Every journey starts with fear.
Most times when we make the decision to embark on a new adventure or open a new door in our lives, we are greeted with at least a little bit of fear. I can say for certainty that fear was most definitely one of the many emotions I felt when Tim and I decided to start trying to have a family. What if we couldn't get pregnant? What if we did and something bad happened? What if I wouldn't be a good mom? What if the baby was allergic to the dogs? Lots of "what ifs" and sadly one of those "what ifs" turned into reality.
Since my last post back in November (A Week) life has tossed more unexpected twist and turns into our path. It's a journey that keeps on giving and pretty soon it's going to give me gray hair.
Five weeks had passed between my surgery and the start of those familiar feelings of bloatedness, tiredness and HUNGER; much like the symptoms I had the first few weeks of my pregnancy. I was at the grocery store and decided to buy a pregnancy test to prove to myself it was all in my head.
SURPRISE!!! It was positive. Dumb founded and more than a little confused I shared the news with my just as confused, husband (It didn't help that he was still laying in bed half asleep when I told him). You see, I don't ovulate on my own; or at least that's what we had been told. I have needed the help of fertility drugs like Fermara to produce viable eggs for ovulation. We hadn’t been back to the fertility specialist since my 8 week sonogram and weren’t planning to start trying again until after the first of the year or later.
I scheduled blood work for later that day and waited for the results. They called around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and shared the very exciting and terrifying news that my HCG levels were 606. I was, by some miracle, pregnant again. The sonogram for the first peek at our unexpected bundle was scheduled for Monday afternoon.
All weekend Tim and I kept going back and forth about how it was so strange yet relieving to know I got pregnant without fertility treatments, without trying. It was meant to be. It had to be. I was positive this pregnancy was going to make us parents. I started drinking nothing but water, eating more salads and I stopped taking anything and everything that might have any negative effect on baby.
Monday came and all the routine questions were asked; have you had any spotting? Cramping? Abdominal pain? Do you have to go to the bathroom, your bladder looks really full? Wait…that wasn’t a routine question.
After a few more pictures I was dressed and waiting for the doctor. He was confident I was in fact pregnant again but wanted to send me for a more invasive ultrasound with a higher resolution machine at a different office; he wanted a second opinion. I was also sent off to Dracula's office for yet another round of blood work.
Tim needed to get back to work so I stayed and took care of the blood work and waited for information on where and when to go for the second ultrasound. The room was quiet...except for the squeaking wheel in my head that was going over and over the visit that just took place. If I was in fact pregnant again, what did he need a second opinion for? Was something wrong?
It appeared there was a large unexplained mass on the sonogram. They didn’t know where it was originating from, my uterine wall or my ovary but either way it raised concern and needed to be addressed ASAP. The ultrasound was scheduled for Thursday, sooner if there were any cancellations.
The next few days were filled with anxiety and dread. The blood work had come back from my Monday lab and my HCG levels had dropped from 606 to 456. Not good. It didn’t look like the pregnancy was viable, I was going to miscarry again.
Tim and I did our best to keep our emotions in check, to prepare for what seemed like the inevitable. Thursday came and I found myself sitting in the waiting room for over an hour. Torture.
Through the years, having experienced a vast array of medical issues, doctors offices have become a great source of anxiety for me and sometimes the smell of sanitizor and sterilized equipment is enough to make me nauseated. I have to keep my mind distracted, otherwise I am likely to make myself sick with worry. Finally, I was called back.
“Do you have to go to the bathroom? Your bladder looks really full?”
There’s that awkward question again. “Nope, I’m good.”
“Okay, let me look around some more…ah, I see. It looks like there is a massive ovarian cyst in your right ovary and it is pushing things to the side so on screen it looks like a full bladder.”
“No bleeding? No cramps?”
Twenty minutes passed while she took several pictures in awkward silence.
She left the room for about 15 minutes only to come back and tell me the doctor had everything he needed and he was on the phone with the fertility specialist right now, they would be calling me in a few minutes.
I got dressed, walked out to my car and sat there, worried.
An hour later...
The phone rang… “This normally doesn't happen. Normally by 5 weeks post D&C your body has gotten rid of any remaining tissue and has started a normal cycle. The D&C, in your case, was unsuccessful and the gestational sac from your previous pregnancy is still present. Because the sac is still present your body continued to produce HCG which has resulted in a massive ovarian cyst. You are NOT pregnant. We need to monitor your HCG levels for the next week or so. Hopefully they will start to lower on their own and you will pass the remaining tissue. If not we will try a pill to induce a cycle and if that does not work, another D&C.”
"So, I'm not pregnant?"
"No. Normally for someone who has recently had a D&C their HCG levels would be between 0 and 100 at this point. Because your levels were 606 we thought this was most certainly a new pregnancy. It's not. I'm sorry."
Talk about an emotional roller coaster. One minute we're up the next minute our cart has detached from the track and we are flying through the air screaming.
Good News: I'm not miscarrying again.
Bad News: I had a botched surgery and have been walking around with part of my unborn, deceased child in me for over 5 weeks (not including the 3 weeks he was gone before we knew I miscarried.) Great.
It's been a week and although the feelings are still raw and it feels like this has been the pregnancy from hell, I am staying positive...as positive as you can when it seems like everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. My HCG levels have SLOWLY been dropping so no action has been needed as of yet. More blood work tomorrow.
For anyone who has gone through a miscarriage, no matter how it happened naturally, surgically, etc. It's a heartbreaking, emotionally draining period in ones life and it can take an enormous toll on your psyche and your relationship. It's been extremely important for me and my husband to be completely open and honest with each other. It's a journey but it's a journey that took two to start and should remain a two person struggle all the way through to the end. We've yelled, cried and even argued but it has brought us so much closer. Whatever happens next I know I have a friend, a partner, and a husband standing right beside me.