please call me."
I tried putting on a pad, but it soaked completely through in less
than 15 minutes. I sat back on the toilet. Every time I tried to
wipe the blood away, I just dripped more blood on my hand. I know
this is gross, but I filled the toilet bowl with blood twice in only
about 30 minutes. I was passing huge blood clots and the rest of the
bleeding was bright, red, fresh blood. At this point, I knew I could
be in trouble. Khristeena called back and asked a few questions about
the baby and if I had passed any other tissue- membranes? placenta? I
hadn't... I knew that if my body didn't expel these tissues, that I'd
just keep on bleeding until they came out. "Ok, Sigrid, put on a pad
and go lay down. Call your mom to come and stay with the kids in case
you need to call an ambulance. You already passed the baby, so tell
your body that you don't need to bleed anymore. Imagine your uterus
closing. Turn off the bleeding. Do you want me to come over and
examine you? You might have some tissue caught on your cervix. I can
try to release clots and give you a shot of pitocin." [I absolutely
love this midwife. She is a CNM and a CPM as well as a WHNP. She is
so caring and compassionate and very thoughtful at trying to honor and
respect her client's wishes. She knew I had a bad experience at the
ER the day before and wanted to try to avoid the hospital if we
I was so touched that she would come to my home... "You would do that
for me?" [also helpful to note that this was the first homebirth i had
planned, and I was a new client of Khristeena's. My first birth was a
hospital induction-turned c-section, and my second birth was a natural
VBAC in hospital with a CNM].
"Of course I would! I will leave in a few minutes!"
I slowly stood up and made my way to the couch. I had Isaac slide a
thick pillow under my hips so that I could be in trendelenburg (where
your head is lower than the rest of your body). I was cramping so
badly. All of a sudden, I felt a huge clot and gush of blood release
from my body. It felt like an explosion.... I knew this was BAD. I
called Khristeena and told her I was getting worried. She said "Ok,
hang up, and call 911 right now. They'll take you to the hospital.
Call me when you're settled and I'll meet you wherever they take you."
It turns out that my body was using up all of my platelets trying to
clot off the hemorrhage. I would create these HUGE clots (like
placenta-sized!) and then they would eventually release like a dam
giving way. It was a crazy sensation and very very scary.
I dialed 911 and got put on hold!!! I couldn't believe it. "All
operators are currently assisting others. Please DO NOT hang up." It
took about 4 minutes before I finally got through to an operator. I
gave them my name and address and then said "I just had a miscarriage
and now I'm hemorrhaging. Please come quick." I just lay on my couch,
checking my pulse... it was about 90... not bad just yet. Khristeena
called and I told her I was feeling ok, but bleeding a lot.
"Isaac, you have to get my shoes, my purse, and a change of clothes
for me... Is my mom here, yet??"
"She's on her way."
Thank God, my kids were as content as could be, playing quietly in
another room. Isaac was busy in the kitchen; he had started baking
cookies before everything got crazy! He knows chocolate chip cookies
are my favorite food in the world and he was so thoughtful in trying
to cheer me up. I just lay on the couch, checking my pulse
occasionally, and willing my body to stop bleeding.
The fire department was there less than 10 minutes later. Several big
burly men came in and asked me questions. I knew they were checking to
see if I was alert and oriented. To my surprise, my friend Edie was
there. She is with the Grand Island Volunteer Fire Department. She
told me she got the call that there was a miscarriage and came
straight over. She was so surprised to see that it was me. She held my
hand and told me that I'd be ok. [I later found out that another young
man from my old church was there on the call. His mom told me months
later that he came home that day and told her: "mom, there is a girl
from church that we need to pray for right now... it was BAD." It was
so encouraging to know that from the very beginning, I had people
praying over me.]
They asked if I was sure I had miscarried and how long I had been
bleeding. "I had the baby at 2:45 and have been bleeding since then.
The baby is in our refrigerator." I remember thinking that that
statement sounded just so ridiculous. It was now about 3:45.
They started an 18 gauge IV in my right arm right away and started IV
fluids. They said they were just waiting for Twin Cities (the
ambulance) to get there. It seemed like it was taking forever. I kept
peeking at the clock... 4:00. I had been hemorrhaging for an hour and
15 minutes. I looked down at my lap... my shorts were completely
