Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Purpose in the Process

This post is one I've been trying to compose for a couple weeks now.  I don't know that I will be able to put it into any sort of coherent stream of thought, but I will try.

On March 28, I took my beloved dog Lucie back to the vet because we'd been battling what we thought was pancreatitis and then she quit eating for almost 2 weeks.  At that time we found out things were very serious and that we might not have Lucie for much longer. On March 29, I dropped Lucie off at the vet early in the morning for an ultrasound to see if we could find the problem.  And then I headed off to my own doctor's appointment.

You see, what only a handful of people knew is that I was pregnant again, and it looked like Andrew was going to be a big brother. I had a miscarriage last summer, and I was extremely cautious about telling anyone about this baby because of that loss.

I had a nagging feeling that I couldn't shake that I wasn't going to get good news at this appointment.  I believe that God had been preparing my heart the best He could that this baby wasn't really there.  I made the comment to a couple people that I was going to be surprised if there really was a baby there.  I arrived at the office for my appointment and was taken to the ultrasound room first, and then would meet with the doctor.  The ultrasound tech began and I knew right away that something was wrong. I remembered what Andrew had looked like at 10 weeks and what I was seeing on the screen looked nothing like that. She asked me if I was sure about my dates, and I said yes I was.  She told me that the baby was only measuring 6 weeks 2 days.  No where near my 10 weeks that I should have been.  She had me wait in the ultrasound room until they had an exam room ready for me, and left me there for a moment.  My practical nature kicked in and while I waited I pulled my phone out of my purse and immediately deleted my pregnancy apps because I knew it was all over.

My doctor came in and talked with me, and he said that he couldn't definitively say it was a miscarriage, but it most likely was, and that even if it wasn't, the chance of it being a normal pregnancy was extremely low. We discussed some options, and he gave me two doses of the medication that I'd used last summer to help my body get the whole process going.  He wanted me to have a blood draw done to check my levels, and told me to wait until they had the results to take the medicine.

I left, and went home to wait for my results, and for Lucie's results at the same time. I fully anticipated that I'd get the call that my numbers were falling and I could go ahead and take the medicine and then I'd be all done with this.  Instead I got a call that my numbers were still high enough that I needed to go back in a few days for another ultrasound before I could take the medicine.

I went back Friday for my ultrasound and it was confirmed that there was no cardiac activity, and in fact the fetal pole had already begun to shrink.  I wasn't scheduled to see a doctor at all that day, but was supposed to talk to a nurse before I left.  During my ultrasound the tech said that she just needed to take another look at something that was off to the side of the umbilical sac because she wasn't quite sure what she was seeing.  Then she left to go get the doctor to come in and look too.  I was laying on the table talking to my body.  The conversation went a little like this: "Body, you're an asshole! Can't you do any part of this right?"

Dr Mallory came in and looked at the pictures and they determined that what they were seeing was a large clot forming near where the placenta was separating.  He told me to go ahead and go home and take the medicine and gave me the list of things to be prepared for, and cautioned me about if and when I might need to go to the hospital, etc.  After having been told by two different doctors how much worse this one was going to be than the last one, I went to the store and got some supplies.  I stocked up on feminine supplies, and also some Pity Party snacks.  I let myself choose whatever I wanted.  I headed home and got through dinner and evening clean-up before taking the medicine, because last time it worked almost instantly and I wanted to be down for the night when it kicked in.  I took the medicine, which is a disgusting and unpleasant experience.  You have to sit for 30 minutes with 4 tablets tucked between your cheek and gum and wait while they dissolve, and after 30 minutes you swallow whatever hasn't dissolved.  It turns into a chalky paste in your mouth and it makes me gag.  I got it all swallowed down, and then on the advice of my doctor I also took a pain pill for the inevitable horrific cramps that were going to come.  Then I went to bed.  I felt gross for a couple hours, and I checked several times throughout the night, but nothing happened.  I had been told that if the first dose didn't work to take the second dose 24 hours later.  So all day I waited, and waited.  Nothing happened.  That night I got to repeat the awful process and wait again.  Pretty soon after I finished with the medicine I started feeling sick and crampy, and I thought, "here we go, it is all starting now."  I was wrong.  I felt sick all night, but still nothing happened.  I waited all day Sunday, but still nothing happened.  I called the doctor's office first thing Monday morning, and was told what I was expecting, but was also dreading hearing.  I was going to need a D&C.  I was told to keep my appointment that was already scheduled for Wednesday.  So I went in and Dr Mallory came in and sadly looked at me and said, "D&C." And I said, "Yep, that's what I figured."

