Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Pinker Shade of Pale

I have to wonder if I over analyze my life. Or more specifically my infertility. Acceptance is a tough thing. What am I to accept? That we spent over $20,000 on costly infertility treatments to no avail? That the only pregnancy I may ever have needed to be terminated in a cold sterile hospital room with an 18 gauge needle in my lower back.

"I have consulted with a colleague and we can only conclude that the embryo is in the tube. We need to terminate "it" right away. Right now. You can get a second opinion if you like."

The only time I may ever see a second pink line on a home pregnancy test, even if it was just a pinker shade of pale, I wasn't given the chance to believe it was really a pregnancy at all. The nurse called with the results of our second IVF to report my HCG level . It was very low and went on to advise us what it was supposed to be at this stage of a pregnancy. She stated that "it" would most likely end up as an early term miscarriage. I forget the technical terms. The phone call terminated on the most negative note possible and with little to no emotion of the side of the health care provider.

I threw my phone at the wall. 2 1/2 years of non-stop doctors, drugs, hospitals, stripping off my clothes, exposing myself, feeling my strength whither away. No hope. No solace.

Every 2 days I went to give blood. For 2 weeks my betas doubled. The news from the nurses was mixed. They did not want to give any false hope because they had expected "it" to miscarry by now.

Trying to get any information out of them was a crash course in interrogation.

"I have to ask the doctor." No, you are just incompetent and unsure of yourself.

"Get me the goddamn doctor then."

"I will have to call you back."

The next day I would get an answer to my question, and the next day I already had a new one to ask.

After a week I commented to my doctor," No one has said that I am pregnant. Well, am I?"

"Yes. You are pregnant."

The "but" lingered in the air; he did not say anything further. I just wanted to hear those words even if they were to soothe my nerves and my heart. I deserved to hear them. A fact is a fact. I did not care about the possibilities.

I went and bought "the pregnancy book" You know the one. I knew, knew that it was not going to end happily, but I could not restrain myself from going out one Wednesday evening to purchase the book that has sat on so many bedside tables. I drove home with the shiny familiar cover laying on the seat next to me believing we would have our chance. The low beta did not mean the end but a beginning.

I remember weeding my front garden that week saying to myself, "I'm pregnant." There was no smile on my lips,though. The contingency pressed on my shoulders and dug into my nerves. More waiting ensued. Again I had not received good news but in-between news that held more doubt than anything. Was this pregnancy going to surpass the odds or was it going to end?

In my second two-week-wait until we would have an ultrasound I attended a wedding. I could not drink. This was me going through the motions of being pregnant. The side step and curtsy I had been waiting to dance. The I cannot drink, eat certain foods, wear my favorite jeans or go skydiving dance. The swing step of expectancy.

I had the bartender make me fake vodka tonics-lime, swizzle stick and all. I sipped the glass and thought about my baby- our cells surely dividing. Driving home that night as the designated driver I had longed to be I rolled down the window and smelled the summer night air. DH and I held hands.

Two days later I lay on the table waiting for our "it" ultrasound. The most important one we would ever have. I did not look at the monitor but instead turned my head to look at my husband. My eyes were clouded and my heart hung in the balance.

"I do not see anything in your uterus. It is probably ectopic. Please get dressed and meet me in my office."

Numb. There may have been tears, can't remember. We were directed to another room and waited an excruciating amount of time for the nurse to come in with her vial, the concoction that would abort my wrongly implanted embryo. After rolling down my pants far enough for the shot, smelling the alcohol swab, and feeling the long, thick needle splinter my skin, I knew the bottom was at my tip toes. The bottom of my sanity and my ability to be hopeful that next time things could work out. I walked down the hall after the shot, through the dark door, past the glass encased waiting room, down the long hall to the elevator and fell to my knees.

For the next 7 weeks I had to give blood every 3 days to check that my HCG level was dropping to monitor that the embryo was shrinking and I would not be in danger of infection or bursting my fallopian tube which can be very dangerous. I had been 4 weeks pregnant when we found out it was ectopic.

I was rushed to the hospital with severe pain on my right side. My mother drove me and she called my husband. As I lay on a bed I just looked at my mother with tears falling and said," How has this happened to me? How did I become a patient in a hospital for over 2 years?" I did not lose my tube that day. It was one good thing.

After nearly six weeks of blood draws the nurse told me I had to come in for another shot to make sure the pregnancy was terminated. I released a body of anger so extreme I did not recognize myself. After refusing to subject myself to anymore needles and the smell of that soul smashing institution my mother spoke to the doctor and explained that I must go. If I wanted to ensure my health, I needed to go back there- one last time.

I don't remember returning for the second shot. I just know I never saw that place again.

We told some people that we "lost" the baby. Truth is we never really had it. What we really lost was the last of our innocence. Pregnancy, parenthood for that matter, faded like my mother's dining room chandelier on its dimmer. The candle in the room was still burning but the artificial light was dispelled.

30 comments:

~M~ said...

I'm so sorry for all the heartache you experienced :(

Heather said...

One of the most heartbreaking (and most beautifully written) posts I have ever read. At this moment I can't form the words I'm wanting, except to say how incredibly sorry I am for your loss and heartache. :(

Leah said...

