We have had a tough, tough week. The bleeding that started the night before our thyroid appointment has gotten worse, and though I don’t have a detailed blow-by-blow in me, it has been terrifying. The beautiful blessing is that, so far at least, Baby G seems okay. S/he looked good in the ultrasound on Friday (moving and sucking his/her thumb!), and we heard strong fetal heart tones (165 beats per minute) yesterday morning at 10. Our midwife thinks that the blood is coming from the outside of my cervix, and not from my uterus, which is obviously far, far preferable. She also thinks, however, that I have a new HPV lesion, and she thinks that it (along with my just generally having HPV) is causing my cervix to be friable (i.e. to be covered in capillaries that bleed whenever I do anything). For those of you who don’t know, the HPV battle was a tough one for me. Between August of ’09 and January of ’10, I had countless procedures and surgeries to try to remove dangerous, high-grade lesions from my cervix. I had them burned with acid, cut off, frozen off, and finally, when none of that did the trick, I had a LEEP procedure, which involved taking a slice of my cervix off with a electrified loop. That was in January of ’10, just over a year ago, and I got three consecutive “normal” pap smear results over the course of the next nine months. The last normal came a week before we inseminated for our fourth try, which as you know was successful. It seems, though, that a drop in my immune system brought on by pregnancy has brought on a new infection. We’re waiting now to see how worrisome the lesion is (i.e. if it’s mild or high-grade), and once we know that, we’ll decide on treatment. There’s not a lot they can do during pregnancy, as every treatment involves destroying cells on the cervix, and this would obviously be dangerous right now, but if the cells are high-grade, we’ll probably need to do something.
For now, the bleeding that this is apparently causing is not slight. I’ve bled intermittently for days now, and the cramping and bleeding gets much worse at night, so we haven’t slept much. Last night, I had the biggest blood clot I’ve ever seen, and I thought (for the hundredth time this week) that I was losing the baby, or that my life was in danger. Our (lovely) midwife keeps reassuring us that my cervix, in its current condition (engorged with blood as a normal consequence of pregnancy and with HPV), can produce this much blood/clotting, but that’s so hard for me to believe. There’s a lot of pain and even more fear. J and I have developed a kind of PTSD about me going to the bathroom (seeing the amount of blood), and about nighttime. It gets really bad from about 9pm to about 3am, and 1-3am has found us, almost every night this week, spinning into a vicious cycle of panic.
I also started the medicine for hyperthyroidism, which I’m sure is compounding our anxiety (as, for me, is hyperthyroidism itself, which causes anxiety). This is my fourth day on the medicine, which should take around two weeks to start easing the symptoms. We both look forward to that relief, but being on the medicine is still an adjustment. J just got back from the store with lots of food that is said to help increase iron (which I’m probably getting low on because of the bleeding), fight HPV, help lower thyroid numbers, and help me put on weight (because I’m almost back down to my pre-pregnancy weight). It’s a lot to try to treat at once.
The astounding thing about this week, though, is the amount of support we’ve gotten from the women in our world. My mom is on her way up here now to stay with us tonight because we get so afraid, and feel so alone, during those rough middle.of.the.night hours. Having her here will comfort us so much. J’s mom has been amazing, too. She keeps calling and sending sweet messages, and her faith in this pregnancy is so encouraging. And our friends have been indescribably great. J and I have called six different women, in the middle of the night, over the course of the last five nights. Though they were each no doubt sleeping when they got the call, they all took the time to listen and to talk us down from our fears, and many of them got in their cars and showed up at our house with hugs, bagels, scones, clementines, and lots and lots of love. Our friend M showed up about five minutes after we called (and about three hours after she went to bed). That same night, our friend A drove here at about 5am from her house an hour away. Our friend J took half of a day off of work to be with us at the midwife’s yesterday (and here in the hours before we could get in), and her wife made us the world’s best video, which features her and their children sending us smiles and love. The friends who have come here just sit with us, and they are of indescribable comfort. I woke our friend C up in the middle of the night last night, and again this morning, and the calm advice she gave will go far. And my Aunt N sent a meditation CD and some maternity tea with my mom for tonight. So much love.
We’ve also gotten several sweet e-mails from out.of.town friends and family members. Our friend M just wrote from Pennsylvania to say that if she and her husband ever decide to have children, she hopes they will walk through the scary parts with as much grace as we have. I have felt, this week, like the worst pregnant woman ever. All I want to do is care for this baby, but I feel like my body is falling apart around him/her. I worry all the time about what all of this means, so I cry on and off all day long, and then I get scared that so much anxiety will hurt the baby. To hear that anyone interprets me as graceful right now is astounding. It’s terrifying to feel this out of control, but, with these women around us, I know we can walk through whatever this brings. God willing, Baby G will continue to thrive despite this craziness, and we’ll get workable answers to these struggles soon. That’s the new goal. Not a perfect pregnancy, but a healthy baby and workable health solutions. (That and, maybe soon, some sleep.)