Grief, Loss and Thanksgiving: Part Two

Part 2: Tuesday the 25th and Wednesday the 26th – WARNING, this will get graphic and detailed.  I will not blame you if you skip this post.

Tuesday went by in a slow blur.  Michael took care of every meal, as I spent most of the day on the couch.  At some point either Monday night or some time Tuesday, Michael had gathered all of the baby stuff, put it in our unfinished nursery, and closed the door.  His job let him work from home (a job he only started the week before) and they sent flowers Tuesday afternoon.  Michael also handled all the prep for the hospital stay the next day.  That evening, friends, Tod and Candace, came by to pray for us.  After they left, we got ready and picked my mom up from the airport.  We didn’t get home until 10, and we had to be at the hospital at 5 the next morning, so we went to bed.

The morning came pretty quickly.  We arrived a few minutes before 5 to the hospital.  We had to enter through the emergency room because it was so early.  They buzzed Labor and Delivery, and a nurse came down with a wheelchair to wheel me to my room.  It was just like the rooms we saw on the tour.  In fact, even though we weren’t coming home with a baby,  we still got all the things a couple giving a live birth would get – Michael had all his meals for free and delivered to our room, which was nice so he didn’t have to leave very much at all.

Before everything got started, I asked for one more sonogram, just for peace of mind.  The nurse contacted our doctor for permission, which we got.  An IV was administered while we waited, as well as a blood pressure monitor, and I answered a bunch of medical questions.  The sonogram was done and we waited for the radiologist to come back.  Nothing had changed, there was no heartbeat, no movement, no baby anymore.  So, we started the next step.

For the rest of this post, I will be detailing what I remember from the day.  I want to share because I want others to know what they may have to expect if they have to go through this like I did.  Of course, it could also be different for them for a number of reasons, but I want you to know what happened for me.

The nurse had to insert pills into me near the cervix to get the induction process started.  This wasn’t Pitocin, though I would get Pitocin later after it was done to help contract the uterus.  As it was explained to me, this drug is much stronger, and since I had no indication I was even near labor on my own, this would help the process go a little faster.  Now, by a little faster, that meant maybe I would get to go home some time the next day.  Some women may be a half a day, others it may take three days.  I didn’t realize that timeline going into the experience.  The longest I had heard of was 10 hours, and the day nurse said that was really the exception, it’s usually much longer.

Something else I didn’t expect was that in the state of Texas, if a baby is born – alive or dead after 20 weeks, we are responsible for a funeral or cremation.  The nurse explained this as she handed me a folder full of funeral information, which my husband promptly took.  He stepped outside with his phone to go through the list of funeral homes, and handled all of the details.  In fact, whenever the nurse had to ask questions about that, he would step into the hall with them so I didn’t have to hear any of it.

Three hours later, they had to insert more pills, and I started to cramp.  First they gave me Vicodin, which helped for about 30 mins.  When that stopped working, they administered pain meds through the IV.  That worked for about 15 mins.  So they moved on to the epidural.  The anesthesiologist came and set me up as I breathed through cramps and contractions.  They also put a monitor on my finger that seemed to monitor the contractions.  After the first cool whoosh of meds from the epidural, the cramps finally subsided and for several hours, I would go in and out of sleep.

Lori came by at lunch so that my mom and Michael could go down to the cafeteria.  Even though he could have eaten in the room, I was on a fluid only diet before the epidural and then after the epidural I couldn’t have anything other than ice chips.  And my stomach grumbled all day.  So, since Lori had come to visit, they just decided to eat downstairs, away from my nose and eyes.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with more pills being inserted (I think it was every three hours since the first ones that morning), checking to see how far along I was, and just being in and out of sleep.  I had brought magazines and books to read, but I couldn’t concentrate on them long.  Then about 5:30, I started cramping in my right side.  I pushed the button on the epidural, but it did very little.  We had Tod and Candace coming to visit about that time, so I waited until after they left (about 6:30) to let the nurse know I was still cramping.  It wasn’t extreme pain, just enough to make me cranky.

So, another anesthesiologist came in, or perhaps it was his nurse, who explained that sometimes gravity could play into where the medicine goes, so first they moved me to where I was raised on my left side, and then she administered a bigger dose through my epidural and the pain subsided pretty quickly.  From that point on, I was on a higher dose that could only be administered every 15 minutes.

