Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Not to Say, Part 7: "I Would Just..." Preface

If you ever get pregnant again, I would just...

...get a different doctor.
...exercise less.
...not do martial arts.
...go on bed rest.

Note: This What Not to Say will probably be a little disjointed and two or three posts long. But it'll all boil down to this: I highly recommend not using the phrase "I would just" because it not only does it devalue your friend's experience, but the phrase also carries some implication of blame. Unintentional? Perhaps. But still real. And believe me, our doctors, our families, our closest friends, and Mike and I have all questioned and second guessed ourselves enough. I promise.

It's funny, I got some lab work back last week. Every doctor I've ever seen has made some comment about how my "thyroid looks full." Which is a nice way to say I have a goiter, ha. I begin to suspect I just have a fat neck because I've had labs done and they are always correct. I was also tested for some thyroid related genetic disorders when the doctors did the "what caused this" testing last summer. Negative, again. This doctor is having me get a scan, though, so who knows. It may be fine.

But first I had to get labs. They checked cholesterol, fats, blood count, all the normal tests. Every single thing came back as excellent or very good. Isn't that strange? I was so very sick not so long ago. The body is such an amazing thing. I still struggle with some of the physical aftermath--from reduced energy levels to not being able to take certain falls in aikido--but, overall? If I weren't crazy and a martial artist, I'd be near perfect.


As an adult I've been blessed with good health after being kind of rickety pre-high school graduation. Some of it is because I work for it. My family has a number of genetic inclinations like diabetes, osteoporosis and high cholesterol and I want to do my part to prevent those diseases. Right before I had Autumn, I was in the best shape of my life.

By the time I got pregnant with Garrett, I was back to 100% on my training schedule and feeling great. No big problems. I was optimistic about making it through a pregnancy without all the problems we had with Autumn.


On top of the pregnancy being terrible with debilitating morning sickness and swelling like you wouldn't believe, Autumn was a few weeks premature. She had a two vessel umbilical cord which causes intrauterine growth restriction, among other problems that she ended up not having, so we knew that she was most likely going to be early. I went to twice a week appointments, had ultrasounds every 2 weeks and then every week because of it. She didn't have to stay in the NICU very long although they took her at about 35 weeks when her growth had come to a stop--that's the best guess since no one knows how far along we really were exactly--because I got a steroid shot to get her lungs developing when I was about 27 weeks along. The outfit in this picture? That's a preemie size. It was so big, the pants fell off her. I think she was under 4.5 pounds when we took her home.

Interestingly, the high risk doctor thinks there's a possibility that I might have had undiagnosed pre-ecclampsia with Autumn, too. I inexplicably bled a lot during and after the c-section and had 2 units of blood transfused. The bruising on my arm up there is from the transfusion. I had the terrible swelling right before and after but everyone chalked it up to either normal pregnancy swelling (swelling is not a symptom of anything unless accompanied by other symptoms and my blood pressure was well within normal) or bloating from all the blood and fluids. Of course, no one will ever truly know. They will very likely never know what happened with Garret and are only guessing about Autumn. But here's the thing: that two vessel cord that worried us so much? It might have saved her life. Had I gone full term, who knows what would have happened.


  1. aww i remember these pictures. and i remember that teeny tiny baby autumn, and how when she was born she was like a little baby doll. she is so big now!

    and people say such dumb and hurtful stuff sometimes without even thinking about it, or worse they think they're actually saying a good thing. like they really know what they would do in your situation. i call it the dead giveaway that makes it obvious they haven't ever been through what you've been through...or probably anything truly traumatic at all ever. silly simple normal happy skippy people.

    i am glad everything turned out great with autumn-- her two-vessel cord sounds like it was a blessing in disguise.

  2. T_T She goes to Kindergarten in August. DO NOT WAT.

    People do say dumb things--I'm sure you get it alllll the time!! Most of them really are normal happy people who just have no idea. Those people are easier to cope with because I know they are simply ignorant (not to be confused with stupid). The hard ones are the ones who think it was my fault. :/ They pretty much think I did it. I'm sure it's also an ignorance issue because these things are so complex. But it's still hard to hear someone tell me that if I had done this or that then Garrett would be here today.