Sometime in January 2013 I knew something wasn't right and I had a bad feeling. I have anxiety so I often ignore my gut instinct, which, is usually right. I should have listened to it. Had I known then what I know now, I would have listened. Next time I will.
February 13, 2013
It was the day before Valentine's Day. Jason took the day off work so he could go to my ObGyn checkup and we could celebrate Valentine's Day out to lunch. We really never go on Valentine's Day for one; because we don't like going to busy places and two; dislike how it inflates the cost of everything that's exactly the same the day before. Jack was almost 2 so it was rare we were able to enjoy just each other. Plan set.
It was snowing that day and so cold. I really hate the snow.
I was huge. I'm 5'2'. I should be like 120's - 130's according to my Dr. At 35 weeks with Jack I was 199.5 lbs and rolling out of bed. I had Him August 2012, and got Pregnant again in October 2013, and I never really lost all the weight before this one. So I was back up to about 175lbs. 30 of it in my belly. It was like carrying around a 30 lb bowling ball. I really dislike being pregnant. No, correction; I HATE BEING PREGNANT now I feel guilty for feeling that way.
Check in for 12pm appointment. Now waiting for the Doc. Standard procedure until....
There was no heartbeat on the Doppler.
I knew by the silence from the Dr and the unusually long time she was taking trying to find it, that something was wrong.
"Can you please get dressed Ms. Shaughnessy while we see if we can get you in to ultrasound?"
Flatline. My brain Just flatlined. I stopped processing information for a minute. My head just died and rebooted like a piece of shit windows computer.
She left, I changed.
"What are you thinking right now?" Jason asked.
"I don't know. something is wrong"
I could have done without the silent Ultrasound in that dark room. That scene is one I'd never like to replay in my mind ever again. It was dark. and Silent.
All I heard was "irregular pregnancy" and whispers of something about the date and size. More whispering. Jason moved his chair closer and grabbed my hand with both of his. His grip kept getting tighter.
JUST TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?????
I had a miscarriage.
At 20 weeks. That's halfway through a pregnancy for those who don't fully understand the week by week concept. There were no warning signs. I wasn't bleeding, had no cramping, my water never broke.
It was awful for the obvious reasons. I wanted to die. Until I almost did.
My Aunt Sandy works there. If she hasn't come in to hug me, i think I would have become a permanent fixture on the floor.
Time stopped and my heart broke. The rest is all a blur.
It's like my brain froze while trying to process what was going on and being explained to me.
Then I caught up when I was given two options. I could either wait until Tuesday to have a D&E surgery, or could be given medicine to induce labor and deliver a dead baby.
Curious, which would you choose?
I chose to wait until Tuesday. The idea of electing to having a stillborn baby was traumatizing just thinking about it. I couldn't bear the thought.
So Jason and I left, in the snow that I hate to drive the strangest drive back to my parents house to pick up Jack and Kaliegh and break the news to my mom.
I don't think I ever held anything so tight as I did Jack when I walked in the door. I wasn't yet hysterical until that moment when I muttered through ugly tears, "we lost the baby".
We all cried. We all fucking cried until I felt suffocated and had to leave. So we went home.
"Fuck it, let's get sushi since I can eat it now." so we had Sushi for dinner. It was the worst best tasting sushi ever.
I didn't shower in the morning for some reason. I wish I had. I really wish I didn't have to shower with a dead baby inside me. That was quite possibly the worst. You really can out things, even like that, out of your mind just by covering them up physically.
So shower I did, and kneeled on the ground while I let out the ugliest silent cry I've ever had in my life.
i didn't want Jason to hear me. I didn't want him to worry more or be more upset. He lost a baby too. I didn't how to be there for him, and I didn't want to force home to be there more for me. I didn't want him to see me like this.
I worked Saturday. I did my friend Samantha's Mom's Hair. I didn't tell her yet, so i couldn't tell her MOm. Her dad was there too. That sucked. Then I had to tell the girls in the salon after she left and we were closing. There went another ugly cry session.
February 17, 2013
Our house sold that month. It was much faster then expected and we still didn't have a place to move into by March 1. We found a house we loved that we looked at, so we made an appointment to go and were ready to give them a deposit and sign a lease.
We drove 40 minutes there, drove separately and right before the highway exit we received a call saying that they changed their minds and didn't want to rent the house any longer.
What the fuck? Turned around and drove home in complete disbelief.
I talked with everyone that night, my brother, my grandmother,, my cousins, pretty much everyone. My heart was heavy and I had this lump in my throat that felt like I was punched, I wanted to crawl into a hole until My Grandmother told me she had 4 miscarriages. I never knew that. My mother never knew that. She is the most amazing woman I know, and now even more so.
