Do you know the first day of your last menstrual period?
You get used to answering this a million times.
When your voice is shaking on the phone to make your first appointment - set for around 7 weeks.
When you call back around week 5 because you had some pain and some spotting.
When you call the weekend on-call number around 7 weeks because you had more pain and more spotting, this time, heavier, with tissue.
Hanging up the phone, and feeling joy because "it doesn't sound like anything to panic about in the first trimester". Then, 30 minutes later, bawling - for the 100th time in the longest 5 weeks of your life because you know that something just is not right.
Finally, appointment day. This day had been prayed over a million and one times. Please, God. Take care of my baby. Take care of me. Take care of my husband. Take care of us. Let us be able to handle whatever it is. I know your plans are best, even when I don't understand them. But, of course, I am secretly longing for God's plans to be my plans. The baby is just fine, I am just fine, everything is just fine.
Hours of googling, sending husband to pharmacy at random hours. It's probably constipation pains. Maybe it's something I ate. Is this safe to take? I've never been in this much pain in my life.
But wait. I do feel better now. Maybe I am okay after all. Yeah, it was probably nothing.
By the time the appointment rolled around. I was ready - or as ready as I would ever be. Ready for God to take this child from me if that's what needed to happen. I felt trapped in my own body. Trapped in my own mind. Helpless. I cannot make the bleeding stop. I don't know why I'm hurting. But my levels are going up. I'm so confused.
But that's the thing. When you feel like that, you know. You've done all you can. It was in the Good Lord's hands from the beginning. Period.
So, when the sonogram via my belly revealed that my uterus was empty. We tried to take a look vaginally. Nope. Nothing in there - just a shooting pain to my left ovary.
"Honey, I have a bad suspicion that this is ectopic."
I just sat there, staring at the screen. Andrew was holding my hand. I felt devastated. And relieved at the same time. I just wanted to escape it. I wanted to just do what I needed to do to fix it, and start over. Later.
Anj is ever the optimist. One of the zillions of reasons why I married him. "We'll get 'em next time."
"I know. We will." I said it, and was trying really hard to fully believe it.
We left the sonogram room and went to the exam room to wait for the doctor. "First of all, let me say that I am so sorry that this is happening." The rest was a blur of a conversation about how this was not my fault. It wasn't my diabetes. (Which has been nearly perfect the whole pregnancy. How ironic that I thought that would be the concern!) It wasn't my thyroid, which is borderline hypo, and the reason I got on low dose thyroid hormone the day after I had a postive test. It was nothing I did or didn't do.
I knew this, and I believed the doctor. This was my one comfort. God is the only one who knows the whys. He is ultimately in control of every single thing on this planet. If I didn't believe this, I would have given up hope on many, many things a long, long time ago.
Am I mad at God?
Am I mad at God?
Do I wish I could text Him and ask Him if everything is going to work out in the long run?
But, that's where faith and trust come in.
The doctor explained that surgery would be needed in the next few hours. My stomach felt sick because we hadn't told anyone. Not even our mothers. I wanted to be the ever cautious, meticulous control freak that I am, and make sure everything was super and A-okay before doing a big, happy, cutesy reveal at precisely 13 wks.
Welp, what ended up happening was my husband calling my mother to tell her that we went to the gyno with a positive pregnancy test, found out it was ectopic, and I would be in surgery in the next few hours.
At this point, I have let out one good cry, over the loss of the thought of my child. For me, the baby didn't feel like "our child" yet. I'm sure this is different for every woman. I was terrified to fall in love with this child because I had horrifying fears through the majority of the pregnancy that something was wrong. Every woman is entitled to her emotions, of which she has no real control over anyway. If I did, I would think logically, relying on the positive words and encouragement of my doctor alone, and calculate exactly how much time should go by before medical data suggests we should try again.
Guess what. Those are nice guidelines. But, God is in control of this. I know that He will give us a child if and exactly when He sees fit. And this is fine with me.
Do I wallow and cry? Yes. Right after feeling all encouraged and grateful that I didn't have a ruptured tube and bleed to death.
Do I wallow and cry? Yes. Right after feeling all encouraged and grateful that I didn't have a ruptured tube and bleed to death.
The thing no one tells you about pregnancy is that from the very moment you know, and for me, I knew before the test told me so, you feel different. For me, I felt like a mother right away. I felt like God had given me something to take care of, and I was willing to feel or endure whatever I had to in order to take care of this child. But, God decided this wasn't the one. This wasn't the time.
