Thursday, December 30, 2010
So, I will begin Femara tomorrow evening and take it Friday -- Tuesday. On Monday morning I will do a 2 hour glucose tolerance test to be sure I don't have diabetes. On Tuesday, I will have a hysteroscopy to check to be sure my uterus is in tip top shape and if the results of everything comes back normal (which I am confident it will), then I will begin taking the follicle stimulating hormone shots on Tuesday- Thursday. Friday morning I will have an ultrasound to see if the follicles are ready and if they are I will give myself the hCG to begin ovulation. If not, then I will take FSH shots for a couple more days and then give the hCG. On our way to a healthy pregnancy!!!
Thanks so much for the support. I appreciate your love, kindness and prayers. May the Lord bless you as much as He has blessed me (or more)!! In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I was going to start take Prometrium starting today for two weeks and at the end of the two weeks, I was supposed to start my period. But, I was feeling crampy for the last few days since Christmas and have been spotting a little each day and whammo! Today it begun.
I am flabbergasted. The nurse I spoke with said that sometimes after a pregnancy or coming off of birth control pills, our bodies do what they are supposed to. That was probably why I conceived Ethan naturally back in 2005! So, I had to decide quickly if I was ready to begin another hybrid cycle. And, I said to myself...GO FOR IT!
So, tomorrow I go in for a day 2 (baseline) ultrasound and then I will start taking Femara on days 3-7. On day 7, I will give myself shots. I am looking to see if the doctor can squeeze me in for a hysteroscopy on day 8 and if so, then I will finish this cycle as a hybrid cycle. SO, I could possibly be conceiving again next weekend!
I just want to have a baby already, so I am ready for this. I ordered my shots on Monday when I saw I was spotting, and they arrived today, so I am good to go! Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. As much as I am sad to know that I had a daughter, I am excited to see a son or daughter to arrive in 2011!!!
Father, thank you so much for your surprises when it comes to our bodies. So much of us wants to control it all, and yet, you have it completely under your control. I pray that you bless us with impeccably good news soon!! I also want to thank you for a successful delivery for one of my sojourners who was scared for her daughter's safe arrival. And I thank you for the great news for my friend who had a bleeding emergency in her pregnancy last week. I pray for my other two friends who are awaiting the safe arrivals of their daughters in a few months. I pray that you are still in control and they all feel your loving arms around them. In Jesus' name, AMEN
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
By the way, I also had a phone call regarding karyotyping of the tissue that was tested after the D&C. The nurse informed me that everything looked completely normal and that means Shaun and I did not pass down any genetic mutations and we won't need to have our karyotypes tested. I then asked her if she would tell me the sex of the fetus...And she did. I had a little girl. It is weird knowing this. I am glad that I know, but at the same time it makes it more sad to grieve the loss of a daughter as opposed to the loss of a pregnancy. Now, I wished I would have went full term and been able to see my little girl face to face. I feel so bad that my body rejects pregnancy and just want to know that it is not going to happen to any more little ones any more.
Father, Thank you so much for modern medicine that it can map out exactly the chromosomes we have just from a little bit of tissue. If I wanted, I would have been able to ask what color her hair and eyes would have been. You already know this and you were the one who created this entire genetic process. I love that you are intricately involved in our being and I praise you for allowing science to discover what you have designed.
I pray for my friends who are currently pregnant and experiencing fear in regard to possible loss. Some who have scary situations involving bleeding, some who have premature labor, some who have no symptoms except previous loss history. I pray that they are comforted by you and that you fill them with your peace. I pray that you allow their children to live and to thrive in this world. I ask that you protect them and their babies as they journey this path that is paved with fear. You tell us in the bible over and over again that we are to "fear not, for you are with us". I thank you that you walk this journey with us and I pray that you calm the storms.
I pray for all those who are reading that they come to know who you are and seek out a place to experience YOU on your birthday, this Christmas. I pray that they are receptive to your gift and take time to remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Anyone want to join me for a special Christmas Eve Church service? Check out this website and send me a message. I will meet you there on Christmas Eve (I work on Thursday, so I can't make that day, sorry!)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
And then...there it was...in black and white letters...A HABITUAL ABORTER.
Hmmmm...it makes it sound like I committed several crimes that would receive a stiff penalty. I can read it now, the headlines, "Woman from Michigan Sentenced to Prison for Habitually Aborting."
In my head, I know that the medical term for miscarriage is abortion. In my head, I know that habitual means more than once. In my head, I understand this phrase and make no judgements whatsoever about anyone else who has ever been given this diagnosis. But, I feel so guilty in my heart reading this.
I think I remember my mom telling me that she had several miscarriages. Specifically, I remember that my mom had a stillbirth when I was small. I remember that we named her Summer because she was the only sister I had. I remember that my mom told me about her experience bleeding profusely and having to have a D&C and the pathology revealed my mom was carrying a 3-4 month old female fetus. I don't remember her telling me much else, but after my mom died, she left me a bunch of letters that she had written to me when I was a little girl. This one read something like this: My dear Sunshine, you are 2 years old and I am watching you play in the livingroom. I just had a little baby who was too small, they call this a miscarriage to my face, but when I read the doctor's notes it said, "Spontaneous Abortion". I argued with my doctor, pleaded with him not to write abortion in my chart, but he insisted that this is what it was called. I will heal from this loss, but I hope that I will be able to give you some brothers or sisters some day..."
I feel that same sentiment that my mom wrote to me about, and much like many who have had miscarriages. I feel like I wanted this child so much that to label it an abortion is truly unfair to me. I never ever intended to give my unborn baby over to a vacuum or any other procedure to kill it. Abortion is just not what I want to be remembered by and yet, there it was...Habitual Aborter.
Thank the Lord that He knows my heart and my intention. I pray that He will bless me to no longer be known on diagnosis as 629.81, but instead as mother of several living children as a result of several of my full term healthy pregnancies!
Father, thank you for granting my request to be a mother in advance. I know you will provide. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Dr. Marsh, the younger female doctor who performed my surgery, came in to speak with me first of all and shared that the initial pathology from the tissue sent from the surgery suggested that there was enough tissue to culture and it would take a few additional weeks to get a final analysis from that on if there were any genetic cause to the miscarriage. She said, unless that comes back positive we do not need to test Shaun and my genetic karyotypes as it has a very low yield to show anything that would be helpful for us. She said that the most likely relationship between the 3 losses (full term abruption, chemical, and 8 week miscarriage) would be random selection. Or possibly a clotting disorder for me. She asked if I had any clotting testing done and I told her that I had. When she searched my file to find it, it was not in my records. I told her that Dr. Gardner sent me to Dr. Mowat, the hemotologist, and he would have the labs, but he had told us 5 years ago that I did not have anything unusual. She told me that they would request the labs and if there were anything that he had not done or that could be retested that they would let me know. But, since I probably don't have any clotting issues, then most likely all of these losses are completely rare and bad luck.
