Sunday, February 17, 2008

What If

I have spent much of my adult life dealing with "what if's". What if I don't get pg, what if this treatment doesn't work, what if I miscarry now that I am pg, and on and on . . . Makes you a little crazy sometimes trying to cope with all the things that might happen, let alone the things that actually do.

I visited my doctor in St. Louis last Friday. You see, my monthly cycles are rapidly turning into a month long nightmare. Without sharing TMI, let's just say - I have maybe one decent week a month and the rest I am either morphing into some psychotic female version of Mr. Hyde (I could make the Barber of Fleet Street look like a downright pleasant fellow) or taking up residence for a few days on end in the bathroom and living on Ibuprofen and Diet Cola. She agreed with me - what I put up with each month lately is a bit on the excessive side. We discussed, she examined and then sent me for an ultrasound with another doctor to rule out any ugly potential causes for the problem. Pretty much what I figured - we are trying a hormonal route first, since all my problems started with a hormonal issue and seem to still be rooted there. I understand this - no need to step up to the drastic unless drastic means are warranted and the rest of the less drastic has been exhausted or eliminated first. Plus, I was told that drastic means mean I need to be completely serious about being through having children. Well, I kind of thought I was. I mean, having another child just wasn't an option right, wanting to or no? This was a very interesting part of the visit. At my last csection, my bladder tore. I was seeing a different doc, a local one, with the idea that having the baby in town would somehow be more convenient than having the baby out of town a good 100 miles down the interstate from home, despite having already done just that on 3 occasions prior. Ahhhh, one of those decisions I will probably finish my days still second guessing. At any rate - the circumstances were such that all that scarring from the previous 5 sections and the endometriosis presented my delivering doctor with an odd predicament. Where there were once two organs, there is now one of a sort. So, I either have a Bluterus or a Bladderus - however you want to look at it, but there it is. One bladder fused completely and utterly to one uterus. My St. Louis doc was not impressed that the doctor who delivered my last baby let my bladder tear. She said she would have cut through it if she had to, particularly if there was a question of tearing - but at least then she would be in control of the damage. I don't think it was so much negligence on his part as more over confidence. I think he overestimated his superhuman abilities a bit and while was able to deliver the head and one shoulder without trouble, that last shoulder came out too fast and well - there you go, I end up with a catheter for nine days and very grateful at the end of it all that the plumbing still works adequately. He repaired it well enough. Throughout the entire pregnancy and definitely after this delivery, I was given the strong impression that having any more children would be a definite bad thing. (Now I have to question the intelligence of telling a woman who is already pg and facing a necessary csection, that it is dangerous and she shouldn't do it. Isn't that a bit like buying flood insurance after the basement is filled with water? Besides, I was already dealing with the usual litany of my own what ifs, so their added pronouncement of doom and gloom - soooooo not helpful) So, I tell you all this because not only did my StL doc think another child was not completely out of the question, if I wanted, but also the doctor who did my ultrasound and examined my female parts - particularly the Bluterus/Bladderus. Huh? Miss Julie say what?? So, is it a small town, male doc thing and the female doctors in the big city are more enlightened or smoking something or what? I have to admit, I hadn't given it any thought until they suggested it. I asked about the thinning scarline - isn't that a deal breaker right there? Small, slight chance it could be an issue - but they thought it would probably hold since it has through 6 and a lot of other abuse already. How about the Bluterus/Bladderus thing - issue there? C'mon, surely that was the trump card as I still would like to retain the ability to pee for the rest of my life. We know it's an issue - we go in with that in mind and fix it/take care of it. You don't say...?

It is a heady thing - to go from having to take fertility drugs to ovulate, living and dying by the numbers on the BBT, scheduling physical intimacy and the whole kit and caboodle of conception being an almost team sport complete with cheerleaders and syringes suddenly, one day to wake up and discover that without the drugs and "people" and scans and without sticking a glass tube in your mouth every morning or a needle in your gut, that you have conceived a baby. I spent years, years, wanting that so desperately - to be "normal". All my angels, my first four kids - thinking I was done because I no longer had insurance to cover even just my meds and then two babies, no drugs, no miscarriages, no drama. Once I got over the shock - I have to admit that having done it the normal way was pretty darn cool, and part of me definitely definitely wonders if I could still do it. Seriously - imagine that you just performed a perfect back triple somersault with a twist after spending more than a decade trying to do one. Would you stop there or keep doing it now that you had the hang of it? Of course, I do know there is considerably more at stake to consider other than just if I could do it again - but I went to the doctor's office for a solution to one problem and came away with a what if. What if. Which leads me to another thought - when is enough enough? I've been happy and goodness sakes grateful with what I have gotten long before I got here and long before this recent what if. I also get the sense that no matter how many children more I had, I would always feel like someone is missing - because, frankly my dear Scarlet, someone is and someone will always be missing and no matter how many perfect back triple somersaults with a twist I perform, I won't get them back - at least not in this lifetime.

And now (after spending the last few death defyingly long paragraphs pandering to my possibly misbegotten impression that people would even be remotely interested in any part of all that) I'm going to do what I use to do when I found myself plagued with incessant anxiety and fears over the what ifs. I'm going to refocus my attention back to what is.

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