Apr 9, 2012

on helplessness

The past week has been hard and sad. For the past month I have felt like I was in a very fragile place but doing a pretty good job keeping it together. But needing this surgery, the invasiveness of having no control over my body (again) and everything surrounding it really brought me to a low place. I think it is also the holidays and being surrounded by babies and children and families, too.

When I lost N&A, I was really worried about the bitter and jealousy returning. There was a stretch of time during our infertility struggles when I felt very jealous and bitter of others' good fortune. The jealousy and bitterness was something that came from a very dark place and honestly made me feel pretty crappy about myself. It was something that felt destructive and I made a very conscious effort to work through it. I like to believe I mostly succeeded on this front.

In the aftermath of their birth & death, I was relieved that the bitterness and jealousy didn't return, or at least not in the way that I feared. I didn't want any baby in some abstract sense; I wanted them - my specific babies. Other babies felt irrelevant.

Passover was the first time I was subjected to babies and young children in large doses since our loss. It was much harder than I expected, not because I was jealous, but because it was such a visceral reminder of everything I can't do for my babies. A screaming baby in need of soothing is enough to get me wailing. Because the baby can be soothed. Because there is something her mother can do for her.

I never got to do anything, really, for my babies. It is the most helpless feeling I can imagine, I think, to give birth to a living baby to whom neither you nor medical science can help. To give birth to a living baby who by virtue of leaving your body is destined to die. Perhaps giving birth to Aminadav was in fact doing him a kind of favor because of his suffering - but again, I always come back to it - when I gave birth to Naava I killed her.

I never even held Naava. Sometimes I wonder if I lack basic maternal instincts. One day a couple of weeks after their death, our cleaning lady pulled me close and said "Maybe your soul wasn't ready yet to accept them."

During more rational hours, this seems like a hideous proposition - after all those failed fertility treatments, our first miscarriage, all that longing - my soul wasn't ready yet to be their mother? But why didn't I know instinctively to hold my babies, especially my living one? No one encouraged me or told me to. I was in shock. It all happened to so quickly. I will know better for next time. These are my alibis. But why didn't I just intuitively understand to do it?

I wasn't able to do anything physical for my babies in this world. I love(d) them and think of them constantly. Winter is over and the days are becoming long and hot. I do not think it will rain again. G-d willing we will somehow bring a living child into this world (though that seems to become increasingly daunting to think about with every new complication). But nothing is going to bring these babies back; no amount of magical thinking or new medical knowledge or regrets realized & examined.

Apr 3, 2012

surgery tomorrow

Wish me luck - this thing is supposed to come out tomorrow. We did a doppler ultrasound yesterday that showed this thing is taking up most of my uterus and has a fantastic blood supply. I think it is the blood supply that suggests my uterus is a ticking hemorrhage time bomb and is encouraging them to move before Passover. They actually won't be 100% sure it is placenta until they biopsy it - it could also be degenerating fibroid or something else. I learned something interesting and freaky today - you can have a molar pregnancy that coexists with normal fetus(es). One doctor proposed the possibility that this could be my case, but thankfully we've ruled that out. I hope I will have a good report tomorrow. It is very disappointing that tomorrow is when we were supposed to fly to the states.

Apr 1, 2012

My Uterus - an artist's rendition

Apropos to my last post-

As we've consulted with others for a second opinion* re: the retained placenta and issues pertaining to when to operate and whether it's ok to travel, they've seemed a bit befuddled by the lack of images from the hysteroscopy to depict exactly how much placenta is still in my uterus (like are we talking about a small fragment or a full placenta, for example). Naturally the gynecologists are wary of a second-hand description coming from an eye surgeon and his "scientist"** wife . I respect that. Anyhow, thank goodness on the official form for my hospital re-re-admission (aka return to The Slammer), Prof. S. drew this awesome picture of my uterus with his official stamp and John Hancock on it, lest any colleague require a visual depicting exactly what is going on (notice the accuracy of the three fibroids including the third one which is larger, more misshapen, and very accurately obliterated by angry scribbles of retained placental tissue).


* We have nothing against Prof. S, but the situation is not so clear-cut given our grandiose travel plans... "between a rock and a hard place" he said, except he didn't really say exactly that, he used some Hebrew expression which I now forget which means the same thing.

** During the three weeks of the year when she is not having a gynecological or obstetrical emergency.


In really sad news, a member of our community is being induced today during her 22nd week, after a recent ultrasound showed the baby had no heartbeat. Today I visited her in the same ward, in the same room, where I gave birth to Aminadav and Naava. I feel so sad for her. I still don't know why such terrible things happen to good people.

It's one month today since I pPROMed and my body abandoned my babies (or at least abandoned Aminadav; oftentimes I believe I was the one to abandon Naava, though logically I know there was no way in hell my doctors were about to agree to attempt to perform a delayed interval delivery). Not one month since I gave birth and death to my two little ones, but one month since that awful ambulance ride in my bedroom slippers through a hazy, gray, cold Jerusalem morning when my world as I knew it came crashing down.