She answered all 36+ of my listed questions. Most noteworthy are:
1. Do these miscarriages teach you anything about my condition? Yes, they say to us that it is not terribly difficult to get you pregnant, except that you have to be here, but we need to identify if there is anything else we can do to help you sustain it, such as adding a baby aspirin or blood thinner when you get a positive test.
2. What would be the next plan of treatment? Do hybrid cycles until you get pregnant. It is very likely that you will get pregnant within the next 3 cycles.
3. Should I consider surrogacy? and is it legal in Michigan? No, it is not legal in Michigan, but if that were the only option, we do have ways to get around the law, and no, we don't think that it is necessary for you to hire anyone to carry your child as we believe it will happen for you shortly.
4. What if I don't get pregnant on the hybrid, what's next? Then we would offer IVF. But, if you were responding well to the hybrid, we would continue to use hybrid since you have said you do not want to do IVF.
5. Do you think with my history I should see a high risk OB or would a regular OB be fine? (she laughed and said emphatically, touching her third trimester pregnant belly) YES, see the high risk, if I were you I wouldn't mess around with the regular OB.
6. How many years of fertility do you think I have left? I want to be able to have more children and wonder if I should try to get pregnant immediately after delivering a live birth? I think you have many years left as you are still young and are responding well to treatment. So, if you wanted to wait a little while to space your kids, you may.
7. How many miscarriages would I need to have before you all tell me to quit trying? We don't have a magic number and it will not be bothersome to your physical health to keep trying, but it would depend on you and your hubby's emotional wellbeing. You two decide what is right for you.
So, then Dr. Randolph, who has worked in the practice for 25 years came in to solidify all that Dr. Marsh had said. He was so patient, kind and came in compassionately, asking both of us how we were doing emotionally. I told him that I was handling it all very well and Shaun agreed he was doing fine too. He asked how Thanksgiving was and what we were going to do to get through the holidays because he knows how rough it is for those of us who have lost. He then said, as long as we were ready emotionally, this would be the next plan:
1. Wait for beta to drop to 0.
2. Get a hysteroscopy (a camera looking inside of my uterus for structural abnormalities) done in the office before period. And take a 2 hour glucose tolerance test to check for diabetes.
3. Start Prometrim 2 weeks after beta is 0, and take for 2 weeks until I start a cycle.
4. If all tests come back, including the pathology from the fetal tissue, then we can start a hybrid cycle, if Shaun and I are ready. If not then we will wait 2 weeks and restart prometrium to induce another cycle.
5. Take Femara on days 3-7 and give shots 7-10, on day 10 ultrasound to see if follicles are ready and then give ovidrel.
6. If I give ovidrel, then 8 days later take a progesterone test.
7. Depending on results of the multitude of tests, then I may begin progesterone or aspirin or heparin blood thinners once a positive pregnancy test is seen.
Shaun and I left the office feeling a sense of confidence. I told the doctors that if they told me that it was unlikely to carry a baby to term that I was willing to admit defeat and move on to the other options, like surrogacy or adoption. They were very passionate about how they believed that I would be pregnant within the next few months and the outcome looks good. All these testings were just to prove that there is nothing wrong and it was all just bad luck.
So, I feel ready to start again. Ready to move on to being parents. Hopefully, next Christmas, we will have a little one to share it with. We believe that God allowed us to be in this place for a purpose and are praising Him for letting us share this journey with you.
Father, I thank you again for modern medicine and allowing doctors the gift of learning and discerning to use medicine and research to help people. I praise you because you are the Great Physician and you have given your knowledge to man. I ask that you continue to provide peace and comfort to all who mourn and to us who are currently on this journey. Give my friends peace who are still trying, who are deciding to stop trying, and to those who are pregnant and worrying. I pray that you allow your will and you give each of us a sense of your will so that the pain only lasts a moment. I pray that you will bless Shaun and me with a child and that you will allow us to be the parents that you have destined and designed us to be. I pray all of this in Jesus' name, AMEN!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The nurse told me that it is hard to know how long it will take to get to be zero, and for some it is 3 weeks and others it can take 3 months. So, I imagine that it should come down within the next two weeks. I am not worried about it and am so glad that it is declining rather quickly.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, I have an appointment with Dr. Randolph to discuss whether he thinks the miscarriages and Ethan's loss are related and whether we should do more testing and what the next step from here is. I have a lot of questions prepared and am ready to discuss. Plus, I am thinking that I want to try again, so hopefully these numbers fall quickly and we can get on with it already.
Father, thank you so much for your provision and love throughout these weeks. I pray that you continue to hold us up and give us strength to keep trying if it is your will, or to pursue other options if that is your will. Still praying for my friends who are expecting and worried about the health of themselves and their little ones. I pray that you keep them wrapped tight in your loving care. I pray for my other friends who are still trying to conceive that you fill them with a child soon. I pray for those who are making decisions to not try anymore that you give them peace about this and take away their desire to become parents again. And in the midst of all the baby making, I pray for the family of the 3 little boys in Morenci who are yet to be found. I pray for peace or triumph to come soon. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Growing up, I lived in a very matriarchal family. My grandmother moved in with us shortly after my grandfather died when I was 10 years old. Before then, we spent a lot of time at my grandparents house, and my grandma was the epitome of love. I don't ever remember her raising her voice or showing anger. I knew when she was mad, because she would say it straight to someone's face what she thought, but never with a loud voice. She hugged, kissed and read books to me and her other grandchildren. She smiled and always was happy to see us. Christmases were either at her house, or one of her daughter's homes and always included the extended family. When she moved in with us, I appreciated her so much because I never had a sister, so somehow, even though she was 53 years older than me, it felt as though I had a sister, someone to share my life with and teach me how to bake, cook, clean and be a young woman. My mom on the other hand, was a pistol! She enjoyed life completely and was every child in the neighborhood's friend, every niece and nephew she had loved her and she threw the best parties. My mother organized fundraisers for the community and prepared lemonade stands for the road side. She created relay races, bonfires, pin the tail on the donkey and all sorts of fun things to do with the kids. But, on Christmas, she went all out. We decorated the house, we baked cookies and pies and sang Christmas music all throughout the month of December. On Christmas Eve, my Uncle Dave and his kids came to visit us and we exchanged gifts. We each had a line in the 12 days of Christmas that mom required us to sing to, and we dressed up and knocked on doors in the neighborhood to sing Christmas carols to our neighbors. There were no inhibitions. She made life fun and then culminated the Christmas evening by sharing the true Christmas story as found in Luke of the Bible. My mother loved the Lord and sharing about who He was and how His grace was sufficient for her. We lived on government income at various times in our life, but no matter what she knew that God would provide her with her daily bread and still belted out "Oh, Holy Night" with such passion that you would have thought she was blessed beyond measure.
Even though when my grandma was 71, she accepted Christ on her deathbed, once my grandmother died December 21, 1998, my mom's enthusiasm for holidays waned. She learned she had cancer in 1999 and was in the hospital that Christmas after a severe reaction to the radiation and chemotherapy. She died in October of 2000.
