EEK! Thanks so much everyone for the overwhelming response to Baby Haines #2! We couldn’t be more excited. But while this may be Baby Haines #2 this is actually Haines Pregnancy #3. Whoops things just got real.
Back in February, I surprised Chris on Valentine’s Day by telling him we were pregnant! We endured the most brutal bout of “morning” sickness for nearly 8 weeks. Despite the sickness we were thrilled about our newest expected edition. There were no signs anything was going wrong. Nothing to indicate anything but a healthy little baby in there. But at our check-up, our doctor was quiet for a little too long. And the worry crept up. And then he said the words no one wants to hear. No heartbeat.
And then more unexpected news. We lost not one baby, but two. Twins. Baby A miscarried at around 6 weeks. Baby B’s heart stopped just 2 days before our appointment. As if the heartbreak isn’t enough next we faced the physically challenge of the miscarriage itself. And what was expected to be a relatively “simple” at home miscarriage, was anything but.
I went through the “standard” at home miscarriage. A few days of heavy cramping and bleeding to pass all the baby materials inside of you. I didn’t have to take the prescribed pain pills to get me through the mc more than one time. After two days, I passed what I thought was the sac. Shortly thereafter, the doctor confirmed that my womb was empty. My miscarriage was complete.
[Warning, we get a little graphic from here to the next _____ line break ]
But a week later, the bleeding that had stopped started again. Only it was more significant. And scary. After 3 days of post-confirmed mc bleeding one day I went to pick up Colton from school at 1pm. And I felt so wrong. I called Chris from a bench at Colton’s school while he played around and said, “get home something’s wrong we need to go to the hospital”. Colton and I got in the car and after a short drive home we got out. And when I stood up, the bleeding just wouldn’t stop. Heavy, out of control, within two seconds of standing my jeans were thoroughly ruined from top to bottom. I made it inside and Chris kept me on the phone. It was so scary but while I was sitting I was able to keep talking. Colton, my brave sweet boy, kept rubbing my leg trying to make mommy feel better. When Chris finally got home, I was able to stay seated and instruct him on what to grab to bring to the hospital. Finally he had everything grabbed, I just needed new pants and we could go. I stood up to change and immediately fainted. Luckily Chris caught me, but when I came too I was experiencing my first panic attack. Chris was on the phone with 911. I couldn’t breathe. My lungs sounded crackly and heaving. I could not catch my breath. Chris stopped talking to the 911 operator and focused on me. He made me match my breath to his and I was able to stabilize my breathing (how we now know it was a panic attack).
The EMT’s were great and once I had an IV in I felt relatively normal. Chris had to follow with Colton because he had his car seat. We had a bit of a drive to get to the hospital where my doctor had surgery rights in case we needed it. Unfortunately this hospital, while having a great reputation for the women’s center, had a terrible emergency room. After being brought in I told several doctors and nurses that this was part of a miscarriage. I was doubted (infuriating) but worst of all I didn’t know where Chris and Colton were. I didn’t have my phone. So now I’m sitting in a hospital bed, still bleeding, not hooked up to anything, all alone, with the rudest staff ever. Finally after a long long wait they take me in a wheelchair to an exam room.
The room was freezing, particularly in the thin hospital gown. It was the size of a hall closet with an ob/gyn table, a sink, and little else. The nurses left me (one was in training) to get the dr. 20 minutes I was left in the cold room, unsure of what was happening, still just bleeding. I started to feel bad again.
When the doctor finally came in, he was rude and condescending–questioning my miscarriage diagnosis. I have no problem with a male doctor for an ob/gyn by the way. With Colton I chose the doctor’s closest to the hospital I wanted and it happened to be a husband and wife team. Turned out I loved the husband doctor a little more than the wife! And this time around my ob/gyn dr is again a male and he’s fantastic–best doctor I’ve ever had. But this doctor….he was terrible. When the doctor began his exam there was no explanation. No telling me what he was going to do before one of the most painful exams I’ve ever been through started. All he did was complain, embarrassingly enough, about the amount of blood. I lay there quietly with tears streaming down my face while the training nurse looked on horrified and the other nurse seemed jaded and unconcerned. When the 10 minutes exam finally ended I needed to be sent to ultrasound.
Luckily when I was wheeled out of that room I saw Chris and Colton. They had sat in the car for a little because Colton was asleep and Chris didn’t know what they day held. They came with me to ultrasound where we finally met a decent human being. He was kind and nice. But the exam was long. And painful as he pushed against my abdomen. By the end the only thing they needed was for me to get up and use the restroom so he could finish. But when I sat up I immediately fainted back on the table. The ultrasound tech called for a nurse. At this point, I was still bleeding (just not with the ferocity I had been at home–at home before I stood up they believe I passed the tissue causing the heavy bleeding. Quick physiology lesson: when you have a miscarriage but your body doesn’t get rid of the entire placenta, then your body will continue sending signals that the placenta needs blood and nourishment…causing more bleeding out ). Anyhow back to the story. I was still bleeding. I had been for near 2 hours at this hospital without being hooked up to an IV.
