Please Fix Me

Originally posted on July 7, 2006 at 9:57 PM.

Me and my boys Hawaii 2007

Wednesday, July 5, 2006, there we were. It was beautiful, sunny and warm.

Dave took the day off and we were driving East on I-80. I turned on our CD player and instead of listening to Kyle’s Magic Treehouse CD, I randomly switched to something else. Immediately I recognized that it was one of the CDs that has been in the car for at least six months. You see, between NPR and children’s CD books, it is hard to fit in the occasional Mommy-Mixed-CD. And out of the speakers I heard Coldplay’s Chris Martin sing,

“When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
could it be worse?”

I could not stop them. Through heaving sobs, I shook my fist in the air and yelled,

Damn You, Chris Martin! Damn you Coldplay!

Just the night before, I mean, just hours before, Dave and I were talking about how much we enjoy sex when I am pregnant. Dave joked about how much better the love-making would be as my belly grew. We felt close and I was finally letting myself be excited about this little baby. As Dave touched the tiny beginnings of my pregnant belly, we decided that we were probably having a boy . . .

I sat in the passenger seat choking. I could not breathe. Snot covered my face.

“Lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.”

I thought my head was going to explode. For the past two days I have remained the strong mother and stoic MidWesterner that I am supposed to be.  Then the blindside:  a silly, love song’s profound words completely knock me off center.

Right now it is happening now. I am sniffing away the wet, tear drips that cover my face. I know I cannot hide anymore. (I have been hiding since Wednesday.)

Zeke's Pink Gerber Daisy, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
Zeke’s Pink Gerber Daisy, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006

Another blindside happened earlier.  I saw something sitting on our back doorstep. It was a bouquet of flowers.  My friend left them after she received Dave’s phone message. She knew that I could not speak, so she left the flowers in a safe place for me to find. When I found them, my tears found me. I needed those flowers. And I needed (still need) the phone calls. I needed the chocolate wheat-free, dairy-free cookies. I needed the tea. I needed those beautiful pink nutmeg-smelling irises. I needed the gentle phone call warning me that they were coming and that I didn’t have to come to the door if I didn’t want to. I needed the card hidden in our secret mailbox. I needed my sister’s email and my other sisters’ caring words. I needed little Zeke’s pink Gerber Daisy. I needed the hugs. I needed my friend Marianne, who was visiting from Minneapolis to grab me and say,

“I know you can’t talk right now, but Beth, I love you.”

I needed my kind doctor to choke up and lower his head as he, Dave, and I viewed my ultrasound. I needed Dave to quietly hold my hand. I am sure I will continue to need while I struggle through this. But honestly, I don’t know how to say,

“I need you.” I usually don’t need.

I was about to take Marianne and her two beautiful children, Makeda and Dima to the airport as I stood at the back of our car fighting with her double stroller. In a flash, all the angry pain I was holding in came crashing out. And then I really began to fight with that stupid, gigantic, awkward, idiotic, four-wheeled, piece of shit (a child’s stroller).

Marianne physically grabbed a hold of me, encouraged me to stop long enough so she could say,

“Beth, I am here to help. I know you want to do it all by yourself, but you can’t. I understand. I do the same thing.”

I needed to hear that. I needed her to stop me.

Easy E, The Gateway, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2006
Easy E, The Gateway, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 2006

I know you know where this is going. I have to say it anyway. See, Wednesday I was headed for my ultrasound. Before leaving for my appointment, all the calm I had felt this past month was washed away when Eli completely freaked out while I attempted to get him into his car seat.


“What? You can’t be serious? Eli, those Popsicles are precisely measured by a machine. They are ALL the same size. Now stop it and get in the car!”

Of course I was nervous about being late. I needed to drop the boys off at the park first where My mom was waiting to watch them.

[crying] “Mom, I can’t buckle my seat belt.”

“Eli, just do it! Please. We are going to be late.”

Immediately I felt bad for yelling. I felt bad for letting my nerves take over.

“Eli, I am sorry. I love you.”

“Mommy, I love you too.”

I think Eli knew. I think he knew something was wrong.

Now at the appointment things seemed weird. Instead of waiting the usual forty-five minutes, my doctor was on time. He, not a nurse, whisked us back. I stepped away to empty my bladder, undressed from the waist down and hopped on the table. Quickly he inserted the ultra-sound device. It didn’t take seconds, or even a breath. Immediately I knew. So did my doctor. Desperately  he fiddled with the device trying to see if somehow he had done something wrong. He hadn’t. We both saw it: There was no baby, just an empty egg sac. In the last few days my body had absorbed the baby. Sick! And why the hell did I ever have to see an embryo and a heartbeat? Seriously, why?

Instantly I was positive and pragmatic. I sat up on the hospital bed and  assured both Dave and the doctor that everything would be ok. Then I reassured. My doctor lowered his head. I watched him intently.  He was so quiet and still. He was honoring our moment. He knew our journey well. He knew that this wasn’t just a miscarriage. He knew about our years of trying, years of doctors, treatments, x-rays, blood tests, I.U.I, laparoscopies, hysteroscopys, and huge disappointments. Then I stopped reassuring. I breathed in his wise silence.  Kindly, he raised his head and said.

Beth, if you don’t let yourself grieve, you will not heal.

Those simple words broke through and the tears began sneaking out. I tried to hold them back. I urgently tried to force them back in. I needed to be alone. I felt humiliated.

Dave and I spent the next few hours alone while my wonderful mom entertained my boys, Marianne, and her children.

“What will I tell people? Just yesterday I was telling people how safe I thought I was because I had made it to my twelfth week. I can’t . . .”

See, my body still thought there was a little baby growing inside. It did not want to let go either. And there I was dealing with my miscarriage at home.  I do not handle anesthesia very well so my doctor opted to give me pills to start the process. Though the embryo was gone, all of the tissue that supports the embryo’s growth remained. My body did not want to let go.

