I had wanted to write about how much Matthew enjoys whenever someone passes gas. He finds it quite amusing, and has been having a fabulous time playing with his brothers whoopee cushion. He sits on it, giggles, sits on it again, more giggling, and on and on.
I also wanted to write about how on Wednesday morning Noah came to me with his beloved water/gel filled spider ball to tell me that the paint had chipped and I had to look real close to see the coolest thing ever. The ball popped in both our faces, drenching us and the living room as well. We had to rush to change our clothes to meet the school bus and I had to call his teacher to let her know that he was having a very rough start to his day.
Instead I think it is more important to write about my appointment on Wednesday for the follow up ultrasound. We had a long list of errands to run, and the ultrasound fell in the middle. We had hoped to be in and out quickly so we could get on with all we had to do.
The ultrasound tech who is normally quite chatty fell silent as soon as the screen turned on. After awhile I looked over and noticed that the baby hadn’t grown much since the last ultrasound and commented, “the baby looks so small”. She pursed her lips and still said nothing. After awhile she said, “I can’t not tell you, there are no fetal heart tones.” I told her that I was seeing movement. She zoomed in and explained that my pulse was rocking the baby, and then it was clear. She narrowed in on the heart and it was still. Another technician and doctor came in to confirm, and then I was sent to the doctor’s office.
The doctor gave me two options. The first was to be induced and deliver that fetus myself, and the other was to go into the OR and have him remove it, which promised to be the messier and riskier option. We went home to prepare. When Gary told the kids what was happening Noah replied, “I knew this was going to be a really bad day!” Katherine was inconsolable. Later that evening she had recovered enough to attend the Father Daughter Dance and had a good time except for the five minutes or so when she “missed Erin.”
The next morning I was admitted, after being congratulated several times by the admission staff because I was going into the birthing center. The nurses on the unit were amazing and I am so grateful for the support they offered us. The induction started around 10, I think, and by 8 that evening I still wasn’t dilating, but the bleeding was profound. My body was completely shot. The medication they gave me had terribly side effects and I was feeling them all, in addition to all of the contractions. The doctor started saying that surgery was necessary, but would agree to another twenty minutes, then another. Then people were telling me that the amount of blood that I had lost was very concerning. I asked the nurse what was going to happen. She replied compassionately, “If you keep bleeding, I think you know what is going to happen.” By this point I was sobbing. I could NOT go into the OR. We (okay, I) convinced the doctor to try a little pictocin before we headed off, but by the time he returned with the pit Gary had convinced me that I needed the surgery. He went out into the hallway to sign the consent form and I asked him “did you sign my life away?”
The doctor agreed to try and avoid a vacuum extraction and agreed to attempt to remove the fetus by hand so we could have a chance to see it. I also made him promise to save the fetes and placenta for me to examine after surgery. I had been telling him all day “I need X, Y, and Z for my mental health” and most of X, Y, and Z involved not having him touch me or tell me what to do, and most of it was surprisingly well received. We agreed that we would keep the lines of communication open.
I tried to sit up to get on the stretcher and it was all I could do to keep conscious. I could barely move. They wanted me to decide between a spinal block and general anesthesia. Just when I though I knew what I wanted more information would hit me. Headache, paralysis, trachea tube, death augh! None of it sounded good. I still hadn’t chosen by the time we reached the OR. I was so thirsty, the contractions we extremely intense, and there was a lot of pressure in my bottom, so I asked the doctor to check one more time before we started. The anesthesiologist was insistent that I drink about an ounce of the most vile liquid you have ever tasted. I told them I was too overwhelmed right now; I just couldn’t, unless of course it came with a water chaser. The nurse said it was just like a lime shot. I said more like a vomit shot. She said no, it tastes limey. I said actually it tasted more vomitey. Then something went into my IV “Did you just give me something?” I asked as I willingly drank the poison, and that is the last thing that I remember. Although I have heard that I started yelling about how it was all a conspiracy with the pharmaceutical companies and they were in cahoots with the doctors and it all had to do with Hershey bars. The amused the staff, which is good because when you are unconscious you want the people caring for you to be smiling.
The nest thing I knew I heard “it’s over” and my body felt almost normal. I was trying to follow the conversation taking place over my bed about the apartments rented for the doctors from Bangor, no easy feat. Soon after I asked if the baby was removed in one piece and was told yes. The doctor brought a bowl with the placenta and baby so I asked him to take out the baby and put it in a towel for me to hold. The placenta was awful. It was filled with cysts and was as much white as red. The baby didn’t look at all like I was expecting it would. First it was smaller, and because it had died weeks before it was very dark. But it had ten perfect microscopic little toes and ten perfect little fingers. It’s feet were only half a centimeter long at most.
The doctor came in this morning to tell me that I can go to Florida if I take it very easy because there are hospitals all along the east coast. I thanked him for really listening to me and doing his best to conform to all my wishes. I told him that I felt respected and I appreciated that. He said he was grateful for the compliment. Amazingly I had a great hospital experience.
So now I am going to go lie in bed as I pack and dream about leaving in the morning.