Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I live and I ramble

We found out in September that I was pregnant again. #13. Due mid-May. It took me about 10 minutes to get excited about it. It was a long ten minutes. But I got excited. I just wasn't thrilled about more sleepless nights and more morning sickness and all that. My little guy just hit a year and LOVES to nurse. I didn't want to have to wean him because I just can't take the nausea when he nurses and I'm pregnant.

But it is God who creates life and if He wills for me to carry another baby, who am I to question that? I thought about how I didn't want a fifth, but I'm so thrilled with Claire and who she is. I cannot even imagine my life without her. And I didn't want more than 6, but God told us to leave it to Him from there on out. That's half my children! And they're all so incredible! Smart, beautiful, fun, imaginative, wonderful people. So I trust God. I really do. And I'll do whatever He asks of me no matter how hard it is. I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong with this baby and I didn't know if I could handle that.

It turns out I don't have to. Whatever was wrong, it's over now. The baby, Charlotte was the only name we all agreed on so far, has passed on. We never got to meet her, or even know if she's really a she. I made it through most of the morning sickness, updated my maternity wardrobe, was ready to start making curtains for her room, etc. But no need. She's gone.

And while that is sad and enough to deal with, it wasn't enough. I started bleeding with the miscarriage. I'd been warned there would be a lot of blood. But it kept getting worse and worse and wouldn't stop. I passed out. When I came to I couldn't move. We called an ambulance.

[Warning: I am sharing this to help myself process all the thoughts going through my head. I will give details that are not fit for all to read. Read it at your own risk. Plus it gets really long so if you bore easily, just close it now.]

So here I am still in my pjs, another diaper in my panties to catch all the blood (but still not enough) and no bra, and the paramedics show up to take me to the hospital. I was sure I was about to die and I knew I needed their help to live and take care of my children. But I sure wished I had more dignity about me. Strange the things that bother me at such a time.

Anyone who knows me knows I have large veins. They stick up on my hands and wiggle across my feet making me think bugs are crawling on me. But I'd lost so much blood they couldn't find a vein. They managed to get an IV in my hand which still hurts it got so sore.

I spent hours in the ER losing blood. They all assumed I'd need a D&C so I wasn't supposed to eat or drink. If you donate blood, they give you a cookie and juice. I got nothing. But this all started before breakfast and I was tired and hungry. I couldn't sleep with tubes all over me and people in and out checking on me. I was horrified by the mess I was leaving everywhere.

Finally it was time to go to Labor and Delivery to see the OB/Gyn. (It was dinnertime, too, but who was thinking about food?) It was across the street so I had to be transported by ambulance again. This time I was dressed in nothing but a hospital gown that was missing ties. My panties with diaper have now been replaced by a towel between my legs. When you have a baby, modesty goes out the window. When you have a miscarriage and your body tries to bleed to death, you still feel modest. The guys that moved me got an eyeful of all of me. I'm aware that it's all in a day's work and means nothing to them, but it's not normal for ME. And then to be kind and make conversation, the guy gets in the ambulance and says, "So I hear you have 12 kids? You look great for having 12 kids." Um, thanks, but can we not talk about the fact that you know EXACTLY how I look? I was hoping to not think about that!

Everyone was great though. The doctors and nurses and whoever I dealt with were all kind and willing to answer my questions and explain things. No one wanted to do more than needed to be done. I had people praying for me and I know it helped because I never needed a D&C. It just took so long because apparently I was the first of many (at least 12) ambulance calls within a few minutes. And others were worse off than me.

At L&D, the doc did an exam and found that there was tissue caught in my cervix. Yep, I had prayed and commanded my body not to let go of this baby. I guess there's power in Jesus' name even when we don't realize what we're really saying. (I'm still mulling this over. It's just so odd to me that I endured as much time in labor with a miscarriage as with my longest labor ever. My body knows how to have a baby. Why couldn't I handle a miscarriage properly?) So this led to what seemed another comical/humiliating experience. Here I am, all splayed out for the world to see with my legs in stirrups while they discuss the best speculum to use and where to plug in the lighted one and will the cord reach? The doctor kept laughing and saying "home birth". I guess referring to how NOT professional this seemed. But I liked them--the doctors and the nurses. And for me to say I like a doctor is saying a lot. I tend not to trust them much. So he yanked and tugged and took care of me. It wasn't fun or comfortable, but it avoided my having to have a D&C which has it's own risks. The bleeding almost stopped when he finished. The problem was solved and I could begin to recover. Phew!

