Monday, July 15, 2013

It's Ramadan (Loss mentioned)

I really love this time of year. Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for Muslims. It is the month in which the gates of hell are closed and the gates of heaven are open, the month of standing in prayer, the month of purification. Abdul Qadir was born/died during the month of Ramadan in the Gregorian year 2005. I want to explain that because the Islamic calender follows the lunar cycle Ramadan begins roughly 10 days earlier every year. Just wanted to put that out there since it is July and Ramadan but it was October and Ramadan when he died. And I can't begin to say how special it is to have my son born and die during the blessed month of Ramadan 8 years ago.

As I sit here reflecting and reading the Qur'an I came across some verses that I felt the need to share. You see I have always, for as long as my baby has been gone, been the target of cruel comments and hatred over the fact that I lost my baby but blamed no one and had no regrets about his birth. I have seen other loss mothers be ripped to shreds within hours or weeks of losing their precious babies because of the method of birth they chose.

Anyway I ran across this and it brought a lot more peace about the way I feel:

"...Say: 'Even if you had remained in your homes, those for whom death was decreed would certainly have gone forth to the place of their death,' but that Allah might test what is in your breasts; and to purify that which is in your hearts, and Allah is All-Knower of what is in your breasts." - Surah Al-Imran 154

And also this:

"O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve (hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the Earth or go out to fight: 'If they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,' so that Allah may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. It is Allah that gives life and causes death. And Allah is All-Seer of what you do." - Surah Al-Imran 156

Now I want to mention here that the verses were referring to some of the battles that were fought during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. (peace be upon him) However, the principle here is the same. It reminds me so much of all the people who question my decisions and try to assume that things would have been different if I had done things another way, etc. The principle is the same in that people attempt to make "if" statements with the intention of inciting regret. But Allah is the one who gives life and causes death. No one and nothing else.

One of the pillars of faith in Islam is belief in the divine pre-ordainment, which is mentioned in the first verse I quoted where it states if death is decreed for someone it does not matter where they are, death will reach them. So stop questioning me when I say I know that he would not have lived regardless of how I birthed him. Death was decreed for him while he was in my womb long before labor began. Stop acting like I caused his death because the only One who caused his death was Allah.

I continue to heal and grow. This grief process is not one that ever ends. It is lifelong, but today I feel strong.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ectopic Pregnancy Loss.

November 30, 2012
I guess I should rewind a little back to the beginning of this month. Every since my baby was born I have been very cautious about not getting pregnant, to the point of being extremely stressed out if our timing was too close. Beginning this month however I had an epiphany that I really need to just put my trust in Allah because no matter what we do if we are not meant to conceive a baby then we won't. Allah is in control of everything. And after my last birth I know that I need to put more energy into trusting Allah and less energy into worrying about life and death. Two things out my control. And so that is what I did. I stopped worrying and stressing myself out about it and just let go.

I do fertility charting just because I like to know what my body is doing and when to expect my monthly friend. I had a usual temperature dip at 12 DPO and thought for sure my menses was on the way. At 13 DPO I started spotting and was convinced it was here....only the spotting stopped and I also had a significant temperature rise. Today is 14 DPO. My spotting has pretty much stopped and this morning my temperature was up even higher. I took a test and it came back positive!

And so this journey begins again. I am "due" August 9, 2013 based on when I ovulated. This will be the end of the month of Ramadan and also close to my husband's birthday.

January 14, 2013
Things took an unexpected turn of events. I guess having a blog about birth journeys wouldn't be complete without an ectopic pregnancy huh? I had planned to have an unassisted pregnancy this time and until I knew something was off I did not see anyone. The day I found out I was pregnant I wrote the above and my intention was to go unassisted so that I could tune into my on instincts. Part of this includes knowing when it is time to seek medical attention.

