October 24th, 2014
I unlocked the door to the storage room of some friends of ours that are on furlough. I'd been given permission to rifle through a tote full of bathroom supplies in search of One Tiny Object. After finding such object, and closing the window that had been left open accidentally, while avoiding a gecko jumping out at my face, I locked the door back up and drove the bumpy roads back down the street and around the corner to home.
Immediately I took that One Tiny Object and went to the toilet.
In less than a minute our suspicions were confirmed. Two lines. Clear. As. Day.
The extreme exhaustion that was constant, the intermittent nausea, the frequent urination, the extremely sore breasts, the gassiness (is that a word?), the moodiness, the constipation (in Tanzania, that just doesn't happen) and the sensitive teeth pointed us straight to what the One Tiny Thing now confirmed with those two purple lines.
I hugged my husband after a glance that meant, "this wasn't quite expected..." and I texted my best friend. Then I emailed the friends that let us use their One Tiny Thing they'd brought from America. It was only fair they know the results.
October 29th, 2014
A friend is headed to Arusha tomorrow, so we casually ask if we can ride along. "Of course," he says.
Now we have to tell 4 more people. The administrator, because we'll miss a day of school, but before her, our director, because he just needs (and deserves) to know. He (literally) jumps in the air with excitement. She clasps her hands over her mouth holding back a shout of joy before admitting, "I'm sorry, my emotions are just so mixed right now! I'm happy, I promise!" Understandable. She'll be losing two teachers before the end of the year when we are already short on staff.
The other two we tell at dinner that night. The ones that have allowed us to ride along to Arusha. They'd pretty much figured it out, but they rejoiced with us just the same. Their joy is so real and so genuine, such a sweet feeling to have from friends we've only just begun to know.
October 30th, 2014
"How far along are you?" the Dr. asks. We'd waited about an hour in the very nice and comfy waiting room, and I had peed twice in just that hour alone. We were now upstairs with our file in hand.
"Ummm... we're not exactly sure, " I begin. I go on to explain when my last real cycle was, in late August, and explain that I had a little bit of 'action' down there in the end of September, but it didn't feel like a full cycle. I also explained that since the new (female) volunteers had moved into town, my cycle was getting pulled a little bit and not quite on the dot as it used to be.
"Okay," she says, "Let's get an ultrasound. Do you have a full bladder?"
Ugggggghhhhhhhhhh (don't worry, I didn't say that aloud, only in my head.)
"I literally just went pee. Sorry, I didn't know I wasn't supposed to."
"No problem!" She says. "I'll be here all day, until 6. You can come back when you have a full bladder."
Ugh. But I don't want to be here all day, I just want to know how big this baby is, I think to myself.
"Okay, we'll go have lunch and come back."
It was about 12:30 anyway, so we all ran to lunch. At lunch our friend confessed that he got butterflies when we went upstairs because he was so excited for us, and when we came back down so quickly he, along with us, heaved a frustrated sigh as we walked to the car.
We returned an hour later, I with a very, very full bladder. I told Bill that if she pressed that ultrasound wand too hard she might get a shower. It. Was. Full.
I lay on the table, unzip and prepare myself for the cold gel (no fancy warmers here, ladies!)
She boots up the machine and gets going.
I'm no ultrasound tech, but I know how to read a basic ultrasound image.
And there's nothing on mine.
Well, I take that back. There's an enormous and very full bladder. But nothing else.
"When was your last cycle? August?" she asks.
"I think so, but it may have been that short one I had in September," I reply.
"There's no sac here. I'm not seeing anything."
Bill squeezes my leg from down at the end of the table and my heart is now laying on the first floor of the building.
"You might just be earlier than we thought," she continues when she sees the look on my face, "no need to panic! We'll get a blood test so we know for sure."
She hands me tissues and leaves the room. Bill & I sit there for a minute. Speechless. I literally feel empty inside. I just want to go home and lay in my bed and cry.
Back in her office she does the date checking - if my last cycle was in August I'd be 11 weeks, "I definitely would have seen a baby" she said. UGh. Like a punch in my gut.
"If your cycle was in September you'd only be 5 weeks, it's hard to see anything before 6 weeks. You could also be low on progesterone. We'll order the blood test and know for sure how far along you are and be able to see your progesterone levels."
"The results will be back in a week - we send them to Nairobi."
UG. A week? That is for. ev. er. away.
"In the mean time I'm writing you some prenatal vitamins and progesterone, you should be able to find them in Moshi."
Walking downstairs I'm doing my best not to lose it. I know our friend is sitting on that couch waiting so patiently and excitingly for the news. The news we don't have. I quickly say, "Not done yet" to him as we approach the receptionist. She takes us to the lab for the blood draw and before I know it we've paid our 163,000 shillings and are confronted again with the inevitable question, "What's the news!?"
"There isn't any." I reply coldly, trying not to burst into tears in front of our (newish) friend who's just driven us 2 hours to the nearest big city, sat in a waiting room for three hours and now has to drive us 2 more hours to get back home. "She couldn't see anything and ordered a blood test, but it will take a week because they send it to Nairobi."
I can tell he's almost as crushed as we are. On the drive out of town he offers to pray, and despite my attempt to lighten the mood with a "as long as you don't close your eyes" joke, I still can't stop the tears from flowing as he approaches the Throne on our behalf, praying for grace and peace over the whole situation. I don't know if I'm crying more because of the situation, or because of how genuine our new friend is and how transparent he is with his prayers for us. Probably both.
The rest of the day is sort of a blur. We get dropped off back at school so we can be the 'bus drivers' for the kids in our neighborhood. It's the end of the day and when we get there the kids are out playing. I sit on the picnic table feeling numb. Waiting to just get home. Errands need to be run, I need to go get the prescription but I just want to go home. Bill understands so we do just that. We go home. Owen goes out to look for fallen coconuts, his new favorite pastime, and ends up helping our guard water the garden as well. Then Bill takes him to some friends' house as we promised he could do for being such a big boy staying at school without us all day. It's the first time I've been alone all day and all I can do is sit on the couch and stare. I try to have hope. I try to. But all I can do is cry. I literally don't even feel pregnant anymore.
All I can do (bless my amazing photographic memory) is keep picturing that empty ultrasound picture.
The ultrasound of Nothing.
The tears come and I go in and out of sleep from the emotional exhaustion of the day. At one point I decide to try the 'verse of the day' non my phone. Even though I'm not really 'feelin' it'.
It was: "I love you God - you make me strong. God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God - the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout." ( Psalm 18:2 MSG)
I cry more and tell myself to suck it up. I am pregnant, just too early to see anything. God has placed life inside of me and he will care for it and protect it.
But I have to keep saying this to myself every two minutes because every minute my mind goes back to that blasted ultrasound picture. And then to the two purple lines - there's no such thing as a false positive. And then to the prescription - "progesterone is often prescribed to help avoid miscarriage," so says many internet resources. And then to the verse, God is my rescuing knight. But the ultrasound showed nothing. ... over and over again this plays in my head. And I still feel empty. I know love isn't about a feeling. But pregnancy kind of is. And right now, despite my deepest longings, I feel nothing.
This is going to be the longest week of my life.