I like statistics. I tend to rely on them, especially when dealing with life altering or life threatening events. Something about the thought of a statistic is comforting. Concrete even. I believe in science, methodical approaches, mathematics-all of the logical things, and I believe they were given by God as a gift to make the best decisions possible on how to live in this world as a complement to His Word. In the end, I know He has the final say-so. But in the reality of today, statistics feel secure.
Granted, I hated statistics as a class in college. At UTK it was a required course as a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and it was the literal bane of my existence. It made ZERO sense. There were too many potential scenarios-too many variables-to many “what ifs” and for the love of all things, there was NEVER a correct value for X. I can remember hiking The Hill (a staple on the University of Tennessee’s campus) every time my graduate assistant Bryan-God bless him-had office hours for tutoring and basically begged for a passing grade, preferably above a C. There came a point when I think he and I both realized that this was never ever going to be a subject I understood or excelled at, and essentially I believe he gave up trying to explain it. I got a B.
So in all honesty, considering my past relationship with the subject, I’m not sure why statistics feel so secure to me, but they do. Even if the math is downright dumb.
Statistically speaking, in this pregnancy, the odds are stacked against me. Nothing has been presented as life threatening. However, life altering seems to be an inevitable fate. I went to a Maternal Fetal specialist group on Monday. I had a really long, in depth ultrasound followed by an hour long consultation with a Nurse Practitioner. I will see the specialist in Nashville later this month. Following my ultrasound, the Nurse Practitioner made a comment that my scans were “quite impressive to say the least”. She followed that statement with “an additional team of radiologists are reviewing the images as well”. My response? “Awesome. We’re obviously off to a good start then.” I’m always thrilled to be the genetic unicorn in the room. Quite literally it’s my favorite. (If you can’t pick up on the sarcasm here-I’m being HIGHLY sarcastic).
What followed may go down as one of the hardest, most overwhelming conversations of my life thus far and the closest support system I had was Jon on the other side of the speaker phone (no visitors-including husbands-due to Covid).
There are three types of accreta: accreta, increta, and percreta. Accreta only invades the uterine wall and remains in the uterus itself. Increta invades the uterine wall, and the surrounding muscle tissue. Percreta invades the uterine wall, surrounding muscular tissue and the bladder. Statistically speaking, accreta is the most common. Percreta only affects about 5% of all accreta cases. I not only have Percreta but have Percreta with Placental Previa. The doctor explained that this means the placenta has not only invaded the muscular tissue and the bladder, but has also completely covered my cervix meaning I have a high risk of significant bleeding before we even get to delivery.
So what does all of this mean going forward? Basically instead of just having a c-section followed by a hysterectomy, I will also have extensive surgery on my bladder and muscles to remove all of the placental tissue. This likely will cause significant damage to my bladder wall and if my recovery wasn’t brutal enough from the c-section and hysterectomy, I will now have an extensive bladder recovery as well. This means catheterization for several weeks among other things, providing things go well. I will know more on the procedure itself and recovery after meeting with the surgeon and high risk doctor downtown, but according to my appointment Monday, I should expect a recovery time of 8-12 weeks. As far as hospitalization, the doctors now want to admit me at 28 weeks instead of 30, and after birth at 34 weeks, I will likely stay hospitalized another 7-10 days.
If that weren’t enough, the conversation then took a turn to discuss Banks and what all of this means for him. For one thing, he is faced with the general risks that come with being born prematurely. However, the doctors are going to ensure he is well-equipped to handle life outside of the womb with every medically available preventative measure. In addition, however, the ultrasound also picked up on several complications. None of the complications have to do with the accreta, but are totally separate findings in of themselves. We do not have any sort of specific diagnosis at this time, but will have to have several tests ran in the following days and weeks to ensure that the complications present receive the best possible care once Banks is born. None of the complications-at this time-seem to be life threatening. However, again, they potentially could be life altering.
So how am I feeling? Well, not great. Physically I am fine. Mentally, I feel like I’ve been lined up in front of a firing squad for two days and just received shot after shot after shot to my already fragile state of mind. There is a part of me that wants to just sit and cry. There’s another part of me that tossed and turned and asked God the infamous “Why? Why me? If this is all for your glory, why couldn’t you use someone else for a change? Why can’t we just have a normal life?” There’s a part of me that feels like there is some dark cloud over this whole pregnancy that simply will not go away. And there’s a part of me that’s too tired to care.
The mental implications of all of this far outweigh the physical as of currently. I have no symptoms. But I will have to experience all of the following outside of any physical pain or distress I may endure:
- An 8 week hospitalization.
- 3 major surgeries at the same time.
- Significant healing from the surgeries including catheterization for several weeks post-op.
- Missing the baby’s birth (this hasn’t been decided officially, they *MAY* let me have a spinal for the birth itself before going under anesthesia but the jury is still out on this)
- Missing the “firsts” in the NICU
- Not knowing Banks’ “for sure” status until I wake up from surgery, complication wise
- Possibility of Banks having to have surgery after birth due to the nature of the complications from our last scan
- Not knowing the extent of the damage to my bladder or any other complication on my part until waking up from anesthesia
- Likely very few, if any, NICU visits in the first days after birth
- 12 weeks of recovery with a new baby
- Missing at least 8 weeks of bedtimes, bath times, and fun times with my babies at home
And that’s just what I can think of sitting here right now.
But, in spite of it all, I’m not exactly hopeless. The “saints” that follow this blog will want me to allude to the fact my hope lies in Christ alone and that I have a joy that surpasses all understanding so I can essentially face all of this without fear…..that’s not the case. I know-I’m going to totally miss an opportunity to witness to the unbelievers here and display my faith like a banner or badge of honor-a modern day Job-…..but hang with me. My hope does lie in Christ, but not in an “I’m invincible” sense. More in a “manna for today” sense. My hope does not lie in my own frail and fragile faith in Christ. My hope lies in His love for me. His provision for today. His new mercies for this morning. And tomorrow morning. And the next. My hope lies in the fact that it’s safe to eat the manna for today, because more will follow tomorrow despite my ability to feel or not feel any certain way.
I read a quote today that said “Hope only gets deployed in times of struggle” (Dr. Terry Hargrove). I’m not sure what its from-I saw it on Instagram in passing, but it resonated enough that I saved it. There is nothing I did to cause this situation (I asked) and there is nothing I can do to change it or fix it (I asked that too). The only thing I can do is pray, and deploy every bit of hope my 106.6 lb pregnant body can muster up. And that’s what I plan to do. Perhaps, it’s the only thing I can do.
Please keep praying. If none of the outcomes end up like we want them to, y’all are still the ones holding me up in the meantime. And that’s huge.
Don’t you lose sight of the hand of God! God created Banks in his image. He and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Lazarus had a death diagnosis but the hand of God declared he must live. Miracles still happen. My Colton was born premature. He had a significant hole in his heart (that God healed!). He was on a ventilator longer than they wanted and it seemed inevitable that He would be blind or at best only see lights. He brags about his 20/20 vision all the time. Those months of traveling back and forth to Vanderbilt yo see my tiny baby with tubes coming out of every orafice still brings about an anxious feeling. While I know my experience doesn’t compare to yours, we have the very Same God and sweet girl…. and He cares for you and for Banks!!! I love you!