It was time. We put the kids to bed. Next we went over our back-up plan of what we should do in case there were complications and I needed to be rushed to the hospital. Then Dave helped me with the little pills. I had to insert six of them vaginally. It was supposed to happen fast. We started watching the movie, Must Love Dogs, because that was what was on. As the movie ended, I felt the cramping and we decided we would try to sleep.

As I lay there, I felt just like I did when I went into labor with Kyle. This time, instead of having a big belly, I was small and completely alone — no doctors, no nurses, no excited well-wishers, just stillness. In our dark room, I was tense. My fists were clenched and I felt the contractions. They hurt so much more than I had anticipated. They progressed, as any labor should. The process went on for hours. That is when I realized  there was a problem. Because I was so tense, nothing was happening. I knew that nothing was happening because I was not letting go. Dave was now sleeping. Alone, I talked myself through what needed to happen. I unclenched my hands. I let my body relax and finally let myself feel this sad, sad heartache. I said good-bye to this new little part of me, and then I lay there until I could not handle the pain any longer. I ran to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet, I felt a huge gush of blood. I felt the passing of a large mass. Then I heard a loud thud as the mass dropped into the already very bloody toilet bowl. I  stood up and turned toward the toilet bowl. I saw enough without turning on the light. I knew if the room was any brighter that I would have to face my reality. I had faced enough. I repeated the process of running to the bathroom for hours until I could not bear the intense contractions any longer. Then I literally passed out.

Today at the doctor’s office I had another ultrasound. He wanted to make sure all pieces were gone, and they were. We talked about my options. We decided that I would continue seeing him and that I would also see a miscarriage specialist. We even made an appointment with the other specialist, who will be squeezing me into his schedule. I was actually feeling hopeful. And then Dave and I went to dinner. As I watched the parents with their babies and thought about what I lost, I realized that this is just not going to be that easy to get over. I am still barely letting myself touch the devastation. I mean, come on, I have not even been able to tell most of my friends and family about this. Dave and my mom have been speaking for me. And if you are finding out now, it is not a slight. I just don’t know how to say it in person. What do you say?

Kyle, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
Kyle, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006

I feel  all of it. I like shit.I feel lucky and grateful. I feel blessed to be alive. I am also devastated.I know many women cannot have children of their own. I am very aware that I have two beautiful boys.  I am grateful for friends, friends who keep calling me, even when I cannot talk. I am grateful because as alone as I feel, I know I am not. I am grateful for those who have approached me even when I am not approachable. While simultaneously being filled with love, it also sucks. When people actually reach me with their kind words, I am reminded of what I have lost. When I actually feel their love, I cannot escape the pain. And right now, the pain is almost too much.

I want to run away, but really, where would I go?

The boys, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
The boys, Sugarhouse, Utah, July, 2006
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After a Miscarriage: Pain and Power Ballads

Kyle at Fort Columbia State Park, WA (just over the river from Astoria, OR)

Finally home, although we already miss Portland. After two and a half weeks on the road we are finally home. The boys are up in bed. Dave is in the kitchen looking at all the mail and I am watching a recorded episode of, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I love that show! And maybe it is because I am finally home, or because I am finally alone, or maybe it is because I am extra super tired, but just now when I heard the first few bars of, “I will always love you,” tears started rolling, simple, slow and quietly down my face. I sucked a deep breath in and of course I thought of Whitney and yes, I wondered why she did not have someone watching her in that bathtub.

I watched the beautiful dance and then I listened. I think it is the words and I think it is because in this moment I see that I will not have another child. I get it and then I realize I am not breathing. I concentrate and tell myself, “breathe, Beth, breath,” and then I let the tears fall. I let them stream. Those words, as cheesy as they are, were reaching, reaching me and I am glad. Before tonight, whenever or wherever I heard those words sung, say in a dressing room, my car, or sung by at least one contestant every single year on American Idol, I blurted them out loudly and sung them with my best power-ballad-styled conviction. Didn’t we all?

Cathedral Tree/Column Trail Astoria, OR

Dave, while on a LDS Mission in Caracas, Venezuela, had a mission companion who incessantly played the Bodyguard Soundtrack, which of course includes the song, “I will always love you.” This guy played the Bodyguard soundtrack so often that one day Dave could not take it any more and in an instant he threatened to toss that damn Bodyguard Soundtrack cassette tape out the window. “Use your headphones!” Dave demanded! “If I hear that music played out loud one more time, the tape is gone! I will throw it out the window!”

Not soon after Dave uttered those words, his companion must have either doubted Dave’s threats or simply could not resist his sweet, sweet Bodyguard Soundtrack and had to play the “and I, yi, yi, yi I will always love you, ew, ew’s,” one more time. Upon hearing those first bars, Dave walked over, stopped the cassette player, pulled out the threatened cassette tape, walked over to the window, opened it and threw that damn Bodyguard Cassette out the window, where it fell to its untimely or timely (depending on how you see it) death; no sooner to be run over by a car below.

Dolly Parton wrote the song in 1973 after a break-up with her partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner. Tonight I listened to the Whitney version, and as I heard those very first bars, “If I should stay, I would only be in your way,” I let go, gave in and was somehow able to disconnect from the gooey, overly sentimental and overplayed aspects of that song and just listen. It was like our child was singing to me. Crazy, right? It was as if my broken hopes were saying, “hey Beth, I get it. I know you wanted another child for years. I know when you found out about me you were mad. I know you wanted to carry me, to feel me grow. I know you were scared. I know you didn’t want me. I know you did. I was here, but I had to go. I know you felt me leave. I know. I get it and somehow you will be ok.” Now how weird is that? How weird is it that a reality dancing show playing an overplayed Whitney Houston song brought me to soul-gripping tears? I thought it was a little weird too, yet it did.