Then began the discussion about whether I stay overnight or go home. I knew at home I would want to hold my kids. I knew that if Max woke up at night I would go get him. But I also knew I'd hear babies cry if I stayed. I asked them, "If I stay here, will I hear babies crying all night? If I have to hear babies crying I want it to be mine." And I cried. The doctor was surprised. He commented that I'd been so tough through all that he just didn't realize... And I wondered about that. Do I give the illusion that I have it so together that things don't bother me?  Is that why so often people assume I don't need help? Because I have it all together? I hold it together because if I don't, who will? I have to be strong because I have not been able to count on a lot of people to help me.

God has been telling me for a couple of years now that I need to learn to accept help. I guess a near death experience is a way to learn that. I cried as they carried me out of the house to the ambulance. Not because I was in pain, but because it was humiliating to me to have all the neighbors see me so helpless. To let everyone know I had failed with this pregnancy. I worried about my kids and how they were doing. I was scared for my life. I knew I needed to do what we were doing. I knew I needed the help. And I hated it.

That was 2 days ago. Today I tried to just sit in a chair and have a somewhat normal day while the kids did chores and schoolwork around me. It was too much. Now I have a killer headache and can't even nap through it. Why is it so hard for me to just rest and relax and recover? Why can't I let others do work for me and just sit back and get better? Why does it bother me so much to let go of control for a little while and let others take care of us? I don't know. I know I need to get over this and I'm trying. It's just so hard.

Yesterday when I got home, I was greeted by 9 beautiful young people who were all happy I am alive and getting well and HOME. I was only gone about 24 hours, but it was a LONG 24 hours. It was scary for all of us. Two year old Gwen keeps talking about Mommy was bleeding and she had to go cause she was very bad. I have no idea how to explain all this to her. They're sad about the baby. They were scared for me. But what did I do that was bad? How do you get into the mind of a 2 yr old and understand how to help? So there's more than just physical recovery needed here. Prayers would be greatly appreciated.

I've found that I'm emotionally strong most of the time. But every time I am alone for a few minutes--even in the ER--I just start crying. Somehow I can keep my mind off the loss until I'm alone. Then I cry. My belly isn't going to grow into that cute round shape. I get to nurse my toddler, but not a newborn. I won't even feel her moving inside of me. I just got the nausea, the loss, the fear, and the pain.

I've seen God's hand in different areas and friends have pointed out other areas I hadn't noticed. Roger got home from a meeting Monday morning within minutes of my needing him so badly. And he is awesome in an emergency! He stays so calm! He was such a comfort to me. I could look up and see his face and know that all would be well as long as he was with me.

And I got to find out about a couple of doctors that I might be able to trust. That could help us avoid future trips to the ER.

I spent some time ministering to someone at the hospital who was really needing some encouragement. It felt really good to be able to reach out to someone else and stop thinking about my own problems.

And I get to live. I get to keep on being the mother of 12 wonderful children and the wife of an incredible man. I get to know that I live in a neighborhood full of people who care and reach out to help each other. I get to know I live in a community that if I am in a life or death situation, there is help available and they are good people. God is watching over me. I may not understand His ways, but I know that He loves me and He does what is best for me. I know that I have a mother and sister who are willing to drop everything to come take care of me and my family when I need them. And that's not an easy job! And I know that my children and husband love me and appreciate me. Not all moms get to know that.

Throughout the whole day Monday, I kept seeing beautiful people. Every one just looked so beautiful to me. I think it was a gift from God. I got to see people the way He sees them for a little while. It's pretty amazing. Not one person seemed to have any blemish or problem and they all were so kind I could SEE it. Every one of the paramedics, the techs, the doctors, the nurses were just beautiful. My guess is that is the way God sees me too. And you.