Just a couple of weeks after my birthday, I received the best gift ever- a missed period and two bright red lines on the test stick. Lyubo and I were over the moon! We've been trying to conceive for 12 cycles so this pregnancy is truly a much-awaited one.
I was scheduled to go to my OB the following week for a routine check-up, but after finding out about my condition, the doctor ordered a series of blood tests to monitor my hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) levels. She was expecting for the numbers to double in two to three days but mine only doubled after a week. She then predicted that there would be a problem.
Anxious but hopeful, we went for an ultrasound two weeks later. As I lay on my back facing the poker-faced sonographer while she probed my retroverted uterus, excitement came over me. This is it! We're going to see the little peanut. I was imagining how I'd look with a baby bump, but the sonographer's voice interrupted my reverie, "I can't see anything."
They said that maybe our calculations were wrong and that I was not that far along yet. We were asked to go for another ultrasound. Days went by filled with worry. Except for the bloating and minor cramping, I was feeling good; no pain and spotting at all. A part of me was hoping that our calculations were indeed wrong and that the embryo would be visible on the second ultrasound, but another part of me has begun grieving.
The second ultrasound showed that nothing had changed except for an 8-mm growth of my gestational sac. No baby still. I was gutted. This was supposed to be a birthday gift from God and yet it was snatched from me before I had the opportunity to enjoy it. I felt God betrayed me, big time.
Slowly, the pregnancy symptoms started to go away. I woke up one day and my breasts were no longer sore. The cramping also subsided and my flatulence were not as frequent anymore. It was as if my body was telling me that it's time to move on.
My OB asked us to go to the Women's Health Centre for our "next steps". The nurse told us that there were increasing early pregnancy issues and women like me didn't know where to go so they set up this clinic to help address those issues. I was shocked to learn that my case is relatively common in North America.
This time, instead of a technician, two doctors performed the ultrasound. One was operating the machine while the other analysed and explained what the monochrome images meant. After several weeks my gestational sac changed shape, and as the younger doctor probed deeper, they saw what appeared to be remnants of a blastocyst. The senior doctor explained that the fertilized egg stopped developing probably because of some chromosomal abnormality or due to a random error during the cell-division process. My body recognized this abnormality so it stopped the pregnancy at an early stage.
Now that we have a definite conclusion to my case, I was given three options for miscarriage treatments. I'd initially wanted to just wait for the tissue to pass naturally, but after consultations with different doctors, Lyubo and I decided that a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) would be best for my body.
A week later, we were in the same clinic and being prepared for my major uterine invasion. I was heavily drugged but conscious when the doctor performed the procedure. I felt the pressure of my cramping pelvis but I was floating in the clouds so it didn't bother me so much. It lasted for less than five minutes. Before I knew it, I was being clothed by the nurse. She then measured my blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level. She smiled at me and said, "You did great!" My husband kissed me and said, "You're a hero."
I don't consider myself a hero. I know a lot of women out there have experienced far greater suffering, loss, and calamity than I have. But during this whole ordeal, I learned that I'm stronger than I think I am, and that the real heroes are my nurse, Adium (BC Women's Hospital) and my husband.
She was very attentive, compassionate, and caring. From giving food and medicines, to answering our repetitive questions; from putting a hot compress to my retaliating abdomen, to helping me get dressed in winter clothes, every act of her service is sincere and voluntary.
Oh and what can I say about my better half?! He is truly heaven-sent. When I was questioning God, he reminded me that His will always prevails. After each disappointing ultrasound, he bought my favourite treats to cheer me up. While on the D&C chair with legs wide open, I felt his hand gently stroking my cheeks which gave me a lot of comfort. He gave me feminine pads whenever I needed to change. I felt God's (kilig-inducing) love through my husband!
As I shed the protective cavity that my body had built for my lost baby, I marvel at its healing ability and thank the Lord for what was lost and what was gained. I've experienced pain but I've also experienced grace and favour. Pocketed within those moments of our grief and doubting are peace in the present and hope for the future- pretty much what Christmas is all about. 🎄