Monday, September 15, 2003

Life after miscarriage is so strange. Gone is your innocence that everything will always be alright. No longer is pregnancy a joyful mystery unfolding every month and finally the pinnacle is reached, and you give birth to a gorgeous, miracle.

In contrast it becomes a daily struggle. Each minute of pregnancy is counted off as another hurdle overcome. Your life revolves around your pregnancy symptoms, or lack of them. Every bite that goes in your mouth, every drop of lotion you put on your body, and every activity you participate in is analyzed as if this action will send the pregnancy into ruin.

After the 1st miscarriage at 5 1/2 weeks , I was hurt and the disappointment was so hard. But I had the hope that the doctors were right and we could try again and probably have no problem at all. After all, I had done this 3 times before, obviously something was working with my body.

The 2nd time, again at 5 weeks, we were bewildered. But, the doctors were still saying the same thing..."Try again".

I got pregnant again, and the absolute terror of going to the bathroom and seeing a spot of blood on the toilet paper became mind-numbing. But, yes, it happened again at 5 weeks, and now the doctors are not so reassuring. Something is wrong.

On to a higher order of doctor. Yes, they have a little ladder you climb to each level of specialist. The first of them tells me my eggs are old. I am 37yo, and I know in my heart that this is wrong. Tests are run, and all of them come back negative. Great....So I am classified as an essential(origin unknown), spontaneous, recurrent aborter. I hate that title. I used to just be a mother.

This doctor decides that I need some progesterone. So we get the go ahead to try again. We succeed and I carry this one until 7 weeks, and the bleeding starts once again. We rush to the hospital and do an US, and on the screen we see a little bean with a heartbeat.........but it is beating very slowly, and the sac is collapsing in and deteriorating. 4 days later, I go back for a repeat US, and there is the tiny baby, but no heartbeat. I ask the doctor to show me the baby and he snaps "It's not a baby", I said "It is to me" and recoiled into my shell of despair.. At 8 weeks to the day, I miscarry my 4th pregnancy. Obviously progesterone was not the answer.

On to specialist #2 the Reproductive Endocinologist..........he is the one we fondly call my "reproductive exterminator". In the 8 months that I was under his care, I never was able to get pregnant. I was on progesterone in oil shots once each day after ovulation. I wore an estrogen patch for 2 weeks each month after I ovulated. After 8 months of no pregnancy (very weird for me, as all my husband has to do is walk by me and I am pregnant), in May we even tried Clomid and HCG shots. No pregnancy. Several thousand dollars poorer, we "fired" the RE. We had some more specialized blood testing done by a reproductive immunologist, and 2 of the tests came back positive. One showed elevated cytokines, which can signify and immune-related problem. The other showed that I lacked something called 'blocking antibodies'...these are the protective antibodies that coat the placenta and protect the baby...without them, it is said that pregnancy is impossible. Treatment for these problems would be well over $15,000 and is VERY controversial, as are the tests themselves. We vetoed going down this path. We decided to move on with our life. We explored adoption, and had picked an agency and decided to go to China for a baby girl. I had started running again, and was actually starting to feel like myself again. I remember one point telling my husband that I felt happy, and I thought I would never feel that way again..................

July 22nd found me holding a pregnancy test with yet another positive result.....I felt like Bill Murray in the movie "Groundhog Day" when he woke up every morning to the same day, over and over again. All I could think of was "Here we go again"

Was it the medicine that prevented implantation all those months? Did being on all those meds help straighten out what was wrong with me? Was it just taking 9 months off and letting my body heal? We are not sure, but I am now 12 weeks pregnant, and our baby is growing wonderfully. We have had 2 ultrasound, both showing perfectly normal growth and development. The last one I could see arms and legs and the baby moving around and arching its back. Yesterday we heard the heartbeat on doppler, thumping away at a strong and brisk rate of 160-170 beats per minute. Miraculous. This baby has defied the odds, and we couldn't be more pleased. We thank God for this blessing and are so grateful to Him for His love and patience.

When we bought this old house we live in, I envisioned a huge harvest table in the kitchen. I found one that was perfect. It was made by a farmer in the late 1800's for his family. He had 4 children, and he had hand planed all the wood etc..his family sat
around it every afternoon and every evening ...it remained in his farmhouse until after his death, then the family leased the farm out and there it remained.

Someone nailed a Formica top to it, in an attempt to modernize it. Finally, the farm and all in it was sold at a family auction, and the table ended up in a resale shop. The lady who owned the shop had her
husband remove the Formica, and cleaned the table up, restoring it back to the beauty it was made to be. I came in and saw it, and she told me the story.........I was pregnant with my 4th baby....the first one that I lost....it was perfect and I bought it and put it in my kitchen. After I lost the baby, the table became a sore spot....see, it seated 6, and there was an empty chair at the table to remind me of my losses. But I knew, somehow, I would fill that chair, and the circle would be complete.

The table, for me, represents my complete family. And it seems, with this baby, we will do just that!! I so look forward to the day when all 6 chairs are filled at dinnertime....when all the children gather around it to make cookies during holidays..........Then I will feel that my family is complete.

Jody

"For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
Before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16

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