Let me start by saying that from the very beginning I knew this pregnancy was not typical. As stated above I do fertility charting and have for the last 2 (3 if you count this one) pregnancies. My normal pregnancies my temperature shift after ovulation was normal, then I had a dip and 3 days of high temps after this I got a positive pregnancy test. Once I got a positive my post ovulation temperatures stayed high. This time my temperatures were abnormal they were up and down the whole time. I thought I was pregnant but didn't get a positive test as early as usual. Then I started spotting and thought my period was coming because my temperature was also very low.  Then my temperatures went back up and I got a positive test finally.

None of my symptoms were normal for me. I tried to tell myself that every pregnancy is different but deep down I knew something wasn't right. For the next three weeks I spotted. The color was never consistent. I searched Google and asked anyone I knew was well versed in birth, what could cause me to spot for so long. I couldn't ever find a clear answer so I decided to let it be unless my instincts told me otherwise.

On December 22nd the spotting turned into more of a light flow and I was convinced I was miscarrying. I cried. I wasn't prepared for the emotion honestly. I was cramping a little but not much. I prepared myself to have heavy flow and horrible cramps. I was 7 weeks so I knew that it was going to be more intense than a regular period. Only it wasn't. This alarmed me. I also felt dizzy a lot and there was this odd ache in my uterus that I had never had before in any of my other pregnancies. My husband and I discussed things and decided at this point it would be best to see a doctor.

On December 23rd we went to the ER. I explained what was going on. I refused a pelvic exam because in my opinion at that time it was  unnecessary. An ultrasound and blood work would tell me what I needed to know. My HCG quant test came back at 1756 but that was on the low side for how far along I was.  We got an ultrasound and the tech asked me how I knew I was pregnant and I thought that was an odd question.  She also really struggled hard to locate blood flow to my right ovary which has never happened before. She would let us hear the blood flow to the ovaries sound, at one point while she was trying to hear it for my right ovary I thought I heard a fetal heartbeat. ( I have had 6 kids I know how they sound) She told us ahead of time though that if it was baby she would tell us so at the time I thought I was just trying too hard to hear it because I wanted to hear it. Once the doctor came to talk to us about the results he stated there was no evidence of pregnancy in my uterus at all so either I had a complete miscarriage already or they had a concern about ectopic but he mentioned that coupled with a cyst on my left ovary which is always there. Because I have so much anxiety about doctors I decided to just ride it out and accepted that I must have miscarried.

I bled for 10 days light bleeding with mild cramping the majority of those days. Not at all what I expected. Another 2 days of spotting occurred and I had a few bouts of nausea and still felt dizzy so I decided maybe I need to be checked again. I went to the doctor office this time on January 3rd. They did a urine test and it came back positive which I thought was weird but oddly I expected it. They did another HCG and instead of my number decreasing it went up to 1893 and my progesterone was also very low at 2.8. I got another ultrasound that again showed no pregnancy in my uterus but did show a small fluid filled sac. No ectopic was shown on ultrasound however this was a fear because I had all the symptoms otherwise.

I really struggled with the decision on what to do because I do not trust OBs near my reproductive organs. Really. I have massive anxiety about it. I spent several minutes in the office discussing risks benefits and even discussing my distrusts. After talking to some of my midwife friends and my husband I decided to agree to let them do a D and C first at which point they would test the cells to see if they could find fetal cells. If they found some then they would be finished if not then they would proceed to do a diagnostic laproscopic surgery to locate the pregnancy. I pleaded with them to not remove my tube if they could save it. Being sterilized has been one of my biggest fears since my second baby. I am so paranoid about it. So on January 4th we proceeded with the plan. No fetal cells were found in my uterus and an ectopic pregnancy was found in my right tube. I was 8 weeks 6 days.

I am still processing my loss. I still have questions that I hope to get answered at my follow up appointment. And while this did not turn out quite how I envisioned it to be it is still a testament to how much we know about our bodies if we listen. And it also is to show that even though I intended to have an unassisted pregnancy/birth I knew when it was time to seek medical care. That is what unassisted birth is about. It isn't about ignoring danger signs just to have the birth you want, it is about knowing yourself and trusting yourself enough to recognize danger signs and act accordingly.