** Warning: This is a pregnancy post. **
I feel as though I am still treading water in this pregnancy, getting by day-to-day (or, as it was today, hour-to-hour), just trying to survive and keep my head above water instead of drowning in an ocean of worry and anxiety.
Why is this still so hard?
For a while, I felt as if I was afloat on a life raft. I had frequent doctor appointments and ultrasounds. The end of my first trimester was in sight. I felt at peace. Now? It’s as if my raft has deflated, I’m bobbing in the open ocean, and doggie paddling to stay alive.
I can’t believe that, emotionally, I am right now essentially in the same place that I was eight weeks ago. Hopeful, but very, very nervous. Why is this? I have tried to put a finger on it, to find some explanation for the new rise of anxiety, and I have come up with a few possible answers. For the sake of clarity, let’s use bullet points:
- I have started telling a few more people our news, and I can’t help but imagine having to then tell all of them that my baby has died, should something horrible happen.
- I haven’t seen a medical professional of some sort in about a week-and-a-half and won’t be seeing my OB again for another two weeks. This is the longest I’ve gone in this pregnancy without that sort of reassurance.
- I look at my belly at times and will be convinced that it has shrunk, not grown. And yes, I realize how ridiculous that sounds on so many levels.
- I am 15 weeks pregnant today and have known people (or known someone who knows someone) who have lost babies at 14 weeks. For me, getting to 15 weeks is a milestone in its own right.
- I am now getting to the very, very end of what might be considered my greatest risk for loss…and I can’t help but worry that I will lose this baby just as I start to let my guard down.
- I listen to Skittle’s heartbeat rather regularly (every three to four days) and, in the last week or two, the sound of it seems to have changed. It’s slowing down slightly (from being in the high 160s, to being around 150), which I think is normal…but it also sounds a bit different. Maybe that’s because it’s not quite as fast as it used to be, or maybe it’s because so many other sounds (my now-functioning placenta, the extra blood flow, and bowel sounds as I haven’t pooped in a good two or three days) are causing interference. Or maybe I’m just nuts. But I really worry that something is wrong with this baby’s heart…or that it’s not the heartbeat I’m hearing at all. I’m 98% sure that it is, but that 2% has a way of turning my worry/fear into an obsession. Suddenly, hearing the baby’s heart with a doppler brings very little peace at all.
Obviously, the last bullet point is the one that’s really getting under my skin. If anyone has any explanation or reassurance about this, I am all ears. Because I’m driving myself crazy over it, and it’s utterly exhausting. Today, I did a doppler listen four times because I didn’t love the way Skittle’s heart sounded the first three. Four freaking times! I will not be doing that again. I will not obsess over this to that extent for a single second more. I believe in God. I believe He is with me and my baby, and I believe that I have no control over any of this. This is the perfect test of how blind my faith truly is, I guess.
My other fear is that, somehow, all of this anxiety is the result of my heart knowing something my head does not. Like I’m intuiting Skittle’s fate. I was highly anxious right before losing Teddy Graham, and I have serious apprehensions that this fear is another sign of what is to come. But that is just plain ol’ crazy, am I right? Please, please someone tell me I am positively off my rocker. Please.
There are only a few things that are helping to ease any of this right now: Constant prayer. Reminding myself that, statistically, Skittle will probably be just fine, and those odds increase every day. Knowing I have been afraid before, and things have worked out before, too. And, most of all, the possibility that I am already feeling some fetal movement. I don’t know for sure. It’s awfully early, but I have heard it happens sooner with subsequent babies. Right now, the “movements” feel like little taps, pops, prods, pokes, and muscle twitches. Maybe it’s gas or, indeed, a muscle twitch. But whenever I feel it (usually a few times a day), it makes my heart leap and smile with the possibility of what it could be.
Truly, I cannot wait until I feel this baby move every day. I have never been more ready to put the damn doppler away.