Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Three

Through my writing on here, I've often tried to make light of some situations and use sarcasm and possibly some (a wee bit) wit in order to get through some difficult times as a parent. But, unfortunately, not all situations can be made into a joke and sometimes people have to go through some truly shitty situations with nothing but humility and whatever faith you can muster. At the risk of sounding like one of those "a very special episode of", like the t.v. show's from when we were younger, I'll cut to the chase. I am writing about my recent second pregnancy and the outcome no one thinks will happen, but sadly occurs often; a miscarriage. The subject is sad, touchy, angry and awkward. It makes many people feel uncomfortable and if that's the case and you don't want to continue, then adios brochacho. But chances are, even if you think it doesn't relate to you, it probably does, whoever you are, man or woman.


For whatever reason, I decided on April 3rd that I was going to take a pregnancy test. I must've thought, "What the hell. The kids are behaving themselves, might as well pee on something". I had felt slightly different the few days prior, but I just attributed that to being a hypochondriac. So Brad left for work and I did my thing, waited two minutes, went to go glance at it before I threw it away and saw a perfect plus staring up at me. Since I am eloquent, classy and intellectual, the first words that escaped me was "Holy fuck". Shaking hands and feet wobbled me back into the living room to sit down and figure out how to tell Brad immediately without having to do so over the phone or text. Brilliant me just called and asked if I could meet him sometime that afternoon. Unfortunately, poor Caroline got sick at the babysitters and I had to get her and have Brad come back home. I told him to sit down and I let him know baby number three was on it's way. It came as no shock to him, as he already crossed off the likelihood that I was leaving him. I immediately made a call to the doctor for a confirmation test, because I thought since I had a high risk twin pregnancy the first go around, they would want to see me right away and check how many little ones took up occupancy. They asked if I wanted a blood draw or regular test and I requested the blood draw. I went that afternoon and received a call the next morning confirming the pregnancy. But they told me they need a comparison blood test to check the hormone (hcg) levels and asked that I go in on Monday. I was still trying to let this sink in. When you are pregnant with your first, it's like your head is up in the clouds and rainbows shoot out of your ass. When it's a second, third, etc, you are now a realist, who understands the chaos of what you are about to be thrown into. Financially, mentally, logistically you can only grasp what you are in for. Plus, you have other kids who's lives and feelings you have to worry about. I'm not trying to take away from how wonderful it can be, but you know how things work and maybe some of my excitement was stifled by the enormity of the situation.


On Monday, I went to the office, gave some blood and was told I would be called later with the results. As I was getting ready to sit down at a staff meeting a few hours later, the doctors office called and I took the call in the hallway. The nurse told me the numbers went up but not the way they were supposed to. I needed to come back in 48 hours for another draw. Confused, I thanked her and hung up. I had no idea what that meant, so I called her back and asked her to explain. She informed me that these levels needed to double every 24 hours and mine had gone up, but not doubled for how far apart as the draws were. I prodded her further on what this could mean. She said that it could mean that "this was just the way it is or it could point to the start of a miscarriage". That word smacked me right in the face. I never once thought this could even be a possibility. I had a successful first pregnancy and led a mostly charmed life up to this point, this doesn't happen.

The next day, I stayed home from work to rest as much as possible. I gave in to the evil Dr. Google, who did nothing but fuel the fire that I was going to lose this baby. The dr wanted me to come back on Wednesday for another draw. So I did and I waited six long hours for results. I called three times for my results and finally was ready to call it a day when I returned back to work to discover I had started to bleed. Not much at all, but it was enough for me to speed home, reckless, to let Brad know I didn't need any test results to know I had lost the baby. The nurse called soon after I returned home and said the hormone levels went up again, but was still not doubling the way it should. She scheduled me for an ultrasound the following Monday; five days away. I told her about the bleeding and she said, "Oh, maybe we should just do a draw and not an ultrasound". I told her to keep it as I wanted confirmation. She said with bleeding, it could be a miscarriage or could just be normal. Again with no definitive answers. I called my parents to let them know I was most likely losing their fourth grandchild. I hadn't told them that I was pregnant, so it came as an obvious shock. They came to be with us that night to help me and take care of the girls. I stayed home and in bed for most of the next several days, waiting for my symptoms to get worse. They never did. Sitting and waiting to miscarry is cruel. Not knowing if this pain or that pull or a twinge was the start. "This is it. It's starting" echoed through my mind at least 50 times.

The night before the ultrasound, Brad was optimistic. We already knew what the worse case scenario was and he believed the best case would be that the baby was there but they had no idea what was going on and they would see us in two weeks. I had a small inkling that things might not be as over as I had begun to thought, but refused to let myself believe anything good would come from this, for fear of going over the edge when it went wrong.

Monday morning came around again and we found ourselves waiting for the first ultrasound slot. We went in, I got ready and they started. Not being able to turn away from the screen, even though every part of me wanted to, I continued to look up, pretending I knew what I was looking for. I saw one little blob shifting around with a light in its middle blinking away furiously. We had a baby and it had a heartbeat. The tech said Baby Three had a strong, mid 120's heartbeat, congratulated us and sent us to see my doctor. She was the same one who had delivered the girls and when she came into the room, she told us there was great news. The baby looked good! Nice heartbeat, measuring just a day or two behind at 6 weeks 4 days, while I was estimated at 7 weeks along. Brad had joked when we left that if the "Queen of Darkness" was optimistic, he would be too. She was referred to as such because she was very up front and blunt with us about the difficulties we had with Baby B (aka Caroline) the first time around, as she often gave us odds like 50/50 for her survival in utero. She did state that we "weren't out of the woods yet" and we still had the chance of miscarrying, but once you see the heartbeat, that chance goes down. I'm not a bettin' man, but I liked those odds. When I returned home after work, Brad and I stole a minute to ourselves and just breathed. Then I started bleeding. The on-call doctor didn't seem to be too concerned. She explained the trauma of the ultrasound and examination was most likely causing the blood and it should go away and things will be fine. "You saw the heartbeat", she said, "everything will be fine".