That year, I desperately wanted to continue the zest and love for the season she possessed by hosting the holiday the same way she had always done. I tried but failed to match up. Each year since, I have just put aside the traditions and tried to assimilate to my husband's family's plan. While I love being with them and spending the holiday with my nieces and nephews, I lack the matriarchal family and zest my grandma and mom brought. And I just LONG for the day I get to have my own family and host my own traditions and bring up my children into a hope-filled, loving, joyous occasion where they know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord and He was born to save the lost and dying.
So, part of me is sad to miss my motherly figures. Part of me is sad to not yet be able to share with my kids about Who He IS!! And yet, I still have a great message to share with all of you, with my nieces and nephews and my family and friends, that the ONE who is name CHRIST is the ONE who came to save. He is God and I am in LOVE.
Father, thank you for allowing me to express some of my desire for female family relationship. Thank you for giving us Christ to save us from this broken world. I pray that you allow me the chance to have children and especially a daughter to pass on this enthusiasm and love for you. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Last night, I came home from work at 11:30pm and Shaun was already in bed, as he had to be at the hospital for clinicals at 7:30am. I stepped in to see if he was awake and leaned over to kiss his forehead. He leaped over and wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my belly and said "I'm sorry. I wanted this baby so badly. I hurt too. And I was bad. I bought Pringles and Oreos. It makes me feel better."
I chuckled a little and remembered that sometimes it takes men a longer time to experience emotion after an event. They tend to do things and then later on FEEL the effects. I feel bad that he has to go through this. But, if Pringles and Oreos make it better, then I will be buying him Pringles and Oreos. And since he suggested it made him feel better, then I decided to give it a try too!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
And truthfully, I am shaking my head over and over again. This sucks. It just plain does. I hurt. I can't even begin to describe the disappointment I feel. Utterly and completely crushed. I know through my past experiences that I WILL feel whole again. I know that this deep longing and emptiness will not last forever. But, today in this moment, I am broken. Not by fear. Not by past situations. But, by knowing that my sweet child who only was able to flutter his heart for after a short 7 weeks, had to pass on. I miss this little one.
Father, thank you for the gift of feeling emotion. Thank you that you allow us to hurt so that we can help and comfort others who are hurting. I am reminded that you said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Thanks for calling me blessed, but please attach a human feeling to it so I know within my marrow that I am blessed, because at times it feels like a curse. Help me to continue to see you in this and through this. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Shaun and I have talked and just feel like we need a break. At least get through the holidays without any medication. I feel sorry for him. I don't know about the rest of you who have had miscarriages, but for me the chemical pregnancy wasn't as devastating. I was just so excited after 1 year of trying that I was successful and knew that the clinic was the way to go. I didn't really grieve except when I couldn't get pregnant after that. But, this loss blindsided me. Shaun was so very excited about FINALLY becoming parents again and he invested his whole heart. It hurts knowing that my body continues to disappoint him. He tells me that he is just so happy that through all our losses that I have survived. Ethan's loss was so traumatic on my body and we just didn't know if I was gonna make it for weeks as my blood had trouble clotting. And so, even though it broke our hearts that Ethan died, we were just so very thankful that God spared my life. So, when it took 4 years for Shaun to finally feel safe enough to let me get pregnant again and both times have resulted in loss and because of our past trauma we were devastated by this loss, and yet the overwhelming fear that trauma was going to happen to me next was just too much. I have sobbed over both this loss and coming to grips with fear. And although I know that this grief journey is not over, I feel great to know that I am not in fear for my life since this surgery yesterday. So a break is definitely what we need.
But, I printed off a basal body temperature chart and reset my fertility monitor because really, we do not want to become pregnant this month. The doctor has asked us to at least wait until my beta hCG is at 0. I have to have weekly tests done to be sure that the pregnancy hormone is completely out of my body. If it doesn't go down, that can indicate that still I have tissue left and if I were to become pregnant this tissue could somehow cause problems for the other fetus, and we wouldn't be able to tell if the hCG is from the last pregnancy or the current one. So, doing the fertility monitor and charting my temp is really for family planning. We are restricted from intercourse for 2 weeks, but we have been restricted for several weeks before that, so as discretely as possible, you all know what I am thinking!!
Anyway. The surgery went off exactly as it was planned. I listened to my ipod filled with great worship music of the contemporary christian variety on the 45 minute ride from Adrian. We arrived in the office at 9am, and I wore my Tiny Purpose hoodie in memory of Ethan and Baby Plato. It felt good to be comforted and share with whoever saw it that my heart was right there. On a side note, when I ordered this hoodie a few months ago, I debated on adding the baby Plato as I said before that the chemical pregnancy wasn't as terrible of a loss, but now I am so thankful that I did just so I could honor this little one. None of the staff mentioned it to me, but EVERYONE in the office, doctors, medical assistants, nurses, receptionists, stood behind me at one time or another and if it got them talking around the office that day I wouldn't be surprised.
So, when I arrived in the waiting room the receptionist gave me a key to a locker and my hospital bracelet and I sat down doing a crossword puzzle. The doctor came out into the lobby to get some coffee and with a pouty lip, he asked, "are you ok?" I told him, "a little nervous, but so much better than yesterday." He smiled tenderly and said, "this will be all taken care of in just a few minutes, and I will make sure everything goes well." This was all in front of other patients. I didn't mind, but I sure felt bad for them. I don't know why they were there, and I don't know if they knew why I was there, but I still felt nervous for them. A few moments later, only enough time for me to solve 4 questions on my crossword puzzle, a medical assistant came out and had me give a weight and then we were in the changing room. Shaun got to wear a "marshmallow suit" as he called it. Basically a fibrous zip up suit that covered his enter body except his shoes and head and hands. On his head a surgical cap and on his feet surgical covers. I wore a hospital gown and cap and foot covers. We locked our things in a locker and I went into the treatment room. After being hooked up to heart monitors, pulse ox on my finger, blood pressure cuff and and IV, I decide one more set of wires from my ipod was too much. I had them playing contemporary christian music on Pandora. They covered me with LOTS of warm blankets and were so very kind. I kept reminding them of my medical history; c-section scar, uterine atony, DIC for 4 days after c-section, asthma, etc. They continued to remind me that this was so very much different than what I had gone through before but would remember what I had said.
Moments later, the medicine went in and a felt pushed back in this reclining chair. It calmed me and relaxed me so well and then they pushed it to table position and put my legs in stirrups. The medicine wasn't so strong that I don't remember anything, but it was strong enough that I couldn't keep my eyes open. I remember the needle to numb my cervix hurt. It was pinching and I could feel the pain inside me, and I yelled ouch a few times. Then that was over. I remember telling the staff that Shaun sometimes get queasy with blood and to watch him. He chuckled and said he was fine. I could hear everything around me but had to ask Shaun what happened later. He said it was a very long syringe that that had a plunger they pulled out and then they pressed a button to suck the tissue out. They had to empty it twice into a silver bowl full of saline. There was an abdominal ultrasound at the same time to make sure the didn't puncture anything and to be sure that they got all the tissue out. And then it was over. No need to dilate my cervix as the medication on Monday already had. And no metal curette was needed. They put my legs down and lifted my body back to a slightly higher elevation and the doctor touched my leg and said, "this is all over, everything went well, we will send this off to pathology and see if it shows us anything. I noticed that you have a consultation with me in two weeks, but the pathology will not be back by then. But, we can still talk. I feel confident that we know exactly how to get you pregnant, and it will happen for you. But, take this time to have a break, regroup and deal with this loss. I am sorry. But, everything went well. Good job." He said good job to Shaun and shook his hand. And, so recovery began. It took about 30 minutes for me to safely come to a seated position without feeling too dizzy. I got up and got dressed and came out to get discharge instructions and although I was really tired and a little dizzy, we walked out of the clinic by 10:45am.
