Someday, I’d have my baby girl. Someday, I’d be a mom.
I contacted my OB/GYN’s office ASAP and informed them of my previous, suspected ectopic pregnancy. I went in for my initial blood test. My number wasn’t real high or anything, but it was early. I was about 3.5 weeks pregnant (I tested REALLY early!) The low number could be nothing to worry about… I went back a couple days later and it seemed like it was happening all over again. My numbers were going up, but again they weren’t doubling. We kept monitoring my pregnancy hormone levels. At one point they spiked up and everything looked like it would be OK. Maybe this time everything would work out.
I had my own doubts of course. Something felt wrong. We weren’t sure if it could be ectopic, but something was not right in my right tube. I knew it. I just didn’t want to believe it.
We scheduled the first ultrasound early. Typically, it’s done at 8 weeks, but after another disappointing blood test, we went in at 6 weeks. Kyle and I were nervous. And excited. And mostly nervous. And when we didn’t see anything. When the technician didn’t say anything. When they sent us back to the waiting room and no one could look me in the eyes, I stayed in denial. I was in denial when they called our name, when we walked into the waiting room. I was in denial until my doctor came in talking about our next steps. That’s when the world was crumbling down around me all over again.
I survived this. I am a survivor.
I held it together in that hospital room. I held it together in the car. I just couldn’t go home. Home meant having to admit that I was losing another baby. Home meant I couldn’t run from my grief any more. So we didn’t go home. Kyle took me to an outlet mall and we walked around. Just wasting time. Pretending for a little while that there was nothing wrong.
Eventually, we had to go home. Eventually, you have to face your grief, have to let it in, let it cover you like a comforter, before kicking it off and moving on.
Our plan was set. We scheduled the procedure. I’d go in for a D&C to check if the pregnancy was in fact in my uterus. The D&C (dilation and curettage) is when they dilate you and go in and gently scrape the lining of your uterus. If they did not find the pregnancy, they would check my tubes. They would go through my belly button and make two incisions just above my hip bone on either side. If the pregnancy was in one of my tubes, we were going to assume it was the same tube as before and remove the bad tube.
It was still pitch black out when we drove to the hospital that morning. It was an outpatient procedure, so we spent what felt like an eternity in pre-op watching a program about postpartum depression over and over again. Finally, once I was all wired up and ready to go, they wheeled me to the operating room. From there I barely remember anything. Something about the girl with all my drugs. Maybe I was told to count? But suddenly I was out…
Next thing I remember, I’m being told to wake up. I’m in a different area now. I don’t want to wake up though. I’m still so, so tired. Kyle is there suddenly. And he’s telling me about how everything went. Last he knew, they did the D&C and didn’t find the pregnancy. So they went and looked in my tubes, but they didn’t find the pregnancy there either. They did find and remove a cyst in my right tube, however. My doctor told Kyle it wouldn’t have bothered me, but he said that couldn’t be true because I knew there was something wrong. They went back in to do another D&C, but that was the last Kyle knew. I was letting that sink in, the thought of them not having found the pregnancy. What would that mean even?
I wasn’t sure I could try any more. I didn’t want to try.
I can’t remember the order of things after that. Did the man to my left tell me all the things I needed to know before or after my doctor came over to talk to me?
She told me most of what Kyle had said already. They did the D&C. They scraped very gently and had the tissue tested. It came back negative for the pregnancy, so they looked in my tubes. They used a die that spread through my tubes, which is how they found the cyst in the right tube. My left, she said, looked beautiful. Good news, I guess. When they were still unable to locate the pregnancy they went back in for a D&C and did another gentle scraping. This time they found the pregnancy.
She went on about how we were all so sure it was going to be ectopic. The way the numbers were just slowly, and erratically climbing, but how when they tested my blood today they were able to confirm my numbers had started to decline. All this time, it was just a failed pregnancy. Somehow, that felt worse? If it was ectopic, there was a plan. We could blame it on a bad tube. It would have a reason. What reason was there now?
We went home. Although I don’t remember the drive, or even walking downstairs, or climbing into bed. I just remember being in bed. Then, I remember seeing my beautiful niece. Through all the horribleness of losing my own baby, my sister-in-law brought into this world a beautiful baby girl. I was so happy to get to see her, and get baby cuddles with her the next day. Because even though, for some reason, it felt like I couldn’t keep a pregnancy, seeing this beautiful baby gave me hope. Someday, I’d have my baby girl. Someday, I’d be a mom.
The healing process was different from the first time around. Again, I had to get my blood tested to make sure my pregnancy hormone levels went back to zero. Again, I bled and bled and bled. But unlike the first time, I opted for surgery. Even though the pregnancy was not in my tubes, I now had a permanent reminder of my loss. Incision points that hurt, and a core that ached when I moved, twisted, or lifted anything. And, since I had to have a catheter, I had to deal with a UTI.
We had to wait until after my first regular period before we could try again. During the healing process, all I could think about was crossing that finish line so we could try again. Once we crossed it, I wasn’t sure I could try any more. I didn’t want to try.
There is strength in hope.
I looked at the scars on my body. Scars I never thought I’d have. A belly button that wasn’t mine any more. A body that wasn’t mine any more. And I wanted to make it mine. I wanted to take control. I wanted a tattoo. I drew up a fetus, one, but representing both of my lost angels.
I always said I’d never get a tattoo. But, there we were at the tattoo parlor. I was getting a tattoo. I was getting a reminder of what we lost. A reminder that was mine. A reminder that I could look at and think, I survived this. I am a survivor. A reminder I could look at and hope one day I’d be a mother. And there is strength in hope.
It was the end of September when we found out we were expecting again. This time, we took things slow. One test to check my hormone levels. Then, back at 8 weeks. This time, we saw her. We saw our baby. This time, was our time. This time.
I’m still scared, when we talk about having another baby, about what could happen. I’m still scared we could go through all this again. But, I look at Kiara and I look at my tattoo. And I know it’s never something you can prepare for. It will never be easy. But I can survive. I will survive. And I will hope.