We waited in the exam room with a box of Kleenex while my ovary throbbed and the nurse called the hospital over and over trying to get me admitted. Then, the doctor called them back and asked for a manager to get me pushed through quickly because I was diabetic and I would not be able to eat or drink before or several hours after. Not to mention that we didn't know if the tube had ruptured or not at this point.
My sweet husband just sat there, holding my hand. Asking me what I needed from home, reassuring me that he would be right back to the hospital as fast as he could. Telling me that he would call my mom for me. I felt like I should tell her myself, but I just couldn't get through it without an inaudible meltdown. Thank God for him.
This is what makes husbands blessings. They just pick up where your mind and energy has abandoned you. They just do it for you. When you can't think and you don't know.
Off we went.
Trying, with no success at first (thank you dehydrated veins) to find a good vein for the IV. Blood draws. Weight. Blood sugar. Blood Pressure. times 5. Here's your gown. Here's some antacid and anti-nausea. I started to feel like hell. And panicked because I was just there. In the room. Without Anj. I knew he would be right back - he wanted to go now, and be at the hospital when they took me back in case something happened. I was watching Carrie Underwood's story on VH1 or something and praying to God that they would just hurry up and come get me. I wanted to be done.
Ready to go?
Anj arrived back with our things in time to walk me down and kiss me good luck. The nurse anesthetist made jokes, gave me the good stuff. We turned the corner, the lights looked bright, and in what seemed like 30 minutes later, I was out of surgery.
Except really, it was 4 hours. The surgery itself did not take 4 hours. This includes recovery/observation. PS - they wanted to give me 15 units of insulin to correct a blood sugar of 289 as I was waking up. My first slurred, half conscious words were, "No. That's way too much. I'll go into a coma. Can I please have my pump back?" Thank sweet Jesus the nurses agreed that whoever suggested that was nuts and just let me in my half drugged state hook my pump back up and deal with it myself.
I was being wheeled down the hallway, trying as hard as I could to keep my eyes open. There was my mama. (Damn, she must've done 120 all the way here! What's that? Four hours have gone by? Oh.) There was my sweet Anj.
The next part was a blur. I remember putting my pump back on. In my muffin top, toward my back side. My stomach looked like a beach ball and it was tight and bright orange. What the hell had happened? I had no idea and didn't really care.
I woke up a couple times in the night to check my blood and make sure it was going down. It was. Good. They kept coming in to take my vitals. They were good. Check. Blood count was good. Check. They wanted me to try to pee, so, at 2am, I felt the urge to call the nurse to come help me pee. My bladder didn't feel full. I don't know why I was trying to pee. Anyway, this little blonde came in. She looked scared to death to be a nurse - like I would have looked if I had gone through with nursing. (Yikes.) She sat me up, helped me to dangle my feet off the edge of the bed, stood me up, and started to walk me to the bathroom.
When I woke up, I was laying sideways on the bed, and now there were three nurses, lifting me back into my original position in the bed. "We'll try that again around 5am, mmk, honey?"
They left, the room was dark. All was quiet. Anj was snuggled in his stiff ass, uncomfortable and super squeaky recliner, and he chuckled to himself and said, "Pass the fuck out. hahaha"
I started to laugh and I could have smacked him it hurt my guts so bad to laugh. But, the laughter was good. Asshole. :) Love you!
A few vital checks, nausea waves and lucid whack ass dreams later, the older nurse who knew what the hell she was doing comes in and sits me up in bed. "This time, we gone let you sit up a bit and give your blood pressure some time to adjust before we take a walk across the room. :) " Yeah. That sounds smart, I decided. An hour and a half later, we turned me sideways and let my legs dangle off the bed for a minute or so. Then, two nurses stood me up.
Every. single. step. was. a. work. out. You okay? Don't close your eyes! Don't look down! Take deep breaths! Nope! Don't look down! Don't close your eyes! Open your eyes! Look up here! You okay?
Finally - we make it to the toilet.
How in the Lord's name am I going to look down long enough to lower myself onto that toilet? This is an impossible task, I thought.
I made it, with lots of black clouds floating around.
You okay? Don't close your eyes! Don't look down! Take deep breaths! Nope! Don't look down! Don't close your eyes! Open your eyes! Look up here! You okay?
Nope. (I seriously kept tellin her I was not, in fact, okay.) Next thing I know, I'm sniffin ammonia while two nurses and Anj Davis hold me up. BETH! BETH! BETH!
"What?!" I snapped. Damn, I'm right here, no need to yell!
I really did try to keep my eyes open, y'all, I swear!
