Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Step Right Up. Take a Chance. Everyone's a Winner

Only a few posts ago, but a long time ago in blog years, I mentioned that Steve and I were headed to Emerald Isle, NC.

It was a great vacation on a beautiful island.

We hung out on the deck in our little beachfront cottage, cooked out on the old grill, ate lots of seafood, drank a few beers, and relaxed as never before.

We explored the island and visited Fort Macon. Below, Steve peruses the fort.

It was very windy all week long. I had some crazy beach hair.

Perhaps most momentous, however, was one of the last pictures we took:

I met this news with trepidation above all else. Steve was hopeful, but subdued. There was no way to know if the third time (our third pregnancy) would be the one that stuck. On the last morning of our vacation, before we headed back home, I spent some time sitting on the steps to the beach, looking at the ocean, trying to remind myself of my very small place in the world. The ocean always helps give me perspective, and I needed it, badly, after getting this news.

I was beside myself for the first few weeks, certain that each day would be the last one for this pregnancy. Even seeing the heartbeat at 6.5 weeks didn't make me feel any better -- we saw a heartbeat last time, too. I kept assuming it would be the same as before -- that is, until about 7 weeks, when the nausea hit harder than ever. That was the first real sign that this pregnancy might be different. (Because of the nausea, I had to cancel a much-anticipated business trip to Las Vegas.)

But still, for each doctor's appointment, I went in feeling stoic, bracing myself for bad news.

I'm at 15+ weeks now, and so far the news has only been good. This morning, for the first time, I entered the doctor's office without the certainty that I'd be leaving with a D&C appointment. Things are looking up, but we aren't out of the woods.

I'm considered high risk due to my unicornuate uterus, and I go to a perinatologist every two weeks now for a checkup to ensure everything is still closed up tight -- no signs yet of premature labor. I can't express what a relief it was at my first peri appointment, when I asked the doctor if she'd ever seen a UU before (typically the answer with past doctors had been "no" or "rarely"), and she said they see UUs regularly, because it's a very busy high-risk practice. I feel confident that we're doing everything we can do to stay on track.

We haven't told many people yet. I felt a deep aversion to sharing my news and having it go "viral" thoughout our friends and family. I didn't want to have to round up everyone who knew to tell them if things didn't work out. Even now, there are people in my family who don't know. I'm not sure when I'll feel comfortable telling them.

I don't believe that "God will watch over our baby." If that were true, there would be a lot more babies in this world -- in fact, there would be more in my house. If that were true, people would never miscarry or have stillborn babies or have preemies that can't survive. It actually upsets me deeply when people say things like, "this baby is God's plan" or "I know God is keeping my baby safe." It implies that people who experience devastating losses were abandoned by God.

I know the answer is supposedly "we never know what God has planned for us," and that, like Job, we are supposed to learn from the "gift" of devastating losses. But the fact that pregnancy is directly caused by unprotected sex, versus some sort of lightning strike from Heaven (Jesus/Mary notwithstanding), implies otherwise. And the fact that crackheads and murderers can have children if they have unprotected sex at the right time also seems to indicate something less than the hand of God in the mix.

I believe what science shows, which is that the human reproductive system is not perfect. For some of us, like myself, it is even farther from perfect. It's a crapshoot, and all we can do is make the best of it.

Here's hoping we've rolled our lucky 7 this time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

9-11 plus 7

I drove by the Pentagon last night, and saw the 9/11 Memorial all lit up. It's being dedicated today, 7 years later.

I felt like I should write something about 9/11. There's a lot I could write. I could write my story, but I've told my story before. I lived it, and I replayed it in my head for months afterward. And my story, while it seems harrowing to so many people who weren't in NYC or at the Pentagon that day, is nothing compared to the stories of many of my friends.

I'll just say that I feel so lucky that Steve and I are here, and together. And we are lucky that no one we are close to was killed on 9/11.

Life goes on. For most of us.