Tag Archive | worries

The Fear: It Continues

I am not surprised by this. That is, by the fear. By its failure to cease.

I have been here before, after all. I have prayed in desperation for a child, I have believed that child may never come to be, I have worried through nine months of pregnancy when she did finally come into being, and I have fretted over her health and safety in the early months of her life. So I am not surprised that I am here again, afraid that Skittle may be gone at any moment, but it still leaves me exhausted, wishing I had a different way of handling things.

The fears now are different, of course. I don’t have to count fetal kicks every hour. I don’t worry about cord accidents and placental abruptions. I don’t envision every way the delivery of a baby can go wrong. Instead, I mostly obsess over SIDS — the silent, unpredictable killer of healthy babies. I worry that Skittle will stop breathing while she’s sleeping and so am I. Or that I’ll turn my back and won’t notice that her chest has stopped moving. I worry that I’ll always be too late in coming to her rescue.

To combat my fears, I have done my research. Of course, Skittle sleeps on her back. In a bassinet next to our bed. With a fan blowing, no matter how cold it is outside. We don’t overheat the bedroom and, as soon as breastfeeding is well-established, we will offer a pacifier. I know that I am doing all I can to avoid SIDS, making use of every tool that even has the slightest link to SIDS prevention. But it’s still not enough to keep the anxiety at bay. I still worry.

And sometimes, I still panic too. Like when Skittle was asleep in the bassinet the other night while I was getting ready for bed and pumping my milk and suddenly I was overwhelmed with a fear that she had stopped breathing while in the bedroom alone. I had to stop mid-pump to go check on her. And a week ago, she she seemed to be gasping for breath in her sleep just for a few quick seconds and, once I knew she was okay, I couldn’t quit crying because I realized how vulnerable she still is. And just last night, I had to shake her awake because I couldn’t feel her breathing through her swaddle.

Most of the time I’m okay, but sometimes it can get very, very bad.

And this is just the beginning. I know from my obsessive research that the greatest risk of SIDS is between 2-4 months and so I know with certainty that my fear and anxiety will peak at that time. After six months, the risk becomes negligible and so will become my level of worry. That’s the good news…there is an end to this daily rise and fall of fear. As a mother, I will always worry about my children, but once Skittle reaches the age of six months, I need not be constantly afraid that she might die at any given moment.

The other good news: I don’t have to wonder every second of every day. There’s no hoping that and worrying whether Skittle is okay. All I have to do is look at her, touch her, hear her rhythmic breathing to know she is. That makes this kind of fear a bit less painful.

And I know these days will pass fast, and I don’t want to wish them away because Skittle will never be this small again. I love and cherish her tinyness, her curled newborn body, the simplicity of her needs…but I do look forward to that day, down the road, when I can breath a little easier again and won’t be consumed by this fear every damn day.

Ahhhh, can you even imagine that a day such as that can exist?

The Worries Continue…

Over the last week or two, I’ve felt moments of panic again. My mom said to me, with a bit of exasperation I think, that she had expected me to start feeling more confident at some point as this pregnancy progressed. And indeed, you would think, at 22 weeks, that I might finally be past all the worry and uncertainty.

Not so.

In fact, as this pregnancy continues and Skittle gets bigger, I seem to be fretting more. Because if there is one thing scarier to me than a miscarriage, it is a stillbirth. To lose a baby whom I have celebrated, seen on ultrasound (multiple times!), heard her heartbeat, felt her kicks…I can’t imagine anything much worse.

And now that I do feel Skittle move daily, I have something new to obsess over. Instead of constantly bringing out the doppler to analyze the sound of her heartbeat, I instead agonize over how frequent her kicks are, and how strong. There were times over the holiday weekend when she was very quiet and I felt like I couldn’t relax, could hardly even breathe, until I felt her move. And when I did, the relief that washed over me was, I imagine, akin to crashing in a commercial plane and walking away from it without so much as a scratch. Yes, I am a little crazy.

