Why Me? Now What? (A Personal Journey Through Infertility)

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Mother's Instincts

I haven't been feeling well for a few days now... major pressure in my upper stomach cavity has left me with a few sleepless nights, and some painful moments as I tried to carry on as best possible. I was relieved that today I would have the chance to "look around" at the ultrasound and rule out another surprise attack of OHSS.

My morning started off with acupuncture... could there BE a better way to start one's day? Relaxed... feeling like I was doing something truly good for my body... it was nice to spend that hour in utter quiet absorbing my worries and replacing them with love and nourishment for my little babies growing inside me. In mear hours I would be walking out of the office with our first babies pictures!!!! It all seemed so exciting! I was only disappointed that Mike was unable to join me... but bringing home picture would allow him to experience everything I got to see on the screen... so it was ALMOST as good.

As soon as I lay back on that cold table and felt the warm gooiness of the ultrasound gel, a sudden uncomfortableness came over me. I don't know what it was exactly, but I suddenly... for the first time, felt very alone and worried. As I lay there with the technician silently going about her measuring and notations, I began to panic.... I just needed her to say "they look great" and then I could lay back and let her carry on with her duties... but I didn't dare speak up asking her for reassurance, and she never offered it up freely... and so I lay in absolute fear.

It went on for what seemed like hours (But that ended up being just over 60 minutes in the end... still a miserable amount of time to spend in a paper dress with gel on your stomach.) As she methodically went about her business, I began a game of my own... I would breathe deeply, surely masking any chance of hearing the babies 3 tiny heartbeats without requesting me to hold my breath. THAT way I could reassure myself that all was ok. "Hold your breath for me please" she said almost on Queu".... and as I held my breath that first time, I smiled at my masterful plan... I would soon be more relaxed!

5 minutes later she asked again "One more time... hold your breath".... and so I did... which moments later was greeted with a "Great... Thank you!!".... 2 down and one precious heartbeat to go....

And then she stopped. Placing the wand back in it's holster, she said it would be a moment while she consulted the doctor on shift, and she would be right back. I couldn't hold back my fears any longer... I asked urgently for some reassurance, clinging to some small hope that I had been paired with a brilliant technician who was able to measure the heartbeat of the third baby even amidst my deep breathing. "Did you see all three heartbeats??" I said, desperate... Hopeful... angst ridden.... "Well, No" she said quietly.... "I cant really say much before the doctor joins us, but it seems that baby A (previously known as the single fraternal triplet) has lost it's heart beat and is significantly smaller than the other two babies". And with that, she was gone. I was left alone on the cold table with only my thoughts and a stomach covered in goo.

I wanted to cry... in fact I think I allowed a tear or two to trickle out as I lay there in the almost darkness. But I wouldn't... Couldn't...not now, not here. I needed to be strong, or at least appear to be one of those strong women that could take news like this and not let it crumble her entirely. Moments after wiping the residual tears from my cheek the door reopened and along with the technician was a woman who apparently was the doctor on duty that day. She reached for a chair preparing to give me "the news".... I cut her off...not wanting to hear another clinical descpription of my tiny baby's demise. " I know" I said... and she immediately looked relieved. Even in my anguish I managed to make HER feel more comfortable.

As the doctor re-examined things, I was searching for answers...why did this happen? How did it happen? Were the other babies doomed? Almost instinctively, she started sharing what she saw...(Surely recognizing this look on my face having been the bearer of bad news more than her fair share of times I am sure) "The other babies looked fine" she started...with ooohs and ahhhs almost to enthusiastically compensating for my sad news moments earlier, she snapped photos of the little ones for me to take home. Now she moved to the small sac sitting still and quiet. Zooming in, she discovered a snake looking line coming from the side. It was described as a hemorrhage. Apparently something had happened in the last couple of days that forced the placenta to hemorrhage, and thus stopped the heart of that tiny Baby A. So I had my answer... sort of...it was something... but who know's what, that caused the little heart to stop beating. It wasn't natural selection in the most common sort, it was trauma that caused this news. The guilt hit me like a freight train... only to be followed by an intense fear that whatever I had done while being so careful these last weeks could also happen to the other to babies still growing inside me.

Once almost complete, they decided to look and see if they could determine what was causing my recent bouts of intense pain in my upper abdomen. It had been a nuisance since my egg transfer nearly 2 months earlier, but lately the sharp pain and inability to move without stopping to gasp for air had become less of a bother, and more of a real health concern. As she moved the wand up from my belly button, it didn't take long to come across the culprit. There it sat, 14 cms... (which we later measured out on a ruler in amazement)... a fibroid that was barely attached to the upper outer wall of my uterus, that was quite literally taking up my entire cavity. My organs were pressed around it, begging for more room; but there it sat, proud and strong... almost looking like a full moon. Well THIS would explain the pains wouldn't it! Apparently, once it gets to this size, fibroids often lose blood supply adequate enough to sustain it's size. And so, it begins to attack itself in hunger... a very painful experience if I do say so myself!

The rest of the day was a blur. Instead of ooing and awing over the pictures they sent me home with, they remained in the manilla envelope until Mike got home. I feel sad.. unable to fully process the information I had been given today. Maybe I knew deep down inside... or maybe saying that is just my way of coping.... but either way, it hurts...but knowing that I have an angel in heaven protecting myself and the precious babies I am still fighting for.