Saturday, January 9, 2010

our lost pregnancy - Part I

I am sad to tell you that in mid-December, at exactly 16 weeks along, we learned by ultrasound that my pregnancy wasn't viable; the baby had died back at eight weeks. That night, I miscarried. Most of you know this from the emails or face book emails I sent out, but maybe a few folks read this blog who I'm not in touch with otherwise.

We have received lots of messages of love from y'all. Thank you! It has been most touching to me to hear back from women who've miscarried too, especially before ever bearing a child. That has got to be crazy discouraging. But they've kept trying, mustering up the courage to believe that they can indeed carry a pregnancy through. For these past couple of weeks since the miscarriage, I have been wondering if I'm brave enough to try again. I've been leaning toward "no" emotionally. That has some to do with the general state of the world; dang that History Channel story about Nostradamus. But cognitively I've known that stopping at one would be ridiculous for me; I've always longed for a family of multiple children. And come on - I've just started getting my mommy groove on. How could I let all of this new knowledge go to waste? So, now that the bodily effects of the miscarriage are wearing off, I can't imagine not trying again.

Anyway, there's the fly-over version, but I'd like to write further for the sake of the interested, especially those who could gain strength by hearing another woman's story, as I have from hearing some of yours. If you're squeamish about details, or you're of a generation that considers miscarriage talk to be taboo, the following photograph marks your jumping off point.

For the rest of you, here goes. I'm starting with mostly the facts, and tomorrow or soon, I'll finish the story and add more of my emotions. There's just too much to it.
So, this baby died at 8 weeks, but I stayed pregnant until 16. Or did I? Was I still considered pregnant for the last 8? That thought has weirded me out a little. Looking back, there were some subtle clues that I feel really dumb for not getting. Most importantly, I reached a point somewhere in there where most of my symptoms stopped. I must've said a dozen times to people, "I might be making up this pregnancy in my head, because it sure doesn't feel like I'm pregnant." There was less getting up to pee at night, less almost-nausea, and less creative and insightful thoughts and feelings. Also, early on, Zoralee had noticed a change in the taste of my milk. She would latch on, then unlatch, look at my breast and smack her mouth together, trying to figure out what was happening. She would always continue nursing, but clearly noticed change. I read that this could happen. Then, suddenly, she went back to not caring. So yeah, adding it all up now, it's like DUUUUUH. But you know, I wasn't ever heavy on symptoms, neither in the first two months of this pregnancy nor during my whole pregnancy with Zoralee. So feeling less of nearly nothing is hard to gauge. I just thought it meant I was having a boy this time.
As for concrete evidence, my cousin listened for a heartbeat with a Doppler during my 11th, 12th, and 13th weeks. We didn't hear anything the first two times but wondered if I wasn't as far along as I thought. This coincided with a negative pregnancy test at several weeks along (however I'd also taken that test in the evening, not an ideal time for measuring pregnancy hormones in the urine). She encouraged me to get blood work done, which I sort of blew off because of the busy-ness. When we listened again during the 13th week, we all thought we heard a heartbeat in the 120's for about three seconds. Then it was gone and only my heartbeat was heard again. Well, that lined up with not being as far along as I'd thought and possibly the baby being very low in my pelvis.
Weeks 13 - 15 included my family's arrival from the States, preparing for Z's first birthday party, packing up our household, leaving Alaska, and embarking upon a coast-to-coast holiday travelfest. Being busy was the excuse, but really, I didn't want there to be trouble. Naturally. Sometime in there I should've felt the baby's movement, but honestly, I thought I did. Nothing consistent, but enough that I was reassured. I also had one or two random bouts of almost-nauseousness during meals. And this time, unlike my first pregnancy, I wasn't paying a lot of attention to when I should be experiencing what. Know what I mean?
At week 15, while we were at the airport to fly out of Anchorage, I started lightly spotting and very lightly cramping. This continued for several days, and again, I assumed the best. I'm just tired from all the craziness. Maybe I overdid it moving boxes at the house. I should lay low, and all will be well. A few days into it, the cramping got stronger with nursing. I called Marcy the Midwife back in Montana, and she wanted me to go and get an ultrasound right away. Because we had heard the heartbeat (actually, just thought we had), she wasn't as suspicious of miscarriage as she was of the placenta being attached to my cervix.
We decided to go to the Emergency Room, because we were in Cincinnati where I couldn't get a doctor's orders to have an ultrasound in a timely fashion at a clinic. The night before, I sat on the bathroom floor while Zoralee took a bath. I prayed "Thy will be done," in sincerity. After Z's bath, I nursed her, and within ten minutes had stronger cramps and bleeding than ever. I wondered if my mental assent was finally allowing my body to let go.
The next day, we spent several hours at the E.R. I could go on and on about that experience. I am not a fan of hospitals in the least bit, and I will admit a lot of it is fear-based. Hospital people do a lot of things I am afraid of. I begged not to have an IV put in (what was the point? we were simply getting an ultrasound), without success ("Hospital policy, honey - we don't see anybody without doing this." Fine, sweetie, but WHY?!). I couldn't talk my way out of being wheelchaired down to the ultrasound room, despite having walked into the E.R. in perfect health, and despite their own reading of my blood pressure to be exemplary. But when the doctor told me he was going to examine me vaginally before the ultrasound, I stood my ground. I told him I'd consider it if the ultrasound showed something bizarre. If the baby was fine, I didn't want to risk introducing infection. I did all of this with respect and humor, but he seemed a bit taken aback by a person asserting their will.
Zoralee got fidgety waiting in our room for the ultrasound machine to open up, so Jason left to walk her around. He held her nearly the entire four or five hours, afeared she'd touch something and contract a disease. Gosh, we must've seemed like crazies. While they were gone, I turned on the t.v. and watched a station that showed a snowy nature scene of trees and a flowing river while soothing music played. Maybe it was a weather station that was between reports. It reminded me to breathe and to relax. Then I found a catholic station and listened to a Christmas reading given by a young priest, a reading about Mary and what was being asked of her. I found immense comfort in that too.
In the ultrasound room, we surmised that things were bad. Upon seeing the first couple of images, the technician was kind but very professional. No excitement. No pointing out of things. This wasn't what happened in the movies. She told us she couldn't say anything, but that the doctor would discuss the results with us after they came in. We couldn't tell jack squat, having never had this done. So we sat in the dim room in mostly silence, Jason bouncing Zoralee around, the technician lady rubbing the doo-lolly around my oily lower belly and then clicking buttons on the computer keyboard. Once I asked her what the dark oval was at the top of the screen, and she said it was the sac. We could see a tiny, non-moving thing in the sac, but it was not zoomed in upon, so it was impossible to decipher. My only other comment was when she determined I'd need a trans-vaginal exam also, and she got out the camera. "HOLY CATS!" I said, "That thing is large and in charge!" She just smiled sweetly.
Maybe we were supposed to be looking in the great triangle of fuzz in the lower 2/3 of the screen? Later, while we waited for the results, Jason and I told each other we'd each seen a face and a general baby shape in that triangle. But we hadn't. We had no idea of the scale we were viewing. The sad part was whenever she'd run a function which I imagined was to detect heartbeat. Each time, it produced a solid line across the screen.

