Memories are made of this

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Surprises come in all shapes and forms, and often when they are least expected. You try your best to prepare yourself for the up’s and down’s of the emotional roller coaster, perhaps because deep down we want so hard to lessen the sting of the surprises that inflict pain. Often I feel I am very sheltered from much of life’s harsh reality, I often am too desensitized by the comfort of my life. Yet I am often not optimistic, more often fatalistic and far too much of a realist. Much of the negativity of reality doesn’t filter through to this site, much of the dips remain fairly guarded within the shadows of my personal life. But then the unexpected come along and shake up your entire understanding of our comfort, the things that are just unexplainable, regardless of how much logic you can try to focus a situation with. The times when hope is a far off disillusion and you resolve yourself over to the harshness of the hurt. Then you are turned on your head by the unexpected, so hence I am compelled to share.

I have always taken my health for granted, but have for a long time struggled with anemia. I fall into periods of such low iron levels it affects my mood, my energy, my emotions. The last few years has been a marked change in how I have handled this, I have been much more preventative rather than waiting until it has become a major problem to do start supplementing iron. With two c-sections comes a fair amount of blood loss, so I had been doing well in keeping up on my iron intake and diet to regain the ground that was lost post-partum. Since Christmas, we have been sick a fair amount and it has been a rather depressing gray winter, so I gave over much of how I was feeling to that. But then came the utter lethargy, the sleeping 14 hours a day, the crying at a Downy fabric softener commercial. I knew my body was off, and this was pretty bad. So, I drug myself into our Naturopath. Of course she asked if I could be pregnant, which yes, there is always that possibility. But I hadn’t had any pregnancy symptoms, or at least they weren’t discernible from our bout with the puking flu. And I have previously had really strong morning sickness- smell aversions, horrid nausea and vomiting, bad food issues.

The in-office test came back negative, so hence commenced weeks of blood work- thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary glands, digestive tests, blood count, hormone levels, fasting blood draws. And just to cover bases, checking Hcg levels (the hormone that is present for human growth, a telltale sign of pregnancy). So many blood draws even her assistant couldn’t keep things straight and one time drew the wrong vials. All the major stuff came back okay- thyroid was good, nutrition good. But of course I was anemic, that was expected. On top of it, my B-12’s were low and vitamin D depleted, I have high levels of both estrogen and progesterone, and had large stores of iron in my white blood cells. Then came back my Hcg’s- two test taken a week apart showing a good number of Hcg’s present, but falling- which is a telltale sign of a miscarriage. Everything my body was telling me and my doctor spelled out miscarriage. Low basal temperature, absence of strong pregnancy symptoms, strong presence of both main hormones (usually progesterone is the dominant hormone during pregnancy), a few sporadic days of spotting over the past month. And the clincher was the decreasing Hcg levels.

My second blood count tests showed increased white blood cells, signifying an infection. My doctor saw all these signs as a missed-miscarriage, where my body failed to expel what it needed to because my hormones were sending such mixed messages. She saw the potential danger of infection, blood clots or hemorrhage, so she rushed me into an ultrasound for confirmation, likely that I would be admitted for a D&C immediately afterwards. I was at the park, pushing Araiya on the swing when she called. She got me an appointment within the hour. The train spun downward into confused, hurt emotion. Fast, completely aware of how uncontrollable things are. I had a miscarriage in between Ariaya and Tallis, a very early miscarriage where my body was able to do what it needed. Now, thrust into the fear of being much farther along and needing procedures, tests, a hospital stay, and no time to process any of this. Too fast.

