Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: Chamonix, dentist, doctor's offices, France, London, mature pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy in France, toothache, waiting rooms
I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie. Rodney Dangerfield
It seems as though I’ve spent this entire pregnancy in doctor’s waiting rooms. Even so, I’ve had a toothache for about six years and if there’s one pain I can potentially get rid of right now, then I’m going to try.
Several years ago in London I had a cavity filled. I didn’t have a dentist there so I ‘simply’ went to one of the Boots with one. What a mistake. The dentist carved my tooth so deeply and so widely there was barely any tooth left and it still hurt. On my next visit to the U.S.A., I visited the family dentist. I’ve had the same dentist for over three decades, and when I’ve visited other dentists where I’ve lived, they have always commented on the positive state of my teeth…I attribute this to my good doctor, because I eat too much sugar and am not conscientious about flossing. My mother tells me she and my father prepared me for my first visit to the dentist, aware that I might be freaked out and be a bother to him. Instead, I promptly fell asleep in the chair. The dentist told my mother afterward I was “the most relaxed child” he’d ever seen. I’d like to believe this was true, but I attribute this to the fact that as a child my parents tried an “experimental method” of sleeping with me in which they would allow me to tell them when I was tired and wanted to sleep…my mother admits I regularly would “go and go, then simply slump somewhere and sleep.” Nice. During this last visit to the family dentist a year ago, he dug up the cavity and replaced it, telling me he’d filled in some “space” created between the teeth so I wouldn’t get “food packing” in between the teeth which causes pain (yech!).
But the pain has remained, so I went to the dentist in Chamonix recently. My body is becoming huge, my stomach is regularly cramping, my eyesight is blurring, and I have regular heartburn, so if there’s a pain I can do something about then I’m going to do something about it. Except that I couldn’t really. But it took several visits to ascertain this. I went the first time and she explored the tooth but was hesitant to take x-rays because of my pregnancy. She asked me to get an “okay” from my doctor regarding her taking x-rays and kindly booked me in for an appointment (it took me six months to get one in the first place!). My good doctor looking after my pregnancy replied when I asked whether it was okay, “Bof! Bien sur!” However, the dentist did not believe me upon my next visit to her and telephoned his office. Of course he said it was fine. She took the x-rays and declared my roots were dying, however, it would be best to see if we could revive them rather than diving into a root canal. At the next appointment, she gave me local anaesthesia twice (I don’t like pain, but I couldn’t drink my coffee afterwards, I felt as though my lips were paralyzed) and dug up the old cavity and filled the roots with clove derivatives…it felt nicer, and I did hope the tooth would revive. I returned this last week and discovered the roots are still dying and it will be best to do a root canal, but she doesn’t want to do this while I am pregnant. So, she took out the old cloves and packed the roots with more cloves and sent me on my waddling way, instructing me to call her when the wee one is out. Between the weekly visit to the laboratoire for blood samples, the weekly visit to my doctor for a check-up and an ultrasound, the intermittent visits to specialists and recently to the dentist, I feel as though I’ve spent my entire pregnancy in a doctor’s waiting room.
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: anaesthesiologist, anaesthesiologistes, baby in France, birth in France, birth plan, doula, France, labor, labour, midwife, pain relief, pregnancy, pregnancy in France
“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” Aristotle
I met the anaesthesiologist in Sallanches hospital. That’s a difficult word for me to say even in English. Read somewhere that there are 13 anaesthesiologists per 100k of the population in France, whereas the US & UK have a 1/3 less.
We didn’t wait long for the appointment blissfully. It’s getting hard to sit for any duration of time comfortably. I can just about do a movie in the cinema. She spoke French and no English but she was nice enough to enunciate. I don’t know if she’s a doctor or is certified to do this. If our appointment were in English, I’d make small talk and find out why she’d become an anaesthesiologist, what it involved, where she’d studied, whether she liked the job well enough, etc. As it were, I simply lay on an examining table smiling stupidly and she strapped some things to my stomach to monitor the heartbeat while we spoke. She took my blood pressure. She asked if I’d ever had an operation under general anaesthesia, and whether I’d ever had an allergic response to any medicine in the past. She asked me if I wanted to order an epidural in case it was necessary. I said “yes,” and told her that I’d like to know what other pain relievers I could have. She informed me that there is only the epidural. No gas. No air. No gas/air combo (Entonox). No morphine. No intramuscular injections. Moreover, I had to choose what I’d want in case right there-and-then. There were no options on the day other than an emergency spinal epidural if a caesarean were necessary or something went wrong, and doctors and nurses would dictate that then. I don’t mean to sound like some kind of drug addict, it’s that I’m completely adverse to pain and from what I hear giving birth or having a C-section is painful.
