Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"if I could turn back time...." a line from a cheesy old Cher song, one which you'll now have stuck in your head for the next day or so. You're welcome. ;)

But if I could somehow do what Cher speaks of, I'd go back to the Fall of 2003, and speak to my "newly pregnant for the second time" self. And if I could resist the urge to wring my own neck out of frustration, I'd want to talk to myself in some very forceful language. VERY forceful. What would I say? Something like:

"Don't fall for that stuff! You know, the only-in-a-first-pregnancy crap! Do your research, don't be complacent. Get second opinions, third opinions, 7,964th opinions. Assume the worst, and prepare for it. Drive your butt down to the medical university on the day you get the positive pregnancy test.....and tell them you're not leaving until they hook you up with a peri or maternal/fetal medicine doc."

Or, better yet, go back in time even further, maybe 2002 or so, and say:

"Get the underlying disorders tests run! You don't know what the hell that means? Look it up, talk to people, learn everything you can. There ARE things that can be done for some women to keep it from happening again, so don't let them tell you otherwise. Be strong, insist on knowing and doing everything humanly possible to make the next pregnancy healthy."

So why am I obsessing about this now? Well, truth be told, it's not just now. It's pretty much been a constant (albeit in the background sometimes) ever since my pregnancy with Energizer. More specifically, since his birth, and since I became a part of the online community of preeclampsia survivors. I've learned so much about the disease itself from my dear cyber-friends, and learned so much about what I could have done, should have done if I'd only known.....and things might have been so very different.

I'm so angry at myself when I look back. I remember telling people early on in the pregnancy "oh, well it usually only happens in first pregnancies, and they're gonna watch me closely" etc. {{{sigh}}} Lot of freakin good that did, huh? I was so blissfully ignorant, so naive, so willing to just accept whatever I was told, and I can't believe I was so stupid. :(

I'm not going to try again, I'm really not. Really. I mean it. Cross my heart and hope to die.....ooops, bad choice of words, considering that another pregnancy might actually cause that phrase to become all-too-true. But among the PE survivor friends I have, I'm one of the "old ladies", and there are still plenty of them who are young enough to try again AND equipped with the knowledge and resources that I didn't have in either of my pregnancies. So there's a mini-baby-boom going on right now in my online community, which is wonderful and exciting, of course. But....

****embarrassing, selfish and ridiculous content follows*******

I can't help feeling inadequate, like a failure all over again, whenever one of those ladies makes it through a full-term healthy pregnancy after PE. Some of them have no trouble at all and the pregnancy is basically smooth and easy. Others, knowing what they do now about their health condition, etc, work very hard to enable a long, healthy pregnancy. They take supplements, injections, spend long weeks on bedrest, etc, and they manage to reach that elusive goal that I never did--full term delivery, no NICU, healthy baby and Mom.

Pathetic, huh? No one has ever accused me of doing anything wrong in my pregnancies, nor would they. The good health and success of my friends' pregnancies does not somehow reflect badly on me or make anyone think less of me. I'm just doing it to myself, it's my problem, I know that. Truth is, the emotional wound of my experiences is still very raw, and seeing my friends "beat PE" brings out the hurt in me again even while I celebrate their healthy babies. There's a thin layer of healing skin over the wound, so that when you look at it from the outside you might not even know what lies underneath.

What's underneath is a hole, deep in the emotional storehouse of experiences that bind women together as mothers. When a woman is pregnant, talk among the other women naturally turns to their labor/delivery stories. Nope, I got nothing. Women proudly photograph their blossoming bellies and share with everyone they know that visible, tangible evidence of the new life growing inside them. The pics get attached to emails, posted on websites, plastered all over Facebook, and framed on the wall for posterity. But you've got to have a big belly in order to photograph again, I got nothing.

And nothing I can do now, or could ever do, will change any of that, or fill the gaping hole with those missing memories and experiences that I never enjoyed. People that I dearly love and have known for years in cyberspace may someday be blessed with the chance to have those experiences, and I wish them only the best. Bravo to them for being their own best advocates, doing the research, getting the tests done and conquering the horrible scourge of preeclampsia. But allow me the indulgence of wishing, wondering, "if I could turn back time".....


Lori said...

(((((Jen))))) I've sat here thinking and thinking of what to say and I've got nothing. I want to say I understand because in many ways I do....I had preeclampsia both times..but made it to term both times, only nothing short of a miracle with Hunter..spending 13 weeks on bedrest. When it happened with Dalton it was like a sign that I wasn't supposed to keep having babies. It's hard because as a woman having babies should be shouldn't be so worry filled and stressful. I'm so happy for all of our girls that are having babies and not being sick..and the smallest part of me wonders could that be me? But sadly, I think we both know the answer to that. Anyway, just know I love ya and am thinking of you.

Lowcountry Mom said...

((((hugs)))) girl, and thanks. That's exactly it, "could that be me?" or "should that have been me?" if I'd done things differently before getting pg the second time, or during the pg. :( Anyway, you're right about it all, and I appreciate the comment.

K said...

Darling girl many many hugs
Really I am so moved by your post
I think going through this expereince will definitely leave you with Post Traumatic Stress

4onfaith said...

Hey you! Your post was beautiful J! I understand completely, I spent many years wondering the very same things, what if.....what could I have done...etc...etc...etc...always very happy for anyone to make it to full term, but all the while wondering why my body was so incapable. The day after Soph the docs told me I should never have anymore, several times. And I wholeheartedly agreed! I emphatically spent the next few years certain that I was done. Even the last year. But the one thing that kept nagging at me, was that I didn't want anyone taking the opportunity of more children away from me, even me! Their care of me was so inadequate, my physicians had no right saying that! So here I am today, pregnant with number 3! A place, for many reasons I never thought I would be. It took so much for me to get to the point I would even consider it and finding the right doctors and running the right tests was key, BUT that doesn't change that I don't know if this will end up the same, still, I'm thrilled and I am just hoping and praying with all that is in me that it will, but knowing that those thoughts linger in the back of my mind. You are a terrific, beautiful, incredible woman Jen! Just don't forget you are human, you still grieve the loss, because that's exactly what this is - it's like a bird who can't sing, or an apple tree who produces no fruit, it goes against nature to think a woman can't carry to term. But at the same time, that bird is still a sight when it flies and that tree still provides shelter! You, my dear, are no different - you are absolutely perfect - exactly as you are!