Thursday, 21 November 2013

Should I stay or should I go?

( Well, you gotta let me know... Any other Clash fans out there? No? Oh ok, on with the post...)

Back in the doubtful days of September I spent an afternoon musing on all the things that I might pursue once my energies were no longer devoted entirely to counting the length of my cycles and the levels of my hormones and weekly blood draws and transvag probings and the like. Such a struggle, and such an uncertain trajectory; which is why I could do nothing other than speculate at the time, as to what my future might hold. (As an aside too much information alert!: it seems entirely likely that the very day I penned those particular musings was the same that sperm finally decided to meet egg, giving all musings to come an entirely different, more hopeful flavour.)

Well, we're on a different trajectory now, thanks to those two lines, but one I must admit that is no less fraught with worry and fear and uncertainty. There is the ever-present fear that the next u/s will reveal the worst; the uncertainty that comes with the knowledge that we are dealing not with a when, but a very big if... This last week, in particular, has thrown me for a loop as I've been wading through a grief hangover and guilt and thinking a great deal about S. There are so many complicated and confusing emotions that come with the mindfuck that is pregnancy after loss, and when I find the energy and cognitive capacity I'll likely write more about it.

But for now, I am here with a more practical problem.

Long before we knew about the little seedling's imminant mind bending, life altering entry onto the scene, I agreed to do a week of teaching for the students of a dear friend in Italy. The prospect of a pregnancy (or even fertility treatments) seemed, at the time, laughably and distincly unpossible, and so I didn't think twice about saying yes. What could be more lovely than a week catching up with a friend I see far too scarcely, spent in Italy at a university of gastronomy, surrounded by vineyards and experienced guides in all things culinary and viticultural? I know, right? I was in for a treat! (And really, given the mindset to which I was prone in those days, I am sure I would have indulged accordingly in all that such a scenario offers, without the slightest bit of appropriate restraint or respect due the fine wines involved.)

Admittedly, this particular gig has in recent months - what with a new job and new plans and a growing (touchwoodfingerscrossedpleaseplease!) baby - been all but forgotten. I have planned nothing. And then this week I looked at the calendar and remembered.

In theory of course, I can still travel to Italy at the end of January and make good on my word. There is no medical logic advising against it. But H and I both, somehow, have this strong feeling of not wanting to be apart, of having me in another country where I don't speak the language and know almost no one, because, well...just in case. I don't have a better reason for you than that, and don't really want to seriously contemplate what those thoughts represent anyway.

And then I looked at the calendar and did the mental pregnancy maths and also realized that the week falls on almost the exact stage of this pregnancy as when things started to go horribly wrong with S more than three years ago. No matter how much I try to remind myself that this is its own pregnancy,  how much I seek to separate one from the other and to adjust my attitude accordingly, I anticipate that this time in the pregnancy might be a huge trigger for me. I might freak out. I might need to curl up in a ball under the duvet and cry snot-faced tears. Then again, I might not. It's hard to call.

And herein is my dilemma, an admittedly very nice (and unanticipated) one to have.

So, bloggy friends, I am hoping to draw on other perspectives here. What would you do in my shoes? Have you found such anniversaries particularly difficult, or do you think having some distraction would be helpful? And are H and I just being crazy, ultra-cautious neurotics?

What I'm possibly passing on. But then, what I've got.



  1. Oh, this is difficult. Is there any way that H could take a few days off and come with you?
    Otherwise, I think I would rather be with him. These dates are complicated, I am not sure if it was you or someone else who wrote about the body "remembering" even if unconsciously... and I would not mind Italy but I would not want to be on my own.
    On the other hand, do stay hopeful. Take it day by day, and think of your little one growing. Sending you all the good thoughts, all the time.

  2. Hi Sadie! My advice - go with your gut. If it feels funny, don't do it... but on the upside, it may be wonderful to get a break from the demands of your real life and get a little holiday...

    I have shut down my old blog, but started up a new one that I wanted to share with you ...

    And, uh... who ISN'T a Clash fan???? ;)

  3. Figure out what's going to make you feel better and do that- self preservation all the way. Me, with my issues/psychosis, wouldn't go... being away from A would be too terrifying for me at any stage in pregnancy though.

  4. Oh my gosh this is so tough!! I don't know if I should give advice because I've never been in your shoes. All I can say is whenever I get a chance to travel and see something new, I take it! That being said, you've done a lot of travelling and may enjoy just being close to H. Whatever you do, I'll be sending you good vibes :)

  5. With all the complicated emotions already going on, staying anchored with familiar places and people doesn't sound neurotic, just practical.

    That's not to say that going would be the wrong choice. It sounds (and looks) marvelous.

    Is there any way you can postpone the trip for a month or two, to a time when you might be feeling a little more settled/secure?

  6. I love that song by The Clash!
    I have no advice either way. I understand wanting to stay home (although I wish I had had the chance, or made the effort, to get out and travel once more before the boy arrived). I also understand wanting to keep up your word to your friend and travel. Do what you feel is best, I am sure your friend will understand (at least she should).

  7. If you're going to worry, it's just not worth it. Peace of mind and comfort is essential right now. Italy will always be there. It's a tough call though--I will admit.

