Wednesday morning I got a phone call I wasn’t expecting. The nurse from the fertility specialist’s office called to tell me about my lab results. Our appointment is next week, and based on what the doctor said at our last consultation, we wouldn’t be hearing anything until then. I have been distracting myself from all thoughts of lab work and follow-ups until next week so that I wouldn’t worry about it. I have also been telling myself that we wouldn’t be getting any new information from these tests since every other test we’ve done indicated that I am “normal.” But as it happens, sometimes you turn out to be a mutant.
The nurse was calling to tell me that my blood work showed an enzyme that indicates a genetic mutation that causes clotting and thicker blood, which can cause miscarriage. We will get more details on Wednesday when we go back to see the doctor, but they immediately put me on daily baby aspirin and a super dose of folic acid to combat the clotting factor. There is a good possibility that I will need to take heparin shots whenever we get pregnant again, although this is a detail I’m sure we will discuss with the doctor next week. (Of all the injections potentially involved with fertility issues, heparin is sooooooo not a big deal.) There may be other issues we have to deal with, and it may turn out that this isn’t the issue at all, but I am hopeful for the first time in three years that we could actually have a successful pregnancy.
For those of you who have been praying for us to get some direction, God emphatically answered us – a week early, too! I’m not sure I can adequately describe how incredible that feels. I was fully prepared to hear next week that there was no news, and we would just have to try again and see what happened. “Surprised by Joy” is a poem I remember reading and discussing in a college lit class, and the gist of it was the author had been grieving the loss of a loved one and was surprised to find himself feeling joy again. Multiply that idea by about a thousand, and it comes close to what I’ve been trying to wrap my head around for the last two days. Perhaps “Surprised by, Swallowed up, and Walloped over the Head by Joy” would be a more accurate title for my poem. I remember thinking on Wednesday night, this must be what the great psalmists felt when they wrote such rapturous praise songs to God. I tried all that night to think of words for my own poetry, but I have been at a complete loss, I am so amazed.
God has been faithful to me in bringing me through the pain and hard work of each miscarriage; providing a possible solution to the physical problem is a blessing above and beyond what I could imagine. My best friend said that I deserved to finally have some hope, and I can’t say that I disagree – I guess I just want to qualify it a little. We all deserve “a hope and a future” that God promises to those who follow him, but none of us is entitled to anything. I feel with all my heart that no one deserves to deal with miscarriage or child loss of any kind, and everyone deserves to have hope for the future. Enduring five miscarriages does not mean that I am any more deserving of a baby than anyone else, even if that idea does not appeal to my sense of justice and fair play. It does mean that I am overwhelmed by the hope that we probably can have a baby now that we have an identifiable problem to fix.
I was surprised to find that this news is a mixed bag of emotions (just like everything else in life, I guess). I am beyond excited that we may finally have an answer and a solution. There are no words for the desire I feel to have my own child to grow inside me and to love and hold and share diaper duty with my husband; there are certainly no words for the joy that this might actually happen in the next year. Armed with a new plan of action, the prospect of a new pregnancy is slightly less terrifying, but I know I’ll still be clinging to God for dear life when it does happen. I feel a little guilty that I am so excited about an answer, as if I may let this good news eclipse the loss of the babies that came before, somehow diminishing their existence. I also feel a little guilty that we may have an answer while so many others have no idea what to do next. Having been in that exact position for so long, I know the frustration that comes with hearing that someone else has an answer while you continue to wait. I will, however, refuse to tell anyone else that their answer is coming (just as I have refused to repeat the phrase, “I know exactly how you feel” to someone who loses a baby). Every person who deals with loss experiences it differently since we are all unique people in unique circumstances; I can empathize with your loss, but only you can know exactly how you feel. The reality is that not everyone has the exact same problem getting or staying pregnant, so me telling someone else that they must be a mutant, too, and blood thinners will work for them is both medically and emotionally dangerous. Pushing false hope on someone is like taking them to a giant cliff and telling them to float gently to the bottom; they will end up more broken and battered than they were, and you have done nothing to walk with them where they are. At any rate, I know very well the pang of jealousy when someone else finds an answer, and for those of you in that situation right now, I pray for you every day, and it’s okay to feel that way.
Another thing I will not say is that God has finally answered our prayers and we have finally discovered God’s plan for us (to have a baby). I have so many problems with that line of thinking (and I promise this will be the last rant – for today). You will find those statements on a lot of Christian web forums that deal with miscarriage and in a lot of Christian books. My greatest problem with that theology is that God has answered all of our prayers all along, not just this one prayer. It also implies that what preceded this particular answer was somehow not part of God’s plan, and I refuse to believe that. The bottom line for me is that God has always been faithful and will always be faithful, even when I can’t see that. This is an extra blessing that I praise him for with all my heart, but if this single moment is my only testimony to God’s enduring love and faithfulness, then I have failed miserably. The greater statement of God’s love is getting through the pain and to a point where this is just icing on the cake that is my life. I am immeasurably grateful for the possibility of a healthy pregnancy, but I don’t want to be more grateful for that than I am for God’s presence in my life and all of the things he has already given me or taught me. (But it is terribly exciting to find out that God made me a mutant!)