Fear and Pregnancy
My job in writing this here blog is to chronicle pregnancy. I try to keep a healthy dose of humor, reality, self-deprecation, and truth, but today, the only emotion I can muster is fear. I write this not to be self-indulgent but to confront the fear that accompanies pregnancy and to hopefully diminish it as others share how they ease their fears.
I just got off the phone from scheduling another ultrasound. I have been avoiding this call because this ultrasound is different than previous ultrasounds. This one is to check the amount of fluid in our baby’s kidneys. While I suppose other ultrasounds check fluids along with growth and development, this one feels different. It feels different because we know something isn’t quite right. Our baby girl has too much fluid in her kidneys. The medical term for her excess fluid is renal pyelectasis and they keep telling me it’s very common and can mean a myriad of different things. This check then is to see if the fluid levels are now normal or if they have persisted and that means there really is a problem.
This is the second time this pregnancy I have had to try and brace myself for less than healthy news. Our first ultrasound was at 11 weeks because my OBGYN was unable to detect a heartbeat and an ultrasound was necessary to determine the vitality of the baby. The fear and devastation I felt as I waited for that ultrasound was new and incomparable to any other fear I’d felt before. I know many women have much larger worries during pregnancy and have faced the reality of losing their babies and my heart breaks for them. It is terrifying.
I’d never felt the legitimate fear of losing a baby. I worry about miscarrying or that something could go terribly wrong but really, those fears are unwarranted because they have no medical basis and are more easily pushed from my thoughts with the immediate needs and distractions of everyday life.
But this ultrasound is different. There is some medical basis. There is some concern. And I have fear.
Excess kidney fluid can mean a few things, none of which at this point I understand to be life threatening. I try to keep that in the back of my mind that IF something is wrong, it will not be at the cost of her life. And I can handle that. But it doesn’t stop me entirely from worrying about what exactly is wrong and what I can do to protect and help her.
I know fear serves little purpose. I know worry does not change anything. I know thinking of the worst case scenario is counter-productive because we don’t know that it is the worst case scenario, but today, I am only feeling, not able to listen to what I “know.” Because really, I don’t KNOW anything yet. And that’s the scariest part. We just have to wait. And that’s pregnancy in a nutshell. The looming “ifs” and “maybes” and “it could happen to mes” turn pregnancy into nine months of worry.
There is so much left to chance with pregnancy and that helplessness, that fear of loss and expectations and dreams is agonizing. On days like today, I’m not sure how to curb the fear. Today I will let myself worry but with the hope that tomorrow the fear will feel less palpable and I’ll have the strength to embrace more of the bright and less of the dark.
Image: Waiting room via tarasov/Shutterstock.com