The nurse told me that if I started to feel pressure down there, to call them in.  At about 7 (right at nurse shift change and when I was suppose to get my last dose of inducing meds for the day), I pushed the call button.  The easiest way I could describe this was that I felt like I had poop, but it was obviously not coming from the right area.  The nurse checked and said that it was all right there, but that it might take a while to all come out.  There was also the possibility of complications, like the bag breaking inside of me or the placenta not coming out completely or at all.  They told me I would feel the pressure until it was out, and then it would feel like a release.  At about 7:30, the release came, and my eyes closed.

This was a very personal decision, but both my husband and I didn’t want to see the baby.  We looked away and at each other as they took the baby away and cleaned me up.  Thankfully, the bag stayed intact and the placenta came out right behind it, completely intact.  The nurse said it couldn’t have gone better.  In fact, she said the entire day, my body had the perfect responses to the medicine and behaved perfectly for what it needed to do.  All in all it probably took about 12 hours from first cramps to final release for the whole thing.  Still, I would need to be monitored overnight.

Also, it all happened so fast that the doctor didn’t even have time to get there (which the nurse said would probably happen as well).  Since everything came out that needed to, I didn’t have to have any extra surgery.  The doctor checked my stomach and talked to me for a bit, but said if the night goes well, I should go home in the morning.

My mom left with the nurses after the birth to take pictures of the baby.  She said that she would keep them just in case a year or 10 years down the road, I want to see them.  The hospital also made a birth certificate, with footprints, which my mom will keep with the pictures.

Once the epidural was disconnected, I could again eat food.  Michael got me Taco Bell with a Sonic Cherry Limeade, which I ate pretty late.  He also went home, took a shower, and checked on the dogs while he was out.  By the time I ate, and everything but the IV needle was taken out, I was ready to sleep.  They kept the needle in just in case.  It would only be removed after I had gone to the bathroom twice on my own (of course I was given a catheter while on the epidural.  You don’t get up when you are on an epidural).  At about 5 in the morning, I got the IV needle out of my hand, and slept a little longer after.  My husband and mom both slept in the room with me.  They had a pull out couch for my mom and my husband made a makeshift bed from a recliner and a chair.

At 7, we ordered breakfast, and then I took a shower (a lot of people online suggested to pack a bad similar to the hospital bag for a full term live birth which was great advice).  They had pretty awesome showers there.  I slept hard through the night, so it was good to get really cleaned off.  Plus, I was able to wear my clothes again, which was really nice after wearing a gown all day, and then their disposable underwear with ginormous pads after the birth.  They said the bleeding would subside over the next two weeks, and that I would have cramping and discomfort during that time, but that I will get stronger and better each day.

We had to wait for the on call doctor (I go to a clinic of five doctors, and I had already met the four that could have delivered around my due date.  Both doctors I interacted with at the hospital, I had met previously and knew them).  She arrived about 9ish, and we were discharged at 10.  They wheeled me out the front and I got in the car and went home.

Time at home has been a lot of sleeping and crying, but there have been moments of laughter as well.  Mom and Michael made Thanksgiving dinner, and we watched the Macy’s parade (half at the hospital and half at home).  We spent the rest of the day in front of the TV, just spending time together.  That was my experience at the hospital.  Next post will wrap it up since this has been really long.

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11 thoughts on “Grief, Loss and Thanksgiving: Part Two”

  1. I’m so glad you guys were surrounded with people who were able to love on you and support you this week. I’m especially glad your mom was able to be there. And I’m glad she took photos just in case you guys ever do change your minds. Our hearts are grieving for the loss of our niece and also for the grief that we cannot even begin to imagine that you guys are going through. We love you guys. We are still praying for you guys!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this very vulnerable story. I’m so sorry for your loss. There aren’t words for times like these, so just know that we are thinking of you and praying for you all. ❤

  3. I’m so sorry! Thank you for sharing so that others will know that they are not alone, when they face this. It takes a strong, brave, and caring person to do that.
    Sending so many hugs and prayers… and a whole lot of love!

  4. […] I’ve been sitting, looking at the blinking cursor in front of me for a little while.  I have so many words to say, and yet, none at all.  A year ago tomorrow will be exactly one year since I found out I was no longer pregnant.  November 26th, Thanksgiving Day this year, is the day I went into the hospital and gave birth to my stillborn baby girl. […]

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