Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some Things Are Just Out of Your Control

Today at work I saw a presentation by Al Haynes, captain of United Flight 232, which crashed in 1989 in Sioux City, Iowa. Captain Haynes detailed 45 minutes in the air during which he and his co-pilots desperately tried to maneuver their crippled plane toward an airport after a design flaw caused engine #2, on the tail, to break off and spray shrapnel across the rear of the plane, slicing through key hydraulic mechanisms. The pilots flew the plane using nothing but the throttles on the two remaining engines. In the end, the plane crash-landed in a corn field at the Sioux City Airport. Miraculously, 185 of the 296 people aboard the plane survived.

Later, investigators tried to recreate the crew's flight and landing under the same conditions, and were unable to do so. Captain Haynes detailed conversations he had with DC-10 experts who said that the breakdown that occurred was impossible, as was flying the plane if that breakdown *did* occur. The captain said it was because of a few factors -- luck, communications, preparation, execution, and cooperation -- that so many of the passengers survived. And luck was #1.

Then, Captain Haynes moved beyond the standard disaster story into the personal. He said he gives these talks because it helps him heal, even 19 years later. He told us that his family has had its share of losses, with the sudden loss of his wife, the death of his son in a motorcycle accident, and a close call with his daughter, who needed a bone marrow transplant. He said the biggest lesson he learned is that some things are just out of your control. And in the end, you have to just keep going and live your life.


Monday was my one-year blog anniversary. For some reason, my thoughts turned to my Mother's Day post last year, when I wondered if I'd have reason to celebrate this year. Then I found out 10 days later that that pregnancy, my second, had ended. So there will be no celebration for me this time. I'll still call my mom like I do every year. I'm sure Steve will call his. And who knows what next year will bring.

One of the areas my job touches on is risk management, and perception is a major issue. No matter what the statistics are for the likelihood of a given event, humans tend to believe that if something has never happened, it never will (until 2005, few really believed a hurricane could devastate New Orleans), and we also tend to believe that the most recent disaster is extremely likely (prepping like crazy for hurricanes after Katrina). I guess that's what I'm doing here, too -- thinking that I'll never be able to get the job done, and that the same pregnancy disaster will happen again and again.

I know it's only been a few months on the fertility drugs, but it seems like a long time. I hate taking the hormones. I hate that one of the hormones mimics the symptoms of pregnancy. I hate that I'm bloated and my chest is too big. I hate having to insert suppositories twice a day starting on Day 9. I hate having bright green discharge and having to wear a pantyliner 2/3 of the month. I hate that some friends cut me out of their lives when they got pregnant, or when they hit the second trimester. I hate that I can't make firm plans to go out of town until I know when my Day 1 is.

I want to just say screw this whole thing. It's completely out of my control.

But in the end, I have to just keep going and live my life.


sara said...

I find that's one of the hardest things to do is to just live your life when infertility seems to occupy and dictate so much of it. I hope that next mother's day is a little different than this one for you. Sending some good thoughts you way :-)

Rebecca said...

Maybe it's the "doing what you hate" element to most aspects of life. I remember The Hates after getting pregnant: pissing myself every time I sneezed or coughed or laughed or breathed; being a pariah in class; clothes not fitting, not even underwear. I remember The Hates after Gabe was born: having to take 70 pounds of crap with us everywhere we went; spit-up on every piece of clothing I owned, none of which ever fit right again anyway; having the kind of cabin fever that drives people to federal crimes. I can't even begin to enumerate The Hates now that Gabe is an adolescent. I loved being pregnant and you know how much I love Gabe, but The Hates can be serious, brief, long, passing -- all kinds. These Hates may go away once you get pregnant, but Other Hates may come too. If I ever had to describe you to someone else, I might just say, "Megan is the kind of person who can live through The Hates and get to the other side of them. She is that amazing."

Mel said...

Your words could have come out of my mouth. I am so sorry.
Infertility is shit.
The elusive successful pregnancy feels like a joke somedays.

Angie said...

I agree, everything you wrote could have come from me. Infertility just sucks. Period. Speaking of period...I keep thinking that when mine shows up I should just say screw it, grab DH, and plan a trip. I can't even remember what it's like to not have to worry about what CD I am on before doing something. And spontaneity? Ha! What's that? Maybe it is time for me to bring it back. Sorry...this is your blog, not mine. I just want you to know that you aren't alone.

I hope that next Mother's Day brings you a reason to celebrate.