Thursday, January 7, 2010

Guardian Angel

I want to tell you about Lexie's Guardian Angel. It's a cliche, I know. But hear me out.

October 21, 2007, would have been the due date for pregnancy #1, our first loss. That pregnancy only lasted a couple of weeks, but we didn't know to be scared/wary/worried. We knew only that you shouldn't tell people about a pregnancy until 12 weeks or so, once you were past the risk period. (Now, the thought of this almost makes me laugh.) Nobody knew about it except for me and Steve and a couple of close friends. I spontaneously miscarried, and the doctor termed it a chemical pregnancy. When my brother called us a week after my miscarriage to announce that his wife was pregnant, he didn't know about our loss. To this day, he doesn't know. I didn't know what to say. We hadn't announced the pregnancy, and somehow it didn't seem appropriate to say, "Hey, congratulations! We were expecting too, but then I started bleeding like crazy! Our baby would have been born two weeks before yours! Isn't that a funny coincidence? Ha ha!"

January 5th, 2008, would have been the due date for pregnancy #2, our second loss. With this one, we saw a heartbeat at 7 weeks, and the doctor smiled and said "it looks viable." But the egg had implanted way too low, and although that doesn't *always* mean things will go badly, it did for us. At the next appointment there was no heartbeat. I waited to miscarry on my own, but nothing happened. A classic "missed abortion." I had a D&C a couple of long weeks later.

I still think about the babies that weren't, especially around their due dates. My doctor said we'd just had bad luck. At the time, we didn't know about my uterine anomaly. I believed that our first miscarriage was probably just a bad egg, but the circumstances surrounding our second miscarriage were not normal, and we wanted answers. We fired that doctor and went to a specialist. After a barrage of testing, the specialist diagnosed a unicornuate uterus. He noted that most women with this condition have normal pregnancies, but a higher percentage than normal experience preterm labor.

I did my own research and became highly educated on the subject. It seemed to me that implantation in a good spot was key to making it through the first trimester; there is some evidence that the shape of a unicornuate uterus creates far fewer healthy places for implantation in the uterine wall. We'd have no control over where an egg implanted. I didn't know how many more pregnancies it would take, but we would keep trying. More importantly, though, we now knew to be hypervigilant for complications when we finally made it past the first trimester. That's where the new information would make a difference.

If we hadn't had the second miscarriage and started investigating, my pregnancy with Lexie could have had a terrible ending. I wouldn't have already signed on with a perinatology (high-risk pregnancy) practice for all my OB care. We wouldn't have known to call immediately when I started having symptoms of preterm labor. A regular OB probably would have told me to lie down and take it easy for the weekend. Instead, my perinatologist had me report immediately to the hospital, where I stayed for 9 weeks. I was 22 weeks pregnant at the time. Without prior knowledge of my condition, we would likely have lost Lexie in devastating fashion.

We couldn't save the baby who would have been due in January 2008, the baby who had no chance because of my unicornuate uterus.

But by helping to lead us to the answers we needed, that baby saved Lexie.


dcpeg said...

What a painfully beautiful story.

caramama said...

That is such a beautiful way to look at it.

Saffy said...

It sounds like Lexie has 2 guardian angels ;) She really is a precious little bundle.

Brenna said...

I like looking at things this way, too. Not that Adam, Joey and Paul in our case *saved* Tatum--the circumstances of the two pregnancies were so very different. But I do like the thought of them having some hand in his creation. He wouldn't be due in a few days if they were here with us, after all. I sometimes imagine that they've each passed on to him some characteristic they might have displayed. Fanciful? Probably. But I like the idea of those that came before looking out for and looking over our little ones.

I'm so grateful to Lexie's guardian angel(s) for sending her to you and keeping you both safe.

areyoukiddingme said...

A guardian angel, indeed.

Bluebird said...

Ah. Brought tears to my eyes.

I often think about my sister. She and her DH have yet to TTC, but since (and because of) my HELLP experience she has been been diagnosed with clotting disorders much more significant than my own, which they can and will treat if/when she becomes pregnant. I think about the day when I might hold my niece or nephew and know that their presence is likely because of our twins.