Monday, April 13, 2015

The Loss of Pregnancy Innocence

by Meghann on April 13, 2015

In case you missed Part 1: The Story Behind Our Positive Test 

I waited a full two weeks to call the doctor.

After my miscarriage last fall, I was instructed to contact my doctor’s office immediately after receiving a positive test. They wanted to start the routine of drawing blood for betas immediately and then early ultrasounds to verify a valid pregnancy from the beginning. However, I’d been down that route before and knew how devastating it is to have an ultrasound at 5 weeks and not see much of anything, then see a heart beat a week later, and then an empty sack 6 weeks after that. Quite frankly, I was scared and wasn’t quite up for that stress just yet. So I waited and tried to enjoy the fact that for that very minute I was pregnant and what would happen, would happen.

I had a couple of big hurdles I wanted to conquer. First was getting that positive on the digital test. Then making it to 18 DPO, when I started bleeding my first pregnancy. 18 DPO came and went – no bleeding. That was a big relief, but still not big enough. Finally I wanted to make it to 6 weeks (according to my last menstrual period (LMP)). No real reason for waiting to 6 weeks, it was just a number I put out there.

When I finally did call, they agreed to skipping the betas and having an ultrasound at 7 weeks (according to LMP) to verify the pregnancy. I felt okay making the appointment, but then my nerves slowly sunk in and I began to make myself sick with worry. Derek wasn’t able to go with me to the appointment, and by the time they brought me back, I was in tears due to fear and nerves.

It was the same ultrasound room I had heard the devastating news in last time. The same big screen mounted on the wall, the same evil machine waiting to be used, and they even still had my old information in the system. I watched as March 2nd popped up on the screen and quickly wiped away a few fresh tears.

Luckily my ultrasound tech was amazing. She was very understanding of my situation and asked if I wanted to turn the big screen off (I opted to leave it on). She also held my hand as we took the initial peek at what was waiting inside.

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There it was, a tiny little blob with the tiniest flicker of a heartbeat. The ultrasound tech immediately zoomed in on baby to confirm the heartbeat, before zooming out and taking the necessary photos of my uterus, ovaries, and cervix. She was actually the first ultrasound tech to walk me through what she was taking photos of, and when it came time to take a photo of my little blob, she labeled it baby not embryo as my previous techs had done.

She saved the measurements and heart rate for last.

Now, according to my last missed period, I was 7 weeks to the day. According to my FF app’s ovulation date, I was 6 weeks 5 days. According to my theory with the OPK test, I was 6 weeks 3 days.

My little blob measured at 6 weeks 1 day.

6 weeks 1 day? That couldn’t be right. I know measurements can be off this early, but I was extra nervous with my history. The smaller measurements wouldn’t have bothered me as much with a really strong heartbeat, but when she measured it the first time it was 114 and the second time – for good measure – it was 106. At 6 weeks 4 days with my miscarriage the heart rate was 111. I was hoping for at least 120 today. My heart sank.

The ultrasound didn’t think much of it. She asked if I have a regular 28 cycle (I don’t) and said that they look for anything above 100 this early. She seemed really happy with the ultrasound and offered to leave a screenshot on the big screen that I could take a photo of with my phone (my doctor office doesn’t do print outs, instead they offer CDs of photos, but don’t usually provide them this early).

I met with the doctor after the ultrasound and she agreed that everything looked good. She asked about my period and suggested I just ovulated/implanted late. She moved my due date back a week and agreed to an ultrasound at my 8 week appointment two weeks later. The 8 week ultrasound is not something they usually offer, but with my history, she agreed for my peace of mind. She also once again confirmed I have a bicornate uterus. That thing will haunt me in every ultrasound.

I left the appointment feeling unhinged. Yes, I saw a little bean with a little heartbeat, but I saw the same thing at 6 weeks with my last pregnancy. Measuring behind, with a lower-than-I-was-hoping heartbeat, made me nervous. So I did what every expecting mom should NOT do, I googled the heck out of it. Ugh. Bad idea.

I basically spent the next two weeks with knots in my stomach. I cried a lot, threw myself mini pity parties, and grew upset every time I saw another pregnancy announcement, jealous of how happy and carefree the couple seemed. Why couldn’t I be that way? Why couldn’t I have that feeling of ignorant bliss, assuming everything would be okay. That’s a feeling that was taken away from me, lost forever in the grief of a previously doomed pregnancy. I know how much it hurts to lose something you wanted so badly. It hurts. It hurts a lot.

Then, two nights before my appointment, I had this amazing dream. I dreamt the appointment went well and we saw the little bean with a strong 174 heart rate. I woke up feeling refreshed, like all of the tension had dissipated. It was just a dream, but for whatever reason it temporarily put my fears to rest.

The morning of the appointment, I was less nervous that I was expecting. Again, Derek wasn’t able to make the appointment, so I was on my own. I held my breath when my name was called and was delighted to see it was the same sweet ultrasound tech as last time.

She brought me back, got me situated, and then we both took deep breaths as the screen filled with the familiar fuzzy gray image. I immediately saw my little blob and exclaimed, “It’s grown!” The ultrasound tech smiled and said, “Of course it did. It’s going to keep growing, too.”

She zoomed in and I started crying. That was my little blob! He/she was really in there!

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The bean was measuring 8 weeks 3 days (which was right in line with what it should be according to my last ultrasound) with a strong heart rate of 183. The tears continued to flow.

There’s no way of knowing when my other little bean’s heart stopped beating during my last pregnancy. We had a heartbeat at the 6 week mark, then an empty sac at 12 weeks. I can only assume it didn’t continue beating much longer after that 6 week exam. With that being said, I took more comfort in seeing such a strong heartbeat at 8 weeks, than I did after seeing any heartbeat at 6 weeks. I’ve always assumed my former pregnancy never progressed after 6 weeks. Knowing this one had made it to 8 weeks gave me hope I didn’t have before.

It was probably the first doctor’s appointment I left with a smile on my face.

Though the crushing fear was (and IS) still there, there was something about seeing that image that made me feel safe. I spoke with Derek afterwards and told him it was time to tell our families – something I never felt ready for with the last one.

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