You may notice the dates in this post are from February… I wasn’t ready to publish this post when I wrote it, but I promised God that if he took care of everything and brought me through this trial that I would give Him the glory. So, when I remembered praying that the other day, I felt like I needed to publish this post. I’m so thankful for a God of details who looks after me. There aren’t a lot of pictures. It isn’t a “pretty” post. It is a LONG post. It’s more of a journal for me to remember and share God’s goodness.
“If we would remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily worry and fear when we face new challenges.” – Unknown
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. “
- Isaiah 55:8
January 27th, we were surprised by a positive pregnancy test. This would usually be an exciting time for us, but I knew it wasn’t a normal pregnancy. Figuring that it was a miscarriage, I booked an appointment with my doctor and prepared myself for the news. I was sent for an ultrasound and I could tell from the screen that there was nothing. No baby. Nothing. I called Scott, confirming what I had thought- that it was a miscarriage. Two days later, I went back to my doctor and she did another blood test. My HCG levels were going up. They had doubled from two days prior. Slightly confused, I decided to try not to think about it over the weekend. I was still bleeding, but now thought that maybe there was a baby… maybe I was just off on my dates.
February 11th , I was sent for another ultrasound. Another ultrasound with the same results… nothing. I mentioned to the technician that I had thought it was possibly an ectopic pregnancy due to the bleeding. She checked my tubes- nothing. In the meantime, a nurse came out to the waiting room, knelt down beside me and said, “This may be a strange question, but what’s your background? The other nurses and I were all watching you and making bets as to what your ethnicity is.” If she knew how often I get asked that question, she wouldn’t have thought it was so odd. It was kind of nice to laugh. To stop thinking and wondering for a few minutes while I laughed with the nurse before I went back to sitting in the corner of the waiting room anxious to find out what was going on.
My doctor was dumbfounded. She offered me the comfort that it may be too early to see the ectopic pregnancy, it may be a “molar” pregnancy, or it could be a rare type of uterine cancer. She sent me off with a promise of a referral to an OBGYN and the warning to go to the ER if I feel anything isn’t right. I spent the night reading everything I could find about ectopic pregnancies, choriocarcinoma, and molar pregnancies. My symptoms all fit an ectopic pregnancy… but I doubted it because each ultrasound had shown nothing. The next morning I woke up to excruciating pain. I had dealt with dull cramps for over a month now. but this was different… it felt like I had been stabbed in my right side and my back ached so badly I could barely get out of bed. By lunch time, the pain had subsided and I decided to wait for a call from my doctor’s office. No call.
The next morning I woke up dizzy. I felt disoriented and the cramps were coming and going. I wanted to wait for the call to go see an OBGYN, but at the same time, I knew that if this was an ectopic pregnancy that they had missed- I could be bleeding internally and well on my way to going into shock. My instincts said that I needed to go to the hospital. Thankfully, I have a husband who encourages me to trust my instincts and he pushed me to go to the ER and get checked out. I spent an hour in a waiting room, entertained by all sorts of people. A man laying on the floor, yelling for his wife to call the police because no one at the hospital cared about him. A nurse that told him there were people in the back who’s hearts had stopped, and people who had stopped breathing, and that his leg pain would have to wait. He yelled at her and told her that he was going to die from the pain. Her exact words, “Well, when you stop breathing… come and let me know.” That set him off. She walked away and he pitched his beeper thing-a-ma-jig across the waiting room. Slowly, everyone moved away… A man with a purple finger. A lady with something lodged in her throat. An old couple that held hands the entire time they sat in the waiting room. Time passed, and I worried. I worried that they wouldn’t figure out what was wrong. I worried that after bleeding for a month straight, there was no end in sight. I worried about a baby. I hoped that everything would be ok. If there was one… I finally asked God for help. I asked Him for answers.
I was eventually called in and seen by a doctor that couldn’t have been much older than me. That’s never encouraging. I’m a fan of old doctors. Doctors that look like they could be my grandpa… This young guy saw my blood test results and said, “Oh good. Your numbers are going up!” Umm… where have you been for the last 5 minutes while I was explaining the situation? Numbers going up, without a baby, is a problem. He then proceeded to ask me if I wanted him to request an ultrasound. Have I mentioned how much I loathe young doctors? I digress…
I went for an ultrasound after drinking 2 litres of tap water, and an answer to prayer came. The technician listened to my story and said, “I’m going to do my very best to find answers for you.” Then I was sent back to the waiting room, where leg-pain guy had been moved back into a wheelchair and was still yelling at his wife to call 911. I texted my hubby to try and pass time. He had everything under control. I asked him to get the girls to put some rice on. Already done. I asked him to put the chicken in the oven. “Right on it,” he said. Scott, is my best friend. When I needed a hug, he squeezed me tight until I let go. When I wanted to vent, he listened without trying to fix things. When I started to worry, he prayed with me and reminded me that God knew exactly what was going on. When I was so unsure of everything, he reminded me that I could be sure of him. That no matter what happened, what the outcome, what the trial, he was there. He always is.
