Friday, August 12, 2005

Too Much Information

You see "TMI" used a lot online, especially when it comes to trying to conceive (for obvious reasons). I was thinking about this today and realizing how appropriate it is.

Information is a good thing. But sometimes, it's just not what you need.

When J. died, the neonatologist told us just a few hours after his death that they thought he might have had a condition called pulmonary hypoplasia. He didn't explain much about that was (or maybe I just missed it, being doped up and in shock at the time) and so a few days later, knowing I probably shouldn't, I typed it into Google. I got all confused because from what I was reading, it didn't sound like that was what had happened. Apparently, pulmonary hypoplasia tends to go hand in hand with a shortage of amniotic fluid, usually caused by kidney problems in the baby. But I'd had an ultrasound just five days before J. was born, and my fluid and his kidneys were both fine.

In the few weeks that followed, before we got the autopsy report, Mr. NK and I kept looking around for more information on what could have caused our baby to be unable to breathe -- if it wasn't pulmonary hypoplasia, then what was it? It's at times like this that I wonder if services like PubMed are a good thing. We kept turning up articles about rare conditions and getting increasingly worried that we'd passed some kind of genetic disaster on to J., and that we'd be at risk for passing it on again.

Ironically, itwas in the middle of yet another such discussion, one in which we'd actually started crying and discussing our options for donor eggs/sperm in case we were going to end up with too high of a risk to conceive again on our own, that Dr. S. called to tell us that the preliminary autopsy report had turned up no congenital birth defects. We could have saved ourselves a lot of worry and heartbreak if we'd just waited for the professionals.

After that was the Great C-section Worry Marathon. I was waiting for my 6-week checkup and wondering if the two doctors who told me we could try again after 3 months were right. I was glad they'd said it, but surprised, because I was sure they'd tell me to wait longer -- so I searched online for medical advice about how soon you could get pregnant after a c-section.

This was not my finest moment. Okay, not my finest three weeks. As it turns out, practically no two doctors agreed on this issue. I saw everything from "After six weeks your incision is as healed as it's ever going to be" to "Your uterus will EXPLODE if you even THINK about getting pregnant before two years have gone by!" Being the neurotic person that I am, I kept believing the latter. By the time I got to my 6-week checkup, I was bracing myself for the worst. But when I asked my doctor how long he thought we should wait to conceive, he said, "Come back and see me in the first week of September. After that, you can set your own agenda."

"September?" I said. "You're sure? That's not too soon?"

He shrugged. "Hell," he said, "I get women back in here for the 6-week checkup who are already pregnant. I just want to make sure you have enough time to heal emotionally."

So much for my uterus exploding.

If I were a smart person, I'd have learned my lesson from this. But oh no, not me! Instead, I started charting. I should have known better, honestly. I know I'm not the kind of person who can do these things and NOT get obsessed with them, especially when I haven't even gotten a period yet - there's no pattern, of course, and no real indication of when I would see one. All it did was get me increasingly anxious (and way too interested in my cervix, but, well, TMI).

So here's my decision. I'm just going to stop. I don't need any more information. I don't want any more information. I'm done. So in honor of this decision, here is a list of things I will not be doing for a while:

1) Taking my temperature every morning (which, I hope, also means I won't be waking up an hour before the alarm every day, wondering if I'm going to be able to go back to sleep and if not, should I temp now, or wait, etc., etc.)

2) Going to any unusual lengths to check for other fertility signs. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.

3) Googling for phrases like "first postpartum period." Or "pregnancy after loss." Or "pregnant again after c-section." Or "uterine rupture."

4) Doing Weight Watchers online. The last thing I need right now is MORE information to keep track of, enter into a software program every day, and then feel bad when it doesn't look the way I want it to.

If I think of anything else, I will add it.

Here's to blissful ignorance.


At Friday, August 12, 2005 5:14:00 PM, Blogger gabesmama said...

Wow! I can’t believe I have an actual friend in Boston who has experienced the same thing. Feel free to e-mail me at home at

Our stories are so similar it is eerie. I’m so sorry you lost J. I would love to talk with you. And here I thought I was the only person in this mecca of medicine who could lose a full term baby. It kills me with BI and all of the other hospitals here and they can save the smallest of babes but not Gabe. I’ve felt so alone, and I am sorry to meet you through these circumstances, but relieved to know that there is also someone else around who has been through what I have.

At Saturday, August 13, 2005 1:18:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

Good for you on taking the low-stress approach on TTC. It was my experience that I got pregnant the times that I wasn't charting, temping, etc. It stressed me out to much.

Also, I have a good friend who was pregnant 2 months after her c-section. She went on to have a perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy. :)


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