Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Do you ever feel like you're just waiting for the other shoe to drop?
I do.

I feel like infertility and loss (my own and others) have robbed me of a comfort during pregnancy that I'll never know. I mentioned in my last post that some days, I forget that I'm pregnant. When I realize it, I am plagued with guilt that already, I'm taking this pregnancy for granted, that this second baby is not getting the same attention that Liam did,  that I'm somehow messing up with this baby, before it's even born.

Yesterday was a very cruel day for some women who were ready to become mamas. Several losses, including one mom who lost her second set of twins, are just haunting me today. Add that to my dear SIL's recent loss and I'm really struggling to believe that this pregnancy will result in a healthy baby in my arms in November.

I haven't been feeling this way the whole time... I was actually pretty carefree the first few months of this pregnancy, but I've felt it sneaking in over the last month or so. I so desperately want to support women who are grieving, but I realize that hearing about these tragedies makes me somewhat neurotic. Some recent thoughts:
  • Some days, I forget to take my prenatal vitamin. What problems is this going to cause my baby?
  • This baby wasn't planned. Does the universe read that as "unwanted"?
  • My blood pressure has been high. Will I develop preeclampsia?
  • I already have one healthy baby. Am I tempting fate by attempting to have two?
  • The tech wrote on my ultrasound report at our NT Scan that she didn't detect a nasal bone. What does that mean?
The last thing, I didn't even mention in my post about the NT Scan because at the time, I really wasn't concerned about it. The Scan went well and the fluid at the back of the baby's neck measured at the low end of normal (perfect). When my doctor went over the report with me she mentioned that the tech wrote in the paper work that she did not detect the presence of a nasal bone (which I know is a soft marker for Down Syndrome). My doc kind of breezed through it until I stopped her and questioned it. She said that it was more important that the fluid measured in the normal range and that it could be that the baby either hadn't developed it yet or that the baby was just turned at an angle that made it difficult to see-- In other words, the tech didn't write that the baby didn't have one, just that she couldn't see it.
The doc told me not to worry about it, but you know how we are...we worry about EVERYTHING. Doctors say that everything will be ok...and then sometimes it isn't.
Soft markers mean virtually nothing, especially when there are no other indicators of a problem. I keep reminding myself that our odds are very good that we have a healthy baby (girl?) growing inside me. Sometimes I wonder if all of these "advancements" in technology are really doing us more harm than good. Years ago, the NT Scan didn't exist-- and while I'm certainly thankful that these tests help families of babies with issues prepare for what is to come, I also know that they can provide a tremendous amount of worry for women with perfectly healthy babies.
I've taken some comfort reading this article: Obstetrical Sonography: The Best Way to Terrify a Pregnant Woman which says:
“What are we trying to accomplish with the sonographic observation of “Down syndrome markers” in low risk women? Think about it! For the tiny residual number of Down syndrome fetuses that may potentially come to light by chasing down every last “marker” we intend to put at least 10% of all pregnant women with perfectly normal fetuses through a great deal of worry.”
Our anatomy scan is 12 days away & in the meantime, I'm trying to separate my reality from others' heartache. I'm hoping I can be supportive, but not torture myself with all of the what-ifs. I'm hoping that the next scan will calm my fears and assure me that all is healthy and well.

Today, I'm just trying to force myself to believe that it is.


  1. I think it's very hard to be a part of this community when your pregnant. I had to step away many times during my pregnancy because my anxiety was too great and even with medication I couldn't manage it. The reality is, we hear about these sad cases much more often than is representative of their possibility. What I mean to say is, because we're a part of this community we meet other women who have suffered losses and it makes "loss" seem more common. For every woman we meet here who has suffered immeasurable loss there are 100 others (who are not in our community) who haven't. Our community is not representative of reality, but sometimes it can feel like it is.

    I had to remind myself all the time that their stories did not mean anything to my life. My life is my life, whether I know about their stories or not. They do not effect my chances of having something bad happen (though it can seem like they do, because it makes those bad things seem so much more possible). Like you said, just remember to keep your reality separate from their heartache.

    I hope that everything goes very smoothly with baby #2. There is a very, very good chance that it will.

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  3. I don't think the universe reads unplanned as unwanted - I also don't think you're tempting fate by having another child who will more than likely be healthy.

    I think sometimes fate has a plan for us that we're not aware of until it's upon us. This child was meant to be in your family - s/he will be who s/he is and you will love this baby no matter what.

    Each hurdle makes us stronger and wiser. You know what can go wrong in a pregnancy - which is why you worry. But try to remember all the things that can (and HAVE!) gone right. Liam is a beautiful baby boy who is going to be an amazing big brother!

    You can do this - you can focus on the good and weed out the bad thoughts. You are an amazing mother who is going to be blessed with another bundle of joy soon.

    You're awesome!

  4. just remember to breath in, breath out, and relax. if you feel stressed just hug liam a few more times. you will be able to handle this and everything will turn out fine!!!!

  5. Stef, I sent you a longer e-mail responding to this (and to your e-mail to me-- which I received en route to the doctor's on Monday). It's okay to be afraid and worry. It's okay to have different emotional responses to the different circumstances of different pregnancies. And I completely understand how being in this community can both buoy us up and fill us with fear. Yesterday was rough and I felt the fear, too.

  6. I agree with Esperanza- being a part of this community and reading about so much heartache and loss (which is haunting me today too) can give us an unrealistic picture of how pregnancy usually goes. Chances are very, very good that your baby is healthy and will be born healthy in November. It's so hard not to let fear take over in a situation where you really have so little control, but I hope that you feel a little better after writing all your fears.

  7. I was just discussing with my sister how I felt like somehow being so educated about pregnancy made me even MORE nervous going into my A/S. I know about all the possible things that could be wrong, so I was worried - I felt like it would have been so much easier had I just been ignorant of it all. Thankfully everything seems to be just fine, but it makes me wonder if we are doing more harm than good to ourselves sometimes with all the testing and checking.

  8. Yes, I must agree with Esperanza. Our community is full of love and support but so much heartbreak, too. And that can be really really really traumatic to read about during pregnancy. Hang strong, girl, you are doing awesome!

    Not sure if you saw my post after my anatomy scan but they found a soft marker for Down's on Honey. Oh, god, it distressed me. All of the joy was sucked into this black hole of worry. And I spent hours and hours and hours worrying and found that same site you found a dozen others that all said "This is NOTHING to freak out about." But how do you not? Hubs talked me off the ledge over and over and after a few weeks I was able to find peace and joy in pregnancy again, even tho there was a sliver of a dark shadow with that STUPID "soft marker" moment.

    Lean on your wonderful hubs. Everything is okay with your baby, I promise. Promise promise promise. You are doing awesome, Stef!!! xoxo