Last week was rough. Saturday was the worst, bringing tears and despair, revealing my darkest fears to K while we lay on our backs in a tent during a rainstorm, waiting for the clouds to blow past before making dinner of orzo and vegetables over our Jetboil. “I just can’t shake this feeling that it’ll take years to have a baby, and by then I’ll be sick or otherwise unable to enjoy it,” I told her. “I can’t break out of this fatalistic funk in which I’m too decrepit to teach my child to throw a baseball.”
I don’t know what brought on that feeling, but fortunately, I don’t believe these “premonitions” can be trusted. And fortunately, some days, I have hope.
Sunday was a good day, and so was yesterday. On good days, I feel peaceful, believing that I will carry the next pregnancy to term without complications and get to take home a living, smiling baby who can breastfeed on his/her own. On good days, I can worry about whether I’ll seem overprotective if we get a video baby monitor.
I’m not sure what brings on the bad days or brings back the good ones. I think this time it was, ironically, Dr. Google. I’ve been obsessively researching “successful pregnancies after abruption” and “uterine rupture following classic c-sections.” I’d been looking for positive anecdotal evidence (there’s pretty much none), until K got annoyed. “You know that only the extremes post about their experiences online,” she reminded me. “This is no different than reviews on Yelp. Why aren’t you reading the medical journal articles that the doctors are reading?”
Oh. Duh. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it, which makes me cringe a little now. I mean, I’m married to a psychologist who reads and writes research articles. I have a Masters degree which required me to do the same. I swell with pride a little when I remember that the neonatologists at our NICU, when asking us to make a decision regarding our son’s care, would bring us printouts of the relevant medical studies they were using as evidence that a treatment may/may not be effective. Dr. P would hand us the stack, give us his opinion, and then give us a few hours to read the studies and come to our own conclusions. It was because of this that we requested and received such aggressive treatment when there were no other options for our little guy.
Knowledge comforts me. I hated when other doctors would say that the statistics didn’t matter, that the only statistic that did was n=1, our baby right there. I get that this is true, technically, but as I’ve mentioned before, I find comfort in knowing the odds – which is why I think I’ve had two good days now.
Following K’s advice, I found the research, the studies that talk about the odds of pregnancy complications if you get pregnant within 6 months of a classic c-section versus waiting 18 months. The odds of having another abruption. They’re not good, but they’re not as bad as I thought, either. Yes, I was in the 1% before, so I thought that statistics would cease to have comfort for me. But perhaps they did this time, and I’m not going to overthink it – just be grateful for every good day when the future brings thoughts of hope instead of despair.