At what point do I feel better? 28 weeks – when finding something wrong could mean early delivery? Or does a loss at that point become more devastating, knowing that I could have delivered early to save the baby? A heartbeat stops in an instant, without warning. At 21 weeks, there is nothing we could do.
I am back to horrible feelings of guilt that some unknown underlying medical condition that I have caused my losses. What else could I have done? What else could have been checked? Should I have seen more doctors? I haven’t felt guilty in a long time, having finally accepted that there was nothing I could have done. Now those thoughts crowd my mind again. I had truly, truly convinced myself that something was wrong with both of the babies that caused the losses; that they carried something, not me. I thought that this was my chance for a healthy pregnancy. Now I am back to thinking it is something wrong with me. Maybe I didn’t see enough doctors, or enough specialists – even though I’ve seen three specialists in different fields, have a group OBGYN practice of seven doctors, and have had an ungodly amount of testing done.
This heightened awareness of everything that could go wrong has lead me to question everything. At my OBGYN appointment last week, I mentioned that my heart rate had been increasing, and that at some points I was feeling panicked and could not calm down my racing heart. The OB assured me that increased heart rate was normal in pregnancy, but when I told her how much, she admitted it was the “high end of normal.” Likely just anxiety, but “to be safe” she sent me to a cardiologist.
I called cardiology and was told that I could not be seen for five weeks. I explained the situation with my high-risk pregnancy and was squeezed in the next day. The cardiologist was wonderful and went through everything, and agreed that it was likely just anxiety, but again “to be safe” he ordered a CBC, heart rate monitor for 24 hours, and an echocardiogram. I left with the heart rate monitor that day. The CBC came back with a white blood count that was high, outside of normal range. Well, I happened to also have the inklings of a sinus infection but I was told I needed to follow up with my primary care provider. I called my OBGYN’s office but they were insistent that they would not diagnose high WBC and I needed to go to primary care. My PCP provider is in a completely different practice, but I found one within their group so that the person would have access to all of my medical records.
Echocardiogram was today, results will be back in a few days. I haven’t had the racing heart like I did for a few days in there, so I’m feeling reasonably assured that it was just anxiety, and that would truly be the best result. My heart rate monitor showed that my heart has extra beats, but that is considered benign unless something shows up on the echo. Follow-up with primary care was also today. She had brought up every instance in my medical history where my WBC count was high. Every single time correlated with a pregnancy, going all the way back to Quentin. We found an instance of a normal WBC from a CBC run back in January, and my “normal” is the high end of normal. So she thinks that’s just the way my body rolls; I sit at the high end of normal and increased WBC is normal in pregnancy and pushes me over the edge. She’s going to run a few more tests “to be safe” but wants to wait until my sinuses are totally cleared so that it is not impacting the results.
So that’s that. Just another check-mark on the list of things, and sent for additional poking and prodding for what is more than likely nothing. The more I am examined, the more I fall into the camp of “my fault” category. My therapist constantly says “this was NOT your fault” to which I reply “we don’t know that.” It came up in the grief support group I went to on Tuesday and the moderator told us: “This is NOT your fault. We did not choose our bodies; if we did, all of us would choose the perfect body. So even if it is something within your body, it is not something that is your fault.”
All of this information: tests, examinations, follow-up. All trying to make sure that everything progresses as it should, but in the end, is there really any control? My amniocentesis results also came back: completely normal. We know the gender of the baby, but we are not going to share that information. The focus has to be on surviving the pregnancy. Next week Thursday will be the telling 20-week ultrasound. I am off-the-charts anxious in the days leading up to that appointment, since that is where we found the growth restriction in Nelle. The next big hurdle.