Saturday, March 12, 2011

our love, our loss... the chaos continues

when luna was a newborn, she slept most soundly on my chest. she felt warmth and comfort there.. and i have to say the feeling was mutual. recently we've been working on night weaning. luna does well, but she still wakes, and it's in those moments that comfort again comes from lying on my chest. it wasn't until last night, with luna's heart to mine, that i felt all of the love and warmth and solace that closeness can bring. it poured over me, and together we comforted each other.

yesterday (3/11/11) we said a final goodbye to the spirit i had carried shortly in my womb.

6 days ago, on sunday, i noticed brown spotting while i was working. it wasn't too alarming as i had spotted in early pregnancy with luna as well.

on monday i still had brown spotting and contacted our midwife to set an appointment to listen for the heartbeat, as i was now 12 weeks pregnant.

by tuesday the spotting had turned to bright red, but was still minimal, and i had no other symptoms.

wednesday morning came and we headed to our midwife's house to check things out. after a brief time of searching for the heartbeat with the doppler, and finding none, our midwife suggested going in for a sonogram. we agreed, and headed to the hospital early that evening. after a long wait at the hospital, we were finally taken in and i saw my uterus for the first time. what an experience. unfortunately though, we saw an empty sac... there was no heartbeat... no fetus. the diagnosis - blighted ovum.

i had blamed stress for the disconnection i had this pregnancy. i couldn't focus on the growing babe inside me. i was happy about the pregnancy, but just couldn't connect with this little one the way i had so early on with luna. stress was significant in the first few weeks following the positive pregnancy test, and i thought that must be the reason. i had no time to connect. i felt a strong guilt about it. i also blamed stress for my lack of pregnancy symptoms. not having the time to rest must explain why i'm not so fatigued.

seeing an empty sac explained a lot. i understood why i couldn't connect to a babe... there wasn't one to connect to. the hospital midwife explained that, while my uterus was measuring 12 - 14 weeks, the gestational sac was only measuring 9 - 10 weeks.
she warned us that a natural miscarriage this far into pregnancy would be dangerous and difficult. she suggested a D&C, and implied that i would most likely end up in the hospital anyway due to hemorrhage or fear in going through the miscarriage at home. she offered reassurance in knowing that the hospital now had me on file so i would be quickly admitted when coming in bleeding in the middle of the miscarriage. she gave us no advice or things to look for as potential problems in the miscarriage (even when i specifically asked her), and continued to stress the DANGER.

we left the hospital feeling sad, empty, and scared. i tried calling our midwife for advice, but didn't hear back from her. we were lost in a sea of uncertainty and fear of the unknown... and weighted by our sorrow, we couldn't find a way out. thursday morning i woke feeling a bit more clear and contacted my midwife, wendy, from portland to ask for her advice. cramping had begun, and i felt them getting stronger as the day went on. the bleeding i was experiencing at this point was comparable to a light menstrual flow.. bright red blood. by thursday evening i received an email from wendy. thank goodness for her. her words brought me peace and i could feel her support - even though she was so many miles away. knowing now what to expect, i was able to embrace the miscarriage and move with it rather than against it in fear.

noticeable contractions began around 8pm thursday night. i recognized them differing from the cramping because they were coming in waves. they were mild and easy to sleep through.
at 1 am friday morning i woke with contractions that, while still mild, encouraged me to get on my feet and move around. i found it most comfortable to work through these by rotating my hips. at one point febri turned the light on and commented "you're dancing"... and, i suppose i was. everything happened quickly, contractions got very close together, and i sat on the toilet expecting to pass tissue, though not much came out. blood was still only a light flow. i began to feel clammy and dizzy and i called febri to come be with me. i put my head down low, i was sweating a lot...still clammy and dizzy, and febri rubbed my back as the contractions increased, then a few minutes later subsided. i laid down on the floor - febri brought me a banana and some water. after a couple minutes, i felt better and went back to the bedroom. within minutes i felt blood coming - i went back to the toilet and a gush of blood came from me - i felt clots fall as well. then i went back to bed (after drinking some water and eating a granola bar), it was now just after 2am, and caught an hour sleep or so.

i woke again to increasing contractions, though not as intense as before, and went back to the bathroom. i passed some blood again and started to feel cold and shiver. febri brought me a sweater, and i ate an egg. immediately, the shivering stopped. i was feeling better, but i knew it wasn't over yet. i was surprised at how easy things were going, but aware that there was more to come. febri had been collecting what my body was passing, and so far it was just some small clots and a bit of tissue. i was up and down for a bit - eating more food and staying hydrated, and continuing to go to the toilet expecting things to pass, but not seeing much. my bleeding was still light in between the bathroom trips. finally i went to the toilet and felt that there was something that needed to pass... a blood clot or something. i felt the need to push, and when i did i looked down expecting to see blood, but saw grey instead - and i knew it was the placenta. i pushed and pushed - which was an odd sensation. i wasn't feeling the uterus contracting.. and it didn't feel like i was pushing anything at all - but i knew it was there and it needed to come out. after a few pushes, the placenta and sac came out together. the sac was still intact, with fluid. i'd say the size of the placenta and sac was about equal to a grapefruit. the placenta looked healthy and it was amazing to see the gestational sac. there was little bleeding, and i felt good.

it was such a relief to see everything together and to know it was complete. i felt a calm wash over me, and ...though it's strange to say... a happiness. i felt peace.

yesterday afternoon we buried the placenta and sac in our yard. we said a prayer, and said goodbye.

and today, we move on.

life is so many things. so amazing, and sometimes so challenging. the experience of life and loss from my womb has been both amazing and challenging... and so much more. in the end, febri and i have come out stronger, more connected, and oh so grateful. and as a family, as we experience more loss, we recognize the never ending love... the balance, the beauty, the blessing... LOVE.