I’m getting questions from enough people that I realized today I really should do an update on what’s going on. I also recently corresponded with two old friends about what we call “subsequent pregnancies,” and have been thinking I ought to say more here. Yet in some ways it feels like I’ve played out the script on this topic, four and a half years ago.
I’m often amused, or bemused, when people point out that I’ve done my “research” into preterm labor, preterm birth, and my options for medical care. I guess I’m enough of a PhD to think I haven’t done a bit of research, but have rather benefited from the real research of doctors and scientists. What’ve I’ve done is read their studies, their conclusions. Countless of them. As I told someone recently, I rarely just straight “google” something. I either google scholar or medplus it. This time around, as I’ll explain a bit later, I’m going to talk with people about “birth plan” options, but it’s not research, it’s talking, thinking, commiserating. I’m a snob, I guess. I’m fortunate enough to always be connected to a university with great academic search resources. The other day, for example, I read about 5 studies about cerclage length, after my most recent exam showed my cervix is a bit above 4cm. I’ve already read studies, but new ones popped up in my search. The prognosis is still pretty good. That wasn’t research though, that was comfort, a confidence builder, and information building.
Ultimately, both times Josh and I decided to “try again” since Natan’s death, I’ve felt the most accurate description of what I’ve done would be a metaphor: it feels something like when I used to jump off the high dive as a kid (only with obviously greater risk). I didn’t really like the feeling of falling, or of hitting the water at great speed, but the rush when it was over, and I realized I was alive and unhurt, was worth it all. So I’d just climb up the stairs, close my eyes, and try not to think about any of the bad things that could happen. They were unlikely anyway. The truth is, Natan’s dying was awful, painful, terrifying, heartbreaking. The whole thing, from the moment I thought something was going wrong to the moment we buried him and the days and weeks after. It’s the worst thing I’ve experienced yet. But it is statistically unlikely to ever happen to us again. Odds were always in favor of our having a living child. I knew the best thing to do was to just make the jump, Of course, once we’d done it, the fears I’d been stamping down came rushing back. But it’s too late. I’m in the breath holding stage right now, trying not to panic. Yet it will seep in, does seep in.
An update on my low platelets. The doctor has done all the tests he possibly can. It’s not a virus, and likely not a cancer. It’s not caused by my pregnancy, but it is probably aggravated by it. My spleen may be enlarged, or the ultrasound image might be distorted because of my uterus. If my spleen is enlarged, something is probably happening with my liver. But we can’t test any further while I’m pregnant because that would require a CT scan, a liver biopsy, and a bone marrow biopsy. And so we wait. Meanwhile, I will have CBC’s every two weeks and a prednisone shot if it drops too low at any point. I will definitely have a prednisone shot before delivery, and will probably be induced after 39 weeks because we need to know that my platelet levels are safe when I deliver (or I’ll be at risk for bleeding out). An epidural is not safe if my platelets are low. That means being knocked out if I need a C-section. C-section is also less safe in a woman with low platelets than a vaginal birth, because the risk for bleeding out is higher. Sigh. I don’t care much about my birth experience so long as the baby’s alive, but I’d prefer to be conscious and fully healthy. Chances are, I will be.