It’s funny. In the US and the UK there’s a “birth plan” (“a what?” I’d said the first time I’d heard it, which was not from my midwife here). Apparently, a mother can determine the type of pain relief she wants, what position she’d like to be in, what music she’d like to have playing while she’s in labour, the option of a doula or midwife present…If I were even able to communicate some kind of cogent “birth plan” in French, I’m positive I would be met with sceptical or pitying looks at best and revulsion at worst (“Les Anglais! Tsk, tsk). Must say that I’m kind of into the French mentality in that I’m thinking “Let them do what they need to do,” except on the pain relief front. Jeez, less than 60% of women even remember their doctor’s names after delivery and many of those have the whole birth-plan-thing. Even so, it’s still a better average than the 4% that remember their anaesthesiologist’s name. I couldn’t understand her name when she told it to me much less remember it afterward.
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: acceptance, autism, France, Grief, hope, kids in France, loss, miscarriage, pregnancy, pregnant, still birth, stillbirth
“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.” Marcus Aurelius
Prompted by my husband’s planting an apple tree in our garden for our lost baby, Appleseed, I wrote about this miscarriage in last week’s column. While I’m American, and therefore prone to “vomit” my whole life upon the floor to anyone I’ve just met, I’ve lived in Europe for almost 15 years now, and have learned (am learning) to hold myself back more and to think before I speak…so to write about something so personal filled me with ambivalence and trepidation. However, the stories told to me by other women as a result of this piece, have touched me greatly and confirmed for me that it was right that I wrote about Appleseed.
Of course there was the angelic figure that I met when I was leaving the hospital after my pregnancy sack had fallen apart – her miscarriages and then the birth of her autistic son. One woman told me that she’d had five miscarriages, all at five and sixth months along in her pregnancy. Almost literally, the babies were falling out of her. Finally, the doctors tied her cervix shut and she was on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy that resulted in her only child being born. Another woman told me of a stillbirth in which she’d had to deliver the child through induced labor; she has since had two healthy children but holds this sadness in her heart still. Another woman had six miscarriages, one in which she’d had to deliver the baby stillborn, before she finally had her healthy babies; she told me that every night she still says a little prayer before she goes to bed for the baby she delivered and named. These are harrowing stories from real life – not work, not money, not the tedium of daily life with its challenges, not friends who irritate us, or ‘enemies’ that overwhelm us – but the stuff that constructs who we are, what we’re made of fundamentally, and which defines our relationships to others.
When I was twenty-years-old I became pregnant with a boy man who’d been my boyfriend through secondary school. I was scared and confused. I’d just won a scholarship to a great university and knew that with a baby I couldn’t go…also, I was very young and the boyfriend was trouble. The only people we told about the pregnancy were his parents and mine. His family was incredibly Catholic and admonished me to keep the baby. He, himself, wanted to get married and have the baby. My parents were not sympathetic to his cause. They reminded me of what it would mean both in terms of my age and the unstable relationship that I had with the boy man. I got an abortion. It was painful and saddening for me, and because of the shame I felt, I didn’t tell anyone – not even my best friend – for almost a decade. It was harder still as my sister had a baby at the time I would have had this baby. Even now, my mind flits briefly to the thought of this aborted child when I look at my nephew. When I was finally open about the experience, I was startled to discover so many similar stories. Writing last week’s piece about the miscarriage of Appleseed reminded me of this early experience because of the fact that there are so many people who can relate to situations that we imagine are so unique to us…maybe even shameful…certainly not the image of ourselves that we want to portray…and it’s in the sharing of this vital personal information that we are truly courageous and that we begin to heal…and by ‘heal’, I mean that we begin to accept ourselves, our choices, and the circumstances and events of our life.