  8. I would stay. That's purely my gut reaction to 'what would I do?' Hugs.

  9. If you are going to worry the whole time, then I wouldn't go.

  10. Well you gotta go with your gut. And get your doctors advice. Mine gave me a deadline of no plane travel after 24-26 weeks (that because of the twins). She also indicated that car travel can actually be even worse than plane, because people don't get up, move, stretch like they are supposed to. I would do the math of how far you would be and then think about how you might feel, physically and emotionally. Italy is obviously an advanced country and you could get medical care if you needed it. But there may be a language barrier. If you saw my recycled post yesterday, you read that my pre pregnant self told me to go to Korea (alas I had two failed cycles before that trip) Could your husband go too? Maybe it would be helpful to be away and busy on that day. Maybe it would be too stressful. This calls for an old fashioned pro con list! You will make the right choice for you!

  11. I understand the dilemma. Barring any medical reasons why you shouldn't travel (and that can absolutely include not wanting to be apart from H.) I say go for it. Don't put your life on hold.

    I'd like to share something with you that has brought me great comfort despite my not being religious, Buddhist or otherwise.

    Before giving birth to me, my mother was pregnant with another baby. She had a miscarriage, and that person wasn’t born. When I was young I used to ask the question: was that my brother or was that me? Who was trying to manifest at that time? If a baby has been lost it means that conditions were not enough for him to manifest and the child has decided to withdraw in order to wait for better conditions. “I had better withdraw; I’ll come back again soon, my dearest.” We have to respect his or her will. If you see the world with eyes like this, you will suffer much less. Was it my brother that my mother lost? Or maybe I was about to come out but instead I said, “It isn’t time yet,” so I withdrew.

    From No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

    I do not believe in reincarnation, or that things happen for a reason, but I find this passage comforting because it acknowledges the babies lost and the babies to come. I think the coincidence of this baby growing inside you now, at a similar point in time to S., is definitely a mindfuck. But I also think that it might just be the salve that heals the wound a little.

    I don't know what it's like to be pregnant after a loss, so can't quite imagine how you're feeling. I hope I have said the right thing and trust I haven't caused you any distress by sharing this paragraph. If I have, please let me know so I can learn from my mistake.

    Sending so much love xoxo

  12. I would definitely stay! I remember how scared I was as I approached the same gestational age with Gus as when Oscar and Bella were born. I remember waking up and feeling dread the entire day, waiting for something to happen with Gus. I remember waking up the day after, and feeling such conflicted emotions (Yea, I'm more pregnant than I've ever been vs. Why couldn't Oscar and Bella have made it this far?) I needed to be home, with Jon, close to my comforts (and hospital) in case something terrible happened again.

  13. It's a tough call. Going might be just the distraction you need at a time when your mind would otherwise be occupied with all the what-ifs, both for S and for this little seedling. On the other hand, staying close to home and/or crying it out might also be cathartic. I'm a fan of Kimberly's pro-con list idea. If you come to one conclusion, you'll probably know right away whether it's the right choice or if you'd rather do the opposite. At least, that's what usually happens for me.

  14. That's a tough one. For me, I find the anniversaries hard. I haven't reached the point in a pregnancy where I lost my baby yet, but I don't think that will be an easy day. I also know that being with my husband helps on the anniversaries. I get a little nutso when left too long with my thoughts. And by nutso, I mean lots of crying. That being said, I rarely miss a chance to travel and it sounds like a beautiful place. I suggest that if your husband can't join you, we have a support group meeting in Italy and meet you there!

  15. What a wonderful opportunity to go to Italy. But as you debate, how will it feel and how will you cope during that time... I have travelled some during pregnancy, but not alone and I'm not sure if I would want to before knowing things were a little bit further along. It's a tricky one but go with your gut, where would you feel most safe during that time? do you need the distraction more etc.
    Take care, it's not easy to navigate in pregnancy after loss since there are so many conflicting emotions going on.

  16. That's a tough decision, and I could argue either way! I think if you're feeling, deep down, that you're not comfortable with it, don't do it. On the other hand, it's harder to take trips like that once the baby is born, so taking the opportunities you have now might be a great idea.
    It would be perfect if H could go with you!

  17. I agree with all the go with your feeling thoughts. But. I also think that nine months is a long time to be scared. For me it was crucial to kind of let it be, to accept that the outcome of my pregnancy was out of my hands. I hope you understand what I mean.

  18. I really wish I had something helpful to say about this, but I don't. Such a tough situation! I think I agree with above comments - you should go with your gut, and if you do think you'll have a tough time there, then don't go. I'm sure you'll get the opportunity to go again.

    The best thing you can do for yourself is remain calm and serene, plus depend on H as much as possible. I hope that no matter where you are, that it passes by with minimal drama.

  19. I know myself enough to know that it would be a good idea for me. Even if I'm not thinking about it, my body and mind react to those anniversaries. I turned into a bitch without even realizing why at similar anniversaries, and when I do realize what the timing is I don't always deal with it well.

    But ... it's all know thyself. Do you usually have a rough time with those coincidental moments? Or do they pass by with just a little extra care needed? Would you have the energy while on a teaching trip to take care of yourself if you need some extra emotional space?

  20. Trust your gut - in theory, it might be a distraction, yes, but not if you spend the entire time worrying and second-guessing. Yes, of course, this is its own pregnancy, separate and apart and so forth but separating your emotions from that time is easier said than done. Thinking of you and sending only the most positive of vibes.


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