Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hormonal Swings

Well. So much for the life changing event. It’s not going to happen after all. I must admit that I am a bit disappointed. This seemed like the last chance for us after all. Oh well. C’est la vie, as they say. At least I won’t be peri-menopausal, and post-natal at the same time. I am sure that many women out there will agree with me that hormones are powerful things & can produce all kinds of strange emotional reactions/responses/behaviour when they ebb & flow like the tides.

When I saw that second stripe appear on the test kit two weeks ago, my heart truly felt like it sank into the toilet bowl upon which I was sitting at the time while waiting for the result. It was a total shock. Why did I do the test? Well, any self-respecting doctor would tell you that one of the first things one has to test for in a female of child-bearing age who is overdue (no matter which end of the spectrum she happens to fall into!), is for pregnancy. So, as per my own medical know-how, I dutifully went out & bought one of those generic tests, not expecting to see a positive result at all. After all, I have been experiencing what I thought were peri-menopausal symptoms on & off for the last year (although I am rather “young” relatively, but still…) or so I thought. But this particular episode of amenorrhoea had gone on for a bit longer than usual, and hence the saga began.

In my mind, my family is complete. Hopes of having a third child had diminished after a prior blighted ovum & with advancing age. I had given away all the baby stuff, which I had stored & carted all the way from the USA with the intention of re-using them one more time. We have two great kids, had started planning for college for them, & had just gotten rid of the MPV.

So when the positive test came about, it really threw me for a loop, to say the least. It was a conflux (read: conflict + flux) of emotions; I was shocked, petrified, happy, anxious, cautious all at the same time. Thoughts of night feeds, diaper changes, strollers, weaning, toddler tantrums came flying through my mind simultaneously…with the associated flash of panic & depression. I was then cautiously happy but not hopeful, as the symptoms did not feel the same as when I was pregnant with my 2 boys. Much like with the previous failed pregnancy, I didn’t have the hyperemetic feelings, though there were fluctuations of appetite loss & occasional nausea. There was also the strange hypersensitivity to the smell of garlic (!!!).

I think when you, yourself, are the patient, being a doctor is a curse. You know too much. You know & can research into the risks & possibilities & complications of whatever medical condition you have (in this case, being an elderly multip – yeah, sounds awful, but that is the term used for pregnant moms above 35). And true enough, subsequent scans showed a non-viable pregnancy. My gynae said that most commonly at my age, this is caused by a chromosomal abnormality like trisomy 21. It was probably better to lose it now than to have to go through amoniocentesis & find out in the 2nd trimester.

I know it may sound cold to some, but I have tried to remain detached emotionally from what has been happening, in preparation for the ultimate diagnosis. Call it intuition, a “feeling”, a sixth sense, but deep down inside, I just knew that it wasn’t meant to be. So, no, I don’t feel depressed by what is happening. Admittedly, I’m a bit sad for the baby-that-never-was, & for unfulfilled hopes that have been re-awakened. But I know I will get through this. We, women, are resilient creatures!

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