Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Patient Liaison

I should be 21 weeks pregnant. But I'm not. It blows my mind that I am mommy to three but only get to mother (verb) one. I am oh-so-thankful for that one though. If I didn't have that memory box and one photo of me at 14 weeks pregnant I could hardly believe it. I am so thankful for the things I have to remember the babies by. It gives credence to how I'm feeling and gives me permission to grieve.

We really felt like we needed to go back to the hospital to talk about our experience. During the time that I was waiting between triage and being seen I was alone (with my husband). Though we returned to the desk multiple times to let them know things were changing/progressing nobody checked on me. At the time I was focused on myself and my distress but in retrospect it bothers me. I felt completely uncared for.

Perhaps because I am a nurse I had conflicting feelings about the meeting. I am overwhelmingly sad that my profession does or can not care for people who are in physical pain and emotional distress. I would hope that if it had been me working that I could have and would have provided care. Emotionally at the very least. Having my vital signs taken would have made me feel somewhat cared for and taken 30 seconds.

I also felt badly because I kind of felt that I was going against my own people - nurses. I understand what a busy shift is like. What it's like to be short staffed and bursting at the seams with people who are sick and demanding. To work a night shift and not have slept the day before. The variables are endless.

Walking into the building where I left my babies was almost unbearable. More so that I had even expected. My body had a completely visceral response with back pain and uterine cramps while my head spun. I had to catch my breath.

The patient liaison was very nice. Since the Husband was unsure on the chronological details I had to tell the story myself. It felt like just yesterday. The liaison cried with us and wrote our story down. From here it gets taken to the ER manager who will pull my file and talk to people working the shift that night and determine if anything could have been done differently.

I don't want anyone else to go through what I did feeling like they were alone in a place that should be taking care of them.

The liaison did say that labor before 20 weeks cannot be treated or stopped. Which I knew. I am not assigning any blame for the outcome I had. She reminded us that in a perfect world there are two staff at the desk, one of whom is a reassessment nurse. But that when they're short staffed or busy that nurse if the first to be pulled, etc, etc. I get that. Really, I do.

My Husband asked if I wanted him to spend some time with me after the appointment as we walked out, me with tears I just couldn't stop. All I could say is "I need to get out of here". I went, alone, to the mall for some time alone and permission to buy myself a treat.

It's hours later now and I'm still feeling a bit shook up but mostly better. I have done what I needed to and now I just need to let it go.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I'm enjoying a day off. This morning I brought my beautiful son to pre-school and then went home and did a light workout, started laundry, and sipped a cup of strong coffee while sitting in the sun on the deck.

This week marks my return to work and the two week date since losing the babies. My first day at work was almost impossible. I paced the floor at 6 AM wondering if I should go or call in sick. My heart pounded and tears filled my eyes. I convinced myself to drive to work, comforting myself with the thought that once I walked in the building, if things felt overwhelming I would let myself go back home. Everyone would understand.

I didn't end up going home though I did spend a good portion of the day crying. Just as I would gain my composure another person would stop by with condolences and a hug. I deeply appreciate everybody's expressions of care and concern for me and the shared feeling of disappointment and loss but I am seriously prone to tears. Lucky for me that tendency hasn't scared anybody off.

Two weeks post miscarriage has me feeling a bit better. I'm stronger, my color is better. I'm not as sad as I was. I feel like I'm either completely disconnected, especially in a crowd setting, or deeply sad with very little in between. But I am able to eat more, laugh with my son, and appreciate beauty around me. Sometimes I can talk about losing my babies without bursting into tears.

Progress. Slow but sure.

Some of the books I have read or the websites I've looked through talk a lot about feeling anger in regards to loss. I can't relate to that. As of yet (and I realize it may be kind of early) I have only felt deep, heavy sadness. And perhaps some feelings of guilt thinking of what I could or should have done better. I have yet to identify anger on this journey.

In a month or so I'll return to my OBGYN. I have a list of questions for her. I'm curious as to whether the autopsy and pathology results will give us any more information. Shortly after that appointment we'll return to the fertility clinic and talk about giving it another go. Our dream is still to expand our family and give the Boy a sibling. For now we will pursue that.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I'm not sure where to start today...

