Monday, April 2, 2012

Disappointed, But GREATLY Blessed!

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. -Philippians 4: 4-9

These verses from Paul's letter to the Philippians have given me motivation and comfort on numerous occasions in life. And I once again found myself turning to these words and striving to apply them daily over the last week.

Eric and I were ecstatic to learn on March 11 that we would be adding a new baby to our family sometime around Thanksgiving this year. We began talking about birthing plans, discussing rearranging rooms, and wondering if we'd have a third girl or our very first boy. We were planning to make the big announcement to family and friends the first week of May after enjoying it being our own little secret for a while.

And we really were excited for a little more time to pass so we could tell Gabriela and Lilian. Lilian is ALL ABOUT babies these days. She spends her days toting around dolls, shushing them to sleep, and wrapping them in blankets. Gabriela has taken to telling us regularly that she wants a "nene pequeno" (little baby) at our house. And when we get to spend time with the babies of our family and friends, the girls are absolutely in heaven! (The baby, not so much usually...ha!)

So when I woke up Saturday, March 24 with heavy bleeding, our hearts ached. I called and chatted with the on-call nurse from my midwife's office. I knew what was happening and that at 6 weeks pregnant there was nothing to do but wait and see...but I needed to hear it from someone else, I guess. She suggested I plan on coming in Monday.

After a physically and emotionally exhausting weekend (which included doula-ing at a beautiful birth into the wee hours of Sunday morning), Eric and I went in to see my midwife (who I had just been working with Saturday night) on Monday morning. When she walked in, she crossed the room and wrapped me up in a hug, saying, "I'm so sorry, Emily" followed by, "You had quite a rough the day Saturday, now didn't you! Though I never would have known it."

My midwife was fabulous, as always: super encouraging and supportive. I spent the next couple days a little sleepy and a little sad, but overall I was blessed with an incredible amount of peace. On Wednesday Eric was scheduled to leave on an 8-day trip to India. He wanted to stay, but I encouraged him to go.

Thursday afternoon I got a phone call from my midwife. I had taken in the tissue I passed on Saturday, and she had received the report from pathology: molar pregnancy.

At first, that prognosis seemed to make the loss a little easier. Due to a rare (1 in 1000 chance) doubling up of DNA at the time of fertilization, instead of a baby forming, an abnormal group of cells developed creating what's called a "mole".

But the more information I got about molar pregnancies, the more concerning it became. A D&C (surgery to clean out the lining of the uterus) is almost always indicated to be certain to remove all the abnormal cells. In 15-25% of cases, chemotherapy is recommended because the abnormal cells persist and can spread into the lungs and other organs. A hysterectomy is not uncommon after a molar pregnancy (though normally not a first step unless the woman wants to be done having children.) In most cases, doctors need to monitor the woman's hormone levels (hcg, specifically) for 6-12 months to ensure the cells do not re-present themselves. And in order to be able to monitor hcg levels, the woman must not become pregnant during that time.

I went from being relieved that I hadn't in actuality lost a baby to disappointed that I would have to delay having another child plus a little nervous about the other health complications that could arise. Surgery. Chemotherapy. Not exactly things you are expecting to be thinking about when you decide to add to your family!

My midwife asked me to come in Monday, April 2 to check my hcg level (through a blood test)and do an ultrasound. Those two things would help us determine the next step. Eric was prepared to come home early, as if a D&C was necessary we would need to do it right away.

I dropped the girls off at daycare so they could play for a couple hours, and I headed to my appointment this morning. The nurse checked my hcg level first and had me wait to see my midwife.

My hcg levels were untraceable! After a normal, uncomplicated miscarriage (as if there is such a thing!), it normally takes a few weeks for your hcg levels to drop to zero. With a molar pregnancy, it usually takes weeks to months. My hcg level dropped to normal, non-pregnant status in a week! My body did what it needed to do, and it did it quickly! No doubt, The Great Physician helped my body to heal!

After also consulting with one of the obstetricians in the office (and checking additional references), we came to the conclusion that there was no need for further testing. There is no reason to avoid future pregnancy for any amount of time. My body is perfect. Okay well, there is a dimple (or two or three) on my thighs, my arms stand in need of toning, and there's an inch or so to pinch on my belly...but from a functional standpoint, PERFECT. hehehe

There's no denying that the entire experience was difficult. It was hard for me to talk about (so I mostly didn't). But it has given me greater empathy for people who deal with difficult pregnancies or losses so much greater than what I went through (which in hindsight seems so trivial). And having my husband half a world away when what I wanted most was his embrace was tough. But I felt God's presence. I know the peace I had in my soul was coming from Him. And there is no doubt that having two bubbly fun little girls keeping me busy and entertained helped.

One of the sweetest moments of the last 9 days occurred on the day it all began. I had just taken a mid-day shower to help me relax a bit. After getting dressed, I got a little overwhelmed and, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I dropped to my knees in my room to pray. Gabriela walked in, tapped me on the shoulder and asked, "Whatcha doin', Mamae?" Without looking up, I told her that I was asking God for help. Without hesitation, my sweet girl got on her knees right beside me, folded her hands, and said, "Bobbi vai razar tambem." (Gabi's going to pray too.) As if I wasn't crying enough already!!! (Oh my gosh, I can't even sit here and think about the moment without tears!) She remained right beside me while I silently prayed and when I whispered, "Amen", she said the same, and then gave a great big hug. I am so often at a loss for the right thing to say or do when someone is hurting, yet my almost-three-year-old knew exactly what my heart needed!

If it is His will, we'll hopefully be making that baby announcement later this year (as if enough of you haven't been suspecting and anticipating it for months now...hehehe) Meanwhile, I'm counting down the days until my hubby gets home (3 more days until Thursday!), enjoying this fabulous weather playing outside with the girls, and thanking God for all the many blessings in my life!


Jenna Grover said...

We were so sorry to hear of your loss but praise God for the good in the situation that you found so profoundly! Hope to get together soon!

Claudia said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. God has great plans to your family, don't doubt that. You're going to be blessed with another child soon! All the best for you!