Gabby and Dr. Evil (local ob/gyn #2)

By time we were able to try again, I was feeling refreshed and very much ready to try. I had made up my incompletes. I had passed my oral defense comprehensive exams successfully. I had moved out of the old house and into the new. There was so much room for a family in this house! I tried to push out of my mind another friend with a big beautiful four bedroom house who tried for 4 years unsuccessfully to have children. Her and her husband are no longer trying and they do not plan to adopt. Big empty house-I hated the thought.
I had done everything I could to prepare for this baby. I had my teeth cleaned (turns out you can’t have x rays I think it was) ahead of time, I had my flu shot you can’t get during the first trimester, I can’t remember what else but I have learned you control all things controllable when so much is out of your hands. I now understand eating disorders, even though I never had one.
DH and I were refreshed and excited. We tried on June 20th, 2007 and felt good about our efforts! On Peak plus 16 we went to the lab. I didn’t have as many symptoms, but some so that was encouraging. This time it was back to the my hometown hospital I loved, the local hospital by our house was no longer was open on weekends. When we heard we had an hcg of 279 we were happy it was still a good number, but a little more reserved with our feelings than the first time. I felt bad for her, always thinking of this little one as female, and wanting her to have all the fresh joy she deserved, not tainted by our past.
I knew that my hcg could do really well for awhile and maybe we would still not have a successful pregnancy. For some reason, though, I was taken off guard when two days later it had only jumped to 321. Again a shred of hope-we were told that since that was done in a different lab (my local ob/gyn and not the hospital, just like last time) that could be why it didn’t double. I didn’t believe it, but tried to be hopeful. It moved to 353 four days later, and then 444 four days later. We knew it wasn’t viable after the 353 and we were told to stop taking progesterone, which made me sad. With Michael it took a long time to take away that support for him, but for Gabby (which I had been calling her after another archangel) it was already happening.
There were no early ultrasounds with Gabby like with Michael. There were no ups and downs. Only downs. I thought of Gabby as tiny and fragile and how she would be with God soon. You would think it would be easier this way, and in some ways it was. But in some ways, it was harder, and I blame that all on my local ob/gyn.
After I got the 444 level, I was told I should take a shot methotrexate by my local ob/gyn. That is a cancer drug, very strong with lots of side effects. It kills the baby on the spot. My sis JB was told she had to take it with her miscarriage that was ectopic (tubal pregnancy). They were afraid the baby would grow bigger in her tube and burst it, making her less able to have children. I asked ob/gyn if the baby was ectopic and he said that it might be. Either way it wasn’t viable. He said I could talk to my RE in Omaha, Dr. Hilger’s, if I wanted his opinion first. That was on July 9th, 2007.
I called Dr. Hilgers. He said that if I really wanted to take the shot, I could, but that it wasn’t necessary in his opinion. I didn’t want it unless I knew it was ectopic and would burst my tube. If that happened, I felt there would be no choice. I was told by my nurse in Omaha that, actually, that wasn’t how they viewed it there. This office was Catholic and I was told that even if the baby was ectopic, it was considered the moral thing to remove a piece of my tube during surgery. The shot wasn’t ever morally acceptable.
I struggled with this, and called on a friend more knowledgeable than I. Having them take a piece of my tube, my future fertility threatened, seemed like too much for God to ask of me. How could I say yes to that? But I had vowed to follow the Church, even when I didn’t understand, and I wanted to follow God’s will more than anything, even if it was that hard. I needed to know if this was God’s will, and if so, it would help me to understand why, though not necessary. I found out through my friend that the reasoning is this-if the baby dies as a result of saving the mother, then that is better than if the baby is directly murdered. The intent made all the difference in the world to God, and to me, and I vowed that if the baby was in my tube I would let them take a tube rather than give poison to my baby. I didn’t share this at the time with DH-I knew his faith wasn’t there yet and that would be a big test. I knew these were still “what if” scenarios, and if they became real then I would bring DH in on what I learned and that the Holy Spirit would give him the grace (as He had before we were married) to carry out what we were being asked to do.
I held strong with the local ob/gyn about no methotrexate, despite pressure and even being cornered in the lab by 5 medical staff who told me I needed to accept this pregnancy wasn't viable.  How dare they?!  I had accepted the inevitable, but it didn't mean I was going to be the cause!  I told the ob/gyn he could monitor me closely with hcgs and ultrasounds to make sure the baby wasn’t in my tube, but no shot. I told him my RE supported me in this decision. He argued, even said I needed to get the hcg out of my system for health reasons (even if it wasn’t ectopic). This was absolutely not true. Hcg is not unsafe to have in your system-I had much higher numbers the first pregnancy and most women have numbers in the 100k! On Friday the 13th, at 6 weeks and 1 day, I had an ultrasound. The hcg came back 593 (still growing, but slow). The ultrasound did show a sac in the uterus, but it was too small to be officially confirmed, so local ob/gyn still said he was worried. I was not. I knew the sac was my baby and it wasn’t ectopic. It was sad to see that when they know your baby won’t make it, they don’t leave you with the ultrasound picture. I have no pictures of Gabby.
Five days later, I started to bleed. I decided to not have a D&C since the baby was so much tinier than the first. I knew there was little chance I would see anything. I also knew that I had actually gone through 99% of the tough part the first pregnancy (my doctor told me the baby was right there at the surface). I also knew that too many D&Cs can be unhealthy. I realized with how lucky we were getting pregnant so easily, that we might be in for more miscarriages, unfortunately.
Thursday, July 19th was also one of the worst days of my life. I got a call at 4pm with an hcg level-it has risen to 850. They feared the pregnancy was ectopic, getting larger, and that I needed another ultrasound immediately to confirm that wasn’t the case. And, the nurse told me, by the way (local ob/gyn) will no longer be seeing you for this pregnancy. You have chosen not to take the shot, against his wishes. He worried for my safety.
I knew it wasn’t about safety-what doctor worried about safety leaves a pregnant lady with a possible ectopic to find a new doctor when she needs an ultrasound asap?! It was about ego, and a difference in morals, that I was sure (btw. this ob/gyn claims to be Catholic and Pro Life and sends his children to Catholic school, but clearly we were not at all on the same page).
There was no time to spare and I was hysterical. It was almost 5:00 and I needed an ultrasound for tomorrow, Friday, or I would have to wait all weekend! First I called my RE in Omaha to let them know what was going on. Then I called my primary care physician. He promptly told me he would set up something for the next day at the local hospital.
I was glad I made my tubal decision before that ultrasound. Otherwise I would have felt like a cop out. I decided to follow God’s will before I knew it wouldn’t be necessary. We saw a sac in the uterus and were again confident that the pregnancy was not ectopic. An hcg on Monday revealed I was already losing the baby-from 850 to 602. There was no more worrying the baby was growing in my tube-the baby had passed away.  Again I sobbed on the bathroom floor. By the next Monday, my hcg was 5. I would not have to have a D&C. That was July 30th.

1 comment:

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

I'm so sad that you didn't even get a picture of little Gabby.