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Good News...Bad News

Tuesday, July 8, 2008 3 comments

It started one December. My husband and I were preparing for the holidays when we received a very, very unexpected surprise. For a week or so, I had been having some suspicion of a possible pregnancy. After numerous unconfirmed suspicions, we finally bought a home pregnancy test. I knew that it would most likely be too early to tell, but the suspense was killing me. The test was negative, but as I suspected, it was too early.

A week went by and I started to forget about it. We went about Christmas shopping and attended the usual parties. Just when I thought everything was clear, my husband asked if we should get another test. Mind you, this was after a long day of shopping and spending lots of money we didn’t have to spend. Okay, okay! We bought another test and returned home. Once my husband was distracted with a project, I snuck away to the bathroom to take the test. Almost instantly I saw one dark line and a second very faint line appear. The instructions said that it takes five minutes to get the results, but I knew that if that second line was present, it was bound to get darker. I hid the test under the sink so my husband would not know that I had taken it yet. The anxiety was eating me alive! I peeked under the sink a couple of times but the line was still there. Finally, I called my husband into the bathroom to show him the test results. We were both in shock. I took another test and we got the same results. It is amazing how one tiny faint pink line can change your life completely. I began to struggle with every reality that just smacked me in the face. The fear and anxiety swallowed me up like a massive tidal wave. Knowing that I had a life within me was incredible, yet more terrifying than I could have imagined. How on earth were we going to support this child? Will I be able to finish college? Life as I had always known it was about to change forever. I was already feeling pregnant. My moods were unstable, I was exhausted the entire time, and my breasts were extremely tender. I had so many mixed emotions, but I thought that some how everything would work out.

As I mentioned, it was Christmas time, so we were unable to get an appointment with the doctor before New Years. My husband and I spent the Holiday's with family, contemplating our future life with the baby. The more support we received, the better I felt. I was starting to feel like a Mom and found myself unconsciously cradling my belly with my hands. Each new day I began not only to feel at ease, but I was getting excited.

Well, the time had come to get confirmation from the doctor. My husband was with me during the sonogram. We waited patiently to see anything on the screen, but the technician thought it was too early. The nurse asked us to come back in a few days when it would be possible to see the baby. However, the night before our appointment, I noticed some spotting when I used the restroom. We called the doctor, but he was off that day. The on call doctor expressed it would be fine for us to wait another day to see the doctor.

In the back of my mind I knew something was wrong, but I dismissed it as paranoia. (Looking back, I remember having an extremely strange pain at the top on my shoulder. It felt almost like gas, but I had never felt anything like it before). The next morning, my husband and I arrived at the office. We looked at all of the pregnant women and joked about how that was going to be me soon. We were getting excited to see the baby for the first time. After what felt like a lifetime, we were called back into the room. The sonogram technician, I will admit, was extremely cold and rude. My husband and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. As she began to look around inside of my belly, she remained utterly silent. The longer the procedure, the more huffing and puffing she did. I knew from her unsettling groans that something was wrong. She never pointed anything out to us on the screen. But finally, she spoke: “Do you know what an ectopic pregnancy is?” I did because I had recently read about it in a pregnancy book. Her next words were: “You can’t carry an ectopic pregnancy. Sorry hun.” She then turned to her notes and began writing.

I quickly got up off the bed to go into the bathroom and change. As I walked towards the bathroom, I could see the devastation and confusion on my husband’s face. I closed the door to the bathroom and just fell to the floor. Tears were pouring down my cheeks, but I knew that I would have to walk out of that bathroom and face everybody. Never in my life have I had to try so hard to be stoic. I washed my face and walked out of the bathroom. My husband was waiting to embrace me. I was very thankful to have him there. We were moved to a waiting room (with other patients!) to wait for the doctor. We knew that we were now in an emergency situation, but we were in shock. No longer were we there for a prenatal visit, we were there for my own health. There was so much confusion and it was impossible for us to think clearly.

We were silenced by grief, so any questions were inconceivable. All I could do was bite my lip to keep from crying. When I tried to talk, my voice quivered, so I said very little. I tried so hard to just be strong. The doctor gave me an injection that would clear everything up (his words, not mine).

The loss of our child was devistating! But at least we had solace in knowing I would be okay and we could try for a baby later.

Or so we thought!

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3 comments: to “ Good News...Bad News so far...

  • Hygeian July 11, 2008 at 7:49 AM
     

    What a sad story. A very good friend of mine had one with similar elements (i.e. unexpected christmas pregnancy, had to wait for her first appointment due to holidays). Also, she had a similar experience with the ultrasound tech, who quipped "Looks like this one's not a keeper", then the office sent her home on the day of a blizzard to miscarry (she, her husband, and her 1 yr. old child had to brave a trip to the E.R. in the midst of the storm that night, a trip which ended in the O.R.).

    I was once interviewed by a sociologist who was doing work on patient perspectives on medical malpractice. Toward the end of the interview, he asked me what I would say to doctors and other medical providers if I could say anything. I said something like: Assuming I had some way to be sure they had to listen? I'd say "This may be old news to you. This may be the 100th distraught family of a dying patient. This may be the 80th time you've diagnosed someone with cancer. But you need to remember that for each patient and family member you encounter in such a situation, odds are, this is the FIRST time they've dealt with something like this in their lives."

    The skills that come with experience constitute a good thing in a medical provider, but immunity to the humanity of the patient is an unpleasant side effect and one which I wonder how to counteract without stripping the providers of their ability to detach enough to work. I suspect there is a balance which must be achieved, and that this is likely to be quite difficult to maintain. However, I am fairly certain that a large number of them are completely unaware of even the need to at least try.

  • Journey77 July 11, 2008 at 9:00 PM
     

    My heart goes out to your friend!

    Your response to the interview is sooo true. I would also add: if doctors would be honest and admit they unintentionally overlooked something, the patient will appreciate their honesty and at least have some closure.

    There is so much debate going on about health care, but not enough about good bedside manners.

    Thanks for responding!

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