if I was in Ireland I would be dead

sorry not funny this one…

A few years ago if I was in Ireland I would have died.

I would have never went on to have Rex.  My daughter would be raised without a mother.

My husband would be a widower.

When I was about 16 weeks pregnant when I miscarried.  The woman in Ireland who died had miscarried at 17 weeks. The first couple of days I didn’t feel that different physically.  Emotionally I was a wreck. The baby to be was a little girl.  They had said she was healthy.  I had made a long list of names. We had told my stepchildren about her.

Guided by denial and bad advice I didn’t immediately get a D and C.  Instead I hemorrhaged in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, in a hotel, in Napa.  I wore 3 adult diapers on the flight back home, after my doctor screamed at me to come home, that were soaked with blood.  I went into a very painful labor.

I was rushed to the ER.  I have NEVER felt that kind of pain.  I was screaming, “please help me, please help me.” as I was put under.  I woke up hours later still screaming for help, but  soon realized the absence of pain in my body.  The absence of the fetus that was going to be my second daughter. I didn’t mourn her at that moment, I was so happy to be free of pain and alive.  I was hooked up to a packet of blood.  I had lost so much blood I was getting transfusions ( thank you nameless people who donated your blood).

I was very weak.  People needed to help me with Vivien.  I was also starting to get very emotional about having lost the baby.

the video I did about the aftermath back in ’08 

However, I was alive.  I lived and because of that Rex lived.

IF I was in Ireland I could have died, or any of the backward countries who put religion, politics, and all the rest disguised misogyny BEFORE the health of a women.

IF you have not yet read the story of this woman  who died in Ireland, please do so now. This is a human rights issue.  The media is making me CRAZY.  They say she was denied an “abortion”.  That is a political term for dilation and curattage.  She had had a miscarriage.  The doctors refused to do a D and C.  This lovely woman could have been like me.  She could have lived. She could have gone on to have a healthy pregnancy.

I’m so glad I live in America.  I’m so glad that we have an awareness of not letting religion dominate our laws.  Have the Anti Choice brigade made inroads to limit reproductive freedom here like in Kansas?  Yes, sadly they have.  It’s up to us to make sure that it doesn’t go further.

A doctor should do what he needs to do in order to save his patient.  Not to please a deity.

 

High Anxiety

Obstetrics freaks me out. Does it seem as scary to others who never had a miscarriage? I just went in for my 18-20 week structural ultrasound. When I was pregnant with Vivien, I was so confident, these visits never bothered me. Post-miscarriage, things are different and I have become a complete nervous Nellie.

Mark is out of town, so I decided to ask my mom if she would come with me. She would have been happy to do so, but she had to work. Thankfully, my sister was able to come along. I had to warn her that this doctor takes all the high-risk pregnancies, that means being in a waiting room for quite some time. I don’t mind though; with Vivien, I went to this doctor and everything went well. With my second, I went to a different doctor where I did not have to wait but I felt like I was being poked and prodded by amateurs. So I was more than happy to wait for Junior (what I call my baby boy I am carrying).

Waiting
While my sister and I were sitting in the waiting room, we could not help but notice the woman complaining on her cell phone. The woman was ranting to someone on the other end, “I don’t understand why I have to be here, I am not high risk, this is my sixth child.” My sister turned to me and said, “Maybe she’s not high risk but she is definitely crazy.” All I could think about was how in the world she was going to afford to send 6 kids to private school in LA, because it has been my experience public schools here blow. Sadly, after about two hours, my sister had to leave to pick up my niece.

Moment of Truth
Finally it was my turn to see “Dr. Sweet.” I lay down and all he does is stare at a bunch of pictures of inside my belly. I was trying to be brave but the ultra sound machine looks like an alien. I was doing a pretty good job until I thought, “in one second I could get the worst news or the best. In ONE second.” Then right as I am about to lose it on the deadpan doctor with no bedside manner, he finally speaks:

Doctor: “Okay”

Me: “Is he okay?”

Doctor: “Great”

Me: “Perfect”

I walked down the hall to the bathroom cubicle and cried. I cried for relief and I cried for how fragile we are.

