October 8th, 2009

planet

early uncertain stages

First the good news... I've gone from being nervous/scared about the pregnancy to being optimistic and a little excited about it. I think I'm ready for the baby thing. I talked to the chief flight instructor at our flight school, I was a little bit afraid she'd stare blankly at me and say "You stupid student pilot why did you go and get pregnant now? No way you're going to finish!" But she didn't! She smiled, said she was thrilled for me, said that she flew all the time when she was pregnant. And that there was no great time to have a baby, you just work it into your life when it happens and it's wonderful. She said she'd be thinking about me a lot. I was so happy. I also did some research and learned that the a private pilot checkride is about 90 minutes, not some crazy three hour epic journey. That helps.

So what's bad? Realizing that I'm happy about being pregnant means I have something to lose now. I'm at a very risky time and there's not really anywhere to turn for help. Since there's nothing to see until at least the end of the month, every day is just a huge question mark as to whether I'm still pregnant... 80% or so that I still am but those aren't fantastic odds. I still don't feel pregnant, and I'm reaching for signs that tell me my status. It's really scary and the days are absolutely crawling.

My shoulder hurts. Is it because I slept on it wrong, or am I bleeding internally from ectopic pregnancy? I'm serious, google it! Also I wasn't that hungry yesterday, is it because the whole thing is over? Maybe if something smells weird I'm pregnant, maybe I can't fall asleep at night I'm not? Why does my stomach feel like I had a good ab workout recently? At least I'm not bleeding, but I've still got weeks of first trimester to go. This is a huge medical condition that I have to be totally in the dark about, and what's worse it could lead to even bigger, life-threatening conditions that I'm also in the dark about.

Some of you might remember a spell I had in '06 or so... I became confused and disoriented at work, experienced vision loss and numbness for several hours. I was okay, but the doctor was concerned. He said, "It was probably an ocular migraine, but just in case it was a stroke or aneurysm, we should do some testing." I went through a hosts of test. I was a normal, healthy woman, and these things aren't supposed to be wrong, so he jumped on it.

I was like an airplane then... we're very careful to diagnose any problem, we do books of analysis to make sure everything is engineered perfectly. We expect perfection. We know the environment we're getting into... wind gusts, antenna noise, icing, temperatures... and we plan for it everything.

I'll never forget when the Columbia space shuttle exploded and how tragic it was, and how I just didn't understand how something in the sky could just blow up. I did some reading, and it turns out NASA can't do all the analysis that we do on airplanes. They don't know what all is going on 200,000 feet above the earth's surface like we do for 45,000 ft. They just know it's important to be there, so calculate some risks and launch. And the whole time it's up, they're holding their breath, waiting. Our airplanes have a one in a billion chance of catastrophic failure... the space shuttle is closer to one in a hundred. When something goes wrong they diagnose it but they never know beforehand that it's going to be perfect. The environment is atypical and unknown.

I feel like I'm on the space shuttle. No one will tell me anything reassuring. No one can do analysis to promise that nothing will go wrong. Things feel weird and different and not right and I just have to keep going. Under normal circumstances if I told a doctor "there's a life-threatening multi-celled organism growing in me" they'd want to know everything, run tests, ask what I've eaten and ask me where every pain and strange feeling was. Or find some way to check on it, see what it was doing, learn all they could. But pregnancy? I'm just going to feel strange... we'll tell you in three weeks if you're okay strange or something isn't going right. Any day, you could start bleeding and not be pregnant. It's a system where we just calculate the risks and go. So go.