I had been handling this whole process just fine.  I had already known in my heart that the baby was gone, and I was accepting it and moving on.  When he looked at me with such compassion, and then started to explain the procedure to me, I moved backwards in my steps of grief.  I had started at acceptance and then I moved to anger and sadness mixed.  The fact that I was going to have to have surgery brought a whole new level to this. and an added element of reality.  Up until this point I had really only lost the idea of a baby.  Now I was going to have to have it surgically removed from me.

He talked me through it all, and then he looked at me and asked me how I was doing.  And that damn near broke me. I told him that I had been doing ok, but that I was sad/mad.  I just wished that there was one part of this whole pregnancy thing that my body was capable of doing right.

I left there with my pre and post op instructions and was told that I'd get a call very soon telling me when my surgery would be.  He was going to try to get it scheduled for his on-call days so he could do it for me.  That meant the world to me that he took the time to talk with me and to also try to be the one who was with me through this whole time.

I got the call later that afternoon that my surgery was scheduled for Friday morning with Dr Russo.  I was a little sad that they hadn't been able to schedule it for Dr Mallory's call day, but decided that it was best to just get it over with.  I was a more nervous about the surgery at this point because it was with the one doctor in that office that I'd never met and that just added an extra level of discomfort for me.

Friday morning my Mom came and got me and we dropped Andrew off at our friends' house and were on our way to the surgery center.  We got checked in and were taken back to get ready.  I had an amazing nurse who got my IV started on the first try and completely painlessly.  I met with the anesthesiologist, who was wonderful, thorough, and funny.  Then I met Dr Russo.  She was very nice and I felt more at ease.  I was taken back to the OR and got settled on the table and then the anesthesiologist came in.  She had told me that some people say that the medicine feels cold in their arm as it travels up.  She administered it and then asked me if I felt it because I had winced.  I told her it stung a little, it didn't feel cold.  Then I remember thinking that I just wanted to close my eyes for a moment.  What felt like about 5 seconds later I heard a nurse saying my name and asking me to open my eyes.  I was no longer in the OR, and I was wrapped in warm blankets, and I was told that I had just been talking with Dr Russo.  (Sure, if they say so.)  Pretty soon my Mom was sitting next to me again, and I realized that I really didn't care at all who had done the surgery.  General anesthesia does not suck y'all!!

Mom brought me home, and I spent the next couple days taking it easy, and recovering.  Physically it was a very easy recovery.  A couple of days of feeling rough, and then mostly back to normal.  I needed a little extra iron and had to remember to drink lots of water, but other than that, I was ok.

I titled this "The Purpose in the Process" from the song Joy in the Journey that I have previously written a post about.  And it's not because I've found the purpose in this process...  It's because that full line is "Show me the purpose in the process, because I can't see where you're taking me.  And yet you promised it will all be for my good, show me the purpose in the process, show me the joy."

I wish I knew the purpose for all of this.  I wish I knew why two babies in a row have died before they ever had a chance at life.  But I don't.  I know that I'm not trying to find the purpose, I'm trying to find the joy.  I realize that while this was a hard time in my life, it could have been so much worse. Physically I am fine, I am healthy, and I am strong.  Lucie is recovering from what turned out to be an infection in her liver.  I am still surrounded by my family and friends.  I may not know the purpose in this process now... and I may not ever know it.  But I do know that I have much to give thanks for, and am thankful that while I struggle with sadness, I can still find joy.


  1. My heart is with you, Stephanie! I'm so sorry about all this, but am really Thankful you do have much to be thankful for, and that you're searching for the joy. ... I don't know this song you speak of, but think I need to find it. The portion you shared REALLY speaks to and for me, as well. I know my God is faithful. But there's so MUCH I don't understand now!! I've said I didn't want to do this life without my Dwan. And I DON'T!! But now that's where I am. We were so sure we understood what the Lord intended for him, and did NOT expect him to slip away as he did. For myself, I've been sensing a change for quite a few months. Like God had something in mind -- I just had NO idea it would include losing my sweet forever friend. I hope you find the joy, Steph. And even the purpose. And I hope I do, too... I also have much to be Thankful for... but life is just SO HARD now!! And so unrelentingly so.... May He be with you, and bless you!!

    1. Nita, if you look back through my blog, back in July 2011 I believe, there is a post about this song. In the comments there is a link to the song from my friend Steve who is one of the singers of it. It's not available for sale anywhere that I know of.

  2. I wish I could figure out how to link publicly to the songs. I'd love to share them/it. I don't think the link you mentioned will work, Stephanie. I thought it did, but am skeptical now.

    1. Thanks for sharing them with me. I've been listening to all the songs and for a brief moment I'm transported back in time. :)