Monday, June 14, 2010

It's not my fault

At the pressuring of some friends and family, I called the nurse's voicemail line on Friday. It had been 3 weeks since our last ultrasound and still no miscarriage. I had been putting off the call for several reasons.

1. I was succeeding brilliantly at putting the whole ordeal out of my mind. I thought of calling a few times, but always in the evenings when the office was closed. I seemed to forget about it during the day.

2. I was afraid I would get news I didn't want to hear.

3. I'm still in this lovely state of mind that nature will take care of things in its own time.

Anyway, I had been told it could be "a few weeks", and I really couldn't deny that after three weeks passed, I was probably leaving the territory of "a few" and entering the land of "a lot". So I called.

The nurse returned my call within 30 minutes, which is some kind of record and concerned me a bit. She said the doctor wanted to see me to do another ultrasound and talk about what is going on. We went today for our appointment, and for the first time in a long time, I left that office feeling like I had gotten good news.

Granted, it's not really good news. But when I say it was good, there is an implied "under the circumstances" in there somewhere.

The ultrasound revealed that the sac has not grown any larger since the last ultrasound and is beginning to collapse. We got one more glimpse at the fetal last look at our baby. But we saw something else too - we saw new endometrium growing in areas where there had been none before. We observed a thickening of the lining for the first time in 3 years. Of course, this is to be expected during a pregnancy - and our hope is that some of those cells remain behind after the pregnancy is gone. The doctor couldn't guarantee us that will be the case, but I feel like there is at least a chance. There have never been any guarantees.

We sat to talk about our options, and my main concern was obviously that I would be told surgery was the recommendation. Thankfully he said the opposite. He said he agreed with me and would prefer that I continue to wait this out if I was comfortable doing so. He explained to us how American culture is more proactive in these situations, but in other countries D&C rates are much, much lower and women are much more likely to wait and let nature take its course. I'm thankful for medical interventions and I do feel they have a time and place, but I'm much more hesitant to accept interventions in my own life because I've seen enough to know they can also cause major problems. He acknowledged there was a small risk of infection involved, but he didn't feel it was a big enough risk to warrant a surgical procedure (we ALL know the risks there!!).

He prepared me for what to look for in the way of excessive bleeding when the time comes, but I've been there done that and will know it when I see it. I'm not afraid of hemorrhaging again, although I know that is also a small risk.

He also discussed with us the reason for the loss. I didn't ask him, and I'm not sure why. I guess I figured it didn't matter. The baby is gone regardless. But he offered the information anyway, and I'm so thankful he did. He feels that beyond the shadow of a doubt there was something genetically wrong with the baby. A random, genetic abnormality. It wasn't my lining. And more importantly, it wasn't anything I did wrong. I didn't know until today how much I needed to hear that.

I am a very anal pregnant person. I have a huge list of things I will not consume - I cut out caffeine 100%. I won't each lunch meat, hot dogs, Chinese food, seafood (this is easy to give up since I don't like it anyway :p ). I eat a low sugar diet. I don't take ANY medications - not even Tylenol. I tough out my aches and pains. I drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day, and I do not enjoy water but dehydration can cause preterm labor, sooo...

All these "rules" are based on studies I've read about potential effects on the baby. I've heard from some that moderation is the key, but to me there is no safe amount of certain substances - namely my biggest vice - caffeine. It's a scientific fact that it raises miscarriage risk. And here I was consuming it in excess.

So imagine my horror when I found out I was unexpectedly almost 5 weeks pregnant...I had been drinking an occasional glass of wine. I drank wine while I was pregnant. I didn't know, and I drank wine. :( :( :( I was indulging myself in a 3-4 cup/day coffee habit. I was drinking soda. I wasn't taking any vitamins at all. And I was basically eating junk. When I found out I was pregnant, I was immediately worried that I'd already done harm to the baby. I feel as though I am not like other women. I can't afford to do anything questionable. My body is already so fragile when it comes to pregnancy that I have to do everything in my power to optimize my chances for a good outcome. I will never be someone who can just enjoy things "in moderation" and not worry.

When we lost the baby I think I blamed myself subconsciously. I know there are women all over the place who do all kinds of potentially dangerous things during pregnancy and everything is fine for them and their babies. I know there are drug addicts who carry to term. But for some reason, I was having a lot of trouble letting myself off the hook. Here was this miracle baby that we'd waited so long to conceive, and I might have done something to harm him or her. Because I was being selfish and indulging myself in an unhealthy lifestyle, our baby might have suffered. That is such a hard pill to swallow. I quit the coffee cold turkey the moment I found out - but what if it had been too late?

When the doctor told us a genetic abnormality was to blame, I felt the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. It is not my fault. There was nothing I could have done to change the outcome. It feels so good to say that.

So it feels like good news all around. We've now got endometrium growing in places that have been bare for years now. We didn't do anything wrong. And I don't have to have surgery at this point. Our risks for another miscarriage are no greater because of this event. Our odds of another pregnancy aren't any lower, and they might be higher.

I prayed again for the first time since this happened on Sunday at church. God knew I was angry with Him. I was having the adult version of a temper tantrum and refusing to pray for a while, telling myself, "What's the point anyway? The answer is always no." So, I didn't pray for any of the good news to come. He just sent it my way anyway. And I'm thankful for it.


Melissa said...


I'm glad you got encouraging news! You are never far from my thoughts and always in my prayers!

Tracy said...

You know the cool thing about God? He's big enough to handle our anger. He's big enough to handle our frustrations and our temper tantrums. He's always there to welcome us back with open arms.

FWIW, I, too blamed myself for my miscarriages. Its hard not to. But, like you, I was so careful about what I ate and drank. It was almost too careful.

Faith said...

As a mother, I dont think we can help ourselves from taking part of the blame. It is a very hard pill to swallow. God is always with us no matter what. I, too, will never be able to enjoy anything in moderation during pregnancy. I envy the women who get to just enjoy it from day 1.

Many prayers for you and Jamie.