Saturday, March 9, 2013

Before My Time. . . .

As mothers, I believe we immediately form a bond of love for our children. It doesn't take long for us to carve a special place in our hearts for the children in our lives. So, if you believe that, you will understand my story.

This is what happened.

My Husband is 14 years older than I am. That may seem like a lot to some of you, but in all honesty, I don't see it. Occasionally his grey hairs will remind me of our age difference but it never bothers me. In fact, I believe I am more mature that he is most of the time. Because of his age, his children are older and even closer to my age than he is. His oldest just had her first child in October, which makes him a grandpa, and by proxy, me a grandma. So when we were dating and the notion of children came up, he wasn't sure he wanted any more. I always knew I had spirit(s) waiting to be a part of our family for years before I even met him. Bottom line, it was difficult for me to chose between him and the wanting of more children. Ultimately I felt blessed to have my three and decided I didn't want to lose him, and agreed to the idea that we may not have any children together.

This pained me. I was willing to not have any more because I could see us traveling as empty nesters in ten years and that brought me happiness. However, the emptiness I felt by not having another baby haunted me. Especially when my two sisters had babies this past year. I know my Husband could see it in my eyes. He'd keep asking me what was bothering me and I'd brush it off as a headache or something. Until one night he cornered me and forced it out of me. He said, "I know how much you want another baby." I was so emotional over what was reeling through my head I could only respond with tears. It was then he asked me if we could have a baby together. I said yes, and we immediately started trying.

Three anxious months later and I still wasn't pregnant. It was frustrating to me because I NEVER had trouble with this before. I practically thought about getting pregnant and then instantly was 5 months along. I never had to try and figure out when I was ovulating or track my periods for variances because it just happened. So one day, out of anger for not becoming pregnant yet, I decided to pee on my last purple pregnancy stick just to get the disappointment of it always being negative out of my bathroom. I didn't even look at it right away because I just knew it would be negative. A little while later I took a look at it just before chucking it with indignantcy into the trash. It said, positive. Nathan immediately started rejoicing. He was ready to tell everyone we knew we were expecting. However, the skeptic that I am, I ignored it. I set a day with my Husband to let him tell certain people, but I wasn't going to count my babies before they were born.

About four days later I started to let myself get excited. I even mentioned it to my boss just to let myself feel that rush of joy. But then later that afternoon I started to feel some odd movement in my abdomen. I kept thinking it was just the need to go to the bathroom, but that never fully remedied the problem. They weren't heavy or harsh pains, they were just there, noticeable. Close of business day approached and I went to the bathroom one last time to discover I was bleeding. I suddenly burst into tears, upset that I let myself get excited knowing I had set myself up for a fall by doing so. The pains progressed to what felt like a miscarriage. They didn't feel like any of my regular menstrual cramps so I knew this wasn't just a false positive. However, the bleeding did not reflect either a miscarriage or a menstruation cycle. It wasn't heavy bleeding, at lease not enough to warrant a trip to the ER, and stopped bone dry after 24 hours.

I decided to find out if it was in fact a miscarriage or a round of spotting by purchasing another set of pregnancy tests. The first one I took was 24 hours after the bleeding stopped. Negative. Then I took another one two days later. Negative. That day I made an appointment to see my OB the following Monday.

At my appointment I did the routine of seeing how fat I am on the scale, scaring the nurse with my low blood pressure, and peeing in a little plastic cup. I explained to the nurse my anomaly and told her I was just confused. I could still feel pain in my uterus reminiscent to ovarian cysts, that I had one positive test, sudden onset of bleeding, and then two negative tests. She noted everything down and then I was left to await the doctor. Partway through my solitary confinement the nurse popped her head in asking me to describe my bleeding. I told her it was steady but not heavy with both bright red and dark red blood and small remnants of tissue. (I apologize for the tmi.) She said, "hmmmmmm" and told me the test was positive but a faint positive and the doctor would discuss it with me further when he arrived, closed the door, and left me with my thoughts.

My sweet doctor ran the routine exam and scraped my tonsils for the pap smear and sent me for blood work to test my HCG level (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin - or pregnancy hormone). The next day my level was at 124, which is low for a pregnancy but not abnormal, or a sign of me coming off of a miscarriage, or sign it is an ectopic pregnancy or pregnancy that is in an abnormal place, or ultimately an abnormal pregnancy. Basically a new long list of worries, but no answers. I went back in for blood work a day later and received a call from my doctor later that afternoon. My level was now at 176, which is about a 40% increase. Again low but not necessarily abnormal or basically all of the above. Now through this whole process I am still experiencing pain much like an ovarian cyst that was slowly becoming uncomfortable, until Thursday the next day. I awoke with nausea and heavy cramps all through my body. I still had the cyst-like pain but I was now experiencing heavy muscle spasm-like pain all over my back and torso, and sharp lightening pain in random places along my abdomen and back.

None of this was severe enough to me to rush to the ER so I called my doctor to try to be seen. And as karma would have it, my doctor was out of the office that day. So I played phone tag with his nurse and the on-call physician. Bottom line, if it gets too much to bear go to the ER, otherwise the doctor will see you after blood work in the morning. I was up until 1:00 am with discomfort at which it suddenly stopped and I was able to go to sleep.

After blood work the next morning and a time of reflection waiting for the doctor, he finally came in to see me and deliver the bad news. He told me my HCG level was at 202 and that it should be at least double what it was two days prior. I began to cry. He so gently told me that it was clear to him I was not carrying a baby but only pregnancy tissue and that it was time to take care of it. In his calm voice he instructed me to go down to the pharmacy, purchase a prescription, and return to his office where the nurse will give me an injection that will ultimately clear out the remaining tissue and relieving me of my abnormal pregnancy. Shaking my head to show I understood, he left me alone in the room, where I sat trying to regain my ability to speak as I texted my husband.

My Husband quickly called me as I left the office making a mad dash for the public bathroom at the end of the hall. I could barely choke out my plea for him to be with me. He was on his way and I was dripping like a broken faucet unable to leave the stall I had barricaded myself in. It took me about 15 minutes just to compose myself for the long walk across the hospital grounds to the pharmacy. I decided to put my ear buds in and listen to some music to distract me and keep me from having to speak to anyone along the way.

After purchasing my prescription I met my Husband at the front of the hospital and then headed back to my doctor's office. They set us in a private room and it wasn't long before my doctor stepped in. He reassured me that there was nothing to be afraid of and if we wanted to wait, we could, but that even in two weeks we would have the same answer. So the nurse came in and administered me the injection.

I didn't feel the prick of the needle, but I soon experienced a sickening feeling and lots of pain. It was somewhat reassuring in that there was a physical pain related to the emotional pain I was feeling.

Now I know I am not the only person this has happened to. I actually feel a little silly at how dramatic I have been. My mother had three miscarriages in her lifetime and I know a number of women who have experienced this in some degree. And knowing it could've turned out much worse comforts me. I am so very blessed to know what I went through was actually minimal. But knowing that does not take away the space I made in my heart for the little one. It does not erase the names I thought of, or the image of what she might look like from my memory. Even though I knew from the moment I started cramping I would not hold this child in my arms, it did not stop me from naturally giving hope that I was wrong.

I believe in my Heavenly Father. I believe in His son Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I find such peace knowing that I can rest my spirit in their hands and follow their guidance. I trust them. I trust them with my life and the lives of my children.