The hardest thing.

Of course, the blood tests confirmed I was indeed pregnant.

 

To Alex and my mom, our next step was very clear: we would terminate the pregnancy and I would start treatment immediately.

 

To me, it didn’t feel so black and white.

What it felt like to me was painful, confusing, devastating, exciting, and don’t forget that I was nauseous, my boobs were sore, and my emotions were out of control.

How the hell did exciting fit into that list of emotions?

Well, I had my and Alex’s first child growing inside me!

Our baby, we made, and all the potential that the little life had for all three of our lives.

Had we received this positive test 24 hours before we received the diagnosis, we would have been digesting the fact that we’d be parents in 8 months.  Now we (I) were trying to decide if I should have an abortion to save my own life. How selfish!?

 

Like I mentioned before, Alex and my mom’s minds were made up.

To my mom, my well being was and always has been her top priority. She would never risk my life for anything in the world. (Which is probably the exact reason why I was struggling… I already was feeling this innate pull to protect the life I was growing).

Alex didn’t want to start our family without me, so if there was a risk of starting a family and losing me, he wasn’t interested.

 

Alex and I spent the remainder of the evening in utter shock at the day we had just had and how much had changed. We cried a lot, we laughed a little, but mostly we just kind of were existing.

 

I remained in this “just existing” state for quite some time.

 

The next day it was time to start making calls. It is NOT like me to follow directions without giving things my own thought or actually just taking control, but in this new state I will describe as a walking coma, I simply followed marching orders.

 

The nephrologist told me to call my gynecologist to schedule the termination

note: the word abortion is simply too difficult for me to use when referring to this situation. It gives me a terrible knot in my stomach and pain in my heart. I will always think of this procedure as a medically necessary termination.

I called that same Gyno that wouldn’t talk to me in my time of crisis over the sixty something dollars and explained the situation. The nurse (not doc) and I went back and forth with several calls. She kept telling me that I had a choice and that I should come in and discuss my options. When I would counter with the kidney disease issues and the whole “it could kill me” bit, she kept pushing me to see the specialist that would evaluate the fetus to see if it was healthy enough to continue the pregnancy. She wasn’t getting that I was the patient at risk (note: the fetus was at tremendous risk also. a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), birth defects, low birth weight, etc…).  

Keep in mind I was trying to stay as distant as possible from this pregnancy. I was refusing to have an ultrasound because I couldn’t imagine seeing that image so many of my friends and family have displayed so proudly on their refrigerators and social media, knowing our story was going to end much more tragically.

When the nurse finally accepted I wasn’t coming in to see the fetal specialist or to discuss options for our child she let me know that their practice doesn’t do termination procedures and gave me the number to planned parenthood.

 

I called PP and scheduled my appointment. They only perform these procedures one day a week so they scheduled me for a consult the following week.

 

Given all that was going on I made an emergency appointment with my therapist that I had been seeing on an as needed basis. My therapist, Pam, is a no bullshit kinda lady who has always given it to me straight and helped me so much in transitioning into the type of person I wanted to be. I went in and was filling her in on EVERYTHING. I don’t think I even cried in this visit. I was simply going through the motions of living. As I told her that my Gyno was sending me to planned parenthood she stopped me in my tracks. She said I absolutely could not have the procedure done there. She informed me that on the day of procedures there are always pro-life people protesting outside and that I did not need to and should not be exposed to that when I was already in so much pain. I hadn’t even thought of that.

 

Pretty immediately after that appointment, my nephrologist called to check on me. He wanted to know what decision Alex and I had made and see how I was holding up. I explained the entire saga about my Gyno, PP, and what Pam had said.

 

He was outraged.

 

He insisted that I was very sick and this procedure needed to be done by a doctor in a hospital and asked for my Gyno’s name so he could call her to take care of scheduling the procedure. He called back shortly after this. I will never forget this call:

 

He said he was sorry but that he had yelled at and hung up on my doctor!

 

He was pissed off because she was refusing to help me even given my situation and his urging. He let me know that he had called another doctor who had agreed to take care of the procedure for me and that I could just call the office and they would take care of everything.

 

He was absolutely right that everything would be taken care of. I called doctor lickness office and as soon as I said my name she said just a minute and transferred me to the head woman. I never had to re-explain my situation. I was treated by the office staff with extreme care and love. They made everything so incredibly easy and not for even a second made me feel ashamed or judged (which is all the previous doc and her office had done).

Doctor Lickness, oh Doctor Lickness! He is the sweetest man.  He has the gentlest heart and touch. Whenever he would walk into the room and hold my hand, you could feel how genuinely he cared. He not only would ask how I was but he was sure to talk to Alex and check in with him, because in reality he was going through this all too.

 

We got the procedures scheduled for the following Tuesday and the office began working with my insurance on authorization.

 

It was somewhere in this blur that Alex and I decided we needed a nice dinner out anywhere I wanted, regardless of price (which is a big deal for my frugal man) as a kind of last hoorah before starting the radical diet changes that were being recommended. We ordered wine at this dinner and I remember feeling incredibly guilty that I was pregnant and drinking even though I wasn’t going to be pregnant much longer. It was a weird sensation.

 

At this dinner I decided to discuss concerns I was having with Alex. I told him how much I loved him and that what was ahead of me was going to be very difficult and that I would never hold it against him if he wasn’t up for it and wanted to move on from our relationship. I told him that if he was going to leave though, I needed him to do it now because I didn’t think I would be able to handle losing him in the midst of all that was coming.

