Over thanksgiving we visited my husband’s family in the Midwest. Because it involved flying and because I had reached viability with a complicated pregnancy (24 weeks. a big landmark for me- if baby was born, she could live), I wanted to travel with my records. I didn’t want to see them, but I wanted them in my suitcase, just in case. It’s kinda the rule- if you are prepared for the disaster, it won’t happen. So my midwives sealed them up in an envelope and those records traveled with me. This weekend while Chris was straightening up he came across an envelope with my name on it. I recognized it as those records. I hadn’t wanted to read them before, but now I was curious. It was a treat reading about my pregnancy before the oligohydramnios, before pulmonary hypoplasia became part of my everyday vocabulary. My midwives did a great job documenting my pregnancy and it was fun to read my story in their words. The record only took me to about 24 weeks, and it was a pleasant 24 weeks in retrospect. My early anxiety about miscarriage in the first trimester was documented. After I received the phone call about the Down Syndrome diagnosis, my midwife wrote I was relieved it wasn’t trisomy 18/13 and was most concerned about risk of stillbirth. They wrote of classes I was attending to prepare for a child with Down Syndrome, of tearful visits and of my continued running in pregnancy.
Sometimes I wonder if when I look back, I see my reactions in pregnancy in too positive a light. Yes, I accepted the Down Syndrome diagnosis, but I struggled with it too. I often felt like my prenatal visits were a form of therapy- I was honest about how I was feeling, I felt like I could cry there without judgment. Sometimes in trying to make sense of this all, I wonder if losing Mabel was some sort of punishment for not being accepting enough. Reading my prenatal records was nice validation. I was ready for Mabel. I wanted her. I really did.
Isn’t it funny how I feel like there has to be a reason for this? I must have done something to deserve it. Was I too worried about the little things? What was it that I took for granted? What lesson did I need to learn? I think it’s a simply a numbers game. A cruel numbers game. What are the odds that this would happen to someone? What are the odds that this would happen to a midwife? Becoming a midwife is not choosing a career, it’s committing to a lifestyle. We give up our nights and our weekends to help people on their journey to become mothers. How cruel it is to be handed this fate.