Ethan's Age

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Club Membership

On February 8, 2011, I got my first positive pregnancy test.
It was faint, but it was there.  I sat on this information for a couple of days pending a beta test.

The first Beta confirmed it!  26!  I was pregnant.
Two days later, a second beta was 42.  Nothing bad, but not an impressive doubling we all hear about.
I got a call from my RE scheduling me for a third Beta. Three days later, a  63.  This was Monday, valentines day.

This was the moment that it started sinking in that this ride might not go all the way to the final stop.  I started to worry, but placed myself mentally in the place that I needed to be, I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do to change anything in these first few weeks.  I wasn't drinking, smoking, using crack, or eating SUSHI (HARD!)  I cut out caffeine, and my sleep medication and my occasional use of a prostitute.  (just kidding!) I put off my plans for multiple tattoos that I was going to get in India, and put up my mosquito nets and stopped fjording the river (I didn't die of dysentery.)

Life went on, and I got excited, as I had no reason not to be.  I made all the necessary squealing calls to very close family and friends.  We were over the moon.  After 2 years of trying, we were finally pregnant!

However, as the week went on, I felt weird.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  It was like that actor you see in another show and you just could not figure out for the life of you where he was from.  My pregnancy feelings was that actor.

My husband was busy, studying for the Bar, which he would be taking the following week.  I tried so hard to hide my fears, my anxiety, as I didn't want to burden him with my feelings.
Saturday afternoon, while my husband was off studying, I made a routine pit stop in the bathroom.  There was blood, and a decent amount of it.

I knew this was the end.

For some reason, this didn't really shock me.  People talk about when you know you are not pregnant, and I had felt that way all day, probably precursed with an intense vomiting of feelings on my mother earlier in the day about what I thought might be happening.  But, there it was.  Blood.

I knew I had to be seen right away, and being that it was 4 pm on a  Saturday afternoon, anyone with an ultrasound in their office would not be around, so I made the call.  I needed to go to the ER.  I called Jon at the law library.  I called him again, and again so he got the hint that there was something I needed ASAP.

Finally, he buzzed through.
"Hey, what do you need?" He asked.  I sensed the worry in his voice, as this sort of behavior (the calling and calling) was out of character for me.
"I need you to come home."  I replied.  As soon as I said it, I realized that was the only thing I was going to be able to say on this phone call.
"How come?" He asked.

Silence.  I couldn't speak, I had nothing to say, and I had that feeling where you vomit tears and there was just no stopping it.  I just wanted to get off the phone before I threw up my emotions.

"I'll be right there."  Jon knew what was happening, I knew he did.  I might have managed to choke out a "See you soon." or some such reply, but honestly, these few moments were overwhelmed with what happened next.

(credit to

I hung up the phone, and basically couldn't stand.  There I was, leaning on the counter, heaving sobs of sorrow, frustration, anger and every other toxic emotion I had held back for the past week, hoping against the inevitable. The past week of worry culminated into this 2 minutes of grief.   Then, as quickly as it begun, it stopped.  I wasn't trying to avoid grief, but it just stopped right there.

I did some mundane tasks like turning on the proper lights in the house for the night, and feeding the dog.  Jon took forever to get home, it seemed, but I knew he drove home faster than normal.  He walked in and said "ok, what do we need to do?"  I explained that we needed to go to the ER.

I said Hello to George Clooney.
We arrived there around 5 pm, to a packed waiting room, filled with hurting children, elderly women and other people needing attention.  I waited patiently in line, and began the one line that I would be repeating much of the night to various nurses, doctors and other staff.  "I think I'm having a miscarriage."

A lovely NP drew my blood before I got into my ER room, so we could cut down on the time I would spend waiting.  She was lovely, and did her best to put me at ease.  This was (I think) my 5th blood draw in less than a week, and she couldn't find the vein.  I burst into tears, and she apologized for missing it.  I explained that wasn't why I was upset, but thanked her for finding the right vein that time.

The waiting was hard.  I told Jon that there was one boy I hoped they saw before me, as he was obviously very sick.  I was thankful that they called his name right before mine.  Jon and I joked most of the night, as this seems to be the way we deal with stressful and uncomfortable situations.  I had thought about the possibility of miscarriage for more than a week, so I had worked through many of my thoughts on the matter.  Maybe I was being selfish, but I didn't feel up to hearing Jon's thoughts on the matter.  Plus, poor Jon was 3 days away from taking the biggest test of his life.  He wasn't trying to be insensitive, but he broke out his laptop and continued to study.  "What horrible timing this is!" (I secretly cursed at my uterus.)

We were brought into the ER room around 8:30, maybe a bit earlier.  I met a great nurse, Wayne, whom I joked with right away.  I think the staff were confused about why I was so upbeat about the fact that I was having a miscarriage.  Upbeat was the wrong perception, but more so, peace was what I felt about it.

Over the course of a few hours they had me down for an ultrasound which didn't detect a uterine pregnancy, but since it was still so early, they weren't really expecting to see one.  My beta suggested that something was growing very slowly, somewhere.  And I was VERY aware that the ultrasound tech was spending an abnormal amount of time in one spot, near my left ovary.

Obviously, since surgery, I've been acutely aware of the possibility of ectopic pregnancy, one of the reasons why I decided to go to the ER rather than wait until Monday to deal with the situation. My ER doc explained that they weren't totally able to tell what was going on, but I'd need to follow up with my RE on Monday.  He also paged the OB/GYN on call and they agreed that I wasn't in impending doom of a tubal burst or some other dire problem (like a fetal pig growing out of my ovary).  At midnight, and after 2 hours of a hunger induced headache, I headed home.

