Tuesday, August 28, 2007

And Then There Were Two

Following my first miscarriage, the nurse at my first OB/GYN's office said that I hadn't really even been pregnant and that we could try again immediately for a baby. Even though we hadn't been trying before, now that my husband and I had experienced the amazing joy of pregnancy and the crushing devastation of miscarriage, we were ready to try now.

But first, I had to actually get through the miscarriage. I had horrible nightmares the night that I found out I had miscarried. I dreamed that the baby had been born, but then I lost it and was frantically looking everywhere. My husband was so angry at me and told me I was worthless. I ran from person to person, begging them to help me find my baby. They kept looking at me strangely and walking away. I woke up several times during that long night, sobbing, and my husband held me and stroked my hair.

The next morning, he called in sick to work, because he didn't think that I should be alone. We spent the morning cuddling in bed, crying a little, and talking about what to do next. Then, my husband asked me what I would like to do in honor of the baby. I was very moved. It was so hard when the nurse called our baby a chemical pregnancy. I had looked up the term online and from a logical standpoint, I understood the definition. Emotionally, however, it didn't sit well. Suggesting that we find a way to memorialize our little one made it seem to carry a bit more weight, turned the chemical back into something tangible.

We finally got dressed and went to one of my favorite waterfront restaurants for lunch. We got the best table in the house and I ordered my usual. I hadn't had any appetite since the bleeding began, and I didn't have one now, but it was still nice to enjoy the view. As we ate, we decided to buy an engraved garden stone with a word such as Believe or Faith on it and put it in our front garden. For some reason, this task seemed to give me direction, as if I could do something for my baby, and we spent the entire afternoon looking for the stone. It turned out to be a more difficult task than we had anticipated, but it had become a project, so I didn't mind.

The next day, both my husband and I went back to work. I ended up crying all over the first customer that asked how I was doing. I don't think that I was quite ready to face the world. I met a friend for lunch who is a doctor. Through my tears, I told her what had happened. She was surprised that my OB/GYN didn't want to see me. She also told me that I shouldn't use tampons or take a bath. These were things that I hadn't been told. She said that even though I was early in the pregnancy, it was still important to avoid infection and make sure that was expelled. She referred me to another OB that she had heard good things about. I called their office and explained my situation. They had me come in on the following Monday to make sure that my HCG levels had returned to 0 and scheduled an appointment for a month later for a physical exam and follow up. The nurse was very sympathetic on the phone and even offered to refer me to the group's grief counselor. I felt a little more validated after getting off the phone.

Somehow, each day got a little easier, and I cried a little less. There were good days and there were bad days, but as time passed, I got excited about trying again. We didn't really try in February, because I knew from my online research to wait one cycle. On February 25th, I had my follow up appointment with the new OB/GYN.

I arrived twenty minutes early for the appointment and signed in. This was my first encounter with a crowded OB's office. I know we've all been through this: sitting in the waiting room, surrounded by glowing pregnant women, proud expectant papas, and triumphant new mamas, returning for their postnatal exam but also to show off the results of their labor. The only magazines were either pregnancy, parenting, or fly fishing related. I actually think that I held up fairly well. . . at first. But as I waited. . . and waited. . . and waited. . . it got more and more difficult. I looked at the clock and realized that it was now a half hour past when my appointment had been scheduled for. I could tell that the office was busy, so I didn't want to pester the front staff about the wait. So, I waited some more. But finally, 45 minutes after I should have been seen, I couldn't take anymore. I approached the desk to ask if perhaps I could be put into a room. They had lost my paperwork and never told the nurse that I was there! Now, they had to find my paperwork again and see if I could be reworked into the schedule. I remained in the waiting room for another twenty minutes and now I was crying.

Finally, I was taken back by the nurse. She apologized for the wait and said that they usually take patients that have recently miscarried back into a room as soon as possible. My luck, I guess. I had to wait another half hour in the exam room, but at least I was away from the swarm of everything pregnant. Finally, the doctor came in. She wrote down my history, asked pertinent questions, and then peformed a brief exam. Through out all of this, she was very brisk, almost cold. She wasn't unkind, but she didn't mince words, calling the miscarriage a spontaneous abortion (but now I was prepared, my online research had already uncovered this horribly unkind term). She said that we should wait three months to try again, to make sure that I had fully recovered. I was surprised. No one had told me about this three month wait. She explained it was really more cautionary and that many women in my shoes completely ignored her advice and fell pregnant within weeks. She said it was really our choice and that when I got pregnant again, to call and have HCG blood levels taken immediately to assess the health of the pregnancy.

I left the office feeling drained. The long wait, her cold manner, and the disappointing three month wait combined to make me feel sad. The last few weeks, I had been cheered by the thought of trying again. It just didn't make sense to me that my pregnancy had been so insignificant that it was only deemed a chemical pregnancy, but yet significant enough that my body needed three months to recover.

With this "logic" in mind, my husband and I decided to throw caution to the wind and try again immediately. We were successful getting pregnant that first month of trying again and I started bleeding just three days after the positive test. My betas were higher this time, but still not high enough to see anything on ultrasound - so another chemical pregnancy.

I was devastated because this time, I couldn't be convinced that nothing was wrong. I felt guilty because we hadn't waited to try. I also felt desolate because three months seemed like forever to wait and try again. Nonetheless, I knew that we had no choice. We set our sights on July and scheduled a vacation. We would end up conceiving our third pregnancy there, but that's another post.

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