Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Amanda's Story Part II: Pregnancy After Loss

It was late August, and I knew my period would start any day unless I was pregnant. On a whim, I decided to take a pregnancy test while my son was watching cartoons after lunch. It was positive, just barely! I knew it was very early. My husband was in the middle of teaching his class, so I called my midwife to share the good news. Then, I began to ponder how I would reveal the news to my husband. I didn't have this opportunity before because he was always nearby when I took pregnancy tests before. I put a note inside a bucket of peanuts that said, "We're expecting a little peanut in May 2017." However, I started bleeding within two hours of the positive test. My midwife ordered blood tests for the following week to see if my hormone levels were rising. Through tears, I told my husband what had happened and gave him the peanuts anyway. He kept my note as a sign of hope. One week later, after two blood draws, the results confirmed that I was still pregnant and I had stopped bleeding after a couple days. Apparently it was implantation bleeding. Our prayers and those of our family members and close friends were answered positively. With a smile on my face and fear in my heart, we proceeded.

At 7 weeks pregnant, the report from my weekly blood draw was significantly lower than the previous week, so we figured I was miscarrying. I cried and wondered "Why?!" I went to my old OB office for an ultrasound at the end of the day, and the baby was still alive! We were shocked, so shocked that I couldn't speak. We believe the lab reported incorrect numbers that week.

The next week, I switched labs. At 9 weeks pregnant, there was a minor drop in my levels, so we were concerned again. We once again got an ultrasound at the end of the day and it confirmed baby was still alive! My HcG levels had started dropping which can begin happening during week 8, though my midwives were surprised at how early this was happening.

During these early weeks I pleaded with God to not let our baby die before many years of life on this earth. I couldn't fathom another loss. I was afraid I would enter a deep depression. I moved forward each day with numb emotions about the pregnancy. I didn't want to get too excited, and I wasn't sure who to tell. I ended up telling just a couple friends so they would pray for me. I tried to focus on my son's schooling, as I had decided to start homeschooling him and he was at PreK level.

At 15 weeks pregnant, I started bleeding, a lot. I picked up Joseph early from work and we tried to find a place in town for me to get an ultrasound immediately. We couldn't find one and my bleeding was increasing, so we went to the ER. I was admitted immediately, and soon after had an ultrasound where we saw our live baby! We couldn't believe it! We couldn't understand how I could bleed so much and still be pregnant. Several hours later, the ER doctor pulled us back and explained that the bleeding was caused because my placenta is low, which is known as placenta previa. She said it likely would move, but if it didn't, I would have to have a C-section.

A few days after this my baby started moving! It was such a relief to feel him move while I continued to bleed through my healing. I spent about a month in bed and on the couch so the bleeding would stop. We continued to pray for the baby, and also for the placenta to move. I preferred to not have a C-section and had been planning a home birth.

I didn't take many pictures of my growing belly during this pregnancy. I felt like I would get too attached if I did that and then lost the baby. And I resented the quick growth of my belly if I was just going to lose the baby.

About three weeks after my ER visit, we had an appointment with a specialist. She said the placenta was no longer near the cervix but still low. I was given clearance to be more active, but nothing strenuous, like lifting heavy things or working out hard. We also learned we were having another boy! We were thrilled!
20 weeks pregnant
After this, my fear level kicked up into high gear. If I didn't feel the baby move for 20-30 minutes, I began to worry about him. I would poke at my belly or eat some sugar to spur his movement. I often would pray, too, that God would ease my fear by letting me feel him move. Several times a day I felt this fear. It was overwhelming my brain. I was feeling consumed by my fear. I shared this with my husband and closest friends, so they began to pray for this specifically. After a couple months, the level of my fear subsided. Through prayer and studying Scripture, God helped me trust in Him.

Two and half months after our first visit with the specialist we returned for a checkup, and the placenta had moved! I no longer had placenta previa, so I could lift my son again, as needed, and continue planning for a home birth!
31 weeks pregnant in Yosemite
Did you read Part I of my story? Read it here: Amanda's Story of Loss
Read the final chapter of this story at Amanda's Story Part III: The Arrival of Our Rainbow Baby

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