Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coming Full Circle

Almost exactly three years ago my husband and I packed up all our belongings, loaded them into a moving truck and drove 1,200 miles north to Michigan. After a brief detour in Virginia, tomorrow we will pack up all our belongings and drive 700 miles south, back to Orlando. Ending up about two miles from where we used to live. It is amazing how things are so similar, but so different at the same time.

Three years ago, I was working for a great organization, but thought I would be happier if I had my doctorate. Today, I am in a slightly different position with the same organization, and am enjoying every second of it.

Three years ago, I was just newly married and not sure what the impact of all these changes would have on my marriage. Today, after lots of changes and and challenges, our relation is stronger than ever and I know we can get through everything.

Three years ago, I missed the seasons and thought I wanted to live somewhere with four seasons. Today I realize that seasons are highly overrated. While I agree that the fall can be absolutely beautiful, I have no desire to deal with winter again...ever.

Three years ago, I thought my husband and I could do it completely on our own. Today I realize that while we can do it on our own, it is a lot more fun to live life with friends and family close by.

I am not looking forward to the actual moving process, but I cannot wait to be settled back in Orlando. I may not have been born and raised there, but in many ways, Orlando feels like home.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Loss Like No Other

So, as some of you may have noticed, my blog has been a bit quiet for a while. I haven’t been posting because a lot of changes have been taking place, but I wasn’t ready to share them publicly, so there wasn’t much to talk about. Now I am ready to start sharing both the good and the bad going on in our lives. This post is about the bad and is probably the hardest thing I have ever written. 

It has also taken a while for me to be able to share this. I needed to process what happened before I could talk about it on this blog. Please be forewarned that it may be uncomfortable or hard for some people to read. That being said, I want to share with the hope that it may give comfort or insight to someone going through a similar situation. 

I mentioned in my recap of the Marine Corps half marathon that I had figured out why my runs had gotten so hard and why I really struggled during that race. Well, that was because my body was busy burning energy getting pregnant. My husband and I had decided that it was time to start working on starting a family, so I went off birth control. We figured it would take a few months to get pregnant, so I never made the connection that it may be why I was struggling with my running. Two days after the half marathon when something felt strange, so I took a pregnancy test or three. 

We were super excited that having a family was going to be a reality. It meant that I didn’t drink while we were in Las Vegas, which made for an interesting trip. Did the usual and I purchased a couple of books to figure out what we should be doing to give this little baby the best home possible. My husband and I started making plans and doing little things to get ready. We didn’t tell anyone we were pregnant until after our first doctor’s appointment. 

On June 13, we had our first appointment with my OB/GYN. During that appointment, we had our first ultra sound. We saw what looked almost like a baby, and the heartbeat was strong beating at 146 bpm. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. There was a life growing inside of me. The expected due date was January 28. It was going to be an amazing start to the new year. 

After that appointment, we started telling people. We told our families on Father’s Day and started telling close friends soon after. Since we have friends and family scattered all over the place, we told as many as possible in person. I even gave my husband his first Father’s Day gift. 

At the same time, we had an excellent opportunity drop into our lives and decided that we would take it. This meant that we would be moving and taking a new job in just a few weeks. I will talk more about that in a future post, but moving meant finding a new doctor. To get ready for the move, I had a follow up appointment with my original doctor on June 27. Everything still looked good, but it was too early to hear the heartbeat, so I was released to my new doctor. 

On Tuesday, July 17, I had my first appointment with my new doctor. I had some spotting over the weekend and called first thing Monday to see if I could move my appointment. The nurse reassured me that some spotting was normal and my appointment for the next day would be fine. I went in for my appointment and told the doctor what was going on. She said it could be normal, but wanted to take a look. 

We moved from the exam room to the ultrasound room. I got up on the table and the doctor turned on the machine and inserted the wand. On the screen appeared the baby, but something looked off. The doctor walked me through what she was doing—taking measurements and looking at the baby. She told me that the baby wasn’t moving, and that it was measuring about 8 weeks 1 day—I was supposed to be just over 12 weeks at that point. She also said that she couldn’t see a heartbeat and it couldn’t be found with the Doppler. It was much later that I realized, that the missing flicker of the heartbeat was what looked off initially. 

At this point, I was alone at the doctor’s office—it was just supposed to be a routine appointment so I didn’t worry about my husband coming with me. I was told that I had three options. 
  1. Let my body miscarry naturally
  2. Use drugs to induce my body to pass the tissue
  3. Have a D&C – this would mean going under general anesthesia 
My doctor was really amazing and told me that I didn’t have to make a decision immediately. I knew that time wouldn’t really make it any easier and after some thought; I decided I would try the drugs. My body obviously wasn’t getting the appropriate signals and I really didn’t want to have surgery unless I absolutely had too. At this point, I also wasn’t sure if my husband would be able to make it to Florida, so I wanted to avoid anesthesia. 

She wrote me a prescription and walked me through the next steps. I then went to make the hardest phone call I ever had to make. I called my husband and told him that our baby had died. We also talked about our options and I told him what I thought would be best. He reached out to tell his family and booked a flight to come down the next day. I called my family and let them know and my mom booked a flight to come down and make sure I was okay. 

I collected myself and went back to work and sat through the longest orientation ever. Since I had only been there two weeks, I felt like I couldn’t miss too much, but I was not exactly engaged. My supervisor was really amazing and told me to do what I needed too and we would figure it out later. 

I went and filled my prescription and headed back to the doctor’s office late that afternoon. My doctor walked me through what I should expect in the next day or so and inserted the medication vaginally. I headed back to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s house where I had been staying since I started my new job. 

It was going to be a long night, so I grabbed pizza with my brother-in-law and tried to begin to wrap my head around what was going on. A few hours later I started to have some cramping. At first, it just felt like normal menstrual cramps, but got progressively worse. They were the worst cramps I have ever experienced. My stomach was also slightly upset and crampy. I was getting chills. I knew that this was what was supposed to happen, but it still felt very surreal. 

The doctor said it would probably take between 12 and 24 hours for the tissue to pass. For me, it was more like about 5 hours. I went to use the bathroom, had a terrible cramp, and then a lot of blood and other tissue came out. It was followed by another one and some additional blood and tissue a few minutes later. After that many of my symptoms got better, but I was still cramping and bleeding a lot. 

That night I went to bed about midnight. I set my alarm to wake me up about every two hours, just so I could make sure I was still alive. By six the next morning I couldn’t sleep anymore, but felt really rough. It would be another 4 hours before my husband and mom would be here. 

I spent most of the day after on the couch hanging out with my husband and mom. I cried until I didn’t feel like there were any more tears left in me. It felt like I had lost a piece of myself. I also spent a lot of time on the internet trying to figure out what happened and how to deal with the pain and the grief. It felt like we were losing something that had know about for a lot more than 8 weeks. 

On Thursday I went back to the doctor to make sure everything had passed. Luckily my body did what it was supposed to do and I didn’t have to go in for a D&C. That was a relief, because at that point, I really wasn’t sure I could have dealt with surgery. It was the first piece of “good” news I had gotten that week. 

I know I have been very blessed in life, but losing that little baby was the hardest thing I have ever been through.