I wasn’t sure I was going to write about this here, and still not sure I’ll actually ever hit the publish button.
But, I kind of think I need to write about it and this has been my forum for thoughts (or avoiding thoughts) of late.
My 9 1/2 weeks were hot and messy, but not like you may think.
Last week I celebrated my 36th birthday, followed the next day by an appointment with my OB/GYN/Nurse Practitioner for my first visit following 3 positive pregnancy tests.
Just before before I met with my NP, I had an ultrasound, which they now do at the very first visit. Nice. The ultra sound tech was friendly enough, but she was all business and her tone quickly turned somber when she started to see images on the screen.
She said things like “too small” and “when was the date of your last period again?” and “that can’t be right” — I was pretty sure I knew my dates were right, so judging by her reaction, I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
She of course couldn’t tell me much as the tech, so she scooted us into a room to wait and said the doc would be with us shortly.
Sadness and disappointment, but nothing like devastation beyond what is bearable. I didn’t cry.
According to the ultrasound, it looks like things sort of stopped developing around the 7 week mark. So, there was a joining of the sperm and egg, but development stopped at the yolk sack. There was “no fetal pull” hence no heart for a heartbeat.
The statistics are like 1 in 4 for failed pregnancies. This was only my second pregnancy in my 36 years, and my first was a raging success as evidenced by the miraculous wonder child, Bubs, so I figure I’m doing alright.
So. I cried a couple of days later. An ugly-it-came-from-nowhere-but-deep-inside cry triggered by something completely innocuous like a shampoo commercial. Only, it was about our loss.
There is no specific explanation for what happened and I’m sure many women have had the same experience.
The doctor said, the egg and sperm got together, but there could have been issues with implantation (I had a lot of spotting, but that could have been completely normal, too), or it could be that the 2 sets of chromosomes were just not compatible for further development. I think we took some comfort in the fact that there was no little fetus in there, that things stopped at the yolk sack. It’s just a little easier to stomach/swallow than imagining a little person in there with no heartbeat.
Don’t get me wrong, we were saddened and a little heartbroken by the news. We had actually imagined a little person in there, started thinking of baby names, and a handful of our friends, family and even co-workers had either guessed or been told that we were expecting. I repeated the same mantra to them — we are excited, but it’s too early to talk about and I haven’t even seen the doctor yet. That was little sucky to have to share the bad news with them.
These past 9 1/2 weeks have not been entirely pleasant in terms of how I’ve been feeling. Certainly, it’s been different than my pregnancy with Lucas. I was nauseous, lightheaded and particularly gassy and bloated most of the time. All normal stuff for early pregnancy, but not like what I had experienced before. I kept reminding myself that every pregnancy is different.
In the last week or so, I had even busted out my maternity pants to help ease the discomfort I’ve been feeling in the last couple of weeks. I took a picture of my growing belly which was making it difficult for me to keep a secret. My body didn’t really acknowledge that things had stopped developing at 7 weeks, so my hormones were still raging (my husband is a SAINT), my boobs hurt a lot, I gagged or dry-heaved each morning while brushing my teeth, and if I didn’t eat at reglular intervals, the vile bile feeling would percolate up into my chest and turn my stomach into a painful knot. There is nothing quite like hunger pangs during pregnancy.
Oh yes, and there was this little gem: I was pretty much on the brink of tears… ALL. THE. TIME.
I cried at the bird show at the San Diego Zoo because there was an owl in the show that was so massive and magnificent, it literally took my breath away. I actually cried because of bird. At the Zoo.
I cried when I stumbled upon Sister Act on TBS because the music just made my heart feel so good. The singing nuns made me cry.
I cried while reading Race Day to Lucas from the Disney Pixar Storybook Collection. It just really choked me up to see how Doc Hudson (AKA The Fabulous Hudson Hornet) came in to save the day as pit boss for Lightning McQueen. And then, more blubbery tears when Lightning McQueen stopped just short of the finish line to go back and help retiring veteran “The King” — who crashed out of control on the final lap when that jackass Chick Hicks purposely rammed him. He sent The King flying off the track and into a devastating and horrifying roll-over wreck. That is no way to treat your elders! McQueen helps King the rest of the way across the finish line, allowing him to complete his last race and retire with dignity. It was very compelling. I was incredibly hormonal.
I cried and raged and choked back a knot in my throat pretty much hourly for the last 9 1/2 weeks. I also had a couple of really nasty depressive episodes when I was stepping off some prescription medication shortly after the positive pregnancy tests. That was really difficult.
