Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Day of Tears and Jackasses

"I have to warn you," I said. "I'll probably cry."

I sat in her office wringing my hands, took a breath, and told my new doctor my previous pregnancy's story. I was fine, there weren't any tears. So far so good. I then asked her if she was familliar with HELLP Syndrome.

"All too well," she explained. She'd done her internship and residency at the Dallas public hospital, known for having more births per year than any other hospital in the country. Most Ob Gyn text books are authored out of that hospital, because really, they've seen it all. This doctor saw 80,000 births per year in the hospital, where she became Chief Resident during her tenure. She also has two boys, so she's a mother herself, she understands. And she's also gorgeous and sweet. Which are two things I look for in any man who's going to see me naked, so really, should also be an important criteria for my Ob Gyn.

And then I lost it. "I want to know if I can have more kids," I sobbed. "I want more kids. But not if it means risking my life, I love my baby too much for that."

I told her that I'd read online that my chances of having HELLP with the next pregnancy were 26 percent. Through my tears, I saw that she was holding both of her thumbs up.

My heart skipped a beat "It's not true? My odds aren't 26 percent?"

And then my heart was broken "No," she explained softly. "They're much higher than that."

I had one more question in me. "Have you ever had a woman with HELLP have a normal pregnancy the second time around."

"No. I haven't."

I wanted her to be blunt with me. I appreciated her candor. And I wanted her to make the decision for me. Should I have any more kids?

"I won't make that decision for you," she said.

She went on to tell me that I'm lucky. That we have hindsight on our side. That because my HELLP came so late in the pregnancy, it's more than likely to occur again at the same point during the next one. And so we'd watch me like a hawk. And we'd schedule a C-section at 38 weeks, to try to minimize any risk to me and the baby to go through HELLP again. We'll take care of you, she promised.

And so the dilemna begins. She wants me to see the prenatal specialist she said, because he can give me the percentages I'm looking for to make up my mind.

I wanted to hug her. I felt safe and armed with more information than I have been since the Little Man was cut out of my big-bowl-of-jelly belly.

Then she took me in another room, squeezed my boobs without making a honking noise, stuck fingers up my rectum and any other entry ways she could find and told me to up my dairy quota.

I got in the car and called Sweetie Pie. I told him I wanted him to go to the specialist's with me. He didn't say much, and I'm pretty sure he was thinking "we're not doing it. It's not worth it." But it is worth it to me. I told the doctor that even with hindsight, I would totally have Little Man all over again, even if I'd been told my chances of survival were 60 percent before I got pregnant. He's the best thing I've ever done. Nothing else matters. And when all three of us were sitting on the couch last night goofing off and he laughed so hard he snorted, I know I'm lucky to have been able to have even one baby. And wanting more seems selfish, but I can't imagine only getting to experience the amazingness that the past 17 months have been just once.

But now that Little Man here, I won't gamble my life with a second one. I've read that a mother with HELLP's survival rate is 90 percent. Are those odds enough for me? I don't know.

After a moment of silence, Sweetie Pie asked the question that was really on his mind.

"Did she give you any pills for your lack of libido?"




random_mommy said...

SP sounds like my husband. Tactless.

If you have great providers and you have lots of knowledge... all will be good.

Emma in Canada said...

That's what Himself would say as well, poor bugger.

What a difficult decision to have to make. I don't even know what to say.

Anonymous said...

as a new reader, i confess that I had to look up what hellp was, ive never heard of it before.
wow, what a decision to make. glad you are taking steps to arm yourself with mega amounts of knowledge regarding it though, that helps make decisions...sometimes!
try some porn for that libido! ;)

Beccy said...

That's one tough decision you have to make. After I had my first I went through a real broody stage before hubby agreed to second so I understand your longing to have another child.

Try the porn or else I believe I read that Emma has a box of tricks!

Gerbil said...

oh my sweet lord, did you want to brain him on the spot??????