The Big Game
Are you familiar with the term emotional rollercoaster?
Well… the last five days have been a whole emotional theme park for Mandy and I.
It all started on Saturday morning. Mandy and I were driving to Gainesville from Orlando to go to the Florida/LSU game. We were both in great moods and ready for the big game and a nice afternoon of tailgating outside the Swamp.
We stopped off of the highway at the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and I-75 to get a snack. I proceeded to get gas as Mandy went into the bathroom.
I was just about to walk inside to meet her when she came bolting out the door with a look of sheer panic on her face. She said she had started to bleed “a ton.”
We called our doctor in Denver and they told us to go immediately to the closest emergency room. I probably don’t have to tell you that having your doctor tell you to “find the closest emergency room” in just about any situation you can think of is bad news. In our case, it was cause for alarm in a way I cannot even describe.
The map on my phone told me the hospital in Leesberg was about 13 miles from where we were. I would swear to you today that the drive felt more like 30 miles. I drove like a nutball to the hospital, listening to her cry in the passenger seat as she talked to the doctor in Denver, and tried to do my best to keep it together. It was awful, the two of us in the car, both of us trying not to say what we were both thinking: that this was the beginning of a miscarriage… that it was all happening again… that this pregnancy was over.
We got to the emergency room and were able to make it back to a room very quickly. It was hard even articulating to the doctor what was wrong: “My wife is six weeks pregnant… we used IVF to conceive… she’s had two miscarriages in the last year… the doctor told us to get to the hospital because she is experiencing significant bleeding… and we are freaking out because this is exactly what happened last year when her first miscarriage started.”
The doctor was incredibly nice. They took blood from Mandy and did an ultrasound. Then… we waited.
It was during this 30-minute or so wait for results that I thought to myself that seeing your wife in a state like this and being 100 percent powerless to do anything about it is about the worst feeling in the world. As we waited, we talked a little bit about anything we could think of that wasn’t baby-related, even though I’m pretty sure we were both mentally preparing ourselves for the worst.
As it turned out, when the E-R doctor came back into the room, he did not slam a giant hammer down on our hopes for parenthood. Mandy’s blood work was right where it should be. The ultrasound showed a yoke sac and other appropriate signs of development. There was still no heartbeat and no fetal pole (both important benchmarks in the fertility world) but we were told it was probably a few days early to see those things.
Thus, the verdict was that it looked like we were okay. But, they could not be sure. Basically, we got the dreaded “inconclusive” analysis.
We talked, again, to the clinic in Denver. They directed us to calm down and wait for the next five days for our first scheduled ultrasound. Those five days, they said, were of critical importance, as we would (ideally) see the benchmarks I mentioned above.
So, there we were in small town Florida with a diagnosis that said Mandy looked okay… but we had to wait to be sure.
I wanted to go home. I felt like racing back to Orlando and immediately hiding under a rock for the next five days. I even said point blank to my wife: “For the first time in my life, I honestly could give a sh*t if we go to the Gator game.”
I figured that’s what Mandy would want to do, too. To my surprise, she asked the doctor if she was okay to go to the game. Mandy said she couldn’t stomach sitting on the couch staring at each other with this situation hanging over our heads (Go figure, everyone once in a while your significant other really surprises you).
The doctor said she could go as long as she agreed to sit down and not get “too excited.” (I can reasonably guarantee that all of my college football friends are laughing at that last sentence).
She agreed to take it easy and planned to sit with her parents in a section of the stadium that had access to an air conditioned club-level-type lobby.
So… back in the car we went.
We made it to the game towards the end of the first quarter. Mandy went to go with her parents. I rushed out into the stands to meet my alcohol-enhanced brother and two brother-in-laws.
It was an incredible game. A huge win for the Florida football team.
I will say that it was also a very strange experience for me. I’m in this loud, insane stadium in the middle of a close football game. The place is going nuts. It’s all very intense. I’m yelling my head off, as per usual.
The next thing I notice, there’s salty water coming from my eyes… I’m friggin crying. It’s 3rd and long in the fourth quarter and I’m yelling so loud that I have tears in my eyes. It was like the emotional wiring inside me had gotten all messed up because of the even more intense experience earlier in the day.
Anyhow, game ended. Big victory. I walked to the tailgate spot to meet Mandy and tried to main-line a vodka-soda. (I’ve never needed a cocktail so badly in my life!) Then, the two of us got back in the car and proceeded to drive back to Orlando.
So, if you’re keeping score at home: That’s 100 miles north to Gainesville… one panicked stop at an emergency room… one “inconclusive but it looks like you’re okay” diagnosis… one intense football game… another 100 mile drive back to Orlando… oh, and one more stop back at the Leesberg emergency room because we had forgotten Mandy’s ID and insurance card. All… in the course of about ten hours.
Needless to say, Sunday was a pretty lazy (and anxious) day in our house.
So was Monday and Tuesday… and Tuesday night… as we waited for Wednesday morning at 10 am sharp to go in to our doctor here in Orlando for an ultrasound.
The Big Results
By the time we got to the doctor’s office this morning, the anticipation had gotten to a point where I both thin we felt like puking. Mandy had not had any significant bleeding since the issues started on Saturday. But, you never know. We just wanted an expert to let us know what the heck was going on!!
We walked up to the front desk at the clinic and the nurse said, “Oh, you don’t need to check in, I know you guys.” (Seriously, you KNOW you are a frequent flyer at the office of a reproductive endocrinologist when you are on a first name basis with the desk lady).
We go back for Mandy’s ultrasound… and everything looks perfect.
The doctor is able to see an embryonic pole.
He’s able to see a gestational sac.
He’s able to see the “flicker” of a heartbeat.
He’s even able to measure the heartbeat at around 120 beats per minute.
His simple assessment: “I think this one’s a keeper.”
I cannot even begin to tell you the relief both of us felt at these words (and, frankly, even a little disbelief that were got the all okay). It was kind of surreal.
The doctor did a little more checking and concluded that the bleeding issues had been caused by some erosion of Mandy’s cervix (note: when a medical professional uses the term “erosion,” apparently the appropriate response is NOT, “you mean, like at the beach?” That response, in fact, will get you a dirty look from your wife and said medical professional looking at you like he thinks you are mentally handicapped).
His official diagnosis was that Mandy has an “Aggravated Cervix.” (Note: “Aggravated Cervix” will either be the name of my next fantasy football team or the title of my debut acoustic guitar album. I’ll let you know).
Needless to say… both Mandy and I are very relieved and very happy at the moment.
In the course of five days we’ve gone from absolutely terrified… to relieved… back to happy and hopeful.
We still have a few benchmarks to go before we get the “all clear.” But, we passed a BIG test today and made it through a BIG scare this weekend.
We just gotta keep hoping for this little guy to keep on growing!