[First things first, for those who just need a tachlis update: had an excellent visit with BMA and her eldest three kids up in Portland. I’m worried about her and the kids, but there isn’t anything I can do at the moment, and I’m not worried about the pregnancy or having the adoption disrupted. I’m going back to visit on the due date, which is also BMA’s birthday. I’m going to bring a cake.]
I don’t think of myself as having a good memory. In fact, my piss-poor memory is something of a defining feature. But I do have an associative mind (it’s one of the things that makes me a good librarian), although sometimes it steers me in unhelpful directions. My visit on Thursday with BMA brought up some associations that really aren’t true, but loom over my thought process in bad ways.
The first is about scheduling. I thought I was going to be taking BMA to an OB appointment on Thursday. That I might get to meet the OB she’d be laboring under and ask a few questions about the whole thing. Instead, I arrived to find she’d had the appointment that morning. I’m not sure where the miscommunication happened, and I know the circumstances are totally different, but I recently listened to this RadioLab back episode, and the association of the broken OB appointment was a pall over the whole afternoon. The afternoon was lovely, though, with a late lunch out and talking and going to the park and dealing with I9, who has a horrible cold.
The second is about BMA going overdue. What she told me is that the OB may let her go all the way to the 4th of December before inducing. On the one hand, this is something I would like to talk directly to the OB about, so I know the message isn’t getting garbled and I can get reassurances as to the reasoning. On the other hand, that’s exactly one month before I go back to work, which is troubling. Hovering over all of this is the baggage I bring to an overdue pregnancy.
Some background: although for religious reasons I grew up not going to doctors, both my biological brother and I were born in hospitals. The reason (at least, the one I remember being told as a child) was that our mother did not produce the hormone to begin labor. We were delivered right on time, because she and her OB picked our due dates and induced her in the hospital. The reason we know that our mother didn’t produce this hormone is that she lost her first pregnancy: a full-term stillbirth because she was allowed to go overdue. The doctors didn’t induce her until the baby was already dead. She and my father never held or named the girl they lost, and they went home to explain to their almost three-year-old son that the baby sibling he was expecting was not going to be coming home with them.
It may seem odd that I knew about this child who was born dead long before I was conceived, but I recognized from an early age that her death created the shape of our family. If she had lived, would my parents have adopted my sister? Would I have been born, since my parents had decided on four kids? I remember not being able to figure out how I should name myself in Latin class: third (birth child), fourth (living child), fifth (child of any kind)? This is not to say my parents talked to me a lot about this stillbirth during my childhood, since most of what I’ve learned about how it really affected my parents as people I’ve learned in conversations I’ve had with them in the last five or so years, but this is my strongest association with overdue pregnancy and induction.
BMA similarly has had to be induced for all five of her previous labors, and knowing this, I assumed that her OB would induce on the due date, but it looks like they are going to let her go overdue. And I know that this is 2011 and not the mid-1970s, that her OB is not going to go on vacation and leave her unattended, that BMA is cared for and monitored to the degree considered appropriate, but it still scares me. Today, I ran into the person who will be this child’s nanny, and when bringing him up to date on what’s going on, he said “Well, it’s not like the kid can be overcooked,” and I had to respond, “Yes, they can.”