My phone rang tonight, and I pulled it out to see who it was, and it was a very close friend. She was calling at an odd time, so something about that made me answer (admittedly, I ignore phone calls too many times). Before I got a word out, she blurted out, “I’m on the way to the hospital. I am bleeding.” She is just over ten weeks pregnant. And, it brought back so many vivid memories of pregnancy… of which I somehow survived three of them.
Trust me. I do see it from the perspective of someone who may be struggling with infertility. That just the ability to conceive on my own and getting pregnant was a blessing. And, it was. But, please, see it from the eyes of an anxious, terrified, and emotional person.
I know many of them: Women who cruise through their nine months loving every minute, feeling wonderful, and glowing with happiness in anticipation of a new life. I, however, did not have such euphoric feelings.
Here are five aspects of pregnancy that depict the amount of stress I experienced:
- Getting pregnant. For as fast as time flies, time could not have moved any slower when I was actively “trying” to get pregnant. I couldn’t think about anything else other than my cycle, when I should get my period, when I should ovulate, and if that month was the lucky one. And, no matter what symptoms I was feeling, I took a pregnancy test each month… just to see. And, when it came back with only one stripe, I felt so much disappointment. Like I failed.
- Once the one pregnancy test came back positive. Sure, there was excitement beyond words. The initial celebration of jumping up and down, and screaming in pure joy was great. But, then I came down from the high very quickly, and the anxiety began. Why did I have to wait until I was nine weeks pregnant to be seen by my doctor? That meant, I needed to wait five straight weeks wondering if the fetus inside of me was healthy, thriving, and growing. I’m someone who needed to hear the heartbeat every. single.day. The worry and unknown until that initial appointment was unbearably overwhelming.
- First trimester screening. This was to be scheduled at the hospital between 11 and 13 weeks. Between blood testing and an ultrasound (nuchal translucency), I needed to wait another ten days to hear the results. Would my baby have Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities? Or major congenital heart problems? Then, I needed to hear from the doctors that testing couldn’t give a clear diagnosis, it could only give the risk involved. I’m sorry, but that shit was stressful, scary, and beyond worrisome. Happy to be pregnant. Nervous as hell as to whether the baby I was carrying was healthy.
- “Phew, past the first trimester. You’re safe,” was what people kept saying. Maybe it was because I had been exposed to friends who had troubling pregnancies past that point… or I was just that anxious…but I NEVER felt “safe.” Not for a second.
- …Not to mention the anatomy testing, glucose tolerance test (which I failed the first time in my third pregnancy, and had myself having gestational diabetes– which I didn’t, but another thing to worry myself), growth scans at twenty-eight weeks, and anticipating hearing that heartbeat at every appointment. Especially when I went a few minutes without being kicked or punched by the baby.
After I hung up with my friend, and assured her everything was fine, I couldn’t help but sweat a little for her. Until that baby came out of me each time (the worrying didn’t end there, but it definitely lessened), I wasn’t able to relax. Pregnancy was not the euphoric experience for me that it seems to be for others. I’ve tried to deter my mind from having such thoughts, but I guess I’d seen too many instances with complications. Or, perhaps, my predisposition played a significant role in how I viewed pregnancy.
Don’t get me wrong. I feel blessed, lucky, and beyond fortunate to have been able to conceive, carry, and deliver three babies. But, the road to get there was not easy for me. Now, I will enjoy my little babies, and see everyday that the angst and restlessness was so worth it.