Friday, June 3, 2011

An Empty Womb

Going to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, for a preconception consultation, was not something I was looking forward to in general. And I have heard people say that anticipation of things sometimes is worse than the actual event.  I wish I could say that was true for me. 

As if going to the doctor to review autopsy results, blood work, cultures and to map out a plan for a future pregnancy wasn't emotionally trying enough, I had the pleasure of sitting in a waiting room of blossoming pregnant women for over 2 hours.  Typically seeing a pregnant woman is not an emotionally overwhelming thing for me.  But, in this case, it was much different.  I was back in the place where I last saw my daughter alive.  Needless to say, the experience was emotional. 

I did my best sitting in the waiting room to keep to myself and not engage anyone in conversation.  Frankly, I didn't want to hear about their babies and I didn't want to share with them why I was there.  It is obvious I am not pregnant, so I am sure the subject would come up.  I sat there with my husband, and for the first time ever I was so happy he had solitaire downloaded to his cell phone.  I kept my head down and played the game, and as redundant as it was, I was happy to have the distraction. 

Finally, after over an hour of waiting, I was called in the back.  The person who called me back I knew too well, although she didn't remember me. She was the ultrasound tech who preformed my previous ultrasounds, and opened the window into my womb so that we could see our little girl.  As we walked to the back and in to the room, I wanted to know where the doctor was and why I was to have an ultrasound.  I had not anticipated having one, and I wasn't sure why it was necessary.  She explained it is their protocol. They want to make sure everything inside was in shape and ready to carry another baby.

I didn't put much thought into it, and proceeded with the procedure.  My pants were lowered far below my belly around my hips and she applied the ultrasound gel.  It was a familiar process, although I had never done this without being pregnant.  It wasn't until she put the wand on my abdomen that I realized this was going to be very different.  As the window into my womb opened, the sight was not one I was familiar with.  It was empty. There was no baby and for me, there was no reason to smile.  Instead the tears started to fall quietly down the sides of my face as the reality that my dear, sweet baby wasn't there and I wasn't to see her.  It was a different sight, one I didn't recognize; an empty womb. I tried to remain strong but,  I hated being there. I hated feeling this way. But most of all, I hated that my baby was gone.

The rest of the visit, and the consultation with the doctor only got worse.  In order to get through it, I put myself in a different place, and had to turn off my heart and emotions.  I had to do something I hadn't done in months, I told the story of what happened, start to finish.  I was not prepared to do that.  I expected to have her talk to me. I expected her to review and interpret the results of the blood work and the medical records from my days in the hospital.  Once again, the reality settled in a little deep into my soul, this is happening and it did happen to me.  I couldn't help but be apologetic for my lack of emotion.  I tried to stick to the facts.  Doctors like facts.  Emotions were not going to get me to the answers I have been seeking.  So I had to turn them off in order to get through it.  Sometime half way into 'the story', I realized my husband was beside me.  I had blocked everything out and had some type of tunnel vision, that the fact he was physically less than a foot to my left completely escaped me.  I thought with a quick realization, he may be in pain too.  He was too reliving this nightmare.  And I felt bad for him.  I felt bad he had to hear it again.  But, I didn't have a choice, the doctor needed the details, and we were hoping for answers.  So I quickly regained my focus and  entered my tunnel and continued delivering the facts. 

When I was done, she asked if I was okay.  What was I left to say but, yes.  I told her I would break down later.  And that is when I realized I am not okay.  Nothing about this is okay.  I am not okay with living this life.  But, I am left with no choice, this is what I have been given.  Rather than getting easier as so many people have promised, it is getting harder.  It is not fading, and the truth is becoming more, and more real.  Going to discuss how it happened and how my future pregnancy will be different and what I will need to do prior to getting pregnant and during the pregnancy, only make the wound in my heart bleed.  Having a baby is suppose to be a joyful and wonderful experience.  For me, I never saw it a a calculated and artificial process.  It should be natural and beautiful; a true expression of love and faith.  Now I feel I am being put under a microscope and much like the slide being viewed, I am being compressed, and the weigh baring down.  Weight of the the decisions to come is heavy burden.

I want to just say screw it. I am not going for more tests. I am not going to more doctors. I am not going to wait to get pregnant and move forward naturally as the brave women centuries ago did.  But, I instead feel a responsibility to do everything in my power to avoid a repeat, even though my heart tells me that it won't happen.  The see-saw between heart and mind, is something I struggle with.  I am not sure how I will proceed although I believe the sensible side of me will prevail.  In the meantime, I will just try to do the one thing I have been striving to do from the beginning... just be.

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