Monday, April 25, 2011

A losing streak like no other

The very event that was supposed to bring our family so much joy has instead brought nothing but heartache. This pregnancy was so wanted, so loved. I never even contemplated that such a miraculous blessing could go so wrong.

After undergoing surgery in March for my ectopic pregnancy, my levels quickly dropped from 4,000 to 200 within a week. My doctor assured me that he anticipated no further problems. Then the following week, my bloodwork showed that my hormone levels had climbed again to 600. When a second test came back at 900, my doctor called to discuss further treatment.

When you have a "persistent ectopic pregnancy" the only real option you're given is a drug called methotrexate. This is a chemotherapy drug that prevents your body from absorbing or processing folate - which rapidly dividing cells need to live. So it works on cancer and on fetal tissue.

I asked for alternatives. There were none. I asked for time. There was none. I had no option but to take an injection of a chemical so toxic that they enter the room with hazmat suits and buckets. They check the needle entry site a few minutes after the injection for chemical skin burns. They incinerate anything this substance touches. And they injected it into my body.

It's made me sick. It's made me tired. It's really like having a bad hangover for a week. Let's just say that I have a whole new appreciation for cancer patients who have to take the shot on a regular basis.

It's not the physical effects of the drugs that have really set me back in my healing. This pregnancy not only stole my dream of adding a third child to our family, but with the chemo, it also took from me a special bond with Fliss. With the drug in my system, I could no longer nurse Felicity. I was forced to wean her without any warning. Without any gentle weaning. One day she happily nursed for comfort and nutrition, the next day that option was stolen from her. From us.

I feel like I'm mourning another loss. With our breastfeeding relationship ended, Fliss is no longer my baby, but a big girl. That one thing that I could give her and no one else could is gone. She still asks for her "neh-nehs" five days later. Still slides fluttery fingers down to stroke my chest. And when I tell her that her nursies are broken, she looks at me with those giant blue eyes as if she can understand that I feel the same loss that she does.

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