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A Rather Trying Weekend

Warning: This entry contains a large amount of squicky stuff. If you have triggers involving biological grossness or medical procedures, click here to skip to the fun bits.

No, seriously. I'm not kidding. Skip on down to the bottom.

...Okay, you were warned.

Right, so: most of you know that we've been trying to have a second a child. Many of you know that we'd actually succeeded, at least as far as having a positive pregnancy test. As of last Saturday (May 2, 2009), that is no longer the case. Here's how it happened:

The Beautiful Woman reported some bleeding Saturday morning. This is about the same time that we had the Chorionic Hemmorhage on our first pregnancy, and it didn't seem terribly serious, so we resolved to take it easy, and spent the day at the local renfaire (looking at swords and being rained on).

Shortly after dinner, when we were back home, she actually started feeling pain. So we dropped the Podling with his grandparents and drove down to the ER. The drive started with my wife saying, "Don't hurry," and ended with her shifting in her seat and saying, "Oh, ow. This really hurts." We arrived just after seven p.m.

She was able to walk inside on her own, despite the discomfort. We filled out the form and talked to the Triage Nurse (who is in a little room off to the side of the waiting area)...
Nurse: "On a scale of one to ten, how bad is the pain?"
Beautiful Woman: "Where ten is disembowelment...? Seven or eight."

Mind you, the Beautiful Woman is "moaning without stimulus", can't sit down, and keeps moving around because of the pain. According to the wall chart, that actually puts her at an eight or nine. She just has a slightly idiosyncratic idea of how high the scale can really go.

So the Triage Nurse sends us back out to the waiting area. The Beautiful Woman still can't sit down, so she's just shifting around and looking intensely uncomfortable. After a moment she says, "Wow. I'm bleeding a lot."

So I lean over to the admission desk and say, "Listen, I hate to tell anyone in an emergency room to hurry, but... she says she's suddenly bleeding a lot more. Hurry."

Then I go back to my wife, who says: "I'm feeling a little light-headed."

Me: "Then for G-d's sake stand next to me." And I put an arm under her shoulder, and she kind of leans into me. For a moment, it's a nice, comforting hug.

About two breaths later, her knees buckle. Fortunately, I am holding her up, so she doesn't fall. Unfortunately, I'm not in a good position to do much of anything else. So I look at the nurses and say, "Need help now" or something equally pertinent.

The Triage Nurse comes out of her area and gets a hold on the Beautiful Woman's other arm. She says, "Put her in a chair." All right, I can do that. I shift my weight and turn to the closest chair, and wrestle her into it.

This causes her to throw up. A lot. All over herself and the floor. (And a little on me, but only a little.) It's basically a matter of squishing her stomach while she was unconscious; it just squeezed everything out of her. Triage Nurse calls for a stretcher.

My wife is now conscious again, and begins trying to apologize. The nurses explain that it's no big deal, not her fault, and not really that unusual for an Emergency Room.

The stretcher arrives, and the four of us (myself and three nurses) lift her out of the chair and onto the stretcher. They wheel her off to a room, and I gather our stuff and follow.

Medical stuff ensued. They started an IV, hooked her up to monitors, asked her questions to establish her level of consciousness, and then checked - discreetly - to see if we were *sure* that the pregnancy was in her uterus. (I'm sure they were afraid that it had been ectopic, and ruptured, and was now causing her to bleed out internally.) Since it wasn't, and since the IV was bringing her blood pressure back up, they took some blood over to the lab, gave me a glass of ice water, and went off to see what they could learn. Somewhere in there they also got her out of her nasty clothes and into a hospital gown. I did my best to keep her distracted while they worked.

For a while - about an hour, I think - the pain came and went. It went from 0-1 up to around 5-6 (on the BEautiful Woman scale) and then dropped off again, in about five minute increments. The lab worker came in and also took a little blood.

After a while - maybe half an hour? I'm not sure - they moved us to the Girly Stuff room of the ER. She moved over to a stirrup chair (shuffling on her own, while I lurked and tried to be ready to catch her if anything went wrong). A doctor examined her there. Once he'd, um, opened her up (with a smooth plastic device), he took a pair of forceps and announced that he was going to remove a blood clot so that he could see what he was doing.

It's probably just as well that nobody was looking at my face while this was going on, because I saw what he pulled out, and it was a lump of tissue about the size of my index finger (if I curl my finger closed). Not, in other words, anything you might mistake for a blood clot. He then used some gauze to sponge things off in there, and announced that they would set up the ultrasound to see what was going on. This involved more waiting, but only a little. While we were waiting, I went and called My Wife's parents, to let them know that we'd be a while longer, but that nothing crisis-ish was happening.

