|Don't congratulate me yet. Keep reading.|
We hadn't told anyone, not even our parents, about the pregnancy, and were just waiting on that first ultrasound to confirm our our good news. But then that good news turned into "might be bad" news, so I waited. And on Valentine's Day, it officially turned into bad news.
The first ultrasound on Monday, Feb. 7. I was 9 weeks along, a number I was almost sure of because I do actually track these things. I remember the hope I had going into that appointment with B by my side. When the little blob came up on the screen, I even started talking to it. However, the doctors were perplexed because our little "fetal pole" was only measuring at 6 weeks. And it wasn't flashing, which would indicate a heartbeat. They sent me down to the radiology department because they have the best equipment, and I got another ultrasound. B wasn't allowed in the room with me, and the screen was turned away so I couldn't see it. The ultrasound tech obviously wasn't allowed to answer any of my questions (does it look good? is there a heartbeat?), simply responding, "I can't tell you; the doctor has to analyze it." She did tell me that she took at least 100 pictures.
We went back up to my family practice doctor and waited on the results. We'd been at the hospital all morning by this point, B in uniform and me feeling guilty for keeping him away from work all morning. The doctor finally called us in, and he was empty-handed. He told us the other ultrasound still measured at 6 weeks, and that no cardiac activity could be detected. Basically, he prepared us for a miscarriage. After answering a few more questions, he left us to cry it out for a bit. I can't even explain to you the sadness in my heart at that moment.
A nurse came in to get a blood sample so they could get a quantitative number on my hCG (hormone level). If that number didn't go up in the course of a week, that meant definite miscarriage. That Friday, I pretty much got my answer as my body was starting the process. B came home to find me in tears because I just knew.
My blood confirmed the miscarriage on Valentine's Day, as my hCG number had dropped. I asked the doctor if I could just let my body take care of this since it had already started. He told us the signs to look for and the issues that would require an ER visit. At that point, I was actually feeling good in the physical sense. Two days later, however, was one of the most painful days of my life. I was out and about doing things and knew something was off and I was hurting, so I took some pain meds (worthless at this point). I went into a CVS, only to find an 'out of order' sign on the bathroom. I was in so much pain I could hardly walk, but I got back to my car and drove across the street to a Walgreen's. B was at work, nobody knew where I was, and nobody in the vicinity cared as I spent thirty excruciating minutes stuck in the handicapped stall at the drug store.
|Remember this outfit picture? It was taken only a few hours before the 'main event.' I definitely didn't look as happy that night. (And I changed into lounge pants.)|
I finally mustered enough strength to leave the store, still clutching my stomach. Any other time, I would have been grazing over the discount Valentine's candy trying to find a bargain, but not today. I called B to tell him what was happening, and then I got my streets mixed up on my way home because the pain was clouding my thinking (and I've only lived here 6 months). I was so thankful to come home so I could lie down and just be miserable. That whole afternoon and night is a blur, but I do remember calling my mother to tell her the news, and then almost immediately after hanging up, I had another big round of cramps/contractions and that's when I think I passed my "fetal pole." Physically, I immediately felt my body relax and the cramps subsided to more of a dull pain. That night, I slept better that night than I had in almost a week. Emotionally, it was up and down and will probably continue to be for a while.
The very same week all this was going on, four (yes, 4!) of my friends announced their pregnancies. And I found myself genuinely happy for them. Not jealous, not mad at God, just happy. I know that one day it will work out for us, but this one just was not meant to be. So many women miscarry (15-20% of detected pregnancies end in a first trimester miscarriage), and we just never hear about it--until it happens to you, then you find out that you're in good company with your aunt or friend or cousin or whomever. Maybe because it's messy, maybe because it's emotional, I'm not quite sure. But I'm not ashamed to talk about it. I don't feel any blame, guilt, or embarrassment, and I have absolutely no fears about being able to carry to term in the future.
If you've been paying attention, you'll realize that we had a weekend trip planned during the time this was happening. We did go to New Orleans during the tail-end of the miscarriage, and all was mostly fine and we enjoyed ourselves. The doctor told me not to drink though, as to not "cloud the issue" (and my stomach was cramping still), so I'm pretty sure I was the only sober one on Bourbon Street that Saturday night. I've now decided that the Mardi Gras parade we watched would have only made sense if we had started drinking at 9am like everyone else.
I'll leave you today with a few pictures from our New Orleans trip and a wonderful verse from the book of Job that has really spoken to me lately.
- "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!"
- In all this Job did not sin, nor did he say anything disrespectful of God. Job 1:21-22
|Beignets and hot cocoa at Cafe Du Monde; B and I overlooking the Cathedral; the fun and historic French Quarter|