Thursday, August 8, 2013

About the loss...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the well wishes!  You are all so kind!  (If you missed the announcement, go here!)

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may or may not recall my infertility post.  It was a bit of a struggle (not as much as some people, I know) to conceive Sully.  I was a little nervous that could be the case again, whenever we decided to add to the family.  But then again, it seemed like my body was working normally after the Sully pregnancy so I also knew there was a chance that it was going to happen right away.
Sully turned 2 in November and by January/February, we I knew it was time to try again.  I am 33 and that gave me almost 2 years before I turned 35- the dreaded "advanced maternal age" where your pregnancy is high risk simply due to your age.  Shockingly, I became pregnant by the end of February.  I was beyond excited!  I thought it was a "sign" that this baby was due on my birthday, November 18!  How cool!

But 4 days after the positive test, there were warning signs that things were not normal.  I had intense back pain (which can be very normal in early pregnancy) but in addition, there was bleeding.  This prompted a call to my doctor which prompted (eventually) lots of lab draws.  Two days after the bleeding started, I had even more, massive bleeding.  That was on March 17th.  A Sunday.  I was positive I miscarried and was thankful that my bleeding subsided the next day.  I was grateful it was over and I could try again next month.  But my doctor insisted on monitoring my HCG (pregnancy hormone) to make sure it fell to 0.  And thank God she did.  I may owe my life to that.

On Monday, my hormone level had more than quadrupled.  But it was still very low for how far along I was.  Every 2-3 days, I had blood draws.  Each draw was rising appropriately, but again was too low.  I started having left side pain on and off.  Not enough to make me double over, but enough to notice.  So I called my doctor, knowing that I was having a lot of symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy.  An ectopic pregnancy is one where a the fertilized egg implants in a different location than in the uterus.  Such as the ovary, abdominal cavity, cervix or, most commonly, the fallopian tube.  This a life threatening situation as it can burst and cause internal bleeding severe enough to be fatal.  And it can happen very quickly.  After I called my doctor about the pain, I immediately got in for an ultrasound.  But it was still pretty early and no pregnancy was seen in the uterus or anywhere else for that matter.  There was an odd fluid collection, pseudo sac, in my uterus.  My regular doctor was out for this so I saw a new one and he was hopeful it was an early gestational sac.  Another ultrasound was scheduled for a week later.

It was a horrible long wait with lots of confusing emotions.  Fear for what it could be.  Hope for what it could be.  Happy to still be pregnant.  Scared it may not result in a healthy pregnancy.  A major emotional roller coaster after I felt like I had already dealt with an assumed miscarriage, but it wasn't.

I continued to have lab draws and my number continued to rise but only the bare minimum, nothing more.  My follow up ultrasound showed the same pseudo sac, no baby at all.  I could also see the tech looking at something by my left ovary.  I asked her where it was she was looking and she told my it was my left fallopian tube.  At this point, I had no doubt it was ectopic but I can't explain the slight bit of denial I was having.  I just so didn't want it to be an ectopic, of all things.  In my head, I knew it was but my heart could not accept it.  By this point, I had read so much on ectopics, I knew that they can *sometimes* resolve themselves.  So when my doctor recommended the methotrexate shot to dissolve the pregnancy, I hesitated and declined it.  In hindsight, this was a very poor decision on my part.  Again, I was in a certain state of denial.  Somehow, my new doctor agreed to this with my promise that I would go to the ER immediately with s/s concern (ie dizziness, severed abdominal pain, shoulder pain, rectal pain, etc).  I actually went to Milwaukee for the weekend.  Again, probably another very poor decision.

By Monday, April 8th, when I was 8 weeks along, I finally came to my senses and requested the shot.  My new doctor insisted on one more lab draw and one more ultrasound.  This time, the "something" in my left tube was bigger and there still was no baby in my uterus.  My levels had rose to beyond the threshold that the shot would work.  The back pain came back suddenly that day and my new doctor told me to get to the hospital immediately.  He met me there, with his kind, sad eyes and told me I needed to have surgery that night.  His intern was with him too, also with his kind, sad eyes nodding that this was what had to be done.  It was exactly 3 years to the day that I found out I was pregnant with Sully.  Again, the emotions were very confusing.  I knew this would not result in a healthy pregnancy for either myself or the baby but I still felt so much guilt about having to have the surgery.  Like I was killing that poor baby, not giving it a chance at all.  To the normal person, these feelings probably make no sense but it was truly what I was feeling at the time.  I had the surgery that night to remove the pregnancy and my left tube and left the hospital the next day not pregnant anymore.  I took the week off and slept for days.

You would think the whole ordeal would be over by then, right?  Nope, I still had to do weekly blood draws to track my HCG back down to zero.  It took 4 weeks after surgery to get there.  But I got there.

I look back at my decisions and cringe a little.  At the time, all my decisions seemed logical and normal.  I am so very lucky that I escaped that experience in the shape I did.  It could have been so much worse!

It was a tough time in my life and I am so thankful to be past that.  I take with me a greater compassion for others, deeper respect for life and the difficult realization that sometimes bad things happen for no reason, even to me.  I share this here to give hope or comfort to anyone who has had a loss.  Because even though bad things happen, miracles happen, too.


Candi said...

My heart goes out to you Tara, a loss like that is definitely hard to handle. I am happy to see that you are expecting at this time! I can honestly say that I am sure any mom-to-be would have done the same thing and would have had the same feelings and reservations about everything. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs on the fertility subject. I think it helps some of us who had problems as well to know that there are others out there who battled it too.

Marzena said...

I'm so sorry that you had to go through this. My heart aches for you and I understand those roller coaster emotions and how you hold on to that hope that things will be fine, even when you know that they won't be. Mine wasn't as drastic as yours, but any one who has suffered a miscarriage can relate some.

I hope that things go well for you in this pregnancy and that Sully gets a wonderful brother or sister to play with:)