The thing about choices, catches, calls, and all things of the sort is that they come with consequences. We are, of course, usually hoping for the good kind of those, but have to accept all comers, even the unforeseen kind. Which is why hindsight can be a bitch. And not only when what we see in the rearview mirror is a mistake. Uncertainty, as I found out, can be fairly profoundly haunting.
When the Cub was born, he spent a week in NICU, most of it because of an infection. Three weeks before he was born, I spent a weekend in the hospital on magnesium. I remember that when they put the loading bag of mag on, they said the dose would go down after the first bag. It didn't. I knew it was because the contractions didn't slow down yet-- I could read the monitors even if I couldn't feel them anymore. The thing is, though, that along with the IV fluids and the mag, they also gave me antibiotics, since I was presumed to be positive for group B strep-- it grew on the cultures from the amnio Dr. Best did after A died but before his membranes ruptured in the course of that induced labor. I could tell that when contractions didn't slow down soon after they started the mag, the thought was that we'd likely end up delivering that weekend, though it would be nice to make it past the 48 hours needed for steroids to take full effect. And so when contractions did slow down and eventually went pretty much to nil, I was more inclined to credit the antibiotics for presumably defeating the infection I presumed caused the PTL in the first place. We won't, of course, ever know for sure. But even Dr. Best says that my scenario is very possible, and is certainly no less possible than my contractions turning productive for no apparent reason that day.
Barely five days before that weekend at the hospital I wrote here about the crazy of being The Protector, the one person in the universe with the possibility of catching something that would save that baby's life. That weekend it really seemed like I might have. In the rearview mirror though? Things are a lot less clear when viewed from anywhere past point of Cub's delivery. Because see, the math goes fuzzy once the infection he was born in is included in the assessment. Now the assessment goes like this: I caught the PTL that started before 34 weeks, which helped to keep him cooking for those crucial weeks more, weeks he would've likely spent in NICU had he actually been born then. Yay for me! BUT what if he wasn't born when he was? What if the infection NICU ended up kicking in the balls was allowed to keep going on the inside? That could've ended a lot worse than a few weeks in NICU he was looking at had he been actually delivered when PTL hit. He could've died. He really could've died too.
This is the crazy-inducing what if game that I still can't wrap my mind around. This is really why I eventually agreed to see a shrink-- I knew we wanted another baby one day, and two things messed with my head when thinking about potentially trying again. First was that being The Protector was completely exhausting, but that because I did catch the PTL, it felt like I'd have to voluntarily sign up for precisely that level of crazy in any pregnancy that would follow. The other thing was that having made the catch on PTL, I may have set the Cub up for the danger of another infection later on in gestation. Some protector.
This is not resolved in my head to any satisfaction as yet. Though it helps that this has been a less eventful pregnancy in terms of the trips to L&D and happenings that precipitate those. Going into it I knew anxiety would come to stay, and I had to be sort of ok with it. Which I sort of am. But not enough to be zen or anything. And not enough that catching a life-threatening condition in our new puppy didn't then result in major anxiety blowback. Which is really why I am talking about this now-- I am going to tell the puppy story in the next day or two (provided I can stay awake enough to write, and the creek don't rise, of course), and I wanted to explain the headspace in which the crazy that fuels it all resides. The completely fucked up headspace, but the only headspace I've got.