Saturday, February 26, 2011
And Then It Was Over...
I was eight weeks to the day on Saturday December 12th. By this point I figured that things had to of stabilized. A baby’s heart started beating around 6 weeks and 5 days. I was passed that point. My little bean was there, heart beating. And I was going to see my family for Christmas in just a couple weeks. Things were starting to get really exciting.
I was at work eating lunch and I got a sharp cramp. Gas pain is what I thought. I got up to go to the restroom and investigate, and to my horror, there was blood. I was shocked. This was not happening. But it was happening. The bleeding didn’t stop an hour later. I left work, and my obstetrician agreed to see me in his office that Saturday afternoon. I went to my friend’s house and she took me to the appointment. It was the beginning of the end and I knew it. When I met my doctor for the first time he had concern in his eyes, which lead to tears in mine. The abdominal ultrasound showed nothing. He told me he would do a vaginal ultrasound, and that at 8 weeks we should see a “little person” in there along with a heartbeat.
As the ultrasound began I was sort of lost. I had never had babies or been pregnant before, so I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. But my friend had been pregnant, had a healthy baby, and she stared at the ultrasound screen with such horror, her eyes trying to find something that wasn’t there.
Dr. said my uterus was “text book.” There was nothing living there. Especially not for 8 weeks. I remember telling him that I definitely had a positive pregnancy test, and my blood work was positive, and I hadn’t had a period since October. He said miscarriage was possible, and that another possibility was an ectopic pregnancy. I was in shock. I left his office with the heaviest heart I have ever felt. This pregnancy was not viable, and furthermore, could be costly to my reproductive organs. If an ectopic pregnancy was present, and it was in my fallopian tube, the tube could burst costing me almost ½ of my fertility.
The drive home is a distant memory. All I remember thinking was: how am I going to tell my husband? He has been reading “Pregnancy Sucks for Him” faithfully each night.. I was going to drop the biggest bomb on him, and it wasn’t fair; not to him or me. I don’t honestly remember the rest of that night. Shock I guess.
I woke up early the next morning with a sharp pressure in my life side. This was it, I worried I was going to loose my tube. My husband hustled me to the hospital and before I knew it, I was in the emergency room. It’s a whole different world to enter a hospital as a patient, when you are a nurse. People were sticking me with needles, catheters, and I was just laying there. No one said anything. How could they? What do you say to a young woman who’s dreams are shattering before your eyes. My doctor met me in the emergency room, and told me that he would accompany me to an ultrasound, and depending on that ultrasound I would likely have surgery.
The ultrasound showed little. Possibly a mass near my right ovary, but nothing to be sure, and my pregnancy hormone level had dropped from the day before. So everyone was kind of stumped. It was decided by my doctor that I would have exploratory surgery that afternoon. The goal: laparoscopic surgery to remove the pregnancy, the worst case scenario: an open abdominal surgery involving the removal of one of my tubes, one of my ovaries, or both. I was terrified.
You know where they put you before this type of surgery? Obstetrics. That’s right. To add insult to injury they put me in the post partum ward to await my surgery. As I layed in my bed, and pretended to listen to my pre operative teaching (which ironically is the virtually the same teaching I give to my patients on a daily basis.) I heard babies crying. I wanted to get up, pull out my IV, and go home. I wanted to hold onto this baby somehow, but knew that I couldn’t. This little person growing inside of me would not survive. I would never hold this baby in my arms. Thats all I thought of that day, empty arms.
It took hours for them to get me to surgery. I kept getting bumped because it was, after all, a Sunday afternoon. The anesthesiologist kept having to leave and start epidurals for women in labor, my doctor had to deliver babies before he could start my case. I would have given my left leg to trade places with one of women laboring. There is no way labor pains could have been worse than the heartache I felt.
They rolled me into surgery about 4:30pm that day, and as they put me out, tears rolled down my cheeks. God get me out of here, this isn’t my life, I don’t deserve this.
I woke up shivering. I was scared. I moaned for my husband, and he was there right beside me. This was special, I knew, because families were usually not allowed in the recovery room. “Did he take my tube?” I asked concerned. “No baby, everything went fine, he said he would talk with you when you woke up.” Knowing that all my parts were still intact I drifted back off to sleep.
Later the doctor came and told me that “the products of conception” were in my pelvis. The inflammation being caused by blood and tissue in the pelvis was likely the culprit of the pain and pressure. I still cannot believe that term: products of conception. You mean to say, my blueberry sized embryo was in my pelvis. The doctor told me that I was very lucky, because my body “took care” of the pregnancy on its own. That made me feel like a horrible mother. My body rid itself of my own baby before it killed me? Great. How will ever carry a child if my body chooses to harm it?
The next few days were a blur. I had to have blood drawn every 48 hours to make sure my pregnancy levels were consistently decreasing, and five days after surgery (with my Dr.'s OK) I got on a plane to go visit my family for Christmas.