Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Blogging for Books 13: Trying Times

Blogging for Books #13: The Parent Trap (Guest Judge: Ann Douglas)
Parents. Most of us have them. Some of us are them. Most of us have had "moments" with our parents that either marked a greater understanding in the parent-child relationship, or signified the beginning of the end of our interaction. Similarly, those of us with kids have often experienced turning points where, in a blinding flash of reality, we truly "got" what it meant to be a parent.

For this month's Blogging for Books, write about a pivotal point in your life as a parent, OR write about a pivotal point in your relationship with one of your parents.


"But can you?" they each said, leaning close, eyes filled with genuine concern. "I mean, can you?"

This was the nearly universal response when we told the few people closest to us we were trying to have a baby. On the outside, I tried for a mix of philosophy and confidence, that my body knew if it could do this and like everyone else, we would have to wait and see if a baby was in our future. On the inside, I tried to quiet my fear by focusing on each step. Exercise. Stop taking meds. Start taking prenatal vitamins. Read about conception and pregnancy. In quiet moments, the rheumatologist from the pain clinic years ago would whisper in my mind, "The ligaments in your spine suffered some sort of trauma, a virus perhaps, that has gone but left damage. This is why your vertebrae sublux. As each one is freshly injured, it scars over, and becomes stronger but less flexible. Be careful if you ever get pregnant - there is a hormone that causes the spine to relax and that could be dangerous for you."

Hush, please, Doctor. That is just one theory and I need to be calm and focused now. I do not want to arrive at the end of my life without even trying to do one of the few things that really matters to me.

At three months of trying to conceive, the little home test displayed two pink lines. I ran up the stairs and leapt onto my sleeping husband, waving the white stick in his dazed, sleepy face. "We did it!" I sang. And then I slept. I slept anywhere, anytime - waking with my head on my arms, on my keyboard, waking in bed without any memory of how I got there. My back ached. My migraines continued. I scooped all the little pill bottles from my nightstand and put them away where I would not be tempted to seek relief. My right hip burned with pain until the leg went numb. I could not walk or sit well, could not eat or drink.

At eight weeks pregnant I entered the hospital. It is such a strange assortment of medications that they are willing to give a pregnant person. Muscle relaxants, pills for pain and for sleep, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, antihistamines. Some made me numb from the neck down. Some gave me nightmares. But the pill I really needed was labeled "Category D" which is known to be unsafe for pregnancy. Damn. Every day I struggled to eat and drink as my weight slipped down.

"If you can't eat, we are going to have to run a central line and give you TPN."
"We may have to move you to a nursing home. Your insurance is getting antsy about the length of your hospital stay."
No! No, I can do this!

Finally, my doctor researched exactly why the drug I needed was put in that category. At ten weeks my baby was beyond the problem it was known to cause. I was cleared to take the medicine. Within a day I was eating. I went home, hurting and miserable, but hopeful. Friends and family pitched in to help us. We are now at 23 weeks and all our tests show a healthy baby. I hurt, but I am managing and the day I can hold this baby beckons with the strength of the first star in the night sky.


At July 13, 2005 at 6:48 PM, Blogger Robin said...

So many people give advice and in the end,you have to do what is right for YOU.
My friend's cousin had a kidney transplant many years ago. She was told that getting pregnant could kill her. She did it anyway. She wanted a child. When Max was 5 years old, she decided to have another child. By then she was on dialysis 3 times a week and was not a candidate for another transplant: too many health issues. This second pregnancy should've killed her but she delivered her precious daughter about 2 years ago. She is still on dialysis and has good days and bad days but for her, it's all worth it.

I hope you have a wonderful pregnancy and that your pain is minimal. Personally, I feel like having Lillianna is the greatest gift in the world and I wouldn't trade it for anything. She is a joy and a blessing. How can you top that?

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