“Congratulations! You must be so excited!” is the usual congratulatory greeting I get these days when people hear of my pregnancy. While I am very, very excited, there is also a huge piece of me that is anxious and scared. As much as I wish I couldn’t think of all that could go wrong in a pregnancy, I just can’t shy away from it.
With my first two sons, I experienced bed rest, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension, IUGR, premature birth and a NICU stay (and I’m sure my medical chart would say more). Every appointment I go in praying that something isn’t wrong, and I live in a constant state of worry. As much as I want to enjoy my last pregnancy, it sadly hasn’t been the case as of late.
A simple bad day consisting of morning sickness and a migraine has my wheels spinning with a laundry list of reasons besides “pregnancy” that could be wrong with myself or the baby. Is my blood pressure too high? I haven’t been able to keep anything down for hours … am I dehydrated? Is the baby okay? Should I call my OB? Go to the ER? What does Dr. Google say?
And with every flutter and movement I feel, I also worry that I’m not feeling enough movement. I then start watching the clock to see how often I feel movement, and my mind starts to panic if too much time has passed before another flutter or kick is felt.
As my due date draws closer, I get a bit nervous of my upcoming C-section. It is major surgery after all! What if something goes wrong in the OR? What if once the baby is delivered, he is whisked away to the NICU like my previous pregnancy? Instead of dreaming of holding my new baby, these are the things that flood my mind.
I’m trying to let go and enjoy my pregnancy and not let my anxiety and thoughts get the best of me. I’ve been practicing some breathing exercises along with meditation to try to calm me down a bit. I would love to be able enjoy the rest of this special time before it passes me by.
Mary, you truly give me hope! We have two girls, and I was ridiculously sick with nausea and vomiting both times. I also had high blood pressure for both pregnancies. Our second daughter was born very small, and we’re still awaiting some genetic testing results. Every day I flip flop with the possibility of one more baby. A friend of mine (after having #3) told me she decided by realizing, you’ll never regret the child you have, but you may regret the one you never did. Even though my husband and I are still unsure at this point I am encouraged seeing and hearing brave women like you take the leap and go for it! The only thing that calmed my anxiety during pregnancy was “giving it to God”. Prayer is wonderful, but my only sense of true peace came from letting it all go (certainly difficult). As moms there is so much that just isn’t within our control. Distraction is great too…fill up time. All of the help and support you give to the NICU has got to be cathartic, and I applaud you! Truly, without a doubt you are touching lives! Believe me, there are many women who will read your post and think to themselves, I wish I could be brave like that. I am one of them!
One of the mama friends I made on The Bump had a normal pregnancy with a healthy baby boy, a difficult pregnancy with a Down’s syndrome baby boy with serious heart issues, and struggled with the healthy pregnancy for baby boy #3 who ended up being perfectly healthy. She felt guilty that she couldn’t enjoy it because all the what ifs stuck in her head. She felt guilty for taking time away from the therapies her middle child needed tending to a newborn. But seeing how wonderful the boys are together, the love of brothers…. she knows she did it for a good reason. So just breathe, reach out for support when you’re feeling like you just need a break, cry so you don’t hold it all inside. It’ll be okay and you will get through this. There is a plan for this little one. There is a plan for you. One day you’ll be covered from head to toe in boys and never remember this funk.