Thursday, September 11, 2008

The problem with other people's pregnancies not just that they are a reminder of what I almost had/don't have/will never have. It's also that every new pregnancy means however many months that I have another pregnant woman and baby to worry about. To pray about. To hope, through my jealousy, that they'll never have to know the things I now know.

My pg co-worker had an appointment this morning & was supposed to be in the office later. Around noon, my boss sent around an e-mail that sent chills down my spine. My co-worker had left her a message: she'd been sitting at the dr's office/hospital since before 8 that morning. She finally realized, after about two hours, that they had forgotten all about her (!!). Then, the ultrasound machine "didn't work." And now she had to wait some more, because the dr was in surgery but "wanted to talk to her." So she wouldn't be in the office after all -- after her appointment was (finally) done, she was heading home and would "work" from there.

To anyone else, this is one of those "dr's offices, what can ya do?" bureaucractic bungles that you roll your eyes at. (And given what I've heard about this particular hospital, I am not at all surprised...!)

Any mother who has ever experienced a stillbirth, however, will no doubt be reading between the lines, as I did, and letting their imaginations run amok. Broken machine? The dr wants to "talk" to her??

I honestly felt physically ill for awhile. I even e-mailed dh about it. I waited all afternoon, bracing myself for another call or e-mail... which, thankfully, never came.

I will still be holding my breath tomorrow morning, though. And probably every morning until I hear that the baby is safely here, and everyone is OK.

My co-worker lives in the same general neck of the woods as I do -- the same area that the pregnancy loss support group that dh & I help facilitate draws clients from. One of my greatest nightmares is to have someone that I know come walking through the doors at one of our meetings.

Not only that -- the hospital where she is set to deliver her baby has had a troubled history when it comes to obstetrics. They will tell you all is well now, of course -- but at one point, a few years back, there was talk of closing the unit entirely (leaving a population of several hundred thousand people without obstetric services & travelling to other hospitals further afield for care), because of the "problems" there, which were well documented in several of the local newspapers. Let's just say that I have heard about some of those problems firsthand, but for reasons of confidentiality cannot discuss them with her (or here). She IS aware of the hospital's reputation -- & in fact switched drs mid-pregnancy because of what she'd heard from a friend -- but she is not aware in the same way that I am, I am sure.

So many secrets to keep. So many emotions to keep a lid on. I know pregnant women often say they feel like they're going to "pop." Right now, I do too. Just a little while longer...

Update, Friday morning: All is well... she's is just stressed out, understandably. It HAS been a stressful pregnancy for her (me too, lol). She was telling me about her day yesterday & that she has to go back in for more bloodwork tomorrow, saying, "What else can go wrong?" While I sat there with a semi-smile frozen on my face thinking, "You really, REALLY don't want to know..."


  1. Yikes. I've never experienced a pregnancy, so I can't completely relate. But knowing that someone might be experiencing a loss? Yes, definitely heartbreaking. I'll keep your co-worker in my thoughts ...

  2. Oh Lori, I can relate to your description of worrying for others' pregnancies. I do it, too, hoping they don't ever know what I know -- when I hear someone talking about how they've been trying for months and they're starting to worry; when someone announces a pregnancy very early; etc. I hope your coworker arrives this morning with her big belly complaining about her annoying wait for the doctor.

    It's a double edged sword, though, isn't it?

  3. Wow, I hope your coworker and her baby are OK. I don't know why, in a city with world-class hospitals, she is going to one that has a questionable reputation. That is not a chance that anyone who has better knowledge of pregnancy complications would take.

    I am incredulous when people ask why I'm choosing to deliver at the big city hospital, which is 15 minutes from my house and absolutely top notch, when the birthing suites at other, suburban hospitals are "SO much nicer." Because having the sixth-best NICU in the country right next door is about a thousand times more important than having a posh birthing suite! But many people just do not think of that. They've never had to.

    I have not experienced pregnancy loss, but a few years ago when I didn't hear baby news for 5 days after a friend's induction, red flags went up immediately and deservedly. Her baby was healthy, but she'd had a high-risk delivery.

  4. This is why I love you--because you care so deeply not despite but because. I hope everything is okay and the extra blood work is nothing. Is that what the doctor wanted to talk to her about?

  5. Mel -- yes, & the results of her NST & u/s (the baby was breech but is now head down). Thanks for the kind words. : )

  6. Yes, when the doctor "wants to talk to you," it almost never means anything good. I understand why you were on pins and needles.

  7. Yes, we are more prone to think about what can go wrong, because we know it so well.

  8. When the unthinkable happens to you, you are fully cognizant of the fact that no one is immune. It's a total gut reaction - something a little off, not hearing for a bit from someone you know and suddenly your mind leaps to "the worst" because you know the worst intimately, you and he are "old friends".

    You're the one hitting the deck with your arms over your head every time a car backfires.

    Hope your coworkers pg goes by quickly and smoothly - for both of your sakes.

  9. I hope your friend gets some good news in the coming days - it must be reassuring to her to have someone to talk to.

  10. {{{hugs}}}
    You have such a big heart, Loribeth.

  11. Ok, just came from another comment where I said that I think pregnant women are really among some of the last of my grief tangles that I can't undo (yet), but maybe you've hit it -- maybe it's not just the jealousy, but the fear. Maybe it's both all balled up when I get that sick stomach feeling. I actually looked at a pregnant women from Bella's school the other day, and her two kids in tow, and thought, "What on earth would she do if she lost this pregnancy?" (and not in a spiteful way, mind you).

    There really is more to let go here, isn't there. Sigh. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  12. It is just so generous of you to be so concerned. It would be easy for you to isolate yourself from these situations and put up wals... but not matter how painful the memory triggers, you always stand by and pull for other women.

    I don't comment so often, but I always read your posts. And this is why.

  13. I find myself holding my breath now for every pregnant person I know. Now that I have first-hand experience of what can go wrong, it's hard to believe that anything can go right for anyone. And it is a double edged sword. Other people's pregnancies make me sad for Hannah, but they also stress me out because I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through this. It's a no-win situation!

  14. sometimes the newly pregnant woman's lack of experience with grief makes me nervous. I always think of the house of cards. I tend to avoid pregnant women and babies.