As the song ended (I rewound and played the dance through twice), well, as the song ended a second time, there were no long drawn out power-ballad crescendos from me. Instead I just heard myself saying,

And I will always love you. I will. Then I held my breath again.

At the top of the Column Astoria, OR

A question I have been asked a lot about the last few days besides, “are you ok?” is, “was it painful?” or better, “you really don’t mention the pain at all?”

The answer, if I can give you one: it was horrific! It was horror movie bloody, gory and I felt searing, gut-wrenching pain. I felt pain before the hospital. I felt pain the night before, at lunch, at Ruby Jewel and once there, if it were not for Liz, the amazing Ultrasound tech, I believe I would have passed out from the intensity, literally! Finally, as the blood continued to gush like some insane river, Liz yelled at my nurse, “Do not listen to her. She needs something for the pain!” The nurse tried to have a business-meeting styled conversation with me and began dissecting every single word as he asked me what I wanted or if I even needed pain medicine. I tried to rationally answer him in between tears, terror and my constant questions, “What is happening to me? Why is there so much blood? I can feel it rushing over your hand. Liz, the blood. It will not stop!”

Dave and Liz both piped in. “Do not listen to her. Get her something now!” Grateful. I am so grateful! It hurt, but I wanted to feel that hurt. My stupid nurse played right in. I think he wanted me to hurt to. I felt like he was thinking, “well, she isn’t having a baby so how could it possibly hurt that badly?”

I wanted to bleed through my nightmare and get through. I wanted to feel this moment. I needed to feel this moment so deeply that I will never forget these last seconds that I was pregnant. I kept thinking of the last moments I nursed Eli. It was May 2003. I looked at his sweet little face and said to myself, “This is it. Do not forget! Look at him and remember this moment. It may not happen again.” Did I jinx myself? I don’t think so. I am grateful I remember. I am grateful I remember what it is like to hold a baby in your arms and nurse. I remember how it feels to fell so close. I want these moments seared into the involuntary spaces of my soul. There is no other way to say it. I wanted to feel this pain so I never forget. They were contractions. I finally realized. Another friend asked about them. When she was miscarrying she told me she had really horrible contractions.

Yes, I had them. They came on hard and they came on fast. I thought I was going to die. Seriously I was like, “what the hell is happening to me? Really? What?” Because there was no baby, I had a difficult time connecting to the fact that they pain I was feeling was indeed labor. Because there was no baby, I felt like I deserved this pain. Seriously. That is how it was. I already knew I had failed and because this was the end, albeit a surprise ending, it was the end of a very long road. And because it was the end, I needed to feel the pain.

The bridge between Oregon and Washington at Astoria


Earlier today I had my blood drawn. I am assuming my hCG is going doing and that my Hemoglobin is where it needs to be. Cross your fingers that my products of conception have flown the coop and that I am on my way. Yes, Thom and Adam, to be continued. I will give you the word as soon as I hear from my doctor.

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Surprise! I’m Pregnant (was): Part Two

Eli, and his Portland hair, courtesy of Dave’s best friend, Justin

Tuesday, July 31, I was in bed thinking all was as it should be, Dave woke up and left for work. Work in Portland, you ask? A few months ago Dave’s brother Dennis and Dave’s best friend, Justin, bought a church. Dennis and Justin are business partners/property developers. They bought a church and now they have offices at the Alberta Abby (as they call it). No really what we like to call it is the Downtown Abby because it is close to Downtown Portland and we think we are funny because we are making a Downton Abby reference. Dave left, asked me to take it easy, I cleaned, did what I do and I got ready for lunch. Dave would be home at noon and we were meeting a good friend, David Roy, and his wife. We would be meeting his wife for the first time and had just reconnected with him after sixteen years, which is an important plot point. Our friend is this most awesome guy and really if it were not for him, Dave and I probably would have never really started hanging out. I have always been grateful. We saw our old friend a few days before at a get together and the night had gone so well that we set our lunch date.

I was excited to meet his wife. I was excited to renew our connection. I met him through an old boyfriend and we reminded each other that this certain old boyfriend always would say, “Once you meet David Roy, you will like him better than me.” Guess what? My boyfriend was right. David Roy and I became besties and Dave and I were always sad that we had lost touch. Lunch would be a good thing. Dave and I arrived first, were seated and our friend David arrived Portland style (on his bike) and dripping from the afternoon heat and humidity. He warned us that his wife was bringing Che, their dog, and asked if we wouldn’t mind eating outside. David’s lovely wife arrived. I had already been to the bathroom once by that time. We were all seated and I just thought I was continuing on my miscarriage way. Our food arrived, I felt another gush and excused myself from the table. By the third time this happened I had to excuse Dave as well. He had the car keys and I needed more supplies. Ok, so, how do you tell your friend you haven’t seen in a million years and his wife that you just met, “Um, so I have bled through my protection three times in an hour. Every time I go to the bathroom the tissue expelled is greater than the time before?” So weird. I know I am telling the internet, but like I have told those who have asked, “I control the output and I do not have to look into your eyes and tell you this.” It’s true. My blog is a little space I hope you come to, but know you chose to be here. Does that make sense? Anyway, the conversation was actually really good. We caught up with each other, learned about Geology and made jokes about my old boyfriend. We had to. The best one. . .wait. . . there are two best ones. I will tell the appropriate one here. So one time years ago my old boyfriend and I were driving from Minnesota to Utah when he noticed that there was an outlet mall near Mount Rushmore. Instead of seeing Mount Rushmore (understandable) or the Black Hills or Deadwood (not understandable), we went to the Ralph Lauren Outlet. Hilarious. As David Roy and I parted ways, we promised not to lose touch again. I started realizing there may actually be a problem. Every single time I have miscarried it has always been the same. Always! I have super bad cramps, lose a lot of tissue for a day or a few hours and then it’s like a regular heavy menstrual cycle. That whole process happened the day before at the park. At this point I was bleeding more, not less.