I was so hungry and thirsty, that I couldn't wait to go home to eat. The doctor had suggested I get Panera Bread while I was in surgery. But, we saw Old Country Buffet and thought that was better. So, we ate. And then I slept most of the ride home, with my earbuds in praising my father for a successful surgery.
I slept off and on most of the afternoon and then I had energy. I hadn't had any energy in months. And so I cleaned. And then I got tired, and sat on the couch, and continued to clean and alternatively relaxed. About 5pm, I received a beautiful flower arrangement from Tiny Purpose. It was a little bunch of wildflowers set in a antique white box with a lid open. It was the size of two decks of cards next to one another but this box was exactly the color of the casket I laid my son Ethan to rest in. And looking at it, I would have been able to fit the gestational sac and fetus into this box. This is our baby's casket. So very fitting. For many of you, you may think this is morbid, but surprisingly, this brought so much comfort to me. I have very few tangible memories of this baby, so I will keep this box, and I will put the ultrasound pic of when this child had a heartbeat in it and this will be Baby Plato's keepsake treasure box. Thank you so much Tiny Purpose.
Father, thank you so much for keeping me safe yesterday and throughout the last few weeks. I pray that I can continue to keep my eyes on you and trust in your plan even when they don't seem to mesh with mine. I love you Lord and pray that my fervor to love and share you with my friends and family never ends. I praise you for a speedy recovery and help in the next few months as we figure out your plan for us. Thank you so much for our huge support system we have. Bless each one of them for their faithfulness in trusting in You. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Dr. Randolph entered and said that if appears that I don't have all the tissue removed and we could do one of four things. 1. Wait and see if the tissue passes on its own over the next week, however there is risk of infection. 2. Take the Cytotec again, but my body still may not respond to it enough and then I would need to have a procedure. 3. Have the MVA (Manual Vacuum Aspiration) Procedure, a specific from of D&C, but small risks of infection and requires sedation. 4. General anesthesia operation at the hospital, more risk of bleeding, infection, anesthesia complications. I told him I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and he said he felt comfortable with any of the options. I let him know that my biggest fear was emergency bleeding or other health concerns for me. He said, well, we can tentatively schedule a surgery and then let you wait to see if it passes, but that gets tricky if there is an emergency and you would have to do the operation, which poses bigger risks of bleeding. He said, "I know, you being in the medical profession that you have some real concerns." I chuckled a little and told him I wasn't a med pro, but just research about things associated with my body. He said, yeah, but that kinda makes you a professional, you have a lot of medical knowledge and it shows. But, do what makes sense to you.
At this time, a nurse knocked on the door and asked for him. He shooed her away and said, "I'm talking with this patient." He was so patient with me and went over all the details and risks to each option. He told me that I did nothing wrong. He looked me in the eyes and said, "you are so strong for what you have both been through, I know it is tough and you don't think so, but you are." I asked Shaun what he thought and he adamantly refused for me to take the cytotec again and told the doctor that the longer this goes on the more anxious and fear it will bring for me, so he just wanted it out of me with the least complications as quick as possible. I had to agree with him. Even as anxious as I was with having the procedure.
So, I chose to do the MVA at 9:30am. The doctor reassured me and went over risks, but said, that he is required by law to share them with me, but if he thought for one second that I was going to have any of these complications he would not have me do it here in this office. He said, he has has patients where he has refused to do the procedures because of their high risk. I asked him, "even with my history with abruption, and bleeding out, and uterine atony, and whatever else?" He nodded confidently and said, "yes, even with your history. You will do fine."
The nurse came in to go over the specifics with me. I told her about my surgical anxiety and asked her to go over details with me. I will come in and have versed and Fentanyl and once I am comfortable the procedure will begin and it will take 5 minutes and then it is over and I can start to recover from the meds. Recovery should take 1/2 hour. I should be out of the office by 10:30-11:00am. Sounds like the versed will cause some amnesia, so I shouldn't remember much and I can have any kind of music I want playing on Pandora. So, Contemporary Christian. Anyone have a Contemporary Christian radio station on Pandora they like that I can request? I need some Worship music in the treatment room. Everything happens quickly and Shaun can be right there with me. I told her that I have low blood pressure, so she is making sure that I get fluids just in case it gets low. And, she said that this procedure is done on ladies all the time (probably with abortions) and those ladies don't use meds, so we will use just the minimum amount of meds to make me comfortable. But, she doesn't want me to endure any pain.
I got to see right where it will happen and it is in a reclining chair with stirrups, and they have a blanket warmer. So, I think it is the best possible scenario. I am scared, but I will do it to get it done.
However, doctor did say that if I pass the tissue tonight, which CAN happen, then they will do an ultrasound just before the procedure and if everything is passed by then, they will cancel it. I AM PRAYING that it all passes and I don't have to do it. But, if not, I pray that no matter what God is with me, that he won't allow harm to me, and that HE IS IN CONTROL.
Father, thank you for allowing me to pass the fetus and gestational sac on my own. I am grateful for having seen your creation at its core. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made and ask that you show how you are the Great Physician and you can heal my body. I pray that you allow me to pass the rest of the remaining tissue on my own, but if you choose not to, I pray that you allow the doctor to be guided by your hand, your love and your plan. Give me peace and rest over this night and I pray that you help me to not have fear or anxiety. You are holy and marvelous and I am begging to let your glory be shown above all else. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
And then my fear turned into peace. I prayed and God comforted. I started to cramp and all I could think was to write some of my thoughts and prayers here. My hubby stayed pretty busy, I think he just didn't know what to do for me.
And then I passed it. What a relief. I thought that was what it was, but in my fear, I wondered if it was a huge blood clot or a piece of my uterus. I blogged about it hear and chatted with a friend on facebook who had similar losses. She assured me that what was happening was normal and likely what I was seeing was the gestational sac. That knowledge brought me more peace. Finally, I thought, this was behind me, the labor-like cramps would cease soon and I could relax. But, as I was chatting with her, I began to cramp again. And thinking I had to have a bowel movement, I used the toilet and a loud PLOP! My sweet hubby heard this and turned to me and said, "Oh no, are you ok? Did it happen again?" I was bleeding pretty heavily at this time and started to get a little nervous, thinking these were now, clots as surely there wouldn't be two! But, we checked and it was another sac like thing that had a white-looking something embedded in it. We breathed a sigh of relief and Shaun was certain that it was over. "That's the baby," he said. I told him I wanted to call the doctor because I wasn't sure, and he asked, "are you bleeding through a pad a hour? Are you in writhing pain? Do you have seizures or uncontrollable shaking? Fever? Then, no, you don't need to call the doctor and this has passed." He was right. And so we flushed. Not saving these products of conception because it had been contaminated by the toilet water.
