Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roller Coaster Ride from Hell

I already had an appointment at Dr. C's clinic with a different doctor for 9am on July 18th.  When I called on the 17th to schedule the appointment with Dr. C, they left me at the same time.  This worked out perfectly so TJ could go with me.  I honestly wasn't sure how supportive he was capable of being but it was better than going alone. I never wanted to do that again!!!

I was on bed rest and needed to be close to the hospital so I stayed with Blondie the two days leading up to the appointment.  I was 25 minutes away from our hospital.  She was about 9 blocks away.  TJ and I arranged to have him pick me up from Blondie's.  He was obviously a nervous wreck.  He had that "spooked horse" look the entire time, but he was far more attentive and supportive than I thought he would be.  He helped me out of the house, opened the car door, and asked about 15 times if I was hurting.  I was, but I kept telling him I was okay.

We arrived 15 minutes early.  I filled out the paperwork and then we waited.  It seemed like we waited forever to be seen.  It was awkward.  I wanted to be quiet, but at the same time, the tension was killing me so I chattered about pointless nonsense the entire time.  We whispered about the pregnant woman we saw walking through the parking lot smoking a cigarette and rolled our eyes. I guess I don't truly understand what it's like to be a true smoker and have to quit, but I WAS a true drinker, and with all the stress, all I could think about some days was how badly I "needed" a drink.  I still didn't take even a sip of red wine - which is supposedly "allowed". 

When they finally called us back they had me pee in a cup and then escorted us to the U/S room.  They left TJ in there with me and instructed me to undress "from the waist down".  He was embarrassed by this and turned his head.  I laughed, saying, "We're here because I stripped from the waist down. Don't act like you've never seen it before."  He laughed nervously and said, "I'm just trying to be a gentleman."  The U/S tech came back in. I immediately explained what happened with the last U/S and she was just as appalled as we were.  She turned on the machine and began the exam. 

In utero ultrasounds are ALWAYS uncomfortable.  I don't care what anyone says! In fact, I usually spot for a couple of days every time I have one (& I've had a LOT of them).  The probe is usually bigger (and certainly longer) than anything else that has ever been up my crotch!  And that doesn't even account for all the twisting and moving they do while they're in there! Who knew taking a picture of your ovary would require them to angle that thing SO far???  When she examined my left ovary my right knee was damn near parallel to the table to make room for her arm and the wand!!!

I was already getting sick of seeing pity in everyone's eyes.

The image at the ER was only shown on the screen on the U/S machine itself and the tech was the only one who could see it.  There were no TVs or anything.  At the OB's office, there was a HUGE flat screen TV on the wall, facing me, positioned oh-so-perfectly between my knees.  The thought of seeing it THAT BIG on that huge screen terrified me, but it didn't really seem like I had much of a choice.  The image came up, and there it was, a seemingly empty sac. No heartbeat. No yolk. No fetal pole. NOTHING.  But that "anomaly" the ER U/S tech had described wasn't visible either.  The tech quietly and calmly instructed me to clean up (handing me a box of tissue). She would come back for me in a few moments.  She looked down at the floor as she spoke and I knew my fears had been realized.  TJ was also looking down at the floor as I cleaned up.  I stepped toward him to pick up my clothes from the bench beside him.  He handed me the black polka-dotted panties I had worn and then my pants and looked up at me with pitiful eyes.  Even just two days after finding out, I was already getting sick of seeing pity in everyone's eyes.

We went into Exam Room 2 and waited.  Dr. C came charging into the room at full throttle a few moments later.  He carried a laptop.  He focused primarily on the screen while he spoke to us, and it seemed like he was speaking mostly to me and ignoring TJ.  He was "all business". I really didn't sense much compassion coming from him whatsoever.  He said there was basically a 97% chance we would lose the baby. He gave us our options.  He said we could...

Option 1 - Do a D&C right away and this would all be over in a matter of a days.
Option 2 - Take Cytotec.  It's basically an abortion pill, but it would induce the miscarriage so that your body passes the tissue naturally without a D&C.  It's more painful and takes longer than a D&C but some women have a need to pass the tissue naturally and/or wish to avoid surgery.
Option 3 - Watch & wait. There's a very small chance that the embryo has been slow to grow. I was only at 5 weeks. At five weeks, the embryo is often difficult to see, even with an in utero ultrasound.  Continue the Progesterone and come back in two weeks to see if I have any progress.

As much as I know TJ would have loved to do a D&C and get it over with, I couldn't do that.  The doctor gave us a few minutes alone.  TJ sat next to me on the table and put his arms around me. It felt good to be comforted by him, even though I knew his wishes were different from mine.  I couldn't do the D&C or the Cytotec without knowing for certain that the baby was dead.  I cried.  He held me and we talked a little.  I asked if he understood why I wanted to wait and he said he did & that he would go along with my decision, whatever it was.  He also said he was sorry.  It did mean a lot that he felt sorry for me, but it still hurts to this day that he was actually happy about the possibility of losing a child. That disturbs me.

Dr. C returned and we told him we chose to wait.  He ordered an HCG blood test to see where my hormone levels were. They had done one at the hospital and he wanted to compare my levels now to that of two days ago.  If they had dropped, we would be completely certain that I was having a miscarriage, most likely due to a blighted ovum (also known as an anembryonic pregnancy).  If they had risen, we would know that it was okay to wait before taking any further action.  Rising HCG levels indicate pregnancy. 

