The Surgery

Thank you, everyone!  I am home now.  Drugged and exhausted beyond all exhaustion I’ve ever experienced in the past.  Ready to sleep, but I want to get the details down before they start to fade.  Also, please note the “heavily drugged” point if I end up butchering the English language and/or my ability to spell.  Getting the memories collected is more important to me than proofing and -correcting errors.

Today went very well.  We started the morning with a consult at the doctor’s office where I could get many of my questions answered.  First and foremost, they said because I wasn’t 14 weeks my insurance wouldn’t cover an in-hospital induction.  For me, that completely answered my questions about if the D&C was the right thing.  They are going to do pathology testing and genetic testing.  They can’t look for a lot of clotting issues, but we can discuss doing a repeat of some of the clotting disorder tests to see where I’m at.  We requested a second ultrasound – not like a detailed one, but just confirmation that the baby did not have a heart beat.  They weren’t going to order one which surprised both of us since the ultrasound that was done was done at a different hospital and no one from their practice had been part of the diagnosis.  They obliged us, though.  The ultrasound tech was amazingly sweet, very apologetic, and when we requested a picture she gave us one.  The second ultrasound confirmed the first, as we expected (but still held out a little hope it was wrong).

They rushed us down to day surgery.  You’re normally supposed to be there two hours in advance, but because my doctor’s consult/ultrasound didn’t end until around 11:00 and my surgery was at 12:15 I didn’t make it.  I started crying at the check-in desk, and they were so wonderful.  They did what they had to do quickly and took me to a room – a private room.  My other day surgery experiences have been in shared rooms.  But this was private, and I was extremely appreciative about it.

They asked lots of questions, encouraged me to cry, brought me tissues.  The first nurse did a wonderful job of prepping me.  Rather than fill out paperwork she spent most of her time just talking to me and letting me talk.  We talked about my anesthesia/nausea issues, what we can do/have done with the remains, the testing we want to have done, etc.  Also, I had been knitting a sweater for the baby to wear as a coming home outfit.  Obviously it wasn’t going to be useful for today like that, but on the way to the hospital I pulled out the seaming because the back piece of the sweater was a nice rectangle, perfect for the size of a miscarried baby.  I told them I just wanted them to send it with the baby – that I knew they wouldn’t wrap the baby in it or anything like that, and I honestly didn’t care if they took the blanket, threw it out, and told me they kept it with the baby.  They took it and put it in my chart and I’m not sure exactly what they did with it, but I do know that after surgery it wasn’t in my chart anymore.

My parents and brother-in-law had come to the hospital at my request.  I didn’t want Tahd to be alone while I was gone.  He indicated he would be fine alone, but I would have been monumentally stressed if I left him all by himself.  My family visited with me while they waited for the OR to retrieve me and prayed over me just before they left.  It was so very comforting!

Because Tahd hadn’t met the doctor I wanted him to be with me when the doctor saw me and talked about the surgery.  The staff let him come back with me to the “holding tank,” and we waited there.  Normally the patient is alone in this room, but they made an exception for Tahd due to our circumstance.  The OR nurse we met in the holding area was absolutely wonderful!  I can’t say enough about her.  Just like the check-in nurse, she brought tissues, asked questions, encouraged me to talk and let me cry.  Then the doctor arrived and we talked about the remains.  Due to regulations, we had to pick a funeral home, and thankfully my dad had been able to help us select that before they took us to the holding area.  It’s super convenient having a pastor in your family!  😉

Eventually the anesthesiologist came in to start my iv.  We discussed my nausea issues and I told him about my three surgical procedures and the nausea/vomiting I experienced with each of them.  He immediately told me there was no reason to reinvent the wheel and that if something has helped in the past we would repeat that course of action and add to it.  In light of my nose surgery experience and the anesthesiologist there, I found this doctor refreshing.  He was so kind, not arrogant, and I felt confident that he planned to work hard to make this an experience that was as easy as possible.  He painlessly started my iv (in my hand!  I love hand ivs compared to arm ivs!) and got things started with a dose of some sort of relaxer in my port.

Eventually, they wheeled me back to surgery.  They had let me keep my glasses which was lovely.  Not all nurses are willing to be responsible for a patient’s glasses, but mine was.  I offered to leave them with Tahd, but she really encouraged me to keep them.

We shifted beds and they adjusted my arms into the appropriate positions.  Probes and patches were attached to various parts of my body, and they gave me a mask with only oxygen in it to help me breathe.  While in the holding tank area I asked the anesthesiologist to tell me before he gave me anything to put me to sleep.  When I don’t know it has happened and start getting woozy, I panic and fight it until I get confirmation it is the medicine.  This time he told me what he was going to do, I took a few more “sips” of the oxygen, and went to sleep.

The sleep, however, wasn’t nearly long enough.  Not that I woke up during the surgery a la our ivf last year, no!  I did, however, wake up 6 minutes after I arrived in the recovery room.  My hand flew for my belly and I started crying.  The baby is gone! I chanted over and over.  This nurse was immediately present, which was helpful because my throat also hurt badly.  The first thing she told me was that everything was okay and all my wishes were carried out.  They had taken the blanket with the baby.