I felt relieved, especially since I only needed 1-600mg Motrin and no need for vicodin. I feel no more anxiety and I feel ok. At different times last week before I had the final ultrasound to determine no progress, I broke down and cried hard, pleading with God to take this from me. I have started the grieving before the physical loss had begun. I know from past experience that in time I will feel pain, I will feel loss and I will feel empty. But, today, right now, I feel relieved to have the worst of it over. I feel ok.
Thank you to all of you for your kind words, your thoughts, prayers and love. I appreciate it more than you know and it has somewhat made up for not having my mother here to go through it with me. I love you and will continue to blog about where God is taking me. Today he is taking me through the Psalms...
A song of ascents.
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in obedience to him.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the LORD.
5 May the LORD bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.
Father, I pray that you allow me to live to see and help raise my children's children. Thank you for letting this process go quickly and relatively painlessly. I praise you because you are so involved in the details of everything and looking at the sac I am reminded about these details. Your perfection astounds me and I am in awe of your creation. Please help Shaun and I to grieve sufficiently and to in time come to understand what the reason is for all this loss in our lives. Help us to determine what plans you have for us and give us a clearly defined course for us to follow to raise children. You alone have the answers and I pray that you continue to bless me with great friends, awesome family and a positive spirit. I know that without You in my life I would not be capable of enduring this tragedy so peacefully. It is You who brings me peace and I pray that you infiltrate the lives of those who read. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Monday, November 15, 2010
I took the pills at 3pm, after I got out of work. I have the next three days off so I just planned to get this taken care of and not return to work until Friday at 3pm. I had to take these 4 nasty pills and put them on the inside of my mouth, between my gums and cheek and let them dissolve for 1/2 hour. This is supposed to decrease the chances of gastrointestinal upset. Anyway, one hour after the pills were in my mouth, I spiked a low grade temperature, 100.0. I called my doctor as I was supposed to report any signs/symptoms of infection. Not only did I have this temp, but my body was shaking uncontrollably. I was so afraid that I had an infection. I waited and waited but the doctor didn't return my call. About 6:45pm, I went to use the restroom and had a little bit of red streaking, and little cramping. Shortly after, the doctor returned my call and told me that low grade temps are sometimes a side effect of the medication and not to worry unless it is over 101. Then I should call him immediately. I told him I was worried since it had been a few hours since he called. He assured me that if I call him anytime from here on out, he will answer. He went over several different scenarios in which I would call, if I bleed through a pad in an hour or two, if I have extreme pain instead of cramping, if I have a fever over 101, if I get the chills, etc. He then asked if I had taken any motrin. I told him no as I didn't want to take medicine and the pain was bearable. He encouraged me strongly to take the motrin 600 as the cramping was about to get much worse and if I medicate before it happens, then it won't be as bad. I thanked him for calling and hung up.
I reluctantly decided to take the motrin and moments later I began cramping so much I had to breathe through it. It feels like early labor, cramping in front and lower back pain. I then had to use the restroom again and am now bleeding bright red with dime sized clots. I sure don't like this pain, but I remembered that I had planned to deliver Ethan vaginally and naturally and have a whole slew of relaxation techniques and lamaze type breathing exercises to decrease the pain. I remember that I labored from 10am until 4am with no medication, just breathing and relaxing. I can do this, I tell myself. But, this time, there is no prospect of reward at the end. This time, I will not hold a sweet smelling infant in my arms. This time, I will potentially only see gray hamburger consistency matter that is supposed to have been my child. I am supposed to attempt to catch it in a sterile cup. I am supposed to endure all this with one goal in mind, to dispel the fetus that I so desperately hoped would become my first born living child.
Father, thank you for allowing the cytotec to work and for me to begin bleeding promptly. Thank you for allowing my bosses to give me the time off of work and to be supportive, even though I don't have the sick time to take off. Thank you for amazing friends and family members who support me no matter what the events are happening in our lives. Thank you for the emails they send, the prayers they pray and the calls they make. It makes this process less lonely. Thank you for allowing me to remember good memories of my mother when I miss her so terribly. I pray that you allow this miscarriage to pass quickly, completely and as painless as possible. You know the plans you have for me. Plans to prosper me and not to HARM me, plans to give me hope and a future, according to Jeremiah. Father, keep your promises that you will give me hope, a future and that you will heal my brokenheart. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Here is the plan. I work throughout the weekend, so if I don't miscarry on my own by Monday night, then I will take Cytotec which will open my cervix and I should start to bleed within 2-3 hours. If this does not induce the miscarriage, then the next day I will take it again and hope that it works. If it does work, then I should bleed and cramp heavily for 5-6 hours and have a period like bleed after that. If it doesn't work, then I will need to have a MVA procedure to remove the products of conception.
Please pray that I will miscarry naturally or via medication as I do NOT want to have this procedure done. It is too much like doing an abortion and I can't have that on my conscience with everything else that is going on.
I asked about recurrent loss and the doctor wants me to come in to talk to my primary RE and possibly have a workup on genetic karotypes to see if that is what is causing all my losses. I haven't decided as of now what we will do. I don't know if I can take another loss. Today, I hurt. It feels like it is too much. I fear bleeding to death again. The doctor assured me that the amount of blood loss will be nowhere near the amount that I had during my pregnancy with a placental abruption. But, just to make me feel better, he gave me his personal cell phone number so I can call him at any time I feel scared or worried about what is happening.
Does anyone have any details to past miscarriage stories that can help me know what to expect? Please share them here, or send them privately to my email...email@example.com. I am scared to death about what will happen from here.
Father, today I feel so let down. Today I feel betrayed. I know that you don't show your love only through blessing but I have to say that because I do not have children that you call a reward, I feel like you are withholding your blessing from me. I pray that you change my heart and give me the opportunity to love, raise and hold a child of my own. Or change my heart about having a family. This heartache is just too much. Father, Psalm 126:5-6 says "those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy carrying his sheaves." Lord, you have allowed me to carry 3 seeds. Allow me soon to bring home the harvest of sheaves. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Father, Thank you for the use of the internet to connect women together. I pray that you continue to teach us that you have not withheld your blessing from us, but instead that you bless us through each other daily. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Shaun and I are trying to become parents, again! We are ridiculously excited about how far God has brought us in the last 3.5 years and want to include you in our journey! Since our son, Ethan, was born and died January 14 -- January 19, 2006, we have been waiting on full healing and for God's timing to try again. I wasn't sure for many years if I would be emotionally strong enough to endure it again and whether I could take the risk of losing my or another child's life. Shaun has been resistant to anything that might bring about risk until recently. But, we have come to a place now where we are no longer fearing another pregnancy, we are feeling God's leading in going forward, and we are incorporating ministry into this process.
