Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Part 3: Emotional Gymnastics

It was the day of the woman’s second ultrasound. Her hypochondriac tendencies nearly drove her mad the week before, but today was the day where she and her husband would finally be able to get some closure.

“I can say with certainty that this is definitely not an ectopic pregnancy,” the doctor reported after viewing the latest ultrasound scans.

Relief swept over the couple.

The doctor continued, “While your hormone levels did double like normal this past week, based on your ultrasound we believe that they will soon be on the decline, as there is no visible fetus present. You are going through a miscarriage, which should happen at any time. We want you to get another blood test just to be sure these levels are trending downward.”

“So, I should expect to see that the hormone levels have gone down from last time?” she asked.

“Yes,” he confirmed. “Someone will call you with the results once they are in.”

The woman and her husband made their way down to the lab services. The short elevator ride gave her time to reflect on the news. Well, at least we know what’s going on, she thought. This will soon be over and we can try again. The unknowns of miscarriage scared her and the loss of the little life inside grieved her, but she was hopeful that one day there would be new life, redemption to glory over the sorrow.

The phlebotomist rubbed the woman’s arm with alcohol and she turned her head.

“Don’t worry. It’s not you. I just don’t like needles,” the woman said and breathed deeply. In a matter of seconds it was all over and she headed out the door with her husband.

For the remainder of the day, the woman sat at her work desk trying to focus, but all she could think about getting the call with her test results. She waited an hour. She waited two…three…four. Finally, the day was over and she had still not received a call. Impatience getting the best of her, she called the off-hours nurse line to get the answer.

“Looking good!” the nurse said excitedly. “The levels have doubled from last time.”

“Um…that’s interesting,” she replied, puzzled. “I was told they were supposed to be going down since I am having a miscarriage.”

“Oh, dear! I’m so sorry!” exclaimed the nurse, noticeably embarrassed. “I didn’t look at your history first. I’m so sorry. You’re right. It’s been five days since your last draw, not two.”

“That’s okay. I just want to know what that means, since the doctor said they were supposed to be going down.”

“Well, you’ll have to check back with your doctor about that,” the nurse replied, and the two of them hung up.

A call to the doctor’s office the next day began with confirmation of the prior day’s blood test results, but unexpectedly followed with a request to come in again for yet another ultrasound for the following week. The woman wasn’t sure what to make of this, considering the fact the doctor had told her the day before that she would not come in again until after the miscarriage delivered. Sadness. Hope. Despair. Possibility. The emotional gymnastics were starting to wear on her, but she did not want to give up on her baby if her baby wasn’t ready to give up on her.

 Perhaps I am still pregnant, she thought. Maybe they were wrong.

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