15 weeks+ 4 days pregnant
The past few days I’ve been feeling anxious and finding it hard to get a grip on it. It feels like the culmination of a stressful few weeks- the aftershock of the earthquake. I’m being plagued by a succession of negative thoughts which are polluting my mind and affecting my well being and they’re becoming overwhelming at times. I know that the majority of my worries are fruitless but at times they are flooding my brain and wearing me down. I need to find a way to calm my nerves without entering into an aimless battle in my mind. I think what I’m realising is that my feelings are normal, especially on the back of the stressful events of recent weeks as well as the impending changes I have coming up in the near future.
I don’t think I was prepared for how difficult the early weeks in this second trimester would be. It feels a little bit like pregnancy no-man’s-land, an ’empty’ stage inbetween pregnancy symptoms and being able to feel baby’s movements. I’m enjoying my new found energy but finding the lack of nausea unnerving, especially as it had been so persistent thus far. The change has been quite remarkable, almost overnight and it’s quite unsettling. I have to fight hard to remain calm but I’ll admit I have done a bit of research about second trimester miscarriage which has inevitably done nothing to ease my nerves. I’m not quite sure why I choose to do it to myself, but I think it comes down to wanting to somehow prepare myself and therefore protect myself from the worst, though I know in my heart that it doesn’t work that way. Step away from the Internet!
I’ve also started to get concerns about movements. I felt Nieve move very early, at 13 weeks and although I think I may have felt things with this baby, I can’t be totally sure. This morning I laid in bed concentrating on my abdomen, convinced that if I just focused enough I would be able to feel some movement. It was a futile experience which only made me more anxious and brought back memories from that final day where I’d desperately willed Nieve to move. I called the Tommy’s midwive’s helpline and was told it was totally normal and that I shouldn’t expect to feel movement until at least 16 weeks. It was reassuring yet a part of my brain still insists that something is wrong and won’t let me settle. I seem to require a huge amount of evidence to convince me that everything is probably ok.
I have a doppler at home but as yet I’ve been too afraid to use it. The last time I used it was on the day I tried to reassure myself that Nieve was ok but found no heartbeat. It’s haunted with that memory for me and the very thought of trying and failing to find a heartbeat this time has filled me with fear and prevented me from picking it up again. Dopplers have mixed reviews from parents and medical professionals alike and some deem them to cause more worry than comfort but I think the desire for reassurance will eventually override the fear and I’ll give it another go.
I have a private gender scan booked for tomorrow and I’m particularly nervous about that too, although I’m hoping it will bring me the reassurance I need to settle my frazzled nerves. I haven’t seen my baby for almost a month now and Its been a month fraught with sickness, dehydration, spotting and stress. I just hope and pray that baby is doing ok. My mind is a battleground of positivity versus negativity, like the metaphorical angel and devil sitting on my shoulders and whispering their messages.
A part of me has already made up my mind that I’m carrying a boy this time. I think it’s my brain’s way of seperating the two pregnancies. I haven’t really considered how I’d feel to be told I’m carrying another girl though I’ll be happy as long as the baby is healthy. I think I’ll just be so relieved to see a healthy heartbeat tomorrow and I’m hoping it brings me the reassurance I need to keep me calm until my next scan.
One thing that made me feel more positive this week was some of my friends commenting that my bump had grown. It makes me feel optimistic if people deduce that I actually look pregnant, like things are progressing as they should. A bump feels like confirmation of a healthy pregnancy. Yesterday I told one of my friends that I was pregnant and she told me she had already suspected from my shape. I felt so encouraged by that. I was never very big in my pregnancy with Nieve and since her Post Mortem results suggested she was small for her gestation, I feel heartened that I’m a little bigger this time.
In the last few days I’ve done what I said I wouldn’t do and that’s to start racing ahead and borrowing problems from the future. I’ve started to ponder about the days when I do feel regular movement and how I’ll manage my anxiety when I get concerned about the ‘quiet spells’. I’ve started to panic that I’ll experience further bleeding and I’ve been overanalysing every change, every twinge, every feeling. I have concerns about the new medical professionals I’ll be in contact with now that I’m back in my hometown; my doctors, my midwife and my consultant and whether they’ll be supportive and have the time to give me the care I so desperately need. I worry about being away from Matt and having appointments or even emergencies when he can’t be at my side. I’ve also started to think about the birth and explored my fears connected with that. I know I need to stop. To stop and breathe.
I think the the trick is to fight hard not to fight. To accept that most of my fears will never materialise and that spending the currency of my energy on them is futile and harmful. Distraction… I think I’m ready for some distraction in my life and even though the return to work feels daunting, it may be just the medicine I need to help silence the incessant worries and introduce more purpose into my life again. My primary focus over the last six months has been to grieve and now, to ‘do pregnancy’- my ‘purpose’ has been to ‘be pregnant’, but I need to start trusting that my body knows what it’s doing.
I think I also need to realise that my feelings are normal -to accept that pregnancy after loss is tough and that I’m bound to get swept up in the enormity of it all from time to time. I need to acknowledge that the last few weeks have been challenging and that that together with the impending changes that lie ahead for me has compounded my feelings of apprehension. All that I can do is breathe, and hope that the next few weeks are a smoother ride.