J~ and I flew to Tennessee for four days, Sunday through yesterday, so that I might introduce him to a place I once lived and loved, at the end of a dirt road at the end of another dirt road at the end of yet another dirt road, and to the dear friends I made there a decade ago.
We stayed in a lovely guest cabin belonging to some of these friends, under a quilt I sewed for its owners nine years ago, under a roof beam I helped raise a year before that.
Alone together, J~ and I hiked and talked and lounged. We made love in a field. We slept late, read books, took a good long run, and scratched behind the ears of many sweet dogs. With friends, we laughed and ate and shared stories. We also visited loved ones in the hospital, and cooked and shopped for groceries for their return.
Which brings me to the subject of this post.
Some of you, with your comments this week about my choices (or lack thereof) regarding reproductive testing, have your finger on my third of three rules to live by. I'll say more about those choices in a minute, but for now, without further ado, here's Rule Number Three: Ask for help.
What could be easier, right? But for some of us (namely me) this can, sometimes, seem near impossible. I put limits on how much help I imagine I am allotted. J~, like so many men, trained that they are supposed to appear all-knowing and all-competent, does this too. Which leads to the recursive: When uncomfortable asking for help, ask for help asking for help.
Which is why I've asked J~ to help me think about what comes next. I am shy about calling the doctor to ask the one question I forgot to ask in our appointment: what about the sudden, heavy bleeding I had with the demise of my most recent pregnancy? Is that to be expected in pregnancies that fail for the typical, genetic-combination reasons? Could this indicate a clotting disorder?
Maybe I will test for that, after all... but I'm not sure I'd take blood thinners (aspirin included) as, I am told, clotting disorders rarely lead to miscarriages, and when they do, it usually doesn't happen until at at least 14 weeks -- none of my pregnancies ever got beyond twelve.
I probably won't take progesterone, or even have my levels checked, as my research (and the doctors I've spoken to) suggest that low progesterone has never been proven to cause pregnancy failure. Progesterone might test low because a pregnancy is not viable in the first place.
As for karyotyping (genetic testing of myself and J~) I don't see the point. It would have been nice to have information about the past pregnancies. It would be nice to rule out, definitively, all other problems. But now, at worst, we'll learn that the odds of a good genetic combination aren't in our favor. In that case, short of IVF (which helps by selecting genetically viable fetuses from the outset, and involves a level of invasiveness and expense that is beyond what feels right for me), nothing can be done to improve our odds except to keep rolling the dice.
In the spirit of Rule Number Three, I welcome your thoughts, comments, stories, experiences, insights, prayers, jokes, etcetera! Let the comments section be a beacon to me and to all who light upon this blog post!