This pregnancy has been going relatively smoothly so far. I have excellent care, more trust in this process and myself, and am seen often by my high-risk doctor. The likelihood of missing something seems pretty low.
Our plan was to add non-stress tests to my weekly appointments starting at 32 weeks. I am 32 weeks now, but two weeks ago at 30 weeks I had a tiny scare, which I wouldn’t know was tiny until I did.
I have grown very accustomed to my son’s movement patterns and there was a stretch of two days with less movement. There were enough movements to pass kick count recommendations, but they weren’t HIS usual movements. They were less often, subtler, and at times when I could usually count on him being really active, he wasn’t.
Halfway through the second day of this change, I called my doctor. My weekly appointment with her was scheduled for the following day, but she had me come in right after I called anyway. We would do a quick check non-stress test, two weeks before we had been planning on starting them.
I left work, picked up my daughter at daycare and called my mom and my husband. The drive to the hospital was surreal.
The thing about anxiety after loss is that the fear isn’t unfounded. I know what can happen and I know that “that won’t happen to me” doesn’t apply to me.
If my thoughts were a pie chart, before my loss, about three fourths of my thoughts were rational and productive, taking in information and sorting it out to see what made logical sense. The remaining fourth were reassuring thoughts, telling myself that things would ultimately ‘be okay.’ Maybe they wouldn’t be great, but they would be doable, livable. Some might call it blind optimism.
Now, my thoughts can go to places where about half are rational (with a decent amount of hope and optimism mixed in) and half overwhelmingly include picturing and playing out the worst in any given situation. I flip-flopped back and forth between these two types of thoughts on the way to the hospital, as I parked my car, as I walked with my daughter to check in, as I got up onto the bed for my non-stress test.
Nearly instantly, guess who decided to wake up? It actually took the nurse longer than normal to get a baseline reading of the baby because he was SO active.
I was relieved that he passed the test with flying colors, and it would be easy to say in hindsight that I worried over nothing.
But I am acknowledging that for those two days, my inkling that turned into a worry that turned into fear that turned into borderline panic is something that I truly felt. And I’m lucky I have the option right now to tuck it all away and move forward.
As my due date approaches, these types of fears may continue to ramp up for me. Losing my first son at 24 weeks left that viability piece in question. Now I’m at a point in my pregnancy where of course I want my baby to continue to develop in utero and not be born yet, but I also have an uncontrollable distrust in my own body. In the back of my mind, it’s saying, “but is he REALLY better off in than out?”
He is, and I just have to keep believing that. I will keep envisioning him safely in my arms until he is.