When my rude nurse got there they argued for a bit about what to do. The nurse finally comes over to check my pulse and heartbeat. She leaves quickly to speak to the doctor. She comes in and loudly says, “we need to move her to room 4 in case she codes”. I don’t watch a ton of doctor shows, but I know what code means. I immediately had my second panic attack. This time in addition to being unable to breath I was literally shaking and teeth chattering uncontrollably. It was the most out of body experience I have ever endured. I could not control the sensations. Both the tech and the nurse looked on un-phased. But this was only my second panic attack ever. I didn’t KNOW it was a panic attack. I thought this was part of coding maybe? Chris stepped up when the pro’s didn’t and again got me to match my breathing–he knew it worked before. I couldn’t stop shaking but I was able to breath again.
At this point the experience mellows out. I’m hooked up to an IV and a friend comes to pick up Colton. Between the exam and what happened at home they officially believe there was no more baby material inside of me. The bleeding slowed and I stabilized. We did find out part of my fainting and extreme reaction to the blood loss was from being extremely anemic; I was on the line of needing a blood transfusion. But I was given iron in addition to the IV. **Edited to say when I finally told Chris about what happened before he got there he was furious. We asked to speak to the head of emergency and told them about the experience. Everyone was much more attentive and “kind” after this. Chris was on with my doctor the whole time who, while not admitted to the ER, was on the phone with the emergency room doctor and took charge of what med’s I was getting and my care plan. ** By 10 pm that night we were out of the hospital and on our way to get Colton. We were finally closing this chapter.
After that it took a long time for my body to regain balance. 3 months of taking pregnancy tests that said pregnant because my body hadn’t yet caught up to the truth. A physical and mental marathon to healthy.
[End Graphic Point of Story Telling]
They say that most miscarriages occur because of a chromosomal abnormality. That it is out of your hands as a parent to have controlled the outcome of such an incident. Some days I took comfort in knowing there was nothing I could do. I claimed I had accepted what happened and was moving on happily. But then there were other days. Other days my husband was my rock as I unexpectedly would lash out; overcome with anger and grief I didn’t fully understand. Passive aggressive moments where I didn’t feel in control. Where I denied that I was angry, yet my actions spoke differently. Because it was soooo hard justifying being angry over something I had no control of. I clung desperately to my idea of acceptance and understanding that “sometimes this is just the way it is”.
And then I found guidance in a friend and I learned that it was okay to not be okay. I allowed myself to be angry. I allowed myself to truly communicate and tell my husband that my world just isn’t all “alright”. That someday’s I’m angry. And I’m sad. And I’m so so mad that this pregnancy was taken away from me. And that I’m overcome with fear that I may never have another baby. And with the acknowledgement of how I feel and opening up I began to really actually heal.
It’s amazing, that as I’ve opened up about this experience, how many women I’ve met who have been affected by miscarriage or infant loss. It’s not as rare as you may think. And so I continued sharing my story with people I met because it wasn’t rare, and I didn’t think it should be a secret thing. And I didn’t feel regret in sharing–not at first.
But I did come to have moments that led to my understanding of the hesitance some people may have of sharing. Lots of “I’m sorry for your loss” and “How are you feeling?” Things that, someday’s, you don’t know how to respond to. So you kind of fake it. You answer automatically and positively because that’s what people do. And maybe you cringe at hearing those same old standard lines from people. Because here you are again, answering back with the same old standard response. And I get it. Sometime’s the faking it and the standby answers are just as exhausting as being honest.
But then one day…one day you realize how lucky and grateful you are because you have people who really are trying to express sorrow for your loss. Those standard lines? They’re not so standard. They mean something. Because these people, they share in your sadness and have true empathy in their hearts. You come to realize that even a stranger can feel for you and connect with you–even for a brief moment in time. And when a stranger or an acquaintance or your best friends ask how you’re feeling, they’re not always just asking out of politeness but because they genuinely want to know positive or negative, what’s going on and they just want to be there for you—even if it’s just as an ear to listen to you for a quick moment in time.
So in that way, I have discovered that through this loss I have gained. I have gained a far greater understanding of my emotions and how I communicate. I have gained a greater support system in the women I have around me. I have gained a deeper love for my husband as he rode out my roller coaster of emotions and dealt with his own loss. I have gained the courage to start the blog my husband has always motivated me to write. But most of all I have gained the deepest respect and understanding of the true value I have in having so many unbelievable people in my life. I am so deeply forever grateful for this life I have and those in it. And what a beautiful way to honor my angel babies.
Due October 19th, 2016. Always in our hearts.
Here’s how I told Chris back in February (I only have the edited to announce copy)…