Sunday, September 01, 2013

Apples vs. Oranges Part II

Medication is given a ranking in reference to how dangerous it is to be taken during pregnancy.  Tylenol and prenatal vitamins get an "A."  To my knowledge, they are the only meds that do.    Most other drugs get a B, C, or D.  Most of anti-inflammatories I've taken for my arthritis are in the C - D range.  Basically, I could continue taking my anti-inflammatory until I knew I was pregnant.  Then I had to stop immediately.  Only a handful of the most dangerous drugs get a Category X.  The meds in this category have known, terrible side effects for the unborn baby including death and major deformation.  You must not get pregnant on these meds.

When my doctor gave me the loading dose, he told me that I had to not get pregnant for at least two years.  I should let him know when we wanted to start trying.  They would have to test my blood for the level of medication still in my system.  They would then prescribe me meds to push this cancer med out of my body.  My blood would be tested again.  Then I would get the OK to get pregnant.

I knew the drill. I was religious with my pills.  Not only did I never miss, I took them precisely 24 hours apart.  I had had a bladder infection a few weeks earlier.  I knew the antibiotic I was given could make my pills quit working.  We had used condoms as a back-up.  I wasn't willing to risk it.


I stood in line at the pharmacy to pick up my medicine.   Two people in front of me was my visiting teacher and dear friend, Talei.  Her youngest child was three and she and her husband wanted more kids.  They struggled with infertility.  She was there to pick up her fertility meds, hoping it would help her get pregnant.  Here I was pregnant against my will and hoping to save my baby. My two children were both younger than my friend's youngest.  The irony of the whole situation made me shake my head.

When Talei turned around she spotted me and said hi.  I told her what had happened.  "I'm so sorry," I whispered to her.

"Don't worry," she reassured me, "I'll get my baby."

Every night my husband and I knelt by our bed and said prayers.  I always began thanking God for blessings.  This day, I almost couldn't choke out the words.

"I thank Thee, " I began.

I couldn't think of one thing I was thankful for.  Things had been so hard this year.  Wendell was on his 4th full-time job.  After 4 months of marriage therapy, our student therapist ended our therapy,  thinking we could manage things.  Money was tight.  Wendell's schedule as a car salesman was terrible and we believed this was yet another in-between job while we waited for the real deal.  We didn't even qualify for insurance yet.  I felt, in that moment, completely abandoned by God.

"...for helping us get through this day." It was all I had.  I sobbed into my bed.

I mourned the loss of my body.  I mourned my loss of control.  I mourned for all that might happen to my baby. I even mourned bringing another child into a marriage in turmoil.

In the days that followed, I sobbed into my bed many times as I talked with God.

"Why me?" I asked.  "I can go up and down my street and tell you all the women who want this baby right now.  Why would you send me a baby?  We don't have a good job. I have two small children.  I don't know if I can stay in this marriage. Please, let me miscarry and send this child to someone else. If this baby has to die, let it be now.  You see, if it dies later, I'll have to have another c-section.  A c-section, Father, to get out a dead baby. Why? Why did you send me this child?"

Most of the day, I felt awash in guilt.  Shouldn't I be grateful, happy, excited?


Unknown said...

raw, real, vulnerable. Loved it.

Jenna Wood said...

Thank you so much Alice. This kind of writing always makes me nervous. But it's also true and something about the truth is incredibly freeing.