Nightmares

We drove to Beaufort that afternoon and met with my doctor. I wanted to cry, but somehow the tears weren’t there. We waited in her office for her to see us.

The week before our ultrasound, I’d had a meltdown. I’d had a cough, that was a very deep cough, and then I had this burning sensation inside of me. I’d read so many things about complications after a pregnancy termination, and I was concerned that this burning was a sign of an incompetent cervix. I called my doctor’s office and told them about the situation. The told me I could come in and see the nurse.  The nurse ran a urinalysis and found nothing out of the ordinary. I was so upset thinking something was wrong, that I begged to see the doctor or midwife. The midwife came in, and asked me what was going on. I explained about the cough, about my past procedure, what I’d read, and I began to cry. She was told me to relax that at almost 20 weeks, the chances of the happening we slim to none, and she checked my cervix just to be sure. She said that my cough was forcing the weight of the baby (at that time about 1lb) to irritate the urethra, and that was the burning sensation. She said she was sure that I was just nervous about the upcoming ultrasound and that in June we would celebrate an amazing birthday. I left feeling silly for bursting in and demanding to be seen.

As I sat in the office, I remembered being there just a week earlier. Things had been fine. The doctor and the midwife came in together. They hugged us, and explained the results once more. The midwife asked,” Did you know something was wrong? You came in last week like you suspected something.” I tried to explain that I didn’t know anything, and this was such a slap in the face.

We left the doctor’s office on that rainy day and headed for home. We stopped by Publix for junk food. We needed something to comfort us. I got the ingredients for an old family recipe “Grandma-style Spaghetti”, and Miles grabbed about one of everything else. I also, ironically, grabbed a tub of Rocky Road ice cream.

We got home, and I felt in a fog. I put on my pajamas and I just sat there in disbelief. I nodded off,  and dreamed about being back in the ultrasound room, and those words haunted me. When  I awoke, we talked about what to do. We talked about putting our baby through the painful surgery, we talked about her suffering, and what kind of life she would have if she had no brain function. We decided to terminate the pregnancy for the baby’s sake as well as ours. We didn’t want her to suffer and we didn’t want to make our suffering any harder by seeing her little face, and knowing she would never really be ours.

Something about knowing the baby’s gender and having a name for her seemed to make dealing with this that much harder than last time. Not that the first time was easy, but this– this was a different kind of hurt. Every time I closed my eyes all I saw was her little face on that orange screen. I could see her when I was never able to see the other baby. I ached in a way I had never imagined.
We decided to have the surgery the next week at MUSC so we could have tissue samples taken and tested. It was a difficult decision, but we decided it was what was best for us. It would be a two day procedure. My mom drove me to Charleston, and we checked into a hotel room. We went to my appointment together, and tried to distract ourselves by doing some shopping. Miles drove up that evening to stay with us, and would return to work the next day.

I remember laying there trying to sleep, but relishing in the last moments that I would feel my baby move. I was uncomfortable from part of the procedure, the stress, and the heartache. I remember praying in that bed, as Miles tried to console me, for God to make this better. As morning came, Miles got ready to drive the 2 hours to work. He spoke to my belly one last time. He told our sweet baby how much he loved her and how sorry he was that we couldn’t help her. He told her that we were trying to do what was best for her. I wept. I felt as though I had let him down, again. That I’d failed him because our babies weren’t healthy. I wept because I knew what an incredible father he would be, and I couldn’t deliver the children that would prove that. It was a feeling that settled deep in my gut and stayed there for months to come.

After the surgery, I dreamed often of being pregnant, of having babies and not being able to find them, of horrid things happening to my babies and I had no voice to stop them. The dreams got to be so vivid that I would feel the baby moving inside me. I would wake clinging to my stomach. I would talk myself out of the nightmare, and remember my losses. For months, I continued to have these nightmares. I was afraid to tell anyone. I decided to stay busy and keep my mind off of babies, and hopefully that would help. It didn’t.

I finally opened up a friend of mine, and she mentioned that it sounded somewhat like post-traumatic stress disorder. She asked me to mention it to my doctor when I went for my annual check up. I went to the doctor the next month, and mentioned the dreams to her. She told me that it did sound like PTSD, and that maybe I should talk to someone about it.

I sought counseling with my pastor for the next few months. I was finally able to tell someone about my feelings of failure, of letting down EVERY one I loved, of my fears of never having a healthy baby. And slowly, but surely, as I began to get these things off of my chest, I felt God calling me back to him. During these trying months, I tried to hold onto my faith, but Lord only knows how much I questioned Him. How angry I was with Him for blessing me with these gifts and then allowing this nightmare of a situation to happen not once, but twice!

I am happy to say that for now, the nightmares have subsided. I am happy and healthy in my walk with God. I’m feeling like the nightmare is over, and one day my daydreams will come true. 🙂

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