same story, but a little different

So much for the aquarium today.  Those were my words to Derek this morning when I called him at work around 9am.  The plan was to take Ella to the Denver Aquarium today.  We’d have a nice little day together–just the two of us.  I figured, it’s Friday, 97° outside, and my last Friday of freedom.  I report back to work on Monday.  Why not go out with a bang, right?  Well, there was a bang all right, just not at the aquarium.  And not a good kind of bang.

I started my morning with a call from Kaiser.  “Marisa, we need you to come in right away for an ultrasound.  What time can you get here?”  Whoa–hold the phone!  What the hell is wrong?  “Uh, well, your beta hCG level didn’t increase appropriately and we want to rule out an ectopic.”  Sweet. 

I know you might be a little lost on some of the details, so let me back up. I’m pregnant. Errr, well, I was.  And technically still am for a few more days.  I found out last Thursday–the day after we got back from Cabo.  Derek and I didn’t do any cartwheels or handstands when we found out.  Nor did we call anyone.  That’s what happens after you’ve been through a miscarriage.  Your innocence is gone and you don’t really want to believe that you’re pregnant until you see the child live and in the flesh.  I was surprised I was pregnant because I thought I started my period while we were on vacation.  Nope, that wasn’t my period.  I was spotting.  And haven’t stopped since.

My plan wasn’t to go to the doctor until I had to–like at 9 weeks.  I know that spotting is normal and happens in healthy pregnancies.  So I didn’t freak out too much.  I just maintained a small, consistent freak out level.  You may remember my recent post about chocolate dipped things and how my sister’s friend (Carla) has cancer.  I wanted to travel to Texas with my sister and I had concerns, so I called the doctor.  I wasn’t really ready to tell anyone that I was pregnant, but I kind of had to.  I had to let my sister know that my spotting could potentially be a miscarriage that needed to be checked out.  Because I now have a “history,” I have to take all the precautions.  I’ve never been that patient, but I am now.  Great.

Long story short-ish, they did an ultrasound and didn’t find an egg sac within my uterus.  But I was testing positive and was indeed pregnant.  They figured I wasn’t as far along as we all thought–4 weeks instead of 6.  If that were the case, there wouldn’t be a visible sac yet.  I went in on 3 different occasions to have my blood drawn to be sure that my hcG level was rising appropriately.  The first two were good.  On the last one, they determined that something was wrong.  That was yesterday, and the reason for the dramatic phone call this morning.

After 20 minutes of probing around my uterus, ovaries and everything in between, they found something.  They found my little embryo lodged between my right ovary and fallopian tube.  Very small, but there.  An ectopic pregnancy.  No symptoms, no pain, and no textbook signs.  I had to make a quick decision between medication or surgery and I chose the less invasive route.  I’m so early along and the embryo is pretty small, so the doc said I had a pretty good shot of it working.  Two more needle pricks–this time one in each hip–and my pregnancy should be over soon.Pretty depressing.

But oddly, not as depressing as the last time.  This time, I knew I was pregnant only for a week.  A long week, but a week nonetheless.  Last time I was 10 weeks along and had gotten pretty attached to the bugger.  Plus, the spotting clued me in that something was wrong.  It’s not a true miscarriage, and for some odd reason I take a little comfort in that.  I don’t feel like such a failure or like my uterus is a barren wasteland.  The medicine (methotrexate) works like chemo and is supposed to break down the tissue, so I won’t have a full-fledged miscarriage like I did last time.  Last time, I saw the egg sac pass out of me and onto the tile floor.  That won’t be happening this time.  No horror shows in the bathroom, thank you.

That’s not to say that I didn’t cry and get upset and ask the doctor what the hell is wrong with me.  She told me that if a sibling for Ella is what we want, then we need to try again.  She said that there is nothing physically wrong with me and my drinking in Cabo didn’t cause this (I was worried about that).  She assured me that everything works–just a run of bad luck.  I sure hope so.  I’m not getting any younger, people.

You may already know that ectopic pregnancies can be life- threatening.  The little embryo can keep growing inside the fallopian tube and potentially rupture and cause all sorts of problems.  I had no pelvic bleeding or any abnormalities.  So, it is a blessing that this was caught early.

So here we are–at the point of my story.  Because, my friends, my point was not to make you feel sad or sorry for me.  I really don’t want pity.  I just write for therapy.

Our friend, Carla, is dying of cancer and I couldn’t go out to see her because of these pregnancy complications.  I keep thinking that in a strange, roundabout sort of way, our friend may have saved my life.  I don’t mean to sound shallow.  Her life is ending and I have only lost a pregnancy.  In the scope of the world, it’s not that big a deal.  However, I would have just gone on until the shit hit the fan, and who knows how long that would have been.  And who knows what could have happened.  It could have kept growing, I would have kept spotting, and gone without pain until the thing ruptured and bled me out.  Because of her, it was caught early and I have another shot at making Ella a real-life sibling.  I don’t think my words are as clear and eloquent as they could be.  After all, I still do have pregnancy hormones running through me and they make you dumb.  True story.  But I think you get my gist.

Life is this big circle. I mean, the animals had that figured out in the The Lion King and had Elton John sing that song for them!  But, seriously, it’s true.  When one person takes their last breath, a child is born in the same instant.  Carla’s dying and it sucks beyond belief, but it caused me to take notice of myself.  It was like her last gift to me that she didn’t know she was giving.  She’d probably laugh if she read this and would tell me I’m nuts, but that’s just how she rolls.  Shoot, you may think I’m nuts and that’s okay too.  We all cope in our own ways.

In the midst of all this crap, I can see the silver lining.  I know tomorrow I may feel differently, but today this is how I feel.  It really sucks that we missed out on the aquarium today.  Instead we went to Home Depot–clearly, a close second to the aquarium.  And look what I found… this Disney fairy headlamp.  All the little girls nowadays have them…especially those with Daddy electricians.

This child is my silver lining.  Maybe tomorrow we’ll go see the fishies like Mommy promised.  I’m so glad that she forgave me–the headlamp helped 🙂

xoxo ~Marisa

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5 responses to “same story, but a little different

  1. Marisa, you are a strong, beautiful, mother and wife! I don’t know why the word failure would ever cross you mind. You have done nothing but accomplish your goals you have set in life and this is just a hurdle towards your next one. Granted this situation was good to uncover early and easier to cope with, but still I want you to know that your daughter and husband will love you no matter the outcome. 🙂 luv CuzJ

    • Thanks, Jason. I really appreciate your kind words. Yes, failure is a stinky word, but it’s how I felt. It’s like the old caveman mentality of the woman existing to procreate. When I couldn’t do it successfully, it was like I wasn’t doing my job as a human. Dumb, I know!

  2. That is one of the most beautiful posts I have ever read. So raw/honest/heartfelt. I read it aloud to Corry as well. Those things happened in his first marriage, so he said he totally understands your words/feelings. I admire your strength Marisa. I tend to agree with you, Carla was giving you one last gift. Pretty cool legacy. I see you living the kind of life you always talked about way back in the day when we were working together at LB. And what a beautiful silver lining that is!

    • Thanks, Michele. I wish I could remember all those conversations, but I’m sure glad you do to remind me! Yeah, life is good–in spite of the ups and downs. The ups are what make it all worthwhile.

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