Monday, September 30, 2013

Pulling the Plaster off Slowly

It's been about a year now, and it's only been in the last few months that I am truly starting to deal with it. Some people pull a bandage (or plaster) off quickly, trying to get the sting and pain over with quickly. In this case, the plaster is coming off on its own, very slowly.

I had a positive pregnancy test once, during my third Clomid cycle. I don't remember the date, but it was a Sunday. I woke up early to test, and it seemed like forever before the pregnancy test showed its result. I must have looked at it 3 or 4 times before I really believed it said "Pregnant." Meanwhile my husband, laying in bed waiting, was wondering what was taking so long. I came out of the bathroom, not saying anything, then threw the baby Serta sheep at him. (To say my husband has a thing for sheep is an understatement; this was our agreed upon signal that the test was positive.) Apparently my aim was less then stellar, and I hit him in the face. Fortunately stuffed sheep are not injury inducing.

That was the beginning of our three days of joy. I called my doctor's office and scheduled the first beta for the next day. At Mass, my husband said that as he was giving thanks, he felt closer to God than he ever had, almost as if he could feel the hand of God on his head. Then came Monday, and the first HCG test; the number was low, but the nurse assured me that it didn't mean anything was wrong; it was probably just super early (her exact words were "you're like one minute pregnant"). I was scheduled for a second beta on Wednesday morning. I was a little worried, but I believed that it was probably just incredibly early and that second test would show the needed doubling. Wednesday after the blood draw I stopped to buy new bras; my breasts were so sore and swollen that I couldn't comfortably wear the ones I had. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I was in the dressing room, trying on bras to accommodate my pregnancy swollen breasts when I found out that there was something wrong. Though the HCG levels had increased, they had nowhere near doubled. Those three days of joy were over; a nightmare had begun. Instead of thinking about our baby, I had to re-frame my thoughts to consider "it" a "nonviable pregnancy." It was the only way I could cope with all the tests and decisions, though I just about lost it when I was sent to the regular ultrasound unit, with all of its rules and signs about number of people allowed to share the joyful occasion. Neither blood work nor ultrasound could identify whether it was an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage that hadn't yet happened (as my doctor so eloquently phrased it). 

I was given the choice between a D&C, with the caveat that if it was an ectopic pregnancy I would later need a methotrexate injection, or just going straight to the methotrexate injection to end the pregnancy. Since there was a chance it was ectopic, we had to consider my health at risk. No matter how much emotional pain I was in, or how much guilt I felt about ending the pregnancy, I had to put it aside to be able to make a decision about treatment. Since methotrexate would end the pregnancy either way, it seemed the better choice, rather than having the D&C and possibly needing the injection later. (Better to minimize how much treatment you need, right?) I was so much more comfortable in the cancer unit to get the injection than I had been in the ultrasound unit; though our suffering was different, everyone in that waiting room was hurting, either because they themselves had cancer or because they were there supporting a family member or friend. To get through it all I pretty much shut down emotionally; I had to focus on each step of testing and treatment, on following the doctor's instructions.

Though we purchased a memorial that we keep on our mantel to remind us of the child we had for such a short time, it almost hasn't seemed real at times. All we had was those three days of joy, of believing that we were going to have a baby. I didn't have any sense of whether the child was a boy or a girl, and we did not name the baby. As early as it was, there was no identifiable body, just a heavier than normal period. And then it was over. 



In June that it hit me that our child would have been due that month; I wouldn't have been able to travel to the family reunion. But I had to shut it away to get through the child/family centered event. Now I am remembering that it was about this time last year that our TTC roller coaster took a horrifying twist. The bandage is loosening; I am peeking at the wound. It hasn't healed completely, though it is no longer so raw that it cannot be exposed. Slowly the plaster is loosening; the scar will be there forever but in time it will no longer be debilitating.

10 comments:

  1. Oh Stephanie! I am so sorry. So sorry. Please know of my prayers for you as you continue to peak at the wound.

    (((Hugs))) and prayers. Sweet baby, intercede for your mommy.

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  2. Tears in my eyes reading this...I'm so sorry you had to go through that. It must be so hard to think about, to process, to come to grips with. I'm sorry you lost your baby and sorry your heart is hurting =(

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  3. Oh, I am so sorry Stephanie. Its so hard to figure out how to grieve for someone you never met, but loved so so much. Prayers for you.

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  4. Praying for you! Thank you so much for sharing your heart and I am so sorry you had to go through that. I wish no one had to go through IF or miscarriage :( Sending (((hugs))) and prayers.

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  5. Feeling sad with and for you right now. Glad you are allowing yourself to grieve.

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  6. Praying for you. These wounds are easier to cover than to treat. You are a strong woman for facing them now. Praying for your emotional healing!

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  7. Praying for you Stephanie! It is hard to face the past hurts. I am so proud of you!

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  8. My heart breaks for the loss of your little one and all you have endured. Thank you for sharing this story and so poignantly! Your vulnerability/trust is so beautiful and inspiring. Prayers <3

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  9. I'm so sorry that those days of joy were so short; but thank you for sharing your sweet baby with us; praying for you and your continued healing!

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  10. What a difficult and painful experience. I'm so sorry you lost your baby. Prayers for you as you continue to heal. Have you considered naming your baby? I've known other couples who give their child a girl and boy name since they didn't know which (like Mary John) and it seemed to help, especially when praying to/for the child.

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