Monday, December 17, 2007

My strained psyche

I cannot think through anything anymore. I am a ball of nerves, emotions, and a single minded mission to keep this baby alive.

In the last 24 hours, I have written approx. 6000 words on the subject of Bea's question, and all of what I wrote is unpublishable rambling inanity. I'm either totally manic, or the world's worst writer, bar none.

What it comes down to is that I don't like the question. It's too neat and too perfect, too full of absolutes. It puts me in a box, and doesn't allow me to be as nuanced as I like. Life is messy, at least my life is. I have already faced one kind of Genie when we ended Matthew's pregnancy and it was a hellish decision. And lots of women don't get that definitive diagnosis. They get the maybe choice, the mushy middle, the "we don't know" answer. Or they get told nothing and are left with a highly disabled child, lots of years off their life, and no choice in the matter. There are no guarantees, and yet, we are asked to make the risk of our lives, every time we chance a pregnancy. Some of us take years off of our lives, risking dollars and emotions, marriages, and our very psyche and never get a live baby at all.

I am more than a baby-making machine, but even having to say that assumes that it's a zero sum game for all women, and it isn't. Most women get to have a baby and be a parent and have a career without having to worry about whether they are defined as more than a broken uterus. I should get to do that too. Without having to cut any deals with Genies, with Gods, with government and insurance actuaries.

If someone tried to force me to choose? Really force me---I would die to save this pregnancy. Without hesitating. But it's a stupid thing for me to say, because if I die, the baby dies.

And this is where the rest of the post goes off the rails into Teh Crazee. So I'll save you 6000 words of blather. Have a beer instead.

Why am I going off the rails? Right now, I'm just not positive that Dinkypie is alive in there anymore. I think I just may have to buy that g#%^$%m home ultrasound machine. I thought about a doppler, but if I can't find the heartbeat, I'll go insane and run right over to the hospital and become hysterical on them until they can find it. Not such a great I don't own one. Instead I've decided to become hysterical all on my own without spending any cash up front.

I can only assume that I am flashing back to my last pregnancy. I'm 15 weeks 1 day today, and Georgia died at 15 weeks or so, but it wasn't discovered until 16 weeks. So naturally, I'm a little brain fucked.

Of course, I may just be feeling a little snowed in.


  1. Perip@rtum c@rdiomyopathy mother's often have to face this very question. Once recovered, in future pregnancies, there is a 2% chance of death and about a 10% chance of permanent loss of heart function (read: shortened life span, with quality of life issues).

    Some women opt for sterilization, some risk it, some opt for adoption and some opt for no more children. There is a whole support thread devoted to post-PPCM babies.

    ***BTW, if this comment is too off-topic feel free to delete it.

  2. I remember being brainfucked at 15 weeks by the same concerns, only without the *having happened to me* factor, which is of course this whole other thing. All I can give you is a "hang in there" and a "test (ultrasound, heart monitor) obsessively if it'll help".

    As for the other, the neatness is the main problem with the scenario. You can still force people to answer the question, but any comments as to *why* they come up with that answer are, well, 6000 words long, and all different from the next person's. I think you can probably identify some general trends with a large enough population, but you can't confidently devolve that information down to the level of the individual.

    It's an interesting mental exercise, and it might be a helpful angle for some to think about their situation, but as long as you're careful interpreting the results.


  3. No disrespect to Bea but I didn't really get the point of her question which is why I didn't comment on it. It doesn't make any sense to me, sorry!

    I was just like you at every crossroads, 11 weeks, 13 weeks, etc etc. It can drive you mad but who said pregnancy after losses was ever going to be easy. How I calmed myself down at every stage I do no know. I can only imagine that years worth of bad experience helped me out!

    Do go and see your doctor, in a calm as manner as is possible, if you're at all worried.


  4. Bea's question has been driving me nuts since I read (and ramblingly commented on) it. I did not, however, sit down and write 6000 words on the topic. THAT is impressive.

    I can understand how the milestones and anniversaries of you previous pregnancies can be screwing with you. I wish you peace as you get through this week.

    (And also peace with the snow. It's a tough one, and though you argue that here in Montreal we cart away the snow, I don't see that happening for at least another week on my small side street. So I am in much the same position as you are with my car, only with about 20cm more snow sitting on top of it! It will take a few hours to dig it out, and this prengnat lady ain't risking it. (I should send you a picture, it would actually be amusing if it weren't so frustrating.) I try to relieve the insanity of feeling housebound by looking at the snow and repeating to myself "it's just so pretty when it's all white and fresh".)

  5. Hang in there my friend. The next week or two will probably be tough, but I know you can get through it. Do what you need, and try not to stress out the rest. Good things are coming your way, I can feel it.

  6. It's no wonder that you are feeling anxious this week. I say do what you need to do to feel better, even if it means camping out by the doctor's offices first thing every morning.

  7. I am sorry. Pregnancy after loss is truly the worst mind f*ck. Especially if you are a control freak like me. I waited for A's entire pregnancy to reach some milestone that would make me feel comfortable. It never really came. If going to the doctor 8 million times makes you feel better then do it.

  8. If you're not still trapped by the snow, you can get your ass over to my house. I have a doppler and I'm not afraid to use it!

  9. The fact that you feel anxious about this time in your gestation makes complete sense. It's not crazy or manic, although I am sure that it feels that way.

    I think Bea's question was a good one. The way I know that is because I don't have an answer to it.

    The most frustrating part about this time is the wonder of whether there is anything that can be done to save a pregnancy that begins to tank. It's one thing if I am told that no one could do anything to help, so there is no point in the constant thinking. My fear is that something can be done and I will miss the time point at which the saving methods can be performed. I don't want to look back and do the "what if" game. That's raw torture.

  10. I did a few (ill-advised) philosophy courses at university, and these sorts of absolutes abound in that discpline.

    Like - you're driving a run away train, the track splits, go left and you'll kill 10 people tied to the track, go right, and you'll kill just one. Which way are you going?

    As Bea said, the neatness of the question is at the heart of its difficulty. Because, of course, none of our lives are neat.

    The good news is, the genie, and the question aren't likely to present themselves. Thankyoujesus.

    As for the brain fuckedness - Hang in there.

  11. oh honey, I hope it is just the snowed in.

    Glad to see I am not alone with being unable to answer Bea's question. Though your answer surprised me a little, I realised that my answer was the same when I was pregnant. It is a primal need to keep that baby alive. To go against that, no matter how the baby would have suffered, or your other children would have lost is the greatest mind fuck of all. As me know and could be rational, but clearly there was a different answer while I was pregnant.

    You shouldn't have to cut those deals with insurance companies either. Maybe the cruises can lend you their machine.

  12. I don't have anything helpful to say. I just wanted to let you know I'm here.

  13. those milestones are killers. the only thing that helped me through was breathing and mindfulness. i didn't worry less, but at the moments when i *did* worry, i would stop, focus on my breath, and find myself calming down -- physiologically, at least. i *highly* recommend "full catastrophe living" as a resource for this. great book, if a bit on the corny side. (but my take is, if it's corniness that gets you through this, then corniness is what you need.)

    and hey, if you get a doppler or other doohickey-gadgety type thing, would you mind sharing your research and purchase decision? i've always wondered which of those thingamajibs were really worth it.

    --c (at v4.0)