Thursday, July 3, 2014

My Overnight Stay in a Swiss Hospital

I'm not quite sure how to begin this entry. I apologize if this is extremely personal, but I’m not sure how to tell this story without opening up my heart and pouring out what hides inside. I have always found writing helps me better understand how I’m feeling. I tend to have thoughts jumbled inside my mind without words to link them together, writing has always created some cohesion and allows my mind to rest from constantly analyzing each moment, phrase and feeling. Perhaps through writing this entry, I will better understand how I am feeling about this whole situation.
This could have been one of the most stressful and scary 24 hours of my life, but I have felt powerful love and enduring comfort that far surpasses the strength I alone could muster. I am overwhelmed by the compassion bestowed on my family and me by individuals I scarcely know. It is a strong reminder of the good that exists in everyone and the unity we share as children of God.

Here it goes…

A few weeks after we arrived in our flat, I found out I was pregnant. That would make me 12 weeks this last Tuesday. We were so excited but were waiting to make it public when I made it home and had my first ultrasound. However, those plans were altered... as they frequently do. I started bleeding a few days ago, and it became severe last night. After a frantic few hours of trying to get our Swiss phone to work, contacting some friends from church and having them find people who could give us a ride to the hospital and someone to watch Luke, trying to reach our insurance company, all while I was trying to stay calm, avoid passing out and avoid going into shock. We were finally able to get the help we needed. A wonderful Argentine family from our church came to our flat, the wife stayed here and listened for Luke while her husband drove us into Geneva (about a 20 minute drive) to the hospital.

I hardly had the strength to make it down the stairs. I laid down in the back seat and swayed to the turns the car made. The whole time telling myself to breath and that everything would be okay. I was fairly sure the pregnancy had been terminated, but didn’t know for certain. That was the worst part… not knowing what was happening to my body… and flashes of all the lost blood kept playing in my head.

I felt so calmed when we finally stopped at the hospital. They immediately wheeled me in and began checking my vitals. Mike was not able to accompany me and I knew that would worry him. I felt comforted with my three nurses, but I realized with Mike not knowing what was happening, especially for someone who has a medicine background, this would drive him crazy. Mike later told me that when I went through the hospital doors and left him behind in the waiting room he turned to the man that drove us and said “We have been married for 5 years and other than when she had our son, this is the first time she has been in the hospital.”

Over the course of the next few hours, everyone took really good care of me. I learned I had in fact lost the baby and that most likely the baby had stopped growing 3-4 weeks earlier and it was a delayed termination of pregnancy.  The doctor was able to stop the excessive bleeding, I was able to stop shaking and Mike was finally able to come to my side. However, I still couldn’t stand or even sit without dizziness overcoming me. I had lost a significant amount of blood and required multiple courses of IV fluids to deal with how dehydrated I had become. The doctor recommended I stay the night. It was around 3:00am and Mike decided to head home to be there when Luke woke up and we would both try and sleep in the mean time.

I tried to sleep, but kept having strange dreams. I guess my subconscious was processing what my conscience mind wasn’t quite ready to work through. Needless to say, over the next few hours I didn’t sleep much.

As traumatic of an experience as this was, I was actually managing very well emotionally. Strangely enough, I felt from the beginning this pregnancy wasn’t going to have the desired outcome. With Luke, I always had a connection. I knew I was having a boy even before I was certain I was pregnant. I never felt that with this pregnancy. My thoughts and dreams kept turning toward miscarriage. When the bleeding started I did carry a glimmer of hope that all would be okay, but I wasn’t surprised when the truth was revealed. I feel so grateful that I was emotionally prepared for this outcome.

My petit dejeuner courtesy of the
Swiss hospital
My dejeuner... it tasted even better
than it looked I promise

Thankfully, the facility was fantastic. It was nicer than most American hospitals, aside from no private rooms... but at that point I didn’t care. I was especially impressed with the food. I’m not sure if I was extremely hungry by the next morning or what, but it was very good. Perhaps seeing the menu in French created a correlation in my mind to fancy French restaurants… who knows. Though, it was very strange to be worked on by nurses who were not speaking English. Fortunately, enough of the staff spoke English to me that I didn’t feel completely powerless, but it was enough to remind me I was still far from home. It also made the experience even more… out of the ordinary.

The next morning, Mike was driven to the hospital by the same kind Argentine family; they even took Luke to their house to play while we were at the hospital. Thankfully, Luke was enjoying their slide and happily playing the afternoon away. That gave me such peace. After a few more tests I was able to leave around noon. I was finally able to stand with only a little dizziness. I was feeling so much better at this point.

Upon arriving home, I was so grateful for my little family. My strong husband who handled the stress of the situation and my sweet little boy who brings me such joy each time I look into his little face. I know this is a terrible experience to go through, but I just feel grateful. I feel grateful that it happened today rather than on Saturday on our train to Paris, or worse on Monday on our flight home. That would have been so terrifying. I feel so grateful that there are people here who don’t know us well, but are willing to sacrifice a night of sleep to provide us service. I’m grateful for the dear woman who watched my son and even cleaned my dishes and did my laundry when we were gone.  I’m grateful for the sweet sister missionaries who arranged the rides and help for us then brought us home made American style cookies today (You cannot even imagine how grateful I was for those cookies! A taste of home!). I am grateful for the team of 6 nurses that helped me over the course of those 12 hours. Nurses have such difficult and messy jobs, and they make all the difference for a hospital experience. I am especially grateful for the knowledge that things happen for a reason, and when difficult trials occur, you can be provided the strength you need to overcome the challenge and thrive.

I am of course disappointed and frustrated that those weeks of feeling sick and the pregnancy limitations seem to have happened for nothing. It is difficult to reconcile my emotions of telling myself I’m pregnant for so many weeks now having to drastically shift. It exhausts me to think of having to wait a few months to try the whole process over again. It is a terrible thing to experience. But I can’t help but dwelling on how thankful I am for the outpouring of love we received, that I am healthy, that my family is healthy and that I can try again in a few months for baby number 2.

My silver lining, the cheese isle is
now opened up to me. Now the next
dilemma is how to try all of them in 4 days
My fabulous not pregnancy approved
dinner tonight! Cold deli meat and
tomme cheese
But I cannot forget the silver lining in all of this! I am still here in France for a few more days … that means I can now try all the cheeses and deli meats I was restricted to eat while pregnant. I’m sure it sounds silly, but that was one of the experiences I was particularly sad to be missing while here.

I know the next few weeks and possibly months will be difficult and I know I have some grieving and processing to go through, but I know everything will work out how it needs to. I know the Lord has provided me the strength I need to overcome this terrible trial, and I believe that this experience will allow me to better relate to others who have similar experiences and help them through this process.
This whole experience has helped me feel so much more grateful for my little family. I have such a blessed life.


  1. Cabrina I'm so sorry to hear this. You have a great outlook on life though and I know you'll get through. Enjoy all that cheese and deli meat :) Even though it's been forever since we've seen each other I love seeing what your sweet family is up to.

  2. Aww Cabrina I am so sorry you had to go through such a difficult, emotional and scary time. As you I'm sure are aware, miscarriages are quite common but that doesn't make them any less difficult to deal with. You sharing this experience and affirming that you are okay, helps others who are/will go through similar experiences. I'm so glad your happy go lucky attitude I've admired in you is still in full force! Love you, keep making cute kids :)

  3. My sympathies and prayers are with you and your family during this time!