Anxiety Sucks

Hello, beautiful Di-hards.

I’m freaking out a little bit.

I mean, I’m not hyperventilating or feeling faint or anything. I’m pretty sure you can’t tell by looking at me (unless you catch me at very specific moments).

Tomorrow, baby-in-progress is scheduled to have a fetal ECG (echocardiogram) at the hospital. Which is great – it’s part of the shared, extra care we’re getting with this pregnancy and I’m not complaining whatsoever.

The problem is, I can’t shake the dread. I’m NOT normally a paranoid person, nor even much of a worrywart, compared to lots of people. I’m used to being my laid-back self. I was fine when Sean and I went for the 12-week ultrasound at the hospital – a little antsy, maybe, but not fearful. I don’t have hospital-related anxiety (even if I should, by now). I have been doing pretty well, I think, at keeping this pregnancy separate from my last one.

Here’s the situation: our furnace has been on the fritz for almost two weeks now, so Sean took the day off school today to oversee the installation of a new one. It is not a good idea for him to take two days off from school in a row, in his new program – but I was fine to go by myself tomorrow.

Then suddenly, lying in bed last night, I was seized with apprehension. I could picture exactly the circumstances in which I would undergo the procedure, and then be asked to go up and see Dr. S. at the clinic, who would then tell me that something was wrong with my baby’s heart; it’s not the right size. Or worse, it’s not beating. It was so clear in my head.

I vividly recalled Sebastian’s final ultrasound, and the technician asking me, “Is that your husband out there in the waiting room?”

(It’s really not good for me to go back to that awful day right now. Unfortunately, I don’t get to decide when renewed grief will pounce on me.)

I tried to imagine getting myself home from the hospital alone after receiving bad news, and I felt panic. (Especially getting out of the underground parking; even though I don’t fear hospitals themselves, underground parking gives me the heebie-jeebies – it’s a claustrophobia thing. Unthinkable if I were otherwise upset.)

Then there’s the unease about my fluid levels. Those of you who have been pregnant will know what I mean when I refer to the, um, humidity of undergarments that occurs (due to hormones trying to prevent infection). This week, I can’t stop worrying that I could actually have a slow leak of amniotic fluid and not realize it. Sebastian was born with NONE. It had to have gone somewhere, and we have no idea where.

One of the big problems here is that I can’t just pat myself on the head and tell myself I’m being irrational… because I’m not. I know, it’s highly unlikely anything will be wrong, I have no good reason to fear, the odds are very slim that something bad will happen to this baby… but all that reasoning doesn’t really mean anything. Odds are for sh*t sometimes – just ask A Mourning Mom. And if I don’t know why things went wrong last time, how do I know it wasn’t me? How do I know there wasn’t something in my body that shifted or busted, say, during the 45 hours I spent working to get E into the world, that now doesn’t work properly? This idea seems all too plausible to me.

I don’t know. Maybe I am being irrational. If so, please tell me. That would be great to hear.

In any case, I am lucky because my parents thought of this, and my mom offered to come with me to the hospital, so I won’t be alone. Everything will be fine. (Everything will be fine, everything will be fine…)

Week 16:

pregnancy week 16 fetus

Baby is the size of an avocado. It’s moving a lot. It can make faces (squint, frown). It’s got ear-bones, so now it can hear me. It’s got fingernails, and is growing eyelashes, and taste buds. Holy cow.

A couple times this week, I was pretty sure I felt movement – but so small, I could never be sure.

On a semi-related note:

Last week I spent a resource period with ten Grade 2 students doing guided reading in French. We read a story – at their request – called “Avant ma naissance” (“Before my Birth”), all about the growth of a baby in utero. One student raised his hand and spoke in English.

“I have a question. When a baby is born… why does the mom… need a male?”

Oh, great. I stalled. “Do you mean at the baby’s birth, or to make the baby?”

“I mean to make the baby.”

Awesome. I pointed to the illustration of the spermatozoides reaching the ovule. “Because these come from the male, and this comes from the female, and you need both parts for anything to happen.”


“Okay. But how do they get all the way to the…”

At this point, a bunch of the other kids started protesting. “You don’t wanna know! It’s NOT a cool story! It’s GROSS!!” Obviously some of these kids have already had The Sex Talk. I told the student I would be happy to talk with him about it another time (which I honestly would, if I had time to prepare) – or he could always ask a parent.

I thought it was a really good question, actually. There are three different kids in his grade who come from two-mom families, and all the Grade 2s are aware of that. It makes perfect sense that he was wondering where the “male” comes in.

After the hubbub died down (or was squelched by me, actually), and we wound up our discussion of embryos and fetuses, one of the other kids said unexpectedly, “One of my sisters died when she was in my mom’s belly.”


I said, “Wow. So you have a sister you never got to meet. That’s tough. My son has a brother he never got to meet, too.”

You just never know the things people have been through.


22 thoughts on “Anxiety Sucks

  1. Skye says:

    You are being irrational! (okay, well, that sounds . . . mean, somehow, but, what I mean is – everything will be great. You’re going to go to your appointment and your doctor will tell you that you are going a beautiful, healthy baby. I will be thinking of you. Lots of love, Skye.

  2. Amanda says:

    Oh Di! I of course don’t know how you feel in the whole, but in a tiny tiny tiny way. When I was carrying Victoria I felt nervous the whole time. Every twinge, every everything made me wonder if I would take this second baby to term. And I had a few “fluid” false alarms too! I am so glad your mom is going with you to the appointment. Holding you in the light. With Love A

    • diblog says:

      Of course you were nervous! You had such a scary experience with Matthew. Talk about parental anguish. Thank goodness Victoria turned out so fantastic. xoxo

  3. Liz says:

    Oh, honey, I know. You can’t just lalala it will be fine when you have already lived the horror that unfolds when it ISN’T all fine. I nearly puked before my ECG with my after-loss baby. I nearly passed out during it when the tech. asked me to roll over onto the same side I was lying on when I found out my son had died inside me. That pregnancy was the hardest thing I have willingly taken on, and you have my empathies as you navigate this tricky path. Hope/fear/grief/love all in together. Walk on, step at a time.