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: 2nd trimester, blemishes, cat, George Orwell, luxuriant hair, pimples, pitfalls to pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnant, second trimester, spots, weight gain
Relief I’ve made it 17 weeks
belly rounded and swelling
ten pounds more weight on my body and counting
think of weight in terms of mince meat
heartburn and hideous burping
sit or stand up too quickly and I get a head rush
chest a myriad of light green veins
industrial looking new bras
crooks of arms with tiny dots of green from the lab tests
hair not akin to ‘a just salon done’
face without spots or blemishes
nails long enough and strong enough to scratch back at a cat
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: apple, apple tree, appleseed, bleeding in pregnancy, courage, France, London, miscarriage, pregnancy, pregnant, strength
How we apples swim. Jonathan Swift
It’s not just the little group of cells that’s lost. I’ve had a miscarriage before. I was attached to this child. I was trying to tell myself throughout to be careful, careful, not to get too attached. I was so excited that I was bursting to tell everyone. I satisfied this desire by telling strangers who I knew I would never see again. I’m so disappointed now. I haven’t stopped crying for four days. It’s horrible. It feels visceral. I miss Appleseed. I was fascinated from point ‘go’ by this strange little thing and its rapid growth. It was first a little group of cells, then it had layers for the nervous system and respiratory system, then it had little nubs for arms and legs, then webbed feet and hands…a heartbeat by the time it died. I understand the body rejected it for a reason, but it hurts deeply. Also what hurts – perhaps more – is the attachment I felt towards the dream that having this child conjured in me and now that feeling is lost.
I have to lie down. When I knew that I was pregnant, if my body told me that I needed to lie down, I did. If my body needed water, I drank it. If my body said I was hungry, I fed it well. It was a habit quickly established as soon as I knew that I was hosting Appleseed. I quit smoking. It became a protection issue for someone else. I didn’t have breakfast before I went to the hospital. Thinking about it now, I knew that I was losing Appleseed anyway and so I didn’t have to protect the little thing anymore, so what did it matter if I ate or was comfortable? At the hospital, I sat in this little hard plastic chair, in this Victorian-type narrow hallway with little light, shabby furniture, linoleum floors, dank, with people standing and sitting everywhere. I went into a little office. Last night’s scan showed that there was a ‘buoyant’ pregnancy sack, and inside of it a yolk sack, and next to it, a foetus. Today, there’s just blood, the pregnancy sack has collapsed. The doctor tells me that because of my previous miscarriage ten years ago, coupled with my age, that I have a 74% chance of a miscarriage if I get pregnant again.
Feeling sick, cramped up, completely overwhelmed, shocked and disappointed, I went out into the hallway and the world seemed hard and horrible. There were so many people in this hallway. I went out into the stairwell and this guy pushed past me. I was walking rather slowly, gripping the rail with my left hand. Then from behind me this woman said, “Are you okay?” And I said to her “No. I’m having a miscarriage.” She took my arm and helped me down the stairs. Outside, she asked me if I wanted to go for a coffee or a tea. She told me that she was 49 years old. She’d had three miscarriages and an abortion because of chromosomal problems before she had a fifth pregnancy and finally her child who is now 14 years old. She’d been at this hospital today because she’d been at this recurring miscarriage unit because a professor is doing a study for the Imperial College there with the NHS. We went out on the street into the cool sunshine, it was one of those beautiful autumn days – I love London when it’s sunny with a bit of freshness to the air. She says to me, “Do you want a cigarette?” and I say “Yes!” I’m standing on the street bleeding profusely, I’ve not even had water, and I’m smoking.
We went to a pub across the road and sat outside. She fetched me a glass of wine. She’s Italian. She lives in England with her husband of 30 years. She’s well-to-do. Well-educated. Earthy. She tells me about her three miscarriages and the choice after all of that trauma to have an abortion and then about her son who has Asperger’s. She tells me how sometimes she felt angry and scared. But now she realizes that she wouldn’t be the character she is – and she likes herself – if she had not experienced all of this. She has truly learned to take things as they come. She tells me that if there was a lottery ticket and there was a one in four chance of winning that lottery ticket, I’d buy that lottery ticket, no? That I can’t give up because one doctor was discouraging and the statistics look bad. I must believe in, and honor, the love I feel for the child that I will have. She tells me that life is about living, having hope and faith, friendships, time. At the end of it all, it’s only about this. I feel better. Courage flits in me in place of Appleseed.
