(Note: long, depressing post follows. Please consider yourself appropriately warned.)
We got to the office this morning, all smiles and laughter. Telling private jokes in the waiting room until it was our turn to be called in.
In we went. I peed in a cup, got weighed, answered questions about my symptoms (sore boobs, peeing a lot, no real cramping, etc.) and eventually undressed from the waist down. A few minutes later, in came Dr. Blood (I call him this for the fact that at one of my first visits, all of the bloodwork he ordered equaled up to 17 vials--10 big, 7 mid-sized). I hadn't seen him personally since my post-op appointment back in early June. My husband hadn't seen him since immediately after my laparoscopy in May. He seemed pleased to see us, shook hands with my husband and then with me and asked me to scoot to the end of the table, feet in the stirrups.
Down I went. In went the wand. He turned the ultrasound screen slightly toward me so I could see it and said: Here's your uterus.
Then he asked me if I was sure about the date of my period. Um, yeah, pretty sure, I said (as a cycling infertile, you know this date without a doubt but something in his tone made me question myself). Mild panic starts to set in. Brain cannot fathom what I think may be coming next.
He moved the probe around for a few minutes and didn't say anything. And then the wave broke, crashed to shore, and I was caught in its rip current.
He said: By now we should see the fetal pole but if you look here, there's just the sac. When it forms, it should have two parts, one becomes the sac itself and the other, internally, becomes the embryo. That hasn't happened.
I couldn't breathe, couldn't comprehend. After what seemed like forever later, he took out the wand.
And said: We have two options. We can wait and you will have a miscarriage naturally in time or we can do a surgical procedure, send the tissue to the lab, check it for genetic anomalies.
I said: Would I be under general anesthesia?
He said: No, but you wouldn't be aware of what was going on. I don't believe in having to put someone through that if I don't have to. We'll give you something so you won't remember a thing. We can do it tomorrow.
And then I couldn't speak. All I could do was cover my eyes and cry softly. Thinking how happy I was only moments ago, how much I wanted this baby, how much I wanted to give my husband this gift. And so my husband held me (well, more like leaned down over me to hold me since I was still flat on the table in the usual position) as only he can.
The doctor said: Know that you didn't do anything to cause this. It happens. It's nature's way. This doesn't mean it'll happen again. It's common and once we send the tissue for testing, we'll know if it has anything to do with genetics or age. Or it may be nothing at all. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen again. I've had many patients this has happened to and they've gone on to have successful pregnancies.
My crying intensified. He told me I could move up off the edge of the table. My husband helped me sit up and I buried myself in his shoulder, sobbed uncontrollably--so hard I had trouble breathing, started to hyperventilate. Dr. Blood had not yet left the room, and he came over to me and hugged me, rubbed my arm, said he was so sorry, and brought me some tissue. The u/s nurse then did the same (and--thankfully-- gave me more tissue to boot). And then he said: I'll give you two some privacy, and left the room.
My crying really kicked it up then. Great big honking noises alternated with squeaks. The kind of crying you do when you're a kid -- great big sobbing hiccups. I must have been broadcasting my pain clear into the hallway because Dr. Blood came back in the room and hugged me again, again said how sorry he was, gave me more tissues.
And through it all, my husband talked me down from the ledge. Wiped my smeared eye makeup from my face. Told me it wasn't my fault, to look at the bright side, we got this far--we didn't even know we could get this far and we did, and once the tests come back, we'll know what else we're dealing with, we'll know where this journey will take us next. He told me not to feel like I'd let him down because I hadn't. But I did feel this way and I still do.
Dr. Blood's nurse came in, said how sorry she was, and gave me the pre-operative consent forms to review and sign, asked if I had any questions. Told me someone from the hospital would call me today to tell me what time to go in tomorrow, and so on.
I eventually started breathing again, stopped the giant hiccup cries. When it was time to check out at the desk, I couldn't keep my composure and the tears began again. These people had been so happy for me only moments ago; I'd been so happy for me.
The receptionist came around the desk and hugged me, held me, told me how sorry she was. Told me not to worry about the copay for now, to just leave and we'd deal with it at my next visit.
And so we left. Got in the elevator only after making sure no one else was in it. I went back to work, e-mailed my boss all the news since I'd need tomorrow off (and I knew I wouldn't be able to tell her in person without breaking down). She came over to my desk, told me how sorry she was, hugged me, told me go ahead and go home if I wanted, she would help me with whatever she could.
I managed to stay for an hour and a half but couldn't stop crying...still can't. I'm at home now, just trying to stop the pain. But it's not working and now I've got a horrendous headache from crying so much to add to it--oh well, on the bright side, at least now I can take some advil.
The hospital called me a little while ago to tell me when I had to be there (10:30 a.m.). The person who called said she was sorry she had to call me about this, asked me some customary questions about any allergies and medical conditions and, before we hung up, she said to me: There will be people who may say things to you to try and help you but sometimes they hurt. Know that they mean well. Take care of yourself; your body still thinks it's pregnant, the hormones are still there. Allow yourself to grieve.
And that, my friends, is what I am trying to do. My body still thinks it's pregnant, meaning that it's not, I am not. Today, a door closed. I hope I have the strength to open the next one that comes along because, right now, I don't think I do.