Friday, 1 June 2012

The breath sucked out of me

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     Just this past week I was feeling like things were coming together. Things were going well after our initial pregnancy scare. We were starting to get really excited as the reality of this baby was becoming more and more real to us. We were getting the nursery prepared and making our list of boy names. Things seemed to be finally going well and we were finally feeling relaxed about the pregnancy as a whole. However, our world was rocked once again after my first OB appointment the other day.

     I showed up expecting a quick appointment, knowing that they would ask me some questions, measure my belly, record my weight, listen to that beautiful little heartbeat and send me home. I didn't have a care in the world as I swung those doors open and confidently walked into his office. But it wasn't long before I was in tears.

    
     As my OB sat there looking over my chart, he had a look of concern on his face that made me feel immediately sick to my stomach.

     "So we've had a few problems already in this pregnancy I see", he said.

    "Well, really only the bleeding incident..but I'm feeling good now. No problems since then. I'm totally fine now" I responded, feeling my confidence quickly slide away as I felt like I was trying to all of a sudden convince him of this.

    He looked at my chart again.
"I assume you're taking it really easy these days since you have Placenta Previa", he said.

    I had no idea what he was talking about. No one had told me that I had this condition, even though I was just at my doctors three weeks before. No one had told me that I was supposed to be taking it easy because of this condition and I had no idea what Placenta Previa even was.

   He explained that Placenta Previa is a complication of pregnancy in which the placenta grows in the lowest part of the womb (uterus), when it is supposed to be growing much higher. He explained that more bleeding could occur and that our baby might need to be delivered by C-section much earlier than he is supposed to be in order to avoid complications for both mom and baby. He then explained that for some women the placenta moves up to where it should be, but since mine hasn't moved at all, he said to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
    
    I felt my entire body drain of energy as I tried to control my breathing as I took this all in. But to my dismay, he continued on further.

     He explained that the risk of this pregnancy is heightened even further since it was documented in my chart from Mya's birth that I had "severe hemorrhaging" postpartum.

    He was again shocked that no one had talked to me about this or explained the risks or at least warned me that with the next pregnancy we had to be aware of this and be prepared for a blood transfusion. I remember there being a lot of blood when Mya was born, but since it was my first time giving birth I thought it was normal, especially since no one said a word to me about it after the fact.

   I took a deep breath, expecting that he was done...but he looked at my chart again, this time locking eyes with me as a gesture of comfort, or so I took it...and he continued.

     "So, you need to be aware that this baby could come very early. Too early. Our goal is to keep this baby inside of you for as long as we can. I see here with your first pregnancy that you were already fully effaced and dilated more than a month and half before your daughter was due--and you were put on bed rest".

    I nodded. Not wanting to hear any more.

    "Because of this history, and all of the other complications that are going on with this pregnancy, we need to do all that we can to prevent a preemie. We don't want you to have a baby at 26 weeks".

     I felt my whole body go limp as I stared at him, feeling my cheeks go flush as I felt the stinging in my eyes as I tried to hold back my tears.

"Is that even a possibility?" I asked, not wanting to hear the answer.

He didn't look at me this time. And he didn't answer my question.

"Well I'm going to have to keep a close eye on you and this baby. You'll need to go to many more ultrasounds and I'll be checking you at every appointment to see if you're dilated already. I would even like to check you today just to be sure".

     I looked at him in shock, "But I'm only 21 weeks...there's no possible way that I'm dilated. It's way too early". I knew that I was more so asking him this question instead of telling him this, but he looked at me, nodded and simply responded "I just want to be sure". My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach.

     All of a sudden I felt my world spinning out of control as I laid on that cold table, with the crinkle of the white paper underneath me, waiting and begging to hear even the slightest words of comfort from him.

     I breathed a sigh of relief as he told me that I wasn't dilated yet. But his news wasn't over yet.

     Before I left the office he told me that we would take it week by week, but to expect to be put on bed rest as the pregnancy progresses.

     My first response to him was, "But I need to go back to work in September. That was my plan all along".  The look on his face said it all.

     "You'll be on bed rest by then dear, if we can get you that far in this pregnancy. You're not going back to work in September. It's not just the Placenta Previa that is cause for concern in making you go into labour pre-maturely, it's all of the factors that have plagued this pregnancy combined".

     At that point I gave up. I had heard too much. I was too overwhelmed. Too stressed. Too tired to ask one more question or say one more thing about the situation. I was worried sick about my baby and realized that all of the planning in the world didn't matter anymore...this situation was completely out of my hands. All I could do at this point was "take it easy" (although I'm still not sure how to do that with a 19th month old who literally runs everywhere she goes and a job teaching kindergarten...but I'll try my best), and wait.

     I left the office, got into my car and burst into tears. My body felt heavy, as if I could barely move. I didn't know how to process this information. I didn't know what to do next. I didn't want to call Terry at work to tell him all of this. So, where do you go when you feel like your world is crumbling...? mom and dad's house.

    
    So after a good cry, lunch and some much needed chocolate, I tried to pull myself together and move forward with my day. With all of this being said, the thing about this situation is that although it's scary and overwhelming to hear a professional tell you that you will likely be faced with bed rest, a pre-mature baby and further hemorrhaging complications after the birth, I always come back to the reality that I'm so grateful to even be pregnant.

    Not to say that I didn't have a mini pity party for myself that day. I certainly did. I sat there in tears wondering why I couldn't be one of those women who seemed to just float through their pregnancy without a care in the world, glowing and finally begging for their baby to be born since they were past their due date. I wondered why things couldn't be easier for us. I wondered why this was happening to us when it appeared that others were so easily getting pregnant, having perfectly simple pregnancies and being left with a healthy baby to take home the very next day. I wondered what it felt like to feel confident being pregnant, being reassured throughout the entire 9months that everything was going smoothly. I started having scary visions of an emergency C-section and our baby being swept away after being born, rushed to the NICU where we would be left to worry, cry and pray that everything would be okay.

    I worry about how Mya will cope with her mama being away, left at the hospital to be monitored for up to weeks after the birth. I wonder how I will cope with being away from her. I wonder how much time Terry will have to take off of work in order to look after her during this time. It already kills me to think about all of the unknowns. I still sit here with a sinking feeling in my stomach.

     But I come back to the reality that everyone goes through different struggles. It feels like we're going through a lot right now, but there are others who are going through much worse. It's all perspective and it's remembering that it's part of our life experiences that make us who we are. It's the unexpected that, in the end, make life so beautiful and rich and full. I just hold on to my theory of "everything happens for a reason". I really do believe this. It may not all make sense right now as we work through the reality of what we've been told and all of the unknowns that we'll face in the weeks ahead, but we'll get through it. We'll learn from this somehow...we'll be stronger for it, we'll be closer...we'll be okay.






  
   




1 comment:

  1. Oh Erica! What a fantastic attitude you have, I am in awe of your courage.
    That being said, I am so sorry to hear about this! All of this. So shocking and upsetting.
    And I am completely disheartened that you got all this news, at once, without being prepared for it and without your support system there. It seems as though there is a definite lack of communication between your health care providers.
    I know you are going to be great, keep your head up and do what you can and always remember to ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT!!!!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete

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