In the car I remembered the Sage words of my OB, “If you soak more than one pad an hour, go to the ER.” I was soaking three. I called her and wanted to make sure I was not overreacting. “Beth, if this does not settle down in two hours, you need to go in.” I called another Portland girlfriend for hospital suggestions (thank you, Carrie) and waited. While I waited Dave and I picked up the boys and then we took Dave back to the Abby while the bleeding only increased. Trying to keep my mind off of things and knowing I would have to break our OMSI date, I asked the kids if they wanted to go and get ice cream from Ruby Jewel. “Of course we do.” Kyle sweetly responded and then Eli inserted, “Mom, do you know this will be the sixth time we have gone to Ruby Jewel since we came to Portland.” I didn’t know it was six, but I knew it was up there. We made our way over to the Mississippi Avenue neighborhood of Portland where I enjoyed my Salt Lime/Burnt Orange Sorbet combo. I had no idea that it would be the last thing I would eat for hours (which to me felt like days).

Kyle, Eli and I outside of Trader Joe’s in Portland, OR

My kids are tweens. They know I have been pregnant and have been very good about helping me and keeping my crazy pregnant behavior to themselves. Now looking way back in early June I should have known I was pregnant that day I was dead dog tired at the after school talent show Pogo Practice that something was up. I didn’t. I bet my boys did. I just thought it was the LMFAO-Party-Rock-disorganized-mayhem of trying to get six distracted boys to learn their pogo routine. That day and always my boys have had my back. These past months when I missed hikes with their friend’s mothers, Kyle and Eli did not say anything like, “Hey so my mom is pregnant. She really can’t go on a hike because she thinks she is going to puke.” I have asked them to keep my secret and have also told them the truth along the way. So on our ice cream adventure it made perfect sense to give them the heads up. “Ok guys, you know because of last night I lost the baby, but now things are getting a little weird so we may go get things checked so I will be ok.” I told them while driving back to our Portland digs. “Mom, we just want you to be ok.” Kyle quickly said.

I muscled through for another hour and called Dave. “Hey, so I am still bleeding. Well, actually it is worse. We should probably get it checked. I am on my way to get you.” The hospital was close and we were on our way.

Dave dropped Kyle and me off. “Kyle, you come with me. You know hospitals.” I said while Dave and Eli parked. I checked in and then talked with the admitting nurse. She was very hung up on the fact that I have been giving myself two shots of Heparin a day for the past two months. I assured her she could call my doctor. I assured her that the dose was small and metabolizes quickly. I know about people taking you down the wrong medical path and was starting to wish I had never ever mentioned this lame miscarriage prevention treatment. I did and I was stuck.

Nevertheless she took me seriously and got me in a room fast. Calm. I was calm. When my male nurse talked to me, I was calm. “I am bleeding. I’m from out of town (he never heard the out of town part) and my doctor recommended I come in.” I asked him about D&C’s and what they could do. “Oh, we don’t perform D&C’s at our hospital (BIG FAT LIE).” He said. “Really?” I pushed. My nurse did not like that I did not want my IV in the crook of my elbow. Have you ever had an IV there? They hurt! He was utterly convinced that I was an idiot and that I was taking Lovinox (another blood thinner), not Heparin. “Um, Heparin is cheaper. I promise I am taking Heparin.” I insisted. He mocked. Do you want his name? I am still thinking I will write the hospital. Nevertheless when my situation became more critical (way more cool and interesting) he was there.

Better than the elbow region
The boys making the best of this tiny ER room

The kids had made their way to my room. I actually had a room. They were bored, hungry and Eli kept asking, “Mom, when will this be done? When can we leave? Dad, I am hungry.”

Dave’s consistent response was, “We are not leaving until we know what is going on with mom.” Yay, Dave!

I put my sandals back on because my nurse went to dinner and forgot my socks.

iPod Touches were in full operation and Kyle turned my above TV onto the Travel Channel. “Mom, it’s Bizarre Foods! I love that show.” In between watching the Bizarre Foods guy eat Bull Penis (Yes, Bull Penis) I cramped. I bled and Dave took me and my IV to the bathroom. Over and over I went to the bathroom. The first bathroom to the right had pee all over the floor so I made sure to keep my sandals on. Yes, I asked my lovely nurse for socks and yes, he went to dinner instead. I texted a few friends, one being our ER doctor friend. Asked about Heparin. Made jokes about the nurse and waited for the doctor. Here is one of my texts:

“Doctor (super awesome doctor) just came in. He is so much better than the nurse. Agreed with me about Heparin (it has nothing to do with my bleeding and has already metabolized). If the nurse wants to be a doctor, he should go to medical school. Still bleeding and a ton of pain.” 7:15 PST

And by 7:47 PM PST my Park City girlfriend was texting me. Dave had just left with the boys and was coming back after he got them fed. I walked myself to the bathroom. I could not believe the blood. I could not believe the hours and hours of increased clots and bleeding. As I sat on the toilet, a giant clot flipped out and landed on my ankle. I know it’s gross. I just need to say it. I was in shock and a giant piece of blood clot was sitting on my ankle. So so crazy! I cleaned myself up, lifted my IV bag off the hook and walked back in the room. A sweet young med tech was standing there about to tell me something when I felt the gush. It felt like someone had just broken my water. “Um, I do not know what is happening.” I told her. “I think I need some help.” I just stood there.

“What do you need?” She asked. “I think I need to go to the bathroom again. Will you help me?”

