Saturday, March 10, 2007

et ils eurent beaucoup d'enfants

Catherine at Everything is Under Control wrote a post a little while ago that I couldn't stop thinking about. Read it yourself, but the gist of it was that sometimes it seems like people assume that the only way to "cure" the loss of a child is, as she puts it, to "go on to have a subsequent child."

It's a sad thought, not just because, obviously, a new baby won't replace the one that's gone, but because in many cases (like mine, I suppose) it just isn't an option. Oh, theoretically, I could certainly try again. We have a bunch of frozen embryos, probably enough for two or three tries -- even with the expected loss through unfreezing.

But, but, but . . . The odds that this would happen to me again are extremely high. It's far from impossible to develop preeclampsia in one pregnancy and not in another, but when it happens, as it did to me, so early and so severely, I would be running an enormous risk of ending up pretty much exactly where I am now.

Some kinds of pregnancy or neonatal loss don't really increase your chances of recurrence all that much -- if at all. But I would be playing with fire and I know it.


Bronwyn said...

Yeah, I don't know where it leaves those of us who are unable (or unwilling) to go through another pregnancy. Does that mean we are forever denied a happy ending?

frumiousb said...

I just found this blog through a Google alert about preeclampsia. I just lost my only daughter (after years of infertility) to preeclampsia/HELLP this past Christmas. We're also struggling with whether to try again. Like you, since I got the HELLP so early and so severely, my chances of getting it again are very high and I'm not sure how many more dead babies I can take. Anyhow, this isn't saying anything in particular besides that this post hit home.

Have you done the full testing cycle to determine your potential risk factors? I'm doing all that in April...

niobe said...

frumiousb My email to you bounced -- so I'm answering you here. I am so, so sorry that this happened to you. I know I can bear my own pain, but it seems monstrously unfair that other people have to suffer.

I'm not sure what kind of testing you're planning to undergo. My understanding is that, unless they can find some kind of underlying condition that predisposes you to preeclampsia, that the odds they give you are really just educated guesses.

Coincidentally (you're in Amsterdam, right?), on the theory -- which I know I read somewhere -- that the best cure for sorrow is to learn something new, I decided recently that I should try to learn Dutch.

Of course this is a completely useless enterprise, since I'm sure that practically everyone in the Netherlands is more fluent in English than I'll ever be in Dutch. But in any event, last night, I was reading and listening to these lines:

en in alle gewesten
wordt de stem van het water
met zijn eeuwige rampen
gevreesd en gehoord

Which is probably some incredibly well-known and trite piece of poetry in Dutch, but which rung in my mind with the clarity of a church bell.

Monica said...

Yes, you got screwed. Not only did you lose your babies, but the possibility to be a mother at all, which is perhaps the cruelest.

Kami said...

I need to disagree with Monica - and I realize you may be in a different place emotionally from where you were when you wrote this.

But - you do have other ways to be a mom. Maybe they aren't your first choice, maybe they aren't your 100th choice, but there are options. You may not want to pursue them for a long time, but if you choose to try again (whether that is via pregnancy or other means) you can still be a mom.

I hope this is not the wrong time to be telling you this. It is meant with the most kindness because I have been where I thought I had no options, but then I discovered that I did and I could choose to accept them. It made all the difference in the world to me.

Lindsay said...

I too would be playing with fire if I attempt to bear another child.
I still don't know that I want to risk it, the longer I go without, the longer it doesn't matter too much.
It may seem cruel coming from me, as I have a living child, but you never stop wishing for the ones that are so obviously (to me at least) missing.
You are so correct in saying a subsequent child just can not make everything oh so perfect again.