As difficult as it was to decide to try again, we understand how difficult it is for others who have lost a child and want to try again as well. So, I find it fascinating that God laid it on my heart to be transparent and share my journey via blog so others may find healing and strength to continue. I suggested this to Tiny Purpose (the organization who provide group meetings to women who have had similar losses, so they will know that they are not alone in their grief and that their crazy thoughts are not in fact so crazy!), and we prayed if this would be something that would be beneficial. At the next group meeting, almost all the members were either pregnant again or trying to be pregnant again. We felt that this is exactly what is needed during this season, so the blog began.
I cannot tell you where God will take me. I cannot tell you for sure if He will allow me to experience similar loss again. I just know that I must be obedient and hopefully through my transparency, I will help others in their healing to see God for who He is and at the same time share with all of you what He is doing in my life. If we are allowed to be infertile, that will benefit others via blog. If we are allowed to miscarry, that will benefit others via blog. If we are allowed to have a healthy child born free from any complications, that will help others via blog. Plus, the blog will provide you, my group of prayer warriors, the knowledge to know where we are each day and what it is to pray for at whatever time. I thank all of you for your prayers to date and for the prayers yet to come. May He bless you richly for your faithfulness!
Anyway, the blog address is http://sunshine-thejourney.blogspot.com/ . I am hopeful that those of you on the same journey will be blessed and those of you who are just along for the ride are blessed as well! I ask one thing in defense of my sisters who are hurting out there, please be aware of your comments to my posts that they are sensitive to moms who have just had losses and may never have another pregnancy. This blog is not intended to brag about me, but rather to brag about the amazing God we serve.
You can HELP us in this journey. We are asking that you join us in prayer for God's will for our future. If that includes children (which we think it will) we ask that you pray for God's will over the timing, the circumstances and the outcomes. We know better that our God is in control of all things and we just want to do as He asks us to and on his timing. You can send positive thoughts our way. You can check in on the blog as often as you like and if you have to comment about personal things, please send to my email instead of on the blog. If it is something that will benefit all readers of the blog, please feel free to comment directly on the blog. You can pass this around to anyone you think will pray for us or anyone who are planning a subsequent pregnancy after loss. Please just try to remember that although we are excited, we are also apprehensive about causing anyone else any more pain.
Thank you again for your time and fervent prayers in the previous and next seasons of our lives. We are grateful for everyone of you!
Sunshine and Shaun
Friday, November 5, 2010
The tech was able to see the gestational sac clearly. "Here is the gestational sac inside of your uterus and here is a yolk sac. And there may be a second yolk sac here, but I am not seeing a fetal pole." She called the doctor in. In my head, I am thinking haphazardly, "I remember that we had trouble seeing the fetal pole last week, and I cannot believe there may be two!"
The doctor came in and she also saw the same thing as the tech. The sac should be measuring 7weeks, 5 days, but instead measured 7 weeks, 0 days. She kept pointing to different spots where they thought that they could see a heartbeat and continued to doppler it and try to find it. Each attempt futile in its efforts.
After 20 minutes of searching, they told my husband and myself that I may be miscarrying, since they were able to see a fetus last week and now are unable, but they didn't want to say the pregnancy was over at this point. For now, it is a wait and see. We will come back next Friday to have another ultrasound unless I have bleeding or pain before then, and then I can come in earlier than that. Francie again hugged me and said she was sorry and walked out of the room.
I cried hard. My hubby wrapped his arms around me and I just told him to let go. I don't want to admit that I am losing this baby, but can't imagine everything being ok, either. I am conflicted. I am searching a site called www.misdiagnosedmiscarriage.com hoping I can find some hope.
Father, I thank you again for allowing me to conceive another one of your children. I pray that you continue to bless this pregnancy and our marriage. Give us strength to endure whatever it is you have in store for us, whether it be managing this pregnancy for 7 more months or dealing with a miscarriage. I pray that you allow us to be healthy. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
"Do you need a urine?"
"Nope, go ahead and use the restroom and remove your clothes from the waist down."
I thought for sure I was going to throw up while I waited for the ultrasound tech, Francie, to come into the room. And then she came in and asked how I was feeling. I told her nauseous and scared. She asked why? and then remembered that I had 3 mature follicles when I was here last. HEHE!
She inserted the probe and there it was. A gestational sac with a yolk sac inside. "There is only one," she said. And digging through with the probe, she began looking more intently. "Usually we don't have you come in this early and I am having trouble seeing the fetal pole. Let me zoom in."
"Is the baby too small for the dates?" I asked. It seems as though I know way too much about the details of all of this.
"Yes, you are only measuring less than 5 weeks," she says to me and then asks the resident observing, "could you go outside and get a doctor so I can get another set of eyes to find the fetal pole."
I know that fetal pole means heartbeat, so I am starting to tear out the corner of my eye. "It's ok," she said, "don't do that yet."
After 5 minutes, a doctor I have never met before enters the room and points out what he calls flickers and tells the tech he thinks that is it. She pokes around some more and she says, "I still don't see it." I start to tear some more.
Eventually, she notices what he sees and they explain that I should come in next week and there will be no doubt if it is there or not. He continues to talk and tell me about a bunch of things and it is just like background noise to me. I tried to pay attention, but all I wanted to know was does it have a heartbeat. He asks if this was my first pregnancy and I sadly say, "no, 3rd. I had a full term loss 5 years ago and an early loss 5 months ago." And then the tech tells me, "120 beats per minute and a 6 week, 2 day old fetus!"
I was elated. Thank the LORD that he has allowed me to conceive again and to have a baby that is right on track. The doctor tells me not to worry and that there was a study done that said frequent ultrasounds after loss shows the current pregnancy less likely to result in loss. He said probably due to not being stressed. So he said that anytime I feel scared, or see some spotting, just call them and they will do another ultrasound, but for now, set one up for next week.
The tech who has done an ultrasound on me every month since May gave me a hug and I cried.
Father, thank you so much again for allowing me to carry another one of your creations. You are amazing and I love you! Please bless this little one. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
For those of you who were unable to attend, here is my speech in its entirety. May it give you hope and encouragement as you journey where you are as well! Father, Thank you that you allow me to speak to amazing people everyday through this blog. You are awesome and wonderful and I am blessed to be your daughter!! In Jesus' name, AMEN!
Tiny Purpose Walk to Remember 2010 Speech
What an honor it is to stand here and speak to you, a group of people who are remembering the loss of a baby. Four years earlier, I stood where you are, listening to someone speak at this event for the very first time. I wondered how someone could go through this tragic loss and still stand among you and speak as though it hadn’t completely destroyed who they were. I wondered, four years ago, whether I would ever “get over” my loss. I thought that if I wasn’t sad anymore, then I was forgetting my child. You see, in the midst of it, I wasn’t able to see beyond the hurt, beyond the void, but here I am today, proudly ready to share my journey with you.
My story begins by telling you that I had wanted to be a mom my entire life. I babysat all the neighborhood kids as a teen; I gravitated toward babies and genuinely couldn’t wait to have a dozen of my own. Yes, I said it, a dozen. I wanted as many kids as I was able to have and being a stay at home mom would be great as well.