“Of course. Whatever you need.” She said and I kept apologizing while saying, “I do not know what is happening. I do not understand.” We were back in the bathroom where I was still gushing blood. She helped me there and then helped me back. She was so much kinder than my nurse had been. Back in bed by 8:00PM there was a huge cramp and another gush. I heard my phone beep. It was my Park City friend. I asked her to text Dave. I think I knew I could text him to, but she was there so I asked her. Moments later I needed the bathroom again. I was confused. I was covered in blood and so scared. I came back to the room and found the Ultrasound Tech. She is in her sixties and when I said, “Please. Please. I do not know what is happening.” (Where was my nurse? Who the hell knows?) The Ultrasound tech asked my what I needed and when I said, “I need the bathroom again,” I could tell she was bummed that I was emptying my bladder, but she was lovely and kind. “Whatever you need.”


In those moments Dave came rushing back to the room, leaving the boys in the car. “What do you need?” He asked. “I don’t know.” She inserted the ultrasound wand and I felt something I never want to feel again. For the several minutes she was viewing my uterus from every angle, blood was flowing out of me like a faucet. I whimpered. I did not cry. I kept asking her what was happening. “Oh honey. I know. I know.” She kept saying. “I know what you are going through. There is a lot of blood.” I was, in a way, giving birth. She showed me the gestational sac on the screen. There was no baby. No joy. I was exposed, worried and lying in a pool of blood — blood I have only seen in really bad horror movies. I just kept bleeding and my blood pressure, kept dropping.

Finally, really, finally, I guess I became serious enough for my nurse to pay attention [insert Super Man theme music here]. He came in my room and my lovely Ultrasound tech said, “She really needs something for the pain. You need to help her!” Because the Ultrasound tech is lovely, she also insisted that he is a good nurse. I think he is a good nurse when things interest him. He confirmed with my doctor and gave me a shot of Dilauded. I was not hooked up to a blood pressure cuff at the time and have no idea why. I asked Superman, my male nurse, if he would take my blood pressure. “I feel dizzy and I do not feel right. Please. Please take my blood pressure.” He handed Dave a blue plastic barf bag, slipped a blood pressure cuff on my upper left arm, and cautioned Dave, “If she throws up, come find me.” I felt the pump, pump, pump of the cuff and watched my blood pressure go down, down down to 77/33. “I don’t think that is ok.” Superman immediately lowered my bed and said, “Oh, it’s fine.” Once my bed was lowered, my pressure went back up to 81/43. I know enough about blood pressure to know that once it goes too low that the body starts shutting itself down. I knew if I kept bleeding and my blood pressure stayed low that we would have a bigger problem.

My blood pressure

After the nurse left we texted our doctor friend. When we shared my blood pressure numbers with him he insisted, “Push your call button now!” And this is an ER doctor dude who does not scare easily.

I whimpered. I cried. I could not believe the intense and continued pain. The pain medicine as continued as it was too, wasn’t helping. I asked Dave, “Am I going to die?”

“No. No Beth. You are not going to die. You are going to be ok.”

And earlier tonight while Dave and I talked I realized why I didn’t die. I listened to my OB and even though my nurse was not listening or initially even respecting me, I knew where I needed to be, I remained calm and I held my ground.

My blood pressure did not stabilize. They kept switching IV bag after IV bag. We stopped counting at around ten. The bleeding only got worse. I heard the phrases, “packed cells and blood volume,” over and over. Yet through it all the doctor kept saying while simultaneously being freaked out, “You are so healthy. You should have already had a transfusion. Wow. The altitude is saving your life. I cannot believe this.” I couldn’t either. Because I live at 7,200 feet (yes, that’s right) and was now at approximately sea level, I had some extra hemoglobin.

Right before surgery I was able to change out of my second completely blood-soaked gown. I asked the med tech if it was bad and she shook her head in compassionate alarm. Earlier and when I could still walk, she had just wrapped the other blood-soaked gown in a sheet when she took me to the bathroom. I was able to see the tremendous amount of blood on the bed. “Only really bad head wounds or gun shot victims have this much blood,” I thought. She, Dave and I removed my second gown. I saw clots stuck on fabric and the heavy red stains of what I had just lost.

We spoke with the OB surgeon and conferred with the ER doctor. I really had no choice. “We need to do a D&C. We need to stop the bleeding.” I had surgery. I made it through. I was able to go home in the middle of the night. Best part of the experience was when Justin brought the boys back to us. Earlier I sent a text to Dave’s brother and sister who live in Portland. Dave’s sister only knew I was pregnant the night before and Dave’s brother had no idea. I sent the text asking if they could come get the boys. Justin already knew. Justin and Denny took the boys for several hours. I wanted them back. I wanted to see them. They came in my room, helped me eat my popsicles. I could tell Eli was freaked out. Last time he was at the hospital was when Kyle was sick. I asked Eli to come snuggle and told him it was ok. He fell asleep next to me.

Easy E zonked out in my hospital bed.

Friday Morning, August 3, we were in bed. The phone rang. It was the surgeon. I thought she was just checking in on me. She was. We were leaving for Utah that day. She wanted to make sure I was taking my antibiotics and also wanted to tell me that the Pathology Report had some unusual findings. “They did not see any products of conception in the D&C. Would you like me to call your OB in Utah? I would like to call her.”

We both think I must have passed everything earlier. Tomorrow I go for blood tests.

[to be continued]

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Surprise! I’m Pregnant. (was)

[Saturday Morning, August 4, 2012, 11:06AM: PART TWO will be waiting for you early Monday Morning. Thank you for reading and making it over to my space on the planet! It means a lot to me!]

[UPDATE: Saturday August 3, 2012. When I began writing this post on the evening of 7.30.12, I had no idea what the next twenty-four hours would bring. I will say it now and I will say it again: We cannot predict the future!]

Monday Evening, July 30, 2012: Surprise! I’m Pregnant.

Here is a picture of my actual pregnancy test.

