I don't want to wallow. So I turn to anger, that all too easily accessible, less than authentic, wonder bread of emotions.
On Friday, I found myself on the couch, clutching Darci Klein's To Full Term until I had turned the last page. It is the story of a mother who, after having a daughter prematurely at 28 weeks, suffers two subsequent miscarriages and then goes onto another pregnancy with twins. At 20 weeks, the twin boy's sac ruptures and she is faced with the impossible choice of having to agree to abort both twins. By the time she becomes pregnant a fifth time, she had spent an inordinate amount of time researching miscarriages and learning more about the subject than some of her doctors. By insisting that she receive the tests and care she would not otherwise have received, she saves her pregnancy and carries her baby to full term.
I read her story, and my attitude about miscarriages has changed. I have been so passive about my pregnancies, accepting what my doctor told me and just waiting to see what happens. Now I wish I had insisted on the whole set of tests after my first miscarriage and demanded additional monitoring during my second pregnancy. I accepted my doctor's cursory statement that 70% of miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities and that the causes of the remaining 30% cannot be determined. Apparently, this statistic is not correct for women in my age group. And for miscarriages that are not caused by chromosomal defects, there are a slew of tests that can be used to assess other possible causes. I know I read about the other tests after my first miscarriage, but for some reason, I focused on the language regarding chromosomal defects, possibly because I wanted to believe there was nothing that could have been done to save the baby. Now I wonder if I could have saved this baby had I insisted on testing after my first miscarriage?
So I am angry, about the poor quality of research available about miscarriages, the wait and see attitude that I had accepted for the past several months, my failure to inform myself, the unanswered questions. According to Klein, NIH spends not even 1% of its funds to research miscarriages, indicating that they treat miscarriages as inevitable conditions instead of treatable disorders. So I focus on this anger and map out a plan. Compliance and complacence will be checked at the door. I will put on my litigator hat, put skepticism and scrutiny on high alert, and filter for glib responses. I will scour the web and bookstores and squeeze whomever I can for answers.
Even with this anger, I know that I could take the entire slew of currently available tests and come up with no answers. That the tests could say nothing is wrong, even though something is obviously not right. That months and months later, we could find ourselves helpless, with not much more knowledge than we have now. And that we could find ourselves traipsing from day to day, wondering again what the hell went wrong.
But that thought is more than I can bear right now. For now, I will embrace this anger and let it nurture me and nourish the emptiness echoing throughout my body.