This brings us to Monday. My RE had me give blood AGAIN.  (I look like a drug addict, let me tell you.)  Jon was on his way to Seattle to take the bar, and due to pain and nausea, I felt that emergency surgery might be on the agenda here in Portland.  It was scary, because Jon was gone. I felt alone.

Dr Awesome explained that she couldn't see anything on the ultrasound, which she had reviewed from the ER.  She told me it could be an ectopic, but I'm not really at a high risk for that, so she was less worried about that.  She suggested that I do a repeat beta test.  If was still going up, I'd need to start a medically induced miscarriage (wonderfully coined "medical abortion.")  We both agreed that this was not destined to be a viable pregnancy, so beta test and medication it was.

My beta tests confirmed that my beta's were still going up (very slightly) so, starting Tuesday morning, I will be taking misoprostol.   People's experiences on this drug vary from extreme to just mild cramping.

I took the first dose at 8:30 the next morning, and my doctor called around 11:30 AM.  I hadn't started to feel anything, not even light cramps.  I was tired, and may have napped a bit, but nothing was happening.  At noon, I got to take the second dose.  I started to feel a bit of cramping, but none of this supposed river of flow I should be expecting.  

Medications + Feel Good Food
This did not, however, keep me from enjoying part of the "feel better kit" I'd bought the night before.

So far, both packages of the Reese's Pieces are mysteriously gone.  I've also gone through some of the goldfishes that I had on hand.  Last night, because I was nervous about today, I had some of the Creme Brulee.  It's offensively addictive and delicious.  I'm happy I don't have it in the freezer all the time. (And so is my waistline.)

The medication finally kicked in around 5 pm or so, when I started to feel some major cramping.  The feeling was similar to the way your abs feel after 3 minutes in plank, after about 20 rounds of 3 minutes in plank.  I started to bleed around this time as well.  Over the course of the evening, the pain got more intense, until finally I couldn't move very much without being incredibly uncomfortable.  I picked up the dog from daycare, ate "awful for me food"  and snuggled into bed.

Throughout the night, I was alternating pain medications with throwing up, so who knows if any of the pain medicines actually had any effect. I thought about getting up for a heating pain, but just the thought of getting up just made me exhausted.  Thankfully, the dog seemed to know what I was going through, as he was a wonderful snuggle bunny all night long. 

right there.........^

Wednesday morning brought me the same rate of pain (probably a 7 on the pain scale).  Not unbearable, but certainly quite uncomfortable. I took a pain med pretty early in the day to try to be proactive in my effort to get through the day without throwing up.

The pain got progressively worse throughout the day and into Thursday proportionally to the amount of blood that was making it's way out of my body (varying between a 7-9 on the pain scale, depending on how much I was moving, and whether I had pain medication freshly coursing through my veins.)  Several pain induced vomiting trips later, I felt like I just couldn't get out of bed.  I had the chills, and felt generally miserable.  I managed to get up and pick up the dog from daycare and get back home, but really, that's all I accomplished on Wednesday.

And then, it started to snow.  The idea that I was either going to have to battle the snow to get the dog to daycare, or battle the cold and take him out in the morning was a daunting task to do when getting out of bed was an accomplishment.  Jon called to see how I was doing, and being that he had one day of testing left, I said some sort of lie "not as bad as I thought it would be" or some such thing.  I knew he was doing his best, and felt guilty about being more than 200 miles away while I was going through this alone.

Thankfully, Jon finished on Thursday and was back down and home by around 3 pm.  As soon as he got home, I was SO relieved.  I could finally focus on me, and not have to worry about getting the dog outside and playing with him so he wouldn't go crazy.   The bleeding is just as bad as Wednesday, so I stay home Friday as well. 

I'm thankful that emotionally, I was doing fine.  I can imagine how women feel when they either have seen their child via ultrasound, heard their heart, etc.  That must make it seem more real.  I never saw this, and had signs from the very beginning that things were going wrong, giving me a chance to have a head start about grieving.

As I read stories of women who have gone through loss, and their heartbreak, I almost feel guilty.  I don't feel that sense of loss.  It was an easy choice to make to move forward from this pregnancy, rather than try to face the risks and complications.  I'm moving forward. I'm not sure what to say to people who are "I'm so sorry!"  I mean, of course, I'd rather be pregnant right now (and I'd certainly rather be able to move around without pain/throwing up) but I know my time is coming.  It's coming SOON.

If anyone told me this last week when it was up in the air, I would have punched them.  Though it sounds cliche, at least I can get pregnant.  My RE left me with one sentence.  "Julia, you are going to have a baby."

I believe her. 

The next steps?   I've been given an opportunity to get as healthy as possible, and since the clock is ticking before I get pregnant again, I need to get moving.  I'm VERY motivated.

This hangs in my home- And it's true.

I also want to pass this along.  My friends and family have been so supportive, thoughtful and kind during this trying time.  Special thanks to my mother and mother-in-law who have made this time (I have to go through this alone while my husband is gone) tolerable.  I didn't have to worry about many details, just focus on healing.  Your love from across the country helped me a lot.

Of course, there are so many of you who have expressed your love for both of us, and a huge thank you is in order.  There are too many of you to list here.

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