Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Parts Two & Three

* I am trying to continue to be somewhat less verbose in these posts, but I'm also trying to get out the things that I need to say.  So far, I think there will probably be at least 4-5 parts of this story, maybe more at this point, based on how things continue.  If you haven't read part one yet, find it here.

Part Two- The Early Bleeding
Disclaimer: this might get graphic.

On Thursday, April 26th, just three short days after I had the positive blood test at my PCP's office, I began to have some problems.  It had been a long, stressful week, as DH was out of town.  You all saw my post about that here.  I worked my normal weekday shifts, and on Thursday night, before I went to bed, I realized that I was bleeding.  Not like the little spotting they talk about, but also not like the bleeding accompanied with cramping and clots you read about when you hear about miscarriage.  I, like any normal woman, being alone at home with my child, freaked out and immediately called my husband about 10 times until I woke him up at his hotel room.  I also called my doula from little man's birth who has now become a midwife (from now on, to save space and lengthy explanations, we're just going to call her my midwife friend- because she certainly is both, and then some) for some advice.  She gave me comfort with her words, offered to come over and sit with me if I needed it, and suggested that I have it checked out the next day, offering to order some tests for me if needed.

I went to work the next day, because I work at a hospital (the same hospital where my Ob from little man's birth sees patients), but my employer was thankfully very forgiving with my tearful anxiety.  While I was at work, I was able to have my blood re-run to compare to Monday's Hcg numbers, and also have an ultrasound done per my Ob from little man's birth.  I did call the Ob and had him order the tests, so that I could have them done and at the same time get as much work done as possible.  (In any normal circumstance, I would have just called off, but let's just say that option isn't on the table right now).

On Monday, when they had taken my blood, they had completed a qualitative pregnancy test- basically meaning that they tested for hcg present- a yes or no.  Since they still had that sample at the lab, the Ob's office asked them to re-run that sample as a quantitative test, which would tell us how much hcg my body had on Monday, and then we could compare that to how much hcg my body tested for on Friday.  What they would be looking for is a rise in the number.  I had my blood drawn on Friday morning.

They also completed an ultrasound, with the tech measuring the gestational sac at 5 weeks and 2 days, which was actually 2 days ahead of where I thought I was.  She saw a yolk sac (which provides early nourishment to the baby), but did not yet see a fetal pole (the start of the baby) or a heartbeat.  The tech said it was a good sign to see the yolk sac at this point, but that she couldn't comment further other than at this point things could go either way, and that the blood work would tell us more at this point than the ultrasound would.

My blood work came back later in the afternoon, and showed positive results.  My hcg levels were around 1,500 on Monday, and by Friday, had increased to around 7,000.  Hcg levels are apparently supposed to double every 48 hours initially in a pregnancy.  Based on that assumption, my levels were doing just what they were supposed to, and still going up.

At that point, the Ob scheduled me for a repeat ultrasound on Tuesday, May 1st, just to recheck everything and confirm everything was going well.  He also gave me progesterone supplements to begin to take, from now until the end of the first trimester, just to be sure I wasn't having difficulty because of low progesterone. (It was 19 when he tested it on Friday, but he said he typically likes to see it over 20 at that point.)

And I was back to thinking everything was going well again.  I went home, spent some time with my boys that weekend, and went back to life as normal.  But, as with the first time, that didn't last for long.

Part Three- The Second Ultrasound

As mentioned in my last post, I was scheduled for a repeat ultrasound on Tuesday, May 1st.  This was just to check and make sure everything continued to go well.  It was pouring rain, and I packed little man and I into the car with a few snacks and toys for him, and headed on our way to meet DH for the ultrasound.  This is the first ever ultrasound (non-emergent, as we had some ultrasounds more emergently completed due to the placenta previa last time around that he was able to see) appointment he has ever been able to block out and go with me.  He had a different job last pregnancy, where he worked about an hour and a half away, so even to go to an early morning appointment, or late afternoon appointment, he would be off for a lot of times half or more of the day.  We didn't ever opt to do this because that job also had poor vacation/time off policies, and we needed all of his time off for when little man was actually born.

I was extremely excited at the thought of our little family all going in and seeing the ultrasound together, getting to see the new baby and spending the appointment together.  In retrospect, I'm glad that I was not alone for this appointment, as it didn't turn out quite as I expected.

