My mom and I had a conversation the other day about what makes for an interesting blog post. We concluded: not too lengthy, and one that includes attractive pictures. I apologize in advance because this post defies both rules… I’ve always loved the idea of journaling (having a nice, leather bound book with fancy handwriting inside). But, just like I have proven to be inconsistent with blogging, I am even worse at journaling. So I am using these posts to record some of the thoughts, feelings and stories about my pregnancy and delivery so I have them written down somewhere. Bear with me. Eventually I will write some short and sweet blogs. With attractive pictures.
So, continuing where I left off in my previous post… I was pregnant! The morning I found out, I wanted to call Mark right away. It took everything within me not to, and I thought it was going to be the longest day of my life. (I even tweeted “Pretty sure this is going to be the longest day in existence….” I had to get something off my chest, and tweeting it made me feel a tiny bit better…).
Right away I started to think of ways to tell my husband that he was going to be a dad, but it all came down to the plan I had in mind for years. While we were still dating (but we each knew already that we would marry each other one day), I found a onesie that I thought was hilarious because of Mark’s last name (Lucking) and a nickname he had in college (Lucky).
Mark is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan while I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan. Yes, we still got married despite this tension between us! I decided I would put the onesie into a gift bag with a Montreal Canadiens baby bottle I had packed away in a box (it was my brothers when he was young) and give it to him that evening. I couldn’t imagine having to wait the whole day to tell him. It turns out I didn’t have to…
Now that I think about it, the first person to find out I was pregnant was my doctor’s office. I called them right away since the math said I was already just over 8 weeks along. I called them in a daze and told them my happy news and scheduled an appointment.
At the time I was working as a front line worker with Walk With Me, an organization that provides immediate support and services to victims of human trafficking. A couple days prior, I was asked by my boss to attend a meeting in her place with the Chief of Hamilton Police Services. I was pretty excited and got ready for the meeting. I headed to the office first (again, thinking that everyone must notice that something was different with me!) to get some work done. While at the office, I started feeling a familiar intense pain in my abdomen. In the past, I have had some pretty intense lower abdominal pain that I thought were cysts on my ovaries, and I had a write-up from my doctor ordering some ultrasound tests. For some reason, I kept putting off the tests and never had them done. This pain was incredibly intense. When it comes, I can hardly walk and usually vomit from the pain. All I wanted to do was make my way home somehow and crawl into bed. But this time, I was worried that something might be wrong with the pregnancy. I didn’t want to go home if I was miscarrying, tell Mark that night that I was pregnant and actually not be. So I sent my regrets to those attending the meeting and decided to head to the hospital.
I was still determined to stick with my original plan of telling Mark in person! For years I had been dreaming of different ways to tell him, and the last thing I wanted to do was tell him over the phone why I was going to the hospital. So I called him, told him that I was having these pains (which weren’t new to him), and told him that I figured I would go to the hospital so I could finally get an ultrasound. He asked me if I wanted him to leave work and join me, but I told him I would be fine.
I found parking and slowly made my way to the ER. Longest walk of my life (until I walked through the same hospital a couple of months….. That story will come soon in another post!). I almost passed out from the pain. When I entered the ER, I told them that I had just found out that morning that I was 8 weeks pregnant.
I sat in the ER waiting to be seen for what felt like forever, but they actually took me pretty quickly. They tried to get me to do a urine test, but I was in so much pain that I just couldn’t bring myself to pee. The nurse saw how much pain I was in and asked if I wanted pain killers. I was so nervous to take anything knowing I was pregnant, but the nurse said that it would be ok to give me morphine. At this point, I got really scared. I didn’t want to be in the hospital on morphine by myself, so I called Mark. I still didn’t want to tell him over the phone, so I simply told him that they were giving me morphine and I didn’t want to be by myself. He came right away.