I laid around on the couch when I wasn’t at work and I pretty much deferred most parenting duties and chores to my husband for this time period. Did I mention HE IS A SAINT!?
Mommy not feeling good hasn’t gone unnoticed to Lucas, who was also in on the mystery and miracle of the Baby Peanut we thought we were growing. We haven’t really broken the news to him yet, but he hasn’t brought it up either, so I’m not sure yet how to handle that one. I think we may have said something like “Baby Peanut is on vacation, so it’s going to be a while before we meet him/her.” Your thoughts and advice are welcome here.
He’s become particularly attached to Daddy during this time period, which is awesome and beautiful to watch, but also a little heartbreaking because he definitely favors Daddy’s company at the moment.
Yesterday I had to go in for a D and C procedure. Since my body didn’t seem to respond to the halt in the pregnancy — it still thought I was pregnant and I had no signs of spotting or any indication that my body was going to release the kraken — my doctor and I agreed that the procedure would be the best course of action so I could avoid an unexpected hemmorage or threat of infection.
The procedure wasn’t too bad and now I’m home resting for a couple of days, with instructions not to drive for 48 hours, no bathing, swimming; pelvic rest for 2 weeks and so on. They put me under general anesthetic and I responded pretty well, no real nausea when I awoke, just groggy and tired. I barely slept a wink last night, though, and apparently this can be common as the meds are still in my system.
There was a moment when the anesthesia went into the IV where my arm felt like it was being filled with razor blades or lit on fire with some kind of mythic blue chemical flame. It was like some sort of futuristic weapon was being tested on my arm — the pain was swift, severe and radiated up my left arm and down through the tips of my fingers on my left hand. It lasted about 20 seconds — I think I was whimpering through clenched teeth — and then I was out. That was pretty much the worst part of the actual procedure for me.
Next thing I remember I was waking up in the OR recovery area. The whole thing lasted less than 45 minutes from the time I was wheeled from the prep area to waking up. My doctor is pretty amazing.
I’m feeling ok. Not too much cramping or bleeding. I am tired. I didn’t sleep much last night — pretty much not at all. I think my system was a little off from being under the general, and also because I drank one too many glasses of Canada Dry Ginger Ale with Green Tea.
So, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say I feel a little relieved. I do feel less sad than I felt last week, and I feel optimistic that we will be able to soon try again. My doctor said I should expect to have a regular cycle in 3-4 weeks and after that we can start again. Kind of a miracle, actually, when you think what the human body is capable of – I am a little in awe.
Last night while I was unable to sleep, my mind was racing with thoughts of work and life and being pregnant and not being pregnant and how soon would I feel less hormonal and back to normal. I remembered a weird dream I had a couple weeks ago.
The dream was this: I think I was in a sort of waking dream state and I felt something clamping onto my belly. I imagined it was a decepticon-like-metal-crab-looking-parasite which had latched onto my lower abdomen and I was trying to pry it’s claws and tenticles off of my belly before it reached my uterus. I must have been gassy or cramping in my sleep. It gave me a REALLY uneasy feeling and I felt a bit like I was having a feverish dream. I couldn’t get it off of my belly no matter what I did to pull if off, but my attempts to do this felt weak and half-hearted, like walking up a set of sinking quick sand stairs in a dream. My hands and arms were almost useless — numb and lifeless – I was helpless in this dream-state to do much of anything but resign myself to the crab-like beast and whatever damage it was doing to my fertile belly. It was an awful, shitty feeling.
In retrospect, I wonder if this was my mind letting me know something was up with my body — maybe this was a mental manifestation of something going on deep inside my womb. A halt in production.
This is me rebooting.
I have been deliquint in sharing some great updates about Lucas’ 2nd birthday (Yo Gabba Gabba Themed!) and our week long stay at the beach in July (during the crappiest weather of our overcast summer, but we still had a nice time).
I have been trying to keep my head above water while diving into the mire of the busiest time at work and in the middle of this, for the past two months I was elated and tearful; conflicted and sick with a pregancy that has now ended.
But, I am hopeful and beyond grateful to have a loving family, a honest-to-god SAINT for a husband, and a healthy, happy child to shower with love.
Soon, I hope, we can add to our family once more when the time is right and my body is ready.
In the meantime, I will continue to fortify myself with vitamins, exercise, friends and family time, and maybe a glass of pinot…or four.
© 2010 – 2011, Laura Lee. All rights reserved.