soaked in blood. I got an idea: after childbirth, when moms have
postpartum hemorrhages, it helps to nurse their babies because
breastfeeding releases oxytocin which is the same hormone that
contracts the uterus. I knew that breastfeeding Galilee might help to
clamp my uterus down to stop the bleeding. I asked for my baby, and
everyone looked a little confused. "No... not the baby... Galilee...
bring her to me." Someone laid her next to me on the couch and I began
to nurse her in front of all those firemen. This is by far my favorite
breastfeeding memory... She started to play with my hair and she made
sweet "MMMMmmmmMMM" noises of satisfaction. She kept rubbing her
chubby little legs against my body, and her legs and feet got all
bloody. It was almost comical. I was so glad that I had a baby to
nurse and hold in my arms at that time. It made things just a little
less scary.
FINALLY, the ambulance got there. They transferred me to a stretcher,
buckled me up, and slowly carried me out to the rig. I asked Isaac to
stay with me, but they wouldn't let him ride in the back... he had to
ride in the passenger seat up front. I told them to take me to
Children's, since that's where we were yesterday and they knew me. Big
mistake... It was, again, terrible. I sooo should have gone to my
hospital (a catholic hospital that I know would have had more
sensitivity and respect for my little baby), but at the time, I
thought a little anonymity would be good.
The paramedic kept asking me if I wanted the head of my bed raised.
"NO!" I said emphatically. He was surprised with my reaction. I knew
that if I sat up, I would pass out. I was terrified of losing
consciousness. I had never fainted before, and I was afraid that if I
passed out, I would wake up after surgery and not know where I was. I
knew that, without consciousness, there would be no way to advocate
for myself. I started to feel really funny... I was going into shock.
My heart was racing (Isaac told me that for the next few hours, my
heart rate stayed above 120 at all times) and my blood pressure
dropped to 70/50. I was sweating. My hands and feet were freezing. The
paramedic kept checking my pupils and he told me "it's ok if you pass
out. I'm here... I'll take care of you." I fought it so hard. I did
not pass out. "I'm O+, in case you need to know" I said weakly. "Oh,
don't worry! We're not going to transfuse you! We can't do that here.
Just relax..."
I got extremely nauseous just then. I told them I thought I was going
to vomit. I think they gave me Zofran in my IV because I quickly began
to feel better. They wouldn't drive anywhere though, until after my
nausea went away. We sat on the street, not moving, for 10-15 minutes.
It seemed like such a long time and I started getting anxious. "Why
aren't we moving?" I kept asking.
The paramedic in the ambulance with me tried to start a second IV in
my left arm. By now, though, all my veins had collapsed because I was
so hypovolemic. He had a really hard time getting it in. I knew this
meant I had lost a lot of blood. I have never had a problem with my
veins before. Phlebotomists always remark: "You've got great veins!"
The paramedic was very friendly. I told him that I was an OB nurse at
Sisters and that I didn't get squeamish at the sight of blood. He told
me that that was a good thing, because I was his bloodiest patient
I remember thinking "why don't they put their sirens on? Why is this
taking so long??" My bladder was filling up from all the IV fluids and
was incredibly painful. I remember telling them that I had to pee so
bad. The only two thoughts on my mind at this time: "I have to pee and
this is taking so long!" The paramedic told me that I shouldn't
pee... that that might be "the only thing keeping you conscious right
now." I didn't understand what he was saying, and I remember thinking
that it was so cruel to not let me pee!
Finally, the paramedic called in to the ER and told them my vital
signs, age, and status. "We're two minutes out" he said. We were
almost there-- Thank God!
We finally roll in. The first person I saw in the ER was my triage
nurse from yesterday. She recognized me and her face fell. "It's you!"
she said. She seemed very surprised that I was back. I feel like the
staff from Saturday didn't believe me that I was having a miscarriage.
Even though there was NO HEARTBEAT on ultrasound and I had been
cramping and bleeding... and I was supposed to be 12 weeks pregnant,
and had the HCG of a 5 week pregnancy and the baby was measuring 9
weeks... Um... hello!
They put me in room 5. There was no air conditioning in there and it
was so hot. They hooked me up to monitors right away. I remember
insisting that I had to pee. "Please, get me a bed pan or a straight
cath!" I begged.
Finally, a nurse came in with a bed pan and helped me remove my bloody
shorts. When I began to urinate, bearing down just slightly, a
humungous clot and a lot of blood came out... filling the bed pan. It