Statistically one in four women has a miscarriage. most never know why. the more I talked with people the more stories I heard, from family, from friends. Why doesn't anyone talk about it?
February 19, 2013
Dr's office. They sent me to "The Guy" the only Dr in the Capital Region who specialises in this procedure. Dr. Clark. I didn't know what to expect. They didn't make me wait in the waiting room with the rest of the Expecting Mother's.,
So I basically had to have some sort of seaweed sticks inserted into my cervix to open it up to prepare for the D&E procedure I was to have at Albany Medical Center the Following day. Biggest side effect to expect was cramping.
Dr. Clark has the coolest moustache.
I bought a $300 pair of Ariat Cowboy Boots
because why the fuck not? I fucking love Cowboy boots.
Later on that day we stopped at CVS to get Pads because I was to anticipate some spotting after the procedure and didn't really have any in stock at my house.
CVS had a new installation of NYX Cosmetics. Thank you God for sending me a little love. I bought 2 lipliners, Nude and red and some other things which now I Can't remember, I also bought A really expensive Body wash and a face wash. total $68. How? I have no idea.
Weird, my legs are swelling They hurt. veins are popping out a bit under my knees. Is this a side effect from the Seaweed shit?
Go home. Google.
Laid on the couch with my legs up. Swelling goes down, veins are back to normal. Nothing on google about anyone having any side effect or any reported side effects anywhere other then cramping.
Then I stumbled on an article on the NIH website about DIC. Put that in the back of your mind, I did.
Time to go to bed, to not really sleep.
February 20, 2013
Arrived at Albany Medical Center around 7am to check in and fill out paperwork in the main surgery arrival area. I was handed a file with an application for a Fetal Death Certificate. I was to answer questions I hadn't even received answers to yet.
Date of death. Cause of Death, Time of death. Male or Female.
I already started falling apart.
"I'm so sorry Ma'm It's the Albany Medical Center procedure. I'll just put that back in here and take care of that for you"
Thank you whoever you are. I don't remember your name, but I will never forget your face and caring eyes. Thank you.
In we go.
For a short hallway, the walk seemed unusually long. but that's my mind not catching up to the overstimulation again.
"This room please"
It was like you'd expect. Smelled like a hospital, looked like a hospital, felt like a hospital.
I wore those NEW cowboy boots. Black leggings and a full face of makeup. My overnight bag was packed in the car just in case there were any complications.
I told the intake nurse and Dr. Clark about the weird occurrence with my veins in my legs. They listened, but weren't concerned. Off we go.
Jason was sent to wait back in the main area. Alone.
I was wheeled into surgery, given anaesthesia, and it was over just as fast as it began. I was wheeled into recovery.
"It's over already?" I asked the nurse, was told yes, then began Howling like a Banshee. I was given Versed and passed out.
Jason was notified that The Surgery was "textbook", and that I was to wait in recovery for a few hours before being discharged.
I woke up a few hours later. I was greeted by Dr. Clark who also informed me that The Surgery was "textbook", that "nothing with the fetus appeared abnormal", that they couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl because it had been dead inside me for so long, it was actually folded in half. Moments later,
I began to bleed.
I filled up one large maxi pad with blood and a pool of it was now underneath me. I alerted the nurse, they changed me, gave me two pads, cleaned me up and changed another bed cover.
She was amazing. I wish I could remember her name. She was so sweet and kind and it made everything better. Like when you're sick and your Mom or Grandma is there taking care of you.
I filled up two pads now in what seemed like minutes. I alerted the nurses again, they came back, this time requested pads from the maternity ward, which where like the size of 4 pads, I mean a diaper, cleaned me up and another bed cover.
"What time is it? Where is Jason? Does He know what is going on?"
He was in the waiting area. Alone. By now he knew something had to be wrong. It was way past the time we were supposed to be discharged.
It was coming out faster now. it was filling up larger pads in less time, and I was starting to feel like I was losing consciousness. Another Dr came in, I was bleeding from my uterus, they thought maybe it was cut during the surgery and I was bleeding due to that. They tried to clamp my uterus. That wasn't it.
I was given a ridiculous amount of suppositories to help my blood clot.
"Can someone please tell Jason what is going on????"
They brought him inside. In 8 years had never seen him scared. Until that moment.
A familiar face appeared in the hallway nearby. He recognised me too. It was Randy, a friend from Junior High I hadn't seen in years, but thank's to Facebook, we were still connected. He stopped by my bedside and chatted with me for a bit. It was nice. I felt somewhat normal to have a conversation and catch up on things. Anything. Anything bedsides talk about what was going on.
I was to be brought to the maternity ward. Yes. The maternity ward. Again, I lost it. the nurse wheeling me in rubbed my head while she was pushing the bed. I still don't know how that was possible.
