Terrified of the Big Test

I had my second pregnancy-themed nightmare last night (OK, I know, DREAMS ARE NOT INTERESTING TO OTHER PEOPLE, but just bear with me for a moment). I dreamed that I was in a hospital and was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the doctors couldn’t do anything about it. They cut my head open and tried to perform surgery but it didn’t work. And then they said I only had a few days left to live, and because the baby hadn’t yet reached viability, it would have to simply die with me.

Gee, THANKS SUBCONSCIOUS! Way to come up with the most insanely depressing situation anyone could possibly suffer. Typing this out, I realize it’s so ludicrous that such a thing would happen — not just to me, to anyone — but waking up from that in the middle of the night was so damn terrifying, it took me hours to get back to sleep.

I think this is a reflection of a) the fact that I’ve become way more emotionally attached to this fetus than I like to admit, either to myself or others; and b) the fact that I just listened to an hour-long Radiolab podcast called “23 weeks 6 days” about a woman who delivered a baby one day shy of viability and the horrors she endured waiting to see if it would survive; and c) the fact that, despite odds being in our favour, I am completely petrified that our baby has Cystic Fibrosis. I’ve actually researched this disease extensively now — that’s how sure I am that our tests are going to come back positive. But weirdly, I kind of woke up from this nightmare thinking, “I would GLADLY take a child with Cystic Fibrosis over a terminal illness that kills both of us right now.”

The other reason I’m so convinced we’ll get bad news is that I feel like I’ve been too lucky in life — yes, I’ve dealt with a couple years of infertility and the stress of IVF and an ectopic; yes, I’ve also dealt with my mother battling cancer twice and nearly succumbing to it. But fortune has almost always been on my side, and I’m due for it to run out. I look at all these people around me who’ve had major tests in life, whether it’s a close family member dying or abusive/estranged relatives or late-term baby loss or whatever, and I keep wondering: When is my Big Test going to happen? Everyone has to endure at least one Big Test in life that really pushes them to the edge, and I’m sure mine is coming. So is it going to be a problem with my child? I just wish I knew already…

——— OK, end major downer of a post ———

On a lighter note, can we talk about the fact that we haven’t signed up for daycare, or found a pediatrician, or drafted a will, don’t yet have a crib, baby carrier, stroller or any other “essentials”, but I am *thisclose* to purchasing a teenie tiny coffee maker:


HOW ADORBS IS THIS? And such great training for when the kid finally learns that he will never get what he wants unless mummy is caffeinated first.

22 thoughts on “Terrified of the Big Test

  1. In my humble opinion, your priorities are right on, mama! I fully support the idea that children need to learn how to make an excellent cup of coffee before pretty much anything else.

    Might I also add that maybe you’ve dealt with “the Big Test” already (you’ve had some whoppers according to your list), but that maybe you can look back on them as not being so devastating because of your outlook on things. Maybe you just do a lot of self-editing, but the general tone from your blog is super positive and hilarious. I’m not sure you can fake that too much.

    And dude, to make you feel better, I’m nearly 8 months over here and am still avoiding the whole Toronto daycare nightmare. My thought process is if I can’t get them into daycare, they have to stay home with me. Yep. Reeeeeeeeeeal responsible.

  2. Ok, so I am going to tell you the same things my therapist tells me. Feel free to ignore me like I often ignore her. Life is not a competition of whose life is harder and easier, better and worse, who has been through more and less. No one is keeping score of your fortune and trials but you! You certainly have dealt with a lot and then there are some challenges other people have that you have not faced. That does not make you a better or worse person. It just is. And I hope that you can put the idea of one big test to rest!

    Get a car seat, a will, and this coffee maker. The rest can wait!

  3. I didn’t think it was a downer post. I actually think the fact that you’ve been through SO MUCH already, but you still think luck has always been on your side means you are a really positive person. I thought infertility was our big test in life.

    We can’t go through life waiting for bad news, it would really put a damper on things. “If you imagine the worst case scenario and it happens, you will have lived it twice”. -Michael J Fox.

    Sending you a big hug! xo

    • Aw, thanks GM! I was thinking about that Michael J Fox quote during my lunch today, actually, because it ties into the whole “Don’t borrow problems from the future” mantra that I clearly have left by the wayside. Really such a great attitude to have and I think I need to work harder at keeping it!

  4. The coffee maker is the cutest thing ever! As a coffee drinker, I would totally splurge on something like that. As for your fear of the Big Test, to others my infertility is my big test. But to me, life is still good and I am still doing pretty well. But to them, it’s like… enough is enough, can you just get pregnant already. So… it depends on how we react to things that come our ways and what choices we make to handle/deal with them. When your Big Test comes, you may not even recognize it because you’re going to deal with it the same way you have dealt with other major life events. And it seems like you’ve been dealing with life quite well.

  5. K taught Pepper how to use the coffee maker yesterday. The kid has to have priorities. I haven’t drank coffee in a long time (even though I worked as a barista until the beginning of this year) but K is a beast if he doesn’t get his cup (or ten) a day.

