Before you read my post please go visit Mo over at her blog. Mo is 22 weeks and her water broke, they are doing everything they can to save the pregnancy but I’m sure you all know the seriousness of this situation. Fingers and toes crossed for her.
So disclaimer, pregnant infertiles freak out over E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. You finally get pregnant and every symptom, ever slightest twinge and you are just sure you are about to miscarry. Because this is your story. Your story is not the easy to get pregnant carefree pregnancy. Your story is the months and years of trying only to miscarry after mentally, spiritually, and financially exhausting yourself.
And yes, I do know that women who get pregnant easily do freak out and worry about every symptom. But you gotta believe me on this, it is nothing compared to the level of freak out an infertile experiences when she is finally pregnant.
And I fully admit, I got my freak-out on like you wouldn’t believe. And the doctors don’t make it any easier for you. I call to tell them that against all odds I tested pregnant and they say, ‘oh, ok, see you at 10 weeks for your first appointment‘. WHAT? No immediate trip to the doctor for blood work and tests and maybe some round-the-clock monitoring? Did they not hear me correctly? I am FINALLY pregnant! Luckily our fertility clinic, who we hadn’t been going to for almost a year, was much more proactive and understanding and they agreed to see me right away to test my hormone levels as I had miscarried in the past.
But I digress. So admist the general freak out of worry we had, we did in fact have a scare at about 7-8 weeks. To the degree that they brought me in right away to do an early ultrasound. I wrote about that in the post where I announced our pregnancy. You know, where I thought the yolk sac was the head.
What I didn’t write is that the next day I had to get on a plane to fly to Atlanta to attend a conference. So we hear the heartbeat and things look good. The scare was just that, a scare but nothing to worry about. The ultrasound tech and the nurse midwife clear me to travel and I breathe a sigh of relief. I get on the plane the next day and land in Atlanta ready for a great conference. Then I turn my phone on. I have one voicemail.
“This is the OB-GYN office, if you could give us a call back as soon as you get this, thank you.”
Picture a woman, alone, in the Atlanta airport, looking at her phone and yelling, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” Luckily it’s loud there so very few people heard me ( I hope).
Also my phone is about to die. So I hunt down an outlet, next to a trash can, plop down on the ground, plug my phone in and call them back. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I don’t give a crap what people think of me when I’m out in public. That’s what highschool was for, it sucked, and now I don’t care.
So I get the midwife on the phone and she explains that even though I see a midwife an OB-GYN doctor reviews every test I have as a safety check. Well that makes me feel good, not only do I get a midwife reviewing my tests (who BTW study OB-GYN LONGER than an actual OB-GYN doctor) but I get a second review of everything they do. Great. Super. So why did I have to call you? And then she just says it:
“The doctor feels the heartbeat was too low. We want you to come back in for a re-check”
“I’M IN FREAKING ATLANTA!” I scream, in my head, while calmly reminding her where I am and then also stuttering, asking her what this means.
The midwife tells me not to worry, (HAHAHAHA!) that she personally reviewed the ultrasound again with the ultrasound tech, (the person who does these tests day in and day out). And the tech said that in her opinion the baby was measuring small and was probably closer to 6 weeks gestation which means the heart probably just started beating and that explains why it was a little lower. She said that the practice has safety protocols that requires them to review all pregnant women whose test are like this as a safety procedure. Again, that is comforting. She also then said the OB-GYN docs tend to me a little heavy on the extra tests and stuff and that this would all be fine. I could stay on my trip and get rechecked on Monday when I got back.
She still had to review with me the symptoms of miscarriage and the symptoms that would require me to go to an emergency room.
And so I sat in the Atlanta airport, next to a trash can, and listened to how I would know the little life inside me was dying. And no one uses the actual words, we all say things like “miscarriage” and “losing the pregnancy” as if to somehow distance ourselves from what it really is, the death of a precious and very much prayed for little life. I had heard its heart beat, freaked out over what I thought was its extremely large head, and felt morning sickness as my body reacted to carrying a new life. If we lost the baby now it would not be a “miscarriage” it would be a death.
I knew the answer, but I had to ask it anyway. I asked if I started having symptoms was there anything that could be done medically to save a baby this young.
No. There was nothing medically that could be done to prevent a miscarriage at this stage. She reassured me again, that this was just the OB-GYN doc’s opinion and not her opinion, and not the ultrasound tech’s opinion. They thought I was fine.
I somehow made it through the conference. Luckily my SIL was attending with me and it was great to be with her and spend time with her. Otherwise I probably would have sat in my hotel room watching bad TV all weekend.
And I was fine. We went monday for a repeat ultrasound and the baby’s heart rate was in the 160’s, a perfect range. Take that! We breathed a huge sigh of relief and relaxed a little bit as we learned after hearing a healthy heartbeat the risk of miscarriage falls to less than 2%. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the ‘2%’ still haunts me. I’m 20 weeks and I know I’m not ‘safe’ yet. I am much more relaxed but I think part of me will not fully relax until there is a healthy baby in my arms.