At that moment, I deeply regretted telling the staff I didn’t want to see the remains and I asked the nurse if this might still be a possibility.  She asked me some important questions, all varieties of  “do-you-understand-that-what-you-would-see-would-not-look-like-a-baby?  I did understand and I still desperately wanted to see. She called pathology to see if the tissue had arrived.  It had, and she told me so.  I was insistent enough that I asked if pathology would briefly release it so I could see it for a moment.  She called back again and told me they declined my request.  I also asked if they photographed the tissue for medical purposes, and apparently they don’t.  In that moment, the little white sweater/blanket I sent with the tissue gave me great comfort.  I knew the baby – its soul – was really gone.  But the comfort of knowing I mothered my baby’s body, if only briefly, comforted me deeply.

I was experiencing some mild discomfort and could tell I was bleeding.  When the nurse offered me morphine, I willingly accepted.  It was just too much to be bleeding, feel brokenhearted and lonely, and experience pain.  At the same time she checked my blood pressure, and it was a little troublesome – 150/90 with a pulse around 100.  Honestly, though, I was glad because it made me feel more real, more connected.  I liked knowing that my body was rebelling a little bit against what had just happened.  Thankfully the pressure also got me a little extra morphine (after the nurse phoned the doctor to consult about my pressure).  I do love me some medicine!  😉  It seemed like the more I cried the more my pressure held high, and the more I cramped.  The morphine took care of several of those things so that I eventually reached and held a normal pressure.

I didn’t anticipate how lonely I’d be while in recovery.  I asked if Tahd could join me, but he wasn’t permitted.  I knew this in advance but figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  They promised to return me to him as quickly as possible, which made me ever so appreciative but also nervous because you only get morphine in recovery, not your room.

Tahd met us in the hall as they wheeled me back to my room.  The nurse helped get me situated and settled, and Tahd and I spent a little bit of quiet time together. My blood pressure had dropped a bit by then – something like 130s over 80s – so that made me a little less nervous.  The cramping started back up almost immediately – not worse than it was when I arrived at the hospital that morning. But I’ve had enough cramps in my lifetime to know that if you don’t cut them off at the beginning they take root and become much more stubborn and resistant!  They brought me Vicodin and encouraged me to eat something (toast) and I alternately rested, ate, and visited with my family.

Eventually they said I could get up if I wanted.  But I didn’t want.  I just wanted to stay in the bed.  I knew that getting up meant going home soon, and  I wasn’t ready.  It was like the nurse read my mind.  She explicitly told me that I could stay as long as I wanted and that they didn’t want to rush me until I was completely ready.  All the post-operative nurses and techs were like this – very sensitive, very deferential, and extremely kind.  I can’t say enough about them.  I got to my recovery room around 3:00 and got up for a short walk around 5:00.  A bit later, I got up to use the restroom.

By about 6:45 I was ready to leave. It was over – with no nausea, no vomiting, no real pain to speak of, no visiting the baby, no nothing.  I felt like the last 12 weeks were being erased, and I alternate between feeling like that’s exactly what I want and feeling like I just want to hold on for one more moment.  But it is not the season for holding on.  That was Sunday’s season.  Today is for letting go, for new beginnings, for remembering.  We’ll work on the remembering piece first, I think.

One thing is for certain.  I want  Mother’s Day do-over.

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  1. I’m so glad to hear that the experience at the hospital was a good one, despite the circumstances. Great nurses and doctors are such a treasure, especially in difficult times! I’m glad that God gave you some peace and comfort in this time. Still praying for you all!
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..the one where i use an aviation metaphor =-.

  2. I’m just crying for you and aching for you, Heidi. Thank you for allowing us to share this with you. I’m so glad to know you had caring medical staff at your side during this awful time.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Mother’s Day: Happy and Sad =-.

  3. Heidi,

    I’m so glad you brought the little piece of blanket with you and that they honored your wishes. I totally get what you said about mothering him/her one last time. I had my own experience with that with Daniel. I’d be happy to share it with you through PM if you would like.

  4. Heidi, I’m so glad that the hospital treated you with respect. When I had my D&C for the molar pregnancy a year ago, the OR prep nurse handed me a cup so that they could do a pre-op pregnancy test. I couldn’t even speak…my husband had to fill in the blanks. Even then, she told me I was required to do it. I refused and she still pushed me. Somehow, I managed not to hit her and after she consulted with another nurse, did not ask me again. I was overwhelmed by her lack of sensitivity (and no apology after the fact!). I spent much of last night praying for you. I hope you feel enveloped by the prayers of all of us.
    .-= renovationgirl´s last blog ..Peace and Strength =-.

  5. I am so proud of your strength. I was right there with you. I remember the sharp pain of waking up immediately after and the finality that my baby was truly gone. I am so sorry sweet one.

  6. Glad it went well.
    I had a similar experience to Renovation Girl at my last d&c. They needed a urine sample and didn’t tell me why. I couldnt pee due to not drinking anything since the night before, and they made me wait until the doc showed up before they started my IV. Thankfully the doctor set the nurse straight ASAP (“Of course the pregnancy test will be positive, seeing as she is still pregnant!”) and she apologized profusely. Darn nurses! Glad yours were more sensitive.

  7. Huge hugs. i’m so glad the nurses were nice and sweet and kind. ((hug))
    .-= Devan´s last blog ..5-ish months =-.

  8. Huge hugs. i’m so glad the nurses were nice and sweet and kind. ((hug))

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