To be continued. . .

Thanks for reading so far. xoox


Autumn and Dan's family said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Heartbroken for you...

Christi said...

Oh my goodness, Lori...the way you told this with all those details will make this story never die. You are a strong lady.

Rena said...

This makes me so sad for you, that you had to go through this at all, and then that you had to go through it alone, in a strange city, a strange hospital, with no place to be "home." I'm sad that I couldn't be there with you, but so thankful that you and Jason had each other and that you had little Zoralee. I'm sad for the baby we'll never know, but I also know that someday there will be another baby that we WILL know and hold and love. I love you. ~ Mom

Me said...


melissa said...

Love to you. I'm sad for you guys, and I'm sorry it happened.
Lots of love!!! I wish I lived closer, so I could come over and be with you! This internet thing drives me nuts sometimes!!!

Anonymous said...

I kept thinking how unfair it was that you you had just been here with us. Couldn't this have come sooner when you could have been with people who love you (not could it have happened sooner, but clearly it had begun here)? Not in a strange town accross the country in some strange bathroom without your Mom close by. I was so heartbroken and I felt helpless when we talked that night. But God shored you up and you came through with such grace and beauty. You are so strong and resilient Lor, that is something I love about you. We are sad for the "could have been", but look forward with anticipation to the baby that will be someday.

tamie said...

This is hard to read. And I'm so glad you're sharing it. Thank you, dear friend.

Anonymous said...

okay clearly you were with Jason and Zora and they love know what I am saying.
Love ya

Team Baliko said...

:-( Thanks for sharing, Lori.

2 Moms of a Feather...Stick Together said...

Sorry for your loss...
Praying for you all.
Love you.
Nancy S.

Lindsay said...

I am really sorry Lori. Thank you for sharing the story, I will be praying for you all.

nicole said...

Even your "to be continued" brought tears to my eyes. What strength you have to write this all down. Good for you. It is such a wonderful way to heal. I am so, SO sorry for your loss. I made a small comment on facebook but lacked the time at that time to read your blog yet. I wanted to pay my respects to your story first and really get a handle on all that transpired. Now that I have, please accept my sincerest of condolences and cheering...not for what you went through but for the Grace and comfort that our God promises to bring and obviously delivered. Praise Him for that! Much love to you, Jason and Zoralee. If we had a weekend to spend together, I doubt we'd get to sleep much with all that we would have to say. Sure do miss you. - Nicole Wells

Mars said...

Wow, this was hard to read. Brings back so many painful memories. But I'm so glad you shared it.
It's so funny that you mentioned watching that "Apocolypse" stuff on the History channel, because Shawn and I have been watching it, too, and it's been bringing up the same exact feelings! Do we really want to bring another baby into a world that seems like it's collapsing around us? Yikes!
I can so relate to the fear of trying again. That's part of the reason we've waited so long for a second - I am scared to death to go through all that again! But, we will get there, and I know you will, too. Just take the time that you need to heal and then when you are ready, your baby #2 (or #3, really) will be anxiously awaiting having you as his/her awesome parents. :) Love you.

kranberrys said...

I agree hospitals are hard enough without being in one in a strange place =( I am so sorry for your loss... Praying for you guys...