Instead of making us move around, the nurses came to the exam room to draw the blood.  TJ pretended to be busy in the hallway, but I know needles make him squeamish.  Dr. C made sure to reassure TJ before we left that once the miscarriage was fully completed I should be able to have sex again in a week or two.  I thought that was very kind of him to mention (jackass). The nurses were very kind. They let us exit through the back door so I wouldn't have to walk through a waiting room full of pregnant women as we left.

Waiting was the right thing to do.

When I recieved the call for my results the next day, my HCG levels had risen (in just a few days) by over 2,000 points.  That assured me that waiting was the right thing to do.  This news was, of course, encouraging to me, but it sent TJ into a mental tailspin.  He texted me...

"This is just too much of a roller coaster for me. After thinking it was over I started feeling relief. And now we're still waiting. I'm not trying to hurt you but please don't ask me to feel the same as you do." 

I should have been feeling hopeful and uplifted but TJ's attitude and all the stress put me into a depression like I had never known before.  I know hormones play a huge role in these situations, but I couldn't blame ALL of it on hormones.  I could barely eat, even though that was what I should have been doing.  All I could do was cry and sleep.  I couldn't work. I was in constant pain and all I could take was Tylenol; However, I refused to take any pills other than the Progesterone and my vitamins.  I didn't want ANYTHING to harm my baby. 

I tried desperately to hang onto hope.  I made a notebook where I could keep track of all the doctor's appointments and keep my notes.  On the front, I decorated it with scrap booking stickers and put "Mommy's Notes & Daddy's Worries".  Blondie and I had taken to calling the Baby "Baby J" (BJ for short).  It's a play off of a nickname that TJ's friends gave him.  I used some of the scrap booking stickers to put "Baby J's Stuff" on the lid of a Rubbermaid container.  Milly had given me some baby clothes and I kept all of the paperwork, the notebook, and the folder I carried to all of the doctor's appointments in the container under my bed (It's still there in fact).  Blondie and I even laid on her bed one night and talked about what the baby would look like.  She said she hoped she was tall like TJ, with his dark hair, my blue-green eyes, and my smile.  We made a list of baby names and talked about if I would use TJ's last name or my own.  Since my last name is my married name, I said I was considering changing my last name and giving the baby my name, since TJ was still insisting on a DNA test after the birth.

In the meantime, my employer had been contacted concerning my inability to work.  I chose to take the rest of the week off and go back to work the following Monday. The doctor agreed that would give me time to adjust emotionally. 

"...They didn't think it was necessary to see me."

I started feeling better on Friday morning. I thought things were looking up, but late Saturday/early Sunday I started feeling pain again.  Judging from how my friends have described labor pains, I'm guessing that's what it was.  It was excruciating!!!  It felt like someone was stretching my cervix from the inside out and tearing it open, and the pain in my lower back returned.  The pain continued into Monday.  I called Dr. C's office. They explained I was probably having a miscarriage and it wasn't anything they didn't expect.  They didn't think it was necessary to see me. I asked about a note for work and they suggested going to my regular practitioner or the ER. I got into my regular doctor that afternoon. She gave me a note to be off work "due to illness" until July 30th.  She said that should give me time to have the miscarriage (if that's what was going to happen) so that I wouldn't have to worry about having it at work.  My next appointment with Dr. C was August 1st.  I immediately called my team leader and explained the situation.  I said I was worried about my job.  She assured me it was fine and to keep them posted on how I was feeling. 

I kept TJ posted via text message. It was very difficult for me to see him, but later that night I started having pain again and the miscarriage started.  I passed several clots of various sizes ranging from pea-sized to silver-dollar-sized.  I didn't WANT to talk to anyone else about it other than TJ, despite his attitude about the whole thing.  Even when he was being more honest than supportive, it still helped to talk to him for some reason.  It was such a roller coaster!!!  Just six days prior TJ had come over to my house, sat on my couch, and even gave me a few reassuring kisses, telling me it would be okay.  We had even discussed baby names for a few brief seconds...

"Oh. Grace I kinda like."

TJ and I both have brothers with the same name. We decided that if it were a boy, our brothers' name would be a definite option, at least for a middle name, but from the very beginning, I had felt like I was having a girl.  TJ hated the idea of having a girl, but he kind of left me to my own devices while I was pregnant. Bless his heart. He really did try not to upset me too much...  TJ and I sometimes sing at a local venue.  The first song we sang together was a song by Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter.  I made the suggestion of Chesney Grace for a girl's name. His response was, "Oh. Grace I kinda like."  Even now that memory makes me smile.

"I would have loved him/her more than I could stand."

As I was dealing with all the pain (and spending a LOT of time on the toilet) I was texting TJ, explaining how I was feeling and all that was going on.  At one point, I told him that I was well aware of how happy he was that I was going through all of this.  In fact,  a friend of mine had overheard him say he still doubted the paternity.  He replied that he didn't hate me and he wasn't happy that I was in pain, that he hated what I was going through.  He hated the entire situation.  I called him jaded and cynical. I asked him, as much as he hated it all, would he have ever truly loved BJ?  Was he even really capable of loving anyone but himself?  His response softened my heart toward him forever.  He said, "I would have loved him/her more than I could stand."  He went on to say, "I'm sorry. I'm being honest about that."

At that point, I felt bad for hating him, for blaming him.  I realized that this was hurting him just as much emotionally and mentally as it was me, even if it were hurting him in a different way.  We were both so different and had such different beliefs.  We were dealing with it in different ways and saw it from different perspectives.  At that point, I was okay with it all.  I still had a lot of pain to face, and I had a lot of changing to do before I would be able to deal with it in a completely healthy way, but reading his words started the healing process for me.


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