Back several weeks ago, John and I had a positive pop up on a pregnancy test. I had SERIOUS denial. Serious. The positive was the FIRST EVER. It didn't take much googling to realize that a faint line on a First Response does mean positive. (And about 20 HPTs that week watching the lines get darker before I finally convinced myself that this was for real...not to mention the big fat pregnant that popped up on the digital test.) Since this was my first time to be pregnant, (and I just had to know if I needed to cancel Egypt trip before we bought airfare), I went to the doctor for conformation. After clarifying that my HCG levels were in fact doubling, and the first of the symptoms set in, I started telling myself that I was pregnant. From the get-go I was extremely reserved about spreading the news - I've had friends and family go through heart-wrenching miscarriages, and I didn't want to tell the world until I heard the heartbeat. I knew this was an extremely delicate time. The heartbeat would be my moment to get excited. Really, really excited. Thank goodness John and God didn't let me blab. A few of our VIPs knew our news, but not many folks.
For a while I've watched the line get darker and darker on different brands of tests. I just didn't believe it I guess. Then I sporadically would check just to make sure it was still dark. Silly I know. We've (well I've) probably spent our vacation allowance in HPTs. I went to the mandatory first mothers class at my doctors office - one they require before your first appointment. OHHHH the symptoms! Pregnancy glow - HA! More like the face of a hormonal broken out 15 year old....No amount of proactive has this mess under control. I've had a very sore chest (insanely sore), nauseousness, aches, tiredness and a smorgasbord of other funky and strange symptoms. Surely this is good, right? I've taken my prenatals, allowed myself more rest, drank diet ginger ale and low sugar apple juice, stayed away from as much stress as possible, ate watermelon and cantaloupe by the truckload, and stayed away from my diet coke caffeine addiction.
At 8 weeks (last Thursday), John and I went to the doctor for our first ultrasound and prenatal appointment. For weeks I've told myself that I can not get excited or spread the news until we hear a heartbeat. For weeks I've googled photos of 8 week ultrasounds so I would know exactly what I was looking at on screen. For weeks I've been waiting, trying so hard to be patient until I heard the heartbeat and saw our little jellybean. For weeks I've been planning how I would tell the world we were going to have a baby. We sat in the reception area watching all the pregnant bellies trying to guess their due dates, and laughing at the sweet little new mommy making seriously adorable faces at her newborn.
We were finally called back to the ultrasound room. The technician didn't say much. She asked how far along we thought we were, and explained that we were looking at the gestational sac. I didn't say much either. I knew that I was looking at the sac where there should be a baby (that looks more like an alien than a baby) and a heart beat. She let us know that they will probably want to do a repeat ultrasound in a week or so to make sure a baby develops. I know in my heart that this is not good. I keep up with my dates...LMPs and CD, so I know without a doubt how far along we should be at this point. I've been obsessed with my first baby research. Since I couldn't tell the world and just sit and google baby bedding for hours yet, I looked up anything and everything to do with the first trimester. I had done my homework. We should have a baby and a heartbeat.
We waited for an hour and a half to see our doctor. GUT wrenching time. All I wanted was reassurance. All I needed was confirmation. John and I didn't say much to each other during the wait. Having google at my finger tips didn't help either. Poohey on the Iphone.
Our doctor starts with the speech about how half of all miscarriages end within the first trimester...most before the heartbeat is heard or seen. They see patients daily. Some of his colleagues think it's as many as 75%. After the first trimester it drops to 5%. At first, he tells us he doesn't want to give us false hope, but he doesn't want to take all hope away completely. We needed to come back for a second ultrasound. (Ok, so far, so good. I knew this. I can handle this.)
Then we talked about dates. I pulled out my handy Iphone ap where I track all things that you don't need to know about. We know the conception date. We weren't trying to get pregnant, and I know the date when this likely happened. (Probably TMI.) By this point, our sweet doctor's face looked more like a scowl. He said our gestational sac measured up to 8 weeks in size, but if my dates are concrete, we should have a baby. He said we have a blighted ovum, which is an extremely common type of miscarriage. He told us it that it is okay and expected to take the time we need to to grieve. Deep sigh. Blah, blah, blah.
After we discussed our options, I opted for (as my doctor calls it) a "clear conscience" ultrasound before we do a D&C. I had been so strong and calm up to this point. A real trooper. This made it real. Bring on the Junkin alligator tears.
I decided to stay home from work last Friday to let it all sink in a little. We weren't trying to get pregnant. We are planners, and pregnancy was another year or so off. Friday was the hard day. Even in 8 weeks - 6 weeks of knowing, it's hard not to let yourself get excited. Even when I was so extremely careful to guard my heart. Which means there is disappointment. More than I thought there would be for both of us. It's hard to feel and be pregnant, yet know that it's likely not a viable pregnancy. That part really stinks.