I have spent my summer pregnant (the past three months) and today I am miscarrying. I know what you are thinking. I am thinking it too. I am old. My kids are almost teenagers and I thought I was done traveling this very long road.

“How did this happen?” I asked my OB.

“Oh, you know how this happened,” she very wisely responded.

Uncle Miah and the boys. See-saws at sunset.

Nevertheless and moments ago I was at a city park here in the Irvington Neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. I was snapping pictures and keeping an eye on my boys. We, joined with Dave’s sister, Dori and her family, had all just eaten a yummy combo picnic dinner and now were scattering around the park. I had already been spotting for a few days so I was not surprised when Kyle, Eli and their Uncle Miah stood wobbling on the see-saws while my nephews Andy and Nathan moved giant toy trucks back and forth through the sand that I felt one mother of a cramp followed by a big fat gush.

“I need to find a bathroom NOW! Really.” I calmly said to Dave and Dori.

“Let me go with you.” Dave said, as we first walked to the car to grab some supplies and then walked over to a prison-issue-no-seat-just-stainless-basin public bathroom.

The two tattooed, pierced and Portland-conservative looking men who each had a son who each sported an ironic toddler-mullet said one more thing to me as I raced to the bathroom door. Their toddler sons were fascinated with Kyle, Eli and the see-saws. “They can handle themselves. Don’t worry. Your boys are fine.”

I thanked them and walked on.

“Ew!” I screeched as I saw all this brown stuff all over the floor.

“Those are just leaves. Just walk over them. Everything is ok.” Dave quickly and wisely shot back. They were just leaves.

I walked over the leaves to the metal toilet, held my breath and squatted over the silver basin. In milliseconds, if that, weighty clumps of tissue dropped into the water. If you have miscarried before, you know exactly the weight I describe here. You know how it feels and weirdly I am grateful you do.

As I squatted, and if you know me, especially the-me-in-less-than-ideal situations me, you know I needed to keep it light and say something and by something, I mean, something humorous-ish. “Hey at least I am keeping it real theme-based. Last time I miscarried at a truck stop (true story).”

Dave probably rolled his eyes, laughed and helped me up. As soon as the heavy park bathroom door slammed like a snapped rubber band behind us, I felt another gush and knew it was time to leave. We yelled to the kids and told them we would be gone for a few minutes, walked over to our car and Dave drove me back to where we were staying. I went up to the guest room and immediately started writing.

Here I am and here is what I am feeling. In between moments of awful menstrual-like cramps and pure denial I am bursting, I mean, BURSTING with crushing quantities of anger while simultaneously filling with competing amounts of gratitude, DAMN IT! I don’t know how else to say it. I have re-written and re-written that phrase: gratitude combined with anger. So grateful I really cannot be mad! Many of you have traveled a similar road. I am grateful you understand and am very sad that you had to go through this too. Many of you also know that I tried for years to maintain a pregnancy. I have succeeded twice. Thank God for Kyle and Eli! Seriously! Wow! I get contrast. I feel selfish that I wanted more. I get that those two boys are two brilliant miracles! Birth is not easy! Yet, may I tell you in complete honesty, I was pissed when I found out I was pregnant. At the very least, this pregnancy has caused me a very inconvenient summer. At best, I feel equal amounts of gratitude and anger!

And I think the denial I have been in has given me this crazy strength, strength that I never thought I had. With this denial I have pushed myself hard. I have pushed harder than I have in a very long, long time. Wait, let’s not pretend, when Kyle was lying with a feeding tube shoved down his nose and his eyeball skin peeling off, I pushed hard too. That’s what you do. You push hard. You fight for those you love.

If only this was our two test box.

We bought a two-test box. “Dave, we have to buy a two-test kit. If we buy one, I’ll just end up buying another one tomorrow.” We laughed the Park City Smith’s laughing and joking about the psychosomatic effects of pregnancy tests. “You relax and then your period starts.” We only needed one. We only needed one pregnancy test because the second I peed on that stupid stick, it turned to a plus sign. When I saw that stupid plus sign I totally deer-in-head-lighted and then I laughed. “Really?” I really said, “really,” out loud. I bet you would have too. Do you know how many hundreds of negative pregnancy tests I have peed on? Wow! A joke? I bought the pregnancy test as a joke.

I saw the plus sign. I freaked out. Then I screamed, “Dave, you need to come up here now! Now! Dave! Now!” Then I grabbed my iPhone, opened up my web browser, Google’ed the phrase, “old pregnant ladies,” read the statistics and felt worse. Women over forty are screwed! The End! I know my history and when we told our doctor friend, here is what he told us:

“You’re old blah, blah, blah, blah and you are doomed blah blah blah. Oh and your fertility history sucks blah blah blah. Mostly, YOU ARE OLD!”

Dave is busier than he has ever been, which seems impossible, because he has always been busy. This summer was my time, pregnancy or not, to up my parenting game. Dave needed me. I do not breathe and until last night, I simply hold it all in. I have hardly told a soul and when I do I imagine what they must be thinking. I have a couple of close friends, my sister and my mom (of course), who knew. They all have had my back. They get my horror and every single one of them said, “I will be there to help you raise that baby or help you grieve its loss.” They knew my reality too. Last night I melted. Just a little, but I finally did. It was probably hormones. No. Really. I went nuts and kept asking Dave, “Why are you acting so weird? What is wrong with you?” Not my finest moment. Suddenly after yelling, screaming and being silent, I walked down to the kitchen, poured myself a bowl of Cocoa Krispies, then another, texted Dave from the kitchen, cleaned the cute little cracker crumb mess the other house tenant always leaves behind, and went back upstairs. While eating the second bowl, Dave responded:

“Come back up here and I will hold your hand. I need the points.”

[August 3, 2012]

Me and my boys in Oregon.

