Today, I'm sharing a personal story. I've spoken to so many women about their pregnancy experiences and the excitement, shame, grief and stress always seems to be an outstanding echo. Many have said that once a successful pregnancy happens, they no longer want to talk about how hard it had been while they were trying. I truly believe that talking more openly about our experiences, trials and tribulations will help women of all backgrounds, struggling or not to become pregnant, find support.
This is our story as I wrote it several weeks ago:
We started the year out in hopes of once again starting a family. Being a wedding photographer first. we tried planning the pregnancy with delivering in my slow season, winter. Months went by and again, nothing. We never got our hopes crushed but in July, we decided to stop trying.
We ended July in a bang, a trip to Mexico to celebrate the marriage of two friends. It was a fabulous trip accept every night, I became extremely ill. Severe stomach pain, and flu-like symptoms that would only last a few hours into the night and after throwing up several times and taking a pain reliever, would it go away and I could get back to sleep. I honestly thought it was something I ate - maybe the water. Or even, that time of month was approaching. I kept talking about it to my husband, and I finally said, maybe I'm pregnant. The day we were checking out of the hotel, I had a feeling something was up. I felt off... I got car sick, I got plane sick, I had more cramping.
We got home and I went straight to our bathroom. After waiting a few minutes, every single test came back positive. I had taken a test right before we left and it said negative. I went down stairs and just smiled at my husband and he looked at me and gave me a huge hug and asked if it was for real. We were pregnant.
I went four days without any severe pain and then the symptoms came back, but more aggressive. I had already made our first appointment and scan weeks down the road, started a Pinterest board for the nursery and we told our parents the day after finding out. We were thrilled. I remember so clearly telling our parents that I wanted them to know just in case something 'were to happen'. That Friday night, not even a week later from finding out, I slept all night hovered over, throwing up. I called the doctors and they said "Cramping is normal." I called them again, hours later, and they finally said, "I'm sure it's nothing, but let's get you in on Monday just to be sure."
That Monday, one week exactly after finding out, we walked into the doctor's office. I was excited, I was nervous. I was a million emotions. We had our scan and the words from her mouth burned in my ears, "Well, I'm not seeing a baby." She said she was going to get the doctor and put us into a different room. As we sat there waiting, I asked my husband hundreds of questions. We didn't know what was happening. Why didn't we see a baby? Why would she say that to us?
The nurse practitioner walked in and her first words were, "I'm sorry. You don't have a baby. What we're seeing is a Molar Pregnancy. It's nothing that you did and there was nothing that you could have done." I looked at her stunned. I kept thinking, "What do you mean? The tests said I was pregnant." I broke down in tears and my husband started hugging me. She started asking me questions about if I've been in pain, how sick I've been and started explaining our scans. I honestly don't remember much of what she said until she got to the point of saying, "We need to schedule you for an emergency surgery to remove the cysts and the molar pregnancy. After that, we'll monitor you for the next year to make sure it hasn't turned into cancer cells." What? Cancer? How could this be happening to me. All I could do is cry and look at my husband. She asked us, "Was this a pregnancy that was wanted?" as she handed me tissues. My husband answered for me and said "Yes, we've been wanting to start a family." She said she was sorry, gave us paperwork to get the bloodwork started and left the room.
I stood there in the cold room, trying so hard to not cry. My husband walked over to the door, shut it and came back over to me and hugged me and didn't let go. I don't remember what or if he said anything. We just cried together. After what seemed like an hour, I got my composure together and we walked out the door up to get my bloodwork done. I couldn't speak the entire time. I didn't want people to see me cry or know something terrible was happening to me.
We got into the car and I again, broke down. I could barely breath. I was angry. I was sad. I felt like a failure. My husband drove us home and I called my parents right away. The only words I got out were "Hi... " and then tears. Brent, my husband, got on the phone and told them what was happening. I couldn't speak it. After a while, I was able to talk to them again and asked them to tell my siblings and let them know I'd be going in for surgery later that week. We told Brent's parents as well and then a few days later, our best friends. We knew we needed support.
Two days later, the doctor called and said, "Your bloodwork came back. It's normal and they're amazing numbers. We'd like you to come back in." I again, went back had tests done and again, my levels were 'beautiful and normal'. We had a scan not even a week later and met with a different doctor with more experience (which is who I originally had wanted to see when I made my first prenatal appointment). We went through my cycle, tests, the scans - everything. Internally, I was covered in cysts. There was no heartbeat or signs of a fetal pole. But I couldn't shake the feeling that ending the pregnancy without being certain it was truly a molar pregnancy, was wrong. I asked her, "Is it dangerous for me if we wait one more week?" The doctor agreed and said we could give it a few more days.
The most heart-wrenching and emotionally straining task was to answer the phone every day after our initial appointment and to be asked if we had changed our mind about scheduling the abortion.
One week later, we went in for more bloodwork and another scan. Out of some miracle, there was a heartbeat. Somehow, what looked like blobs of cysts in my womb, a little heartbeat had formed. The doctor came in after and spoke "Well, you officially have a heart beat which means we can't advise you to end the pregnancy unless you elect to do so. But, with that said, I don't think this pregnancy will survive."
We had weekly appointments and scans for the next month. Each appointment and scan showed improvement and my levels stayed healthy. But, I began to get sick. Extremely sick. Morning sickness is not what I would call it. As each appointment got better, the sickness became stronger. On average, I would throw up about twenty times a day. I tried every home remedy, food and wives tale out there. I was so happy to keep seeing improvement with our baby but at the same time, extremely exhausted and upset that I couldn't enjoy the pregnancy finally because I was so sick. I felt like a regular at the doctor's office and we were unfortunately, able to experience the amazing emergency room staff at the hospital we would be delivering at in April. But somehow, we kept seeing improvement even with the weight loss, illness and complications.
Here we are now, at almost 30 weeks. Our baby is thriving and let's me know it every few hours. The doctors have said they can't believe the journey we've been through and that if they were to look a scan from today, they would have never of known our pregnancy didn't start out perfect. I no longer have any cysts and our baby is actually growing, to their guestimate, a few days ahead of schedule. I truly believe it's a miracle and can't fathom what would have happened if we decided to simply end the pregnancy.