I went in for an last-minute appointment the other day. I had written an email via my online patient portal asking about how long this bleeding is supposed to last (because it just seems to be taking forever to go away) and then somehow that turned into a nurse calling saying "We want you to come in today." So, I did.
At least they let me keep my pants on.
It was pretty much just a conversation with my doctor. He is a resident. (Side note: Ever since having doctor friends, I've really come to appreciate all the hard work and long hours they put in. They do not get compensated nearly enough if you ask me.) Anyway, we talked about how long the bleeding would last and he said around 6 weeks for me due to the size of my "mass." We also discussed what signs to look for if something was infected because I was worried about that. You see, my bleeding is not really bleeding. It is weird dark brown who knows what. Sometimes I wonder if having a D&C prior to treating the ectopic would have had much effect on the amount of bleeding or not? My personal feeling about D&Cs is that I don't want people "blindly" scraping out the inside of my uterus, but the bleeding does go away quite quickly after having one, which is nice.
We also discussed trying to conceive again. This is what started brief moments of tears every once in awhile. I was quite surprised at my emotional outbursts because most of the time I am fine talking about things. I think "trying again" is definitely a sensitive topic because you try to discuss in "when" terms, but I always replace the "when" with "if" in my head. When you try again... (you mean, if I try again, doctor...) When you get pregnant again... (you mean if I get pregnant again...). My internal dialogue always needs to be kept in check. I've given myself permission to think these things but my rule is: "You can go there if you need to, Jess, but you can't stay there." I believe it will happen again, but there is part of me that doesn't want it to happen because it is too painful to go through the loss.
Toward the end of our conversation, I asked him what kind of resources they have to help with the emotional healing of all this. Not that I don't have a good support group. I do. But I was curious because I thought to myself, "What about the people who don't have anyone? This would have been a horrible patient experience in respect to treating the emotional well-being of the patient." He said that they usually do it for miscarriages. I would consider ectopics and molar pregnancies types of miscarriages, because in some ways the grief would seem to be the same. He asked if I would still like more information. I said, "Certainly."
A few minutes later, a nurse came in asking me how I was doing. I said "Good" even though I had been teared up a bit. She's like, "No you're not." Uh...Ok. I thought to myself. The nurse proceeded to start talking and, in spite of the rocky start, I instantly connected with her. She just had a spirit of comfort that put me at ease. As she was talking I couldn't help thinking to myself, "Who is this woman?" and I looked down at her name tag.
It read: Gloria.
Back when this all began, I had a lot of phone conversations with a nurse. Her name was Gloria. She was amazing. I had very candid conversations with this woman and she was the nurse that convinced the doctor to start getting blood draws early on per my deeply emotional request. When I felt like no other staff was taking me seriously, Gloria did. It made all the difference, because my fears ended up being confirmed. I can only imagine how much later all the "discoveries" would have been if she hadn't listened to me back from the very beginning.
The day I had my ultrasound appointment where they confirmed the ectopic, I asked for Gloria before I left. I wanted to tell her how sincerely grateful I was for her and all she did for me over those weeks. Unfortunately, she had already left for the day. I was bummed. I didn't think I would ever get to meet her to personally share my gratitude.
But there she was! Right in front of my eyes! I immediately interrupted and exclaimed, "You're Gloria!" She looked at me kind of funny and then I started showering her with "thank yous" and "I'm so glad to finally meet you". I explained to her who I was. She remembered me from our phone conversations and of course I started bawling. On the verge of tears herself, she got up and gave me a hug and said, "I don't mean to get churchy, but do you believe that things happen for a reason?" "Yes, I do!" I replied.
After things died down, she left the room and came back with some literature and a tiny square of baby-theme printed fleece in honor of my loss.
So, my last-minute appointment turned out being not so "last-minute" at all. It was a divine appointment with Gloria, who most definitely lived up to her name; through her I saw God's glory.