Like I mentioned, we are currently in Portland, Oregon. I love the house we are staying in. It’s an old Four Square Craftsman in the Irvington neighborhood. Our friends graciously invited us to stay while they are working in Phoenix. I know we have the better end of the deal. Whole Foods is a short walk and an even shorter drive. The Whole Foods folks already know me, make me the best gluten free sandwiches and the boys have discovered that the Portland Whole Foods sells warm Chicken Pot Pies. Yum! If this deceptive Portland sun keeps shining, I think we may just stay.

On Wednesday, July 25, we dropped Dave off in Pasco, WA. I know. Weird and a little random. He needed to be in San Francisco. When planning our trip we figured Pasco was the farthest he could travel with us before he needed to go. Once in Pasco and after washing our bug-covered and mud-covered car, we were under such a deadline that almost as quickly as we walked into a local Mexican Restaurant, we looked at the time, apologized, told the hostess they are number one in the area on Yelp, and we walked right back out. We did not want Dave to miss his flight. We stopped for gas, bought our requisite two Chick-O-Sticks and were on our way. I hugged Dave hard, held back tears and prayed that he would fly safely from this little airport we had never seen before.

We left Dave in Pasco and came from heartache in Spokane, where my head was spinning after feeling the reality of stomped on hearts and a broken marriage. Spokane was filled with love of old friends and hope that they will find their way. I wondered if they were felling angry and grateful. Life does not discriminate when it comes to pain or happiness, for that matter. As we arrived in Spokane, we were on the heels of our dreamy trip through Yellowstone and the Tetons (yes, when they ask, we tell them that Tetons indeed mean “boobs” in François and then we quickly admonish, “What we talk about in the car, stays in the car, like that Tetons mean, “The Big Boobs”). We had been planning this Yellowstone trip for months. We were never quite sure if it would happen and at the last minute and thanks to our fabulous-plan-making friend, Doug, it did.

On Thursday, July 19, we left Utah late morning. We met up with our Minnesota friends at the Park City Whole Foods. I walked all four boys over to the Kimball Junction Starbucks, I ordered my green ice tea, insisted they use the bathroom, the other three adults made their way over and we were on our way.

Old Faithful doing what Old Faithful does
I’m not overreacting. It is scary!

In the past two weeks we have traveled from Utah to stunning Jackson, WY. We stopped at a groovy health food store in Jackson thanks my friend’s clever and determined thinking. Thank goodness for her, and also gratitude for the discovery of the Gluten Free Sandwich. From Jackson, WY we drove through the Tetons with a quick stop at Jenny Lake, where we had to force a very sick Kyle to complete a very long hike, then and on to Yellowstone. We spent the night at a crazy Yellowstone Lodge. No, not the Yellowstone Lodge, just another random Yellowstone Lodge. We watched Old Faithful do its thing, because you have to, and somehow between puffs of smoke and really warm walking paths, I overcame my fear of hot springs. Seriously, do not read the book “Death in Yellowstone,” it may haunt you forever! We hiked the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, the top of Mammoth Hot Springs and then found our way to Bozeman, MT, where we hiked to the most amazing waterfall. (May I just add that Eli not only completed every single hike, but he was often the first done and always seemed to hike to the highest spot! So proud.) After the waterfall and a quick detour/Bison charging, we ate lunch at the Bozeman Food Co-Op and yes, Bozeman and its accompanying food co-op, are indeed where the real hippies exist. We sat at a lovely outdoor table, ate our yummy food, talked with our friends about our combined dreams of traveling to New Zealand while a very yappy dog barked away in the background. We said our goodbyes, met one more time at the gas station then they headed east and we headed west. On to Spokane, the Pasco, WA Airport and then Portland, all the while I was pregnant, or at least my body thought it was. The boys and I drove non-stop the windy four hours along the Columbia River Gorge into the waiting arms of Dave’s best friend, Justin, who immediately took very-hungry us to an open-late Portland eating establishment.

On Monday, July 30, 2012, I went to bed believing I had fully miscarried.

[to be continued]

To be Continued
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Everyone needs their own Yoda . . .

And frankly, right now I am feeling a little like Luke Skywalker. I don’t think it hurts that odds are my Dad is really Darth Vader [wink].

Darth Vader

The problem with me is that I do GET IT . . .

I would say that I have been suffering some sort of gigantic mind/body/spirit disconnect. Because I am still disconnected, I don’t know how to articulate that, of course, the logical portion of my brain can see what I need to be doing, but my emotional/spiritual self is still all a-jumble. My logical brain completely owns that I had a miscarriage and consequently, knows how I should move on and appreciate my life. And mostly that is what I have done; I have moved on.

Then the other night I was talking to a friend — one of the first people I have tried to open up to since having a miscarriage. Before I would even allow myself to really talk about things (protecting myself), however, I made sure she knew that I was aware of the following:

Continue reading “Everyone needs their own Yoda . . .”

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Goodbye SpongeBob

And this is how we start to heal . . .

Easy E

It was late in the afternoon last Friday. I was tired, and tired of being in bed. I had passed more blood than I thought one person should pass. I was crampy, hazy and getting tired of the nothing that was on television. I was sick of sleeping and my head hurt too much to read, so I did what any person might do, I started organizing the stored shows on my TIVO (DVR). As I scrolled down, I realized that we would never ever finish watching Nick Nolte in the fabulous 1979 hit, North Dallas Forty, and it was time to say goodbye. I scrolled to the right spot, pressed “enter,” and when I was asked if I really wanted to “delete this selection,” I selected “yes,” and with one click, the movie was gone. I continued scrolling through our many randomly saved shows until I noticed a recording from several months back. It was a Coldplay performance on Austin City Limits. With Chris Martin and Fix You fresh on my brain, I decided I must take a look. I listened for a few seconds and then began fast-forwarding through their set until I saw Michael Stipe. I couldn’t remember what he and Chris Martin were singing together from the last time I watched. Obviously, I had to know, so I stopped fast-forwarding. Immediately, as I pushed “play,” I recognized the song. It is one of my favorites: Joseph Arthur’s In the Sun.