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: animal pregnancy, boy children, Fetus, Fetuses, Foetus, Foetuses, France, girl children, lanugo, pregnancy, pregnant animal, pregnant woman, ultrasound, vernix caseosa
“Inside every hardened criminal beats the heart of a ten-year old boy.” Bart Simpson
I had yet another ultrasound this week, but this time the foetus actually looks like something I can recognise as human – well, human alien, to be honest, as the head is inordinately big for its little curled body, and its eyes seem large and transparent. A friend told me once that there’s a stage in many animals’ pregnancy (and by “animal,” he also meant human) in which the foetuses all look like alike…I believe this now, having looked at pictures of pregnant cows, dogs and cats. Fits with my recent dreams in which I’m giving birth to a cat. My good doctor kept trying to give me the ultrasound image to take home, but I’m so paranoid about bringing an ultrasound into the house because I did this with the other two pregnancies and then lost them, that I summarily refuse. I think my husband is taking them into the house secretly…at least I’ll have someone to blame if things go ‘Pete Tong.’
After seeing today’s images, I looked up online what is actually happening to the foetus at present and am most surprised to discover it has eyelashes and fingernails. This is certainly an argument against late term abortion…before now, it could have been a cat, dog, or cow, (and I’m a huge fan of animals, particularly cats) but the fingers and toes and eyelids and eyebrows and eyelashes and nails already formed – that’s refined and real. Soon the foetus will stretch, yawn and suck its thumb. Right now, my baby is covered with a layer of thick, downy hair called lanugo, which seems to be similar to one’s nose hairs. His skin has a coat of slick, fatty substance surrounding it called vernix caseosa that protects it from the long immersion in amniotic fluid (so, does it get wrinkly at all, like one’s fingers do in water after too long? I’ll ask my good doctor about this, despite the likelihood that he’ll poke fun at me). The nervous system is starting to function now, and shortly my good doctor will be able to see whether I’m having a boy or a girl!
I just want a healthy child. I’ve always thought that I wanted a boy ‘cause they’re so much simpler and they love their mothers. Girls are so much more emotionally complex, I worry that I might find that exhausting and that she’ll hate me. That said, boys are noisier and don’t hold still for long, and there’s that awkward smelly, big-footed time when they’re adolescents that might freak me out…. anyway, it doesn’t matter, they each have their merits and demerits; I just want a healthy baby. It’s a long journey, and now the first trimester – the most dangerous time for a foetus and its mother – is over by a few weeks, so I’m breathing a little more easily…
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: Chamonix, complications in pregnancy, diabetes, France, gestational diabetes, glucose intolerance, glucose intolerant, high risk pregnancy, laboratory, pregnancy, pregnancy tests, tests
“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” Erma Bombeck
It turns out that my glucose test for gestational diabetes reflected high sugar levels. I’d taken it earlier than most women ‘cause I’m over 35 and have a history of diabetes in my family. Between 2-10% of women develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy, making it the most common health problem for expectant mothers. Apparently, and if I’ve understood my good doctor correctly (who good naturedly was annoyed that I asked for an explanation – “Ah, if only you were French…”), when you eat, your digestive system breaks your food down into a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose enters your bloodstream and with the help of insulin – a hormone that your pancreas makes (where’s my pancreas again?) your cells use the glucose as fuel. But, if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or if your cells don’t respond well to the insulin, too much glucose moves into your blood instead of into your cells…the ones that convert it to energy (whew!). Hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy can make your cells less responsive to insulin.
