Thursday, October 21, 2004
Why I'm a basketcase
Today I will know something. Finally. I have an intense fear that what I'll hear from Dr. P is that, silly girl, it was a false positive on that HPT. All those symptoms? Just a result of your progesterone supplement.
In my head, I know that is patently ridiculous. I just can't convince myself that this is real and this is normal. I am waiting for the bad news part of all of this. I mean, I haven't had any bleeding other than the implantation bleed around Oct. 12/13. I have no reason to suspect that there is anything wrong. No indications whatsoever. Except for my history. And that isn't good.
I'm afraid for other reasons, too. I'm afraid that everything WILL go smoothly. That the pregnancy will progress "normally." This is something that I'm also terrified of. One fear, a fear I had before I became pregnant the first time, is that of size. I'm 5' almost 1" to my husband's 6'4". My entire family are small, weighing at most 8 lbs at birth. His family are large. In fact, I believe that he weighed just over 10 lbs at birth and his sister 13! His mom weighed (I think) 12 and his grandmother FOURTEEN! So, I'll admit it, I'm scared.
I'm also a former anorexic. When I met my husband in 1998, I had relapsed without realizing it. It was after returning from the trip on which I met him that I weighed myself. And discovered that I weighed 87 pounds. My all-time low, when I realized I had a problem and through sheer will forced myself to begin eating again (no therapists for this ever, so it was harder than it should have been), was 82 pounds. I'm afraid of the weight gain. More than that, I'm afraid of the weight loss after.
Then I have the fears that could actually be a problem. The ones that made my doctors tell me when I was 16 that while I could get pregnant, I shouldn't. Ever. Since then other doctors have re-evaluated and given the green light, but I'm scared nonetheless. It is a high risk. We all know it. My father beat my mother. Regularly. She only recalls twice while she knew she was pregnant, but in that all-important first 6 or 8 weeks, she simply didn't know. Likely he did hurt her then. I mean, this is the man who pushed her down not one but TWO flights of stairs at 6 months for "walking too slow." The same man who pulled a mattress out from under her at 6-8 months because she was "taking too much room on MY mattress." I was, obviously, born near the end of their marriage. He left when I was 2. But the effects of his abuse are permanent. Don't get me wrong, please. I do love my father and I do NOT blame him for any of my problems. When asked how I can keep myself from hating him for what he has done (indirectly) to me, my answer is always the same. It is my history that has made me who I am. I wouldn't choose to have grown up in and out of the children's hospital, but that has made me such a better person than I otherwise would have been. I can't imagine a life any other way.
But those problems concern me now. I have scoliosis. A severe, S-curve, that spirals two complete revolutions. The scoliosis is caused by a malformed vertebrae in my neck. Which has also damaged my spinal cord in that area. A fear if I gain too much weight is that it could sever my spinal cord there, or it could put enough pressure there to further damage the cord. This could be a problem. My orthopedic surgeon assures me that this is now only about a 1% chance, that since I have stopped growing, the curve has finally stopped worsening.
I only have one functional lung and a slight heart murmur. My cardio-pulmonologist says that since I am not medicated for either, since my heart murmur is so slight as to be missed by many a physician (for fun, as a child it's how I "tested" new doctors? Can't hear it? A 7-year old's tongue lashing can make a resident shake! FUN!) and since I can handle a 90 minute aerobics class at the gym, then these should not cause a problem, but will be monitored.
I only have one kidney. The other one never developed. My doctors have all assured me that people with one kidney give birth all the time. I just have to stay hydrated. Watch out for citric acid. Still, I have to say, the scenes at the end of Steel Magnolias, when Julia Roberts is dying because her TWO kidneys gave out during pregnancy? Yeah, that haunts me.
The final part of my history that makes me shake is that I was one of 13 babies in the U.S. born in 1977 with a diaphragmatic hernia. This means my diaphragm didn't fully develop so that at first breath, all organs are sucked from the abdominal cavity through the gaping hole in the diaphragm and into the chest cavity (thus more damage to my underdeveloped lung rendering it basically useless). The doctors created the hernia once all organs were put back in place. Of the 13 babies, only 2 of us survived. For years, her doctors and my doctors wanted us to meet. To examine us both together, compare records. Then one day they stopped asking. I don't know if she is still alive, or if maybe her team of doctors had changed and the new team wasn't interested. I only know that it is rare. That at birth I only had a 1% survival rate. That my 24-year-old mother was terrified (and has asked me to please not have an epidural as hers was what prevented her from going from the local hospital to the state children's hospital with me). I know that many with diaphragmatic hernia can't carry children, but many can and do, without worries. Still, I'm scared.
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