Thursday, January 14, 2010

It'll be OK.

This is difficult for me to write about. We've all had experiences that are difficult for us to share--maybe partly because it is so difficult to express in words the intensity or details of our emotions regarding the experiences--and maybe even more because we fear not being understood or validated. And sometimes we're not sure we are handling the situation in the way people might expect, considering the circumstances. We know that most of the time, those whom we are telling will not, and probably cannot, understand what we are truly feeling. I suppose that for this reason, it really can be an amazing blessing to suffer and have traumatic experiences, because it is only under those circumstances that we are really able to provide comfort to others who have also been there. I know there are many of you who have suffered in ways that I have not been able to understand because I have not been in your shoes. And just as it is difficult to not be able to receive comfort from others at times, it can also be discouraging to feel like we are not able to offer the comfort that is needed by someone, as well. My sister, Sarah, suggested to me one time that sometimes being able to truly empathize with someone else is a gift that is given (and can only be given) by the Savior, because of his atonement. We know that HE took upon himself our infirmities, that his bowels might be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he might know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.. I've always understood that the Savior does always know exactly how we are suffering, but is this really a gift that He can give us--to really be able to understand the suffering of others without actually having suffered like them ourselves? It that what the gift of charity is?
Anyway, I feel like I cannot avoid the issue forever--nor do I want to avoid it. I just haven't been able to talk about it directly to people for the reasons I mentioned above. I feel grateful, though, to be able to write it, because this way I will be able to think about and express just how I feel without actually having to face anyone.
I lost my baby on Tuesday at 15 1/2 weeks along. I went into the doctor's office in Eugene, by myself, without concerns, only to learn that the baby's heart was no longer beating. After the Doctor used one of those stethoscope things to listen to the heartbeat and was unable to find it, he did a vaginal ultrasound to determine the problem. I knew the news was not good when the Doctor didn't say anything for a period of time and was hesitant to have me looking at the monitor. I covered my eyes and began to sob. The Doctor tried to comfort me and told me he'd give me some time as he went to order a more detailed ultrasound. I called Brian. He told me he would come over, but I told him to wait until I had found out more. In the detailed ultrasound, I got to see the baby, curled up with it's back to me. Were they sure he or she wasn't just taking a break? Sometimes I need to just take a break and I probably stop breathing for a minute or two, too. I wanted that baby to be alive.
The doctor told me that he felt the best thing for me to do was to have a D&C operation. Since I live more than an hour away from his office and since keeping the baby inside you after it has passed away can cause more serious complications, he recommended I have the procedure done as soon as possible. I called Brian once again and we decided it would be best to allow the Doctor to perform the D&C that day. :(
Once we were back in the Doctor's office, . He explained that since I was so far along, the baby was more developed than is usually the case with miscarriages, and therefore suggested that Brian may want to wait in the waiting room because of what he might otherwise see. However, I felt like I needed him there with me, so I asked him to hold my hand and just close his eyes.
Because the doctor feared that the procedure would be even more uncomfortable and traumatic than usual, because of my being so far along, he administered a larger-than-usual dose of anesthetics. Soon after, I commented that I could taste a strange taste in my mouth. The Doctor said that sometimes, a little bit of the anesthetics will get in your blood stream and cause that strange taste and that it might also cause me to feel tingling in my lips. In seconds, my lips had begun to tingle and go numb and then those sensations started spreading down my body. I continued to describe to the Doctor how I was feeling and he continued to reassure me and give me directives. Suddenly, I started seeing sharp flashes of bright light and I began to feel scared. I didn't know what was happening. I tried to continue to listen to what the Doctor and nurse were saying to me, and I could feel Brian holding my hand looking over me the whole time. At some point, I could no longer see. I felt like I was in total darkness except for the continuing flashing light. I continued to try and respond to what I was being asked to do, but I became more and more panicked when I was unable to speak normally. When I responded, it sounded to me like my words were coming out in pulses that matched the flashing of the light. I remember being able to hear the doctor and nurse and Brian the whole time ( I think), but strangely, I felt like I was far away at the same time and that there was some kind of (literal) darkness that separated us. I became terrified as my forced words became more and more slurred and it became progressively harder for me to follow the directives being given. (Brian tells me that the doctor and nurse were mostly telling me to breath deeply because my breaths tended to be spastic and short, and I would hold the air in for a couple seconds before letting it out.)
I remember thinking, they will not be able to understand what I am saying, but they will hear the fear in my voice and they will know that something is happening to me and that they need to save me. Then the thought came to me: I'm dying! I wondered if I was in the tunnel that I had heard described so many times. I knew that if I died, Heavenly Father or Scotty would be the first persons I'd see and I became terrified. I didn't want to see their faces, yet! I was not ready to die. I remember thinking of my kids and Brian and being most scared that if I died, surely my mom would die, too. She could not lose another of her children and live through it. I remember seeing what I feared was the outline of a person flashing with the light, but I felt that as long as I could not see the face, I must still be hanging on. I remember crying I'm s-c-a-a-a-r-r-r-e-e-d-d-d..
Finally, I remember hearing the Doctor ask me to start breathing slowly and tell me that I should start sensing the feeling coming back into my lips. I was paranoid about what it might mean if the feeling didn't come back, but soon my fear was replaced with the deepest relief. I soon felt the feeling come back to my lips and then to my feet and I was able to open my eyes and see the nurse and Brian above me. I began to sob, saying, thank goodness! Thank goodness! Thank you, Heavenly Father! I didn't want to die! My mom would have died! My mom would have died! And I was overcome with love and gratitude for Brian having been there with me. He had given me a blessing beforehand and now I felt like it had likely saved me. I was SO grateful. What would I have done if he had not been there? I could not have survived the fear. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for such a wonderful husband. I am so lucky to have him. I cried, and cried, and cried.
The Doctor and nurse continued to try to comfort me and reassure me that I would be alright, but I was exhausted and feared that if I fell asleep, I might not wake up. The Doctor explained that an unusual amount of anesthetics must have entered my blood stream and made it to my heart, causing my blood pressure to drop. I asked him if that happens sometimes and he said it does. He didn't however, say how often, and I'm still wondering. I'm still not sure how unusual or dangerous the situation in fact, was. I felt like the doctor and nurse didn't want to say too much for fear of making matters worse (and possible for fear of a lawsuit.) The Doctor, though, did say how sorry he was multiple times and that he understood how terrifying it must have been for me. Whatever the situation was--I'm grateful to have felt the calm reassurances of the doctor, nurse, and Brian throughout it all, and I'm grateful to Heavenly Father for letting me live.
The actual D&C, which had not yet been performed, went well, by comparison, and after lying on the table for a while and then throwing up, Brian and I drove home. I will go back in next week for a follow up.