Off we go to the maternity ward
I'm in a room at the end of a hallway. I have no roommates. The Dr came in to talk about what the plan was. I was still bleeding. I was there for maybe 45 minutes. I bleed a lot more. I was sent to SICU.
The room was huge with a bed and a big machine all around it. It was very Sci-Fi. I was bleeding more. They Still thought it was my uterus. A team of people came in, multiple Dr;s and Nurses and other people.
I asked Jason to leave. I didn't want him to see me and whatever was about to happen next. If I died.... I just couldn't let him see it.
A random nurse came in, I forget now why, and asked what I had. I was confused and in disbelief until my nurse whispered "nuh-uh" I just remember muttering, "What?"
They attempted Endometrial ablation. Multiple times, Too many times, and It was unsuccessful. It was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, worse then childbirth. I wanted to die.
I was given more suppositories.
If it wasn't my Uterus then what the fuck was it?
Dr. Clark came in and after some tests It was determined that it was Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy (DIC). " the failure of the clotting mechanism at the site of bleeding"
I was bleeding and it wasn't clotting.
I WAS BLEEDING TO DEATH.
Jason was back. He never left my side after that.
I'm not sure what came next. There were blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, more suppositories, Iron, I can't remember it all.
I was still bleeding. To the point it was hard to keep up. The pads were sliding around and it just felt so gross. Jason helped out so much. He took care of Me.
He wiped blood off my ass. That is True love.
February 20, 2013
I sent a message to a friend Rana who worked at Albany Med to let her know we were there and wondered if she was in a department near by. She Used to work in SICU I guess. So, she reached out to her friends that still worked there and stopped by the following day. She has the best smile and is so so sweet.
Jason slept on the couch in the same room. It couldn't have been comfortable. He was still in jeans and shoes.
Sometime that night The bleeding slowed down. Everyone seemed to breathe a little better. I was starting to feel better so, I forced jason to leave, go home, shower and take a nap if possible.
One of my besties, Lorraine brought me red velvet cupcakes and it forced me to put some makeup on. I really didn't want any visitors. I refused everyone else, including my mother, especially my mother. I didn't want her to see me like this either. She knew, She came anyway.
February 21, 2013
sometime that night I finally stopped bleeding and was sent back to the maternity ward. The bubbly little girl who assisted the transfer greeted me with a;
"What did you have?!!!"
The other nurse whispered a quick and angry "ssh"
Back in the Maternity ward I was given a special "stop check at the nurses station before coming into this room" door sign.
I was counselled by another Dr who explained the discharge process and how I was to be Grief Counselled prior to leaving.
I requested anti-depressants.
Fuck you. Don't judge me. I needed a patch. I wanted to be numb. and I wanted to start working on it immediately. two weeks to kick in. Great. Perfect.
I called Chris. HE was crying. That was most unexpected. like when he comforted our friend Alexsa at his own mother's wake.
"and the winner for playing the role of Alexsa goes to.." We were both laughing hysterically. Because that's what we Irish do. we joke to make light of awful situations, and you know what? It helps every time. The worse the jokes are. (Like how he tells me I killed his mom just because he slept over my house the night before she died) The more the shock kills the pain.
February 22, 2013
I was discharged, but Not before visiting with that grief exiting counselor lady. She handed me paper work. I folded it, I have yet to look at it 14 months later, so I actually threw it away.
I did mention to her that what bothered me most was being given a Fetal death Certificate and made it an almost formal complaint. She had no idea and was flabbergasted. (best word ever, right?) She was going to talk to the appropriate channels and get that changed.
I wonder if they did. I really hope they did.
When researching images for the Fetal death certificate, I realised I can have my very own copy of it for $30, and that in New York, only the mother can get one. I may order one. I still don't know. It's kind of macabre, but I Can put it with my skull displays in a frame. I'm not into the cliche angel baby's or feet and wing tattoos. That to me seems more appropriate. I don't 'know why.
I'm Finally being Discharged
And I feel surprisingly, completely and totally back from the dead.
I was wheeled out to the car to meet Jason by a nurse, I think she was Ukranian, or Russian. She was tough, and beautiful, and smart and had been there for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS. I was completely amazed. the longest I ever held a job was Three years and it felt like a death sentence.
Jason drove home and I don't remember saying a thing the entire way. We just drove straight home. It was actually sunny and kind of beautiful outside. It was cold but it didn't bother me that day like it normally would.
The air smelled cleaner. The sun shined brighter. I was happy to be alive.
my mother was relieved to hear I Was home. Jack was wearing her out and she needed a break. He and Kaliegh came home that night. It was so good to have them back. He slept in our bed and it was the best nights sleep I had in over a week.
February 23, 2013
I woke up and the pain of losing my baby was back.
