Grace and the Odds

by Kathy on March 12, 2009 · 29 comments

in Baby Benson, Bob, Inspiration, Molly, Quotes, Sean, The Future, TV Shows

I love quotes. I collect them. They inspire me. I especially enjoy when I find them when I am least expecting it, like while watching one of my favorite television shows. Tonight I was watching Grey’s Anatomy. For those who may not be familiar with “Grey’s,” the medical drama takes place at the fictitious Seattle Grace Hospital (what a great name) and tells incredible stories of doctors and patients, life and death, tragedies and hope. Though I get that Grey’s is more soap opera than accurate depiction of medical cases, I still get a lot out of watching the show and often find the writing to be very moving.

Tonight there was a dialogue between two characters on the show, resident Dr. Isobel “Izzie” Stevens and an intern Dr. Lexie Grey, that really spoke to me, to my life and the journey we have been on since Bob and I began trying to expand our family in July 2004. This interchange, which I paused and rewound until I was able to completely transcribe it, was just what I needed to hear tonight. I have struggled a lot with this new path that me and my family are on right now. I never realized how hard it could or would be to be pregnant again after losing our baby girl Molly last year. Over the past five years there has been much discussion about “the odds” with each of our five pregnancies, since our son Sean was born healthy. Unfortunately with every one of those pregnancies until now we have somehow managed to end up on the “wrong” side of the odds. Our interstitial ectopic pregnancy and Molly’s rare, severe and fatal combination of congenital heart defects both carried odds of less than 1% and it still dumbfounds Bob, me and our doctors that we happened to have two such unique diagnoses and tragic losses.

With our current pregnancy there has been a lot of talk about the odds and how it is very likely that everything with our baby will be just fine. Bob and I get that, but after everything we have been through often feel like the odds don’t apply to us. Most of the time I am a very optimistic person and want so much to believe in miracles and happy endings. As much as what might happen with our baby/this pregnancy scares me, deep down I do believe in my heart that there really is a good chance that we will get to bring this baby home later this year. I also believe that though it is important to honor my feelings and emotions, it is also possible and healthy for me to try to be positive about our baby and the likely outcome of this pregnancy.

This dialogue from tonight’s Grey’s episode that I will leave you with reminded me that I do have a choice in how I will live my life each day that we are blessed to have this baby growing and developing inside me. It is okay and even normal for me to be scared and to want to protect myself from what could go wrong with our baby/this pregnancy. There are no guarantees and it is not out of the question that our baby might die. However, I have never been one to live my life that way. Even when I was pregnant with Molly and understood how grim the odds that she would survive were, I never gave up hope and did my best to make the most of the time we had with her during our pregnancy and after she was born. I view each day on this earth to be a gift and want to make the most of it. I don’t spend my time worrying about Bob, Sean or me dying. I know that could happen, but I chose not to dwell on it. So likewise I want to try to believe that our baby will be healthy and live too and hopefully get to a point where I will really be able to enjoy our pregnancy and feel a stronger connection with our baby.

Here is the conversation between “Izzie” and “Lexie” that inspired me tonight:

Izzie: What would you say to patient X? How would you break the news?

Lexie: I would say that I was very sorry and that there were support groups. I don’t know. What do you say to somebody whose gonna…

Izzie: You say they have a choice. They can run away and hide from it or they can face it. You say they need to be around the people who love them, because it is going to be the toughest fight of their life and no one should have to do it alone and then you give them the odds. And even though 5% survival rate is bad, really bad, you say, you say…

Lexie: Screw the odds. People die of the hiccups. My mother died of the hiccups and survival rate for that is, what, 100%. The odds are that she should be alive right now. The odds are that the, the odds mean crap. So people should face it and they should fight. Maybe not those words…

Izzie: No, exactly those words. Thank you Dr. Grey.

I want to face this pregnancy and fight for our baby. I want to bring our little miracle home later this year and though it is understandably scary, it is also incredibly awesome that it is both possible and very likely. I hope that what ever trials you are dealing with in your life today that you remember that you do have a choice. At least you have the opportunity to choose your attitude and how you are going to deal with it. I hope and pray that you are willing and able to both face and fight your fears too. It isn’t easy, but I know that we can do it. We can do it together.

Thank you for reading. For your continued support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers. Take care and may God bless you and your loved ones.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fertilized March 12, 2009 at 10:04 pm

WOW. Funny thing is that I also did hte same thing you did. I had to stop and rewind the dvr because i was tearing up through the dialogue. It spoke to me also.

