The factory is silent. Its assembly line stands motionless. Somewhere off in the darkness, a buzzer sounds. One by one, lights begin to flicker and illuminate on long-unmanned diagnostic panels, giving a sense of enormity and complexity and scale to the machinery. The low hum of power supplies warming up comes next, followed by the higher and louder whine of turbines and electric motors. A whistle sounds, and one by one, employees begin to file in and take their places at the controls. Purposed for a single task, whose time has now come, the factory slowly comes to life...
Monday, July 28, 2008
Recovery, Part 2
Wednesday the 23rd was a tough day. We knew we had to get up early and be at the doctor's office by 8:00 am. I don't think Craig or I slept very much that night.
Lying in bed, I couldn't turn my brain off. I had a feeling in my heart that the first ultrasound told the truth, and that this second one was just going to be a formality.
But somewhere in the back of my noisy head, I wanted hope. I wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe, someone was wrong. We couldn't possibly be so unlucky. We were just so lucky to get as far as we had, so easily. This baby seemed so right, and couldn't have come at a better time, and we were so excited. Our family and friends were so thrilled and supportive. It wasn't fair. What had we done to deserve this? Something seemed so wrong, horribly wrong, about a miscarriage, like it was never meant to go this way. I had no sense of WHY this was happening to us (and still don't.) My heart ached, but somehow I eventually got a little sleep.
So the morning of the 24th, we were led into the exam room area by a different ultrasound tech. She was shorter than me, and quiet-mannered, and when we got to the room she had me sit on the table. She asked me if we wanted to know the sex of the baby today or not. After a somewhat stunned pause, I said, "I'm not sure that's going to be an issue today..." and I briefly explained what happened. (Why don't these people get briefed beforehand???) She said oh, and okay, and gave me the sheet so I could step into the restroom and get ready.
Sure enough, after she got the wand into position, there was our baby again. There was no change from last time. She pointed out the bump where the heart would be. But again this time, it was still. Craig squeezed my hand. Somehow it was so much less shocking this time, but it still really hurt. I asked her more questions about what we were seeing, because I couldn't help but be curious. She pointed out the head-end, and the foot end, and that there was an arm visible, and the heart bump. She tried turning on the colors and the Doppler sound monitor, but there was nothing but my own activity visible anywhere. She said she was so sorry for our loss. She asked if we wanted a picture, but I said, "No, thank you."
I know I will carry that picture in my head for the rest of my life, and that is enough for me.
(I realized later it was somewhat insensitive of me to not ask Craig if he wanted one, though I am always sure that he will respect whatever my wishes are in this situation. I did ask him after the tech had left the room, and if he had told me then that he had wanted one, I would have done it for him.)
The tech stepped out to let me get dressed and to give us a moment alone. Craig and I had decided in the intermediate week that if the results were the same I was going to go through with the D&C, and we agreed on this again.
On the one hand, I wanted my body to figure it all out on its own. It seemed more "natural" and like it would be better for me if my hormones just got themselves sorted out and made the miscarriage happen. But I had heard it could take weeks. And it also seemed a bit dangerous, and like it would be pretty painful.
And the absolute worst mental image for me, in the whole thought of the "natural, at-home miscarriage" process was this:
If my body went through with it in its own way, and I cramped and contracted and passed the baby out of my body at home, what was once our future baby would end up in the sewer. Ugh. Wrong. That didn't seem right at all, or dignified. And while I'm blissfully unaware of what happens to "medical waste" after they take things out of your body in a hospital, somehow that seemed more...right, and...respectful. Or something. It's so hard to think about a situation like this in purely logical terms. So I had told Craig that I wanted it to be when we say, and not like some awful surprise, and that I was ready to accept having the D&C done, now that I had lived a week with the bad news. And again, in his loving way, he said if that's what I wanted, he would support me fully.
The tech came back for us and led us down the hall to talk to the doctor. She told us again she was so sorry, and that she would pray for us. The way she said it was so hushed, and sincere, that it made me hurt for *her.* How hard it must be to do her job sometimes...
Craig and I waited in the exam room, and had a few more minutes to talk. We thought of a few questions for the doctor, and decided that if they could do the procedure the same day, we would go through with it. I hadn't eaten anything since early the night before, because I was thinking about the surgery, and I had only had a sip of water in the morning to take my thyroid meds.
And then at that point Craig and I made some small talk, because by then, after the last week's intensity, everything else had been talked about already.
The doctor came in and told us we could have the procedure done that day. She told us what doctor was on call at the hospital, and that we would love him because he is "so sweet." And again it seemed like she was on her way to float out the door.
I stopped her and asked some questions. Was it normal that, even though our baby only made it to 7 weeks, my body was still trying to hold onto it like that? She said yes. And in fact, for some women it can take 4 to 6 weeks before anything happens!
Then I told her of the plans Craig and I had discussed during the week. We are not going to let this stop us. We understand that for a first pregnancy, no one at the doctor's office watches you very closely because they don't expect anything to go wrong. But I told her now that I've had a miscarriage, we're going to seriously approach getting pregnant again quickly, and next time, I'm going to do whatever it takes to make it "stick." I'm not going to come in for a positive test and then just sit and WAIT for 4 weeks to see a doctor again! I about lost my mind the last time. I realize that there's not much they can do for you to make anything happen or not, but I want to be aware of it the whole time.
And the doctor sort of balked. She more or less asked me what I expected them to do next time. And I told her I didn't care if I had to come in twice a week for blood tests to check hCG and progesterone levels. I'd be willing to take supplements if necessary. I told her that our endocrinologist was already on board, and we're looking for the right OBGYN who's going to work with us, and I needed to know if she was that kind of doctor.
She then explained to us the more technical aspects of what they try to do to maintain pregnancy, and how it sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. And she let us know she was glad we might try metformin, (though it seemed like our problem wasn't likely ovulation!) And she told me in a pretty tactful way that if I wanted to get pregnant again I should also try to lose weight, which...yeah, I KNOW. Like she's the first doctor to have THAT idea. (Where's my eyeroll emoticon when I need it??)
We asked how long the procedure would take, and she said it was quick, like 10 minutes, but the prep time at the hospital could take a while. She said she didn't think they'd be able to do it before 11 am, but if we got to the hospital by 9:30, we should be okay.
She said she would get us scheduled at the hospital and come back with a couple of the prescriptions I would need after the D&C. And then on her way out the door she poked her head back in to say, "Sorry again for your loss." We didn't see her again after that, as the nurse came in instead.
The nurse gave us our "orders" for the hospital in an envelope, and handed us two prescriptions. The first was for some Motrin 800, for the cramping that I was going to experience later, and the second was for an antibiotic: doxycycline. Craig and I checked out, and got ready to go home. He was going to arrange to be out of work for a few hours, and I would tell my job to not expect me back for the rest of the day.
We needed to pack a few things, to keep Craig's mind occupied while he was waiting for me, and maybe a snack or two to keep his stomach busy too.
I also wanted to check out that prescription antibiotic. "Doxycycline" sounds a lot like "tetracycline", to which I have a pretty icky allergy. It gives me horrible stomach pains, and last time I took it I didn't find out if it did more than that because the pains were enough to get me to call the doctor, at which point they told me to stop taking it and gave me something else!
Sure enough, the internet told me they were from the same family, and that people who were sensitive to tetracycline shouldn't take doxycycline. My allergy is clearly listed on pretty much every piece of paper at the doctor's office because they ask about allergies *every time* I see them.
It was at that moment I decided we wouldn't be seeing that particular doctor ever again, if I had anything to say about it. (And if you know me, you know I absolutely will.)
Part 3 tomorrow...