Brad and I thought we could breath a little easier and start making plans. Since my parents already knew, we would wait until the next ultrasound, (the redundant, "See you in 2 weeks" ultrasound was already scheduled) to tell his. I told people at both my jobs and we told the girls and our brothers. Brad went and got me some of my craving foods and I was overjoyed when morning sickness didn't knock me out. But something in me didn't feel right. I wanted to tell people, but it felt wrong, like something was off. I was obviously pregnant; myself and three other people saw the little thing, but I couldn't shake that feeling. I had spotting and bleeding on and off, every couple days, but everytime I called the doctor, I was told it was fine as long as it didn't get worse. Brad told his parents the day before the routine ultrasound.

May 5th, routine ultrasound day, arrived and we couldn't find parking spots. Bad juju I thought. We got settled into the room and tech started explaining the routine pictures she needed to take first. Now, I've had a good dozen plus ultrasounds from complications with the twins, and they never took ten minutes at the beginning to look around everywhere. She wouldn't settle on the baby long enough for us to see any movement, but I did see a glimpse of him/her and it looked like there was growth, as I saw a silhouette of a baby and not a blob. Getting irritated with her, I silently urged her to stop keeping us in suspense when finally she settled on the baby. Then she said, "I'm...not detecting...any cardiac activity". I can honestly tell you, I felt absolutely nothing when she said that, I just kept focusing on those words said and not the meaning in hopes that I wouldn't crumble into a heap when I sat back up. She looked some more and clicked some button that was supposed to record the heart measurements and there was nothing there. Silence. I had managed to see the measurements 8w 5d for a few of the earlier measurements, which was spot on given the estimates of the last ultrasound. The tech then said she was sorry and told me that once I was dressed, we could go sit in an empty room until the doctor was ready, as to save me from being in the waiting room with a bunch of pregnant ladies. Already I was being treated like some leper, needing to be quarantined from the healthy ones.

As we sat silent in the empty room, I couldn't even bare to look Brad in the eyes. I was entrusted with this life and I fucking failed and I was ashamed. My doctor came in, expressed her condolences and intimated that she wasn't surprised given the symptoms I had been having, the low hormones and the low heartbeat. The last part was news to me, since they all said the heartbeat at first was looking good. She indicated that she was unable to tell us when the baby died and couldn't tell us why the measurements were on time. She said it could have happened as recently as yesterday or maybe the measurements were off to begin with. She gave me the options of what I could do, because she diagnosed it as a missed miscarriage, meaning my body still thought itself pregnant. I was seething inside. My goddamn body couldn't support this pregnancy and now it was too stupid to realize it was gone. She gave me the option of letting it happen naturally but no way in hell was I going to sit around for Lord knows how long waiting to it to happen, thinking to myself again, "This is it, it's starting". I had already gone through several days of this despondence and mental agony, thinking it was gone when it really wasn't. I was not going to sit around feeling pregnant and carrying my dead child inside of me on the off chance "nature would take its course". I opted for the surgical procedure as I wanted this to stop immediately.

A few days later, while under anesthetic, it was all over. They sent samples off for genetic testing and assured me when it was done, the "remains would be buried with all the other miscarriages between whatever certain dates". Wonderful. I won't describe how I felt at that moment, because I was in a pretty dark, angry place.

It's been over two weeks since the miscarriage. Even that word I hate using as it just sinks like a rock when I say it. Many people have been supportive to me, including many that have been through a miscarriage. It's a club that no one wants to be apart of. I felt very broken the first few days afterwards, like I didn't work correctly. I continued to have pregnancy symptoms for a little over a week, which really pissed me off. It was a very painful physical recovery, as I didn't heal as fast as my doctor had said most others heal. Typical. There were a few times where I didn't take the pain medications that were given to me because I felt like I had to punish myself, let myself feel the pain because I deserved it somehow. While it is still fresh for me, I can't say that I don't still feel that way sometimes. I don't want anyone to pity me or look down on me or see me differently because I shared this. I can assure you that probably almost every woman who has experienced this has had these same thoughts, be it at different levels of intensity or belief. There also wasn't much online for anecdotes on miscarriages and the material out there was more in forum settings and small snippets. It hasn't been that long, but I have gotten my mind into a better place. I am good most of the day, it's the nights that get hard. Sitting up late because I can't sleep unless something puts me to sleep. I'm not sure where to go from here. I'm not going to pretend that everything is going to be butterflies and roses; I'm also not going to be believe it's going to be all darkness either. So I'll keep on keeping on and take things breath by aching breath.


1 comment:

  1. I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks, we were so excited because we found out around my birthday, and we went in because I started to cramp. Instead of the doctor coming in to talk to me after the ultra sound, he called me from somewhere in the building, while I was in the Ultrasound room, and said.."your going to be having a miscarriage, just go home and relax" really, we had just heard the baby's heartbeat.. Than this..we were so hurt, how we were treated.. I did miscarry and it was a sad long year and do this day, I find myself say "he/she would have been this old". I feel your grief, I am praying for you and your family..

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