Saturday, March 03, 2007

It Was Worth Everything

In 26 days, there are some statistics in my life that reflect the past 9+ months and it will go like this:

I will have swallowed 294 baby aspirin
I will have swallowed 294 pre-natal vitamins
I will have injected 329 needles filled with Heparin into my tummy and/or hips

And what did this all equate to? A gorgeous and precious daughter.

For a while, I was in complete devastation thinking that I would never have another baby to hold in my arms and give Kaelen a playmate. I took our ability to easily conceive for granted and never dreamed that I would struggle with miscarriages. It was something that I would always have compassion for when hearing about it happening to another person, never thinking for a moment that I would become that person. I became that person and it was a blindside. It devastated me and put me into a tail spin of fear and grief. It was hard as doctors, family, friends and coworkers would try to tell me that "it just wasn't meant to be" or perhaps it was for the better because something was wrong with the fetus. Hearing those words, in which I admit that I too have said to others, made me feel completely alone and depressed. I realized at the time that there really were no words to comfort a woman when she is faced with this loss. After the first miscarriage, I tried to take the positive approach and chalk the loss up to "a thing that just happens. A course of nature". But when I got pregnant two months later and ended up losing the pregnancy again, I was filled with this incredible sense of fear and incompetence; like it was something that was within me that was causing these losses. I began researching all that I could to figure out what caused miscarriages and how I could best prevent them. There is also this unwritten rule that many doctors follow where a woman must experience three consecutive miscarriages before any testing will be done (unless of course a woman were to miscarry in the second trimester or later). Thankfully, I am blessed to have a family doctor who began immediately to run a panel of preliminary tests on me once I confided my fears to her; that I was terrified of losing another pregnancy or that I for some reason wouldn't be able to get pregnant again. Within two weeks, some tests came back indicating that perhaps my body did not produce enough progesterone to carry a pregnancy through the first trimester. However, a follow up test later that week ruled that out. What did come forth after that was the discovery that I had a blood clotting disorder; a Protein S and Antithrombin Deficiency. Imagine the fear within me that elevated significantly when I was told to not get pregnant under any circumstances until I had seen the specialist; that there was a risk of my life being endangered should I get pregnant without the proper treatment. And of course, it was too late: I was pregnant again. The specialist was notified and I was put on a daily baby aspirin in the effort to help both myself and the pregnancy. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to help and I miscarried again.

The specialist ran some more testing and decided upon treating my next pregnancy with both baby aspirin and heparin injections. Heparin in case you didn't know is an anti-coagulant serum that is injected into your fatty tissues. It is a daunting task at first that I found took a real emotional toll when I couldn't get the needle inserted correctly or if I hit a blood vessel and ended up with massive bruising. Luckily, I got pregnant again right away in June 2006 and I started with my daily regiment apprehensively. I was filled with a sense of doom that this pregnancy would not hold and it got off to a shaky start; I had a blood clot to the gestational sac which sat right beside the baby. This clot is commonly referred to as a subchorionic bleed and causes both bleeding and cramping. About 50% of the time, it will cause miscarriage and if not, then will usually quit growing by the time you hit week 17/18 of a pregnancy.

Looking back to the summer and fall, I can honestly say that I was depressed and likely very difficult to be around. Each day I woke up with a dreaded sense of doom that "this could be the day that I miscarry". Despite many talks with myself, I couldn't shake the feeling nor get myself out of the misery. So many people point out to you that you should be thankful for your blessings, and in my case this pregnancy. After a while you become bitter upon hearing that because deep down you are excited, but you are too scared to let yourself believe too. Too scared that you will relive the same nightmare again; that you will have to deal with the same devastation of loss or the wonder of "What did I do wrong?". I found once I got past the point of being worried of miscarrying, a whole new element was brought to light: Preterm Labour. I had Kaelen at 33 weeks very spontaneously and I had experienced preterm labour at 17 weeks with Masyn to the point that I was placed on a two week bed rest. The focus on preterm labour became significant from week 27 and on. The specialists figure that my blood disorder was also the leading cause for Kaelen's premature birth due to the placenta basically disintegrating causing his birth. That is a common characteristic of this disorder if left untreated as is my body passing clots to the fetus.

Again, people would tell me to quit being so nervous and after a while I would just quip back for them to walk a day in my shoes and then perhaps they would understand where I was coming from. I truly tried in vain not to focus on all that could go wrong but it was always lingering in the back of my mind.

I can honestly say that I did have profound moments where I enjoyed the pregnancy and all that came with it. I didn't mind the weight gain, the heartburn and horrible hair days. I loved the movement from within by Masyn and all the dreams that went along with it wondering what she looked like and what the future holds for her.

So, how does this long post tie into what happens in 26 days? Well, for me it will mean no more injections nor baby aspirin. This has truly been an interesting life experience for me, but worth every single heartache, struggle and insecurity. I have been blessed with a precious little girl who along with her brother, make my days filled with constant radiant sunshine. I think the path to completing my family despite the heartache has allowed me to become a better mother, wife and person in general. I have learned not to take things for granted and to find the blessing in all that I have. I don't let the little things bother me anymore because there are more important things to focus on: my family.

3 comments:

daniellemclellan said...

Hey Allie this is Danielle I hope you don't mind but I read your blog regulary off of Breanne's site
Reading your Blog today made me feel like life is so important and there is someone out there who is struggling just a bit more than you
we tend to constantly think about how bad our lives for and we never realize what we take for granted.
I complain about working so much and not having a social life and you were struggling with miscarriages and this blood disoredr, it makes my issues seem so miniscule. Your daughter is beautiful and you never gave up that dream of having another child with is wonderful. Thanks for making me stop and think about others in the world who may be struggling with bigger issues than mine because it made me stop and look at what I actually do have in life and appreiate it even if it is something simple.
Best of luck to you and your Family. Hopefully I will see you this summer at the bonspeil.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Wow. I am truly touched by this... bless you!!!

If you're up to showing off your belly, be sure to check out my fun Bump! Photo Tag going on! Hope you’d like to play along and post your favorite pregnant belly pic!

Steph

sari said...

I hope I'm not someone who's said something stupid to someone because I just don't know all the trouble they've had. And I don't mean you, but I'm glad you shared your story. It reminds us to be grateful for what we have, and to have empathy for others.

Your children are both beautiful, and I hope you're feeling well now.