I've been thinking alot lately about information, medical advances, and new technology. I have wondered for awhile now what would have happened had we not known about Calvin's heart defect. I know for certain he probably would have died within his first year of life without surgical intervention but I wonder if it would have bought me more time with my son. Although I have a great deal of admiration for medical advances and knowledge, I wonder if there is such a thing as knowing too much. If we had wound the clock back eighty years and I was giving birth to the twins not knowing that our son's little heart wasn't formed properly, would that lack of knowledge have given me more unhurried time? Certainly children died more frequently than they do today, it was almost a given even eighty years ago that at least one child in the family wouldn't live past age five. Back then it was quietly accepted that sometimes mothers and children didn't survive even the birthing process, never mind being born with something as devastating as a malformed heart. I wonder if I lived in that day and age if I would have quietly accepted Calvin's death as one of those things that happens and been able to move on better with my life. I doubt if Calvin had been born fifty years ago that they would have even been able to diagnose his heart defect let alone operate on it when he was just three days old. I wonder what difference it would have made in my pregnancy, to have been blissfully unaware that my baby suffered from a life threatening condition. Maybe I would have been worried about whether or not I would have survived birthing the twins, or whether or not we would be able to feed and support two babies at once. I do know that I miss being unaware. I miss that blissful lack of knowledge that you have when you've never had problems with pregnancy or birth. I miss the innocence of believing that science can fix whatever problem is thrown it's way or that in this day and age, babies don't die anymore. I am all too aware of problems, complications, medical terminology, congenital conditions and statistics. I am all too aware of how it feels to hold your child in fear knowing that in a few hours, his chest will be cut open and that he might die. I am all too aware of the crushing pain that comes from holding your child as he turns blue, then black from cyanosis and from knowing that there is no prayer or hope or wish that can save him. I wish more than anything I lived in the state of blissful ignorance where I didn't always have in my mind the memory of my son on life support or in his tiny casket waiting to be buried.
If I could only have a little of that back, maybe I wouldn't have been so spent with trying, so crushed from all of our past losses that I would have been able to hold my chin up and say, "Let's try again". If I wasn't aware of all the problems being pregnant caused me and all the problems that could affect my unborn children than maybe I could have accepted burying one or two of them along the way to creating a family of epic proportion. Maybe, then again, maybe not. The fact is that I have been affected with too much knowledge, too many things that could happen, too much fear to try again and for that I am incredibly sad. Not only did I lose my son and the other babies I miscarried on the way to creating our family but I lost my hope. I lost the faith in my body to do it's job properly, I lost the naivety that comes with the belief that you get pregnant, you have a baby and you live happily ever after. It didn't happen that way for us and although I have learned in the last months of living without my son that we are far from being the only people that have lived through losing a child, it doesn't make it easier knowing that babies do die and that it does happen to other people too. It just shouldn't happen to anyone. The only real difference between now and eighty years ago is that it doesn't happen as often because they do have the tools and the knowledge to diagnose and cure. Maybe because of that sense of security, we've bubbled ourselves into believing that we are safe from something that was at one point common. Maybe it's the fear of talking about what really does happen sometimes that keeps us blissfully unawares until it happens to us. More than anything, I wish I was still wrapped in that bubble safe in the belief that it wouldn't happen to me.
Maybe This Year Will Be Better Than the Last*
3 weeks ago