Little man was sweet as pie in the waiting room, calmly sitting, watching another baby girl around his age in the room, and munching on some puffs.  We were called back to the ultrasound room and while I got undressed, DH wrangled little man by reading him a few books, in between making jokes about the ultrasound machine and the transvaginal wand.

(Do all men do this when with their wives/partners for ultrasounds?  I'm beginning to think so.)

The Ob came in to complete the ultrasound, and we got started.  I noticed a difference almost immediately.  I've had a lot of ultrasounds done, and while I have not much of a clue what I'm looking at, I could tell the reaction was not the same from the doctor.  He was very quiet, and kept moving the wand around as if he were searching and really concentrating on something.  I don't know how to keep my mouth shut, so I'm pretty certain I asked him if everything was looking okay.

He replied that it did not.

The next part of the appointment is largely a blur to me, mainly because I was crying and thinking and reacting and not processing all of what was said to me.  But, the basic gist of the appointment was that the Ob did not think this was going to turn into a healthy pregnancy.  He reported that while he still saw the gestational sac, it was measuring more of the size of a 9 week gestational sac, and he did not see a fetal pole or a heartbeat.  (Just for reference, by my calculations, I was 5 weeks and 4 days along at this point).  I do remember asking him if this pregnancy was going to turn into a baby, and he said that no, he did not believe it would.  He made some question of a possible molar pregnancy, but didn't say much further at that point other than to say that he thought it was too early for a d&c procedure (where they go in and remove the beginnings of the baby), and that he thought I should just go home and wait to miscarry at this point.

That appointment could very well be one of the worst days/times/moments of my life, and I think it might just be number one.  As we were leaving the office, he gave me several pills to take if the bleeding became too severe, like scary bleeding, to cause the uterus to contract, as well as a pamphlet on miscarriage and molar pregnancy.  As we were leaving, the office staffer who usually checks women out said, "I'm sorry for your loss."

As we walked outside, I asked DH to put little man in his car and to drive him home separately from me.  DH wanted to drive me home, but it was pouring rain at the time and we were standing out in it trying to discuss this and when I refused, that I wanted to drive myself, he finally gave in and got in the car with little man, although he did tail me like the secret service on the way home.

By the time I got in my car, I was soaked.  From the rain, from my tears.  I sat in the car for a few moments just trying to think and get my head on straight before I tried to operate a vehicle.  I tried to clear my eyes enough so that I would have better visibility in the storm, but eventually I just gave up and started driving.  I know this may not have been the safest choice, but I just needed to be alone for a few moments.

On the way home, I called a few people.  My parents were first.  They know about every little hiccup in my life, and they have known about the pregnancy all along, although as with little man's pregnancy, I had sworn them to secrecy for the first trimester.  I actually feel somewhat guilty about calling them in the car on the way home now, because I was in no shape to be explaining anything to anyone, and could barely speak to relay the information to them.  I also know that they are the type to become extremely worried about me when I'm not okay, and I was very much not okay at this point.  They also have had some history of loss, and looking back on the phone call now, I really wish I would have given myself some time to process a little bit and not call them when I was so raw, so broken, as to not open any of their long-ago acquired wounds.  But that is neither here nor there, and that is what I did.

I also called my midwife friend.  She provided everything I did not get at the doctor's office.  She stayed on the line and listened to me and my tears calmly, but also offered advice.  She spoke of similar experiences and gave me comfort again in her words.  She also gave me some of the toughest to complete but best advice I had heard throughout this whole ordeal.  She told me to talk to my baby.  She told me to speak to the baby and encourage it to stay if it could, but that I should also ask the baby that if it couldn't stay with me, that it needed to help me by passing quickly so that I may also be okay.

At some point in the day, I also called my boss, who was extremely helpful.  I had been planning to take a trip out to New Jersey to become trained in videostroboscopy for my job at the end of the week (we were actually supposed to leave the next day).  He was completely understanding and called the course to cancel and get me out of attending, as I did not think it was in my comfort level to miscarry this baby in a car or halfway across the country during a course or at a hotel.

We got home, finished giving little man dinner, washed him up, and put him to bed, and then I just collapsed on the couch in a state of utter sadness, fear, anger, and depression.  That was pretty much the worst day of my entire life.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm a new reader to your blog but I just want to say-- thank you for being so transparent at this difficult part in your life. I'm SO happy this was just a memory/story of your incredible journey with a HEALTHY baby girl. I couldn't help but say a prayer for you and baby girl. Praying for a safe and healthy pregnancy/labor/delivery


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