Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Most Difficult Week Of My Life

The minute I peed on that stick, I knew I was pregnant. The chemicals had already started taking action and I could faintly see those 2 lines that so many couples are hoping for appear. I ran away from the stick and went to go wait for those long 3 minutes. I knew, but in my mind I thought that maybe, just maybe the test had reacted early and line would vanish. When the egg timer rang, my husband and I walked to the bathroom full of anticipation. I looked at the test and there was my big fat positive, as fertility forums would call it. I was excited, shocked and blown away by the fact that I was going to be a mom. My husband didn't know what two lines meant so he just assumed it was negative and kept repeating “That means negative right? That’s negative?”. I remember looking up at him and just seeing his reaction as I told him “Nope, that’s positive, I’m pregnant”. We were so excited. That weekend we told our parents, who were shocked but happy. We had been married for less than 2 months, so it was expected but I think they had hoped we would wait a bit longer. However, in our hearts we knew that God was calling us to be parents and we weren't going to interfere with his plan – not that we had a choice in that matter.

I quickly booked a doctor’s appointment and began doing some online research. I read hundreds of baby forums, and learned all about all the diseases and complications I needed to worry about. After seeing the miscarriage rates, we decided that we would wait until the 12th week to tell the rest of the world. At 5 weeks pregnant, just a few days shy of my doctor’s appointment, I woke up one morning to blood on the toilet paper. It was pink, and there wasn't much to it, but it was there. It was 4 am and I woke up my husband. I knew what blood at 6 weeks meant according to those pregnancy forums. It meant miscarriage. I sat in bed shaking for about an hour as my worried spouse tried to calm me down. After an hour and half, the bleeding stopped and I dozed off for an hour. I called the doctor first thing and the nurse told me to wait until my doctor’s appointment, and that if I was miscarrying there was nothing they could do for me.

I spent the weekend crying and praying that everything was fine. I read online and found out that 1 in 3 pregnancies experience some form of spotting or light bleeding. When my appointment finally came, the doctor was not too worried but sent me for some blood tests just to verify my hormone levels. I had to go 2 separate days to see if they were rising properly. At this point I was sure that everything was alright and things were progressing normally. Unfortunately, Friday afternoon I got a concerned call from my doctor. My hormone levels were rising, but way too slowly. She gave me two options to prepare for, a miscarriage, or an ectopic pregnancy. I had to go in for an ultrasound first thing Monday morning to see what was going on. I was upset and I couldn't believe this was happening to us and to our baby. The weekend went by and I spent most of it crying and praying and yelling at God and then pleading with Him. I didn’t know what to do and I really truly felt like there was nothing going on in my womb, that the baby was passing or had already passed.

When Monday morning came, I was shaking I was so scared. We sat in the waiting room while women with big pregnant bellies went by us. I told my husband that someday we would come here and it would not be for bad news.

We got into the exam room and the technician rubbed the gel on my belly as I braced myself for the bad news. After some searching, the ultrasound technician pointed to a little cashew in my belly and announced she could see a heartbeat. She took measurements, assured us it was not ectopic and let us hear the beautiful sound of a strong and healthy heartbeat. I will never forget that moment. My husband and I were so relieved, so happy that our baby was doing fine and growing.

Today I am 15 weeks pregnant and I couldn’t be happier. My stomach is rounding out and our little miracle is starting to show to the outside world. Soon we will find out the sex, although we are thinking it will be a little boy.

During that week, I kept asking my mom why God was making my husband and I go through this. We are both practicing Catholics, we are involved in our parish, we give what we can and we kept our engagement as pure as we could. I felt like we were being punished for no apparent reason. However, looking back now I could see that there were things God needed me to learn.

First, I’ve always been pro-life, but not having been pregnant, it was hard to truly understand what the girls who decide to have an abortion go through. I was 6 weeks pregnant and I felt as though nothing was going on in there. It was important for me to understand that since some of those girls don’t believe that life begins at conception, AND they for sure don’t feel the life growing inside them, abortion would seem like a respectable decision. I know that someday, what I went through will help someone understand that there is truly a life growing inside them.

Second, before pregnancy I never thought about miscarriage. I knew it happened to some women but I never thought it would happen to me. However, miscarriages are a lot more common than we think but women usually keep quiet about them. As Catholics, I think we need to rethink the way we respond to women who have suffered miscarriages because we believe that life begins at conception and therefore that woman has lost her child. We need to stop saying things like “You will have another one” or “God wanted the child for himself”, because those grieving women do not want another child they want the one they had. They are suffering the same as a mother who has lost her 2 year old child, even if they did not know that baby out of the womb. If we believe that the child in utero is truly a life, than we need to respond with a lot more compassion and give them more support.

Third, God is completely in charge of bringing life into the world. There is nothing I can do and I have to trust that He knows what’s best. That is scary to me because I’m such a control freak. But I’m starting to grasp that God is giving me these children to love and educate, but ultimately they will always belong to Him first. I think that I will always need to remember that as my family gets larger and my children get older.

I know there’s probably more to the experience but I think it will take time for me to see it. One thing is clear to me however, my husband and I always wanted a big family, but this has definitely re-enforced our beliefs when it comes to openness to life and leaving God some room to work within our family.

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