I love roller coasters. I love the excitement that builds as you climb the hill. I love the adrenaline that pulses through your veins as you reach the top. I love the feeling of fear as you pause at the top, looking down on the world below you. I love the feeling of absolute freedom as you explode from the top and race down the hill. And I love that then it all starts again.
But I guess what I love most about roller coasters is that the fear and the excitement are all controlled. You know what’s going to happen, and you know you will be safe. So you feel safe in feeling afraid.
Lately my life has been a roller coaster. Unfortunately it is one that I cannot control. Unfortunately I do not feel safe at all.
I am now 21 weeks pregnant, and about a month ago I began having some bleeding. Sorry if this is TMI for some of you, but I figure that if celebrities can flash their hoo-has to the world, that I can at least talk about mine for a moment. Plus… grow up. Okay? Anyway, I began having some bleeding, so of course, I got worried. I went to see my doctor, who thought it was probably a UTI causing it. I was relieved to have an answer… until we found out it wasn’t a UTI. Fear returned. I went back in to see the doctor. She couldn’t find the source of the bleeding, but she was pretty sure it was just some superficial bleeding due to a growth spurt, and now it was probably over. I didn’t bleed anymore, so I accepted this and was relieved. Until I wasn’t.
Two weeks later the bleeding started again. The fear escalated. I went to see the doctor, who again couldn’t find the source, but assured me everything was fine. The next day, I went in for my 20 week ultrasound. The doctor there looked at my baby (A BOY!) and told me he was perfect. She looked at everything going on in my uterus and told me that was perfect too. I was relieved. No, I was more than relieved. I was elated. I felt like I could finally breathe for the first time in a week, maybe longer. Then I got the wind knocked out of me again.
Two hours later I started bleeding. A lot more this time. I called my doctor, who put me on immediate bed rest until she could see me the next afternoon. I am not sure if any of you have had to be on bed rest while taking care of a toddler, but I am sure you can imagine that it is no easy feat. The only thing on par with the fear was the guilt. Every time my daughter asked me to play with her, and I had to say no, I felt bone-breaking guilt about choosing the baby over her. And every time I shunned the bed rest to give her the little play time or cuddle she needed, I felt the same guilt about choosing Lyla over the baby. The fear and the guilt, along with the stress of pretending that everything is fine, was just too much. That night I had my first panic attack ever. A real, honest-to-goodness, can’t breathe, can’t see straight, almost vomiting, panic attack. And then it was over and I could laugh about how ridiculous I am… and then start panicking again because I had a panic attack, and that must mean I am going crazy, right? Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much.
The next day I went in to see the doctor and again she told me that it was most likely coming from the cervix, which is the best case scenario. But again, she told me I need to be careful and rest until the bleeding stops. That was two days ago. It still hasn’t stopped. And again, the fear rises.
So here I sit on bed rest. I am lucky that I have an amazing husband who is doing his job and mine without complaints. He is working, and taking care of me, and playing with Lyla, and making dinner, and everything else that two people can barely fit in a day. I have friends who have helped immensely, by taking Lyla for play dates and offering help when I need it most. I have a daycare who can take Lyla extra days, which helps with the guilt. I am lucky, I know. But I am bed-ridden, and the fear is starting to mount again and what do I have to do but complain about a very private thing on a very public forum.
Everyone says that I should enjoy this opportunity. I know it’s true. I mean, how often do I get to lie down for a week with no cooking, cleaning, laundry or chores to do and often no daughter to take care of? I know that I should be in heaven. Some days I daydream of just an hour of this luxury. The thing is, all of these things still need to be done, I just can’t do them. I wish I could do the laundry that is piling up. I wish that I could cook my husband a nice dinner. I wish that I could play with my daughter instead of sending her off to school to play without me. I don’t feel sick. I feel like I could do all of this, plus 45 minutes on the elliptical and maybe some weights while I am at it. I feel like I could do everything. But I can’t.
Oh yeah, and it is summertime, so there is no good tv on. Only reruns of crappy TV that I have already seen twice. So there’s that too.
Most of all, I don’t like feeling fragile. I like my muscles and am proud of my strong body. I like my stubbornness and am proud of my strong mind. But right now I feel weak. I feel like I am going to break, both in body and mind. Every move I make, I feel like I am somehow injuring the baby. I sneezed yesterday and almost peed my pants out of fear that the sneeze harmed the baby. And then I freaked out because I almost peed. Oh, did I mention that peeing freaks me out too? And don’t even get me started on #2.
This weak body of mine is weakening my mind as well. All these emotions and all this fear can’t be good for you. I have been on the verge of tears for almost a month now. I am losing my mind. I know that I shouldn’t be so scared. I have been to the doctor almost every day this week and she assures me that everything is fine. But she also tells me that it is not normal, and it is certainly not good. And every time it happens, I have to go back in to check and make sure everything is still fine. So every time it happens again, I live in a constant state of fear that this will be the time that everything is NOT fine. I usually like roller coasters. But this one is literally making me sick to my stomach. I want to get off.
The one good thing is that any thoughts I had of not connecting to this baby, are gone. I am connected to this little boy. And, in true motherly fashion, I am worried sick about him already.