Thursday, March 27, 2008

Freudian "slip"

So I just did the most outrageous thing.
Poor Greg's cousin. She was 32 weeks along and yesterday her pre-eclampsia got really serious so they delivered her little son, Spence, at 2.9 lbs, and she is all wired up in the ICU with her high blood pressure. Spence is doing well, on oxygen but breathing on his own. Everyone is pretty panicked, of course, and the poor mom is still unable to see or hold her child because she's so sick herself. I do feel very sorry for all of them.
BUT.. there is only one alternative scenario to the above scene. They would both be dead. Her blood pressure was off the charts, she was swelling up, we all know where this ends up. Not so great for the little one either. So 100 years ago, if this happened? Goodbye. The end. Sorry to be morbid.
So I actually feel pretty glad that they are both stable and doing relatively well. I hope, and pray, that everything is okay. But this is good, so far. As I write this I am terrified that something could go wrong. But it hasn't, so we have to be grateful, right? Grateful that so far, they have saved them both?
Anyway, the grandmother of this whole situation just called me by accident, instead of Greg's mom. I asked her how the mom and baby were doing, and there was a pause, kind of a long one, and a deep breath, during which my heart absolutely plummeted into the depths of my belly. And then she says, "Well, as stable as you can be when you're 2.9 pounds"
And it popped right out of my mouth, without my even thinking. I said,
"Well, one of mine didn't make it at all so that sounds pretty good to me"

This is the kind of reply I usually think about saying after the conversation is over. But this time, it just popped out. I wonder if it made her think?
Or not?

While I realize that this situation is absolutely terrifying, and also legitimately dangerous, could it not hurt to be somewhat optimistic given the options? Must we always compare our current state to the perfect birth we expected, rather than comparing our current circumstance to the alternative outcomes, which might include death of one or both parties? I don't think anyone wants to be there, do you?


mm said...

Okay, I'm going to share this and hopefully you can feel better.
My friend Raenne has had two still born babes. And just last week, she FINALLY had a beautiful pink, squalling, if small babe (3 lbs).
When we were in the nicu re-introducing me to her... One of the nurses said how well babe was doing considering how small and blah blah blah... at which point Raenne without batting an eye said.
Well, my last two never turned this colour, breathed or wet a diaper. Ever. This is HEAVEN for me.
I snorted in an effort to not laugh at the look on the nurses face.
Guess she didn't read the extended notes about this patients mama huh?
It isn't just you. =)

sweetsalty kate said...

The best philosophy is always relativity. The NICU is heaven to you, having had a still baby. To someone who hasn't, the NICU is terrifying. And it holds no guarantees, and is often a marker for a lifetime of complications.

No one has a monopoly on grief. If that was the case, then I should just buck up and be happy, having only lost one of two babies. Then I should be fine, right? But "At least you got to take one home..." is, without a doubt, the most asshat thing anyone could ever say.

Many people have written to me having had miscarriages, even late-term ones, and have qualified their emails with, "Well, it's nothing to what you went through, but it broke my heart..."

By mesaure of intensity I guess a miscarriage is "less" than what I went through. But who am I to say? I am not that woman, and she is not me. That miscarriage was an explosion in her life, just as losing Liam was in mine.


sweetsalty kate said...

Me again. Came back to temper that last comment, written at 8 AM on my way out the door in a rush.

I didn't mean to sound harsh, and the 'asshat' was directed at joe public, not to you at all. The way you feel is the way every woman feels, having lost a child. When we were in the NICU I'd see other babies in there - giants at 3 or 4 pounds compared to Liam and Ben's 2 pounds - and assume all of their mothers were on a cakewalk compared to me.

But soon enough I came around to relativity, only because logic demands it. Comparing trauma to trauma gets us nowhere because I am me, and you are you, and all we have our own individual context. We all despair regardless of life-on-paper.

But... easier said than done. Part of the rage is self-pity, and self-pity is really, really hard to shake. I've got it in spades.

Sorry again if my first attempt was rough around the edges. What I meant to say is that I know how you feel, and I struggle with you.

Aimee said...

Having been in ICU hooked up to all sorts of crap with high blood pressure that DID nearly kill me and DID kill my baby...I can say that I feel for this woman. I know how much she wants to hold her baby. All hooked up and feeling like crap because of the Mg they have you on...I've been there.

And boy, the ache to hold the baby is so intense.

I never held mine. I hope she gets to hold hers.