Feet moved forward, brain numb. The radiology lab hadn’t received much of my information when we got there. The tech asked many questions, realized the nature of our visit. Likely the hardest aspect of her job, to look into someone’s womb at their dead baby to confirm that yes, the hope of life it should hold is not there, it’s residue must be extracted out. I turn my head away, towards the wall, as not to have to stare at that glowing screen poised right in my view, craning my neck 90 degrees in the opposite direction. But this is the point where, despite my fatalism, despite the obvious truth of what has happened, I hold onto the fact that there is uncertainty, and that while we have no control, there is a God who does. And that in itself is Truth and Hope and Love. It allows me to know that no matter what, He has the ultimate say, the ultimate reasoning, the ultimate good in whatever the outcome may be. And He is a God who is able to work all things out despite the strong case for what we are prepared for and expect.

Because when the Ultrasound tech found a perfectly happy, healthy, vital 14 week old baby wriggling arms and legs and fervently beating heart, she was more surprised than any of us. Because every test and every sign pointed to the opposite. Because every feeling and logic I had convinced me I wasn’t pregnant. Because even the lowest dips in the roller coaster can spin you around into the the highest loopty-loops of shaken up emotions. Because God’s plan overthrows and flips on end our understanding and expectations and he always gives you something far better than you would ever have conceived for yourself. Because sometimes by working in the unexplainable, God shows us exactly how in control He is and we aren’t.

So now everything I had rushed so hard to prepare for in that short amount of anxious time is completely whipped about, leaving my head spinning and body still feeling that residual rush of velocity. I haven’t sorted it out, but can revel in the hope and unexplained occurrence of what has happened. My naturopath and the OB she was consulting can’t explain why all signs pointed no when the real answer is yes. In all regards, I should have had a miscarriage. The highest Hcg levels she got were 43,000 then they dipped with the next blood draw. Usually they hit about 100,000 about this gestation time before leveling off and dipping after 20 weeks along. We are of course, ecstatic with this unexpected outcome. A new life surprising us this way through all the turmoil of sadness we had tried to prepare ourselves for. It is just all the more sweeter, as we wouldn’t have been aiming to have 3 kids in 3 years. But it is so comforting to know God has such a plan for this little one, His hand has already been at work doing miraculous events in our life and in our hearts. The dourness of previous news is completely overshadowed by excitement. Still, admittedly overwhelming. Yet I continue to find an increasing amount of joy for everything God has planned for us.

Mid-August will come another Little G. And despite my body’s depleted elements, this pregnancy is off to a good start. And hey, I got through the first trimester without puking and morning sickness, how cool is that?

The great Johnny Cash can always put together emotion into concise thoughts then words, far better than I:

Memories are Made of This

Take one fresh and tender kiss
Add one stolen night of bliss
One girl, one boy, some grief, some joy
Memories are made of this.

Don’t forget a small moonbeam
Fold it lightly with a dream
Your lips and mine to sip the wine
Memories are made of this

Then at the wedding bells
One house where lovers dwell
Three little kids for the flavor
Stir carefully through the day
See how the flavor stays
These are the dreams that we must savor

With His blessings from above
Serve it generously with love
One man, one wife, one love for life
Memories are made of this

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~ by gdesign on February 27, 2008.

6 Responses to “Memories are made of this”

  1. That’s awesome you guys. Congratulations. Wendy will say the same when she hears. I can safely say we’re happy for you guys and little g 3 (and 2 & 1 of course).

  2. Natalie–my tears are confusing Titus, I am just so happy for you. I’ve been grieving with you guys after what you shared with me last week, and now a happy ending–and beginning–to the story. What a blessed life we lead! Many congratulations!

  3. I am so happy for you guys. Jenn and I are having our first child in August as well.

  4. What a wonderful surprise for you after all of that angst! I, too, have been through a miscarriage and I’m sure that every woman going onto the table faced with the possibility of having lost their precious cargo holds onto that one last glimmer of hope that the baby is still there. I am so glad that that moment for you was followed by the elation of seeing that beating heart. What a gift. Congrats to you and your family. 🙂

  5. So excited for you guys! How nice to “skip” the first trimester…:)

  6. […] because this feel far harder to endure than the ends of my last two. I have to remember what a miracle and emotional roller coaster this little girl is to begin with. To remember to be encouraged by my discomfort because it is a […]

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