The last two and a half weeks have been the longest of our lives to say the least. I felt completely unprepared and ill-equipped emotionally to deal with what we had undergone. This is our Part 2 of our story since we were last told to prepare for a miscarriage. The day after I wrote that blog, I was hopeful I would remain sane, calm, cool, collected and patient. After we decided to make our private business, public, in the hopes of prayers, we were overwhelmed with supportive messages from so many people in our lives, including words of inspiration for those maybe who had a similar experience.
“Prayer was key,” I told myself.
That weekend, our family took sometime to decompress and get rest. I had been an emotional wreck on Friday, uncontrollably sobbing, stopping, sobbing, then stopping. I was pretty drained on Saturday. To top it all off, I had the largest spike in morning sickness I had felt, and it completely incapacitated me. I woke up with hunger pains as if I had not eaten in days, to the point I was lightheaded and couldn’t sit up right. I would eat, only for the nausea to stay, but turn into an angry “What did you eat?!” In reality, all I was able to take down was Life Cereal and Almond Milk and the occasional box of mac and cheese. This lasted ALL DAY until I fell asleep. My fatigue was so bad, I could barely function after 12 noon. One day went by, then two, then five, and by the following Friday, I had not left my bed for more than four hours in more than a week.
In another hope to get a second opinion, we scheduled an abdominal ultrasound on Friday after we had our first ’empty ultrasound.’ We were hopeful this time. We didn’t just pray, we didn’t just hope, but we HOPED HARD. We could not wait for this second opinion and were SURE that the doctor had gotten it wrong. It had been a week and I still didn’t miscarry. I had read numerous stories of misdiagnosed Blighted Ovum of fetuses that were found a week later. We got to this appointment almost 45 mins early. It wasn’t a medical center, only a non-diagnostic ultrasound place. I sat quietly eating my Granny Smith Apples in the waiting room trying to hold my emotions together. I had also figured out by then that Altoids help with my nausea, and I had one clutched close to prepare.
It was our turn. We followed the tech into the the ultrasound room. She was friendly, though we didn’t tell her much about our story. As she got started, I felt the cold gel on my belly and waited. She searched, she moved, and searched. I clutched Justin’s hand tight.
“Did the doctor tell you they had seen a yolk sac?” the technician said.
Gulp. “Yes.” I answered. She kept looking. A few mins later…
“Okay, I see it, barely a yolk, but I am so sorry, I can’t see an embryo.”
She must have seen the look in my eyes, as she started to tear and offered us another follow up visit for free. She tried to instill some hope, but at the end of that visit we both left upset and angry. Angry at everything. Angry at the situation. We hadn’t been ready to talk to any friends at this point and it felt like this moved our strength back even further.
I didn’t speak for the whole day. I slept. I couldn’t do much else anyways as my nausea was painful and debilitating. Getting downstairs was difficult most moments. I couldn’t stand the smell of the kitchen or the refrigerator. I let time pass and we just slept through most of the weekend. I felt hopeless. I questioned my faith. I questioned the purpose of this situation. It might have been the hormones, but I also started going down a dark path of why women (any woman) would every deserve to go through this. Our once rising spirits were cut down.
Monday started another week, and one week closer to our final appointment with our OB GYN. I had just found enough energy to sit at my desk, only to take one trip to the bathroom and find blood. I was sure this was it. It was the second instance of blood. I was feeling horrible. I started to tell myself that my stomach pains must have been cramps, and I just didn’t know the difference. An hour later, Mesa, my college puppy adopted by my parents and bother was being put down after 15 years. I was so overwhelmed with negativity, I had no feelings. I SHUT DOWN. I felt nothing, and after calling the nurse line to log my symptoms of bleeding, I was told to head straight to Urgent Care.
I had given up at this point. They took me in quickly. He did an exam, but no ultrasound. Asked me about my bleeding, and then old me that the odd thing is he doesn’t see my cervix preparing for any type of miscarriage and ordered a panel of blood tests for me. One of those blood tests included HCG count. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone normally produced by the placenta. If you are pregnant, you can detect it in your urine. Blood tests measuring hCG levels can also be used to check how well your pregnancy is progressing, including your baby’s development.
I went home. I had written it off. I had no more room for false hope. I still prayed. I repented. I apologized to God about questioning the path, and just accepted my fate. Within 2 hours, I received a call from the Urgent Care Doctor.
