Today is the three year anniversary of miscarriage number two. It is the only D&C I have had to bear. It was a hard day but I was surprisingly relatively calm at the hospital. My surgery was supposed to beat 10:00 am but I got bumped and rescheduled to 2:30 pm. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink before so I was understandably hungry and thirsty by 2:30 pm! Brian went with me to the hospital. Luckily, I was able to go to the outpatient surgery wing of the hospital and didn't have to go to Labor and Delivery like I have heard some people have to do. Seeing pregnant women and hearing babies cry, I don’t think that I could have taken that.
I got my IV fluids started and was trying hard to hold back the tears. The slow to rise betas were not definitive enough for me. I kept waiting for someone to say that they were wrong. I wanted somebody to come rushing in to tell me that it was all a mistake and the baby was fine. But no one ever came.
The ultra sound right before my D&C showed nothing different than before. My doctor was and is so great. Even though he probably knew that nothing had changed in the last few days, he still did an ultra sound that morning for my piece of mind. I am still grateful for that act of compassion; I needed that last bit of reassurance to move on with the surgery. I was a little over nine weeks; there would have definitely been a baby and a heartbeat by now. But there was no heartbeat and no baby, just an empty sac were they both should have been.
The doctor came and talked to me and I had to sign some forms. Shortly after, the anesthesiologist came and asked me a long list of questions. There was a bit of a hold up because I had taken a sip of water that morning at about 8:00 am so I could swallow my thyroid medication. I am not sure how a sip of water about seven hours earlier could have mattered, but they made a big deal out of it. I certainly don't want to aspirate into my lungs but it is not like I had a cheese burger and fries!
After convincing them that it was indeed just a tiny sip, I was finally wheeled into the operating room. They put the good sleepy meds in my IV and I was soon feeling drowsy. A few nurses walked and in and started to make themselves busy around the room. I remember how cold it was and how strong the 'hospital smell' was. Then a nurse came into my view and was talking sweetly to me. She asked if I was okay and if I needed another blanket or anything. I told her a nice lunch would be great and she smiled. As she walked away I saw that she was noticeably pregnant and probably well into her third trimester. A small tear ran down my cheek. My heart ached.
I understand that pregnant women have a right to work. There were pregnant nurses and ultra sound techs at my fertility clinic at different times. It is not that I was unable to be happy for them, but it was so hard to see when I was trying to get pregnant. It was even harder to look at while dealing with a miscarriage. I was not mad and certainly didn’t fault the nurse, but I wish they could have found someone else to assist with my D&C.
A nice big belly was the last thing I needed to witness that day. It stung and burned like a slap across the face and reminded me again of what I would be missing. If you know me, then you know that I didn't say anything, but I wanted to. I just didn't want to make her uncomfortable and she was so nice to me. I have been blessed or cursed, depending on how you look at it, with worrying about how others are feeling too much. I don't know her story and it is not like she was making rude comments. It is just that it made my gut wrenching sadness hurt still more.
I was soon fast asleep and woke up in recovery. I was allowed to have some ice chips and the nurse said everything went fine. The doctor came in a short time later and verified that there were no problems. Well, except for the fact that I lost my baby. I was wheeled into another area after about half an hour and Brian was there waiting for me. Another nurse brought me some ginger ale and crackers - not quite the meal I had in mind. But I don’t think I could have eaten anything more since I was so nauseous. I had to wait a bit longer and then was ready to go home.
I was sore and uncomfortable but the physical pain and cramping were really not too bad. I stayed in bed the rest of the day and most of the next day. Partly to recover from the surgery and partly to grieve. I was very confused at this time too. I had conceived Brian and Sean with minimal work and this was my second miscarriage in five months.
The first one was on October 8, 2004 and happened naturally. My betas only go to about 40 and then started to drop. This second one was harder because my betas had been okay, not great but acceptable. And everything was drawn out with so much waiting. Wait for the next ultra sound and wait for the next beta level. Then wait until we can find time in the schedule for the D&C. After that it was wait a few months until I could try to get pregnant again!
My betas went down quickly and I was able to get back to the doctor within a few months. Unfortunately, I didn't have any luck staying pregnant until much later. Many miscarriages and negative pregnancy tests came to follow in the next seventeen months. In the midst of treatments it was all very hard to comprehend, but now that I look back, I would go through it all again. I think this is only because I know now that Justin was at the end of the long road.
I hear quite often that so many women who are struggling with infertility wish that they knew when and if they would get pregnant. If someone had told me when I started that my baby would be born in May of 2007, everything would have been so much easier to endure and accept. I think that most women going through infertility and loss would agree. If there was a definite end point, most would be happy to go through just about anything. But sadly, that is not the case and there are no guarantees.
The other hard part is that after years and years of unsuccessful infertility treatments, many couples have spent a small fortune. They reach the point when they cannot emotionally, physically, or financially continue with treatments. Some decide the best thing for them is to remain childless and some pursue adoption. The problem is that most of them have spent all the money available to them, and then some, on treatments. And at the present time, adoption is no longer financially an option for them. So, then there is more waiting to save money and pay off the infertility debts. The whole idea of placing a price tag on parenthood really makes me want to vomit!