If I do have gestational diabetes, I’ll have to alter my diet, and have more prenatal visits to monitor the baby’s growth, movement and heart rate. If the baby becomes too big nearer to my due date, I’ll be induced, or have a C-section. It isn’t definitive that I have it…only 2/3rds of women who test positive on the first test actually have it. I knew that I was eating too much sugar but I can’t help myself; I’m a total Coca-Cola addict even as I know that Coke can take blood off of pavement, take the crud off of your car battery, and render mince meat soaked in it overnight, to shreds (this knowledge is courtesy of a Russian friend who said that they did these types of experiments in his chemistry class in secondary school in 1970’s-1980’s Soviet Union to prove, further, that products from the West are poisonous). Coke is the only bad thing I do now, and I don’t have too much of it…I’m even drinking decaf for goodness sake, but now this…
Anyway, I was ordered to take the longer, more definitive exam called a ‘glucose tolerance test’ this week – my results will be back next week. I went to the lab – they’ve seen me every week for the last four months (and even before that for the two other pregnancies) and still the receptionists are not friendly to me! I couldn’t eat or drink for fourteen hours before I went, so the last meal I had was dinner. I went in, they took my blood, and then gave me 50g of a very nasty sugar solution that tasted like a soda pop you’d buy in South America. I’m told that it’s sweeter than the first test ‘cause the solution is, actually, twice as sweet and ‘cause there’s fasting before. An hour later, they took another blood test. An hour after that, another blood test. An hour later, one more. All the while I had to stay in the lab reception – they wouldn’t even let me leave for a wee walk ‘cause they didn’t trust me not to eat or drink! To be fair, I might have. I’m ashamed to say I carried on like a baby. My bestie and I have been joking about my ‘need’, and other expectant mothers’, to eat for two as an excuse for pregnant women to eat like pigs…but I was frantic without food! I started crying after the first hour and the second prick, and I never cry – I felt so sick, shaky and faint. By the second hour and the third prick, the lab tech took pity on me (or the receptionists complained about my visible misery) and let me lie down in a room by myself where I cried and felt sorry for myself. Jeez louise. No ‘stiff upper lip’ on this one. Maybe I am what my good doctor says, a ‘woosie’ (or as he pronounces it, ‘ah wooz’).
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: alpine, alpine guides, birth, Chamonix, climbing, France, mont blanc, mountain cimbing, outdoor life, pregnancy, risk in pregnancy, risk sports, single mothers, summer sports, winter sports
‘Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.’ Winston Churchill
Most of the women I’ve met in Chamonix are here because of their husbands. Sure, they may like it here and have some semblance of a community, but it’s because their husbands are keen outdoorsman, or simply want to be here, that they live and remain in Chamonix, away from their families. My circumstances are the same. Within this breed of women in the Chamonix valley, are the alpine guides’ wives. The guides work very hard throughout the winter and the summer. Their primary work is hauling ‘punters’ up and down the Mont Blanc. They’ll be gone for several days at a time for a given tour, sleeping in huts and climbing by day. Then they’ll return home, unpack, rest a little (though many of them are so avid they go out and cycle or ski, depending on the season), re pack, and do it again. What this means is that these women are, for all intents and purposes, single mothers.
Not my bag at all. An apartment dweller throughout my adulthood, I still feel that I live on some sort of farm by living in a house in the middle of nowhere, with necessary ‘chores’ to be performed each day to keep the house going. But my chores are nothing compared to these women. They’re chopping wood with an axe, changing gas for their hobs, fixing fuses, shovelling snow, on top of all the daily things. They’re the ones collecting and dropping their kids at school always, organising their children in the morning, shopping for groceries, carrying groceries, cooking, getting their kids to bed, day after day, alone. Most of them say, “it isn’t nice…but what can you do but get on with it?” A typical English ‘chin up’ thing to say. One woman has a quote from Churchill on a postcard prominently displayed on her fridge that reads, “Keep calm and carry on.”
On top of these daily trials, there are the perils that a guide faces: death, skin cancer, injury before an already early retirement (then what?!). I saw a study online conducted by German doctors. It states that ‘for reasons of their outdoor work, mountain guides are heavily exposed to ultraviolet radiation.’ In their study of 283 men, precancerous lesions were more frequent in guides than in the general population (25% vs. 7%). I then tried to find some statistics on death by climbing in various places, but the information online is disparate – there doesn’t seem to be one central information source, an organisation that oversees such matters. What I did find is that according to the American Alpine Club, there are only 25 climbing deaths on average a year throughout the U.S.A. When I asked a guide here about this, he snorted and said, “Humph. Amateurs. That many die in a winter here. Mostly in avalanches.” Of course he was joking, but it’s not far off. I’ve read in the local newspapers over the last couple of winters in Chamonix repeated reports of folks dying up on the mountain. I’ve seen the rescue helicopters carrying a body on the outside, in a flat plastic gurney, which isn’t a good sign. That said, one of the ‘8000’ers, (mountains above 8k meters), Annapurna in Asia, a desirable mountain for climbers to try out, has a death rate of 38%! That means 38% of those who climb it die. But that’s not Mont Blanc. And most of those who die here are not guides, though the general consensus is that it’s about three or four a year who do lose their lives.
