Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Expecting Hope

I was really excited to get on here in a few short weeks and write about how we are expecting a new baby in October but in the last couple of days everything has changed.  Even though this isn't a blog about babies or really even me as the main subject, I can't help but think if I write this it will help someone else who needs to hear it too.  The pain of a miscarriage is so deep and hidden and I want others to know I understand how they feel.

Two days ago we went for our 9 week 1 day ultrasound and expected to see the baby much bigger than last time with it little body moving around.  I even had gone to you tube so I could have a peek what it might look like.  When we saw it on the screen it had grown so much since the little peanut phase but when the tech said, "Let me get the Doctor", I knew something was wrong.  She said "There are no fetal heart tones." I was in shock.  How could this be?  The old standard for ultrasounds is that when you see the heartbeat, the chance for miscarriage goes down to 5-8%.  We saw the heartbeat two weeks earlier which is when we felt safe to tell our closest family members and a few friends.  We didn't want anyone else to know until the first trimester was over and now thankfully I'm glad we didn't.  Making those phone calls to even those few was the hardest words I ever had to say.

Immediately, the Dr. wanted to schedule a D&C which he did for the next day.  I was in such a fog and in total shock.  I couldn't believe that this was happening to us, again.  We had an earlier miscarriage last September and without all this it was devastating enough.  We never got to the point to see the heartbeat then.  I just started bleeding.  So yesterday was the day that I just had to get through.  I didn't google any information on D&C which is highly unlike me.  I didn't want to hear any one's bad stories or be better informed in any way.  The less that I knew what was coming the better I could get through it.  It was bad enough that I knew this is the same procedure that they give abortions.  Working at a Pregnancy Help Center I knew the risks for that, but I wasn't going to think about that either.  I only trusted my Doctor and God. I knew they would take care of me.

My husband didn't want to believe that this was happening, and neither did I.  We tried to find cases where the ultrasound could be wrong but there weren't any this many weeks into the pregnancy.  He decided that we needed to have one more ultrasound to make sure so we went in yesterday morning to see the baby again.  It was hard to look at it lying there knowing that it wasn't alive.  It did give us peace to know that we made the right decision.  So many times, doctor do misdiagnose a miscarriage, but not in my case.

My surgery was at 2:00 and I couldn't eat or drink anything, not even water.  I must have been plenty hydrated though because my body found plenty of tears to cry.  I think the hardest part was all the lead up to the procedure.  They ask you all the questions, tell you all the risks, make you sign lots of papers that you understand you could get a hole poked in your uterus or whatever random bad thing that could happen.  Then they took loads of blood out of my dehydrated veins.  I wondered what exactly they are testing me for right before the procedure? 
 
I had to change into a hospital gown and they sent a stretcher up to get me.  The hot tears had already started because I knew now that this was it.  The friendly stretcher guy Abraham covered me with warm blankets and scooted me through the hallways.  I hated it.  I felt like everyone was looking at me, I couldn't stop crying and I knew this was the end of such a joyful time. Tomorrow I won't be pregnant.  

I did want this done though.  I probably could have opted for a natural miscarriage but because I already had a trip planned to NC & SC leaving Thursday, I couldn't take the risk of waiting. Besides, if the baby was dead I wanted it out of me.  It's too much to know it's in there and not alive and I could start bleeding and pass it at any time.  I know that a natural miscarriage is the right decision for a lot of people and I would have liked to see the baby, I think, but for me I needed closure.

Thankfully, they put me to sleep during the procedure so I was gloriously unaware of what was happening.  The nurses, doctors, anesthesiologist, stretcher guy, and even the recovery nurses were all so kind and warm to me.  I was crying so much and they told me their stories of miscarriages or just rubbed my arm to let me know they cared.  I will forever be grateful to them.  

My husband was and is such a rock to me during this whole time.  Yesterday when he went to get my medication, he asked me if I would need more pads.  I guessed I would since I wasn't planning on needing any for quite awhile being pregnant.  He said, "Do you want Poise or Serenity?"  I laughed and told him he was in the wrong aisle.  I mean, do I have to say again what a treasure he is to be looking in the incontinence aisle for his wife, then to browse through the sanitary pads reading me all the brands and virtues of each one-unscented, night-time, ultra-thin; Kotex, Always, Stayfree.  He also brought me home jello, applesauce, grape juice and chicken soup.  He takes such great care of me.  He even set his alarm at 2:00 am so I would take my medication on time.

During this dark time, I have felt lifted up by prayers of the few people who knew this was happening but also by the many women whom I've come to know in the pregnancy sites.  Even the women on makeupalley sent me so much love and prayers.  I really felt it get me through yesterday and still today.  

In our Young Married class at church we are starting to do something called "God Moments" and I've had so many in the past few days.  On Monday when I was driving to my ultrasound, I was nervous as usual but I felt this overwhelming peaceful feeling come over me and I started to cry.  I just felt like everything was going to be ok no matter what happened at the ultrasound.  I certainly didn't expect this to happen, but I did have that God Moment that I can look back on now and know why it was there.     

It still hurts so much and I know that it is going to come in waves and stages.  I can cry at any moment right now and I have the puffy eyes to prove it.  I still haven't cut off my hospital bracelets because I feel like it is one more step to forgetting and I can't do it now but I will tomorrow.  To be honest, I'm a mess but because of this trip I've had to pull it together and just get one thing done at a time.  I know tomorrow we are driving to Louisiana and on Friday I leave Gustavo for three weeks to go home, but I can't think about that now.  He is concerned about me driving the 10 hours alone and wonders if I'll be ok and I guess I will but I can't think about that either.  Right now it seems like Everest just to have to pack tonight.  On Friday I'm sure I'll conquer it though because in between now and then I will have conquered many little things.  

I know that it's my faith in God and Bible verses that I hold on to that have walked me through this week so far.  People keep saying that I'm strong but I know the strength is going to be needed as I keep walking and have to go on with normal life and conversations.  In a way it's comforting that right now can be all about my grieving.  I knew from the moment that this happened to me again that I had to use this experience to help other women.  I don't know yet how I will do that but I have been too touched to let it pass me by and act unscathed by it.  I think this can be transformative and healing if it is out in the open and nurtured properly.  

I'm hoping that going home will be a distraction for me and I can throw myself into something that will take my mind off the sadness.  This trip will be hard for me because it's when I was going to announce the pregnancy to the rest of my family and friends.  I'll even have a pair of maternity jeans I ordered waiting for me at my Mother's house.  I'm just going to hope that the trip will turn into something special still even if it wasn't what I was expecting.  

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