I Felt Utterly Broken and Betrayed By My Own Body

broken

All my life I’ve wanted to be a mother.

I never wanted a career. God, family and children, is all that has ever mattered to me.  So two months into our marriage, my husband and I were ecstatic to find out I was pregnant, just in time for Christmas with my family.  My sister-in-law was due with their first child in February, and ours would be born in August. My sister-in-law gave me all the right pregnancy tips, and we took our first cousins-in-the-womb photo together. I was five weeks pregnant at the time.

A week later, I had some spotting. I’d had some friends who’d had miscarriages, so I knew what it might mean. I freaked out, and my husband and I prayed desperately for life and health for our baby.

At seven weeks, we were back in town after our holiday travels and we saw my GP as soon as we could manage it.  He reassured us and said spotting was quite common in perfectly healthy pregnancies, but we would have an early ultrasound just to be sure.

We got in for the ultrasound at eight weeks. The sonographer was terribly rude and pressed so hard with the ultrasound equipment on my tummy that I was in pain for 24 hours afterwards.

Without explanation, he said, “Unfortunately, this pregnancy isn’t viable.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, there’s no life there,”  He responded abruptly. “It probably died in the last week or so.  You should see your doctor today.”

We walked out of there dumbfounded and devastated. My doctor organized for me to be seen at the public hospital for specialist care, where we insisted on conservative treatment in the hopes that maybe our baby was just hiding.

Then followed three weeks of roller-coaster ultrasounds and appointments, from grief to hope and back to grief again. I experienced terrible morning sickness, and while my HCG levels weren’t rising each week as quickly as the doctors would expect, the level itself was already very high.  It peaked at 180,000.  Each appointment, the ultrasound was inconclusive, and yet the doctors urged us to have a D&C without any further information.

Determined to make an informed decision, we scoured the Internet for anyone in a similar situation and got second, third and fourth opinions on my diagnosis: missed miscarriage. They all agreed. Our ultrasounds were confusing.

One told us we had twins, another couldn’t even find my ovaries, but they all agreed: there was no heartbeat.

At long last, we finally had a radiologist perform our ultrasound.  He was both sympathetic and informative. He told us there was an unidentified cystic mass that was macerating and with no heartbeat found at 11 weeks, there really was no hope for life in there.

Our doctor that week was also sympathetic, and the first doctor to actually acknowledge that we’d lost a baby. As he looked over my medical charts and previous ultrasounds & blood tests, he suggested the possibility of a partial molar pregnancy. He ran through some related questions and it began to look more and more like that was our explanation. We organized for a D&C that afternoon.

The next day, I felt great. My morning sickness was gone, and I relished the fact that I could wake up without throwing up bile, eat a meal without losing it, and eat whatever I wanted without worrying about the consequences. Emotionally, I felt weird. I was OK – happy, even. But it felt wrong.

 The next day I lost it and for weeks I couldn’t sing in church without choking up and tears streaming down my face. I felt utterly broken and betrayed by my own body.

Then, the results came back. Partial molar. Probably. Genetics testing would be required to know for sure. I was relieved to have a reason for our loss but terrified about what that meant for us in the future.

Weekly blood tests until my HCG dropped below 5 and stayed there for three weeks. Then, monthly tests for six months before we are allowed to try again. And for every future pregnancy, early scans, close monitoring throughout, and six weeks of blood tests after a full-term delivery.

We still have six weeks to wait for the genetics test to come back and confirm or deny my diagnosis. In the meantime, I feel trapped, lonely, empty & controlled by our circumstances and I’m struggling to cope with the grief of our loss.  It is unlike any other type of grief I have ever known.

But I know there’s hope. God always brings hope somehow. I don’t quite know how to connect with Him right now when He didn’t give me the answer I was looking for.  But I do know He is a good God, and somehow through all of this, He will show me how He loves me and is caring for me. He always has a plan, and even in my darkest moments He has always been there.

To whoever is reading this, I don’t know your story, but I know there is a reason for whatever you are going through.

Photo credit: adapted from Steve Snodgrass | Flickr

— Ruth

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