. . . Don’t know anymore
What it’s for
I’m not even sure
If there is anyone who is in the sun
Will you help me to understand
Cause I been caught in between all I wish for and all I need
Maybe you’re not even sure what it’s for
Any more than me

May god’s love be with you
May god’s love be with you . . .

If you haven’t noticed, and what I too am learning about myself, is that I seem to be somewhat of a lyrical healer. I don’t quite understand why, but words in a song often squeeze their way right into the locked-down places of my heart. It is weird.

So this Michael Stipe and Chris Martin rendition of In the Sun has been playing in my head all week long. I keep hearing, “May God’s love be with you always, always . . .” It probably goes without saying, but whether you believe in God or think I am a nut for believing in something so intangible really isn’t the point. You see, as I listen to these words, I keep thinking how nice it is to feel like there is something out there greater than myself; maybe even something or someone, who actually knows my heart and knows my pain. Religion and politics aside, these healing thoughts are a tiny bit of what is helping me through.

Tangent done and back on my bed: I kept fast-forwarding through Coldplay’s set and land on their song, Fix You. Of course I listen. I listened and then I pushed “pause.” I hadn’t spent any time with the boys all day. My mom was doing a fantastic job of keeping them occupied and preventing them from jumping on my jumbled up uterus. I was missing them terribly.

Another Tangent: What I did not mention the other day is that when Eli grows up he wants to be a rock-star scientist. (Do you think he is trying to channel Buckaroo Banzai?) To help him achieve at least half of his career goals and when I just can’t handle listening to another kid’s CD, I will switch on some Mommy Music. Not so oddly enough, the boys have taken a liking to bands like Coldplay. Often when Fix You comes on Eli says,

“Now Mom, you are the drummer. I am the Katar (guitar) player and Kyle, you are the singer.”

We take our respective rock-star-buckled-safely-into-our-seats positions and usually end up singing our guts out. Literally my favorite part of our driving-rock-star-band is watching Eli from my rear-view mirror. I watch him as he intently listens for the guitar parts and strums along at just the right moment on his Electric Air Guitar. Nothing makes me happier then playing my Air Drums and singing my heart out in Eli’s rock and roll band, (even when both boys remind me to “stop singing” because I am the drummer and Kyle is actually the singer).

Back to Friday afternoon. Because I was missing the boys and because I knew they would recognize Fix You as soon as they heard the very first chord, I asked them to come see me. As Kyle walked into my room, he turned his head toward the television, looked up at the screen and giggled.

“Why is Daddy on the t.v.?”

We couldn’t stop laughing as Kyle realized that the man on the television set wasn’t actually Daddy, but a man who as Kyle said, “just looks like Daddy” (Chris Martin). (Oh, if I only looked like Gwyneth!)

I pushed “play,” and the boys both jumped on my bed, onto their feet and into their very best ROCK-STAR positions. The music starts and we all sing as we play our Air Instruments. This moment was absolutely, without question, the best part of the day; the day I had a miscarriage . . .

My week has been the craziest Roller Coaster ride of emotions. I think my personal emotional roller coaster ride is something akin to the Incredible Hulk. I have had great moments of hope and terrible hours of sadness. I am always surprised by the moments I cry and have been blown away by the support I have received here. I have sought solace in your words and am incredibly grateful for you. My friend Trace (who I met over the internet, by the way), just wrote about how the internet has become her social network and I am beginning to agree.

What I am learning is that miscarriage is kind of a black hole. So many women have them and even my own doctor says there has not been adequate research in finding out why. Because there are so many miscarriages that should happen (because of genetic problems, etc.), there is not enough research into the ones that should not happen. I am honestly not sure whether my miscarriage fits in the should or in the should not have happened category.

I am still so sad and confused, but just yesterday I was reading an article about miscarriage. I was reminded that before I move on, I need to see this little baby as a child that I was not able to have. I need to not only grieve my failed pregnancy, but I need to grieve this baby. Because miscarriage can be so abstract I have had a hard time seeing this for what it is: We lost a child, maybe a child that was not supposed to live, nevertheless, we lost him or her.

And then it occurred to me. With every pregnancy, we have given each baby a code-name (Dave is from the software industry, after all). Kyle’s was Seymour (I can’t even remember why we came up with Seymour, except that it was a funny name and people actually thought we were going to name Kyle Seymour), Eli’s was Elmo (to help Kyle connect with his new little brother — He was into Elmo at the time) and just last week Dave said,

“I think this baby is ready for his code-name. Kyle and Eli had one. I think we should call him SpongeBob,” (after Kyle and Eli’s favorite show, cartoon character, etc).

And so it was. Jut a few days before we found out about losing the pregnancy we started calling our baby SpongeBob.

So yesterday after reading the article about miscarriage, I decided I needed to really acknowledge not what I lost, but who I lost. I thought about it for a long time, took a deep breath and finally said out loud,

“Goodbye SpongeBob. Even though we really didn’t have a lot of time to get to know you, we would have loved having you in our family. Hey, and every time we look at pictures from our trip to Capitol Reef, we will always remember that you were there with us. We are still so sad that you couldn’t continue to be a part of our family. Eli tearfully told me how sad he is that he isn’t going to be a big brother and then Kyle joined in and told me how sad he is that he isn’t going to be a double big brother. We will all will miss you. We will always have the picture our friend took on the 4th of July. You can actually see my pregnant belly. When I look at that picture, I will always think of you. Goodbye little buddy. You will always be our SpongeBob.”

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