    And. And the odds are overwhelmingly good that you and this baby are going to be aok. Okay is normal. Normal = okay. That was my mantra.

    Thinking of you tomorrow. Let us know how it goes, yes?

    • diblog says:

      Liz, I think about you often, to remind myself that it CAN BE DONE. I remember your wise and apt words – that if I can come through the loss, this pregnancy is “within my means as well”. Those words have heartened me, because they carry the expectation that it will be hard, but do-able. Thank you so much for all your insight and empathy.

  4. Darci says:

    Love you tons! Remember your strength! It’s right there. Can you feel it? You are spectacular and will be just fine! Deep breath, snuggle hugs from Sean and the Fantastic Mr.E and know that all the energy we can spare is shooting it’s way to you and the new little person growing inside you. Again, deep deep breath.. hold it.. and blow it out.. There; your doing great!! 🙂 xoxoxox

    • diblog says:

      Darci, thank you. You are amazing. But it’s hard to take a deep breath when you’re making me cry. Still, I’m shooting my spare energy to your family too, since you need it as much as I do. HUGE HUGS.

    • diblog says:

      Chris, thank you for reminding me… even with the bracelet on, I seem to be forgetting my own plan. You’re so right. <3

  5. Carrie says:

    YOU ARE NOT IRRATIONAL….I think you are reacting to a all-to-related previous experience. And may I say you are reacting admirably in my books. You are just being a good mom; Protective and in love already! My thoughts on the 12 week U/S – reality/acceptance hadn’t QUITE set in yet, and at 16 weeks, you already thought you felt him or her! That changes your whole feeling of things. One way or another Everything WILL be alright, and you have your awesome mom, your amazing hubby, and countless friends to lean on…..even on those days where YOU think you’re being irrational! We all love you and baby-in-progress too! Can’t wait to hear all about that beautiful bump soon!!!!!

    • diblog says:

      I think you’re right on the money about the 12-week u/s. It wasn’t so real yet – it took a lot longer this time to fully sink in, even though we were very eager to be pregnant. THANK YOU for your amazing support, Carrie. <3

  6. Arwen says:

    I think your kids are very lucky, both your kids at school and your own children!

    I don’t think I can call you irrational because no one can promise anything, and besides – I used to worry similarly. I had the same creeping fear about leakage because of … humidity, and with no previous experience of low water.

    But here’s a doula trick – wander around somewhere private and non-carpeted with no underpants on for about an hour, and if you’re actually leaking it’ll show up on the floor. (Skirt while making dinner?) And also, I’m no clinician, but I know sometimes early low water has a lot more to do with baby’s circulation or placental issues than with leakage – and that, plus labour, could make for no fluid.

    • diblog says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Arwen! During pregnancy, it can be pretty hard to feel I’m doing a good job at teaching OR parenting (or anything else!). I may try that doula trick sometime – unless there’s another option. I have a midwife appt. later this week and I seem to remember some kind of litmus strip they use to check fluids… I’ll have to ask.

  7. emerge says:

    Ack, when I started reading this I thought NOOO, if only I didn’t have the proposal seminar I could be home and go with you! But Mama is sooo much better, so I’m glad it worked out that way. And PLUS I hope the furnace gets all fixed and everything’s fine. (Sorry I didn’t get all my stuff moved out of the way, but some of it. I trust they were ok with it.)


    And when it’s done, you’ll feel sooo much better cause it went well. And you will have more good associations to build up in the bank on top of the bad ones.

    I love you lots. Good luck tomorrow and see you soon.

  8. Erin T says:

    I will be thinking of you all day and the relieved, thankful pair you and your mom will make when all is well. All of us Di-hards admire your strength, calm and positive attitude! What you’ve been through could disturb anyone’s zen, but, like others here, I want to assure you that some anxiety is both perfectly understandable in your case, and normal generally anyway.

    I had six ultrasounds and two fetal ECGs when pregnant with M, because the OBs thought I was too small, M was not thriving, the fluid was lacking, my blood pressure was abysmally low, etc. After my long, complicated but “natural” (ie epidural-free) labour, M was born on her due date, exactly average size, and *furiously* healthy. (She seemed to object to the MD’s interventions – manual flipping, cord-detangling, vacuum extraction, etc. We kept her birth report, which has “v pink, vigourous, LOUD” scrawled across it, which still makes me laugh.)

    So, I vowed to be zen about my pregnancy with S. Then during my first, early ultrasound, the technician frowned and asked me: “Are you alone today? Has anybody ever told you there is something *weird* about your womb?” (I understand not being able to control flashbacks!) It turns out I have a uterine septum, a wall dividing my uterus almost in half, which may account for the difficult delivery with M. After five more u/s, S ended up wedged against the septum in a bad breech and after more than a week of fighting it, I submitted to an early c-section to free him. And got a serene, blond angel baby, ready for a Gerber commercial. It is the job of medical professionals to worry. Try to let them have the anxiety for you!

    • diblog says:

      OMG Erin, I really want to collect those birth stories of yours!! I love that birth report comment. So great. (Is she still LOUD?) My mom has a bicornate uterus as well – and she did have three miscarriages and three out of four breech births. Tough going! But ultimately good. Thank you for thinking of us… and you were right. 🙂 Time to write about that.

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