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When a Pregnancy Doesn’t Go As Planned

I was so impressed by Katie Westenberg’s post yesterday I went to her site – I Choose Brave – and found her four part blog about carrying a child to term she knew would be stillborn. It was heartwrenching, and beautiful, and sad, and hopeful, and I know so many people in our Thriving Marriages community have experienced things like this. Today’s post is for all of you, to say “you’re not alone” and that there’s hope. 

You should know, I make plans. Lots of plans.  I plan meals and I plan parties.  I plan the day and the week.  I plan big purchases and vacations.  I like to have a plan.

When I realized I was pregnant with my first baby I waited one week to tell my parents.  Not because I wanted to keep it a surprise or because I was concerned about miscarrying.  I waited a week because I wanted to make sure I had a plan.

I wanted to make sure I had sorted through it all in my mind and knew my next move.  I wanted to make sure I had answers to any questions they might throw at me.  As if that is even possible.  Immaturity is slightly embarrassing.

So here I was now, about 4 and a half years into marriage, on the financial track we mostly had planned for ourselves, with an 8 month old baby on my hip, and I started spotting.  Yes, that kind of spotting.

I was a nursing mama and my cycle had just started up a couple weeks prior so I thought maybe my body was just working the kinks out a bit, finding its rhythm again.  But after a few days I decided to call the doctor’s office and talk to a nurse.

The conclusion?  I might be having a miscarriage.  Time will tell.

I can’t say this was a huge emotional blow to me, it was more just, strange.  It was certainly not what I had planned for, but getting pregnant again so soon wasn’t something I had planned either.  Miscarriages weren’t something I knew much about.  So I felt kind of indifferent, not knowing how to feel and…here it comes…how to plan.

I went about life as usual for a day or two, until I woke in the middle of the night to blood soaked sheets, a gigantic mess.  Slightly disoriented by it all, I woke my husband up to let him know I had a little problem.

You should know that my husband is incredibly loyal and protective and, for the most part, completely awesome.  But also a little anxious.  He doesn’t love stress.

Who does, right?

Actually, I kind of do sometimes.  I often find it funny, those tense moments when things go wrong.  When I lose our credit card or put a dent in the car.  Something about those stupid things that go wrong just makes me laugh.  And then me finding it funny, makes it even less funny for my husband.  Tip for any new brides reading this:  if your husband doesn’t laugh in stressful moments, try your best to stifle your laughter.  It just works better that way.

Anyway, back to my story.  No one was laughing this night.  Husband woke up quite alarmed to be in a blood soaked bed.  We’re talking ruined mattress soaked.  I was slightly groggy and trying to make sense of everything so I headed straight to the bathroom.  At which point, I think due to additional rapid blood loss, I passed out on the bathroom floor.

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The events surrounding those moments are void in my memory.  Other than, I remember feeling rather hot all of a sudden.  I had, what in the moment seemed like a completely rational idea, to lay my head down on the cool Corian countertop, certain it would make me feel better.

For my husband, that sounded like a huge crash behind a locked bathroom door and no response from his wife who appears to be bleeding to death. I still feel awful for how he must have felt in that moment.  Panicked and trying to pick a lock while dialing 911.

When I awoke from this crash of a nap, all I remember was hearing my 8 month old crying from his crib and seeing a frightened husband in my face.

The paramedics were there in no time.  After my blood pressure had stabilized some they allowed me to decline the ambulance and be driven to the ER in my own car.  Because even as a groggy, bleeding mess I wasn’t too far gone to argue with my husband that if they put me in that ambulance we were going to get a bill for about $10,000 or something like that.

After spending the rest of the night being poked and prodded in the ER, they determined with a fair amount of certainty that I had a miscarriage.  The ultrasounds showed nothing.  The blood tests still showed high numbers of the pregnancy hormone HCG, which made them throw out words like molar pregnancy, but ultimately they decided my body was doing what it needed to do and I should just follow up with my OB-GYN on Monday (it was the weekend) to make sure everything was tidied up.  I’m not even going to pretend I know what that means, but our bodies do have an amazing way of doing what they need to do in these situations, most of the time.

Unfortunately, the rapid blood loss did not subside and I pulled another bathroom fainting act on my husband again over the weekend.  The crash was a little harder this time and as we now had a “no locking the bathroom door“ rule my husband opened the door just in time to see me crock my head on a bathroom wall.  This incident incited the “Katie is no longer allowed to go the bathroom by herself” rule for the next week.  Do I even need to tell you this was one of the most humbling experiences of my life to date?  I mean seriously, I’m some kind of bleeding mess and I can’t even go the bathroom by myself.  I had no plan for this people, no plan.

So Monday comes and we take the first appointment we can get with the OB-GYN, hoping the worst of it has passed and an ultrasound and blood test will show my body is doing its thing.  Confirmation that this will all be over soon was now in sight.

Except the first thing we see when we look at that ultrasound screen, is a heartbeat.

The story continues, in Part 2…