A Scar On Your Heart

As you may have seen in my video, I love reading the Sunday New York Times Style section. So when Viv went down for her nap post-birthday this Sunday, I dug in. I often enjoy the Modern Love essays, but this week’s provoked some tears. It was by a man whose wife had gone through a miscarriage. First it bugged me, because he and his wife didn’t seem that moved by finding out their son had died inside of her. But later on, the emotion is released.

Orchid

When I did a vlog – “What Not To Say” – about my own miscarriage, I was touched by the kind words people left. Many who have gone through the same sadness. The writer of the Times piece, David Hlavsa, experienced something similar when he told people at his work. He says people he barely knew told him about their own miscarriages. “Grief hauled about, and nowhere to put it down,” he wrote. Which I thought was beautiful and true. Like he writes, if one loses a parent, or spouse, anyone living, breathing, walking around, people have an idea how to treat you and you have a right to be really sad.

But, a miscarriage is a not-so-funny in-between. When we drove away from the doctor’s office, having found out our daughter’s heart had stopped at 14 and half weeks, I was sobbing great, big sobs. Like you do when you’re a kid, like the writer in the Times article described. As I sobbed, with Vivien strapped in the backseat to her car seat and Mark driving, I called my best friend, my family. “I have some very bad news, the baby is gone, she’s gone,” I sobbed, “There is no heartbeat.”

My dad was very sweet and said kind words. “I’m so sorry honey.” But after a few minutes he took a breath and said, “You gave me such a fright.” He went on, “Well, I thought something bad had happened to someone… to someone…” he hesitated, “To someone we have known longer.”

I had to smile a little. He had searched for the gentlest way to say it. “Yes, Dad, I know that would have been worse.” If something had happen to Vivien or my sisters, yes, it would have been catastrophic.

So, I think that’s what “grief hauled about and nowhere to put it down” means. It’s a scar on your heart, but one you tend to keep to yourself.

My Big News

No, I’m not McCain’s running mate. No, I’m not 17, nor have I moved to Alaska. But, happily, I am…

PREGNANT!! We are thrilled. We have been waiting to talk about it until we got past the point that we lost our pregnancy last year. That was at 14 and half weeks, and after the CVS had said the baby was healthy and a girl. I am now 16 weeks, the CVS is showing all good and it’s a boy! I pray, affirm, chant, whatever works, that this baby will be born healthy.

Mark and I feel like we can finally be happy about it. A few weeks ago when I asked Mark about names, he looked dire and said he wouldn’t discuss it until after 15 weeks. I completely understood. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, either. Although now, even though we are not out of the woods, our hopes are way up.

My stepchildren have been really cool. My stepdaughter, in particular, expressed excitement, which makes me feel good, since I still half-expect to be rejected by them (due to my own anxieties, not because of anything they say or do). Vivien isn’t totally connected to what is happening, but she has said a few times, “I’m going to have a baby brother!”

I’m trying to relax my anxiety. I’m thinking seriously of seeing a therapist, since every time I have a check-up, I start crying because I’m so afraid that once again the ultrasound will show that there is no heartbeat. I have to get a grip. And covet this joy.

What Not To Say

This vlog is not a knee-slapper. But I wanted to reach out to the women who have gone through a miscarriage, like I did.

Like so many things in life, you can’t totally relate unless you’ve gone through it. If I had thought about it before it happened to me, I don’t think I would have felt as bad as I did. I couldn’t talk about it for a while. But, as I lay in the recovery room of the hospital (since I not only had a miscarriage, but hemorrhaged badly and had to have a blood transfusion), the nice nurse told me she had four miscarriages before having her child. Geez! I don’t think I could have handled that. She seemed so plucky, too.

It seemed people came out of the woodwork with their own tales of loss. People have had worse hits than my own, like the women who have to give birth to a stillborn child. Just heart-breaking.

But if you haven’t gone through something like a miscarriage and are not sure what to say to someone who has, take a listen. And if you have gone through it, I’m sorry, and I think you will relate to this.

I’ll always miss my angel.