In early May I found out I was pregnant. I felt nervous, excited, and overwhelmed with love for a little person I had never met. Physically I felt really good. I was grateful for that. I had heard horror stories of women being so sick they were bed ridden for their entire pregnancy. I was not one of those women. If anything, I felt better than normal. I woke up feeling refreshed, ate well, still went hiking, and just enjoyed that season of life.
I went to the clinic and was met by our local nurse, Rosemary, who I love dearly. She cried when I told her the news. I went back each week with Andrew hoping to hear the heartbeat, but we knew it was too early. But we just wanted to know that our baby was healthy and growing.
Over the weeks my sense of smell heightened to Bloodhound status. I would sometimes feel slightly queasy in the late afternoon, but it would soon wear off. Andrew and I would sit and talk about what our child might be like. The qualities we hoped he or she would possess. The naming process only took a few days and I couldn’t wait to know which name it would be. Andrew was in Anchorage for an afternoon and came back with a Mother’s Day Present for me. We were looking forward to the adventure of parenthood.
One Saturday afternoon I began spotting and it was unsettling. I called the nurse and knew we just had to wait. I spent the day praying and asking the Lord to spare our baby. The year had already been so full of loss and grief. I wasn’t sure I could handle any more. There were tears shed and then peace. God sent some friends over for the afternoon and they were a wonderful distraction to the turmoil in my heart.
Monday came and I was fine. Everything was normal. But we were told that we should get a sonogram as soon as possible just in case. We weren’t too worried and figured everything was fine. We planned to go into Anchorage on June 1st and set up an appointment for the morning after we planned to arrive just to be sure.
June 1st came and we visited some midwiferies. We drove out to Andrew’s parents’ house. They had already left for a cousin’s wedding, but Annie and Stephen (Andrew’s sister and brother-in-law) were there. I was bursting to tell them. We had shared the news with some close friends in Port Alsworth, but no one in our family knew yet.
We drove to our appointment and for some reason I felt like we would have bad news, but I had peace. The Lord continued to remind me of His presence and deep love for me. On the screen we didn’t see a baby. The technician told us that she would call the radiologist and have him expedite our results since we were from out of town. Doors shut and we were left in a waiting room. My stomach was in knots. “It has to be bad news,” I thought. Andrew prayed. We sat. Waiting.
I was called into the office and Rosemary was on the phone. She told me that I had been diagnosed with a Complete Molar Pregnancy and I needed to go to a hospital. It was serious if not taken care of and there was no baby. Her words were gentle and firm. I was so confused, but calm. Andrew and I went back into the waiting room. He called Annie and Stephen to tell them they should drive to Valdez without us. We called his parents and explained. I called my mom and tried to hold it together. These were not the calls we wanted to make.
I didn’t know what to do. I was so thankful for Rosemary. She set everything up for us. We went to the ER and by the time we got there they were expecting us. A specialist was on her way. We sat for several hours. There would be a flurry of activity; several people would come in, ask questions, run tests, and then leave. Every time they left I would cry. Thoughts tumbled around in my mind. “How could I love someone so much that never existed?” They kept talking about pregnancy, but doesn’t that mean there’s a baby? There is no baby. There never was. “I want to go home.” I won’t be home for weeks.
The doctor was clear. The cells needed to be removed as soon as possible. Rarely a Molar Pregnancy can lead to cancer. “How did we get from baby to cancer?” She said I need to go in for blood testing once a week until my HcG levels are back to normal. We need to watch those levels and make sure they don’t rise otherwise it could mean chemo. The only two things that raise those levels are pregnancy and cancer. We will watch them for one year.
We were discharged and an emergency procedure was et for 8:00am. We went back to my in-laws’ house. We sat on the couch and tried to wrap our minds around what we had just learned. We went for a walk and then took a nap. I was exhausted. Andrew researched.
The next morning we went back to the hospital. I was the only patient in the OR. All the staff was there for me. Saturday was set aside for emergencies only. I was an emergency. I had been told not to eat or drink anything before the procedure. My veins did not cooperate. Five attempts, three nurses, one pass out, and the IV was in. I remember going into the OR and lying on the table. Heart monitors were put on. Then I remember sitting there talking to Andrew. It was over. Was the doctor coming to see me. Andrew informed me that I had already talked to her. I didn’t remember.
“I don’t hurt, I feel fine.” I apparently sounded like a broken record. But I did feel okay. Physically anyway. We left, picked up prescriptions, went “home.” I slept and watched Anne with an E. We went for a short walk. I groomed Jubel the horse and cried. I wasn’t pregnant. There was no baby. January was just going to be another month. “Do you want to take the Mother’s Day Present back?”
Dear friends sent comforting words and are praying. I grieve, but there is peace. My hope was not in this child. My hope is not in the plan God has for me. My hope is in Christ alone. He never promised me a pain free life. He actually promised suffering. He was familiar with suffering and grief. I believe He still is. In my grief I have moved closer to the heart of my Savior. I feel as though I lost someone, but I didn’t. I lost an expectation. It somehow feels the same.
Over the weeks there have been people who have had grace on me. Their words have been full of life and comfort. Some have not been. However, the Lord has answered my prayer and put a guard over my mouth and allowed me to have grace on them. Many people have shared similar stories of heart-break.
My prayer now is that this time of waiting will not be wasted. I don’t want to despise it. My life is still a gift from the Lord. I am no more or less of a person than I was when I thought I would be a mother. My story is not one of loss and hopelessness. It’s about Christ. He gave me a gift. I got a glimpse into the heart of a mother, if only for a short time. I may get that again, but if not, I choose to see that time as a precious gift. My hope is in Christ alone and not His plan for me.