Paranoia

by Kathy on August 4, 2009 · 14 comments

in Baby Benson, Bob, Fear, Loss, Molly

So I think I have entered a new phase in our pregnancy. A phase that I imagine is common for those who have lost babies. I am starting to get a bit paranoid about what could go wrong with our new baby girl that could keep her from coming home with us and cause her to join her older sister in Heaven prematurely.

Our Molly-girl had a very specific diagnosis that led to her death and we knew about her rare and severe combination of congenital heart defects for months prior to her birth. So for much of our current pregnancy (at least since our two “all clear” echocardiograms at 15 and 25 weeks gestation) I have not worried a lot about what could go wrong. I would say to myself and others “it would be different if Molly had been stillborn, but she wasn’t.” If our first daughter had been stillborn I would probably be more worried that it could happen to our new baby/our second daughter.

However, tonight I had my first instance, in awhile, during this pregnancy where I freaked out about the things I was feeling/experiencing. Baby Benson has been fairly consistent in her level of activity over the past few weeks. She certainly is more and less active at various times of day. She seems to have quieter days and more active days and our OBs have confirmed at our prenatal appointments that this is normal. What set me off tonight was that Baby Benson seemed to have a sudden increase in activity/movement. I don’t know if I would describe it as “frantic” but she was definitely moving around and kicking a lot more and in a stronger way than I recall her doing in awhile.

At first I thought it was kinda cool, though uncomfortable at times, even comforting that she was so active. However, then I started to wonder and to worry if such an increase in fetal movement was “normal.” Then I made the mistake of consulting “Dr. Google.” That is when I started to go off the deep end… I only had to find a few instances where both respected medical resources and pregnancy discussion boards referenced “sudden increases in fetal movement” as being a possible red flag for fetal distress and/or preceding no movement, which ultimately ended in the baby being born still, to get me worked up and freaked out that our baby girl was struggling to untangle herself from her cord or was experiencing some other life threatening problem.

I raised my concerns with Bob, who is usually compassionate and understanding, but in this instance (I am sure in part because it was late and close to our bedtime) he basically downplayed my fears and told me to relax, that our baby girl is and will be just fine. Though rationally I appreciate where he was coming from, I also tried to explain to him, without overreacting too much myself, that he has no idea what it is like to feel such a strong sense of responsibility for carrying our third child and desperately wanting to protect her and our family from anything and everything that could go wrong between now and our scheduled c-section six weeks from now.

Bob asked what I wanted to do (i.e. what I was suggesting we do about my fears and concerns tonight). He somewhat sarcastically brought up going to the ER/labor and delivery at the hospital where we will deliver. I know that he was tired, had good intentions and wasn’t trying to be mean. I told him that at most I was considering calling the OB from our practice that was on call for a quick consultation and more likely reassurance that I shouldn’t be worried. As we discussed our options, I did notice that our baby girl continued to be moving somewhat consistently, but less forcefully. This seemed to me to be more her “usual” pattern of movement at this time of night and allowed me to calm down and to start to believe that she is probably is doing alright.

I am excited and encouraged to be this close to meeting our baby girl on her birthday. However, the closer we get the harder and more painful it is for me to imagine losing another child, our second daughter. I understand that rationally everything will very likely be just fine. Most of the time I believe that on September 17, or maybe even sooner, that the newest addition to our family will be born healthy and that we will get actually get to take her home to live with us here on earth. However, as so many of you who have lost babies know, the experience robs you of the innocence of pregnancy, especially the home stretch that should and could be all about the excitement of getting ready for and the anticipation of the arrival of your baby. Instead these final weeks include large helpings of fear and paranoia of what might happen to keep our little miracles from leaving the hospital alive.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers. As you know I try very hard to be, and am usually, an optimistic, glass half full, believing in miracles and happy endings kind of gal. However, I am human. I have a baby girl in Heaven that in a fair and perfect world would be in my arms right now or more likely learning to walk and maybe even run and play while enjoying this beautiful summer with her big brother and the rest of our family and friends. I suppose this gives me some license to vent now and then and to express my pain, my grief and my fear. These are emotions that I don’t always give a lot of time and attention to in my life, but they exist, I feel them and I need to honor them.

So at this point I am okay with not contacting our OB that is on call tonight. Our OB’s office is closed on Wednesdays, however if I wake up in the morning and don’t feel comfortable with our baby’s movement patterns, which I should say have continued to settle down and seem more normal as I finish writing, I won’t hesitate to call the OB that is on call during the day tomorrow. I will continue to take this pregnancy and my life one day at a time. I will do my best to trust that everything is going to be okay with Baby Benson and if somehow that isn’t the case I will cross that bridge when I come to it and deal with it the best way I know how, with God’s grace and the love and care of our family and friends. Now I am going to try to get some sleep, as my life always seems less scary and more hope filled in the morning after a good night’s rest.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fishsticks and Fireflies August 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

While my pregnancy with Briar was physically my easiest, mentally I was a complete and total mess until the second I held her in my arms – and I wish I could tell you otherwise, but you hit the nail on the head when you said that the innocence of pregnancy goes completely out the window when you have lost a child. I hope that Baby Benson settles down into a familiar pattern and that the next few weeks pass quickly and without incident.

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2 Jess August 4, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Oh hon, I "only" lost one baby early on, and I still was a wreck the closer and closer I got to delivery. Everyone thought I was insane, but when you know too much…you can't unknow it…and even though most of my bad "experience" was from friends I met through blogs…I still KNEW that happy endings don't always happen. And I was scared, just like you, though probably much less! Because you KNOW MORE.

