So, it happened. The miracle of life started again and I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to conceive so easily. But here’s the shadow side: I’m so anxious, I have days when it’s a struggle to function. Last Monday, I barely made it. I struggled through work all morning and then called my midwife begging her to let me come hear the heartbeat. I knew it was ridiculous and indulgent (notice: judgment) since my 16 week appointment was the very next day. But I felt like I couldn’t wait. I was checking for bleeding every hour and convinced the pregnancy was over… My bargain to myself was this: hear the heartbeat and if it’s there, go get some therapy. But I was so convinced that I had to be right, that for the seventieth time, at least, during this pregnancy, it was over.
The midwife found the heartbeat (oh beautiful sound!) almost immediately. My relief was immediate. Suddenly, the cramping I had thought I was feeling disappeared. The feeling of bleeding was also gone. Poof! It had all been the creation of an anxious mind.
I felt like a crazy person.
But with renewed energy and calm, I returned to work. And it was all good. I even called a therapist. And, this is big, I passed the anniversary of my loss — the day in my pregnancy last fall when I miscarried my son, Julian (the reason I started this blog). I thought that might be it for my anxiety. I thought that now I am pregnant longer than either of my last two pregnancies, my anxiety would vanish.
How wrong I was. Three days later, and the anxiety was back with a vengeance. Here I sit, a healthy woman nearly 17 weeks pregnant, in a world where atrocities have recently occurred in Beirut, Paris and Kenya – not to mention right here in North Minneapolis — and all I can feel and focus on are the recurrent sensations and thoughts that I am losing another baby. It’s so bad, I even think at times that I would prefer it all to be over (yes, I know, what a terrible thought), that the anxiety and fear is so big and so real that I would just prefer to get the loss over with so I can move on with my life.
And yet, of course, I don’t really want that. What I really want is a healthy baby. But the question is this: how do I survive the journey when I believe that devastating loss is one moment, one breath away?