I’ve been having a hard time the last two days. I don’t know if it’s the hormones, or knowing that yesterday should have been the beginning of the third trimester, or just, you know, that Amy isn’t here, but I cry over everything, and when I’m not crying, I am irrationally irritated about basically everything. People say things, and I have to stop myself from replying in a wholly inappropriate manner. Example: “Oh my god, I’ve had the worst morning ever.” What I want to say: “well, if you didn’t give birth to your dead baby I think you’re doing okay.” What I actually say: nothing.
As it gets closer to what should have been go time, it’s harder and not easier to see other people succeeding at that which we failed. And it does feel like failure. Another example, someone was concerned about feeling like a failure if they ended up getting a C-section. What I wanted to say, and meant, in a totally genuine manner: if you get to bring home a living baby, YOU WIN. What I actually said: nothing. I don’t get to tell everyone in the world that their worries aren’t important just because the worst thing imaginable happened to me. But once this happens, really, anything that ends in a live baby seems like winning. Before this happened, I thought birth plans were a little silly, and the obsession about which interventions you were willing to have a bit over the top. Now? I think it’s flat out insane. If the end result is you and your baby are healthy and well, you win.
Conversely, if your body refuses to carry your baby to term, or even for 3 lousy extra weeks, and in so doing you kill your perfectly healthy baby, then, you will feel like a failure. Even though everyone tells you over and over and over about how this wasn’t anything you did. That it wasn’t your fault. That sometimes these things just happen. That’s all true, but you know what? Mostly, these things do not happen. Most people just go about their business and 9 months later they get a baby to bring home. And they don’t bring it home in a jewelry box. So, I lose. Someone has to, right?
But, did it have to be me?
Today, I am sad, and angry.
I read somewhere, that many people, when this happens, say they don’t believe in karma anymore. And I nodded my head right along with it. This was so hard for me – to decide to go for it at all, to stay calm while pregnant, the ridiculous daily injections. Hundreds of injections. On the heels of so many crappy medical issues. If anyone deserved to have a relatively easy, breezy pregnancy, it was me. I had a 10% chance of a lot of crappy outcomes, but there was less than a 2% chance this would happen. Really, I can’t be in the 98%? Just, you know, once?
And let me vent for a moment about our perinatalogist’s office, Atlanta Perinatal Consultants. This is an office dedicated to managing and monitoring high-risk pregnancies, so I’m going to assume I’m not the first patient who’s lost a child to preterm labor, or stillbirth, or lost a child period, and I’m sure I won’t be the last. And yet, when I call to schedule a follow-up appointment at the urging of our OB as they have some records the OB doesn’t and may have good input on what happened here, I’m treated like a brand new patient. I’m told that my doctor, who has been happy to see me for the last 6 months, will “decide” if she will deign to grant me an appointment after I fax them my records (the ones they already have) so they don’t have to be bothered with such mundane things as LOOKING IN MY FILE. Oh, and when I do that, I need to state that I am requesting “pre-conception counseling.” What a nice, sensitive thing to say to a grieving mother who’s just lost her child! Pre-conception counseling. My daughter was conceived, gestated, born, and died, but to follow-up with the doctor managing that pregnancy, I have to request “pre-conception counseling.”
The real kicker is that when I began crying on the phone due to the insane requests and insensitive handling of this traumatic situation, the gatekeeper told me I should “call back when [I] feel better.” This is an appropriate thing to say?? I feel like just as a human being, if you have someone crying on the phone because her child died and you are forcing her to call multiple people to explain this so she can hand deliver her records to you THAT YOU ALREADY HAVE, that maybe even if it is office policy, maybe, just maybe, you see if there is some way you can spare her this one indignity and access them yourself. Apparently that’s just me.