Friday, March 25, 2011

Our Baby's Journey

In the middle of the biggest upheaval of our marriage we discovered that we were expecting. HUGE surprise to say the least. We thought that it was impossible to conceive without medical intervention. We had been throwing caution to the wind as we were focusing on getting our marriage and family put back together. One of the most important part being rekindling our love life. And along came baby.

I had spotting days before my missed period, but the nagging oh-so-familiar symptoms made it impossible to ignore. The nausea, the vomiting, the exhaustion, the headaches, the "I can smell everything from a mile away", the constant need to pee. So we went together to pick up a pregnancy test.

The lines showed up immediately, nowhere close to that required 3 minute wait. I showed it to my hubby who was in total disbelief. It sent him into a panic attack, followed by a "Are you sure??" So, I took another one and immediately gave it to him so the lines could magically appear before his eyes. We knew we were in the fight of our lives for our marriage and not sure what it would mean to bring a new baby into the mix.

After 5 days of spotting and occasional cramping, I called to speak to a nurse, who was very kind and offered a solution. I was sent to have my blood drawn. The next day I called to find out my hCG levels were over 6000. Normal range (on the high end) for being 4 weeks along is about 450 something. I panicked.

Could this be ANOTHER set of twins?! My g/b twins were currently 28 months old. My new due date was 5 days before their 3rd birthday. I knew my chances of having another set are 1 in 12, but I didn't think it would ever happen, after all we didn't use fertility drugs this time. So, I called the nurse back.

I was sent in to my first ultrasound at 4 weeks 5 days. The ultrasound tech kindly explained as she was taking measurements- here is your bladder, your uterus, your cervix, your ovaries, this is what the gestational sac looks like, this is a subchorionic bleed which is why you have been spotting.... and then she stopped talking and took measurement after measurement after measurement. Concluding with, "Its just too early" and told me to come back in a week.

I left that u/s with so many questions. Will the bleeding lead to a miscarriage? Why wouldn't she answer me when I asked how many were in there? Why does she want to see me so soon again? Am I having triplets? Why did they send me in so soon if they couldn't tell me anything? I was upset.

The spotting continued. I had been advised to not lift anything heavy. Gone were the days of lugging my twins up and down the stairs and began refusing to pick both up together when they begged for hugs. We explained the best we could that there was a baby in mommy tummy and she couldn't carry them. So, they began to come up and kiss my belly and say, "Hi baby!" It touched my heart.

Another week passes and I go to my second ultrasound. By this time dh had told all his friends and even posted on FB that we were adding to our family. The outpour of love was overwhelming, but I was hesitant and wanted to confirm with that beautiful sound of hearing the heartbeat for the first time. I had said next to nothing to my friends. A decision I would regret later.

The second u/s was much quicker than the first. I clearly saw only one baby. But there was a significant area covered with the subchorionic bleed that I wondered if it was hiding another one. The tech once again was quiet and I started prodding for answers. Turned out I was measuring a little small. No big deal in my mind, maybe I just ovulated later than I thought. She then found a heartbeat, but reacted in a way I did not expect. She told me that it was inconclusive if the heartbeat belonged to the baby or me. At that time, told me to come back once again in another week.

So, began another week of waiting, wondering, worrying, and wanting answers. The persistent spotting started to get on my nerves, yet I was thankful for every day that my pregnancy symptoms were undeniable. We had decided to take some time for "pelvic rest" just in case, and it was taking its toll on our newly awakened love life. I was counting down the days to my next u/s to see if there was any improvement to the subchorionic bleed.

Finally, my 3rd u/s came along. It was St. Patrick's day and I was thinking of clever ways to announce the findings of a thriving healthy baby. Maybe I could take a video with my phone to share with people? Maybe they would give me a picture print out that I could show others? Maybe I should call my dh at work so he could hear himself what was going on?

It was done in a location I have never been on the other side of town. I got lost on my way there and was flustered that I was so late. I was feeling incredibly nauseaus, and was hoping I wouldn't vomit in the middle of the scan. The new tech was hard for me to understand. A mumbler. Great. She didn't say much at all, just the occasional questions like, "Are you sure your dates are correct?" and "What exactly were you told at your last u/s?" I couldn't see the screen. This new room was small and cramped and her head was right where I would have been able to see the tiny blob of my future baby. After several frustrating minutes, she left the room and informed me that she was going to get a dr. to review the information.

My heart sank. They only get the dr. if something is not alright. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to throw up. I felt so overwhelmed, but then realized how all of my crazy symptoms were all still there. There HAS TO be a reason I still felt pregnant.