When we got married, though, I compromised. My husband, Shaun, said he only wanted 2, and I agreed that 2-4 was acceptable. But, as we were only 22 years old at the altar, we decided to wait a couple years before trying to have children – we were young and thought we had plenty of time. Almost 3 years after we were married, we got pregnant within the first two months of coming off of the birth control pill. I was ecstatic. There were a few complications in the early pregnancy, but nothing major.
In the beginning of the third trimester, I had to be put on pills to control my gestational diabetes and that made me a little more high risk, but it was common, nonetheless. I saw a specialist monthly and had extra tests done and the specialist determined that everything was normal and I should not have any diabetes related problems. At 36 weeks, he said I was able to go into labor on my own, and deliver at the local hospital, and would no longer be considered high risk.
When I was almost 40 weeks pregnant, I had had a non-stress test that said that the baby was healthy, thriving and doing well. I went into labor the next day, a Friday night in January. After the contractions were more regular and I was clearly in pain, my hubby decided that it was time to go to the hospital. It was 2am and I had labored most of the day at home because I wanted to have a natural birth and I knew as soon as I got to the hospital, there would be pressure for drugs. But, my hubby overruled when he saw me in pain and off to the hospital we went.
We arrived at 2am and I was still only 4cm dilated. The contractions slowed down, so the doctor chose to break my water, which was stained with meconium. This could suggest that the baby was stressed, but the monitors didn’t seem to show any other signs, so doctor just told me that a pediatrician would be there when I delivered to make sure the baby’s lungs didn’t fill with that fluid. A few hours went by while I was contracting and laboring. I was handling it well, until at one point, when I had an extreme contraction that made me scream with terror and caused me to vomit, it hurt so badly. The nurse administered some narcotics and I slept for about 20 minutes. When I woke up, I was shivering. She checked my temperature and it was showing a fever. The nurse claimed that when a patient shivers it usually means she is close to pushing so she was going to check my cervix as well. I rolled over and she saw some blood, but thought that it also meant I was closer to delivery. Then she checked me.
She pulled out her hand and bright red blood just gushed all over the bed. She immediately pressed the call button and called for the doctor to come into the room stat! I was drugged, so I really didn’t understand. I thought she was calling the doctor to prep me to push. When the doctor came in and checked, she told me that my placenta abrupted. She explained that the placenta must have torn away from the uterus and she had to do an emergency c-section because this is dangerous for him and he would not be able to breathe without my placenta. She checked me to see if I was far enough along to begin pushing him out right then, but I was still only 6-8 cm and blood continued to gush. I was immediately wheeled into the OR at 5:45am, narrowly missing the walls as they rounded the corners. I was scared. Everyone seemed so serious and in such a hurry. I looked around and asked the doctor, “Am I going to die?” Staring me in the eyes she said, “That’s why we’re doing the surgery, hon, to make sure you don’t.” While we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive, I saw the nurses and doctor in a panic. They all seemed to be checking the clock, instruments ready. When the anesthesiologist finally arrived, the surgery began. My son was born at 6:30am, 8lbs, 9oz. We named him Ethan Amari Plato. I was told he had a heart beat, but was blue and wasn’t breathing. My hubby followed the nurses who took Ethan to a different room to work on him.
I, in the meantime, was bleeding to death. My blood wasn’t clotting and the doctor gave me multiple doses of medication to stop the bleeding. I was coming in and out of consciousness and just knew I was dying. Eventually, they were able to stop the bleeding in my uterus and finished the surgery. After switching me to a clean bed, I watched the doctor and nurse squeeze the blood stained sheets into a container to measure how much was lost. I thankfully did not have to have a hysterectomy, but I did have to have several blood transfusions due to losing over half of my blood volume. Amazing, now that I think of it, how I survived that trauma.
It was hours before I knew what was happening with Ethan. I found out that my baby had essentially been suffocating inside of me while we waited for the surgery. He had to be ventilated and was quickly sent to the university hospital to have a cooling study done to possibly reverse the brain damage due to lack of oxygen from the placental abruption. At U of M, Ethan had to have his body cooled to 90 degrees for 72 hours. There was a slight 1 in 8 chance of complete reversal of the brain damage and we were praying for that miracle.
We called our church family shortly after the delivery and started a prayer chain right then. My son and I were fighting for our lives, and my husband was torn between the two hospitals containing the two people he loved most in the world. I had developed pre-eclampsia after delivery and still was having clotting issues. The combination of my high blood pressure and being unable to clot my blood was a serious medical situation. We didn’t sleep for 3 days awaiting word that our miracle was provided to us from God. Since we were faithful followers of Christ, we believed that He would heal us and had trusted Him since the beginning of our pregnancy. But, what we found out at the three day mark, after Ethan was removed from the cooling cap, was that he still had bleeding on his brain. Since I was still very sick in the other hospital, I was just waiting for myself to be well enough to go see him. My husband insisted that Ethan had squeezed his finger and we still didn’t believe that he was destined to die. That night I decided that I needed a nurse or doctor to tell me, directly, how my son was doing. I knew that my husband was probably holding onto any hope there might be, and I needed to hear from someone else that his hope was true. I called a nurse at the university hospital and she told me, “He has little chance of survival and it is important that you come see him soon as he doesn’t have much time left.”
I was in shock. How dare God? I thought. I had trusted Him with my entire life just a few years earlier and thought that once I became a Christian, these kinds of things didn’t happen. Two members of our church, who became our adopted parents in Christ, were in the room with me when I made this call. They instantly fell to their knees and prayed with me, asking God to provide a miracle, but if a miracle was not to be had, to give my husband and me a sense of peace and come to an understanding of what was to happen next. I lay in my bed while the three of us wept. They wrapped their arms around me and promised me that this was not in God’s plan, but instead would be used for the good of those who love God according to Romans 8:28. I was heartbroken. Not only because I had news that my son was about to die, but that I also had not yet seen or held him. I had spent nine complete months loving him and holding him from inside my belly, but I had not held him close to my heart. I wondered if he wondered where his mama was. I felt disgusted that I had abandoned my son in his time of need.
My doctor was reluctant to release me as my condition was still unstable as my blood pressure skyrocketed with this news. But the next afternoon, after a Tiny Purpose leader pleaded with her, the doctor graciously let me go, with the instruction that I be checked if I felt unusual at all. When I saw my child for the first time, I sobbed. How is it possible, I thought, that I dreamed of the day I was going to see my newborn and now all I was thinking about how is how I was going to watch him die? I was told I couldn’t hold him as he was too sick, but I did get to hold him after several hours when the doctor said he would not make it through the night. It was bittersweet, as I held him with the mattress on my lap and took pictures preparing for him to die. But, then he didn’t. He pinked up and was surviving still, we wondered if our miracle was coming. After a brief nap, the next day my husband and I were told by a team of doctors that we had to choose to remove him from life support. I asked them, “and what if we choose not to?” He said, “Then we will choose for you. There is no hope that your child will live. He is brain dead.” The doctors left the room and the words, “NO HOPE” flooded over us. Shaun and I knelt down in the conference room underneath a long table and prayed for clarity and strength to choose this most difficult decision. And a peace overwhelmed us when we decided that we would remove him from life support.
