A warning to my Mom and Dad (who read this blog)…this might be hard for you to see. I have so much to be happy about and look forward to in this IVF journey, but there is a part of me that I feel compelled to share first.
I remember every detail of that day as if it has been etched into my mind, and my soul, for the rest of my life…
We already knew that we lost the baby. That we found out on the day before my birthday. For some reason my OBGYN didn’t schedule the DNC until 3-4 days later. At the time I didn’t think twice, I was so numb.
You would think learning we lost the baby would have been the the day that changed me, but it wasn’t. We had already lost 2. I knew something was wrong because the severe pain in my chest vanished. Then…spotting. When I went to the doctor the heartbeat that was so strong at our last visit vanished as well. I cried, and hid in the changing room. After that it was business as usual. We had been through this already…the pain wasn’t anything new for us.
Then came the day…that day. I had plans with my friend Alyssa to have some summer fun. You see, we were both teachers at a charter school notorious for working teachers to the bone. This summer we were going to live up the days we had earned with our blood, sweat, and tears during the school year.
We had plans…we were going to Six Flags. I dragged myself out of bed and took one of my husband’s prescription strength ibuprofen pills. The cramps were killing me. I was unfamiliar with this sensation because the last time I lost a baby this far along the DNC happened immediately. The surgery for this loss wasn’t scheduled for another day. You can imagine how dark it feels to walk around with the baby you love so much still inside of you, no longer “viable”.
I remember driving to Six Flags and buying Coke because for the small price of the worst thing you can put in your body, you get discounted park tickets.
We drove in Alyssa’s new car. This new car was something Alyssa was really proud of, and she deserved it. It kind of reminded me of a space ship because it was so shiny and new. I remember the sugar rush of the Coke, and loving that the sugar seemed to make me feel happy. For that small amount of time I didn’t have to pretend to be happy. Thank you, sugar.
At the park we went on a water ride, the one that has you get into a giant octagonal floaty and you spin around the rapids. We got soaked, and I remember the maxi pad I had on (because I was bleeding) felt like a wet diaper. We found a bathroom and I changed that wet diaper. Then, we decided to get in line for the gondola ride to the other side of the park. That’s when the worst day of my life began.
The cramps were debilitating. I remember struggling to stand up, and struggling to leave the park. On the way home Alyssa was trying to make me feel better but there was nothing she could have done. The pain, both physical and emotional, was unbearable. Looking back I think my body was preparing to “give birth” to what was once our baby. The ride home seemed to take forever.
When we finally got to my house Alyssa wouldn’t leave my side, and when I went into the bathroom it was incredibly comforting to know that she was there. I was so, so scared. The blood and matter coming out of me was fast and furious. I had to change my pad every 2 minutes, and even then it was everywhere. EVERYWHERE. So….I decided to take a shower. You would have thought I was being murdered in that shower, and it just…kept…coming. I didn’t know what to do. I needed to go to the ER. Alyssa came back that night and cleaned the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to see the blood when I came home. She will forever have the biggest part of my heart.
I strapped on the biggest pad I had and put on a pair of Bryan’s underwear. They were the kind that resemble spandex and I don’t know why, but they felt like armor at the time. Like, if I put on his underwear the bleeding would stop…or at least it wouldn’t bleed through anymore. I remember worrying that I would bleed on Alyssa’s seats on the way to the ER so I brought a towel to sit on. Her new car…she worked so hard for that car, I was so worried I would ruin the seat.
When we got to the emergency room there was younger woman at the front desk. She asked for my information and told me to sit down in the waiting room. As I stood there bleeding out what was my child I begged her not to make me sit there and wait. There was so much coming out of me, I didn’t want to have to continue to miscarry in front of all those people. All those people. She refused, and so I left. I would rather be at home than have this happen in the waiting room.
I was back and forth with my OBGYN the entire time. By the time I left the ER they were calling me wondering where I was. You see, one of the gynecologists of the practice was on call and in the ER waiting for me because he knew….he knew what was happening to me. He knew. After reliving the story of the woman who turned me away the nurse at my OBGYN’s office instructed me to head back to the ER. She assured me that they would be calling the front desk, and that I would be brought back immediately. At this point I was broken, I was angry, and I was scared.
By the time we got back Bryan was there. Alyssa, thank God, had been in contact with him as we bounced back and forth from the ER to my house.
I was put in a wheel chair, and said goodbye to Alyssa. She told me I was the strongest woman she knew and that gave me courage. I didn’t feel strong, I felt like I was crumbling. I looked down, and the blood already soaked the wheelchair.
When they brought us back there wasn’t a room immediately ready so we had to wait outside while they cleaned after a previous patient. We might have been waiting ten minutes, and in that time the blood had risen over my thighs. My new tank top, the one I bought to make me feel pretty during my summer pregnancy, was soaked around the bottom.
There was an elderly couple across from us as we waited in the hallway. The woman was the patient, and her husband was tenderly holding her hand. I remember feeling so embarrassed. The blood was everywhere. At this point it had gotten all over my forearms and hands. I kept apologizing, and shaking…I was so cold.
When they brought me into the room they cut off Bryan’s underwear and I took off my new tank top. I was put into a hospital gown, and I remember that my legs and stomach were covered in blood. I laid down and the nurses set me up with an IV.
For the next hour, in waves, my body got rid of what it had created to keep our baby alive. I will never forget Bryan’s face. He looked terrified. My husband is the strongest man I know, a true thrill seeker…and his face was white. I learned, after the fact, that he thought I was bleeding out. He didn’t realize that what he was seeing was mostly placenta and separate from the blood system that keeps me alive.
The entire ordeal was so uncomfortable, and I remember at some point resigning myself to what was happening. I was going to be covered in blood until this was over, things were going to keep falling out of me and being collected. So, I went numb.
I don’t remember much else leading up to the surgery. So much blood. I vaguely remember being put onto the operating table and shaking uncontrollably. I remember hearing my surgeon (the same doctor from my OBGYN that fought for me earlier) yelling for the nurse to get me a warm blanket. I felt protected, and then I fell asleep.
When I woke up in post-op I met the most amazing nurse. She had curly red hair, and her smile made me feel warm. She asked how I was doing and, for a moment, I was happy. Then I remembered….I remembered why I was there and my soul ached. The nurse hugged me. I will never forget that hug. She smelled like love.
She asked if I was in pain, and I said I was. I’m not sure if the pain was from the surgery or my broken heart, but I hurt…so deeply. The nurse gave me morphine and I fell asleep. I remember being in and out of sleep for the next few hours. At some point I was in a hospital room with Bryan by my side. It was late. I would wake up and remember, and struggle to keep my eyes open. Bryan would squeeze my hand, tell me everything was going to be ok, and I would fall asleep again.
When I was discharged we went to Wendy’s and got cheese fries and a lemonade. I didn’t even know Wendy’s had cheese fries until that night.
I have not been the same since this experience. It felt like a little bit of the light inside of me dimmed. For a long time I wondered if I would be able to come back from what happened, and for a long time I didn’t think I would…but I did. I am a more anxious and skeptical version of my previous self, but I am once again relishing in the magic that comes from the little moments that happen every day.
I will never forget that day. I will never be able to thank my dear friend Alyssa enough.