So, you had your baby

In a country like Canada, where we have year long maternity leave, I have to confess, I'm surprised that this comes up all. Obviously I left pregnant. When you saw me on the 1st of December I was 6 months along. I looked pregnant. Just 4 months later, I am clearly not pregnant. Tell me, is there any way this could have ended well? How many women do you know that don't take at least 6 months of leave?

And then, I have to tell them. Yes, I had our baby. He was born 15 weeks premature. He didn't survive. And there's this awful silence. And no one quite knows what to say. What do you say to the mother of a dead baby? Mostly they say "I'm sorry" Or "That's sad", and I don't know what to say to them. Do I say thank you? It's not like it's a compliment. I tend to say, "Yes, we are too"

I have a friend who suggests that I had out business cards. One side with the basic facts, the other side with pre-eclampsia facts. Like the most important one. Don't tell me that this was just a fluke, and it won't happen again. Because statistically, I have a 60% chance of recurrence. Babies die, and sometimes the very best medical minds don't know why, and everyone thinks they can offer a quick fix.

We pretend in pregnancy that we control everything. If I take no drugs, eat 15 servings of vegetables and take Folic Acid, everything will be ok. And so we have ultrasounds, to find any possible problem. We go to doctors, we have blood tests, we medically manage childbirth. We account for weight gain. We go to special exercise classes, everyone has the epidural. We control every step of the pregnancy and delivery. At least when things go well.

And I did this too. I am no different than women who did every medical thing. I didn't follow standard medical protocol, but I did believe that I was insuring myself against a bad outcome for pregnancy, because I was staying away from those officious bad medical doctor's, who are always tinkering with pregnancy. I was going with a midwife, and I was going to have a great, non invasive pregnancy. Cause women knew so much more than all those stupid male doctor's!

What about when things don't work? When there is no control? My very best friend is emphatic that I will see a doctor in my next pregnancy. She and her partner are quite willing to drag me kicking and screaming. And I understand. She witnessed the pain. She saw me the morning of Gabriel's funeral. She saw my pain, the anguish, the bereftness. And there's that hope - the doctor's will solve this. They will make sure this doesn't happen.

But that's what I have learned - there is no control. And you make the best decisions you can, as you go through the process. All of this is a round about post in response to a comment in my This I believe post. Someone suggested that I was going to hurt my baby next time, if I had ultrasounds. And the comment has weighed on my mind. Because there was me, loosing weight and not taking diclectin. And for the record, I probably would do the same thing next time. Obviously I care passionately about not hurting my child.

I'll directly answer the comment by saying this: Vaccines, computers, pesticides, preservatives in our food and hormones in our meat are blamed for the rise in autism. I don't know, maybe ultrasound plays a role. I'm not a huge fan of them. And until I developed pre-e, I would have only had one.

Life is always about risk and managing risk. Some days Mr. Spit and I think we are crazy to try again at all. Some days it seems like a huge risk. But, we manage risk in the best ways we can. Ultrasound plays a part in managing a high risk pregnancy. It's one of the best ways we have to tell that a baby is still growing. And that matters a whole lot in pre-e. So does lab work, so do blood pressure trends, so does medication, and so does something as old fashioned as a kick count. All of those things will help to reassure me that we are doing absolutely everything we can to help this pregnancy result in a live, screaming baby. And like I said before, once you are there, how you got there doesn't matter much. Maybe you need to have lost a baby to understand this. It's always easy to insist that everyone should do pregnancy in a particular way, when you have had 40 weeks of bliss.

I'll spend the rest of a next pregnancy working with my midwife to keep things as low key as possible, in a high risk situation. I'll pray for the best, and the strength to handle the worst. But, I suspect there will be ultrasounds. And in the end, I'm not going to loose much sleep about it, because there is little I can do to control what's going to be a high risk pregnancy. When faced against the risk of having another baby die, trust me, some minuscule risk of autism really doesn't register on my risk management radar screen. Again, I have learned this: I will have the birth I will have. There's not all that much I can do about it, save pray.

Somehow, I'll manage. And God willing I'll answer yes! when someone asks if I had my next baby.