So there it is. I've been able to write what happened, and now I can go on living.

This experience, of course, has made me think about and be comforted by the things I believe, and I want to make sure everyone knows what those things are:
I have no doubt that that baby (and the other two that I lost in miscarriages)will still be a part of our family. I'm not sure if its spirit will be put into another body in a later pregnancy at a better time, or if we'll be yippin' to meet again when I do get up there, but I'm not worried about it
I know we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. He watches over me every day. He is proud of me when I try to be like Christ, and he doesn't ever give up on me when I make mistakes. He always answers my prayers and makes me feel like He has confidence in my ability to do better. I know that He has power over all and that he always consecrates our lives for our good--if you will. He lets us make our own choices and then he works around them in whatever way he can in order to bless us.
I'm starting to know the Savior more and more. I've enjoyed reading again in the New Testament--the actual words and teachings of Christ. His central message to me seems to be: don't get distracted by the little things. Focus on the big picture; remember the things that are most important; love one another.
I feel the comfort and hope brought by the Holy Ghost, and I am so grateful for it. I know everything will be fine.
I am so grateful to have people that care about me.
I would have this experience a hundred times before I would rather lose one of my living children, or husband, or parent, or another sibling. I have so much to be grateful for.
To those of you who have experienced far, far worse, and I know it is many of you, I hope to not have trivialized what you have gone through. I sincerely hope that far more than me, that you are comforted through the power of the atonement or through his giving of His gift of charity to someone around you.

29 comments:

Laura Hendricks said...

I love you Ann.
I am thinking about you constantly.

McLeod Clan said...

Love you both. Sorry about everything. I am so grateful that you are still here to make me smile. You're in my prayers.

Tara said...

What a hard thing to share with the rest of us, thank you. Thank you for your testimony and reminding us of what's important. I am so sorry you had to endure something so painful, on so many levels, but grateful you are a survivor. I hope you and your family are able to find some peace and comfort.

Johanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johanna said...

Oh my goodness, Ann. I did not know, and you were just at my house tonight. I cannot imagine going through something like that with such a great attitude, which proves what a strong person you are. I admire you in so many ways and am grateful to know you.

Janelle said...

I'm so sorry Ann. I will be praying for your comfort, and Brian's too. Sending you my love!

Melissa said...

Ann, I am so sorry. It makes my insides hurt to think about going in at 15 weeks, expecting nothing out of the ordinary, and getting that news.

William is specializing in anesthesiology, so if you did want to talk to someone who could give you their professional opinion your experience, I could arrange for you to talk to him. Sometimes I wish he knew more doctor things than he does (i.e. helping me with hemmorhoids), but the kid does seem to know anesthesia.

Love you.

ksdavis6 said...

I am so sorry, I totally understand what you are saying when it comes to understanding unless you actually been through it! I am glad that Brian was with you and gave you a blessing before hand. The Lord loves you and was watching over you. We love you as well.

Rachel said...

I just got back in town and read your last two posts. That "anonymous" comment was not me, but I was going to leave a comment this time saying that I DO read your blog and that it IS interesting. Then I read your next post and got sad. I'm very sorry you lost your baby. It is good that you feel you can be so honest about a very private and heartbreaking experience and share it with others. Bringing babies into this world is harder for some of us, and it DOES make you more empathetic to others.

Rachel McEwen said...

