Friday, September 23, 2011

A lesson in perspective

I lost a baby.  I wonder if it ever gets easier to say that.  I never got to see my baby, hold my baby, name my baby.....but I got to love my baby.  It's been almost 3 months since it happened and I still can't seem to find the motivation to get off my ass and do much of anything.  I can't even get the words I want to make it from my heart to my mind to my fingers on the keyboard.  I've erased no less than 10 sentences on this post already because they didn't come out the way they sounded in my head.  I'm not going to say that nobody understands what I'm going through because I know, now more than ever, that it couldn't be further from the truth.

I never knew that I had so many friends who have been through a miscarriage until I had my own.  I guess it's comforting on some level.  It cushions the blow a little to know you're not a really long line in an incredibly fucked up all-female game of Red Rover.  Everyone was standing there, clasping hands with the broken person next to them screaming "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Mel right over".  And I didn't want to.  I wanted to stay on my team....but I ran.  Okay, more like I was pushed....and they caught me.  I fell backwards, stood up, and joined hands.  Some days I have to grasp those hands a little tighter to keep from falling over but they're always there.

I wanted to write about the whole experience right away, while it was still fresh in my mind.  Unfortunately, I'm a procrastinator and that didn't happen.  I'll give the brief details:  Spotting for a couple weeks during early pregnancy.  A little worried but it was off and on.  One day it got heavier.  I went to the ER, had blood work and an ultrasound, and found out I was probably miscarrying but they wanted me to come back in 48 hours for follow up tests.  I went back and the loss was confirmed.  I was told to wait and see if I passed it on my own.  Over the next few days my bleeding got worse.....much worse.  Finally, on what I refer to as "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", I couldn't leave the toilet for 3 hours while I bled uncontrollably.  My clotting was bad enough to back up the plumbing in my entire house (quite wasn't pretty at all).  So I went to the ER where they brought me in for an emergency D&C.  I was released a few hours later, early in the morning on the 4th of July.  Here's a post I wrote to a group of friends when I got home from the hospital:
Things I am slightly more than pissed off about in regards to my recent hospital experiences:

1 - The 2nd ER doctor was a dick. He acted like I was inconveniencing him by being there. I asked him SPECIFICALLY if they could tell by the 4 ultrasounds they'd done when the baby stopped growing. He said it was too undefined to tell and walked out of the room to discharge me before I could ask him any more questions.

2 - The 3rd ER doctor treated me like I was using the ER as my doctor's office and I should have gone to the OB instead when I had been hemorrhaging for 3 hours and had to fish blood clots that added up to the size of a volleyball out of my toilet to bring them with me to the ER. But I was taking up a bed for someone with a cut on their finger or some shit.

3 - When 3rd ER doc finally called in the on-call OB he told me the baby stopped growing at 5 1/2 weeks. 5 FUCKING WEEKS AGO! I ASKED that stupid 2nd doc and he told me they couldn't tell. If he had cared enough to look he would have seen that I was at a serious risk for infection having all that in me for over a month and then would have sent me in for a D & C right away. Instead he told me to try to pass it on my own and follow up in about 5 days. In the meantime I lost enough blood to clog up all of the plumbing in my house and I'm fucking lucky I didn't develop anything serious.

4 - While the nurse in recovery was calling to give report on me to the women's center (where I was being transferred), she told them I was a smoker. I'm not. I don't know where she got that information. I was coming out of anesthesia so I couldn't correct her. Not a huge deal but accurate reporting is your fucking job. I was not happy.

5 - Same recovery nurse spent the entire time in my room bitching to another nurse about certain doctors and other nurses (all by name) including using excessive amounts of profanity. "He's a fucking idiot. That guy's an asshole. That's such bullshit. Etc." I have a gutter mouth but....there are times when it's not appropriate. AND completely unprofessional to bash your co-workers in front of a patient.

6 - I asked for Robb when I was coming out of anesthesia. Recovery nurse called down to the waiting room and they told her after he talked to the doctor he left the building and they don't know where he went. So I was like where the fuck is he and why isn't he here???? They told him to go wait in my recovery room all the way on the other side of the hospital. For 30 minutes. Without me. And didn't bother to tell me where he was.

7 - They sent me to recover in the "Women's Center" with all of the post-partum moms and crying newborn babies. Thanks. That felt great.

8 - After I was discharged the nurse was wheeling me out to the car and said "We have to check out with security on the way out". So we stopped at security and the guard said "Where's the baby?" Nurse - "No, there's....ummm.....there's no baby. I mean she....ummm....there wasn't....ummm....she didn't have.....ummmm....she had surgery." Guard - "Oh, well if there's no baby I don't need anything. You only need to check out if there's a baby so I can check the wristband. But if there's no baby you can just take her out. Baby, baby, baby, you don't have a baby." (Okay, so the last sentence wasn't a direct quote but....he may as well have said it. Salt. In the wound. Rub it in some more. Did you want me to hold a baby on my way out, too?)
So there you have the shitty details.  The more I read posts about miscarriages, the more I see this same stuff happening and I gotta say.....IT'S BULLSHIT!  And I still haven't been able to bring myself to go get my insurance crap worked out (because doing so would make me relive it...again) and if I don't get to it in time I'll be in debt for $23,000 for this excellent care that I received.  It's not okay to hurt women who are already hurting.  I don't get why the hell some people choose their profession.....we're not just a paycheck, there's a human being on the other side of that diagnosis.

Now to explain the title of this entry.  I read a post today from one of my favorite bloggers that referenced my favorite blog post ever from ANOTHER favorite blogger.  The line she quoted was "Perspective. Now you have it."  Well, something happened to me in between my first and second ER visit.  I went back to have my hCG levels checked to confirm that I was, in fact, miscarrying and the front desk told me it would be a 4 hour wait and it would be better to come back around 4 or 5 in the morning.  My mom had gone with me since Robb was at work and as we went to leave there was a woman being escorted out the front doors of the hospital by 2 police officers.  She was young (about my age), crying and holding a stuffed bunny rabbit.  They walked out the door about 10 seconds before us and as we walked past we heard one of the officers tell the woman that her son had died.  She let out the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard in my life and fell to her knees sobbing, screaming, yelling at them to take her to her baby.  My mom and I both stopped dead in our tracks, watching, crying, our hearts breaking for this woman.  We stood there for a couple minutes until the woman's friend/family member took her away to see her baby.  We finally composed ourselves enough to walk to our cars where we stood crying embraced in the longest hug we've probably ever had.  In that moment, I gained my perspective.  Yes, I lost a baby.  A baby I wanted more than anything.  I'm not discounting that fact and it still hurt like hell......but I had a son at home that was happy and healthy and I would take pain and suffering any day to keep him from hurting.  I can try to make another baby....I can never make another Jake.

A friend called when she found out about the miscarriage and I told her that it seems like I was meant to experience every single possible reproductive scenario so that I'm the best midwife EVER.  I really think it's true.  As hard as this experience has been, I know that one day it will help me say or do the exact thing that someone needs during her miscarriage.  I'll be able to cry with her, comfort her, and get her through it in a loving way so that she NEVER has to be treated like I was....and if I can make that possible for ONE woman, then I know that my baby's short life served a purpose.  I can catch her, help her stand when she falls, and welcome her into The Sisterhood Nobody Wants to be a Part of.

"Red Rover, Red Rover, send another sister over....."