Wednesday, May 20, 2009


All OK with the FISH results. A huge relief. I simply did not know how we would face, much less make, any decisions and I'm so glad there are none to be made. It's not going to be easy but I am going to try my level best not to spend the rest of this pregnancy vigilantly patrolling for problems.

Tomorrow I go to my new doctor, Dr. Friend, for a check up, but as I can feel some movement I am feeling confident things are OK. Doing the amnio with Dr. Madame capped the decision to switch practitioners. When he finally swanned in after the endless twenty-five minutes with the tech, I said, "you know I'm feeling really apprehensive about whether doing the amnio is the right thing." He replied, "that's to be expected," turned on in his heel, and left. He returned a few minutes later with an ultrasound doc (who manned the machine during the actual procedure). While prepping me for the needle, he proceeded to enjoy professional banter with his fellow M.D., including some jokes about "vaginal rejuvenation." Yo, rejuvenate your mouth, dude. My mother now thinks he must have Asperger's...she has at least the first two letters right!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I think I have Post Infertility Stress Disorder. I cannot relax in this pregnancy at all. I feel I am constantly bracing for the next disastrous event, anxiety strafing across my consciousness at every corner. I have grown so used to the need to be stoic, to bend without breaking that I'm now chronically emotionally stooped.

If told that there's a 99.5% chance that the baby they're expecting will have a normal complement of chromosomes, most people would rest easy at night. I can't and neither can my husband. We felt compelled to do the amnio even though we felt sick at the thought of the (also vanishingly small) additional risk and unsure what we would do with the information. The first problem, of course, is that we're not expecting a new baby; we're expecting the next catastrophe.

I cried silently through the whole ultrasound. It took the expected 25 minutes and we were directed to notice every finger and toe, each chamber of the heart. The ultrasound tech seemed very rattled by my silent tears, so I gather this is not the standard response of women undergoing amnio. At the end, she gave us two souvenir pictures, the clearest shots we've yet seen of the fetus. My husband asked afterward, "do you think she was Pro-Life?" But I'm sure she was just following procedure.

We are the ones so desperate for life, for normal life, for the country-song happy ending "we'll have a boy for you, we'll have a girl for me." That outcome once seemed not a privilege, but just what would happen to any two people in love.

I cried in that ultrasound with grief for the thought that I could be hurting my precious baby, no matter the number of chromosomes it carries. Despite my firm pro-choice politics, I cried with true moral revulsion at the possibility of terminating a much-wanted life. And I cried at the thought of what it would mean to devote our limited time, energy, and resources to the difficulties of raising a child with special needs. I cried with grief that 6 seemingly endless years of infertility and loss mounted up so quickly in the end, making me old enough to merit this invasive procedure.

I went home and drank the recommended glass of wine and slept for hours. Wish I could sleep till Tuesday when the FISH results should arrive, till October, when the baby is due. Wish I could wake up finally from this nightmare of repeated miscarriage, happy and whole. Wish I felt no need to glance continually back over my shoulder while alternately squinting to scan the horizon ahead.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

FISHing for Trouble?

I seem to live life on the statistical edge. One half of one percent is the percentage of women who have recurrent miscarriage for which no explanation can be found. It's also the risk that the baby I'm currently carrying has Down's Syndrome. My nuchal results were great, but the news has gotten progressively worse. My odds are now 1/190, worse than my age-related risk of 1/287. The odds of miscarriage due to having an amnio are 1/400. What's a five-time miscarrier to do?

I feel absolutely whipsawed by this latest twist of events. What are the chances that fate could be so cruel as to let me hold a pregnancy with a chromosomally abnormal fetus after I've lost FIVE chromosomally normal ones? You might think the odds are slim. But given the improbable bad luck I've already experienced, I find little comfort there.

I'm currently scheduled for an amnio on Friday, but I'm scared and ambivalent. I just don't know how much more I can take...Suffice it to say that this is doing nothing for my efforts to get back into a work writing routine. Somebody stop the bus. I want to get off.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Good Gossip

Turns out that finding a birth practitioner is a lot like looking for a suitable life partner: very hard to find the right fit.

I interviewed a midwife and she was not bad. I found her very down to earth and I liked how reassuring she was about the prospects for my next birth. Turtle came relatively quickly and easily and she thought that a second delivery would be the same only more so. On the other hand, she took multiple phone calls during our half hour interview, then trotted me out the door just on the dot of 30 minutes. Plus, during one of those calls, she seemed to be blaming a new mother a bit for her trouble with nursing. So I left thinking, yeah, she's someone I could work with. But I wasn't in love.

Next I went to meet a woman OB in an all-women practice. We'll call her Doctor Friend because I felt right away that under different circumstances she could be a friend. She won me over right away by snorting in agreement when I said that Zofran really didn't seem to help me. Everyone else has touted it as a sure cure, but she was like, "look, that was developed for chemo. We don't know that much about pregnancy nausea, but there's no reason to think it works exactly them same way as the chemo-induced kind." She said she'd never seen anyone with true hyperemesis helped by Zofran. I just felt vindicated. Everyone else made me feel like an ingrate for not appreciating the wonder drug. There were lots of other good moments and Dr. Friend delivers at the hospital with the lowest C-section rate in the city. So I'm sold.

I did feel a little bit bad about dumping Dr. "I refer to women as 'Pregnant Ladies' and address them as 'Madame.'" But that was before he scared the daylights out of me for no reason, insisting that my anatomy-scan results merited an amnio when in fact the hospital geneticist assured me that there was absolutely no cause for concern. So that'll be it for him, though I still haven't placed the call...

I am eating everything now and going off the pump was no problem. Still very tired, but I guess that's what you get for taking to bed for two months.