Expecting Salvation: My Fifth Pregnancy
Expecting Salvation, a Sunday series on my pregnancies, births and losses.
“All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
This really happened.
I had a D&C one cycle prior, a “vigorous” D&C the OBGYN called it. “Do you usually bleed a lot?” she asked. Visions of Asherman’s Syndrome shadowed my thoughts after her post-op visit. I didn’t regret the D&C but even the lab results – the whole reason for having the surgery – felt like a wash: my fourth pregnancy carried Trisomy 16, the most common chromosomal abnormality to cause miscarriage.
A few weeks later I found myself pregnant again. Even though I cycled normally and we tried normally, I wondered if it could have been some lab error. How is my body still getting pregnant? My RE, a fellow skeptic to whose care we had returned was also stunned but there was no denying my results and especially after a vigorous D&C, this was not a lingering pregnancy, this was bona-fide. I set aside my apprehension, held my breath and started progesterone support.
We had just moved to Bermuda and I was pregnant. A new life with a new life.
I continued blood tests to make sure things progressed but I didn’t do this for long. My numbers started to decrease and there it was, the beginning of the end. I was told to stop progesterone and call when I began to bleed. Soon enough the cramps came in the middle of a day. I was upstairs in the bedroom and then I was on the floor pedaling my legs in a rhythmic motion to ease the pain. The blood came, more cramps, more floor. I didn’t call. Soon enough on the spectrum of forever it was over.
Labor and loss:
The same test that tells you you’re pregnant also tells you you’re not pregnant. In order to not be pregnant, my hormone level needed to be five or below. This is important when I miscarry to make sure the pregnancy is gone, that there is no tissue left in the uterus that could lead to infection or otherwise.
I couldn’t get to five. What fresh hell is this that I keep going for pregnancy tests even though I’m not pregnant?
Test after test and still too high. Something lingered around long enough to start my doctor thinking and talking about cancer, specifically choriocarcinoma. I was grateful something else would kill me because I couldn’t do it on my own.
On October 27, 2008 my HCG finally made it to 3.63 and I was in the clear. I went home, continued drinking, unpacked and decorated a house for the ghosts inside.