I occasionally have been known to have some control issues… Well, to be completely accurate, I am an obsessive control freak. The past few weeks have been super challenging for me not only because of my new job and related travel schedule, but also because of the remarkable dearth of details around our pregnancy. And this isn’t because obstetricians are accustomed to keeping the pregnant woman who is her/his patient informed, and can sometimes forget intended parents. Nor is our obstetrician a bad communicator: apparently the standard modus operandi (M.O.) for obstetricians is a “no news is good news” approach.
Take ultrasounds, for example. Technicians doing ultrasounds are (understandably in our litigious society) instructed to not answer questions, because they’re trained to conduct ultrasounds and not interpret them. So ultrasound technicians are usually taciturn people. Which would be fine, except that you then don’t have the chance to have your obstetrician or even a radiologist explain that “no, that’s your baby’s ass – not her head.” And when the obstetrician calls our surrogate after an ultrasound, I’m sorry to say that message is usually a perfunctory “everything is fine.”
It’s important to recall my opening confession about being a control freak, because reports like “everything is fine” gives me a paucity of things to obsess over and worry about. When we were waiting to hear whether our gestational surrogate was pregnant with twins, I spent interminable hours charting her beta human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. And when our babies were smaller, their ultrasound pictures listed data like CRL (crown-rump length) and we could easily get FHRs (fetal heart rates) – which we can’t get as consistently any more because the babies are pretty much jammed into our surrogate’s uterus and “clean views” aren’t easily gotten any more. But when the data was available, I would religiously enter it into a spreadsheet and tirelessly troll the Internet to decide whether or not they were thriving.
As I mentioned before, they’re too big now to get in an ultrasound picture together anymore. And apparently the ultrasound machines in obstetrician offices don’t usually have high enough resolution to generate pictures that satisfy non-medical laypeople like me. The net result is that even appointments with our obstetrician end up with the doctor saying, “everything is fine.”
Floating in a vacuum of helpless waiting, we ended up asking our surrogate if she would undergo another high-definition, 3D ultrasound so we could see our children. (She, true to form, agreed to endure the inconvenience and discomfort even in her exhausted third trimester state.) And so we got these amazing and wholly satisfying (at least for now) pictures of our children!
The thing that occurred to me, after talking about it to our incredibly wise surrogate, is that I need to be OK with not being in charge. Because the reality is that there’s only so much that I can do anyway, even if I were the best parent in the world. I’m going to have to learn to be fine simply knowing that “everything is fine.” We’re at 30 weeks now – just eight more weeks until the scheduled cesarean, and our surrogate’s cervix is holding steady. I love you, kids, so very much.