I am glad that it spoke to you and gave you the extra umph you needed


2 CLC March 12, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Who knew that show could be so insightful? I haven’t watched this one yet, but I DVR’d it.

And odds don’t mean much anymore to people like us. Once you are on the wrong side, they all go out the window. I like your attitude about every day being a gift. I do try to spend at least an hour, if not more, each day not worrying and just enjoying this baby squirm inside me (I just usually only write about the fear though…)


3 MFA Mama March 13, 2009 at 7:21 am

Thanks–I needed to read this today. I’ve got some challenges of my own going on right now and last night descended into a full-blown pity-party for myself, which of course helped NOTHING. My mother (a nurse) used to be pretty dismissive of “odds.” She’d say “Either you’re going to die, which we all are, or you’re not. If you die from whatever you’ve got, your odds of that happening to you were 100% all along and nothing was going to change that. If you live, your odds were zero and any worry is a waste of time and effort.” I didn’t like that one very much sometimes growing up, but lately I’ve become a fan 🙂


4 BagMomma March 13, 2009 at 7:26 am

This post resonated with me as you might expect because I too have been caught up in the “bad” side of the odds.

I watched Grey’s last night, and the same thought came to my mind. I think through all that we’ve been through, there is hope that we can end up on the good side of the odds. Why? because we managed to be in that .01% of the female population in which bad things happen. For me, it makes me think that I can just as easily fall on the good side of slim odds too.

I’m glad all is well for you.


5 A Mom in Jacksonville, FL March 13, 2009 at 7:49 am

Beautiful post. I appreciate your thoughts. (And I love Grey’s!)

Glad things are continuing to go well during your pregnancy.

Hope that your basement flooding clean up project is over.


6 k@lakly March 13, 2009 at 1:30 pm

After having lived through the stillbirth of my son and then living through my subsequent pregnancy and delivery of C., I understood that realy odds tell you nothing. You can have great odds and still lose and you can have shitty odds and still win. None of us ever know which side of the numbers we will land. The only choice we have is whether or not we are going to play the numbers at all. Once your in, all you can do is white knuckle it until you get your answer. As many of us have often said around these db parts of the blogosphere, it just is what it is.

I am so glad that everything is going so well. I hope that this latest appt and news has allowed you to find more things to enjoy with this pg. I know it is so hard to do but you both deserve it. You don’t have to deny that the fear is there but that doesn’t mean you can’t also enjoy the love and the hope as well.

Thinking of you and waiting quietly by your side.


7 Photogrl March 13, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Thank you so much for this insightful post today. I don’t watch Grey’s, although many have told me I would enjoy it.

I NEEDED to read something like this.

Thank you for sharing.


8 T-Mommy March 15, 2009 at 6:48 pm

One time our my OB told us that one patient told him that she thought most of the doctors focus only to give a diagnosis and the odds and by doing that they, in some way, “steal” the patient’s hope.

In my opinion, the way the doctor explains what is going on plays a huge part but then it is entirely up to us, as patients, how are we going to handle things in order to make them better, if not medically, at least emotionally to do our best to live and enjoy what we have every moment. Even if we are going through extremely hard situations, we all have at the same time great things that somehow “get lost” or overlooked in the middle of the pain and suffering.

It is no easy by any means, but it is amazing how difficult circumstances can change in a great way who we are, and how we live our life, in such a positive way.

We can´t never forget it takes a lot of rain to make the grass look green and a great storm to bring a rainbow… but we need to work hard and be strong to be able to admire the grass and the rainbow when they come.

YOU CAN do it Kathy!

… I am pretty sure YOU CAN and we are here to hope, pray and be strong for you when you most need it!


9 Tally January 1, 2010 at 11:04 am

Thank you for reminding me of that dialogue. I am going to have to find it on YouTube now, as it is still so very pertinent to me.

Love the post. (Creme de la creme)


10 Bean stalk ballads January 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Odds are that arent they… baseless predictors which doesnt lessen the worry or the impact when the meteor hits you any less. you were so brave and inspiring… thank you.


11 tbonegrl January 1, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I am so glad you beat the odds! Thank you for sharing…found you from creme de la creme.


12 Michelle January 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I watch Grey's Anatomy and I remember this quote exactly because it struck me too. I have had 2 miscarriages and 2 ectopics, one of which was EXTREMELY rare, in my cervix. The odds of that are crazy. So I too rewinded and listened to that a few times. You put this in to words beautifully!