The ultrasound nurse was very nice. She told us she wasn't allowed to tell us what she saw - she had to send it up to the lab and then let the doctor come and talk to us. I was standing where I could see the screen, and she turned the monitor so The Beautiful Woman could see it too - which we appreciated. (I doubt she was supposed to do that, which makes it a doubly nice gesture.) She made a point of checking the blood flow around the ovaries, and stopped at one point where we could see both ovaries and the uterus at once. The Beautiful Woman, watching the screen, said: "I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it looks awfully empty in there." (The nurse didn't say anything, of course, because she couldn't.)

The nurse took us back to our room (the one with the Girly Stuff), and after a while the OB-GYN called. By then, we'd already decided that it was most likely a miscarriage, so we weren't very surprised when she broke the news. She also told us that The Beautiful Woman's body had expelled all the tissue, so there wasn't any need for cleanup surgery, and that the ovaries and... um... "reproductive apparatus" all looked fine.

I should stop to explain that this had been a very odd pregnancy from the beginning. At first we thought it wasn't developing well. Then we thought that maybe egg had left the ovary late, and it was just earlier in the process than we'd expected. We were due to have another ultrasound in a couple of weeks, which would have told us something a bit more definite.

So, we're now back to the original theory. It was a "molar" pregnancy: the tissue was there, but it hadn't developed a heartbeat and was never going to. As a result, the miscarriage was not exactly the emotional crisis that it might have been, for either of us. I was still waiting to find out what was going on, and my wife was largely relieved - both that we finally knew what was going on with the pregnancy, and that her body had done its job and gotten rid of the misdeveloping fetus. She says, "There will be no birth in December for our family now, and that makes me sad, but to be honest I feel so much better today after the pain of last night that I just can't find it in myself to be very upset."

Once we were ready to check out - basically, once the nurses were sure that my wife wasn't going to collapse again - I went out to the car and grabbed some extra clothes. So, she was able to leave in actual clothing. We got in the car and went to collect the Snorkleberry from his grandparents, then went home and collapsed.

So... aside from the fact that we're both exhausted, everyone is okay - physically and emotionally. Thanks to the stay with his grandparents, Theron was oblivious to the whole thing, and if he's noticed anything amiss, it doesn't show. We're looking at the upside now: we know we *can* get pregnant, and The Beautiful Woman will be able to drink beer at the big music festival in two weeks.

All things considered, it could have been a much bigger problem. It could have happened at a much less convenient time and place, it could have involved far more medical complications, and any number of other things could have gone wrong. None of that happened.

Also, we really appreciate all the sympathy and offers of help. Everyone had been really, really great about this.

Renfaire and Art Festival
The weekend was not a total loss. Theron, as I've mentioned, was essentially oblivious to the drama. For him, Saturday was all about the renfaire. He looked at the costumes, rode in a large swinging barrel, bounced waaaaaay up in the air, and generally had a good time.

It rained, of course, but mostly it was just overcast and very pleasant. We waited out the rainstorm in one of the booths, and then - as we were on our way out - Theron spotted the elephants. So, we stopped and took another ride on the elephant. (I'm not sure if he remembered them from last year, but he was very definite about wanting a ride when he saw them this year!)

On Sunday we swung by a local Art Festival. Theron had a great time there, too: he played in the kids' area, drew things with chalk, glued colored bits onto a tile, and watched a man juggle parrots.

Afterwards we went out to a pub for food and beer - taking advantage of the fact that the Beautiful Woman is once again allowed to drink. Her parents were supposed to meet us there, but they snuck up on us at the Art Festival, so we caravaned over instead.

She still had a little grading to do, so I grabbed Theron and took him to the local Boomerang's - basically a large room full of inflatable slides, bounce houses, and similar things. Theron got this manic gleam in his eye, and ran* for two hours straight. (I would have tried for three, but they had the nerve to go and close, of all things.) He only took his socks off once, and he actually told me where he'd left them when I asked. (That's a first.)

We had a quiet dinner, and he went to bed and slept all night.

Being the Luckiest Man In The World isn't all it's cracked up to be
I mentioned in my last entry that Theron has started asking to watch - and direct - as I play my video games. I was, at the time, a little concerned that he might want to take the controller for himself and not actually let me play. In retrospect, this is laughable.

For the last three weeks, Theron has been perfectly content to supervise. Unfortunately... How to explain this? I'm not getting much accomplished in the game, because Theron won't allow it. I've spent at least one hour, for the last three nights, in the same cave on the north coast of Morrowind, conjuring skeletons, ghosts, and monsters for his amusement. And then more skeletons. And then more monsters. And then another ghost. And then...

The only thing that makes it worthwhile is the dialogue. Not the in-game dialogue, mind you - my character is alone in his cave. No, it's the real-world dialogue that keeps cracking me up.
Me: "So, what should we conjure now."
Theron: "Hmmm. Let's see... Conjure 'nother skeleton."

He sounds just like a little college professor. And yes, he can actually say "conjure".

Ready to bounce

Gluing a tile

Looking at the
Chalk Board

This month's videos
do not include sound.

(You can safely play
them at work.)

Eating Ice Cream

* Also bounce, jumped, slid, climbed, and squooshed. Who says squooshing never solves anything?