At around noon I'm heading to work. I'm just going by to say hi and deal with some of the load of emotions I know I won't be able to contain. I want to get over a good part of that before I go in to work on Monday. I left there last week Monday with 2 growing babies and an unmistakable belly. I return with empty arms, wearing my pre-natal jeans.

In the midst of loss, I feel blessed. My grief reaction is always extreme and this is by far the biggest, most personal loss I have experienced. If I didn't have friends and family checking up on me, encouraging me, listening to me and making sure I put food into my knotted stomach... if I didn't have my son to haul me out of bed and go about my day... I think I would curl up and disappear. That is my tendency.

Yesterday I sat with my Husband, my Dad, Sister-in-law, and Brother. We shared our memory box with them. It's so hard for me to open that box. Just makes me so sad. But we talked about the babies, held the tiny bunting bags that they wore. It hurt like crazy but in another way felt really good. I am so happy to have a memory box. It's a reminder that they were real. It acknowledges my grief. I showed Isaiah the outfit his sister wore and he turned away, sad. My dear Mom followed him as he took a girl and boy doll and played with them for a while. It was like play therapy. He was so gentle with the dolls. I hope he can be a big brother on earth one day.

These figurines were my sister-in-law's idea. Aren't they lovely?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yesterday I put all my maternity clothes in a bin and put them away. I've lost almost all of my pregnancy weight. Feels like even my body doesn't remember my babies. A week ago they died.

I'm thinking of getting a tattoo. I don't want to forget.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dear Babies

My dear, beautiful babies,

Can it be? That only a week ago I heard your hearts beating so strongly, so distinctly different from each other but both perfect. A week ago I laid down and put your Daddy's hands over you and he felt you move. It was the first and only time he got to do that and it made his face light up.

We built our dreams around you as part of our family. We put off vacations and planned to a buy a van. Nothing was more important to us. We loved you as soon as we knew you were going to be part of our family.

I remember how tentatively I held on to you in the beginning. We had worries about you from the start. We worried about each of you individually as well as your effect on each other. We loved you fiercely and prayed for you to be healthy and strong. We went from ultrasound to ultrasound and rejoiced with our friends and families when they told us that both of you looked healthy. It was a different report than our previous scans told us - we were concerned about Baby B.

We were told we would lose one or both of you. Somehow you guys defied the odds. You proved everybody wrong. I got photos of you from the last ultrasound and I showed the world! I was just so proud and excited for you. I couldn't wait to hold you in each of my arms.

Just recently I told someone I wouldn't believe that I could have the two of you until you were in my arms. It must be too good to be true.

Then I got a fever. That invisible bug initiated a process that was unstoppable. I fought back with every ounce of my being. I fought to hold on to you. I wasn't supposed to be in labor.

Daddy and I held you after you were gone. We named you and cried. Baby girl, you were tall and we noticed your eyebrows and full lips. Beautiful boy, you had one hand clasped around the wrist of you other hand. My boy, you had been sucking your thumb. Do you know your older brother does that? So did your daddy. We cradled you. And then we gave you away.

You feel like a dream. A beautiful dream that crashed when I woke up. But you weren't. I didn't imagine you. I felt you move, saw you grow. I watched you living on an ultrasound screen. You were real. You were ours. You are always ours.

My heart is broken, babies. This pain that I feel is nothing you'll ever know. Nothing and nobody will ever make you feel pain or sorrow. All we have left is a box of memories. Foot and hand prints. Pictures. Blankets. I put our ultrasound pictures and the cards people gave us into the box and put it in a safe place.

My babies. I miss you. I can't count the tears I've cried. There is no measure for the pain of your loss. I know life will go on but life will be forever different.



My Name

This song and video is so touching.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Things I Think About

I would say that today was a bad day. Except that I don't think I've had a good day since I lost the babies on Wednesday. At this point my hormones are crashing, I'm quite anemic, and I feel empty.

