Friday, November 04, 2005

The punch line

(Don't panic till you read the end)

Yesterday evening, I came home after dinner and a movie with a friend only to be greeted with the announcement that we had become aunt and uncle that day.
DH had received a text message stating that SIL and BIL#1's baby weighed 1.8 kg, measured 42 cm and the baby is doing well.
This meant that SIL#1 had given birth 2 months too early! Which is horrible news. Babies born that prematurely have to stay in NICU for extensive periods of time while their life hangs in the line and they risk permanent health damage. This is a bit overwhelming, even for an aunt.

The premature birth was not altogether unexpected. SIL#1 had been told by her doctor she needed to take plenty of rest and not to exert herself in any way. BIL#1 had told me before she wasn't heeding that advice as much as she should, but he couldn't force her to. Great, a careless fertile.
Despite my feelings of sympathy for SIL and BIL#1, the news of the premature birth really stung. While she has the option to flaunt her doctors orders regarding her pregnancy, I'm following doctors orders to even get there. Not that I felt she deserved it, no way. I also realize that there are no guarantees, she might still have gone into labor if she had heeded her doctors advice. An ob/gyn is a bit like a witch doctor, if it works he takes the credit, if not you're to blame.

All kinds of thoughts were going through my mind. How do you support parents of a premature baby? When do you offer to visit? What is an appropriate gift, one that shows faith in a good outcome but without referring directly to a healthy full term baby? Where do I get this gift online?

Anyway, it was too late to call them, so I had to sleep on it.

The next morning, I told DH send them a text message back, asking if we had a niece or a nephew, what the baby's name was (the original message didn't say) and saying we would come to visit whenever they felt ready.

Here comes the punch line (text message to me from DH).
"False alarm. They were giving us the measurements from the latest echo"

WTF!? Drive-by pregnancy announcements aren't enough? Now I have to worry about drive-by echo-results??? Some punch, huh.

Don't get me wrong, I am very relieved. Baby not in NICU = good. And they sent the message with good intentions, spreading their news fairly over all relatives and such. But I don't want to hear it, I want to hide.

I am angry. I'm angry for the misunderstanding, all that turmoil for nothing. I am also angry because they are fertile and we're not. My anger has been smoldering beneath the surface for a long time, but now it flared.
The problem is I can't direct my anger anywhere. The fertiles of this world are not to blame. It isn't my fault my body isn't rising to the occasion. There is no point in blaming the Universe, it's just a giant chemistry set.

Tomorrow is the dreaded family dinner with the in laws, including both pregnant SIL's. If BIL#1 has the nerve of asking me the question again, I'm going to smack him. How's that for anger management?