The Baby Dance
Today was Round One of the Baby Dance; a procedure I think they called a histosalpingogram, also known as the Drano Effect. Essentially, it involved introducing radioactive dye into Beth's ... uh ... onramp, then viewing the results on X-ray to see if there are any obstructions on the Causeway of Conception. End result: not a Sigalert in sight.
The doc calls it the Drano effect because, while there may not be any obstructions per se during the exam, sometimes it gets a little ... uh ... sticky in there, and the dye tends to clean things out. Instead of conjuring up the kitchen sink, let's compare it to rainfall washing the accumulated oil and debris from the roadway. Everybody gets more traction when that happens, even suburban spermatozoa.
So the next step is the Turkey Baster procedure, about which I think I'll spare you an explanation; the mental image you're holding right now is accurate enough. I'm not sure of the timing on that, but I think it's supposed to happen next week. The doc thinks it has a good chance of success, what with the clear sailing the Drano Effect should afford. So I'm going to have another date with a cup and Beth's got a date with a kitchen tool. Will this double-date end with conception? Time, of course, will tell.
Bleah. Enough with the mixed metaphors. Plumbing, traffic, weather, cooking, dating... What a mess. By the time I finish writing this I may never want to drive in a rainstorm to a plumber's house to have Thanksgiving dinner again, let alone try to have another baby. And you, you may never read me again. Enough.
Even as we're going ahead with this, Beth and I still have some doubts. She's not sure she wants to go through the long nights, stress, breast feeding, etcetera of the first few years again now that we're just ending that phase with Zoe and beginning to get our lives back. I share those concerns, but my reservations are more of the doom & gloom variety: What if the new baby has genetic problems? What if something goes wrong during delivery? Basically, what if the next one isn't as perfect as Zoe is? I used to work in the Obstetrical Claims department of a medical malpractice insurance company and saw case after case where kids were born, in the parlance, "compromised," so that's where those doom & gloom fears come from.
That, and Zoe's own delivery. It was a tough one. When Beth's water broke, there was meconium in the fluid. Now that in itself isn't a huge problem, but it can be, and with my OB claims experience it was enough to get my adrenalin pumping: I've seen lots of cases where kids inhaled the meconium and ended up, again in the parlance, "gorked." Lung damage, brain damage, life-long learning disabilities, death. Further along, the doc decided labor wasn't progressing well and he was going to have to use a vacuum to assist, and my adrenalin went into overdrive. This was a classic Erb's Palsy situation: the baby's shoulder hangs up on the mother's pelvis, and if the doctor isn't adroit and patient enough a nerve that controls the arm can be permanently damaged as the shoulder is stretched unnaturally. The kid ends up with a useless hand on a useless arm that can't be lifted above the shoulder. In a word, I was scared shitless, so much so that I almost refused to let him use the vacuum. But he did, and Zoe came out okay -- but then they had to make sure she didn't aspirate the meconium, and the only way to do that was not to let her breathe while they cleaned it out of her nose, mouth, and trachea. So they clapped a mask on her and started suctioning while she flailed and grunted and struggled to draw her first breath. I couldn't breathe myself as I watched her struggles weaken until she was limp because she was being suffocated. And then they were finished and they got her to breathe and she started crying and my heart started beating again. I've never been that scared, ever. Everything is gray in my memory of it, like fogged black and white film, and I can still feel how my knees went weak with relief when it was over.
So I have doom & gloom fears about going through it again. But I have other fears, too. What if the next baby is a boy? How will that affect my feelings for Zoe? I love her so much that I can't imagine loving her any less, but if the next child is a boy won't there be a bond between us that I can't have with Zoe because she's a girl? Will that diminish my love for her? Can it? Irrational though it may be, I think that's what I'm most afraid of.
We talked it over the other night and decided that despite all of the above, yes, we do want another child. We just want it to be healthy, and I... I want it to be a girl.