My husband and I talk about the perils of this mission, and Mr.LMF spouts off a statistic that 1 in 5 do not make it back from Everest. Now, I have not looked up that stat to see if it is accurate, but I have read "Into Thin Air" by John Krakauer and also the one by his climbing mate Beck Somethingorother that I can't remember the title of, but outlined the same fated expedition. So, I am sure the 1 in 5 stat isn't far off, if it isn't accurate.
Then hubby tells me that his wife is PREGNANT right now, and he will miss the birth!! He leaves early April, and she is due early May, and then he is back end of May or June or something. I wasn't listening to all the details because I was horrified at the fact that he was going to leave his pregnant wife to climb the most dangerous mountain in the world.
We talked about if further for a bit, then we went on to other topics and it left my mind for a while.
Today, I cannot stop thinking about this couple and the situation they are in. Apparently this Everest trip came up when they were very early in their pregnancy. The money is good. And it was so far in the future. They knew that he would miss the delivery, but it is their first child so they didn't really know what to expect. They weighed the pros and cons, and decided that the trip was a go.
I liken this situation to trying to predetermine what it's like to be in pain. For instance, when I went in to the hospital to have my 2nd pregnancy ended and my uterus removed, I was told I would be in the hospital for 3 days. Three days?? That sounded pretty long to me. I figured I would get out the next day for good behaviour. Well, after the surgery I was in quite a lot of pain, and held on tight to my morphine drip for dear life, making sure to hit it every 5 minutes (or whatever the interval was when it would allow more of the sweet nectar to course into my veins) to ensure I was sufficiently drugged out as to feel as little pain as possible. On day 2, I was no longer on the morphine, but I was in some pretty serious pain. There was NO WAY I was leaving the hospital on day 2 like I had hoped. Day three was only marginally better than day 2, but I was pretty eager to get the hell outta there, so I was taken to my parent's in law to recuperate. But, when we were planning this whole thing, I had NO IDEA it would be like this, or feel like this. I thought I would be able to get out of the hospital and be back at it in no time. It is sooo hard to preplan these things. And I feel like this couple is underestimating what the birth of their child will be like, and they are thinking that they can do things (like climb a mountain half way across the world while your wife delivers your child without you) that are just not realistic.
Now, I will say now that I do not know this couple. I have not met either of them, and I don't know what their dynamic is as a couple. I would assume that because this is his third trip that they have some idea of the risks involved, how long he will be gone, etc... And she is probably well versed in dealing with is absences for these types of adventures, and perhaps she looks forward to having the time alone to catch up on "The Bachelor" or "Dancing with the Stars" or reconnecting with her best girl pals over Cosmo's. Who knows.
But as this is their first child, they have no idea what to expect. In addition, she was very early pregnant and not yet feeling the baby move, not yet so big she couldn't reach down to the floor to pick things up, not yet really worrying about actually becoming a mother, and could she handle it, and will she be a good mom, and the realization that THAT HUGE BABY HAS TO COME OUT OF WHERE???? And all of this would be happening sans Mr.Everest.
Now things have changed and she is 7.5 mos pg and is apparently changing her tune a little. She is nervous for him to go. Is rethinking this trip. Is thinking maybe they should have passed this time.
Really? Ya think??
Well, as this has rolled around in my head all day, I am becoming more and more horrified by the whole situation. And I don't even know these people!! But, I want to get on the phone with Mr.Everest and plead to please please please don't let your wife go through this alone.
Best case scenario: She has a healthy happy baby. But, she still has to go through labour all by herself. She has to decide if she should get an epidural even though they may have decided to try doing it naturally. Will he question her about that later? What if it's time for an emergency c-section and she is so beyond beyond that she cannot sign a waver or make decisions for herself. Does her mother have to do that, even though it is her husbands place to do that?? And then she has to care for the little bundle all by herself during the early cry/wake/cry/shit/cry/sleep cycle that newborns are famous for. And she has to try to breastfeed all by herself. I know from experience that this is not always an easy task, and I was OFTEN reduced to tears in those early weeks from a baby that wouldn't latch and nipples that were cracked and bleeding - but I had my hubby at my beck and call to handle ALL of the other household duties while I cared for our new baby.
But lets say that there is a worst case scenario. If you are reading this I am assuming that you know as well as I do that all pregnancies do not end in "Mommy and baby are doing great!" announcements. Is Mr.Everst willing to let his wife go through that alone?? Is he willing to let his wife labour all by herself, only to deliver a baby that will not live? He he willing not to meet his baby? Does he just want to hear the "Story" of his baby's birth, and not be there himself?
Unfortunately I am a part of the population that knows that pregnancy does not = guaranteed baby. I am happy for these two that they still live in a world where they don't think tragedy can touch them, but it can.
If Mr.Everest is really looking for an adventure, he should stay put with his wife. Because nothing is as fraught with risk and adrenaline like having a baby.