Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The last box

Last week I picked up my last box of progesterone suppositories for this pregnancy. One way or another, there is a conclusion to at least part of this process that is becoming visible. Clearly visible, countable now, two at a time, if I would count, in the ever-diminishing number of suppositories left in the little white box. Dr.Best thinks I could've halved the dose starting this week, but the extent to which I am apparently willing to live dangerously is skipping this morning's dose. I am going back to two doses a day tomorrow, but will skip a dose here and there if it's more convenient from now on.

What is weird is that this may be the calmest, or most detached, I have ever been during a pregnancy. I can actually go for long stretches of time without thinking about it, without even being aware of it. Every time before this time there was always this soundtrack, this awareness, due, I think, to the brief roller coaster ride that was my first pregnancy. This time, there are long stretches without.

It's not like I go on for days without remembering. I am not even sure there are stretches of uninterrupted hours. I know every time I go to the bathroom, and I check the toilet paper, yes I do. I know when I am getting dressed, although all of the pants I was wearing in December still fit, and am I ever grateful for that. I know, too, obviously, when it's progesterone time. I know when I am hungry, and oftentimes when I am otherwise inexplicably tired. Or nauseous. I started bringing a lemon to work for if I need to suck on it. But the last one I brought has been sitting on my desk for three days, perfectly whole-- I haven't been nauseous enough to need its services. But I remember when I see it. I don't always remember when I see obviously pregnant women, at least not right away.

When I first realized the difference in how I am moving through this pregnancy, my first instinct was to pat myself on the back-- way to go in holding off teh crazy. My second was to call it a detachment and to wonder how healthy it was, and to promptly decide that I cared more about surviving than about healthy right at the moment. But then it occurred to me that the place of the constant soundtrack, constant awareness? That place is taken by the one about how my son is dead. Truthfully, I can probably find moments when I am not consciously aware of that soundtrack either, but these are rare and far between, and they have to require my full mental capacity. So the times I am actually teaching, in front of the class, I am mostly fully in the moment (mostly because the time we were talking about that miscarriage paper from a few weeks back clearly doesn't count). Will it always be like this? I seem used to this soundtrack now, and am not so sure I want to hear that it goes away.

I am not sure whether the upshot of the above is still me bragging about how I am rocking the unawareness thing, or just some musings. But if I was bragging, I should've really done it sometime before today. Because today, right around the time I was supposed to be leaving my office to go teach my section, I got hit with some nasty gastrointestinal distress. I was late to my class, and on the way I recalled similarly thorough episodes shortly before the onset of labor with both of my children as well as right before my miscarriage started to make itself noticed. And so it began-- working myself into frenzy over whether this pregnancy was going to prove another fool's errand.

Remarkable thing was that I still managed to not think about the pregnancy for the duration of my class. After it was over, though, and after I nearly gave myself whiplash thinking about whether to call or not, I called and asked to come in for the first doppler listen of this go-round. Result: audible heart beat heard, somewhere between 160 and 170, and one symptom of doom and gloom, now with much less predictive value. The nice nurse practitioner working triage today freaked me right out by talking about "[my] baby." I didn't correct her, but let me tell you I was not exactly on board with that designation.

It has not escaped my attention that the freakout followed fairly closely my experimental no morning progesterone protocol. I am, however, tempted to declare any connection between the two events to be purely coincidental and in no way causal.


niobe said...

I kind of like the idea of not thinking about things. But, then again, I'm the one who told the clinic not to give me any updates, so I have absolutely no idea what's going on. But I guess you don't have that option.

Bon said...

i truly wish i could turn off my brain about all things pregnancy-related until at least mid-way through the second trimester, until quickening, until there is the physical belly reminder. but i never have been able to...once i start to try, the internal narrative is always on hyper-alert, with the surreality and the fear of the fool's errand heightened too.

i think it is cool that you are on the last box of progesterone. when will you stop? 12 weeks?

christina(apronstrings) said...

i too, almost forget that i am p_______. i think it's denial, and i've read that denial can be a healthy way to come. anything that keeps you from stressing every moment can't be bad.
when you can feel little one kick, it will get better.

serenity said...

I think it's human nature to try and detach just a bit, to protect ourselves from the possibility that we might be hurt again.

And frankly, I think you're spot on in telling yourself that there's no right or wrong way to get through your pregnancy. It is what it is... and the fear won't fully go away until you're holding a healthy baby in your arms.

So do what you have to do. Giving yourself the emotional leeway to cope however you need to? I think it's supremely healthy.

I do remember stopping the progesterone supplements - the absolute fear. Because, you know. Somehow it was the progesterone that was keeping me pregnant.

Hang in there. You're doing great.

Magpie said...

My successful pregnancy was with a clinic that had a very short standard protocol for progesterone supplementation. When he told me I could stop, I was terrified. So I finished out the bottle of PIO - essentially giving myself painful injection of PIO on a VOLUNTARY basis. But it made me feel better.

c. said...

Call it detached, or denial, or self-preservation. I assume we do what we do in order to get through. We tread ever-so-lightly for 38+ weeks, hoping that the result is better than it was the last time (and by better, I mean alive). I mean, I'm so not there yet. But I want to be. I really want to be pregnant and detached someday.

The heartbeat must have sounded like music. It's hard to forget that.

CLC said...

I think our body does what's necessary to survive so if you are in denial, so be it. I can't imagine that anyone would feel any other way than the way you do in a subsequent pregnancy after a tragic loss. Eventually, I think you will find yourself cautiously optimistic as the pregnancy progresses. Obviously this is all a guess on my part. I guess it's my hope for all of us.

Tash said...

I tried very hard to have unawareness override fear. Like the above, I too believe this is simply a defense mechanism, as much as checking the toilet paper every time you go. There is such a thing as knowing too much, and we're unfortunately in that place. It's nice to be able to simply dial it back and revel in the not-knowing, the simple heartbeat. I hope it brought you at least a few hours of peace. May there be more hours like this.

meg said...

Denial is the only way to do it, in my opinion. I have found that to help, in any case.

Ahuva Batya said...

I hope you are able to balance between the back-ground worry, and the ability to give yourself some peace in your mind. I can only imagine how hard that is to do.

anarchist mom said...

c:"I mean, I'm so not there yet. But I want to be. I really want to be pregnant and detached someday.
The heartbeat must have sounded like music. It's hard to forget that."

Word. The thought of hearing a heartbeat again brings me tears of pain and tinges of hope. I still remember the last time I heard my sons. Sheer music :(

anarchist mom said...

What happens if detachment is how I coped with my first pregnancies? I hope its not the opposite, I'm going to be a freaking wreck. I like the idea that there is no right or wrong way, but I never believe it for myself. I wish you strength and courage.