It took me a little while to be able to mention it with out crying...completely normal. I could blame it on the pregnancy hormones, but I'm genetically wired to be emotional anyway.
During the past few days I have received so many reassuring emails and text from people who have heard our news through the grapevine. It is truly amazing how many women had suffered the loss of miscarriage. And, I am so thankful that they decided to share their stories with me to make me feel a little more normal.
Good news is, our doctor let us know it typically doesn't have anything to do with a woman's fertility or ability to conceive again. (At least in most cases.) 80-90% of women go on to conceive normally after miscarriage. Our doctor's reassured us by saying he would see us again in a year or so with a full term pregnancy, and not to get discouraged. This was common, and all part of becoming parents. All though it's not the wonderful, glorious, fun part. All our parts were, ehem, in working order so to speak. Blood tests were all normal. We've never had any problems before this. We didn't need to worry unless we had multiple back to back miscarriages, and that is rare. He said it did more harm than good to worry. He said we were only thirty, and he had his first at 40. (He also - in a very fatherly way - told us not to wait that long or until we are really ready, because having your own kid is like nothing else! Sounds so much like my own daddy!)
I'm at peace. I'm content. Disappointed and hurt? Of course! I know God's in the baby making business, not me. No matter how God blesses us, I know I am going to be a mama if HE chooses. I'm already content with the fact that being a Mama doesn't have anything to do with a baby coming from you genetically. (I'm already a mama to Clarence, although I really think he's content being an only child.) Even if we don't give birth to 2 kids, it's going to be ok. It really is. I do know now that when we do decide to start a family, bringing a baby home is going to be even more special. Even as reassuring as our doctor has been with us, you can't help but wonder what is in store. Being pregnant, even for this short time is such a miracle, such an awesome way to think about life and creation. It's so God. It's all God.
Whatever HE has in store for my life is already written...why should I worry or obsess about what is to come? It's not going to do a bit of good. I'm just Penny. What am I suppose to do about it? Um, nothing. There's nothing we can do except stay the course. God has His reasons. And I'm sure some sort of blessing will overflow from this bump in the road. I've already had a few blessings. I got 3 full days of being pampered by my sweet husband! Not to mention 8 weeks of exceptionally rotten TLC. I guess this means I have to go back to carrying in the groceries and tackling the garage. No more excuses. (Good news is I can get back on my allergy meds and go back to being able to breathe.)
"I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope."
Why is it a taboo topic if it affects so many women? It's not exactly something we bring up during our 6 week hair cuts as beauty shop gossip. I get that it is super delicate and personal. This isn't easy for me to write. (Part of me just wants to get it out here so I don't have repeat myself, and we can avoid the dreaded "So why don't you have a baby yet?" question.) We only tell the news to our inner-most circle. It seems like it would be so much easier to go through if you knew what to expect going into your first ultrasound. Mainly the tid-bit that you have a 50-50 shot of everything being ok. That is so huge! Even if statistically it's on the low end - 1/3 of all confirmed pregnancies, that's still a big number. Fortunately - or unfortunately rather, I had a best friend go through a blighted ovum miscarriage 10 weeks before now. And several friends go through it earlier. I was prepared. More prepared than most. I attempted to guard my heart. What about the women who go through this with no knowledge? I think that is why I decided to put it all out here. Maybe it will help take a little sting out (doubt it) of someone else going through this by knowing it is all part of it. If it's so common, then I am truly not alone with this bump in the road. Maybe this will help someone else feel a little more normal.
Don't get me wrong. Part of me wishes this had been just our own little secret so no one would know. That we could have shared this moment with just ourselves. I saw a friend post something that said -
"no two people are exactly the same, people respond to hard times differently...it's who you look to for guidance that counts."
OH so true! Thank goodness I'm surrounded by people who all know where to turn for guidance. And it sure as heck isn't me. More like the MAN with a PLAN upstairs.
So, what does that make us? Kinda sorta pregnant? Now we're in the waiting mode. Waiting for Thursday. Ready to know for sure and move on. I'm not hanging on to the 5% chance that everything will be ok. I can't do it. I'm not wired that way. Even though I'm a "glass is half full" kind of person. God know what He's doing. I'm holding on to that. Bring it on.
But, we do need prayers please. Prayers for continued peace. I know I have an arsenal of friends and family that already pray for us regularly. Believe me, I feel it. But a little more can't hurt. :-)