A year of loss…
Three years ago I was pregnant for the fourth time in six months. Those six months of losses followed nearly a year of trying to conceive. However, I was there. I was chugging along and made it past five weeks (before you ask, I always got positives a week before my missed period and I was notorious for low progesterone. This cycle caused me to be a crazy test-driven person). So here I was claiming to avoid wine because I was driving for my husband, keeping my secret, and in pain. Pain I didn’t allow myself to believe. Pain that caused me to hide on a bench at the front of the store while my cousins finished Black Friday Shopping. Pain that kept telling myself was just discomfort. Pain that made me afraid to tell anyone I was pregnant.
But, despite no bleeding, my HCG levels stopped growing appropriately. I started a routine of 1-hour blood tests every other day. And every other day my HCG Levels were growing, but nowhere near doubling. I became obsessed with searching the internet for a success story. Just one woman's baby story I could find to give myself hope. What was worse is that I knew it wasn't good and kept telling myself to be prepared for a bad outcome, but somewhere deep inside me I couldn't let go. I couldn't stop hoping there was some tiny miracle inside of me.
Blood test after blood test I was going up a bit. Enough to toy with my emotions.
Throughout this were empty ultrasounds--they kept telling me it was probably too early to see the baby, but I've seen babies and sacks at least this early on before. The process was excruciating. Maybe it was just gas? The poor tech kept asking me if it hurt and I swore it was just a little discomfort. I was in complete denial.
12/11 169 Down. Finally a reason to let go of hope.
After weeks of this pattern my HCG level dropped and it was time to make the call...my pregnancy was ectopic. I would go for an appointment and I was to contact on-call if I had severe pain. The thing is, I finally acknowledged the pain--physical and mental. It was all excruciating. I was feeling freely for the first time in weeks. I didn’t know how to deal. I stayed up all night afraid I should call to go in.
I made it through the night and to my OBGYN appointment. The nurse gave me a long speech and I remember none of it except that she kept repeating “this can’t be happening after all your other losses. Now we know how to keep you pregnant.” I remember forcing a smile and trying to reassure her that I was okay. Why?
So now it was time for the next steps. I was sent to the fifth floor and given two simultaneous shots of methotrexate. I was told it would basically dissolve the pregnancy by stopping the cell growth. It was an incredibly long needle, but the nurses reassured me it oddly didn’t hurt much. It didn’t. Oddly that was frustrating. I needed it to hurt. I needed it to be an event. I needed to know it happened. After I had to stay in bed for 45 minutes to make sure I didn’t have an adverse reaction and then it was life as normal...with the exception of no drinking for two weeks to give my liver a break from the process...
It was as if nothing happened. I could have gone to work the next day. Nothing. I couldn’t celebrate Christmas that year. I didn’t want to be around friends or volunteer. Just like that my baby dissolved into nothing. I had been there before. I had two miscarriages before my oldest and three that summer. This felt like more nothing than ever before. I’ve learned with time that each loss is so different...I’ve had some that shook me to my core, some that I felt guilt for feeling too numb to face, and others that I just kept pushing through. The one thing I would tell anyone facing loses and just let yourself be. If you want to wallow and be grumpy--do it. If you want to make a to do list of how to try again--you go girl. Don’t worry about how you should feel...just face how you do feel the best you can so maybe someday you can learn how to live with it. There is no right way to grieve.
With time we decided three months later to try one more time. That was it. That was more than we had in us and it stuck. It’s bittersweet knowing that if that pregnancy worked out I wouldn’t have my sweet baby D. I can’t imagine a world without his feral smiles. I’m thankful that our journey ended in two beautiful boys. I know that is a privilege that not all get. I do my best to cherish even the hard days because we worked so hard to get here. This is our parenthood journey.
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Here you will find my ramblings of motherhood, teaching, & life while like many I try to balance it all.
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