 

He was amazing, as he ALWAYS is.

 

He told me that this wasn’t just happening to me, it was happening to US. We had kidney disease, we had a baby we couldn’t keep and we would face it all together, forever.

It was this night that I feel like Alex and I promised ourselves to each other forever, and I have never even for a second doubted that promise.

 

The next week dragged by… I continued to just exist. I was never present. I displayed little emotions, good or bad.  I was just in shock and dreading the termination. I would get up to go to the bathroom several times a night, praying that I would see blood indicating a miscarriage so I wouldn’t have to go through with the termination. No such luck.

 

The Monday before the procedure was scheduled Dr. Lickness office called. She wanted to let me know that my insurance was refusing to authorize the procedure and wanted to know if I wanted to move forward as scheduled, cancel, or push it back so I had time to work it out.  

 

Whaaaaat?!?!  

 

I had been barely surviving every day leading up to this and now this?

 

I decided regardless of the insurance hoops I would have to jump through that I would do the procedure as scheduled.

 

I couldn’t take it another day. I had to just get it over with.

 

I spent the remainder of the afternoon and morning leading up to it making calls to insurance and the hospital trying to work it out. The woman at the insurance was sure this had to be a mistake and gave me directions on appealing it. The hospital gave me the cash price “just in case” insurance wouldn’t cooperate.

 

We were moving forward as scheduled.

 

My little sister had come down and brought my nephew Wyatt. My mom really wanted to come too but I didn’t want to put her out and I didn’t want my condo over filled with people trying to dote on me. (Note from today 4/28/2016: I really regret not letting my mom come down.  She was a wreck at home worrying about me.  It was a selfish move trying to isolate myself.)

 

Alex and I went to the hospital alone that morning. When we got to the front to check in the bubbly volunteer says to me, “you look great!” I’m thinking that this is very bizarre greeting considering the circumstances. I certainly did not look great. I looked exhausted and wore down.

 

She has us wait in front of her and she calls up to labor and delivery and let’s them know that “Cheryl is here for her c-section.”

 

Oh my god! Alex and I stand in front of her in silent shock as labor and delivery tells her there is a mistake and that I’m not on their schedule. She hangs up and all I say is “where is your bathroom?”  I walk away and begin sobbing hysterically. While I am in the bathroom trying to gain my composure Alex is explaining to the woman what we are actually here for and why. When I come back she is obsessively apologizing for the error. I assure her it is not her fault, there is no way she could have known and to please not let it ruin her day. Then she did that thing, where people just WILL NOT DROP IT! I couldn’t get away from her quickly enough.

 

Once in the day stay room where they put me and Alex before they took me to preop room I am able to overhear nurses who are confused by the “pitocin” drip the doc had ordered for me. They come over to verify my info and ask what I am there for. After I explain it becomes clear I am in the books as a DNC not a termination (it’s really the same procedure except in the DNC the fetus is not living). Terminations are not common place in this hospital. As it turns out there is no doctor, other than mine that will do them in my county. I am sure it is paranoia but I swear to you, the nurses started to judge me and treat me differently.

 

When it’s time to go to preop, Alex isn’t allowed to join me. Instead, I get a bubbly volunteer to take me down to preop…. Do you see where this is going? Yes, none other than the foot in mouth volunteer. She continues to obsessively apologize all the way there. It was one of those moments where I felt like, “look, I have no room to help you feel better about your bad day because I am having a real shitty one myself.”

 

Doctor Lickness was again, incredibly comforting before the surgery. He held my hand while I went under. When I woke up I was crying uncontrollably. This is a common reaction to anesthesia, but the post op nurse did not seem at all sympathetic, but actually, quite annoyed. It was awful. All I wanted was Alex but they don’t let anyone in post op at this hospital so I had to wait until they moved me to recovery.

 

We came home from the hospital to a spotless home that was literally overflowing with flowers,cards, and sweet pieces of papers with uppers on them (this is a signature Brittany Pomfret move). It was the best welcome home we could possibly have had given the day. I was finally starting to feel some weight be lifted. It was such a relief to have this behind us so now I could grieve the loss.

 

This is a loss I am still grieving today.

 

Mother’s Day feels incredibly painful.

 

June is a very hard month.

 

A friend of mine got pregnant when I did and when I see pictures of her daughter on Facebook I cry because I know that’s the age and stage our baby would be.

 

I am sure when we get pregnant next time I will cry for our first baby. I really don’t know that this is a pain that will ever go away. I don’t know that I want it too. I am so sad and so sorry for our baby. I wish things would’ve been different and we could’ve been excited not devastated. I wish that was the beginning of our baby’s life not the end.

 

I feel tremendous guilt for what we did even though I know that is not healthy and not necessarily justified.

 

A few months after all this a woman with cancer made the news for foregoing her treatment and having her baby (only to die a few months after she was born {the mom, not the child}).  She was portrayed a hero by so many.  I felt terrible about myself and my choice.

 

When people make abortion jokes it hurts tremendously.

When people have trouble getting pregnant my heart breaks with them.

I understand and empathize with their yearning for their child. 

Hearing anyone has miscarried absolutely breaks my heart. 

The strangest things trigger heart ache and there is not a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about this.  

 

I wouldn’t wish what happened to us on our worst enemies.