Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mt. Everest

Last night over evening cocktails Mr.LMF told me about a friend of his who is leaving in early April to lead his third expedition of Mt.Everest.  He will get paid a small fortune by a couple of wealthy fellas who have their sights set on the summit.

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.


  1. I'm speachless... and horrified!

    Wow. Can people REALLY be that naive? I'll phone him... I'll tell him what it's like to go through labour without my husband, to be the only living soul, outside of hospital staff to get to see my baby while she lived for those few hours. Maybe then he'd rethink, because my husband would have jumped off the rig he was stuck on and swam the Atlantic, if he thought he'd have a chance at sharing those moments with me. Fast forward to now, and he still yes grieves.. but has such a hard time coming to grips with grieving someone who was only a thought in his head. I'd give ANYTHING to have let my husband meet his daughter.

  2. Sherri, I have thought about you A LOT since I heard of this couple, and knew that you would feel this way. Don't you just want to scream from the mountaintops to this couple who don't know what we know, and tell them NOT TO DO THIS. I feel for you and your husband so much for some many reasons, but especially because he was not with you when you had Kristen. He wasn't able to meet her, hold her, kiss her. And you weren't able to enjoy her *with your husband, Kristen's father*. You were robbed of that experience together. That is just so unfair. It must be unbearable to you both.
    I am going to talk to my hubby tonight to see if he can chat with his friend and give him a bit of a heads up about how things might be, and just get him to think about if he could live with himself if things went wrong. Maybe nothing will change, but maybe they will rethink things. I don't know... I will keep you posted.

  3. I hope you can change his mind. If he goes ,there may be a lot of regrets. Maybe even ill-feelings of the wife towards the husband later on. What will he say to his child when he's older--that he'd rather climb a mountain than be there the day he was born???

  4. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to not have had my husand around. I really hope her husband decides to stick around, you can pray for the best and hope things will be just fine but we all know all to well that things can go so wrong.
    Plus who would want to miss there child being born?