Monday, December 21, 2015

Answered Prayers & The Road So Far: My Pregnancy Journey

I am in constant awe of how God answers prayers in a specific way.  Last night, prior to today's doctor appointment, my prayer was for CLEAR, absolute, and ACCURATE information.  Yes, Lord, I desire for my child to be alive - to have them safe in my arms this summer.  But trusting in Him means trusting that He is with me even in the bad.

This summer when we lost the baby it was weeks wrought with "maybes."  Maybe my dates were wrong. Maybe the growth will be better next week.  Maybe we will find the heartbeat in a few days. Maybe the heart just started beating and the rate will improve. Maybe it will be okay, the heartbeat will increase, and the baby will live.  Maybe the bleeding is normal.

So my prayer was that whatever is the status of this pregnancy, that it is made clear at my doctor visit. I don't want a maybe.  The past couple ultrasounds have shown a heartbeat BUT the very low end of normal. The growth is a tad behind (although that has been true of every pregnancy).  So the outcome of this pregnancy is still very much up in the air.

My regular OB sent me to the perinatal clinic for high risk patients. Often they consult - determine a plan for pregnancy - and send you back to the OB.  Last time they kept me on as their own patient for the duration of the pregnancy.  This place is critical to the health and safety of baby & me. Imagine my disappointment today when I find that I'm scheduled only for a consult and not for an ultrasound.

My nurse remembered me from last time AND recognized me from the Fraser waiting room!! I do so love those type of connections. As we discussed the plan for the pregnancy - including starting on blood thinner injections daily - I asked if we can be sure this is viable before going further.  She tries to do an abdominal bedside ultrasound.  This will not measure growth or even bpm - just verify the flickering heartbeat is there.  We find the baby but NO heartbeat.

She calls an ultrasound tech in and again, no heartbeat!! And I can't help but panic - and wonder "why aren't things more CLEAR?!"  They make room for us in the schedule to do a TV ultrasound in a room with the good equipment and a tech. While I wait, pantless, feet in stirrups, for 20 minutes for the tech to come in, fear consumes me. Would this really happen again?! I NEVER felt like something was wrong (I had the physical feelings of anxiety and fear but not the motherly instincts like a sense of impending doom).  Would I EVER trust my instincts again? Christmas will be ruined?!

There are more thoughts - a lot can come up in 20 minutes of anxiously waiting. Again, I prayed - for clarity.  When the tech came in she said she'd have the doctor come in and discuss results with me afterward - which is what they say when the news is bad and they don't want to give it to you (or aren't supposed to).

Then - a heartbeat. A strong one (170-180 each time measured)! The baby (it's totally a girl, BTW) measured between 8 weeks 5 days and 9 wks (I'm 9w0days today).  The ultrasound tech was really happy and telling me how great all this is.  This. My first moment of actual relief in over 5 really long weeks. This. My CLEAR answer - with NO maybes. I got my ultrasound after all.  God is so specific in answering this prayer.

Later I speak with the doctor - one who I saw frequently during my pregnancy with Bruce (the perinatal clinic has a team of doctors that work together - you do not see just "one.").  He comes in smiling and compares the ultrasound machines to a Bentley vs a Honda. He then assures me that at this point, even with my history and current complications, my risk of miscarriage is LESS THAN 1%! ANOTHER answered prayer!

Thanks to repeated high blood pressure (this pregnancy as well as the one in the summer - and my mother had preeclampsia multiple times but I didn't mention that), a blood clotting disorder requiring daily shots of thinners, a history of multiple losses (including 2nd trimester, a twin & an ectopic), multiple preterm deliveries (I will be taking 17P injections for this weekly, as I have many times before), previously having gestational diabetes (and I weigh more with each pregnancy), history of subchorionic hemorrhage (hole in the placenta), and special needs children - including Dean's genetic heart defect, I will remain a patient of the high risk clinic. Since they spit everyone back to their original OB I was... not surprised but bummed I'm "bad enough" to qualify.

They take great care of me there - we made it through a lot to bring him safely into this world.  They will even have a pediatric cardiologist from Children's Hospital come over to look at baby's heart. Today, I have hope. I have joy.  I even have baby names picked out.

This pregnancy is different.  No sense of impending doom or ominous feelings. I don't feel the need to "apologize for being pregnant - again" or to defend our choices.  I still do NOT enjoy the nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis), but I do feel a bit better after a trip to the ER last week for IV fluids. Time is passing slowly, I'm sick, and there is always a fear - in my dreams I have flashbacks of bad moments in my previous pregnancies.

The moment the doctor told me Bentlee had died, her scull caved in from a hemorrhage, the day I went to the emergency room in indescribable pain and woke up without a baby or a tube, surviving weeks of vomiting only to find myself bleeding like crazy. I know these painful memories do not have to haunt me - it does require me to pray daily - even hourly - for God to give me supernatural peace.

Now, for the most amazing part:
After Bruce was born the doctor refused to do a tubal surgery on me ("tie my tubes"), stating that it would not fully prevent pregnancy.  I lost my right fallopian tube as a result of an ectopic pregnancy so there is not a tube to "close."  "A very ambitious swimmer could make it's way up there without the tube," Doctor says. Not probable, but possible.  It would not be safe to get pregnant after a tubal.

Fast forward to an ultrasound at 5 weeks along with this pregnancy.  The tech showed me on the screen how she knows for certain I ovulated on the RIGHT side.  Only the right. As in the side WITHOUT A TUBE.  That technician has never seen that happen & couldn't believe it was even doable. My doctor said she knew it was possible but so rare she personally had not experienced it in her career.  I verified this with my regular u/s tech in the clinic a few days later. She says "I love when that happens - this baby really wanted to be here!"