Me-“I think I’m pregnant.”
Matt (obviously thinking that’s a bizarre sentence to hear from one’s wife, unsolicited, at 10:30pm)- “Woo let’s have a baby! *realizes said wife is not joking* Wait, you’re serious? As in like–we-need-to-buy-a-test- serious?”
Me- “Yeah, get your keys.”
Approximately thirty minutes later, I’m too terrified to return to the bathroom and read the test that held the largest change to come into our lives. Obviously, I sent Matt in to read it, after making him fully understand what a plus sign versus negative sign meant/read.
Matt-“We’re having a baby!”
Me-“What the f*&^ did you just say?”
Matt- “You’re pregnant. How did you even think that you were pregnant?”
Me-“Someone posted a video of a cancer patient being serenaded by Florence and the Machine and it literally made me weep. I never cry at stuff like that.”
Then, in true form-he falls asleep after immediately being so accepting and excited that we just changed the entire game. Meanwhile, I lay awake for four hours thinking of all of the horrific things that could happen, how fat I’m going to get, how miserable I’m going to be, and how we really didn’t want or see kids anytime in the near future. I could not shake the feeling that somehow we were both going to wake up and realize we were in way, way over our heads. Then came the guilt. Crippling, all consuming guilt that we had people in our lives trying to get pregnant, and we blink and it happens completely unplanned.
I don’t pretend to have any idea how someone without anxiety registers pregnancy, but I can tell you that from someone who has pretty severe anxiety and panic quite frequently that this was the most scared I had ever felt. I grew up dreaming of being a wife, and a mother–but when that reality was no longer a daydream and the new normal…I panicked.
Me, panicking about the thing that I had always hoped I would get to do–be a mother. How freaking ridiculous. Growing up I was always the one who wanted to be anywhere the kids and babies were. There’s a pretty vast age gap between me and my cousins–so it always seemed like I was at the right age for being a Mom’s best helper. As early as age eight I remember changing diapers, making sure there was absolutely no air sneaking into a bottle, burping those babies like a machine, and happily helping with any and all aspects of baby care. For some reason, now I was absolutely crippled by the thought that it was going to be my turn. Miscarriages, gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain, genetic disorders, food allergies, medicated childbirth vs. natural ones, breast being best, maternity leave, cesareans, and approximately eleven million other immediately terrifying and crippling thoughts were rushing through my (normally medicated) brain without any chemical filter to help balance that type of thought. I. Was. Petrified.
Beyond all of the hormones and
morning all-day sickness the only feeling I was consumed with was dread. Bone crippling, heart numbing dread. I felt like something inside of me was really broken. Something had to be wrong, because nobody gets things in life easily. Even my husband noticed something was off.
“I always thought you would be way more excited than I was when we would have a baby, and you can’t even talk about it without being upset.”
Honestly he wasn’t alone. I felt like I was fearfully and wonderfully made to be a mother. Something in my head was just telling me I could NOT get excited. The minute that I would get excited and invested something would surely go wrong. We scheduled the first appointment to “confirm” what we definitely knew was already quite obvious.
Then you fast forward three weeks and we got to see the little Sprout (or baby shrimp larva…I am still unable to determine between the two) and heard the heartbeat. I think that it finally clicked for me, seeing that on the television screen. I was actually, factually, 100% pregnant–and the baby was alive! And that baby was growing just like it should be! The doctor informed us that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage and said that if I was to miscarry in the first twelve weeks, that would be why–because I had the increased risk. I felt like she literally planted a bomb in my brain and refused to answer any of my panic induced questions.No, seriously, she told me that my questions would be answered in the informational pamphlet she would give us. She never gave it, even after we repeatedly asked. I left in tears, and my husband left confused. We were told to come back in two weeks to see if the bleed had grown, resolved, or stayed the same. Almost as soon as I was elated, I was devastated…and pissed. Who tells someone they have a higher chance of miscarriage and then just sends them home with unanswered questions? I had convinced myself I would go to the return appointment, but find a new OBGYN office closer to work and within the hospital I wanted to deliver, anyway. Fast forward two weeks, and the doctor who literally signed off on my sleepless nights, my endless google sprees, and need to self-answer my anxiety casually introduces herself to us like we’ve never met. Then asks if we’ve heard the baby’s heartbeat. Um. Yes. Because YOU ARE MY DOCTOR. She begins the ultrasound and casually mentions (again) “So you have a subchorionic hemorrhage.” I looked at my husband to say, “This seriously cannot be real life.” before explaining to her that YES we know that. You told me to come BACK to measure it to see if I would have a viable pregnancy, or would need some emergent procedure done, or I would miscarry. She then told us she never recorded the measurements from the first scan, so she had nothing to compare it to–“but you should be fine. Come back in two weeks and we will do another scan.” Again, I asked for information about the bleed–and she left promising to return with that information. Fifteen minutes later she walks in to get the sonogram pictures from the machine and says, “Oh. You’re still here.” My husband got our things together and walked me out into reception, where I tearfully told them my charts needed to be forwarded by the end of the day–and that I was a VERY unhappy patient. I could only compare this feeling to my husband as a pilot saying, “there’s a higher risk we crash and die–but the last pilot said everything looked okay enough to fly so buckle those seatbelts and we will see what happens over the Atlantic.” WT actual F.
We didn’t tell anyone but our parents and siblings–and a couple of friends, because we were way too scared that something would happen and we would lose the baby. It wasn’t until we went for our first appointment with the new doctor at twelve weeks that we were told the hemorrhage was of minimal concern, that with a healthy mom and heartbeat I had NO reason to be concerned and that the doctor felt comfortable in saying that the baby would be just fine.
THEN I got really excited. Like, zero to one hundred excited. Refusing to step into baby aisles at Target to driving to Babies R Us excited. Then they called and told us the baby was a girl, and I was unstoppable. I’m from a loooooong line of women having little girls, and I think I could really be a pro at being a girl-mom. I bought all of the books for Matt and I. Checked out new parenting and birthing books from the library, started a Pinterest board for Baby Leonard, and we started stockpiling all of the cutest little girl things on the planet in what will be her bedroom.
I’m writing this blog post at twelve weeks, but I know I will be much too scared to post it until I can feel a little more calm about the whole thing. But for now, as of August–I am FINALLY excited that I am going to be a mother, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling. I definitely still have panic attacks about all of the “coulds” but have an amazing husband who reminds me that our faith is bigger than my fears. My greatest hope is that I can take my online readers on this weird, exciting, and surprise journey through the next several months. Here goes nothing, pals.