Justin and I love you and Brian and your family very much and it hurts to know that your family is hurting, but I appreciate reading your words, they will bring comfort to many....it is definately part of the healing. When Justin told me I couldn't help but wish I could have been there to help in some way...take your kids, clean your house, bring you dinner, anything. I know that you have a huge support system...know that you are loved and many people are praying for you and thinking of you....and crying (like I was) when reading your story.

Anonymous said...

I love you ann. I am so thankful you're my sister.
Sarah

Valerie said...

Ann, Ann, Ann. Other than stating the obvious...( I am so sorry that happened to you!!!) You taught me so much by reading your entry. Please let Brian know as well that I feel for you two and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

charley said...

Ann, mom called me and told me what happened right after she talked to you. When I think about what I want to say, I have a hard time formulating sentences out of my feelings. So, just know that I love you very much and that I look forward to having a great family reunion with Scotty and others. This is a family that shares alot of love and friendship with each other. I'm happy your my sister. I'm very sorry for your loss. I love you very much.

Diana Pitcher said...

What an incredible journey you experienced. So sorry for the losses you have endured, they do make us a different person than before. You have an amazing strength and you will be even stronger for it. Take some time for yourself and embrace your husband and children. Love you!

Tricia Stephenson said...

Ann, I'm so sorry to hear what happened. At the same time, I'm so glad that you are safe, and I'm glad you've relied on the power of the Atonement during your extreme moments. No one can understand perfectly exactly what we experience but Him, who has experienced it with/for us. I love you. I'll pray for you and your family. Thank you for your good example.

april said...

oh you poor thing. loosing a baby is traumatic enough - but then to go thru that is just horrible. i'm sorry. :(
your faith is truly inspiring though.

Miller Family said...

oh, this just breaks my heart. It is just terrible but it will definitely by ok.

My sister miscarried this summer at 17 weeks and ended up needing to deliver the baby. It was a difficult experience for her and her husband. I wish she had a friend like you to share her experience with (someone who really understood).


Thanks for sharing such a beautiful testimony and putting things in perspective so nicely.

Talltiffany said...

Oh Ann, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your experience, and strengthening my own testimony that we can all learn and grow through difficult trials. You are amazing.

Rach said...

You are so amazing Ann!!! That is one serious testimony you have :)

I'm sorry you had to go through that again....

Lisa said...

Ann - I'm really sorry you had to go through all of that. But, thank you for sharing. You have such a gift with words and your ability to share your experiences is a blessing to all who know you!

Johanna said...

Ann, I just happened across this article the other day and instantly thought of you. Make sure to read the comments, they are very insightful.
http://segullah.org/cjane-speaks/the-hourglass-theory/

Mim said...

Ann, I am so so sorry for your loss. I am so incredibly inspired by your faith, testimony, and love. I'm so grateful you're ok. Love you.

Jordan and Jodi said...

Ann--I've been away from the blogging world so sorry this is a late response. Thank you for sharing, you really do have a way with words--you described what I wanted to say about Madi's birth--my reaction to the epidural was the same but the MD and nurses reaction was panic when I awoke but I pleaded like you did. I'm so sorry about yours and Brian's loss. Your family is in our prayers. I believe you hit it on the head that many people don't write about what they are experiencing but they should--thanks for the example of sharing something that was so tender and close to your heart.

Heather and Billy said...

Ann- I just cry and cry for you. Your mom told me when she took me to get my wisdom teeth out. She told me the second I came out of my anesthesia. Wasn't that nice of her? She said she waited until I was done because she didn't want me to worry and more than I was. But I was, and am, so sad for you. I understand not being able to talk about it. Reading your post after this- I don't think it's a bad thing to put these sort of things out there that you need others to know but can't say yourself. And, Ann, it's so wonderful that you have such a wonderful and supportive family. NONE of mine has still hardly said a word, not even "I'm sorry" about mine. Jill left me a comment saying that. A long lost friend from elementary school sent me flowers. (btw- I'm typing this and bawling and Pammie is looking at me like I'm nutso). Anyway... You are all so wonderful. I'm sorry you have had such loss. For what it's worth- I am also terrified of seeing my mom. I believe that that child will be hanging out with Scotty, learning all kinds of tricks, and waiting for you on the other side. And while it will seem like a long time to you- it'll be no time at all to them. Thank you for your testimony. Thanks for just being you.

Heather and Billy said...

Oh...and I gotta say... I really hope that Heavenly Father doesn't just give that gift of empathy and charity to those who ask hard enough without them going through something similar. Because, sheesh, that's all I got going for me! Otherwise I guess I'd better get praying harder to have that WITHOUT all this stuff happening to me. I'm pretty sure it's not quite the same though. That's what I tell myself to feel better anyway.

Heidi :) :) ;) said...

I am glad to hear that you are doing okay. I am sorry about the sad news. I hope things are getting better for you and your family.

Pinky said...

*Just Hugging you with ALL the Strength I Have* and crying with you.

Nicole Cave said...

I think it is great that you shared this with evreyone. So many people go through similar situations and I feel like it is comforting to know that you aren't the only one. Thank goodness for your testimony. I don't know what I would be like without mine. Sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

I consider, that you are not right. I can defend the position. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.