I too have a story about science, parenting and grief.
This time the story is about a pregnancy. A pregnancy that – despite the best physiological tricks played by my body – actually wasn’t a pregnancy.
At the eleven week mark of my first pregnancy, a scan revealed a gestational sac with no embryo.
It’s actually not that unusual, and results when a fertilised egg manages to implant and generate the early tissues of the placenta but not an embryo. It probably results from genetic problems with the egg, hence the common term ‘blighted ovum‘.
My whole momentum, the mood that I had created which was based on looking forwards, ground to a halt. No more key pregnancy milestones. No more due date guestimations. No more planning of where in Australia to deliver, and when to return to Jakarta (where I was living at the time).
As a scientist, I understood what had happened. I knew the statistics – it was common. I was not a freak. I would almost certainly conceive again, and deliver a healthy baby (three actually, the numbers now show).
But the knowledge didn’t help. For the first time in my life, I actually felt powerless.
I was grieving, yes. But I was also feeling damned angry. Frustrated that the rules of nature had fooled me, had tricked me into trusting them.
Dammit science, how dare you apply yourself to me!
Looking back, it was a very fine lesson that I needed to learn. It was Step 1 in me becoming a less selfish person, and an important graduation towards being a parent.
[image thanks to Caitlinator on flickr]