If you read my post yesterday, I mentioned that this pregnancy has been quite a journey (and we are only 13 weeks into it!). I never want to give the impression that I’m ungrateful for anything that has happened, because I certainly understand what it is like to loose a pregnancy, but in case anyone out there doesn’t have a stress-free pregnancy, I thought it was best to be truthful.
So as I mentioned yesterday that we found ourselves holding a positive pregnancy test 8 weeks after my D&E from my 3rd pregnancy, and 2 months before our doctor had recommended that we try again. This time I called the doctor immediately, and they wanted to see me immediately. I had an appointment when they estimated me to be 5 weeks along. At this appointment, the PA-C that I saw gave me some options-she said that she could go ahead and do a sonogram, but it was definitely too early to see a heartbeat, and would possibly even be too early to see anything at all. If I needed the comfort, she said she could measure whatever she found, and have me come back in 2-3 days later and measure it again just to show growth. True story: I hate making decisions at the doctor’s office-I always feel like I have a very short amount of time to make a big decision. I decided that I just needed to have faith that everything would be okay, and I was fine just to come back in closer to 7 weeks when it should be very obvious whether or not there was a heartbeat. I was also given the option of having a progesterone supplement as this was one of the things that was discussed as a possible cause of my last miscarriage, but I decided to forgo that as well since they had absolutely no evidence that I had an imbalance. I can not tell you the peace that I felt when I left this appointment. I felt like I had shown faith that my child’s life was in God’s hands, not mine. I think I stopped at Target on the way home and spent some time browsing through the baby section.
In the time between this appointment and my next, I came across this verse: “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. The post I read it in was about verses that this mother clung to during pregnancy, labor & delivery. Whenever I had moments of doubt, this is what I turned to.
Again, I felt very peaceful going into my next appointment. Of course I was anxious to physically see a heartbeat which would make my mommy heart feel good, but I wasn’t really in the mindset that anything could be wrong. I just FELT like everything should be just fine. The PA-C came in to do my exam and really the only thing on the docket for this appointment was the internal sonogram. Side note-the PA-C had a student with her, which I dislike, but having been a student teacher not that long ago, I get it. So the student began the exam, and having been through quite a few early sonograms I could see that she wasn’t finding anything. Again, I wasn’t really worried because it wouldn’t be the first time that a student at the OB-GYN had been unsuccessful and the PA-C had stepped in, which is what happened. I just kept thinking through the verse from Joshua that I mentioned earlier. To my utter amazement, she couldn’t find anything either, and I do mean nothing. No baby, no yolk sac, just an empty gestational sac. Even with my babies I lost we could see where the baby was. They definitely took some time trying to find something, but to no avail. Can I just say that I’m weary of falling apart in doctor’s offices? Because I was still early they didn’t immediately say definitively that it was a blighted ovum or another type of early pregnancy loss. They scheduled me for a formal sonogram (like I had with my previous pregnancy) about a week later. If there was still nothing at this sonogram, then we would talk about next steps.
I would say that the next week was my ultimate low point out of all 4 of my pregnancies. To say I was devastated was an understatement. The few people that I had shared these details with at the time could tell you that I was ready to call us a family of 3 and be done with it. I just was not sure that I could go through this again, and I couldn’t get out of my mind that the more miscarriages you have, the more likely it is for you to have more. I was mad-mad that I had tried so hard to show faith that God was in control of my child’s health, and it wasn’t enough. I was mad that I didn’t have a sonogram the week before and we could have been a week or two closer to recovering. I was mad that I was going to again have to tell the people I loved that we were again in mourning, and I was mad that I needed to hold it together at work and pretend that I really, really cared about reading a time signature when all I wanted to do was hibernate at home until I was really prepared to carry on. It was a bad week. I’m not proud that this was my response, but again, I promised the truth. Dustin and I had no hope-our PA-C had told us that she didn’t believe the baby was just too small, and we believed her. We had discussed next steps, and to his forever credit, Dustin told me he would support whatever I decided to do.
A funny thing happened, though, the day before my sonogram. I was standing in my kitchen and the thought came to me that maybe I didn’t have a sonogram at my first appointment because if we had had two sonograms in a row that showed nothing we may have called it quits too early. When this thought came to me, with it came the tiniest smidgen of hope (and I do mean tiny). The morning of my sonogram I remember praying “God, if you want me to have hope, you are going to need to provide it.” I drank the massive amount of water required, and prayed for the best.
This sonogram was so different from my previous one just two months earlier. Instead of an air of secrecy, this technician had the computer screen on in front of me so that I could see everything that she was doing. We had a brief discussion about why I was there and that it was very likely we wouldn’t see anything, but she wasn’t out to hide anything from me. She began externally, which I knew she would do, and I wasn’t expecting much of anything because if you remember the previous technician I had said I was too early to see anything externally, and I couldn’t have been much further along than I had been at that point. Shock is the only word I can use to describe my reaction when not but 10 seconds into the external exam she pointed out to me exactly where my baby was, and where his/her little heartbeat was going strong. A million thoughts flew through my brain-my baby is okay! I don’t have to cry in front of this technician today! Dustin is going to be so surprised! I seriously can not put into words all the emotions I was feeling, but it was GOOD. The conclusion that we came to with our PA-C at my follow up appointment was that I must have realized I was pregnant almost immediately and my dates were off, in fact my due date was adjusted by about a week. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing this good news with those who knew what was going on and to hear their stories that they had been praying that the PA-C had just been wrong and that everything was okay. It was just as if I didn’t have the strength to pray that way, and our family and friends stood in the gap for us, for which I will be forever grateful.
While I was so relieved that we were back on track, I was anxious to get the first trimester under my belt. I had another appointment around 9 weeks, had another sonogram, and this time the baby was seen immediately, good healthy heartbeat, everything looked great. I am aware that it could just be my imagination, but I swear that I began to feel movement soon after this, certainly not frequently, but just enough to make me confident that everything was still going okay. My next appointment was a month later when I would be about 13 weeks. I was so excited because getting through those first 12 weeks meant my risk of miscarriage was much lower, I would be in the regular rotation of doctors, and NO MORE INTERNAL SONOGRAMS! If you have ever had an internal sonogram, you know what I mean =)
So I show up to my 13 week appointment, and I’m feeling good. I can feel my little peanut dancing around, and I’m confident everything will be just fine. After the normal blood pressure/heart-rate stuff it was time to find the heartbeat, this time externally (which I was very excited about). Would you believe that the doctor couldn’t find the heartbeat? So she grabs the sonogram machine to figure out what is going on. I probably wouldn’t have become too anxious except that it took about 15 minutes for her to come back and do the sonogram and in that time I began to again question what was going on, and wondering (not for the first time) why it just couldn’t be easy! I’m very happy to say that when the doctor finally did the sonogram my baby was happily dancing around everywhere which is probably why she couldn’t find the heartbeat. The heartbeat and measurements look good and so we carry on until our next appointment in another month.
Things I have learned:1)God is bigger than sonogram machines, and the only way to have peace is to continue to put my trust in Him ; 2) I could not be a health care professional and I have nothing but the greatest respect for those who go into that field; 3)Just because the journey has been hard doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been good; and 4)Dustin and I are just blessed to know some wonderful people-family and friends who have seen us through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Whew…congrats on making it to the end! I didn’t have my blog up and running when I was pregnant with Jude, so I expect to make some more posts about pregnancy, but I promise, there won’t be any pictures of my naked, prego belly. Props to those mamas who feel comfortable showing off the bump, but I am not one of them.
Just so we are all clear =)