***Trigger warning – current pregnancy discussed.***
How are you doing…really?
This is such a loaded question for any grieving parent, especially a mama pregnant after loss.
I had just met with my high risk specialist and was trying to process everything we had talked about when E, my perinatal counselor/unofficial PAL advocate and support person, came in to say hello. She hugged me and then looked me straight in the eyes and asked how I was doing. I told her I was okay. I mean, I got out of bed, showered, put make-up on, and worked all day. Brynn is doing well and I wasn’t crying. So yeah, I was okay. She looked at me again and asked one more time, as if she was challenging me, in a very kind, supportive way. With the emphasis of really at the end of her question, I realized that maybe I wasn’t okay in that moment. So why did I say I was? I guess after a while, it just becomes automatic. Someone asks how I’m doing, I tell them I’m okay, and then we move on to the next thing.
My support people at SSH know me well, and apparently they can tell when I’m not really okay, before I even recognize it. It’s almost like I put on a mask every day. My “it’s time to put on a brave face and face the world” mask. Sometimes I am even fooled by it. Yesterday, E saw right through it. I’m glad she did. I needed the emotional release. I suppose that’s why she challenged me on it. She knew it, too.
So I sat there and had a good cry. I talked about my fears and anxiety. The closer we get to the end of this pregnancy, the more scared I become. E reminded me that I need to dig down deep, grab on to my faith, and hold on as tight as I can. I have and I am holding on for dear life. My daughter’s precious life.
Part of my anxiety from yesterday stemmed from a question I asked my specialist, which was prompted by Brynn’s seemingly constant change of position (transverse, breech, head down, back to transverse). She didn’t give me the answer I had hoped for. As soon as I asked the question, I immediately wanted to take it back because I knew I wasn’t going to get the answer I wanted to hear. What I wanted to hear is, “you don’t have to worry, there is no possibility for cord entanglement.” Instead, she told me the truth. The gist of her response was, “we try not to put too much emphasis on cord placement in utero because there isn’t much we can do about it, especially so early. If there is going to be an issue, it usually happens during birth. But I don’t want that to worry you because more often than not, it’s okay. What we focus on right now is movement and the NST to make sure there aren’t any abnormal decelerations or accelerations in heart rate. It’s a good sign that she’s moving around so much because it means there is plenty of fluid.”
She didn’t say she saw any issues with Brynn’s cord. But because she didn’t specifically say that her cord is floating freely and not wrapped around anything, I panicked a little. My specialist told me everything looks good at the start of our appointment. But still, my mind went straight to the what ifs. I could have pressed her for more info on the cord, but I realized that in this case, maybe I don’t need to know. Maybe knowing would worry me needlessly. So I let it go, and I reminded myself that if there are any issues that we need to be aware of, she will tell me. I trust her.
Brynn passed her biophysical profile and non-stress test with flying colors, but I needed to hear, just one more time before leaving the hospital, that everything is okay and there isn’t anything to worry about at this point. I found my specialist and she once again gave me a big hug and reassured me that everything looks great. An hour and a half after checking in, I finally made my way home, feeling tired and tearful, still. But relieved that in that moment, everything was okay.
Even on the good days, when everything is going well, it’s still really hard. It’s hard to believe and trust that everything will be okay this time. It’s hard to just have faith. But still, I’m holding on as tight as I can.