So I got called back in and waited to hear from sniffly-nose, kid-doctor. He looked at his chart and very matter-of-factly, told me that I had an ectopic pregnancy in my right tube and I had two options… 1. An injection of methotrexate or 2. Surgery… I texted Scott right away and told him that what I thought had been confirmed and asked him to email our go-to doctor about the options. Our doctor-friend is another answer to prayer… I feel so blessed to have an experienced doctor, who is like a grandfather to us, who we can call with any health questions. He told us that the drug is an experimental chemo drug that kills the immune system. Ok.. easy decision then. He reassured us that if we waited and my tube ruptured, which it would eventually, that my life would be in danger. Unfortunately, there was no hope for the baby. At about 8 weeks there was no heartbeat and no options. Scott arranged for our moms to come take care of the kids so he could come be at the hospital with me. I am so thankful for family. What would we do without our families? God is good.
I had an IV put in. Several times… I sat there going back and forth between worrying and praying. I put on my best front and then Scott was there. A comfort washed over me as I saw him walk around the corner. He came over and kissed my forehead, and suddenly everything seemed alright. It was alright to cry, it was alright rest, it was alright to talk about how scared and upset I was.
Then came the next answer to prayer. I was sent into a room to wait for the doctor and when he came in, I couldn’t have been more relieved. First off, he wasn’t a kid! He was the doctor who had done my emergency c-section with Elijah when we had lost his heart rate. He was the doctor that had taken care of me when I went in with my miscarriage. He was the doctor my midwife raved about who had been trained in South Africa by midwives before coming to Canada. Three different traumatic events, in two different cities, at two different hospitals, at completely different times, and God chose to use him. He sat and talked with us. He didn’t give us any options like the kid-doctor. He said that I’d need to have my right tube removed. He knew our background and my history. No experimental drugs. He said that this was the best option. He sat and explained things and stayed to answer any questions we had. He squeezed my hand and then headed out of the room to prep for surgery “Right away”- those were his words. I waited for the nurse to leave the room (who happened to be a 200lb black man who had taken care of Elijah and Jeddy when they were in the hospital for asthma attacks- another answer to prayer! He is an awesome nurse and I felt like I knew him.) and that was when I lost it. Scott saw the tears start and he held my hands and prayed with me. There was a chance of needing a full c-section type cut, there was a chance of needing a full hysterectomy, there was a chance of needing a blood transfusion. So many if’s… and even though God was working in and through all these people for me- I was scared. I called and spoke with each of my kids and told them I loved them. I can be quite the worst case scenario type person. So for me, there was also a chance that I wouldn’t wake up.
We went up to the OR lobby and I waited in the hospital bed. Scott stood beside me and made me laugh. He joked with nurses, told everyone how many kids I had just to get a laugh out of reactions- he did a really good job at keeping me distracted. He kissed my forehead once again before they wheeled me away and in I went. The anaesthesiologist told me to name each of my kids as he put me to sleep and next thing I knew I was waking up and asking the nurses for my husband. I didn’t know why they were laughing at the time, but apparently I woke up every few minutes and asked for him and then went back to sleep. He came in the recovery room and made fun of me. I kept asking if everything was ok… Another answer to prayer. Everything went as well as it possibly could have. My tube HAD ruptured- which explained the excruciating pain. Had I not gone into the hospital when I did, I could have died. There was minimal internal bleeding and they were able to do everything through laparoscopic surgery. Three little band-aids were all I had to show for it. My iron didn’t drop at all, I was able to go home that night, and I only had to take pain meds for a day. My emotions have gone up and down a bit. This may not have been how I envisioned my child-bearing years ending- it was very abrupt and final. But the Lord knows that I sometimes, most times, need that. There were no ‘what if’s’- everything was very cut and dry. Which was another answer to prayer…
I don’t do well with what if’s…
My family - Easter weekend
I am so thankful for the promise that Christ’s resurrection brings!
God is so good.
I’m so thankful for His hand of protection.
And I’m so thankful for all of those little details and answers to prayer that let me know He was there.