Thursday, April 7, 2011

On waiting and fear

I'm late now, about three days, if I go by the average length of my cycle.  I've taken three tests in the past several days because my symptoms have been so strong--exactly what I felt with my other pregnancies--but all of them have been negative. As I mentioned before, my husband and I haven't been trying to have another baby. In fact, we had agreed that we were done, mostly because of finances. But the possibility of being pregnant again excited me, so with each test I took, I admit that I was hoping to see that second line. I still am.

Honestly, though, I'm scared now. Although I haven't been charting my basal body temperature each morning this cycle, I did start taking it when I suspected that pregnancy was a possibility, and my temperatures are high, even today; they're clearly in the luteal phase range and haven't dropped to indicate that my period is on its way. My cycle has always been very regular--the only time I've been late is when I was pregnant--and as I look back over the charts I kept when we were trying to conceive our daughter, I see that the temperature pattern I'm experiencing now is very similar to the pattern I experienced when I tested positive. The difference is that I tested positive with my daughter long before this point in my cycle.

I realize that three days isn't that late, at least not for the average woman. However, for me, it's terrifying. I don't talk about this much because it hurts to think about it; only a handful of online friends know, and I've only told one friend in "real" life. Not even my family knows.

I have two beautiful, wonderful children, but I've been pregnant four times.

My first loss came unexpectedly--but who really expects to lose their baby, especially after an earlier pregnancy was textbook and routine? My miscarriage (I hate that word) was a horrifying ordeal that I would never want to go through again: an hCG level that wouldn't rise yet wouldn't fall; talk of ectopic pregnancy; endless blood tests; a doctor's advice for me to get an injection of Methotrexate to induce miscarriage, which was something I could never do; discussions about laparoscopy; so many ultrasounds.

Talk of my death.

This went on for a month, this nightmare, before my period came, and along with the shedding of my uterine lining went the shedding of the last of the hCG in my body. To this day, the doctors can't figure out what happened to me; they had never seen a case like mine before. Mostly what I remember from those days was looking at my then eight-month-old son and realizing that if I died (as the doctors kept telling me was a real possibility) then he would never remember who I was. Just thinking about that makes me cry...

About a year later, I became pregnant with my daughter, and I was on edge the entire pregnancy, worrying that something would happen. Thankfully, nothing did, and she's healthy and perfect.

When she was just over a year old, I became pregnant again, unexpectedly, and I lost that baby on my birthday. I'll forever associate my day of birth with my fourth child's day of death. That anniversary comes up this August.

And now here I am again. My period is late, the tests I've taken are negative, yet my symptoms and basal body temperature indicate that something might be going on. Although it's still early--although I'm not yet that late--my experiences and knowledge of how my body works have me feeling scared. I'm going to wait until Monday, and if nothing happens--if my period doesn't start or a positive doesn't appear on a test--I'm going to see my doctor.

I can't go through this again.


  1. Oh, Dana!
    I had a miscarriage before I had my boys, too. So traumatic. And there really is no explanation. Which SUCKS!

    You need to get out of your head! Get your mind off it because whatever is going to happen, is going to happen. Get busy so you don't worry yourself crazy! I know it's especially tough having to take care of the other two.

    Maybe writing it down helps you. Getting those feelings expressed =) Do you facebook?

  2. I am sharing the same fear. Other than my sudden intolerance of massive amounts of coffee, I usually don't feel sick right away. When I was 15, I'm pretty sure I miscarried though I never had a positive test. Right before I got pregnant with Cadence, I had a chemical pregnancy with a positive test and everything. I've felt sick since ovulation, so I am worried.

    It will be what it is though. I hope you get an answer soon.

  3. Here is a poem for you!

  4. I almost lost my little guy at 10.5 weeks. I walked dazedly into my boss' office, said, "Where's the nearest hospital? I'm bleeding," and was whisked to the hospital. My boss waited for two hours, then only left after I'd urged him repeatedly that I'd be kept busy till Ba.D. showed up.

    The doctors said that such bleeding happens fairly frequently, and that in 50% of the cases, miscarriage is imminent. I was dragged along from room to room till I started crying in the ultrasound room, where the technician said, "Oh, you're worried? Here, your baby looks great." She rotated the screen around and I started crying even harder, seeing that little tiny figure rolling around and flailing its arms.

    The next 24 hours--which were the period in which loss would occur--were horrible. Just horrible. Ba.D. only allowed me out of bed to go to the bathroom. Even if I tried walking the two feet to my computer to put on a movie, he'd leap up and exclaim, "No!"

    Now I've had that beautiful boy in my life for a year and a half. I've seen him be my mom's only joy in her last weeks of battling cancer. I remember seeing that unwanted "+" and shake my head, thinking how silly I was to be so afraid then.

    I want another kid, but the thought of going through that again--or worse--terrifies me. Life is so, so very fragile. That's part of its beauty, I suppose . . . but also a tremendous pain.

    I'm rooting for you, lady. *hugs*

  5. Thank you all for your advice and for sharing your own stories. It gave me a lot of comfort to know that others understood exactly what I was going through.

    Tara, your advice to write through it is great. I wanted to, but I just couldn't. Now that I have my answer, though, I'm hoping to use all those emotions I felt (and am still feeling, really) in my projects. Oh, I do use Facebook, but I rarely post there. A lot of my friends are relatives (in-laws), and I just don't feel comfortable letting them into my life too much. I wouldn't want them to see the real me! LOL

    Tori, thanks for telling me your story. I'll be thinking about you this month. Please let me know what happens.

    Deb, I can't even imagine how scary that must have been for you. You're a very strong woman. Thank you for your words.