Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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!

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