Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Reason

Everything happens for a reason. So I’m told. To an extent I think I believe that, though my strength in that belief falters when the reason is not plainly evident, or even obtusely evident. Sometimes emotions get in the way. Anger, chiefly. But sadness or grief, too. These are the two sides of me. There is the practical side, which rules most days. This side is the down to earth, no-nonsense side of me that sees things for what they are instead of what I might try to imagine them to be. It doesn’t put stock in silliness or anything impractical. It is also the side of me that takes over when things are at their worst, and makes sure I get through what I need to so that I don’t just shut down. It’s a good side to have. The other is the emotional side. Not always so good. The emotional side sees nothing but what it wants to, and revels in the raw emotion that comes with any moments of joy or in times of the worst pain. It doesn’t listen to reason, and while it sometimes can eventually be convinced of something, it more often has the tendency to simply accept whatever has happened as a purely emotional event to, at some point, be laid to rest. The emotional side does not recognize the “everything happens for a reason” theory, and while it may ask “why?”, it seldom listens to the answer.

For the last four days the two sides of me have been at war. It’s been a roller coaster ride to top all roller coaster rides in the emotional department, and try as it might, practicality has made only a little dent. As many of you may know, my husband and I have recently begun trying for another child. We have finally reached a point in our careers and our lives that a baby is a possibility, and we have wasted no time getting started. About five weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. We were thrilled. We were especially excited about all that having a baby holds in store for Sweetpea, and we immediately told her the news. While I still don’t think she fully grasped what was happening, she understood that mommy and daddy were very excited about a baby coming, and so she should be excited too. She asked a few questions, and often asked to listen to my tummy to hear the baby sleeping. She had even decided what she would call the baby, regardless of our choice of names. We were filled with anticipation for the 10-week appointment, where my doctor would view the fetus with a portable ultrasound machine. Things didn’t really work out as we had hoped.

They said I've had a mis-AB, which is apparently one step short of a miscarriage. AB is short for abortion, I guess, but not abortion as in...well, abortion. It's where something is wrong and so the body naturally aborts the developmental process. They told me that it's generally due to a chromosome deficiency, meaning something genetic wasn't matching up right, so everything just stopped. In my case, the large sac that the baby would be housed in inside the uterus formed, but then nothing after that. The next step would have been the yolk sac and then embryo, but those things didn't happen.

We found out when my doctor couldn't find the fetus with the ultrasound on Wednesday at the 10-week appointment. With my husband and daughter in the room, she told me she was not finding what she was looking for. And though she said she wasn’t worried, she still put an order in for an ultrasound an ultrasound with the "big" machine at the U hospital on Friday. I wasn’t overly worried about the situation, because my doctor admitted that her equipment wasn’t exactly top notch. I was still excited when we arrived for the appointment, and I paraded in, husband and daughter in tow, for the big event. Once in the room, the tech began the procedure, but soon said she couldn't find a fetus with an external ultrasound. So she had to do an internal. She took a lot of measurements and pictures, and pointed out a few things to us here and there. “Oh, there’s your left ovary.” I kept waiting for the baby. I kept thinking any minute now she’ll be pointing out the baby. Where is it? She never did. Finally she finished the procedure and said she would like to consult the doctor on duty to discuss the results, but thought we wouldn’t need any more images. This was a bit of a surprise, as we had yet to be able to see the baby and point things out to Sweetpea. We waited for the doctor to come, neither of us really acting very worried, though I think deep down we both knew.

The doctor came in and said the measurements that they took showed as if I were only seven weeks along, instead of the ten I was supposed to be, so first they thought I had my dates wrong. And then they couldn't find anything else that should be there. All the while I was sitting there looking at her, and it was as if I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I don’t get it, I kept thinking. She told me that at seven weeks there should be a viable fetus with a heart beat. All I could think was, but I’m ten weeks along. I think she finally saw that I wasn’t understanding what she was saying. She said as gently as she could, “there isn’t a fetus.” All at once it hit me. There was no baby. There never was a baby. And I started to cry.

My husband was the one who asked what next, and all the while I was still sitting there thinking that there had to be some mistake. I wanted desperately for her to tell me that they weren’t 100% sure and that there was still a chance that their equipment had not picked up what was really there. She never said anything of the sort.

For whatever reason my body has not miscarried yet, (though the doctor said it would happen eventually), so I am scheduled for a DNC tomorrow, since I didn't want to wait an indeterminate amount of time still suffering pregnancy symptoms when there really is no pregnancy.

And all the while I have internally been at war. I know somewhere on my practical side that it's for the best, since if things weren't developing how they should be, it's good that they stopped. But the practical side is just having a really hard time convincing my emotional side of that. I’m not sure it will ever be accomplished. In the last four days I have swung from anger, to grief, to something I can only imagine to be similar to acceptance, back to anger again. I’ve heard over and over again that everything happens for a reason. The reason is evident, yes. The one question my practical side has not asked is “why?” I understand the why. Medically, anyway. I really can only hope that I will eventually understand emotionally as well. As for whether I still believe that everything truly does happen for a reason, I don’t really know the answer to that. Even my practical side seems to be viewing this reason as a bit too simple. It’s too easy an answer, though I still see it as the answer. At the same time I can’t really take comfort in “it wasn’t meant to be”. The truth is, there is very little comfort in anything for me right now, and my practical side is screaming to just accept it and begin to move on. Only I think the emotional side has purchased some ear plugs.


Pamela said...

I'm sorry.
I know how you feel. I've lost a twin with my 1st pregnancy. I had an ectopic after my 1st pregnancy and miscarried on my birthday right before I got pregnant with my 4th.
What made it worse is I had many ectopic symptoms and went to the ER to rule out ectopic and the ER doc was such a jerk and he sent me home with back pain pamphlet. So I went home and suffered a m/c. Some B-day.

Iguana Montana said...

Oh my.
I cannot express to you how sorry I am. My wife and I went through something similar a few years back, and I know darn well that there's very little anyone can say that will help heal the hurt.
I guess I can offer my ear if you need it; be assured that you and your family will also be in my family's thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

It just royally sucks. You know where my ear is. feel free to call.

jen said...

so so sorry, just remember i'm always a hop skip and a jump away. let get together soon. luv ya girl!

Kelly Thompson said...

Ok, now. I will never say I understand, but I love you. And your emotional side may keep it's earplugs as long as it likes. Sounds perfectly normal to me.