I am beginning my blog series with Kate’s story. Your early twenties are a tricky time and can be filled with confusion and trepidation. Throw in love and babies, you can find your world turned upside down and rocked. Saying goodbye to old dreams, forging new paths, and finding a whole new you. With a new set of dreams. Thank you Kate for your honesty and letting us into your world for a moment.
The day I found out I was pregnant, I cried. For hours. I had just dropped my husband, Joe off at work around 5 in the morning and headed over to my friend’s house with a pregnancy test in tow. I took the pee of my life, and around 3 minutes later I found out just how life changing that pee really was.
I’ve never been religious, but I was making all kinds of deals with God that day. At 20 years old, in a new place with a new husband, I was not ready for a baby. But life doesn’t always care about your feelings. I cried while my friend, Kala, tried to be some means of support but without a time machine hiding in her bedroom, it was kind of a long shot.
At lunch I drove on post to see Joe and I just wordlessly handed him the pregnancy test. He was so happy, his eyes lit up, his smile took up his whole face and then he turned and saw MY expression. Needless to say, it was a long lunch.
For days I wanted nothing more than for my body to reject the baby. After all the doctor told me how 1 in 4 pregnancies don’t end in a baby, and how it’s no one’s fault. So I sat by waiting, hoping, that I would be the 1 in 4. Being my husband, Joe could obviously see that I wasn’t at all thrilled, but he never for once thought that I was actually sitting by hoping that our child would not come of term. I even told myself that it would better for the baby if I miscarried them. That at this age I couldn’t give them what they needed, or wanted. That I didn’t even know if I loved them. Every mom I’d ever heard talk about when they found out they were pregnant said that even if it was unexpected, they already loved them and wanted them, so there must have been something wrong with me.
I really wanted to call my mom and tell her, to ask for advice, but being 20 years old I figured no family member would exactly be thrilled, so we waited. I could tell that Joe was itching to tell his parents, but at my request we kept the matter quiet.
Looking back I never realized how hard things must have been for my husband during that time. For him to be excited beyond measure, they way a father should be, and then for him to have hide his feelings because there was no way at that time I could deal with seeing anyone excited over this development. For him to come to the realization on his own that he would be deploying to Afghanistan only weeks after his first child was born. For him having to sneak off and cry alone over this and then having to come back and be strong for me. I believe selfish is the word you might be looking for there…
About 2 and a half weeks after finding out I was pregnant, my wish came true. I started to miscarry. I woke up from a nap on a Saturday and I was in the most pain I’d ever been in my life. I was doubled over on the bed, crying, and gasping for air. I was almost like a period cramp, only 20 times worse. Joe burst into the room looking terrified and as soon as he saw my hand wrapped around my stomach, he went pale. The only word I could get out between the bursts of pain was, “hospital.” We rushed to the car and Joe drove for about the 3rd time ever in his life. We made it to the emergency room in great time and we got in line for admittance.
I remember standing there looking at the person in front of me who seemed to have nothing wrong with them but a cold and telling Joe “ My baby’s life is at risk, tell them we are cutting.”
I was taken back to get blood tests taken, but apparently I was so dehydrated that they could not find a vein and I ended up throwing up as well as almost passing out while they still had the needle in me. Once that happened, blood tests became not so much a priority. A ER doctor came in and gave me vaginal exam and they came to the conclusion that I was so dehydrated that my uterus was contracting and my body was trying to push the baby out. Pretty much, I was going into very early labor at only 6 weeks.
All of a sudden, everything changed. I no longer wanted to be the 1 of the 4. I no longer wanted the very thing I’d been wishing for these past weeks, the very thing that was happening to me now. I just wanted for my baby to be ok.
They took me back to get an ultrasound to see if the baby was even still alive and it nearly put Joe into tears when they wouldn’t let him back with me. I remember him staring after me hopelessly as they wheeled me around the corner. The nurse doing the ultrasound didn’t seem worried or pre occupied with the fact that my child’s life could be at risk, and actually asked me how my day was. A very curt answer shut her up. Throughout the entire sono, she kept the screen away from me so that I couldn’t see what was going on, and every now and then would shake her head or do a “tsk tsk”. I asked her if she could see the baby and all I got was a “hush.” After about 5 minutes I got a “no, I can’t see the baby”, but that was normal for how early I was. Then it came time to look for the heart beat. This must have only lasted about 2 minutes, but it felt like hours to me. I kept asking her if she could hear it or see it on the monitor and I kept getting the “hush” response. After what seemed like hours she finally told me that I could clean myself up and that someone would be by in a moment to take me back to the original room I was in. I again asked her if she heard their heart beat but without so much as looking back, she left the room.