Sooooo, after some chicken broth, sugar free jello, shit tons of Diet Coke, Diet Ginger Ale, eggs, sausage, strawberries and grapes, I started to feel a little more stable, and slowly was able to pee on my own, with an assistant. :) Yay!
This also meant the anesthesia was wearing off and I was ready for some pills.
It is mind blowing what that man did with three tiny incisions. Absolutley amazing. The tube had not ruptured, but they did have to take part of the left one. Both ovaries are in tact, and "the future looks very bright for you".
I can say this: The Lord is good. I could have died. I love every single doctor, nurse, nurse anesthetist, anesthesiologist, nutritionist, and custodian I came in contact with through this whole ordeal. WHAT A BLESSING. I am seriously going to send them a card. Especially the surgeon, my regular gyno, his nurse, and Melissa, my nurse at the hospital. (Is this an awards speech or what? :) )
I basically went home very very thankful and feeling very very blessed to be alive and to have been under the care of people who clearly knew what they were doing. I never once feared the surgery itself.
The next morning, a wave of depression hit. When I allowed myself to think the worst. What if it's ectopic again next time?
What if there's something wrong with the other tube? (Even though the doctor said it's healthy.)
What if I just can't conceive again, period?
Then I tell myself, the Lord is bigger than all that, and your faith should be too. Everyone's story has a different ending, and God has His reasons for all those endings.
But, for now, I am trying very, very hard to think positive. The doctors have given me no reason not to. My God has shown me miracles more than once in this life of mine, my friends. Yes, He has.
Next time, because I do believe there will be a next time, I will share my news earlier. I will allow Andrew and I to be more supported by those who love us. Pain is part of life. I want them to share in our experiences, even when they aren't happy ones. When you have your first tiny glimpse into motherhood, you have a new connection and a new respect for your own mother, your grandmother, your aunts, your mother in law, all mothers. These little glimpses of love in yucky times are gifts from God as well. I feel so much closer to my mother since just day before yesterday when this all started. What a gift. And, you've still gotta find the humor. Even if it involves a bloody panty liner, a gas station, and a dirty old man. Forgive me. Maybe he wasn't dirty. But, the thought that he might've been made us laugh, which was much needed. I'm sure you've already heard enough about the bloody panty liner, so I will give you a prize by not telling the story in detail.
I also wanted to write this post to hopefully make at least one person feel better by knowing that you aren't the only one. And to tell y'all that without my God, I would NOT be able to deal.
To those who have texted, called, emailed, sent messages,
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY SOUL FOR YOUR PRAYERS. I know I personally, never know what to say in situations like these. The thing I need right now, is your prayers, for healing and for positive thinking, and that Andrew and I never forget that the good Lord above HAS A PLAN.
And it is a perfect one.
I have seen in a few short days how much we are loved.
WHAT A BLESSING.
I had a wonderful conversation with my brother. That meant the world to me. My mother came to see us as soon as she knew. Others respected our wishes by being with us in prayer, and sent positive texts, messages, cards, etc.
I can say that never once in my life has the good Lord EVER given me something painful to deal with and not given me an abundance of love and support in the form of friends and family. He has NEVER ONCE abandoned me.
I feel that He is closer to me now than ever. If this painful situation brings me closer to Him, and strengthens my relationship with my husband, and our relationship with those we love, then that is a blessing. I also feel that our marriage is even more solid than it was last month. I know my husband is there for me. He is my #1 and I am his. I have always prayed for God to give us a solid foundation, and He is, my friends. My husband is my soul.
So, in closing, we have been through a roller coaster of emotions, from the highest highs when we found out we were expecting, to the depths of despair and anxiety in the unknown, to the devastation of losing this baby, the profound gratitude that my own life was spared and I didn't have more damage than I did.
Our God is a powerful God. He is bigger than ANY circumstance. He ALWAYS knows what He's doing, and only works for the good of those who love Him. We have to remember that our "good" and His may not always look the same, but the difference is, only He knows what lies around the corner. Only He knows what alternative outcome we are being protected from. If you are in despair, whether you are struggling with fertility issues or something different altogether, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Alan Jackson's Precious Memories CD has been invaluable to me during this time. God made us. He knows what we need when we quite frankly, have no idea. I am working very hard and praying very hard for Him to give me the grace to trust Him more and more everyday.
I will never be the same after this experience, but if we don't grow and change, then what is the point of living?
Thank you all again! We cannot thank you enough for your continued prayers. I go to the doctor next week for a post-op follow up visit.
God has a plan.
(Too tired to edit this, so if things don't make sense, let's blame tiredness and pain killers, k? Word.)
*please check out the ectopic pregnancy label for more recent posts on this topic