Friday, September 01, 2006

Events are overrated

I am getting seriously tired of these eventful days.

I woke up this morning, not only mindful of the ultrasound scheduled for 1:30, but also antsy, cranky, and extremely nervous. I woke UP that way. I had one hope for the day, which was that when Dr. Enterprise (who "goes boldly where no doc has gone before -- with 11 embryos") did the wanding and started peering at the screen, she would announce that lo and behold, of the four embryos, the littlest embryo had taken the hint and gone away, poof! (I knew that two of them being magically gone was too much to hope for. But I was hoping for one, particularly since I had some spotting this week.)

And I hated it that that was my goddamned HOPE for the day. What an awful thing to have to hope for, that one of your long-sought and jealously guarded embryos has gone ahead and offed itself so that you won't have to.

You know, back during the 2ww, and then afterward before we knew I had a whole tribe in there, I used to talk to the embryos. I would tell them how wonderful the world was, how it was a great place with kitties to pet and flowers to pick and gardens to plant, and wonderful discussions to be had about timeless books, and fun and loving people they would meet along the way and learn to cherish as friends and family. (In fairness, I also mentioned that the world can be a sucky place sometimes, but I fear I played that down too much.) I had fun talking to them, and found myself tearing up at times, and realized a lot of things about what I cherish most, during this process of telling them all the wonderful things about the world and why at least one of them should come and stay here a while.

And now I don't talk to them at all. Because the only thing I can think of to say is, "I'm so sorry, but you can't all stay!"

Well, they were all still there. The good thing is that of the four, there are three good strong ones. So we are now down to a 5 percent chance of total fetal loss for the entire pregnancy. Translation: there is a 95 percent chance that at least one and more probably two of the little buggers will make it here to pet kitties at some future date.

Caveat: Those are the odds ... IF we do fetal reduction. And I don't see that I have a realistic choice not to, really. First, let's look at the odds of fetal death, even if we went down to just triplets. For triplets, Dr. Enterprise told us, there is a 25 percent chance that you will lose all three fetuses, usually around the six month period. As she then pointed out, not only would that be traumatic for us, but it would effectively nix our chances of ever having biological children. I'm 44 already. By the time we went through all that and then were ready to try again, I'd be at least 45. It is, frankly, a little bit of a miracle that I am pregnant right now.

We also have the circumstances of my myomectomy, which was traumatic enough to my uterus that I've been forbidden to go through the contractions and pushing of vaginal birth (let alone carry three infants in there).

So I was a mix of conflicting emotions after our appointment. On the one hand, we were virtually guaranteed parenthood. I really do regard this as something of a minor miracle, and I am honestly incredibly grateful for this chance. When I was younger, I knew I wanted a family of my own but felt so royally fucked up from my childhood with my birth family that I wondered if I'd ever actually be fit to be a mother. As an older person, I finally knew down deep in my bones that yes, I was ready to be a mommy, and a good one at that -- but the biological years had meanwhile gone whizzing by me, and now it was a crapshoot whether we'd achieve biological parenthood or not.

So it was a thing of awe to me to realize that yes, it was really, absolutely, very probably going to happen. After all this time. How truly amazing and awesome.

But it is bitter to me that the way to parenthood is paved with this necessary sacrifice. I do not blame Dr. Enterprise at all for letting us use all 11 embryos. She did warn us, quite seriously, that we might end up having to reduce. But she also pointed out it was our best chance to conceive at all. We agreed to gamble at this table, and now we have to pay up.

I don't want to make it sound as though I'm heartbroken, because I'm not. I am blessed with a certain lack of imagination in some matters, and this seems to be one of them. I don't see the fetuses as anything but fetuses at this point. According to my research, they are not aware (unless in the most rudimentary sense) and they are certainly not self-aware. I believe in reincarnation, so that even if there are actually souls in there, I feel sure they will immediately be bounced over to some other developing embryo. I don't think I'll go to Hell for this. I think God reserves the hell-realms for more weighty sins -- if, indeed, this is a sin.

But it just seems so wasteful. And I am afraid of one thing. I am afraid that when I look at our children in the future, in my mind, I will see two other versions with them.


For the record, here are the sizes of the fetuses today (at 8w5d):
20mm - 8w3d size
23mm - 9w0d size
21mm - 8w4d size
17mm - 8w0d size


In other news of the day:

After the appointment, I did a couple of errands, so when I came home, I was beat and went to bed for a while. When I got up, I realized I hadn't called my father (who is still in the hospital and as of yesterday, was in a normal room rather than ICU, and recovering nicely). However, I couldn't call right them because it would have been during the nurse's shift change, and they request you not to do that if you can help it.

So I called a little later, about 9 p.m. his time. It rang and rang, with no answer. Hm -- perhaps they had shifted him to another room. I re-checked my answering machine. Nothing. So at last I called and requested his nurse's station. They informed me that he had been moved back to cardiac ICU.

Oh, shit oh shit .... Bouncing back and forth between a real room and ICU is never a good thing. My mother did a lot of that in her short and eventful stay in the hospital, just before dying there. My stomach immediately started hurting. I called the ICU and got his nurse, who immediately informed me she couldn't tell me anything because of federal regulations, and then went on to spill almost everything anyway. (Nurses tend to be a compassionate lot; they are crappy at keeping secrets if they realize you are dying inside.)

It turned out that my dad is not dying (at least, not at the moment -- hopefully not anytime in the near future) but he had given them a good scare. His heartbeat had gone wonky and irregular earlier in the day, and his blood pressure had also misbehaved badly (up or down I don't know; she didn't say). They tried medication but that failed to control things, so they gave him a shock to get his heartbeat straightened out. She reassured me that it wasn't a big shock, just a small one (what, like sticking your finger in a socket?), but then allowed that they had given him medication afterward so that he would relax and forget having gotten the shock, since, she said, "It's not very pleasant." It's not pleasant picturing this in my mind's eye, either. Not at all. I am just praying that this was a minor blip on the road to recovery, and not the beginning of something worse. (You can pray with me, if you like -- any type you like is fine.) It's just that with my mother, I saw this slow escalation of events turn into something hideous and ultimately fatal. I am really hoping not to see anything like that again in the near future.


Blogger chris said...

This is indeed a bit of a pickle. I think you're being realistic with your choices. Hang in there. It's still early. Maybe in a couple of weeks the answers will be clearer.

But still . . . CONGRATS. Don't forget that.

5:58 AM  
Anonymous Victoria said...


Your plate is more than full between your mega pregnancy and your father's recovery from afar. Try to keep your wits about you, remember to exhale, and take it one day at a time.


7:05 AM  
Blogger casey said...

I'm not sure I can add anything more, as you have summed it all up so well. Just wanted to check in and see how things were going. It's not a neatly wrapped package you've been handed, but I admire how you're handling it. (Hell, if you were throwing furniture, barking like a dog and threatening the mail man, I'd think you were handling it well.)

As Chris said, congrats. Here's wishing you some boring days in September!


10:59 AM  

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