Friday, September 6: A story about a time you were very afraid.
[In this post I’m talking about fertility, pregnancy, and miscarriage. I know that when I was going through this experience I was very lucky to have people to talk to. If you are going through the same thing, please know that you are not alone. Reach out. I’m always here to lend an ear. But stories like this can also be hard to read so please feel free to skip if you need too :) ]
I spent much of the summer of 2011 afraid. A paralyzing fear that pretty much took over every corner of my life. I don’t mean to sound dramatic. Looking back from the distance of time I’m almost ashamed at how I let this fear rule my life. But all the same, it was there.
In 2010, I lost two pregnancies back to back. It was heartbreaking. Getting pregnant was not easy for me and each loss just decimated me. To know that you couldn’t do what so many other friends, family could do so easily was so defeating.
It took over a year to get pregnant for the third time. I actually had an appointment at a fertility clinic when I found out I was pregnant with A. I wasn’t sure if I should still go but because recurrent loss is considered infertility, they had me come in. I went by myself because I thought it was just a normal appointment, nothing prenatal.
When I went in and explained to the doctor my whole story he said that the best way they could monitor this pregnancy was do to an ultrasound. I was petrified. I was barely 6 weeks. My first pregnancy (due to confusion over my long cycle) my [former] OB had me come in too early and they couldn’t see the baby just the sac. It turned out that we would never see that baby. But it would take weeks and many ultrasounds to finally make that determination. With my second pregnancy, we saw the baby at 8 weeks but at 11 weeks I knew something was wrong and we went into the doctor’s and learned via ultrasound that our baby had died.
Put these two experiences together: not seeing a baby on an ultrasound and seeing a baby that had passed. And now I had a doctor that wanted to give me another. What if there was nothing there? What if the baby was there but it had no heartbeat? Could I handle it? Especially since B wasn’t there? I had to take a few minutes to make the decision. I actually said no the first time. But the doctor talked me into it.
I was shaking. I couldn’t open my eyes and look at the screen. The doctor had to convince me to open my eyes because there was a baby. And a heartbeat.
Don’t get me wrong. I spent most of the first and second trimester out of my mind with worry. Seeing A for the first time that day assuaged my worries for only a short period of time until my next appointment. But eventually I was able to somewhat relax.
And I was lucky enough to get help. The hospital that I go to has an amazing (and free!) support group with a reproductive psychologist for miscarriage and pregnancy after miscarriage. Although I didn’t attend the miscarriage support group (I was just sooo done with talking about it) the pregnancy after miscarriage group saved me. The doctor was so amazing and supportive. She explained that people who go through reproductive traumas can experience a sort of post traumatic stress disorder when pregnant again.
At first I didn’t buy in. People with PTSD had real problems: war veterans, crime victims. Me and my little pity party need not apply. But honestly, after a few sessions she helped me see through the anxiety and focus on the good. Little by little I relaxed. Well, as much as this type-A personality is able to relax.
And now I have my beautiful baby boy. My miracle.
I’m sure that I will spend much of parenthood afraid. It’s just the kind of person I am. But this face?
It is soooo worth it!