Wild & Wanderful

Surviving a loss.

Katy McKinley6 Comments
I've been thinking about writing this for a while, but I didn't know if it would be appropriate to put on a blog.  Especially our blog.  Which is usually filled with light and fluffy things about our little family.  Taboo as it may be to write about the loss that we experienced, I just really want to.

Because it happened.  It was real.
I can't pretend that it didn't happen.  And I don't want people to be awkward around me about it.
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We found out that we were expecting our second child in January.  I can't remember the exact date but it was sometime around Bennett's birthday (January 15).  This time around, we had "tried" to get pregnant...as much as one really can.  We weren't putting a lot of pressure on the subject but were open to having a second child.  I kept telling myself that Louis needed a sibling.  It wouldn't be fair if we didn't let him have a built-in best friend that siblings can so often be.

I'm one of those girls that knows instantly when she's pregnant.  My boobs hurt.  I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open past 3:00pm.  I just have that "feeling" that I'm probably pregnant.  Both times now, I've known before I could actually take a home pregnancy test.  Maybe Mom was right when she said that Brockway women are fertile.  Haha.

It started out that I was "OH MY GOD" pregnant.  I was suffering from morning sickness more than I ever had with Louis.  It was practically unbearable.  I couldn't wait for it to be over.

And then it just.....was.  I kept telling Bennett that I didn't "feel" pregnant.  I wasn't gaining weight.  Sickness was gone.  My boobs weren't hurting anymore.  All of the signs were gone.  Bennett kept reassuring me that there wasn't anything wrong, which I believed.  Because why would there be?  I was taking my vitamins, eating well, not stressing myself more than usual.  I even stopped drinking caffeine completely (which I didn't even do when I was pregnant with Louis).

We were SO. EXCITED. because we had chosen to use a midwife this time around.  Aside from the backlash we'd received from family members about our decision, we were ready to take this path.  Our midwife came and met with us, did all of the basic early pregnancy things and she said everything was healthy.  The only difference I'd seen from using an at-home method to being with a doctor was that we didn't have an ultrasound to verify the pregnancy.  I didn't see a need to.  I was pregnant.  The tests said I was and Aunt Flo wasn't making a visit.  It was all good.

In March, the second visit our midwife made was to do a regular check-up and see if she could pick up the baby's heartbeat on the doppler do-hickey that she had.  I was far enough along that it was possible to hear it -- but there was still that chance of it not happening.  Unfortunately for us, the sound didn't register anything besides my overpowering heart.  (I've got a strong, loud one!)

She came back a week later.  Determined as all hell to let us hear that heartbeat.  It wasn't a regularly scheduled visit -- she just wanted to give us that amazing first contact with our little baby.  Still nothing.  She worked FOREVER on my belly.  I've never had so much goop on me before in my life.

A couple of days later, I noticed a little red discharge when I was wiping.  {Sorry if you don't like that term...it's what it is.}  I tried not to panic.  But after not hearing a heartbeat AND seeing something that I never experienced before with Louis....

I. PANICKED.

Bennett remained calm and positive.  But I lost it.  Our midwife assured us that it could be nothing but if I wanted to I was more than welcome to go to the hospital or a nearby clinic to clear my mind.  I was beyond freaked out so I called the labor & delivery department of Ohio Valley Medical Center.  After telling them (through ridiculous amounts of sobbing) what I was experiencing with the lack of heartbeat detection and the bleeding, the nurse on the line told me that it "wasn't an emergency" and to "call my doctor in the morning".  Wasn't an emergency??  Like hell it wasn't! 

But alas, my calm partner of a husband calmed me down and said we'd figure it out in the morning.

I could hardly sleep that night and we decided to call my OBGYN to see if they could fit me into their schedule that day.  The phone kept going to voicemail, so we called a free clinic in Steubenville that scheduled me for a visit immediately.  My fears were a reality in that clinic.  The women were all very nice and did everything they could to make it not such a horrifying visit.  But the ultrasound determined that the baby had no heartbeat and had stopped developing around 8 weeks.  I was 15 weeks along at that point.

