Lauren (USA): Flicker of hope
I often wondered over the years how many children I would have, what they would look like, and what kind of people they would grow up to be. The hope and aspirations a parent can have for a child is indescribable. This desire to start a family started shortly after my husband and I were married in June of 2014.
We thought we would try the ‘if it happens, it happens’ way first. Several months into it we thought we would really start trying, but unfortunately with no luck. Finally, after a year and a half of waiting we found out that we were expecting! However, the excitement of this pregnancy was short lived because less than two weeks later I miscarried. The amount of pain a mother suffers after a loss at any point in a pregnancy is a type of pain I wish no one would ever have to feel. This loss was hard for us, but due to statistics, we thought this is something that can be ‘normal’ before most women go on to have a successful pregnancy.
So we continued on our journey and less than a year later we found out that we were expecting again. The paranoid person inside me thought that if I could make it farther than we did in the last pregnancy then we would be in the clear. However, those aspirations changed one evening at work when I started to have severe cramps and felt very light headed. I called the doctor and set up an appointment for the next day. Once we arrived at the doctor’s office I was beyond nervous for what I was about to hear. Most women are able to detect that gut feeling that something is wrong, especially when it comes to your babies and children. I knew the outcome of this appointment wasn’t going to be what I wanted to hear, but I still had that small flicker of hope. The words that came out of the ultrasound technician’s mouth are something I will never forget, “Unfortunately you have an ectopic pregnancy, which means the foetus isn’t viable”. As the tears poured down my face, I was able to hear its heartbeat, a moment of sadness and joy that I will never forget.
A few minutes later, the doctor finally came in to discuss my options. The first option was to try a chemo-therapy medication called Methotrexate, which would prevent my tiny little baby from continuing to develop. This was a treatment that I wouldn’t wish for the little heartbeat I just heard, but knowing I could potentially lose that fallopian tube or my life due to a sudden rupture, I opted to try it first. The second alternative was to go ahead and remove the fallopian tube, but that flicker of hope continued inside of me. With choosing this latter option, I was still at risk of that fallopian tube rupturing.
Then came the night my husband rushed me to the emergency room. I was in so much pain that I could barely stand, let alone walk on my own. They rushed me to a bed and called for an ultrasound to be done. My flicker of hope was temporarily put out when they told me my tube had ruptured and I was slowly bleeding into my abdomen. So, the next day off to surgery I went.
I have never been more nervous than I was when they were getting ready to take me back to surgery. My husband gave me a kiss and tears poured down my face as they took me down the hallway into a cold surgery room. I couldn’t have been more ready for this surgery and nightmare to be over.
After being off work for an entire month, I slowly regained my strength. Emotionally I thought I was doing ok. Then it finally hit me three months down the road. I will be the first to tell you that there were days when I did none of the following: shower, eat, sleep, do laundry or dishes, let alone think about getting out of bed. This moment in life was one of the hardest that I have gone through, but thanks to a devoted husband who put up with me, even at my worst, I overcame this battle. The next person I turned to was God. I was honestly never mad at him for my circumstances; I just didn’t understand why these situations had to happen to me. Just like my husband, God was there by my side from the beginning and without him I would not be where I am today. He put the flicker of hope back in me.
Like the soldiers we are, we marched on down our journey, because despite our circumstances, life goes on. About a year later we found out that we were pregnant yet again! This time it felt so different and we thought that this would be our rainbow. Sadly enough, for unknown reasons, this angel only made it to ten weeks and I miscarried again. This time, the doctor ordered a D&C procedure to be performed just two days before Christmas, when we were going to announce that we were pregnant. Yet again that flicker of hope burnt out. This time around it was like we were going through the motions of yet another loss, a feeling that makes your whole body feel numb.
I have since recovered from that procedure, and my doctor has referred me to a fertility specialist, an appointment I am excited and nervous about all at the same time. I am hoping we will be able to find answers and eventually that these will lead us to having a successful pregnancy. My hope of having a family someday is not dismantled, but truly just beginning. That flicker of hope was ignited in me once again!
I know our journeys may not be alike, but never lose hope. It is ok to let the flame temporarily burn out, but always remember to reignite it! Someday no matter what avenue it takes to start a family, that little flickering heartbeat on the ultrasound will seem to make all the pain and suffering you have endured go away. It is in this moment you will realize why you never gave up on your desire to start a family.