felt just like passing my placenta after Galilee was born. It was
huge. I began to freak out! "I'm BLEEDING" I whined.
The nurse was very kind to me and told me that my bleeding was slowing
down now that I passed that huge clot. She helped me to remove my
clothing and she sweetly gave me a sponge bath. I remember remarking
to her that she was so kind and that "it feels so good to have someone
take care of me."
Unfortunately, my care at the hospital only went downhill from there...
The ER attending (a different doc from Saturday) came in and
introduced himself. He seemed relieved that my bleeding was slowing
down. He told me they had just sent some bloodwork and he was going to
have the "OB guys" come down to look at me. He saw the red plastic
"biohazard" bag on the counter that the paramedics had put our baby in
and went over to take it with him as he headed out the door.
"Please... don't take our baby. We want to keep him so we can bury
him." He looked confused... and sympathetic... and he returned the
baby to the counter and left.
At this point, my bleeding picked up again. All of a sudden, my door
flung open and two young OB residents walked in. "I'm Dr. Shields and
this is Dr. Hunter. We're going to examine you." Dr. Shields, the
female OB began to do a pelvic exam. Oh, man, did that hurt. I've
never had a pelvic exam hurt before. I could tell she was trying to
remove some clots. "Here, you try," she said to her partner. Dr.
Hunter, the male resident, tried doing a pelvic. It hurt even worse. I
began screaming. "You're hurting me!" I yelled. Oh. my. gosh. It hurt
so bad. They called a nurse in to give me "something for pain." Before
I could consent, they put the narcotic dilaudid into my IV.
Immediately, I began to feel terrible. I felt this heaviness creep in
through my veins until I felt like I could not move my arms or my
head. It started getting hard to breathe and I felt totally flushed
with this "warm heaviness." I told them that it made me feel
miserable... but at least I couldn't feel pain anymore. They continued
with their exam and removed several clots from my cervix.
Apparently, the dilaudid had another affect on me: it made me very
HONEST. I began getting very loud. I told the OB residents that "I'm
not a baby when it comes to pain... I had a natural birth last year
and my baby was 9.5 pounds!"
They asked me who my private OB was, and I told them that I saw a certified nurse midwife. They must have also
asked me if I had had any previous surgeries because they knew about
my cesarean. It must have clicked in their heads that Khristeena
attended homebirths, because all of a sudden, Dr. Hunter began to
lecture me.
"Were you planning a homebirth??? With a previous c-section??? That is
incredibly dangerous!!! It is a much better compromise, if you want a
natural birth, to give birth in the hospital with a midwife."
"She already did that, last summer" I overheard the nurse interject.
He continued: "I personally know two patients that were close to death
because they tried to VBAC at home... "
I could not believe that he thought it was appropriate to LECTURE me
on homebirth right now!!! Me, of all people! I am probably THE MOST
informed patient he will ever have when it comes to homebirth and
VBAC. I have read SO MUCH on the subject in the last year. Believe
me... I know what the risks are.
Well, I had had enough, and the dilaudid began to make my mouth start
working! "Well, Dr. Hunter, I am "close to death" right now!!! And you
have the audacity to lecture me about homebirth?? INAPPROPRIATE!!!
It's because of people like YOU that I never want to give birth in a
hospital again! I had a very traumatic induction and c-section in a
hospital three years ago and I HATE hospitals! I'm an OB nurse and
attend births for a living and I've seen things that residents do that
make my toes curl! I am not pregnant anymore and I might not ever have
more babies, but if I ever do, I will NEVER GIVE BIRTH in a HOSPITAL
If you know me... you know that this was very unlike me to say these
things. I don't know what happened after that, but the residents
ordered a bag of pitocin to help contract my uterus down, and then
they left the room. It was probably about 6:00 or 6:30 at this point,
and I remember just wishing every time the door opened that it would
be Khristeena. I needed someone there with me that cared for me and
that knew what was going on.
I hit my call button. Every time I pressed the button, the lady asked
me to repeat myself. They could never hear what I was saying! And even
when they did, it took FOREVER and several reminders in order to get
help. What was the point of having the stupid call button if it didn't
work??? I asked for someone to come in and get me a pair of socks (my
feet were freezing) and some maxi pads... after my pelvic exams, the
residents left me just sitting on chucks pads with no pad or