The Dr. came in and gently explained that there wasn't a heartbeat detected and there looks as if there had been no significant growth in the past week. "It looks as if you are going to miscarry." She told me what to expect and what my options were and that I should come back in two weeks to follow up. And that was all. As she turned to leaved I asked why I still had symptoms. She told me that sometimes it takes days, sometimes weeks for fetal tissue to be expelled and I should expect some symptoms as the products of pregnancy were still present.

The only appointment time I was able to get into see this first and only dr. I have had contact with would be in 3 weeks. That seemed like an eternity away. Heartbroken, I called my husband who immediately left work to come home and comfort me. I didn't want to mourn. I had to keep busy.

I jumped right into my work, preparing for a parenting seminar I was to teach that weekend, followed by a high energy children's presentation and a leadership meeting. I hit the ground running and didn't stop. I had to keep my mind busy. I had to have other things to focus on. And then Monday came. My day off.

I woke up with the worst morning sickness I have had yet. I had not experienced any bleeding or cramping or any sign that my symptoms had diminished. Confused, I called the nurse. I found out that the blood sample taken on the day of my final ultrasound revealed that my hCG levels were still off-the-charts high. 65,000 during my 6th week. Normal (on the high end) is about 54,500. I explained to the nurse what was going on, and she asked me to come in immediately. The down side was to sit at the hospital ALL day with the possibility of not being seen. I asked if there was a better option. She found a cancellation and squeezed me in. Now I had a 3 day wait, not a 3 week one.

Optimistic with the possibilities, I began to speak about my complications with my friends and co-workers. They all shared in my enthusiasm that the baby was going to make it. I was convinced there was a squirmy little baby smirking to itself that it had fooled the dr. After all, my symptoms were getting stronger by the day.

I finally was able to get in and have a REAL appointment with a dr. who would look over my case, listen to the history, see the lab results and put my confusion to rest. It was the day before my 8th week and I knew that by this time I was bound to get real answers that could absolutely confirm my suspicions. I had another blood draw that morning, and my hCG levels were now a staggering 78,000. There. How about that? Sound like a miscarriage to you?

I agreed to first meet with the dr.'s student for her to practice. I spit out all the facts, lab results, scan measurements, dates, symptoms, and lack of evidence of a miscarriage like I had it memorized for months. The poor thing was scribbling so fast. She did not know what to say other than, "Um, I think I got it," and scurried out of the room. Few minutes later the dr. comes in to go over all the information one last time before he reiterated the previous weeks u/s results stating that they don't take that diagnosis lightly and they would have been 100% sure before they would have told me. His explanation of the pregnancy symptoms and rising hCG levels were that the placenta seems to have continued growing, even though the baby was not.

My final glimmer of hope was one last ultrasound. What if there was another one in there hiding all along and IT is healthy? I could not take the unknown and just shrug it off. I had to hear it one last time. They took me across the hall to the u/s room. Great. Same u/s tech. The mumbler. She was very slow and patient to check and recheck everything one last time. They brought the dr. back in to once again tell me- NO heartbeat and NO significant growth since 5 weeks 6 days. I accepted it.

I am now scheduled for a D and C to take place in a hospital I have never been a patient at with a dr. I have never met on one of my busiest workdays of the week. In the meantime, I struggle with knowing that I have a baby that is no longer living inside of me. I feel so empty. I feel so confused. Yet, I am so grateful for my hubby who is supportive, understanding, and broken right along with me. He will taking off work to be by my side through the surgery and to drive me home and take care of me for the days following.

As I now sharing my experiences with my family, friends, and co-workers and to be totally honest, I am struggling with the sympathy. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. This is life. This is what we get to deal with to become stronger in the end. Our marriage will weather this storm and we will cling to each other through it all. I am not the first woman to lose her baby and I am likely not the last.

I went home and held my two year old twin toddlers with all the love in my heart splashing over them through my tears. They have lost a sibling. A brother or sister who would have been a huge part of their lives and would have changed our little family forever. I am so thankful to have them both and I will cherish them even more than I did before. I am thankful for my loving husband who holds me tight and tells me that our baby is with Jesus. I get so sad, as I want the baby to be here and in my arms in 7 months from now. But I know that things will get better. My symptoms will eventually fade. I will lose the baby inside of me. And we can someday hope for another one.

1 comment:

  1. I'm speechless, but just want to send you a hug from one mom to another. I hope that writing it down has helped a teeny tiny bit. Thank you so much for sharing this story.