Later that evening, we allowed our family and friends to visit him one last time before he was to die. It crushed me when I watched my father in law hold him tenderly in his arms, while my mother in law sat next to him caressing his swollen cheek. And then Ethan became blue. The nurse told us that he was not going to make it and asked if I wanted to hold him as he lay dying. I said yes, and slid myself into the chair my father in law was sitting in. This time when I held him, it was without the mattress to protect him. He fit so perfectly into the crook of my arm. It felt so comfortable and at that moment I actually felt like I was a mom. I wanted to do everything I could to protect him. I wanted to see his face pink up and know that everything was all right in his world. I wished I could see his eyes lock with mine. He was my first born son and I was watching him slowly lose his color, his body become colder, and then the monitor flat lined. Our son died that night, January 19, 2006, 5 days after he was born.
My husband and I looked to God throughout the next week, depending on Him for each breath. We thanked him for not making us remove the life support and instead taking Ethan on his own timing. We were utterly amazed at the support of the people who loved Ethan by the hundreds of people who showed at his funeral and the meals that were provided for us for weeks and the prayers we heard for months. We knew that God was taking care of us, He was our HOPE. We learned over the next year about God’s sovereignty through weekly Christian counseling and how HE is in control of everything and how everything has a purpose in life. We were able to accept that God’s ways are higher than ours and that even if we never knew the reason for Ethan’s death, that we were so blessed to have been his parents. We learned that just because someone is a Christian it doesn’t exempt them from trials; it just makes them better able to withstand them. We learned that our lives are much richer having known the Lord and depending on Him for everything. Sure, our family and friends wonderfully took care of us in physical need, but in the middle of the night when I noticed that my crib was empty and that my womb was hollow, it was God who kept me from ending my own life. He is the one who gave us hope to keep living despite every inclination to be with our son in Heaven. We know that because we choose to believe that Jesus Christ died for us, that we will be able to be with our son in Heaven when it is time for us to go and clearly it was not yet our time.
The trauma from being close to death and watching our son die kept us from even talking about the possibility of having more children. Fearful on so many levels, especially knowing the hundreds of ways babies die, when the doctor recommended that we wait 2 years, we didn’t argue. After 2 years, we saw a specialist who told us that it was unlikely for this to recur and to go ahead with a pregnancy. Truthfully, I was hoping that he would say that it was a bad idea altogether to try again just so I could grieve the loss of having my own children, and figure out a different way to fill the void that losing Ethan had brought. I didn’t want to admit that I was afraid of losing more children, yet when the specialist said I had a good chance of having a healthy child of my own, I started to be excited about a family again, but we were still too afraid. “What if you die?” my husband asked, “I don’t want to raise kids by myself.” I pretended that I understood, and we lived our lives trying to be okay without having children. But, nothing fills that void. Over the next two years, our marriage suffered. We resented each other and began hating the other. Several times we suggested we divorce, just so we could quit all the arguing and maybe we wouldn’t blame the other for not having children.
Thankfully, we decided on counseling again and after intense therapy we were able to see that our choosing not to get pregnant was really the culprit of our marital distress. In May 2009, three years since Ethan’s death, Shaun and I agreed to try again as our hope finally outweighed our fear. After two months of not getting a cycle and a big fat negative pregnancy test, I called my doctor. We attempted various ways to jumpstart my cycles, but it just wasn’t happening. The doctor had taken tests to see why I wasn’t having them and found no reason. In January 2010, after 7 months of waiting for a cycle, I started taking Clomid to try to ovulate. I did this for three months and it made me absolutely crazy, especially month after month realizing that I was still not pregnant. I asked my doctor to refer me to a fertility specialist and I went to the university hospital for this. It was determined that I had ploy cystic ovaries, which means I don’t ovulate often, and it was by some fluke that I was able to get pregnant so quickly the first time.
In June 2010, one full year of trying to get pregnant without success, we started a new medicine, called Femara and the very first month, I learned that I was pregnant, but I was cautiously optimistic as the nurse said my hormone levels were low. So, I wasn’t surprised when 4 days later I miscarried. At this point, I was so happy to have been able to conceive that the miscarriage didn’t appear to bother me. It wasn’t until 4 more cycles, and 4 more negative pregnancy tests later, that I was beginning to think about where I might be in that pregnancy. I would be 5 months pregnant, learning about whether or not it was a he or a she. I would be showing a little baby bump and would be so excited. And as of last month, I am saddened that I had lost a child who had not even had a chance to be formed. I am saddened that I am dealing with infertility. I am heartbroken that Shaun and I had two babies and they both died. We wonder if we may never be able to have children long enough to bring them home. This infertility and pregnancy loss just stinks. I still feel baby-less and still hurt, trying to attain a family that I had thought God had promised me. I mistakenly thought that since I had endured one of the most excruciating things that a person could bear, that I might be spared from any further pain. I know that God has a plan and his way is better than mine, but if He would just understand how much it hurts. If he would just long for his unborn children and wait for them to smile at him and call him Daddy. If he would just know what it was like to lose a child. And then I realize, OF COURSE HE DOES!! He completely relates to it. He longs for each of us to smile at Him after we have been born again and call him Daddy. He allowed His son to die for us on the cross so that we may have eternal life. I know that He allowed me to let my children die because it will serve a greater purpose. And that is what Tiny Purpose is all about. A place that seeks to show us that our babies were real, that they were loved and that they were in existence for a purpose.
I am still on a mission to bring home several healthy newborns and begin raising my family. I intend to encourage others to continue to try to get pregnant and deal with their emotions during pregnancy and infertility after having had losses. I write a blog of my experience that you can find a link to on the Tiny Purpose website. I hope to inspire others who are fearful of another pregnancy to not give up, but to trust in the Lord who gives them Hope. I am determined not to allow Ethan’s and Baby Plato’s lives to have been lost in vain. They are so much a part of who I am.
I don’t know how God will redeem me for my losses, or whether or not he will do it here on Earth, but I know for certain that He WILL! Isaiah 61:1-3 says, “He was sent to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners . . . to comfort all who mourn . . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” At this current time, after having given myself injections last month, I am praising God again for another pregnancy, and awaiting 9 months to see my third child. I am believing that God will allow me to carry this one and bring him/her home. But I know that even if He doesn’t, even if I have to endure another loss, even if I lose my fertility forever, MY GOD IS STILL GOOD!!
I can remember the pain of the loss just like it was yesterday. I can quickly be transported into the depth of despair. I know that the pain is utterly unbearable, but I am living proof that God can transform your heart. He can make you whole and he can give you hope. There is life after loss. Do the grief work. Honor your children and your marriages and hold onto God with everything that you have! So, here I am standing before you offering you hope. My hope does not come by way of a pregnancy, but in the LORD. Take hold of Him, ask Him to bring you peace, and to fill the void that your loss has brought you. He will provide. Thank you.