underwear... and I was just bleeding onto myself. I was a total mess.
Unfortunately, the sweet nurse who first took care of me went home at
shift change. After what seemed like forever, a new nurse finally
walked in a dumped a bunch of sponge bath supplies on my side table.
"You can clean yourself up when you're ready" and then she walked out.
What? Clean myself? I could barely move!!! Not only was my body in
shock, but I was still under the effects of the dilaudid. I could
hardly move my upper body. There was no way I was going to be able to
get up, fill the basin with water, and then sponge myself off!
IMPOSSIBLE. I was totally incredulous that she would just leave me
like that.
Finally, there was a knock on the door. I knew it must be someone I
knew because none of the hospital staff ever knocked. It was
Khristeena! I immediately felt more relaxed. "Oh honey, I'm so sorry
this happened." She gave me a hug. She had made me some super strong
raspberry leaf tea and had me begin drinking right away to help tone
my uterus. It tasted so good. I had been so thirsty (sign of shock).
Khristeena kept looking around the room and it was at this point that
I noticed, too, just how messy things were. There were bloody chucks
pads everywhere. My bloody shorts were just sitting on top of the
garbage can. They couldn't even put my clothes in a belongings bag? I
became acutely aware at this point that I was just soaking in puddles
of blood. My skin on my legs and hips felt saturated and started to
become irritated from being so wet. I still never received a pair of
socks and my feet were FREEZING. They have never felt so cold. I could
barely move my toes.
I waited and waited for a pair of socks. I literally felt like I had
frost bite and my toes were going to fall off. Isaac wrapped my feet
in a towel and Khristeena began to massage them. She told me that my
feet weren't getting very good circulation. It was at this point that
I realized how dire my situation actually was. I began to fear that I
might even lose my feet!
No one came in with the socks. No one came in with a pad. Meanwhile, I
was just sitting in puddles of my own blood. It was so humiliating.
Khristeena- God bless her servant heart!- found the washcloths and
basin and gently began to wash me. She was so gentle and so sweet. She
removed all of the bloody blankets and chucks pads and helped me to
regain some dignity. She helped me sit up so I could drink some more
tea. She helped put a maxi pad between my legs. The chaplain, Sister
Brenda, found me some socks, and Khristeena put them on. I could
finally relax a bit. My IV started beeping, then. I hit the call
button so that a nurse could fix it, but of course no one came in.
Khristeena examined the pump, hit a button, and it stopped. "What did
you do to stop the beeping?" I asked.
"I hit start" she whispered. All this time I was sitting there
bleeding and should have been receiving this important medicine and
fluids, and the nurse never hit start??
My bladder was full again. I hit the call button and a nurse
reluctantly came in with a bed pan. I sat on it and tried to pee...
and I couldn't. Everything was so swollen. I tried to relax.
"Khristeena, turn on the water faucet!" Didn't help. "Maybe there are
too many people in here..." The chaplain left. Khristeena then filled
a basin with warm water, but it on my side table, and stuck my hand in
"This is an old college trick," she said with a wink.
Well... it worked! We all had a good laugh.
I started to ask Khristeena about my new nephew. Khristeena had been
up all night at my sister-in-law's labor and birth. What a crazy day
for her, too! I can't imagine what it must have been like for her to
go back and forth between two sisters... one with a new baby, and one
who lost her baby.
I told her that I didn't like the male OB resident and that he had
lectured me about homebirth. I told her how rough he had been with me.
I could tell she was sad for me that I had such poor care, and she
apologized for not coming sooner. I was just so glad she was there
with us now!
At some point, the triage nurse from Saturday came in. She asked who
Khristeena was and Khristeena said "I'm Sigrid and Isaac's midwife." I
loved that! She truly was there for both of us, and I'm so grateful.
I asked the nurse for a breastpump. Oh, man, did she look confused! I
explained that I was still nursing my 13 month old, and that I didn't
want to get engorged and develop mastitis on top of everything else
that happened to me. "You can get pregnant while breastfeeding?!" She
seemed so surprised. I was shocked that she didn't know this! I just
assumed it was common knowledge!
"Yes... you can. This is the second time I got pregnant while nursing."
"Aren't our bodies just amazing?" Khristeena added with a little
chuckle in her voice.
I never did get that pump... until I asked about 5 more times for it
hours and hours later.

