Losing the odds game

I felt so sad yesterday, and I’ve been having such good days lately. Maybe it was the dream that woke me up in the morning, the dream in which I cannot have any more children myself and we must struggle for years to afford adoption, sacrificing our dreams of a down payment for a house. Maybe I’m just overtired. Maybe it’s that I’m still angry at one of my coworkers, who I saw this last week when I was visiting DC. “It’ll be fine, next time,” she said, with a flippant wave of her hand. “No, no, this won’t happen again. There’s no chance! The statistics are in your favor.”

I wanted to slap her. I wanted to shout, “You don’t know that! You’re not God! You can’t see into the future! So stop giving me these ridiculous platitudes that you think will make me – what? Feel better? You know I lost the odds game already, right?” I tried to explain to her that yes, actually, there is a greater likelihood that something like this will happen again (women with placental abruptions have an increased risk of having another – from 1% to 10% the first time, then 25% the second time). I thought, we don’t know why this happened this time, so there’s no way to control for or predict if it will happen again. But don’t you DARE say that it won’t happen. Just because YOU didn’t have anything go wrong doesn’t mean MY pregnancy will be perfect.

Of course, I just smiled wanly and said, “I hope so.” The rational part of my mind said, “she’s right, the odds are still okay. There is a good chance nothing bad will happen next time. You’ve paid your cosmic dues, right?” But the emotional side answered, “yes. But.” I don’t know why I cling so ferociously to remembering that it could happen again, but for some reason it seems important to remember that. It’s not like I could forget, though I try to remember the quote by Carrie ten Boom: ““Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Maybe I got so angry because of how casually she assumed everything would be okay. “Sometimes it’s NOT okay!” I wanted to tell her.

Fortunately, last night I went to the grief support group at my hospital for the first time. Due likely to fact that it is rainy and cold in Chicago, it was just me and two of the chaplains. But one of them, Paige, was with us all the time in the NICU, and it was so good to see her again. More importantly, she helped me to realize – K and I won’t be making a decision on any “what nexts” until after we try again to have a baby, starting in October. “You’ll be a different person in October than you are today,” Paige told me. “So trying to prepare for future situations now isn’t going to work. You’ll just have to reprocess them then, and make new decisions.” It’s been really helpful for me to try to do that, to try and turn off my “what if” mind and remind myself that I can’t know how I will feel when I’m a different me in October. I’ll be different then. Not healed, mind you – just different.

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