I was in so much pain and in a complete daze (or high on morphine….) and yet I’ll never forget seeing Mark and telling him. I so wish it could have been differently, but in the grand scheme of things I guess it really doesn’t matter. I saw him walking down the hall towards me. He came up to me and right away I said “I took a pregnancy test this morning. It was positive.” The look on his face was priceless. Mostly shock. Joy too. And I swear there were tears in his eyes. He said “Are you serious?” I think we hugged, and then right away I went down the hall to the bathroom to try another urine test. I don’t know why I left so suddenly and didn’t take more time to live in the moment. But I was in so much pain, and just so scared to hope.
I had a series of tests including blood tests, ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound (holy moly… my ovaries already hurt, and they did not like being pressed on…). I waited with Mark, the pain finally abating. The doctor finally came to speak with me. First, he told me that he wasn’t sure if the pain I was feeling was actually from ovarian cysts. He said that one might have ruptured, but that perhaps the pain I was feeling was just constipation. He would become the first doctor in my pregnancy that I wanted to hit. This was not constipation or gas pains, but whatever… Then he said that while the math may indicate I was 8 weeks pregnant, the ultrasound indicated that I was closer to only 5 weeks along. Not only that, but my hCG (hormone) levels were very low. He advised us to get another ultrasound in 10-14 days to see if there was any progression with the growth of the embryo.
Mark and I went home. We were so excited, yet talked about how we were so nervous to get our hopes up. We shared our feelings about how worried we were that this pregnancy would result in miscarriage. And yet, we decided to be hopeful. I pondered whether my irregular cycles would cause me to conceive later than what was normal in a cycle. Perhaps my ultrasound showed a smaller embryo not because something was wrong, but simply because I had conceived later than originally thought? I knew there was nothing I could do, that things were not in my hands but in God’s.
I went to my family doctor for a follow up a couple of days later. If I was already worried, she didn’t make me feel much better. She cautioned me that this might not be a “viable” pregnancy, and told me what signs to look for that indicated miscarriage and what to do if that happened.
On the Saturday after finding out I was pregnant, we had to go to Barrie for one of my best friend’s bridal showers (I was to be her matron of honour that June – dresses were already ordered, was I going to fit into mine?!). That morning I felt a little nauseous but I thought “oh sure, Jennifer… You find out 2 days ago that you’re pregnant, so now you’re reading into every little feeling.” Sometimes I can be a little nauseated in the morning if I don’t get a lot of sleep, so I figured it was just that. The following Tuesday I was coordinating a conference for work. Again, I didn’t get a lot of sleep and woke up very nauseous. And contined to stay nauseous. All day. It was to be the first day of my “all day” sickness (nope, no “morning” sickness for me). I made it through the day (and luckily my presentation) without vomiting, and I had no desire to eat lunch (even the chocolate cake that I pretty much forced myself to eat, because it was actually one of the best chocolate cakes I had ever eaten! I just had no desire to eat – a very foreign sensation for this food lover…). The nausea didn’t go away. While I did not love the feeling of being sick (and vomiting…), I took it to be a hopeful sign that the baby was growing strong.
I waited for an ultrasound appointment. Obviously I wanted an appointment closer to the 10 days than 14! I finally got an appointment for May 3 (a whole 15 days after finding out I was pregnant – I could barely stand the wait). I went alone, Mark and I deciding that he would go to work and I would call him immediately afterwards. We had already told my parents. We initially wanted to wait until further along in the pregnancy, but we decided that if the next ultrasound showed that I had miscarried, I would want my parents’ support. Also, by this point I was nauseous all the time. It was difficult to go anywhere and hide it. My mom asked if I wanted her to go with me, but I decided to go myself.
I went into the room where the ultrasound would be performed and laid on the table. I gave the technician the dates of my last cycle but also what my last ultrasound indicated. I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I heard the words “the heartbeat is strong. You look to be about 7 weeks and 3 days along.” Tears formed in my eyes. A heartbeat! 128 bpm to be exact!
I called Mark in (happy) tears on the way to the car. We weren’t as far along as we had originally thought, but in line with what the ER doctors said two weeks prior when I seemed to be 5 weeks along. We were still very early in the pregnancy, but we held onto the mantra we formed – we wait in hope!