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I left the hospital empty handed

by Victoria Andersen

Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999

I was just surfing the web when I found your website... I don't know what drew me to look, but I was beginning to get the feeling that though everyone in my family and friends are trying to be supportive and helpful, they really just don't understand.

I just had a miscarriage myself... though of a decidedly shocking and complicated nature.

You see, when I became pregnant, my fiancée and I were surprised... we weren't married yet, and it wasn't planned. But we welcomed the pregnancy with open arms, and grew excited about bringing our child into the world. Then at week 8, I was at work ( I have a very stressful, on your feet 10 hours a day, job as a restaurant General Manager), and I started to bleed. I ran straight to the hospital, but the baby was fine, and they told me though I was now at risk, the baby was still fine. I was ordered onto bed rest... at each subsequent visit the following few weeks, the baby was continuing to grow and develop as scheduled. I had frequent sonograms for monitoring purposes and I'll never forget the first time I saw the heartbeat. And I had an early Doppler test and heard the heartbeat. I had stopped bleeding after the first week, and we thought the worst had past. I even heard stories about women bleeding in early pregnancy, and everything turning out just fine. So even though when I first started to bleed I began to prepare myself for the chance that I could lose the baby, after 3 weeks of bedrest and monitoring, the hope returned and we all began to think if the baby stuck it out for this long and through all this, he or she was going to be just fine. I was told I could go back to work part time, and I prepared to do so on Week 13. On that Monday, I even had my first regularly scheduled prenatal visit before work, and it was to be the regular time for the Doppler test, which even though I had earlier, my fiancée and I were excited to go because it was the first time he would go. Then my world all went wrong. When she took us in for the test, she was having trouble getting anything but my heartbeat. So she did an in-office sono, and right then I knew... before she said a word... I couldn't see the heartbeat that I had already seen so many times. I think I noticed before she did, because she had started to explain to my fiancée what he was seeing for the first time... the little head, the little arms... so tiny, yet formed already... then she just went quiet. She then admitted she couldn't see a heartbeat either... she tried from many angles... and the measurements were all wrong... but she wanted to send me for an official ultrasound to confirm... she set us up right away at a radiologist's for just an hour later... and when we went, they confirmed it... the baby's heart had stopped beating approximately a week 1/2 earlier... right after my last sonogram. But I didn't bleed... I didn't feel anything... I never knew that for a week I was carrying a dead child...

The doctor gave me the option if I wanted to schedule a D&C or pass it naturally. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to wait it out, and said I wanted to take the D&C and get it over with. She did say she didn't know when I would pass it naturally based on the fact that I hadn't yet started to bleed. She told me to call in the next morning to schedule the procedure ( it was already quite late ). But when I woke up the next morning, like some sick sense of clockwork, I had started to bleed heavily. I called the doctor, and she told me to stay home and monitor the bleeding and that I might experience heavy cramping. We discussed waiting now to see how much my body would pass naturally. That was on a Friday, and I spent the day with my fiancée just grieving and basically feeling horrible... I did cramp and bleed a lot, but nothing alarming.

The next day I drove my fiancée to work and was home when I started to feel another clot passing... I thought nothing of it because I had experienced that the day before, and each time I just went to the bathroom and it was only blood clots. But when I got to the bathroom this time, I saw the most horrifying thing I have ever had to see in my life, and that will be ingrained in my mind forever... I had passed the fetus, and it was just laying there on my sanitary pad... No one told me I would have to see that... no one said I would be able to tell what it was... to see dead almost formed eyes staring at me, or little fingers formed... it was only about 2 inches long, but more horribly detailed then I could ever imagine. I just ran out of the bathroom and called my father and friends, who came to my house. I was inconsolable.

I didn't know what to do with it... to just... throw it out seemed so disrespectful. I called the doctor and she said I could opt to have it genetically tested or just dispose of it... how could I dispose of IT? So I opted for testing... but it had to be properly saved and I couldn't look at it again. Luckily I have a good friend who is an RN, and she took care of that for me... I couldn't have handled it.

The doctor said that now the bleeding should slow down, unless I pass additional clots, and to just rest. I thought the worst of all must be over, but I was wrong. Later that evening I started to cramp ridiculously... and bleed heavier. Then the cramping had started to come in time intervals... only it was becoming more than cramping, but sharp pain starting to double me over. I had broken bones before, and got hit by a car as a teenager... but I never felt anything like this. So my fiancée rushed me to the hospital, and I was beginning to hemorrhage, and to go into labor... my body just really wanted to get rid of everything. The medicine they put in the IV drip to stop the bleeding, unfortunately made my contractions come harder and closer... evidentially, the contractions were good for me. Yet I was in excruciating pain... my back was arching... I was looking at my fiancée and father so helpless... it was awful. They gave me 3 shots of Demerol... but all it did was make me feel dopey... it didn't ease the pain. Finally it knocked me out and woke up the next morning, and ran to the bathroom to pass the last, baseball sized blood and tissue clot. And it was finally over.

Do you know some people actually had the audacity to tell me, that now I knew what labor was like, when I decide to try again... YEAH... but I left the hospital empty handed.

I feel like no one understands the pain I'm going through. Even my fiancée, though devastated at first... is back to normal, and tries to tell me not to let it keep me down, that when I'm ready we'll try again. But all I do is hurt inside, or see the image of what would have been my child. I don't know what I'll feel when the due date approaches in a few months.

I won't get the results of the testing for another week... but I hope it tells me what I want to hear... that it was an isolated incident, and that it was so-called "better off"... because if it's a real genetic problem with me... I just don't know what I'll do, because I know I can't go through this again.

I want to thank you for listening to my story.

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