My second round of blood was drawn yesterday. I won't know anything more until Monday when my doctor returns. I'm not holding any hope that this pregnancy is secure, unless it's possible that a fish could also survive by clinging on to the side of a bowl as all the water is drained out.
Since this past October, I've been battling one upper respiratory infection after another. This past March, around the same time I was diagnosed with a sinus infection, I was absolutely desperate to be well. One day when I was at the pharmacy picking up my prescription and replenishing my monthly supply of sinus rinse packets and cough drops, I spotted the herbal remedies and supplements.
After spending a solid 30 minutes reviewing the different bottles and what they claimed to cure or prevent (without validation of the FDA, but so?), I selected bottles of Vitamin B12, Echinacea and Goldenseal. And then I grabbed another crate of Kleenex and with fingers crossed that I'd finally be on the mend, I headed home and promptly began my regiment of treatment.
By the end of March, I was finally feeling better. Much like the small pills made with the liver of a deadly puff fish (as prescribed to me several years ago by a costly homeopathic doctor) cured me of a minor ailment I was suffering, I was moderately convinced that these supplements were doing something to help boost my immune system and ward off rogue viruses.
Without so much as a second thought, for the past six weeks, I've continued to take my supplements in conjunction with the multivitamin that I've taken every night for as long as I can remember. This past Tuesday - when I genuinely began to fear that I was experiencing a miscarriage - I stopped taking every pill except my multivitamin. For no reason other than the simple effort to open the bottles and take the pills to my mouth constituted too much effort.
Last night, as I was getting ready for bed - I picked up the bottle of Echinacea & Goldenseal and looked at the label. And although it is only in about the equivalent of a font size 8, the words jumped out at me, "WARNING: DO NOT TAKE WHEN PREGNANT."
I ran to my computer, fired it up, and typed in to the search engine, "echinacea, goldenseal, pregnancy complications." And while my legs wobbled and my lip trembled, I read page after page of warnings and recommendations to avoid these supplements, particularly goldenseal during pregnancy.
In one study that was conducted on the safety of echinacea during pregnancy, there were 13 spontaneous abortions in the echinacea group compared to 7 in the control group. Or, approximately twice as many. Statistically, I don't know how sound this data is but right now, it's enough to make me feel responsible.
Charlie came out to see why I was furiously cursing at the computer - and myself - and he tried to console me. But at this point, I'm not consolable. Because the fact remains that I should have LOOKED at the label. I should have KNOWN what I was putting in to my body. I should have been keenly aware that RISKS exist. The labels are there for a reason and there is absolutely NO good reason why I didn't review them. Except negligence and ignorance.
I'm convinced this IS my fault and if not for my stupidity, I'd be happily pregnant with a baby that is due to be born on Christmas Day. A baby that my children and husband want just as much as me. It's a lot more emotionally crippling to believe that I had a hand in these complications, than to believe that this pregnancy was simply not meant to be.
This morning, I woke up and feeling groggy, rolled back over to go to sleep for a few more minutes. As I dozed, I had a vivid dream. Charlie and I were standing in the kitchen talking and folding laundry. The triplets were in the backyard playing, Henry was in the small bathroom - just off the kitchen - splashing in a tub that was filled with no more than six inches of water. As we spoke, we could hear him happily playing with his plastic dinosaurs. After a few minutes had lapsed, Charlie ducked around the corner to check on him and he started to scream, "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! HENRY! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY INSERT-BAD-WORD-HERE GOD!"
I forced myself awake and I immediately knew that it was just a nightmare that my little boy had drowned. I knew that he was sleeping peacefully in the bottom bunk with his big brother. But those feelings I have of extreme fragility and vulnerability are right there on the surface, invading my mind when I sleep.
As I look over my calendar of the past week, I can clearly see a "before" and "after" all of this has started. And I am keenly aware, as I look around at my life right now, that I am living in a "before" moment of some sort. Bad things will happen in my life. They happen to everyone.
If the possible loss of a six and a half week pregnancy (potentially caused by me) is having this kind of effect on my psyche, I am paralyzed with dread wondering how I could handle something on a larger scale. God forbid, if something happened to my husband or one of my children.
Right now, I'm caught in that space of living in the moment and treasuring my life, while trying desperately to block out the knowledge that at any time, and without warning, the entire floor of my world could drop out.