miscarriage Part 1

I am overwhelmed to realize how close I was to dying on Sunday. I lost about 40% of my blood volume from postpartum hemorrhage after I miscarried our sweet little baby. I am so incredibly grateful that my kids still have their mom. I am so in love with my little family and I praise God that he protected me from fear in the hospital. Our family is stuck in this strange juxtaposition between life and death, joy and grief-- our nephew was born on Sunday, hours before I delivered our miscarried baby, and my niece was born today... just hours before we buried our baby.

I don't know why this happened and I don't seek to know why. In every circumstance, I know that Jesus is with me and before me. He loves me so much, and I know that he will use this season of my life to strengthen and refine me, as He has done so many times before.

I was laying in my hospital bed, getting transfused, and I just felt these "waves of silence" wash over me. Every few seconds, a static noise would fill my ears, and then silence. This continued for over an hour. I couldn't sleep. I just drifted between sadness and gratefulness. The sadness was severe... Is... It is so hard to SO QUICKLY lose a child. Everything happened to fast. To have hopes and dreams ripped away like that is inevitably going to be painful. I lay there feeling so lonely... and then I literally felt Jesus wrap his arms around me in comfort and peace. I am so incredibly grateful for my savior and for that loving embrace that got me through that night.

I have to write a disclaimer that the following account can be graphic at times. This is my story that I'm writing for myself, and I am therefore leaving no details out. I know that this will help me in my journey to recovery as it helps me to process. You are welcome to read, but please be warned.

I had been sick with the flu, so I felt weak to start out the weekend. Isaac came home early on Friday afternoon to take care of me. I had waken up the Friday morning with a severe headache, terrible muscle cramps, fever, chills, and nausea. I could hardly get off the couch. I was a mess. I slept most of the evening. By the next morning, I was praising the Lord because I felt better, and we had a relaxing morning together as a family. Isaac was cleaning up lunch Saturday when I went to use the bathroom. When I sat down, I gasped in shock. The image in my head is one I'll never forget: I was wearing white panties and they were covered in bright red blood. I was immediately brokenhearted because I knew what this meant. I yelled for Isaac: "Isaac! I need you!!! I'm bleeding!!!" I just started sobbing. I was 12 weeks pregnant. I started cramping a little later.