“Yes, Michaella, this is Dr. Smith. I wanted to make sure I called you before the end of the day. I don’t know if you’ve already seen your test results, but your HCG is very high. You have a 140,000+ HCG count which is more consistent with a viable pregnancy. If I had to put my money on it, you have some high chances of a viable pregnancy. I am not sure why your OB didn’t order these tests before since it’s pretty standard practice, but we will send them to her asap.”
WHAT!??!?!??!?! What is he saying? I don’t think I could handle this emotional roller coaster. I told Justin immediately, and of course, he was skeptical. We had gone through so much false hope, this seemed unreal. And of course, it didn’t last long after more googling. High HCG could mean a lot of things, but it didn’t SOLIDIFY a viable pregnancy. I realize that now too, considering that Urgent Care doctor was not an OB. I chalked it up to at least being the explanation of why my morning sickness and stomach pain had been so high…I was pumping 2-3xs the hormones than usual. At this point, I was adamant and angry at my OB. I wanted answers, I wanted answers now, and I was not going to wait another week and a half to find out if I had miscarried by then. I BLEW UP MY OB’S Email.
My HCG tests came in and it was high. What does this mean? It shows that I am now at risk for a molar pregnancy, did you rule this out? I haven’t miscarried, what is this supposed to look like?
She responded simply with, “I have put in an urgent order for an ultrasound for your to go into radiology to check on this. Please feel free to walk into radiology this week.”
GLADLY! I thought.
I was able to schedule an ultrasound two days later on Friday, August 21, 10:10 am in Moreno Valley. I prayed hard at this point. Not to see a baby, but to give me the strength to accept the results. I prayed to bless all those how had also supported and loved us unconditionally during this time who we haven’t even had a chance to thank personally.
Justin wasn’t available, so my dad had taken the day off to drive me. I was still weak and also nauseous. Not to mention, we were preparing to see an empty sac, and I was ready to lose my “$h!t” and would need some emotional support.
I walked in, right on time. I took a number and I was called in within 10 minutes. The technician was calming. I was so anxious, but it was nice to hear a friendly voice. I laid down. She started the ultrasound, but I could not see the screen.
The technician prodded and typed. Prodded, and typed. She paused. She squinted at the screen. She typed. This went on for several minutes. I closed my eyes, holding back tears, and prayed…
“Dear Lord, please hold my hand and provide me with the strength I need to accept this moment.”
And immediately felt a calm come over me. EXHALE.
I see the technician turn the screen over to me slowly.
“There it is, your little baby with a flickering heartbeat.”
My ears rang. Before I can get a word out, my tears were streaming out. My hands were shaking as they covered my face. I was breathing heavily, and struggled to get a word out as I sobbed.
The technician looked at me with blank eyes unsure what was happening. I responded to her with the little breath I had, my head in my hands…
“I was told I was going to miscarry and there would’t be a baby. I just can’t believe this. How’s the heartbeat?” SOB. SOB. SOB.
She responds that she sees a strong heartbeat with a fetus measuring 8 weeks and 1 day. It turns out I also have a retroverted uterus which is why she said my doctor would not have seen the baby, and asked if I was told that. No, I was not. I also don’t remember much after that moment, other than I was thanking God, believing in the power of prayer, and ready to go home.
I ran out into the parking lot to see my dad outside the car. I ran to him sobbing and inaudibly saying, “They found the baby!!!”
He starts to tear up, gives me a hug and says “Is that a good thing?” – after retelling this story, I realized he had no idea what I was saying (love my dad).
It was a GREAT thing. I am renewed in my faith. I am overwhelmed by the power of love and prayer from the people around us. I feel blessed. I feel nauseous, but I feel a sense of purpose. Our miscarriage rate just dropped dramatically seeing that heartbeat. I am so thankful for all of the people in our lives right now who checked in on us, prayed for us, and hoped for us.
I am renewed to be so much more positive that even during a time of COVID where we cannot see the people we love often, people were there for us. So I leave this note with this.
Thank you for your support, your love, your prayers. No matter what the ending would have been and what it will be in the future, your distant support and your place in my life is needed and valuable. Thank you for filling our our lives for everything we need at any time. We love you. We’re grateful for you. And we are also here for you. So here we are now, taking in every day, bringing in Everly into this joy, and hoping the best for the rest of this pregnancy.
We are far from the finish line, and with only at 8 weeks and 4 days, we have a long way to go before we are in the clear. We are going to celebrate this openly and share this blessing with you, no matter what we see from here…
PS – We had to tell Everly. Mostly because she kept asking me if I was dying because I was “always sick.” 🙂