Sleepless Nights with Baby

24 weeks + 5 days pregnant

The last few days have been difficult and I just can’t shift the paranoia over Sprocket’s movements at times. All my kick counts indicate that everything is fine, but I’m finding the quieter moments agonising and have twice now been on the verge of going into hospital for monitoring before experiencing more certain movements. 

It begins with a thought, a ‘what if’ and escalates into fear and paranoia. What if he’s unwell? What if that wasn’t really a kick and just my imagination? Are his kicks softer today? Should I go in to be monitored? I can’t be sure he’s moved in the last hour, what if something has happened? 

I have moments of panic, then I feel him move, but sometimes it isn’t enough. His movements ease my nerves momentarily but then the fears, the doubts, the worries creep back in. 

Sprocket moved ever so slightly less yesterday (a fact I only know because I am so meticulous/ obsessive with my monitoring) but sometimes it’s not really his movements that are governing my fears, it’s a deep rooted concern over losing another baby. I don’t think any number of kicks recorded on my kick counter could ever totally eliminate that fear. 

I think that the circumstances around Nieve’s death make this pregnancy particularly difficult to bear at the moment. We never found a reason for losing Nieve so the idea that we could lose another baby without warning feels totally reasonable and I often feel completely powerless and totally paranoid about any slight change in my pregnancy in case it’s a sign that this pregnancy will end the way the last one did. 

How do I balance protecting this baby with controlling my obsessive and often irrational worries? I think I need a plan. I need a time limit and a quota of kicks so that I can make a quick decision about whether to seek help. I’m desperate to control the situation but the responsibility feels like a heavy burden. I think I’ll talk to the midwife about it tomorrow. 

It doesn’t help that there’s so much conflicting advice about baby movements. 10 an hour? 10 in two hours? 10 in a day? 8 in an hour but only after 30 weeks? A lot of the latest advice says to be aware of what’s right for your baby but since Sprocket moves so much generally, I can end up in a mess of nerves when he deviates even slightly from this norm. His only pattern seems to be that he moves pretty often and pretty consistently… except when he doesn’t. 

The quieter spells happen about three times a week and during those times I can go up to two hours without really feeling him. I progress from feeling unsettled, to worried, to anxious to a nervous wreck. I’m so terrified that history will repeat itself and I’m not sure there’s any way to control that fear because it’s based on experience. And so I plod on, apprehensive and on high alert but clinging on to the thought that this is a different pregnancy with a different outcome. 

It’s quite ironic that Sprocket is giving me so many sleepless nights before he’s even arrived. I don’t imagine I’ll sleep peacefully again until he’s at least 25 years old! 

On Wednesday I had my first doppler ultrasound which measures the blood flow through the placenta to the baby. I was particularly nervous because even though a reason was never found for Nieve’s death, research suggests that in cases like Nieve’s, the cause of death is usually down to placenta failure. 

Everything looked fine on the scan but I couldn’t decide whether this was reason enough to relax or not. Would a scan at 24 weeks have revealed issues for Nieve? How quickly can the placenta deteriorate? Would there be signs if there was an impending issue? Nobody could give me definite answers and so my anxiety lingers. I’m trying to hold on to the idea that today, right now, everything is ok… but tomorrow is another battle. 

This weekend we began to sort out the nursery and it’s been a really positive and enjoyable experience so far. I have almost everything we need from my last pregnancy, although the pinks have been traded for blues. It feels strange that blankets, hats and muslins that were intended for Nieve will go to her brother now instead. I’m lucky to have a small hospital box of items that were exclusively Nieve’s, and those things are very precious to me. 

When we lost Nieve, we were in the midst of moving house and all of the Nieve’s things were boxed ready to go. My friends offered to take her things away to their house which was so amazing of them. Those boxes represented all my hopes and dreams and with those in tatters, I couldn’t bear to live among the reminders. 

At first the idea of making up the new nursery felt daunting. It’s filled with the expectation that a baby will be coming home to stay and it’s taken courage to dare to believe that that’s true. There is an element of not wanting to ‘take things for granted’ or ‘expect too much’ but at the same time I’m determined to try to believe that this pregnancy will have a happy outcome. 

The nursery represents all the hope and love that we have invested into this new baby. It’s time to reopen the boxes. To dare to hope and dream again. 


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