Monday, April 14, 2014

Placenta Previa Fear…Will I Have to Walk That Path Again?

            “Everything will be okay,” Chris assured me repeatedly the following morning as we prepared for our appointment with Dr. Landry.
            “Do you really believe that, or are you just trying to make me feel better?”
            “I really believe that.” He sounded confident.
            I shook my head and stared vacantly as the floor as he left the room. Why can’t I be so positive?
            After dropping Parker off at his Pre-K class, we headed south on I-15 for the 35-minute drive, both sitting silent, staring at the asphalt disappearing and rising in front of us. My hand clutched a blank videotape cassette to record the ultrasound picture. This might be the last time I see my baby, and I want it all on tape, to be able to watch again…
            Dr. Landry’s nurse was waiting. After quickly preparing me for the ultrasound, she quietly exited the room. Chris sat in a corner chair, shuffling his feet. I stared at the ceiling. As much as I ached to know the results—even bad ones—I was in no hurry for Dr. Landry to make his entrance.
            Minutes later, the door cracked open, his smiling face appeared, and he offered a hesitant “hello.” He didn’t seem delighted about looking at the screen, either. Nervous tenseness dangled in the air as he finally switched the unit on, laid the ultrasound head on my swollen abdomen, and the three of us inhaled deeply in orchestra-like unison. Then, in synchrony, all eyes slowly angled toward the monitor.
            The monitor snapped to life, and my baby’s form engulfed the screen.
            A tiny gasp escaped my lips. There it was again: that beating heart. Only it had grown and was now surrounded by other, clearly visible organs. The fetus had developed into a perfect-looking baby—in miniature scale.
            The three of us stared at the monitor, waiting in edgy anticipation for the baby to flail its arms and legs—a positive sign negating the presence of any neural tube defects or paralysis. I held my breath. Suddenly, the baby kicked and rolled to one side, exposing another viewing angle. My eyes widened as the baby wiggled against its cramped quarters.
            Then, with all six eyes fixed on his pointing index finger, Dr. Landry identified the placenta—far removed from the cervix. Well developed. In good condition!
            The room’s atmosphere reversed from worry to elation and breathless excitement. Oh, God! We we’re safe; out of the high-risk woods! Now I didn’t have to worry about hemorrhaging to death, moving to Escondido to be close to the hospital in case of an emergency, or having to stay parked in bed to alleviate pressure on the placenta or cervix. That horrifying voice had been wrong. I’m not going to die and leave Parker motherless! I was not going to bleed to death! Tears surged as the realization sank deeper into my head.
            Our collective faces erupted into silly grins, and we all heaved gargantuan relief sighs. I wanted to leap from the table and waltz around the room with Chris. Even Dr. Landry appeared to be having difficulty maintaining his doctorly composure as his brow furrow vanished, and he kept the picture on and the video tape rolling. He claimed it was to obtain measurements and weight and ascertain development stats, but I think he was actually enjoying the view too and to capture the magnificent movements on film. Forever.
            The image was exquisite, and an indescribable, beyond-relief feeling, electrified my nerves. Thank you for your great mercy, God! reverberated through my brain.
            The three of us were ecstatic. No more sickness. No more threats. No more worries. I was out of the high-risk woods. I was normal! I was free to enjoy this pregnancy!
            Then a thought tweaked the perimeter of my joy: the results of the blood test to determine chromosomal abnormality risks. A pesky little cloud moved in and cast a tiny shadow over my enthusiasm. There was one more hurdle to clear—or confront.
            For that day, however, I felt wonderful, blessed, happy. Hopeful! We were going to have another baby, without a major problem.
            See, I told you everything would be all right!” Chris announced jubilantly and self-confidently as we exited the office. I smiled and wished I didn’t have to go home to celebrate in silence while he went to work to get congratulatory back slaps from his work buddies.
            But home I went, to ponder God’s grace and healing, and to finally venture into that empty, upstairs bedroom I’d carefully avoided for more than a year. In just a few months, it would be filled with nursery décor and sounds of a healthy, gurgling infant.
            That pleasurable thought was almost intoxicating.


NEXT WEEK: The blood tests. Not what I hoped for…

Until next week,

Thanks for joining me!