But then I saw something that put all this danger into perspective again – the British government assembled these statistics when comparing various activities:
* Maternal death in pregnancy 1 in 8,200 maternities
* Surgical anaesthesia 1 in 185,000 operations
* Hang-gliding 1 in 116,000 flights
* Scuba Diving 1 in 200,000 dives
* Rock climbing 1 in 320,000 climbs
* Canoeing 1 in 750,000 outings
* Fairground rides 1 in 834,000,000 rides
* Rail travel accidents 1 in 43,000,000 passenger journeys
* Aircraft accidents 1 in 125,000,000 passenger journeys
Mountain climbing isn’t even on the list! And note what IS the highest rate of casualty – and with a huge frequency! Geez, here I thought I’m lazy, giving all these sports and dangers that those around me encounter, and yet I’m being courageous by trying to bring a life into this world!
Filed under: www.kidsinfrance.com | Tags: Aliens, France, Liam Gallagher, Mia Farrow, pregnancy, Rosemary's Baby, Russian, Sigourney Weaver, sociopath, Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
‘There’s no map to human behaviour’ Bjork
I have a dear friend in London whom I met at graduate school there. She’s from Moscow, ‘whip smart,’ speaks three languages fluently, is gorgeous and rich. She’s also a bit over-the-top with labels and ‘bling’ and can consequently seem a bit ‘full on’ when one meets her. I was assigned her as a partner in a class entitled ‘Victorian Representations of Sexuality’ and we’ve been great friends since. Despite our completely different lifestyles (she has a penthouse apartment off King’s Road three times the size of my house in the boondocks; she has a personal trainer, I’m flabby and out of shape; she has a manicure, pedicurist visit her home once a week, I cut and file my own, sometimes; she has an eyebrow, lip and body wax every other week, my eyebrows often look like I get them done at the same place as Liam Gallagher, and I assure myself that my ‘tache is only visible in bright light; she has her hair washed and blown dry at a salon three times a week, mine is usually frizzy; she would not be caught dead in down or fleece, I can often be seen ‘sporting’ it in Chamonix) I have found her to be an earthy, practical, wise woman regarding human affairs, a no-nonsense woman in general, a hedonist who I can be completely open with about myself, my past and present with no fear of judgement, a wonderful conversationalist regarding books and stories, and a person who is also generous, loyal and funny.
But now she’s sent me the book We Need to Talk about Kevin. I don’t even know what to say to her! I’m just over three months pregnant and have hormones raging through my body causing my normally neurotic self to be even more neurotic (I wouldn’t have thought it possible). I’m already overly influenced by scary cinematic depictions of pregnant women in feature films that I’ve liked, such as Alien and Rosemary’s Baby, but now she sends me a book about a woman who has a baby that she can’t relate to, whom she does not feel tender towards, and whom she actively believes is a malevolent force out to make her life worse and who does turns out to be a violent sociopath! (I’m sorry to those who haven’t read the book or seen the film, but it’s been in print and on celluloid for awhile so I’m not ‘jumping the gun’ and giving away the ending). The woman in the story is similar to me: she’s creative, moves from New York to the suburbs; has a husband very keen to have the traditional life and household; she’s ambivalent about the role and the loss of her independence/life as she knows it, she doesn’t enjoy the pregnancy, then she has a difficult baby and child. I don’t know whether I’ll have a difficult baby and child yet, of course, but there are similarities between me and this woman that can’t go unnoticed to a woman like me who ‘exams her navel’ regularly. I’ve been so focused and worried that I‘ll lose this baby or that it will be born with some kind of physical deformity or dysfunction that it never occurred to me to also worry about the baby’s basic personality profile…whether he will be someone that is likeable, well-adjusted, kind… non-sociopathic anyway…do I send my friend a ‘thank you’ note as my own mother taught me to do and which I have done religiously since I was a little girl? What to say?
Dearheart, you’ve always been a thoughtful person and you’re so enthusiastic and encouraging about my having a baby even as you, yourself, do not have one, that I find it touching that you thought of me when you read this book and thought, as the heroine is also pregnant and having a child, that you’d send it to me to enjoy…what can I say? Scary reading, yes. A little confusing as a gift at this point in my life, yes. But the writing is great and just as I’ll forgive a lot from a person who makes me laugh, I appreciate a good book… thank you.