Thursday, January 22, 2015

Heartbeat & Heartache


The last 10 days have been a whirlwind of ache, hope, pain, rest, prayer, doctor visits, and tears. 

We found out in late December that we were just barely pregnant - a miracle in itself because I have lived with the realities of stage IV endometriosis for years now.

To those that don’t know, endometriosis is the leading cause of infertility in women and can wreak havoc on a woman’s internal organs and body.

In fact, for the last 7 years, the goal has just been to control the disease as much as possible and to preserve my organs in hopes that I could one day become a mommy.

I’ve had surgeries to cut out and burn the disease, while detaching my ovaries from the pelvic wall after they were fused from adhesions and scarring. I’ve had to go through harsh drugs and multiple shots, drugs, and hormone therapies to try to keep my body in “medical menopause” so the disease couldn’t grow back (it responds to estrogen).

I’ve done all I could to follow the doctor in the hopes that all this pain and sickness would be worth it in the end.

That one day, maybe, possibly, I could be a mother. 

You see, as devastating and painful as this disease is to my body and others, it is the realities of what it does to our lives that hurts even worse. To be told that I may never have a child because of endometriosis is incredibly hard. To be isolated and alone at times because of how it makes me feel is just the same.

So you can imagine just a bit now how surprised we were when we found out we were pregnant in December. Yes, we were praying and preparing (ultimate reset diet, off meds, etc), but we didn’t expect our miracle to come so soon!

I didn’t believe it at first.

I took about 15 different pregnancy tests that week.

Maybe more. heh.

Each time I was nervous to see if it was really true. And then I would laugh at myself with all those pee sticks sticking out of the trash.

My first prenatal appointment was set for January 26th. I was supposed to be 8 weeks along then.

I started reading prego books and reading up on all I could. I looked at little shoes and baby names.




And then I woke up Tuesday morning...

Bleeding.

Pain.

It wasn’t heavy. But just enough to send red flags.

We called the hospital. The doctor had me come in for blood work.

And then wait for what felt like forever.

Wednesday we found out that HCG and progesterone levels were right on track and looking good! We were so thankful!

But I was still bleeding.

The doctor had us come later that week for an ultrasound.

We arrived on Friday full of expectation and hope. 

According to my last missed period, I should have been at 7 weeks.

I was excited....and scared.

But then we saw a little flicker. A sweet little heartbeat.

My baby’s heartbeat!

It was so tiny, but it was there.

Barely.



The baby measured a week earlier so that put us back to 6 weeks.

And the heart beat measured slow.

Too slow.

 The heart rate was in the 70s.

For those that don’t know, it typically starts out much faster. The doctor was wanting a heartbeat in the 100s.

As soon as I found out it was so slow, I couldn’t control the tears, the pain, the ache.

It was like a tidal wave hit my heart, drowning me in my emotions.

The doctor was talking and I could barely keep up. He said something about what to do over the weekend if I started bleeding worse. He talked about the clinic and where to go if we miscarried. I heard him talking about other things at this point too, but I couldn’t take any more in. It was just a distant voice.

I was falling apart inside. 

We went home.

I had to find subs for my fitness classes at the gym and stay off my feet. The doctor told me to do as little as I could.

Less is more. Less is more. Less is more. 

It’s a hard feeling to not be able to control your body and the life within you. I try so hard to be healthy and fit, but it isn’t enough in this case.

There is nothing else I can do.

After a week of waiting that felt more like 6 months, we went back today for another ultrasound.  

I wish I could say I was hopeful going into the appointment, but I was not. I was defeated and in pain inside. My heart hurt for this life that I couldn’t help. I felt useless. I know that God is bigger and can do ANYTHING, but that is not how I felt going into the hospital today at all.

I felt scared...and full of worry.

Even though the Lord tells us not to be afraid and not to worry.



Yes, I had moments of joy and peace in Him, but I couldn’t hold onto that for the whole time.

My faith was hurting along with my heart.

I trusted in the Lord to get me though no matter what. I knew he was all that I needed.

But I couldn’t find it within me to believe in a miracle. I felt stuck....and anxious and worried.


We walked into the ultrasound room. I undressed for that lovely vaginal ultrasound that I have grown to hate over the years.

And then the tech searched for our baby.

There it was!

Still growing....slowly.

This time the measurements were still small, 6 weeks and 3 days...instead of almost 7 weeks (about a week later).

The heart beat was still slow, but there was a little improvement. 90 instead of 74.

Hope.

Baby, tiny hope in the beating of my baby’s heart.

I cried some more.

Both with relief and sadness.

I wanted a perfect report, but I am thankful we got at least some improvement.

We met with the doctor. He is still concerned, but optimistic. I’m told again to do as little as possible, to limit my teaching at the gym and to not workout myself. I’m told to call his cell if I get pain or bleeding.

And to keep my finger’s crossed and be hopeful until we get another ultrasound next Friday.

We went home silently. I was thankful for God’s promises - knowing that we are never left, never forsaken. He promises to be by our side through it all.

I was thankful that my husband could be by my side through it all too, but I ached for him as well.




My heart aches for that little heart beat. 

For the Lord to strengthen this little fighter within.

So here I am, writing this from bed, after attempting to teach a fitness class without much movement on my part.

Most of you may be wondering why I’m sharing this with the world. After all, most women wait beyond the 1st trimester due to the high risk of miscarriage.

And most pregnancy announcements are cute and fun and happy.

But the truth is, I could really use some prayers. We could use some prayers.

All three of us.

My husband, our baby, and I.