So the D&C was scheduled for April 17th, and on the 16th I went to the hospital to complete a bunch of paperwork. As I sat in a small office near the front doors, filling out forms, a woman came into the lobby area with her newborn and several members of her family. I was surprised at how painful it was to see this mother with her new baby while in the process of losing mine.
On the morning of the 17th, we went to the hospital. I remember feeling very much alone as I left Tim and Austin in the waiting room and followed a nurse back to the pre-op area. The first thing I had to do after undressing was get on the scale, and I noticed that I had lost 5 pounds in just a couple of days. I guess it really is over, I thought. The nurses were very gentle with me, holding my hands, bringing me kleenex, saying they were sorry. The doctor came in at some point to explain the procedure, and when she said that she would "remove the contents of my uterus," I started to cry. Those contents included my baby.
Eventually the anesthesiologist came in, and he greeted me with, "So you're having an abortion?" I know "spontaneous abortion" is another term for miscarriage, but I responded, "No, I'm having a D&C to complete a miscarriage; I wanted this baby, but it died." He immediately apologized, and then got down to business. The drugs worked fast and the rest is very hazy. I vaguely remember being wheeled into the OR, told to shift myself onto the table, the mask, counting backwards, and darkness.
The next thing I remember is hearing two nurses talking.
"Is she okay?"
"Oh, yes, fine. But it's a very hard thing, and all that emotion has to come out at some point."
I can also hear someone crying - loud, harsh sobbing - and gradually I realize that I'm the one making that sound. (This was a really strange experience and I can't exactly describe it - I was awake before I realized I was awake - or something like that - it was just weird.) The nurses I heard are on either side of me, wheeling my gurney to the recovery area. There's a box of kleenex on my chest and the one who spoke second is looking at me with sadness and compassion in her eyes. They get me situated and the first nurse leaves quickly. The second one stays; she will care for me for the rest of the time I'm in recovery. As soon as my conscious mind caught up and realized I was awake, I stopped crying, and now I just feel numb and sleepy. The nurse gets Tim and Austin; they come to see me but Austin is afraid, clinging to Tim and peeking at me. I realize I don't look like Mama - my face is swollen from the drugs and tears and I'm pretty spacey - and this makes me sad. They stay a few minutes, then head back to the waiting room. The nurse is wonderful, very compassionate. I think I doze for a while longer, then wake up enough to go through the paces - have the IV removed, drink juice (she brings me crackers with peanut butter, too, noticing that my surgery was delayed and it has been almost 24 hours since I've eaten), stand up, walk to the bathroom, pee. Then I can get dressed and go home. A friend has left a casserole in our fridge - moussaka - it tastes marvelous.
The next day is a Friday, but I don't go to work. It's a gloriously sunny, blue-sky day. Tim sets up the hammock in our yard and he, Austin, and I lie in it together. I feel empty and sad and alive and loved, all at once.