I'm glad to read that baby seems to be settling but still moving. Since it was some time after the increased movement, I'd be willing to bet that all is well. It doesn't make it less scary, though. Don't doubt yourself…if you need the reassurance, just go in or call. Better to be calm and look a little silly.

GOOD LUCK. I am hoping for your family!

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3 Kristie August 4, 2009 at 11:10 pm

You absolutely have earned the right to feel exactly how you feel. I am not sure if anyone even knows how they will feel during this time after all you have been through. As someone who had a sick baby, who lived, I will tell you that the feeling takes a long time to go away. I am always worried about Leah. Like you said after you have something not text book happen, it is easy to become jaded.

I will continue to pray for your family.

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4 A simple being August 5, 2009 at 7:41 am

every thing your feeling is so normal, and real and deserving so don't ignore the feelings. i was a total wreck the whole pregnacy, after 13 miscarriages i never thought id make it to delivery then we lost one of our twins, then with this twin pregnacy well by delivery day i wouldnt let anyone look at our girls until the dr said the ywere okay, i just couldnt cope there was way more emotions from losing aubrey than i expected over the next weeks too, so as i have been told and say grief comes in stages and levels, life following loss will take you to a new place so don't deny your feelings, everyone one here knows how blessed we and you are but that doesnt take the pain of molly away.

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5 T-Mommy August 5, 2009 at 9:44 am

I haven´t lost a child but was "kind of" close enough to and can understand how you feel.

I will continue to have you in my thoughts and prayers for easy days and of course a safe delivery.

I can´t wait to meet her!

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6 Bluebird August 5, 2009 at 10:11 am

Ah honey. I'm sure these feelings are perfectly normal and expected – but it must still suck to feel this way! I can say nothing but that I'm thinking of you and wishing peace and comfort for you. I hope the remaining days and weeks pass uneventually and you get to meet Baby Benson, alive and well, before you know it 🙂

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7 MFA Mama August 5, 2009 at 10:20 am

I think your fears are totally justified in the grand scheme of things even if "in the moment" they might not seem terribly reasonable to a tired husband who doesn't see anything (like blood, or what-have-you) that alarms HIM (not bashing Bob, just saying that he is a man and therefore can't possibly know what it is like to be the entire life-support system for an unborn child and feel like ALL of the responsibility for spotting a problem is on you). I had three very complicated pregnancies and stopped trusting my body altogether as a result (the babies were fine, it was my uterus that was trying to force them out before they were ready). I don't think a call to your OBGYN would be at all out of line if something like this comes up again; maybe you could even call and ask about a non-stress test just to see how Baby Benson is doing overall and provide you with some reassurance. Even though there doesn't seem to be anything going on with your body that would be reason for alarm and Baby Benson has checked out fine so far. I think you have been amazingly calm and optimistic throughout this pregnancy considering what you have been through, and it's only normal and natural that you are getting worried now that you're so close to the end. Heck, after what I went through with my pregnancies I have said again and again that it's a miracle ANY of us survive to be born, and you truly do (as previous commenters have noted) "know too much" about what can go wrong for your own peace of mind! I genuinely believe that Baby Benson will be fine but you can't be too careful and anything that will help ease your mind for the next few weeks is entirely worth doing in my book. Hang in there.

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8 A Mom in Jacksonville, FL August 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Just catching up on blogs after a month of "summer vacation" away…

LOVE the Seuss room. LOVE your sweet antidotes about Sean and his receptiveness to having another sibling. (And his prayers for Molly and Dr. Seuss, could he be any sweeter?)

Sorry about your anxiety, but I agree with the prior comments—it is TOTALLY understandable! Keeping you and your family in my prayers. Hugs!

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9 Katie August 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Kathy, I know that our losses were very different, but I still remember feeling exactly what you are as my pregnancy progressed. I remember going in for my 36 week appointment and basically making the doctor order a NST for me because I had "barely" gotten my kick count in the night before and usually, Will got his kick counts in in 30 seconds. It ended up taking FOREVER to have the test done because absolutely nothing was wrong and he wouldn't stop moving long enough to get a baseline. My husband, who had worked a full day and was tired, was kind of like Bob, in that he really felt I was making something out of nothing, but it was just the reassurance that I needed to breathe easier. After everything you've been through to get to this point, I think it would be MORE strange if you didn't have some of these fears. I do have a peace in my heart for you that your daughter will be born safe and sound, but I know it's easier to feel that way from an objective distance. Just know that so many people are thinking of you and sending loving thoughts and prayers your way.

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10 CLC August 10, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I totally understand your fears. Hopefully time will pass by quickly for you. And trust your instincts!

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11 T Lee August 21, 2009 at 7:52 am

Your anxiety is completely understandable and normal. Although, in the future… you might want to avoid Dr. Goolgle- I think he just likes to make his patients squirm (he does it to me too).

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12 WiseGuy August 21, 2009 at 8:06 am

Your fear is understandable.

I want Baby Benson to be fine and healthy.

Be Good.

ICLW

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13 The Unproductive One August 21, 2009 at 8:25 am

Fear is a natural emotion and a raw one, it's one that in this instance you're perfectly entitled to have.

I will wish that the remainder of your pregnancy goes smoothly and that you come September you will beholding your little girl in your arms getting ready to share her life with her.

ICLW

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14 Beautiful Mess August 21, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Happy ICLW!

I would SO love to have that innocent pregnancy. Although I haven't been through what you have, we did have some "scares". Even though everything looked fine and we were told "all is well". We, I mostly, freaked out A LOT.

I think it's great that your husband is supportive and you realize you could be overreacting. But who wouldn't.

Sending you lots of love and peace.
*HUGS*

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