I am so glad you were able to bring your little girl home and BTW I love the name Abigail , it is what I want to name my little girl if I am ever so blessed.

Many hugs to you!


13 Noelle January 1, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Thank you for writing this post. I am newly pregnant after a loss, and I have been having a lot of difficulty with how to live my life now. Your post really spoke to me about living life to its fullest, even when we are afraid.


14 Mrs. Gamgee January 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Isn't it incredible how tv, while on a good night can entertain us, can on exceptional nights change us and how we live our lives? Living everyday, not thinking about the odds… that's a big step, and Very freeing.

Lovely post!


15 manapan January 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

That was beautiful. I'm so glad Abby is home with you now!


16 mommyinwaiting January 6, 2010 at 2:55 am

I love Grey's and this episode was so beautiful. It must be so amazing for you now looking back at this post and knowing you fought and won!


17 Fran January 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

Stopping by from Creme de la Creme. Absolutely beautiful post. Beside, your daugther was born on my birthday! Wishing you a great 2010. Fran


18 Christine Dallimore January 6, 2010 at 3:14 pm

What an amazing post! I needed this today!! I'm so happy to see that everything did indeed turn out wonderfully. Here's to wishing you a fabulous 2010 and many seasons of joy.


19 Just me January 8, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I'm another on the wrong side of the odds… Unexplained infertility, stimming well- IUI should work… or not. Onto IVF… around 60% of the eggs should fertilize… we got zero. Add in ICSI… +++!!! Good HB in week 7… only 5% chance of m/c… no heartbeat week 8.

We're now in a new situation with odds that are much harder to pin down… hard for me, as a math teacher.

I wish I could have an attitude like Izzy, but lately I'm too afraid of the heartbreak that would result if, once again, we "beat the odds".


20 kmina January 11, 2010 at 7:37 am

Here from CdlC.
The odds can play some very nasty tricks on people. Statistics may very well be in one's favour, but you do not know which side of the statistics you are until something happens.
I am glad you can enjoy now quieter times. I hope they remain happy and nice from now on.



21 Parenthood For Me January 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Here from La Crem. So glad the odds were on your side. I just wrote a post called New To me that talks about screwing the odds. I believe what is in my heart now.


22 Dream Seeker January 14, 2010 at 8:55 am

Found your blog through La Creme and was completely bowled over by your beautiful words and the film of your precious time with Molly – enormous gratitude to you for sharing such very short but magical moments. Wishing you and your family love, peace and happiness


23 Meghan January 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Here from the Creme. I totally remember that scene from Greys and having similar thoughts. Odds don't mean anything and it has become hard to take comfort in good odds when you fallen on the other side. So glad they worked in your favor this time around


24 Tammy January 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Here from the Creme09. Thank you for this post. Even though I was one who in some ways never beat the odds, at least when it came to my fertility, I still can't shake hope from seaping into every pore of my being, even against my will sometimes, or at least that is what it feels like. Thank you for hoping even after suffering a great loss. And congratulations on the arrival of Abigail. She is beautiful!


25 Keiko October 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

The fighting spirit in your words is inspirational, Kathy. Thanks for highlighting this for Time Warp Tuesday.


26 HereWeGoAJen October 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I so know what you mean by feeling like the odds don't apply to us. On the flip side, I've thought that I ought to start playing the lottery.


27 Esperanza October 4, 2011 at 10:03 pm

What a wonderful post. I have also felt sometimes that the odds don't apply. The reality is, the odds apply to everyone. Someone has to be the 1% or less than 1% or .001%. Even when you are that, the odds still apply. When I had my ectopic and found out that only 1% of pregnancies are ectopic I couldn't believe I was in that 1%. But then I realized how many pregnancies there are every year. I've met so many people since my loss that have had ectopics. They are rare, statistically but yet they happen every day. Of course we can't dwell in that kind of thinking but recognizing it's truth is important, I think. It seems you did that and were able to move forward in a positive way and that is a very brave. I'm so glad you ended up on the right side of those odds and that your beautiful daughter is home with you right now, healthy and happy.


28 jjiraffe October 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Beautiful, true, brave post. I'm so happy you chose this: I feel like these graceful and life-affirming words would make anyone who read this buck up and fight, in the best possible way, no matter what their situation. And reading this, knowing your daughter arrived healthy and safe, makes this all the more inspiring.

Thank you.


29 Lavender Luz October 5, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Reading this from the future is so easy. But the fear you must have felt and faced at the time must have been huge. So glad it turned out in the best possible way.


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