I promised there was more to the story and when it comes to babies…there always is.
Let me preface this by saying, I am very planned person. I like planning, I THRIVE on planning. This pregnancy was, *gasp*, unplanned. Yes, I know how getting pregnant happens (insert stupid question from male colleagues here). However, I have never gotten pregnant without some “trying” and much “planning.” The day I found out, Joshua’s 2nd birthday, I was in total shock. I had not been feeling well and I was really, uncharacteristically grumpy. I wondered what was going on and decided I should take a test just to be sure. When the two lines popped up immediately I just sat there, in amazement.
We had talked a lot about whether we were up for adding a third child to our family. We both love babies, however, by now we had begun to realize that we could “love babies” without having another one of our own. Neither of our hearts were settled on this subject and it was a source of constant discussion. We thought if we did have another we would wait until next year to even start trying, maybe. As it goes with most good stories, our plans were not to be. There I was on March 8, 2009 standing in the bathroom looking at a positive pregnancy test.
My history with pregnancy is storied and complex. I have now been pregnant 6 times with 2 positive outcomes thus far. I came to believe that pregnancy was not the same as “having a baby.” This is a reality that a lot of recurrent miscarriage sufferers experience. A positive test is just that, a positive test. You don’t dare utter the words, “we are having a baby.” So was the case with the beginning of this pregnancy. I told Kevin about the test and watched his jaw drop in shock. I don’t think he spoke for quite some time. We both retreated into the space of our own minds to think about what this positive test might mean for our family.
As those of you with children know, there isn’t a whole lot of time for the self-indulgent action of “contemplative thought.” There are lunches to make, bikes to ride and shoes to tie. Period. So a few weeks went by and I was shockingly still pregnant. I met with the perinatologist to discuss when to start taking lovenox shots. For those of you who don’t know my history, I have a genetic mutation (referred to as MTHFR) that causes clotting issues in general but more specifically in the hyper-coagulative state of pregnancy. The good doctors I saw with my miscarriages (and before I had Joshua) thought this might be the cause of my miscarriages. They put me on twice a day Lovenox injections, baby aspirin and a kitchen sink full of folic acid/b6/b12 vitamins. Joshua was born healthy so their treatment plan was deemed successful. The Stanford doctor I saw with this pregnancy refuted the claim that MTHFR was causing my miscarriages (he did more tests) and explained to me that it was just a coincidence that my pregnancy with Joshua was successful. He said women suffering multiple miscarriages were often being treated with this regimen but that it was “over doing it.” At first I didn’t believe him, I was determined to start the shots anyway. I spoke with my regular OBGYN and she said she would prescribe them as a “precaution.” We agreed that we would wait until there was an established heartbeat (via sonogram) and then start the treatment.
A week later we returned home from a day trip and I ran in the house to use the bathroom. There it was. The blood I had been half expecting from the beginning. As much as I wasn’t sure I wanted a third child, I was completely sure I didn’t want to have a fourth miscarriage. I left the bathroom, told Kevin what I believed was happening and went to bed for the next 14 hours. The next day the bleeding had subsided. There was however some ominous cramping that I couldn’t shake and I was starting to understand how this was going to end. It has been a tough year around here and it only seemed fitting that this pregnancy would end this way.
The following day I had an ultrasound. Holding my breath in the dark room I was prepared for a what I saw, a gestational sac and a fetal pole but no heartbeat. I was almost 6 weeks along and it seemed as though there should be a heartbeat by now. The doctor, not my regular one, said he was pretty sure this pregnancy wasn’t going to progress. In fact, he said he was 90% sure. I shook my head in agreement, this is what I have come to expect with early pregnancy. My heart hurt but the pain was familiar. He requested that I do HCG testing (tests the level of pregnancy hormone) that day and again on Wednesday, if the numbers went up he would do another ultrasound that Friday.
I left with my blood test order in hand, my heart in my throat. I made it to the car and then broke down crying. More than anything, I just didn’t want to go through this process again. My body doesn’t like to miscarry “naturally” and instead I end up having to have an outpatient proceedure (d&c) done that is both painful and heartbreaking. I went to the lab and got my bloodwork done and went home. I was in a constant discussion with God, begging for His mercy for this baby and conceeding that if it really was over that I just wanted to avoid a d&c.
Three days later, a different doctor called me back ( my doctor was on vacation) and told me that the numbers had, in fact, almost doubled. He wanted to do another ultrasound the next day. I was in shock, again. It was becoming a pattern with this pregnancy. My heart and mind had already settled on the fact that I was miscarrying. My expectations, confirmed by the “90% chance this pregnancy won’t progress” statement by a medical professional, were understandably concluded on the negative outcome. Once again I found myself in the dark ultrasound room, heart pounding and this time, eyes closed. The tech looked a me and said, “didn’t I see you Monday?” I nodded yes and she said “I don’t expect to see much more today, even if things are good, it has only been four days.” Nice, now I am thinking, “why am I here again?” At this point, I just wanted this all to be over. Time to move on, my heart whispered quietly. That is until I heard the words, “Well look at that, we have a heartbeat!”
Part 2 of this saga continues tomorrow….