I had just enough time to get dressed before they brought in the wheelchair and took me, not to my room, but to the ultrasound waiting room where thank god, my husband was. He flooded me with questions about the baby’s situation and all I could do was shrug my shoulders. And then again, we got to play the waiting game. As we sat in the waiting room, waiting for someone to take us back to ER room, I started to mentally beat myself up. After all, this was all my fault. I wanted to miscarry, I wanted this baby to not make it and now look where I was. I felt sick to my stomach. How could I wish this on my baby, what was I thinking!? I couldn’t stop thinking that I had condemned my poor innocent little baby to this. That if I had been happy and loved them from the moment I found out about them, that none of this would have happened. That I wouldn’t be in a hospital room waiting to hear if I was still going to be a mom or not.
Finally, after about 30 minutes, we were taken back to our room. Joe was literally holding his breath as the doctor came in to tell us the results. It was good news…partially. The baby’s heart beat could be heard and was regular, right where it should be. They couldn’t get a visual, but again, that was normal at how early I was. Then, the bad news. Apparently, while trying to draw blood they were able to find a vein and get out just enough blood to get a platelet count. For those of you that don’t know, platelets have to do with your white blood cell count, and your white blood cells have to do with helping your blood clot when you have a cut. The lower the count, the harder to get a clot. When you are pregnant, your platelet count is supposed to be around 250,000. Mine was barely at 50,000. Obviously by looking at me, you could tell that I was not bleeding anywhere. However, they couldn’t see the baby. So there was a chance that my baby was bleeding to death inside of me. Only way to find out is with time. Either you miscarry, or you don’t. I think that’s around the time I started to cry.
The next 3 and a half hours consisted of multiple nurses and one captain who could find a vein on a dead man, but not me, swirling around me as they poked and prodded looking for just one vein to get a IV drip started. I had to get at least 2 liters of a saline solution into my system, which was more for me than the baby. Finally, a vein was found and the drip was started.
As I laid there on a hospital bed with bruises up and down my arms, a saline drip connected to me, a child that may or may not be dying inside of me, I looked down at my flat stomach and said, “ you’ve got to fight, because your mommy and daddy really, really want meet you.”
Once the saline drip was finished, I was sent home around 2 am. The following Monday I was scheduled to get my platelets tested again to see if they had risen at all.
In the end, my platelets rose to a normal count, I did not miscarry, nor did I have anymore problems afterwards. A few days after we called my mother-in-law to tell her the news and honestly she could not be more thrilled. In fact, I could hear her screaming on the phone from across the room. After talking to her, she helped me see how much of a happy moment this was and though after my stay at the hospital I had defiantly became more attached to the baby, I became excited for the first time. The next calls that followed were to my mom, Joe’s dad and grandparents, and my dad. Apart from my dad needing a few days to come around, everyone was very excited and very happy for us. My father-in-laws actual words were “ This is the best thing that could ever happen.”
I am currently 6 months pregnant and I am very looking forward to my little bundle of joy joining me in the world in less than 3 months! They are due on November 22, 2012, which happens to be on thanksgiving this year, which is very appropriate. The event is somewhat bittersweet with the baby coming and Joe leaving so close together, but the thought brings on more smiles than it does frowns. I have plenty of ideas to keep Joe in touch with the baby from phone calls to a quilt I am having made that feature pictures of him for the baby to wrap up in. Our child will know the father that is off fighting to keep them safe.
If I could give expectant mothers any advice, especially those that are younger and find themselves scared, or considering other options, I would say, never take them for granted. Everything will work out fine. You might be scared at first, but you will learn to love them before you ever even feel them kick and as a mother, you will learn to care for them. Whether you’re married, divorced, single, still in high school, you will have support from somewhere. Babies are happy things, miracles, and they bring everyone closer together.
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