Today when I was remembering my babies I wondered. Did they know that I loved them? Did they feel it when I placed my hands on them every night hoping to feels them move? Did they know I listened to their heartbeats as often as I could and sometimes just sat for 10 minutes listening to the life within mine? When I see them again will they know that I'm their mama? They never saw me and I never got to hold them, feed them, comfort them. How will they know me?

We've been surrounded by love. Things that have touched us have included notes, cards, care packages for Isaiah, tears, questions, meals provided, flowers, and more. I don't know how I could breathe if others weren't helping me. The pain and the emptiness is nothing I have ever felt before.

During my pregnancy I took medications as instructed. I had a large bleed that put the babies at risk. I shoveled the car out of the snow, carried my son up the stairs and went to the gym. I went to work and enjoyed hot baths and my heating pad. The babies thrived. Then a virus or bacteria found me and pulled me, and them, under. It just feels like my body betrayed me by going into labor when it shouldn't have. It just shouldn't have. My babies looked perfect. They had so much potential. They were fully formed. All they needed was time to grow and get stronger. Just time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Not-So-Happy Ending

I had a lovely day on Tuesday. I relaxed alone at home in the morning. Met a friend and her new baby around lunch time. Then spent the afternoon with my sister and in the city enjoying myself.

Then in the evening I started leaking light pink watery fluid. It didn't look quite like the subchorionic hemorrhage material that I was familiar with and that was still clearing itself out of my system. I called the doctor on call and she told me I could go in if things got worse or see her the following morning.

Things did get worse. I started having cramps. I tried to figure out if they were coming regularly or just plain cramps. I lay on my heating pad and shivered. I shivered so hard I shook the bed. I tried to let my husband sleep but woke him shortly after 1. I told him things weren't right. He told me I was burning hot. We contacted my dad who was on his way home from work so he could come sleep here and care for Isaiah.

We got up and got ready to go to ER. I passed a large clot and the cramps increased in intensity. My temp was 38.5C and I took some Tylenol.

Our experience as we waited in ER was less than satisfactory. There were 4 others waiting to be seen. As I sat there, I knew I was actually in labor. Everything about it felt wrong. I breathed my way through contractions and when they were every 2-3 min I told the aide (there were no nurses in sight at the desk) that I was quite sure I was having contractions, not cramps. Nobody came to check on me. Finally I could not get out of the bathroom because of pain and bleeding. My Husband told the staff. They told him that I was next and did not come to check on me. By the time my name was called I could not walk and my husband brought me in with a wheelchair.

Once I was in, the staff were great. I got large amounts of morphine that took the edge off the pain. The gyne resident came to check me and I delivered a tiny baby boy and girl right at that moment. The most painful part followed immediately after as she manually removed the placentas.

After things settled I went to the ward. I got treated with antibiotics and given painkillers as needed. I was able to rest a lot. The nurse who admitted me gave me a long hug that was the most healing thing I have ever felt.

The staff put a memory box together for us. It contains cards with the babies lengths and weights. A ribbon is attached to each that represents the lengths of the babes. Our little girl was a whopping 17 cm long - she was the longest! We got memory necklaces for each of them and little stones we can carry in our pockets to remind us of the babies. It includes the tiny clothes they wore and blankets they were wrapped in. We got a CD of photos of both babies.

My Husband and I saw them when they were cleaned up and dressed, wrapped in hand made blankets. We got to study the eyebrows on her and the fingernails on his hand that he had by his mouth. He had been sucking his thumb. We named them both and said goodbye.

I went home the evening of the following day empty handed. My hormones are crashing and my womb and arms are empty. Nothing feels right and I feel crazy. This, apparently, is normal.

We're fortunate. We have amazing family and friends who are constantly in touch and creative in showing their support. Phone calls, gifts, packages for Isaiah. Meals provided, live plants, notes of love. We have understanding bosses and colleagues who give us as much time away as we need.

We'll make it through. Once we're back on our feet we'll try again. We'll never be sorry that we conceived and carried those babies. And we'll never forget them even as our family grows and life returns to normal.