What a beautifully written post, and something I can relate to so much. I felt like I was on that ultrasound bed with you. I'm so sorry for the heartaches this whole experience has brought you.

KLTTX said...

The rawness of your emotions is jumping off the screen in this post. Beautifully written. I am so sorry you had to experience this loss.

Sandy said...

That was beautifully written and very moving. I am humbled by posts like that, humbled by how lucky I am and how much so many of us take for granted. Thank you, not only for sharing your pain, but also for being such a supportive fellow blogger. It's not something I deserve!

Mary said...

I'm crying for you. I am so sorry that you had to go though that extremely painful time. It's not fair that anyone has to deal with infertility.

The Busters said...

Wow, I could feel your pain through the words on the page. I admire your courage. Thank you for writing so eloquently about what so many of us have endured!

Barefoot said...

I don't think there's such a thing as overanalysis when you're trying to get through something like this. I'm so sorry that you had to experience what you did, and in the manner that you did.

Lavender Luz said...

This is a really hard post for me to read.

I'm sorry you had to live it.

'Murgdan' said...

Heartbreaking...simply heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing your experience.

JC said...

I'm sorry! Thank you for sharing you story, it must have been so hard.

Beautiful Mess said...

WOW! This post is so emotional, heart breaking and so beautiful. Thank you so much for writing it. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. It makes me so sad to think of you feeling so lost.
Thinking about you, hon.
*HUGS*

Debbie said...

I am so terribly sorry for your heartbreak. Infertility is such a long and lonely process.

Stacey said...

I'm sure this wasn't an easy post to write, but thank you for having the courage to share this part of your journey with us. I'm so, so sorry. For all of it.

KuKd Chick said...

Gaaaghhh, Parenthood 4 Me. The heartache is really palable here, the disappointments. I think that I - and many people reading this post - can relate on some level. You've been through a lot. And yet, as Sandy points out, you remain supportive of others' lives in the blogosphere - joys and pains and all that. I really admire and appreciate you for that. ((Hugs)).

chicklet said...

This is beautifully written. So hard to put out there I'm sure, and so hard to revisit emotionally, but beautiful in that awful way things this hard are.

A Mom in Jacksonville, FL said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sorry for the pain you endured.

Melissa G said...

My heart aches for you. Thank you for sharing this. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write, to re-live.

Not that you ever forget it, but to share the details... I know that must have been excruciating.

(((HUGS)))

Kristin said...

Oh hon, that was so beautifully written for a piece about such a heartbreaking time.

Michelle said...

I am so sorry! I know this story all too well! It just sucks and there is nothing that even gives it justice to how bad it feels! ((HUGS))

tbonegrl said...

What a wonderfully written post. My heart breaks for you. Thank you for sharing.

Lynn said...

My heart just aches for you reading this. I can feel the pain you must have been going through. I'm so sorry for all the pain you've suffered.

Quiet Dreams said...

I'm so sorry. So sorry you went through that.

Jeanne said...

Erica,

It breaks my heart that anyone should ever have to go through such a painful experience. This is beautifully written.

It both comforts those who have been through similar experiences and educates those who have not.

The fact that you went through this potentially soul-shattering experience to move forward to helping others going through similar experiences demonstrates your strength and courage.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Jeanne

luna said...

came over from la creme. truly a lovely post, aching with emotion and beauty and sorrow. what a horrible loss. I'm so sorry.

manapan said...

I'm so sorry. What an awful thing to have to go through. ((hugs))

Life In Mazes said...

It seems like something really changes in your spirit after the loss of a child through an ectopic pregnancy.
I was seven weeks pregnant after battling IF for many years and suffered a ruptured left tube because our baby implanted in the wrong place. My spirit is still so filled with sorrow, know that I will keep you in prayer. Thank you for sharing.

I did lose my left tube. The hardest part was that I went for an ultrasound the day before being rushed to the hospital after nearly dying because of the rupture and the doctor sent me home with an ultrasound picture saying that was our baby. What a joke.
I just happened to find your blog, I hope to read more soon!

Lut C. said...

Popping in from the crème de la crème list.

Very, very moving post. I'm sorry for your loss.
Getting a BFN after putting in a lot of effort is bad enough, but seeing that second line only to have it shattered so harshly is just adding insult to injury. And there's no one to blame, no rhyme and no reason.

myinfertilitywoes said...

Here from Creme. I kind of can't believe this post because it's so incredibly similar to my experience. Whoa.

Yeah, the buying of that stupid book and reading it in the car with my husband saying, well, next week we start week 6 and we'll be able to hear the heartbeat at the u/s tomorrow.

Except at the u/s they couldn't find anything. And had to keep going to get blood drawn. And then that stupid needle in your bum pretty much to 'dissolve' the pregnancy.

And then to keep going to give blood to make sure the pregnancy is dissolved. That was complete torture. Going to an appt to make sure you're NOT pregnant. Knife in the heart. I never went to my last appt. I couldn't take it anymore. My levels were dropping and assumed it dissolved...

I'm so sorry for your experience. I'm eager to read more about you and glad I found you. Hugs.

K said...

I'm in the midst of my second chemical, and reading your post helped me get through some of the emotions that just haven't come out yet. Thank you. ♥

You got me with the pregnancy book. I had so hoped that this time I would be able to buy just one small thing for the baby, but we didn't make it.

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