Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I've been contemplating for a while over reliving the day our world changed. March 2, 2010 was when our bed rest roller coaster ride started. It was a horrifying day which resulted in a complete upheaval of our lives. I wasn't sure if I wanted to lay it all out in writing but after a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that it would be cathartic. Additionally, I felt I needed to do this before our baby was born. Any mom knows that once that baby is in your arms, any pain of pregnancy or delivery is greatly minimized if not entirely erased. What happened that day may be considered a little graphic to some. Fair warning.
To say this all began on March 2nd wouldn't be fair. It all actually started in December. My husband and I had always dreamed of having 4 children. But after having our 2nd child our minds changed. Our oldest hit his 13th year the same year that our youngest hit his 2nd year. Tough years for both and a tough year for mom and dad. We had several discussions and came to the conclusion that we were happy with the 2 boys we had. We wanted to raise them well and see them off then enjoy our remaining years staring at each other lovingly. Yes. This plan sounded divine to us!
But at the dinner table one night I opened a door. I said to my husband, "Honey, I really don't want any more kids."
He says, "I know. Me neither."
"But it doesn't seem right to me to stop at 2 when our plan was to have 4".
"Did you want to try for more?!"
"NO! But.... it just doesn't feel like we're finished."
Picture husband's confused face here. We discussed for a while and talked to the kids about how they felt about another baby. They were fine with it but my husband and I still weren't 100% on board. So by the end of the conversation we agreed to leave it in God's hands. After all, when we tried to conceive our youngest we tried for over 2 years, endured multiple tests, suffered a few miscarriages, were on the verge of IVF when we conceived, and then I had to take progesterone supplements 3 times a day for the first trimester just to keep him in. It's not like it was going to be easy so why not leave it up to God? Famous last words. Sometime in the next 1-2 weeks I was pregnant.
So off to the OB we went where I was, again, put on the Progesterone supplements to keep baby in. It was all so hard to process as it happened so quickly. Since we had a history of miscarriage we decided to hide the pregnancy from everyone for the first trimester. No easy feat since I show very early. But thankfully God whispered in our ear and advised us to inform our immediate family. They were all ecstatic. it was great to hear the excitement in their voices! I found out I was pregnant January 16, 2010 and on January 23rd, my husband's father died tragically and unexpectedly.
Our lives started spinning while we grasped everything that was happening. And to be honest, between my father in law's death and the fact that we didn't really plan to get pregnant, I hadn't bonded with the fact that I was even carrying our baby. There were days I would forget. I would still take my Progesterone out of habit but mentally I wasn't connected. Every once and a while I would get a reminder that I was pregnant as my little bulging belly would bump into something. And I felt bad about it. I felt like a bad mommy. But our lives were so full of funerals and mourning. I had been sick with a terrible cold for over a month and I was also under an immense amount of pressure at work. My mind just wouldn't go there.
So the morning of March 2nd I went into work as usual. I had just stopped taking my Progesterone supplements as I was now 2 days into my second trimester. I had also just told my employees about my pregnancy the week before as I was having a hard time hiding it and I felt we were in a safe place. That morning at work was like any other. I felt fine and went about my business as usual. At one point I stood up from my desk and felt the urge to go pee so I headed down to the bathroom. When I sat on the toilette I felt this large gush and heard a lot of plopping. I looked down and saw blood and clots falling out of me. Oddly, the first thing I thought of was my sister. Our family suffers what I refer to as "Teflon uteruses" and while I had always been lucky to suffer miscarriages very early, she had them later on (as did my mother as well) and they were much more traumatic. So when I saw all this blood the first thing I thought was that this is what it was like for her and that I, too, was losing my baby. I panicked and reached into the toilette thinking my baby was in there. There was so much blood and muck that I couldn't find anything. So I cleaned up, washed my hands and headed upstairs.
I told my leasing associate that I think I was having a miscarriage and that I needed her to call my husband to take me to the ER and to call my supervisor to let her know why I was leaving. I sat at my desk breathing in and out and trying to remain calm. I kept thinking that whenever you watch TV and some pregnant lady is possibly losing her baby, the doctors always tell her to remain calm because that's what's best for the baby. So I sat and breathed but I could still feel the gushing. My husband arrived quickly and we headed to the ER.
We went to admitting and the 20 something nurse behind the desk took all my information while talking hospital office politics with an orderly. I was 13 weeks so she also assumed I was "just" miscarrying. She told me that if I am miscarrying that there's really nothing they can do but make me comfortable. She asked if I needed a pad to which I replied "Yes! I am gushing blood!". At this point my husband was called away to hand over the kids to our friends who had just showed up at the ER to watch them. Nurse No-sense wheeled me over to a bathroom in the hall and handed me a few pads and wipes to get cleaned up. When I came out of the bathroom she was no where to be found. She left me in a hallway with my wheelchair hemorrhaging. Did I mention that the wheelchair wasn't the kind you can wheel yourself? After waiting a few minutes my husband found me and wheeled me back over to the desk. Nurse No-Sense was still chatting up the same orderly and informed me that we'd have to sit in the waiting room. So that we did. For 2 hours. I cried the whole time. I was still hemorrhaging and I could feel each gush. I sat and questioned everything I had done the last 13 weeks and how this could be my fault. Was it the medication they gave me for my cold? Or the medicine I was prescribed for my migraines? Was it the stress from work and losing my father in law? Or was it simply because I wasn't connected to the baby and was somehow deemed ungrateful and unworthy. So many things went through my mind and my husband tried to calm my fears but in that moment the guilt was immense. At one point another family saw my belly (I told you I show early) and wished me luck with my baby. I feel bad now but my response to them was "There probably won't be one!" and I broke down again.