We still didn't know where we were moving, less have the house packed up for a March 1 exit, and it was the least of our worries. I was supposed to pack up the house that week before, but clearly that plan was derailed.
WE got a call from the realtor of that house we wanted saying it was back on the market if we still wanted it. Fuck yes,
February 24, 2013
10 am. Brought a check, signed a lease and started moving in that day. We packed as we moved.
We could not have moved without Jason's Sister Brenda and Brandon, and my parents. It simply would not have been possible. Aside from the fact that I Was weak as a broken bird, it was February in upstate, NY and that means 20 degrees below zero with the wind chill.
The moving process was pretty standard. We realised how much shit we accumulated and were starting to give stuff away so we didn't have to move it.
Then Jason's truck died. I think it was maybe Tuesday. The fuel pump went. and we lost another two full days. Really? no, seriously, Really? Is this real life? Because I want out. I'm done, I just can't.
20 degrees below zero and he's got to change the fuel pump on his truck in an unheated garage, alone.
No seriously, whoever you are, wherever you are, FUCK YOU VERY MUCH!
FEBRUARY 28, 2013
One full week after my surgery, We were completely moved out of the old house and into the new one. Jason was sad. He loved that house. It was a log cabin. It was dark, all dark wood, isolating and depressing.. I hated it. I hated it even more now. I just wanted to breathe new life. I was sad for him, I really was. I still am, I just wasn't happy there.
MARCH 1, 2013
we moved into a 1860 Victorian. It was beautiful and bright and sunny and I loved waking up in it. I took a few months off work and went through the motions of grieving. I was grieving a number of things. The miscarriage, the chain of events, the hormones, the rashes on my face, the hair loss, THE move and all the things in my life I did wrong and weren't right.
I spent a majority of my time unpacking, setting up, taking care of Jack.
Another, two more catastrophes happened.
I was awoken to a Police Man at my door to notify me that A very close family member had attempted suicide. They tried to call my phone but my ringer was off and didn't hear it. I spent a few days in the hospital with them they were then sent to another hospital an hour and a half north of our new house. They were there for almost a month. I was driving back and forth nearly every day, dropping Jack off to my mom first, then heading up. 4 hours driving total every day.
Two weeks later the owner of the house we were leasing the house from freaked out about the roof and attempted to force us to allow the house to be listed for sale, against our lease, I had to get lawyers involved.
The hits just kept coming and coming.
I became an introvert longer then my normal winter hibernation period for the better part of a year. I lost all interest in sex. I stopped taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. That didn't help. I still had no interest in sex, only now i was more anxious.
Jack slept either in our bed or his bed in our room until just a few months ago. FUCK YOU, don't judge me.
I had to know he was still breathing or I couldn't sleep.
My relationship with Jason was really being tested, and I was failing miserably.
15 months Later...
Friday May 29, 2015
We still have no official cause of death. Sometimes it bothers me, sometimes I am distracted by a busy toddler and teenage daughter.
I haven't really had any "therapy", Meaning I haven't set up appointments to sit in a room with a "professional" to talk about anything and I am ok with that. I paint. That is therapy for me. I write, that is therapy for me. Sometimes talking about it and not keeping it in is therapy for me.
Writing this article to share with all of you until 5 am this morning has been the most therapeutic for me.
I started working back out in the fashion and production world, working in socially centered events within the last 6 months. I lost a total of 20lbs and I finally feel 100%. Well except my hair, but that's an entirely different post and why I cut my hair so short.
I opened up a new makeup studio, created an amazing partnership with the owner of the store, Fifi's, I rent my studio space from. It's been a wonderful partnership and friendship and I am truly blessed. I know it won't be forever. As in, I won't be there until I retire. But it's perfect for at least the next few years, until she retires, the store closes, or my arms turn into jelly and I can no longer do the amount of makeup applications and education required to keep the business going.
at 38 I still didn't really know what the path I'm on is going toward, I don't know what I am supposed to do or supposed to be. I question my career path on a daily basis. I go back and forth between wanting to restore furniture and home decor to giving up all hope, becoming fully medicated and becoming another tortured artist working for the state.
Jack is almost 3, Kaliegh just turned 16 and I am teaching both of them to drive. Kaliegh my car, and Jack his crazy power wheels jeep thing. I should have stayed on the meds.
But, the good thing is I'm back. I'm really, really back. I am back. I am no longer a zombie trapped inside my own head. I am alive and loving MY life. I have a new appreciation for it. Music sounds better, which I didn't even think was possible. I even started having an appetite for sex. Jason is much happier. Our relationship is much better. I am happier.
Thank you to all who stood by and waited for me to come around. Thank you to all who lightly tiptoed into conversation around the subject and those who dove right in and asked me about it. I am grateful for all of you.
I still don't know where I am going but I am on my way.