This post was written on January 13th, 2018
I have been writing weekly updates on my pregnancy with the Little Miss since we found out she was in my belly. I was also documenting the really big moments that stood out during our journey (ugh – the ‘j’ word) with secondary infertility. This post is a bit different from the rest of my documentation of my pregnancy. A bonus post. Something I’m not ready to publicly publish right this moment (at 35 weeks and 5 days along in the early hours because this story just has to bust out of me despite the part of me that knows I really need to be asleep).
Yesterday was a really big day for me. Emotional from start to finish. I was nervous and I was anxious and all of the other words that pretty much mean the same thing. It was the day we had my 36 week check up with my doctor. The day when a lot of things would supposedly be clarified and planned and shit would get really real as it became clear that there’s actually an end date to this pregnancy – a delivery to contend with.
I was excited but that excited feeling was suddenly overtaken by fear. I am having a scheduled C-section and I know that it is best (for the baby) to deliver no earlier than 38 weeks, according to most recent research/studies etc. Standard practice. Problem is, I hit 38 weeks over a public holiday weekend. For both reasons of wanting the best care and also some other complicated personal stuff (not for the blog which kills me because I’d really like to delve into it but I can’t – sorry), this had me freaked out. Would they ever consider delivery a couple of days earlier than 38 weeks or would I have to wait longer and risk going into labour first (which I have been assured can be good for the baby but holy shit my first experience with labour was terrifying and traumatic).
I was so freaked out, wanting to avoid all these hypothetical situations that I cried a lot and felt the most anxiety I’ve had since we undertook IVF in the first place. So many what ifs.
My appointment didn’t shed much light other than to let me know that the baby would probably be delivered by the time my son starts year 1 at school. Yep. Like literally on the day or maybe one day before* – as if a mum doesn’t already give herself enough guilt. As to where I would deliver and who would be there – who knows. I am supposed to find out very very soon. It’s a little complicated because of my conditions (gestational diabetes and PUPPP rash) and where I live blah blah.
We got home and my head was spinning. All I could think about was my first birth experience. Having a stretch and sweep and being left open to infection which meant I got sick, accelerating labour into warp speed (resulting in an emergency C-section which I do not regret because they save lives), affecting my son and seeing us separated (a hospital an hour’s drive away with me unable to visit) for the first 3 days of his life. I know some people have it MUCH worse but I was already suffering from anxiety and it continued for the first year of my son’s life – maybe even longer. My first pregnancy had been crazy and my birth experience wanted in on the fun! After that, I was trying to overcompensate by being perfect, even though I couldn’t be (and definitely was not – resulting in me being very very horrible to myself inside my head). Other circumstances transpired during that year that compounded everything. I was so lucky to have my beautiful boy – a bond that has never broken since I finally got to cuddle him for real at 3 days old – and cherished so many amazing moments with him, but things were tough for me personally at that time.
Thinking about all of this made me worry. So much can go wrong if you really let yourself dwell in that scary place in your brain (rather than the positive space where I was so lucky to have top notch care and my kid was alright and has been such a joy and so healthy) and that’s what I was doing yesterday. I just wanted a guarantee of some kind that everything would turn out OK and that beautiful baby would be placed in my arms and the rest of the world would melt away and I’d get all of the things I couldn’t experience my first time around (not just in regards to the birth experience but in a lot of surrounding circumstances). I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was mad because I realised I wouldn’t be able to control a thing. And I wanted control. And that is not like me at all. Not with stuff like this. I am usually philosophical AF.
My friends probably think I’m batshit crazy. And yesterday I probably was.
Which brings me to today. After deep and meaningfuls all over the shop yesterday, I started to calm down a little. I was exhausted and actually fell asleep at a reasonable hour (after a rough bout with my rash this was a miracle). My brain had a lot to process (this resulted in some truly effed up dreams).
This morning I awoke at 4:00am and I knew that until I typed my little heart out, I wouldn’t be able to rest. That’s just me and how I cope.
I had originally tried to get sleepy by reading, but realised I was up to the part in Em Rusciano’s book where she fell pregnant with her third baby, Ray, and subsequently lost him at the end of the first trimester. The way she told the story was gut wrenching and beautiful. And not very sleep inducing – obviously.
In reading that (and oh my gosh I hope this does not come off as absolutely fucking insensitive), I regained perspective. I thought back to the first trimester of this pregnancy. The days where I was so scared and spotting all the time. I was so terrified that it was all too good to be true after trying so long. I mean, who gets that lucky one IVF round in when there are women suffering through so many, with no luck? What made me worthy? I self indulgently suffered some survivor’s guilt which surprised the hell out of me. Apparently that is a thing. With me it was, anyhow.
My hand instinctively reached for my belly as I was reading. I felt heartbroken for Em and all the women who have suffered similarly, but I felt a rush of gratitude and amazement for my own situation (that’s the part that I hope does not make me sound like a total smug jerk). To go from such uncertainty in the early days, knowing so many women have losses (1 in 4 pregnancies), I really have been so blessed. This baby is growing and moving lots and she is my miracle. We are almost out of the woods. I need to pinch myself.
It’s not that I’ve ever been ungrateful. Far from it. I’ve just felt like the whole pregnancy has been about putting out fires. All my time and energy going into regulating my blood sugar and fighting a rash. It’s only recently, I found it in myself to buy more baby things and start setting up the nursery (and the rest of the house). I’ve been exhausted and just wanting the pregnancy to end. Not because I didn’t want it but because I have wanted the end result (my baby girl) so badly.
It’s just that this morning, in the cool, calm, I just found some kind of zen. Peace. What will be will be. Fuck it. There’s nothing I can’t get through. And I have to believe that I deserve good things. Does a good attitude determine a great outcome? Not necessarily. I know that. Can I control everything? Nope. Will my experience this time around completely make up for the tough stuff last time? I don’t think so. I can’t expect that. I’d be setting myself up for more anxiety and possible depression if it didn’t.
I just have to roll with the punches.
This is my life and my precious little family and whatever happens, we will get through it and we will determine what meaning we find in all of it.
*this was not to be the case but that’s for a future blog post – stay tuned! x