Finally at the 2 hour mark I told my husband to tell the front desk that we are going home because I'd rather loose my baby at home in my bed than in the ER waiting room. When he told them this, they suddenly had an open bed. They took me and my husband back and put me in a hallway bed while they looked for a room. Once we were back our new nurse was very sweet and sympathetic. She got me a warm blanket as I had lost a lot of blood and offered me more clean pads as I was still bleeding and passing clots. She also offered me pain meds to make it easier and I declined. Thankfully. An ultrasound was ordered so they could see what was happening and much to my dismay my husband was not allowed to accompany me. I understood the policy but it was hard to leave him. This man just lost his father and now he's possibly losing his child. I didn't want him to be alone.
When I got to the ultrasound room the tech offered me a gown and told me to strip down. It was at this point that I noticed my underwear were completely soaked all the way up to the waist band. She offered me a bag to take them home and I told her I don't want them. It was just so much blood. I got on the table and she began the ultrasound. It was complete silence as she didn't turn the sound on on her machine. Understandable in situations like this. I laid on the table as she moved the wand all over my belly. I stared at the ceiling tile and prayed. I prayed to God and to my husband's dad. I wanted this baby that I didn't know I wanted. Then she apologized for taking so long and stated that the baby was just so small and she's trying to get a good heartbeat. Shock! I thought she wasn't finding anything! Tears welled up. "He's still in there?!" YES! I started bawling and telling her she was my favorite person of the day and that I loved her! I wanted my husband there. I wanted him to know his baby was okay.
She stated she had to leave me for a bit to show the images to the doctor. She said it looked like I had several blood clots. I laid on the table for what seemed like forever! I thanked God and thanked my father in law who I was now designating official angel for my baby! She returned shortly and stated that the doctor saw something else and wanted me to do a trans vaginal ultrasound to get a better look. Upon doing the second ultrasound they discovered that I also had Placenta Previa. Instead of the baby attaching to the side or top of the uterus, it had attached on top of the cervix. Not good.
They finally put me in a wheel chair and headed me back to my husband. I was so excited to tell him we hadn't lost our baby! As they wheeled me to our room, he was heading to the bathroom. I smiled so big with tears in my eyes and told him the baby was okay! But his face was blank and he said "Okay" and that he was headed to the bathroom. Not what I was expecting. When he got back to the room you could see the change. In the 45 minutes that they had me in ultrasound, my husband had shut down. He was on emotional overload between his father's death and this. The ER Doctor didn't comfort him much either when he arrived. The doctor was great and my spirits were much higher. But the doctor informed us that I had a subchrionic hemorrhage which lead to the clots and bleeding and that I do have Placenta Previa. He stated that the hemorrhaging was serious and that if it continued or happened again it could be fatal for the baby, myself, or both of us. He stated there was nothing we could do but strict bed rest, monitor the bleeding and wait while my body tried to heal. While I heard good news (my baby was alive no matter what was happening to me)my husband heard only that he could lose his wife and baby. It was agonizing to see his face as all this information struggled to implant itself in his head. We tried to decide what was going to be best for our family. We had 2 beautiful boys that needed their mommy. Do we keep the baby and trust in God or do we take our family's fate into our own hands to ensure our children have a mother. These are agonizing conversations to have as a husband and wife. It was all too much and we decided to make that decision later. We were drained. After several hours we were released home to strict bed rest (laying down with feet up. NO getting up unless I needed to use the bathroom) and advised to follow up with our OB the next day.
That night was restless. Each time I changed position in bed my husband would jump up and ask if I was okay. The bleeeding slowly tapered off and the next day we headed to our OB. More bed rest was prescribed. Over the next week or so we decided to let it ride and trust God with the baby. For the next few months everything was week to week with us. OB appointments weekly, high tech ultrasounds with the perinatologist to monitor everything internally, and the agonizing isolation of bed rest. Our diagnosis changed almost every time we went in for an ultrasound. More issues such as blood pooling in the lining of my uterus which can cause your water to break prematurely. Bed rest was literally all I could do about any of it. I fought the bed rest mentally. I had lost all control of my life. Nothing was in my hands. My job was on the line, I couldn't be a mother to my children or a wife to my husband. I was immensely depressed and cried almost daily. Finally it hit me that God can handle it if I can't. It's the old saying that God won't bring you to it if he can't bring you through it. Once I released my fate to God things got better. I found a online forum for moms on bed rest (www.keepemcookin.com) which has been a life saver! Our friends and family gathered around us in amazing ways! Our church supplied meals and prayer. While I lost my job, the Lord continued to provide. My husband became the most amazing man on the planet to me! I have loved him for 12 years and just when you think you can't love someone more, they amaze you!
This has been what I call a "God year". I can't control everything or anything in my life this year. That was all changed on March 2nd. But by allowing God to take over and redirect our lives I am learning so many lessons- from bed none the less! And despite the agony, drama, pain, and fear that March 2nd threw at us, we are now 35 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Our baby will be born healthy and any day! I suffer a little guilt for ever questioning if he should be here. But he is on purpose. He is supposed to join our family. He is our pot of gold at the end of the storm!