I texted my mom for prayer and then called my midwife, Khristeena. Khristeena told me that I could either stay home and wait it out, or I could go to the ER to get a sonogram to confirm that I was miscarrying. I just had to know. I called my mom and asked her to come stay with Judah and Galilee.

We arrived at the ER at Children's Hospital at about 2:30. This was a terrible experience. The triage nurse, when I told her that I thought I was miscarrying, just said: "well, we can hope for the best!" I told her that I didn't want to hope for the best... why play around with my emotions like that? I knew in my heart that my baby had died.

Another nurse, as she was showing us to our room, asked: "how far along are you?" "12 weeks" I answered. "Oh, how exciting!" she squealed. Obviously, she didn't know why we were there. It was not exciting. It was devastating.

We were put in a little corner room where they had shoved all their spare wheelchairs. Isaac and I couldn't even sit next to each other because there was so much junk in there. Eventually, someone cleared out the room for us, and a nurse started an IV. I was confused. "Why are they giving me an IV? I'm just here for bloodwork and an ultrasound. I have a liter and a half of water in our nalgene bottles here, why can't I just drink?" "This is what the doctor ordered, and it's good for the baby" she answered distantly. I didn't want to argue. I was already completely poured out for the day. The nurse asked if I wanted an IV in my antecubital area or in my hand. I knew my hand would hurt more, but I'd be able to at least bend my arm. I told her I'd like it in my hand. She then proceeded to put it in MY WRIST. This was by far the MOST PAINFUL IV I have ever had. I couldn't move my left wrist at all, and the entire time the freezing cold IV fluids were being infused, I had throbbing pain in my arm. A totally unnecessary and painful intervention. Just another reason why I hate hospitals.

My bloodwork came back... and the doctor told me that my HCG level (pregnancy hormone) was normal. [it was 7,000. Now that I've looked it up after the fact, it is a normal level for a pregnancy at about 5 weeks... not 12 weeks. 7,000 was very low for where I should have been]. Now, we just had to wait for the ultrasound tech. It was the weekend, so she was on call and not physically at the hospital. I was told that she had one hour to come to the hospital from the time they called her, but they were having a hard time getting a hold of her. I asked why an OB resident couldn't just come down and scan me quickly? "Oh, they won't do that" they answered. So... I waited... and waited... cramping and bleeding with a stupid IV in my arm. This is a children's hospital... so I heard babies crying the whole afternoon. It took SIX HOURS for the ultrasound tech to get there to scan me. Believe me, I am going to write a strongly worded letter to the hospital about that one.

They made me walk to radiology. The tech started with an abdominal ultrasound. At 11 weeks with my other kids, I remember that my babies were bouncing and leaping in my womb. This baby was very small and not moving. I knew my baby was dead. I could tell the tech was avoiding looking at the actual baby. She quickly took the wand off my belly and told me that she would see much more with a transvaginal ultrasound. I knew something was so wrong... I had never needed one of those at this point of pregnancy before. With the second scan, I saw her quietly measure the baby... 8 weeks 6 days. The baby had stopped growing weeks ago. I was walking around with a dead baby in my womb for 3 weeks. It was almost too much to comprehend. It all made sense now, though... I started to feel much better with morning sickness about 3 weeks before... almost like I wasn't even pregnant.

The tech was very sweet as she said... "I know you can tell what I'm seeing... I hate to tell you this... but I'm not getting a heartbeat." I began to cry with whole body shaking. There is nothing that can prepare you for the knowledge that your baby died. She gave us a few minutes alone. Isaac came to hold me and we just cried together.

When we left the exam room, the ultrasound tech tried to comfort us. "Well, at least you already have children. Not to minimize your situation, but I feel bad for the couples that come in here for miscarriage after miscarriage and don't have any children yet." Yeah... sorry, lady... that doesn't make me feel any better!