    I’m sure your little man is fine. The shiny bowel thing is becoming more common. Or so says the obessive pre-anatomy ultrasound Googling I did.

  6. I read the article linked on the same page as the podcast and have been bawling my eyes out. And remember… despite the odds she faced her little baby is happy and healthy and home. The 3 best H’s in the world. I am hoping you little man will come through with flying colours.

  7. I know just how you feel about being owed a big test. When I found out I was infertile and then later that I was miscarrying, I thought it was just my turn for some shitty stuff to happen, since the rest of my life has been pretty darn easy.

    But chances are your baby is totally wonderful and perfect in every way. I can’t wait until you get to meet that little nugget and put your fears to rest (to be replaced with the different fears of raising a child, I guess, ha).

  8. I think it’s important for children to learn how to make coffee and cocktails for their parents from a very young age. Priorities!
    I think your little dude is going to be fine. I am not sure we all have one Big Test to get through. I know people who have never had any challenges put in front of them and others who’s life is just one challenge after another. I would say you have been through your fair share of challenges so you aren’t due anything else. I hope you get results soon so your mind can be put at ease (at least until the next worry comes along)

  9. I actually find people’s dreams fascinating…it’s really interesting to see how our subconscious twists things around in our head and makes them come out all jumbled but still making sense if you look at them in the right context. Obviously yours is an insecurity/anxiety dream, which is totally to be expected! I am still positive that things will be fine and there will be no CF. I also agree with other commenters that it actually sounds like you’ve had several Big Tests. But now, allow me to put on my former lawyer hat and tell you that YES, writing up a will is a priority. You honestly wouldn’t believe how many clients waited to come to me until the day before their first vacation sans child and wanted a will drawn up right away. You don’t want a court deciding who gets custody of your children! Write it up!

  10. At least once or twice a year, I see an ultrasound report with an echogenic bowel and CF testing is recommended, and I have NEVER seen one come back positive, but following the the notion of facing the worse case scenario, CF is a spectrum disorder; some people are severely affected and others are only mildly affected. My tip to your readers -please do your carrier screening ahead of conception!

    • Thanks for this, Jane!! You’re very right — there does seem to be a large spectrum with CF; I read about one guy who wasn’t even diagnosed with it until he was 14 years old. But the whole genetic testing for it beforehand is an interesting question; I was shocked to find out that 1 in 25 people are carriers. That seems like a lot to me. I know it’s very common in the Jewish community for a couple to get tested for Tay Sachs before they get married to see if both are carriers, and it’s the exact same rate — 1 in 25 (at least for Ashkenazi Jews), so why aren’t the rest of us more concerned about CF?

  11. I deal with CF patients every day at work, so I totally understand why this would be scaring you half to death. But I think it was you that once told ME not to borrow from tomorrow’s problems. Live in the moment my dear- you are going to have a baby, and that’s a what matters for today. Everything else will fall into place, whether your child is born healthy or not. I know this all too well, as my daughter had a massive stroke shortly after birth, and I had to learn rather quickly to not sit around anticipating the next potential seizure, or the next possible developmental issue. And I’m sure glad I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on that stuff, because as it turned out, she is extraordinarily healthy, hasn’t had a seizure since she was 4 weeks old, and has shows almost no signs of every having had a stroke. What a waste of time it would have been had I spent every day anticipating the worst!!!

    That being said, it is scary stuff. Take it one day at a time. That’s all you can do.

    LOVE the coffee maker, BTW. I am so getting one for my daughter!!!

    • You’re very right… and there are, of course, a MILLION other problems that could arise between now and birth, and between birth and the kid turning 18. Or he could suddenly start hearing voices at 18 just when we think we’re in the clear. But obviously it doesn’t make sense to worry about all this; cross bridges when you come to them and all…

  12. You said it already – stop borrowing problems from the future! But hey, that’s something I do all the time, so who am I to say anything? Just know that no matter what life throws at you, you CAN handle it. You may not think you can now, but you can. You just… do. That’s not to say that I think the tests will be positive, but if they were, then you would be strong and deal with it and still be one incredible mom. Eric’s cousin has two kids with CF and they’re not just surviving, they’re thriving. It sucks, but just remember – it could always, always, always be worse. You got this.

  13. I’ve been working really hard with my RE to make a kid so that someone can make me and my husband a decent cocktail and a strong cuppa joe. Mini coffee maker is essential.

    I told my husband that I was worried about having an unhealthy kid and he more or less shrugged, like “anything’s possible.” Husband fail. Your only job is to say “our child will be preposterously healthy.” And so, for you, to make up for my husband’s failings, I say, “your child will be preposterously healthy.” I forsee it. It shall be.

  14. I am obsessed with amigurumi vegetables, and i am not even pregnant. You should definitely buy that though.

    As far as luck goes, my partner has been lucky his whole life. When i say lucky, really i mean he has the worst luck but some how always comes out ok. I phrase it as ‘he swam through a river of shit and came out clean’; i have also never seen The Green Mile.

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