Wednesday, January 4, 2017

...And There's a Rainbow

A rainbow is a promise:
 of sunshine after rain
Of calm after storms
Of joy after sadness
Of peace after pain
Of love after loss. 

Announcing our fourth pregnancy did not come lightly to us. It has been a journey of trepidation, worrying, a lot of tears, and guarded optimism ever since we learned we fell pregnant. We chose to keep silent throughout the first trimester to be cautious, and to possibly save ourselves from another heartache. I felt so much more private this time surrounding the topic surrounding losses, even though I chose to remain vocal about my angel baby. 

I discovered my pregnancy very early on. I didn't have much symptoms to convince me to test. As soon as we were cleared to start trying again, I tested monthly, and prayed for the second line to appear on the test. I worried it would take a long time, whether the surgery had affected us, and whether we were really ready for another. Despite my worries, we desperately wanted a baby, not to replace the one we lost, but to fill in the feeling of incompleteness. Our third was supposed to make us complete. It sadly did not happen that way. That drive was what kept us going for our fourth. Like I had mentioned, there was very little symptoms to tip me off, and I had not missed my time of the month, because I was still early off, yet I decided to test on a gut feeling. 

To my surprise, there was a very faint second line. I stood there, debating whether I should call Stu for a second pair of eyes, or to not say anything at all in case if it turned out to be nothing. By this point, we were old timers when it came to pregnancy announcements. I decided to just call Stu up to the bathroom, and showed him the pregnancy test. He was not completely convinced either. I decided to wait until the following day, and I did. The following day, the second line was bolder. There was no mistaking it.

A phone call to my OB office led me to having a lot of tests in the beginning. There was a test for HCG; to make sure the levels were rising properly. The result showed that my HCG was rising accordingly on time, and looking great at two or three different times. Then there was a test to determine my progesterone level. It came back iffy. I had to be retested. The progesterone level wasn't as high like it should have been, and was not rising with HCG. At this point, I was prodded, and poked so many times that I developed bruises on my arms.

By my 4th week, I was prescribed progesterone pill suppositories. I started to bleed shortly after. I was convinced that we were going to lose this baby. The OB on the call told us that I was still so early at this point that there was nothing to be done except to allow time to determine the outcome, and to come in the next day for an ultrasound. I did not sleep well that night. The next day we went in, everything looked good from a medical point of view, even though we did not see anything except for a clear sac. We were told it was still very early on to see anything. The tests pointed to everything looking good. Again, we needed time to determine what was going to happen for this baby.

 I spent a good month crying, stressing, and worrying I would lose this baby. Loneliness enveloped me, because I was not ready to share the news with the world, with my closest friends, and with anybody. Fear really took its grip in my soul during this time that we would be facing yet another loss. 

As I continued my progesterone pills, I suddenly caught on to something, and realized that as soon as the pill started dissolving, it turned into a red discharge, and it looked like blood. I was both relieved, and irritated. Relief because I figured out the mystery behind the so-called bleeding, and irritation because of the pharmacy companies prescribing brown-reddish pills--why would on the earth would they make pills in that color for pregnant women?!  

6th week rolled around. We went in for an ultrasound. I was both so afraid, and so hopeful to see something positive coming out of this experience, unlike the last time. In the beginning, we did not see anything, and I held my breath. I was told I had a long, and tilted uterus. After what it felt like forever, we suddenly saw a tiny bean floating around, and the most beautiful sight came on the screen: heart beat flickering. I started crying, not because I was so sad, but because I was so relieved. Alive. It was the best, most beautiful, and wonderful sight to bestow upon. 

I wish I could say it was a breeze after that. It wasn't emotionally easy. I spent a lot of time crying, worrying, and stressing. If I wasn't doing any of that, then I was feeling sick as a dog, and crying at silliest notions. Nausea became my best friend. I never really dealt with nausea this bad in my previous pregnancies. It was just all day thing with no break. I grew exhausted, and weepy. I lived on tic tacs, because it was the only thing that stopped me from gagging so much. I discovered I hated salty food, and the smell of meat cooking. Constipation became my foe, because the thought of drinking and eating made me feel sick, yet when I ate or drank, I felt better. It was a constant battle.  I developed a heartburn--it was different than what I had with Frank. With Frank, it was an indigestion, and with this pregnancy, it was just contributing to my gagging. 

9th week arrived. It was Thanksgiving week. I went in for a routine check up with Dr. Mbah. She was a saint for putting up with my worries, and questioning. She put me at ease, and told me that she was a doctor, therefore she knew what she was doing, and she said my feelings were absolutely natural after a loss. She prescribed me medication for my heartburn. I asked her if we could try find the baby's heartbeat with a doppler. Dr. Mbah cautioned me that it would be a miracle to find a heartbeat at this point. I wanted to know that the baby was doing okay, because we had discovered about our third baby's loss about this time earlier in the last year, and desperately needed to be reassured. I acknowledged it may not be feasible to find the baby heartbeat this point, but wanted to try. Dr. Mbah took her time. At first, it looked like we were not going to find the baby...then...heartbeat galloped on the doppler. 169, 154, 160, 155. I breathed a sense of relief, and was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving.

Our NT scan arrived quickly. It was nerve-racking to go into the ultrasound room, and find out how our rainbow was doing. I started to cry almost immediately, because I was so anxious about our baby's well-being. Dr. J was quite sweet, and wonderful. He gave me a box of Kleenex, and told me no more crying, because our baby was doing just quite great! Sure enough, he was right; our rainbow was dancing, kicking, bouncing, and wiggling around. I replied that I would probably cry anyway even with knowing our rainbow was doing well! Dr. J smiled, and asked me if those were happy tears instead. I nodded my head yes. Forrest was absolutely enthralled by the baby on the screen. Dr. J even printed out a picture of our little one waving at us! 

As it has appeared to be, our rainbow is here to stay, and has given us so much love already. This baby has been worth every worry, every tear, and every fear I have had since our miscarriage. We are already so in love with this little person, and we are looking forward to meeting our baby. 

Here's our rainbow coming to join our family around June 21st, 2017!