So much has been going on that's prevented me from writing anything here for a while. First I was sick and didn't feel like doing much of anything. Then I was getting ready for Mom's visit, and then she was here (more on her visit in later posts, I hope). Right after she left, I was very busy getting the apartment ready for a newcomer whom Jeff and I are sponsoring. The day the newcomer arrived, I got my Big News, and since then things have just been a little crazy.
Most of you reading this probably already know my big news, but there are a few who don't know yet. Here goes ... I'm pregnant. Jeff and I are expecting our first child in early August 2010.
Of course we're excited. We've wanted a baby for a while, and we're as ready as a couple can be to become parents. But mixed in with the joy and anticipation is a significant dose of anxiety, even fear, for our baby. You see, in the week before I actually took the pregnancy test, I was spotting every single day. I had very painful cramping on the left side of my lower abdomen on four or five occasions. I didn't think anything of these symptoms before I knew I was pregnant; my menstrual cycle has always been weird, and my body occasionally experiences all sorts of aches and pains for no apparent reason. But once I knew I was pregnant, I realized that my symptoms were spot on for an ectopic pregnancy--a pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. In an ectopic pregnancy, the baby can't survive, and if the baby isn't removed, the mother could die too. So I became very worried very quickly.
I went to see a doctor at the embassy's health unit, and although he tried to be reassuring, it was pretty obvious that he didn't think my baby would survive. To make a long story short--I wrote another post as it was happening that contains all the details; I may or may not publish it some other time--I ended up having an ultrasound on Tuesday to see exactly where my baby is. Jeff and I both grinned like idiots when we saw the gestational sac firmly implanted in the uterine wall, exactly where it ought to be. It's still too early to see the baby him- or herself or to detect the heartbeat, but our major fear was eliminated. As I had been instructed, I called the health unit to schedule another appointment--my first official prenatal visit (or so I thought). I made the appointment for this morning.
Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from the doctor I was to see this morning. She just wanted to check on me and confirm that the ultrasound looked good. But the tone of the conversation changed when she found out that I had come home from the ultrasound only to discover more spotting. Then she started talking about how 20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage, and it isn't the mother's fault; there are just problems with the embryo, and it can't survive. She seemed to want me to be prepared for a miscarriage while also pretending that she wasn't expecting one (I think she is expecting one).
Over the next couple of days, I vacillated between being at peace and being anxiety-ridden. At times, I was able to acknowledge that God is in control, and He will do what is best for my baby, my husband, and myself--if this pregnancy ends in miscarriage, my baby will be waiting for me in heaven. At other times, I just begged God to let me have this child.
For my appointment this morning, I was at peace. It turns out that it's a very good thing I was at peace and accepting of the situation this morning. My doctor still acts like she thinks my baby is going to die. She won't do the first official prenatal visit until after my next ultrasound, in two weeks, when we should be able to see the fetal pole and the fluttering that indicates a heartbeat. In the meantime, she offered (and I accepted) a series of blood tests that will tell us if my pregnancy hormone levels are increasing like they should be--they were at 12482 on Tuesday, and they should roughly double by tonight, when my blood will be drawn again. But she was careful to tell me that if there's a problem with the embryo itself, my hormone levels will behave normally. She seems to want that heartbeat before she accepts that I may actually have a viable baby-to-be in there.
So I'm back to waiting. I'm still at peace, though I expect to struggle with that at times. I do believe that this baby is going to develop normally and that in early August I will hold a healthy baby in my arms. If God has other plans, I will grieve for my lost child. In the meantime, I'm trusting God and praying.
My next ultrasound is scheduled for Sunday, 20 December. I'll keep you updated.