Thankfully, I had a prenatal appointment on Tuesday and was able to talk to the nurse practitioner about my concerns. She told me, at this stage, it’s perfectly normal to feel a baby move a lot one day and very little the next. Skittle is still small and can hide away in places where her movements may seem muffled — or may not be felt at all. However, by 24 weeks, I should be able to do kick counts. If at any point, I don’t feel her move as much as I think I should, I can drink a glass of water and a glass of OJ and wait for 6-10 movements within the next 1-2 hours. I love that! Unlike in my first pregnancy when I was told that I would learn Cupcake’s patterns and would “just know” if she wasn’t moving often enough, this gives me a solid standard by which to judge Skittle’s movements. Which is exactly what I have been looking for. I will try so hard not to do constant kick counts, all day long, but now I know what to look for if I start to feel panicky and that in itself is enough to give me some peace of mind. I like having a plan.

In the last few days, though, I have not had to worry (or use the doppler) at all because Skittle has been a jumping bean. Which I am perfectly fine with.

In other news, remember my friend Lillian who conceived around the same time as I did in January and then proceeded to miscarry just a few weeks later? Well, she’s pregnant again. She got a positive at 10dpo and told me the next day. I am ever so hopeful for her, but am asking that if you’re so inclined, please send all sorts of prayers and good thoughts to God and the Universe. I want this to work out for her so much. Thanks, friends. xo

Treading Water

** 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.

The Chains of Worry

Hi, it’s me again.

You know, the frantic blogger who panics over everything, who can always find something to worry about, and who consistently chooses fear over faith. That’s me!

I know I’ve been fairly silent this week. I just haven’t had much to say, or the motivation to say anything. While I left my doctor’s office feeling reassured and hopeful on Monday, I have been in a funk ever since. So many highs and lows. So many things I have found to fret over.

The weird thing is, I’m not worrying about getting pregnant. Not exactly anyways. The actual act of sperm meeting egg is entirely out of my hands and so I’m giving that to God. For now.

Instead I have worried over small, stupid things (which feel like big, important things in the moment) that are still, of course, out of my control:

  • My BBT: It’s been higher and more unstable than is usual for me at this point in my cycle. It’s pretty much been that way since my miscarriage. Does this mean anything? I don’t know, but I’m starting to hate my thermometer. It’s evil.
  • My lab tests: I’ll reveal the results once they’re all back (still waiting on my testosterone and estrogen levels), but I spent a good part of the week worrying over why it was taking so long to get them. I had convinced myself that the lab had somehow lost or thrown away my three vials of blood. And then I woke up this morning to find they had posted most of the results. So yes, I’m crazy.
  • My sister: Like really, people, how am I going to handle  spending time with her, and shopping for her baby, and going to a baby shower if I’m not yet pregnant come late winter? I’m just realizing now that my feelings of resentment have not quite simmered down and, every time I think of my sis, I feel my stomach clench and my heart ache. And the farther I get into this process, the more her good fortune is going to hurt.
  • A yeast infection: I’ve been feeling slightly (just slightly) itchy “down there” and now fear it’s the start of a yeast infection. I’ve had one a couple times before, but always after taking progesterone to induce a period, which I did not do for this cycle. I’m less worried about the actual infection and discomfort and more worried that said infection will kill any and all sperm that enter the area during my fertile time. Really, I realize it’s probably nothing because the itchiness is so slight…but I have to worry about something, you know?
  • My decisions: Am I making the right ones? Am I doing what’s best for my health and my fertility? Should I just give up? This is the most frightening part — to have these very few things that are in my control and to make the wrong choices. To do the wrong things. It scares me to death.

It’s a trap really. This worry. It’s this never-ending cycle that I get no break from. There are a few brief moments every day where I breathe easy and feel some peace. But then something new happens, or something from the long-ago past crosses my mind, and my anxiety bubbles up again. I’m just so tired of feeling this way.

This morning, I sobbed alone in our living room for no reason at all. It was 7:15 a.m. Nothing had happened yet except another fluctuation of my temp. I think I finally just reached my breaking point. And afterwards, after that good, hearty cry, I felt better. And still feel better, though nothing has changed.

I’m hopeful that this is a turning point. Hopeful, but doubtful too.