We eventually made our way back down to the ER. The ER attending physician came in to talk to us. He had the nerve to tell me that he didn't see a baby on the sonogram... just a gestational sac. WHAT? "I saw my baby!!!" I exclaimed and insisted. He tried to comfort me by telling me that maybe my dates were wrong and I was just earlier in the pregnancy than I thought. He told me that this was just a "threatened miscarriage" not a "missed miscarriage" and that I needed to come in for a repeat ultrasound and bloodwork next week before they could do anything about it. He told me that since my bleeding was light and my cramping not too painful, that I wasn't really miscarrying yet, if I would at all(!!!). Oh buddy-- just you wait and see what happens next!!!! [in retrospect, now that I'm thinking about it... I REALLY think this doctor was reading the WRONG ultrasound to me. It doesn't make sense that he would think an almost 9 week-sized fetus was just a 5 week gestational sac. I wonder if he would have sent me home like he did if he had known. He just told me: "come back the the ER if you bleed more than a pad an hour or if you're in so much pain it feels like your arm is getting chopped off" (!!!!) Very sensitively worded, right?]

My midwife called me just then (the attending had called her before he talked to me) and I whined to her about how he wouldn't just tell me that I had miscarried or what I could expect. She was so compassionate and so sweet. She told me: "Sigrid, I trust you and honor your knowledge of your body. If you are sure of your dates, I believe you. I'm so sorry this happened. Why don't you go home and see what your body does tomorrow. I will call you in the afternoon and we'll go from there."

The nurse came in with my discharge papers which just said to come back if I had heavy bleeding or a fever. I really had no idea what to expect or what I'd be experiencing the next day... The nurse almost left the room before she took out that stupid and painful IV. I had to remind her that I couldn't go home with a hep lock. Honestly... these nurses were just ridiculous. She handed me my discharge instructions and two prescriptions: one for a repeat HCG level, and another for "transvaginal ultrasound for ectopic pregnancy or possible fetal demise" for Monday afternoon. Fetal demise. What a cold way to say that my pregnancy was over.

I came home and we put the kids to bed. I couldn't sleep that night. I was so brokenhearted. I was cramping all night long and was physically uncomfortable. I tried to rest... but my mind was going a thousand miles a minute. I kept thinking about our plans for this baby. We were planning on a homebirth/waterbirth. We were going to build a new master bedroom out of our den, so that the baby would have his own room (our old master bedroom). I kept thinking: just how the heck was I was going to go to work and take care of babies again? [I am a neonatal nurse who attends deliveries at a different hospital]. We got a text from our brother-in-law. Isaac's sister was in labor. She was having a homebirth and I had been looking forward to being there with her as a labor support person for the past few months. I was so sad that I couldn't go and I was so sad that I couldn't be as excited for her as I wanted to.

My mind then wandered to how we found out we were pregnant. Our baby was a surprise. My period had been late and so I picked up a cheap pregnancy test at the dollar store on the way home from taking the kids to Fantasy Island one day. Galilee, my then 11 month old, was sleeping, and it was just me and my almost 3 year old, Judah... there was no mistaking it. There was a bright pink line to indicate a positive test. I told Judah "Mommy's going to have a baby! There's a baby growing in my tummy!"

When Isaac got home that day, I showed him pictures of our trip to Fantasy Island [a local amusement park] on our digital camera. I slipped a picture of the positive test in at the end. "Are you trying to tell me something?" he asked. "YES!" I answered. He thought for a minute and then said something that has haunted me for the last three months... "Well, honey... not every pregnancy ends in a baby." I have no idea why he said those words. My husband is not an insensitive guy. I shot him a dirty look, and he realized how inappropriate his statement was. He told me that he was very happy, and that somehow he knew I was going to tell him I was pregnant that day. We sat on the couch and zoned into space, suddenly feeling very tired after that. We began to think about having three children and all of the realities surrounding that concept.

Our baby was a surprise. It has been very difficult this week to not feel guilty about that... It took us a while to really accept this pregnancy and to become excited about it. At times, I saw it as an inconvenience. But, I loved my baby. I dreamed of him every day. We discussed names, our birth plans, the nursery we would create for him. We both loved him so much.