There weren't any signs.  I went 7 weeks with nothing.  I mean, besides my constant 'crazy' of saying that I didn't feel pregnant anymore.  I had what was called a "missed miscarriage".  My body wasn't ready to let go of being pregnant, even though the baby wasn't developing any more.

I tried to contain my emotions but I was a bottomless pit of tears at that point.  I can't even begin to describe what it feels like.  I can't believe how strong my husband is at times.  He's amazing.  He was all of the strength that I didn't have at the moment.

What did we do next?
We drove to the nearest grocery store, bought a six-pack of one of my favorite beers and went straight home as our threesome.  Once home, we cracked open our beers and threw rocks into the creek with Louis.  Best therapy idea ever.

Louis was our saving grace.  He is so damn cute and silly that it makes it hard to be in the dumps.  He is also a toddler and never lets you sit in one place for too long.  Without Lou -- I don't know if we would have made it. 

I called my OBGYN and tried to explain what had happened, what was discovered and that I needed to know my options.  Good lord...what a mess I was about to go through.  They basically made me feel like I didn't know what I was talking about.  And since I chose the midwife/clinic method, that I would have to go through it all over again.

So I had to make an appointment as if I were newly discovering that I was pregnant.  They made me take a pee test and I had to have an ultrasound again.  As if those fresh wounds were just begging to be opened in such a harsh way.  The discovery was exactly the same as before.  The baby stopped developing and there was no heartbeat.  Thanks Doctor.  Now tell me what I need to do.

My choices were to either wait it out and let my body naturally take care of things, or to have a D&C and do it medically.  I really wanted to let my body take over but I was afraid what that would mean.  I've heard horror stories of what it means to naturally miscarry and I didn't want any part of that.  I have a job, a family and a life to take care of.  I wanted things to be as painless as possible.

We decided to do the D&C.  Which was scheduled relatively quickly.  This is the second time in my life that I've been put completely under for anesthesia and I wasn't thrilled about it.  To this day, I'm not sure if I made the "perfect" choice or not.  But I made the best decision with what I was dealing with at the time.

Physically, I healed in no time at all.  I even went to a baby shower in Morgantown a couple of days after the surgery.  The emotional toll will probably never go away completely.  I'm not walking around like an explosive mess -- but I still cry every once in a while when I think about it.  (My eyes may have just welled up with tear as I wrote that last sentence...)

There are a few positive things that came of our misfortune.  Bennett and I realized that, together, we can face just about anything.  We learned that Louis is the best source of happiness.  We had a sudden renewed drive to "do something" with our lives.  And we found that a lot of our friends and family have broad shoulders in which we can cry/lean on whenever we need.

I'm not sure why I feel so compelled to share my story.  Maybe it just feels good to say things out loud (or in this case, in print).  I don't think this was something I could have pretended like didn't happen but I'm also not going to use it as an excuse for anything either.

One of the hardest parts of miscarrying is the feeling that you are the only person in the entire world that has gone through it.  And that you could have done something to prevent it.

NOT TRUE.  I never let myself become a source of "coulda, woulda, shoulda".  Moments of weakness and self pity?  Why, of course.  One morning, I tried to make pancakes for Bennett & Louis for breakfast and I accidentally used some eggs that were expired in our refrigerator.  Pancakes were tossed and I BAWLED because I just "can't do anything right".  Hormones are a heck of a thing, aren't they?  I just felt out of control of my own surroundings at times.  That feeling passed.

It's a feeling you can't explain unless you went through it yourself.   But you also hope that no one will ever know it because they should never have to endure a loss like that.  There are so many women out there that have gone through this.  Not that it's a good thing that a bunch of people have lost a baby -- but it's helpful to know that it's not you.  It's Mother Nature.  It's a bad hand being dealt to you.  You'll survive it and carry on.

I did.