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.