This post was originally going to be an update about the pregnancy so far, and I was going to do another post later talking about my anxiety and all the forms it has come in. But I wanted to share it all now, because this is what has been heavy on my mind and heart. There are really 2 parts to my anxiety this pregnancy: why I believe I have it this pregnancy due to my complications with SJ, as well as how it all started with my nursing aversions.
So lets start from the beginning with a little story time.
My Pregnancy experience with SJ
I talked about before how I came to terms this pregnancy with hating being pregnant. The beginning of this pregnancy was a lot like with SJ, I was sick. I lost about 10 pounds because I just couldn’t eat. I was nauseas 24/7 and just felt awful. Pretty much any pregnancy induced sickness you could get, I did. I had a UTI for a good 3 months. Then when the nausea passed, the UTI passed, and I started to feel better – I got a terrible ear infection because of what the ENT doctor told me is called pregnancy rhinitis. It got so bad and the walk in clinic wouldn’t treat me because I was pregnant and told me it was a “burst blood vessel.” I ended up in the ER with dehydration because the pain was making me throw up. Other than all that, I had a decent pregnancy. Until 27 weeks. This is where my current anxiety starts.
At exactly 27 weeks, I slipped in my kitchen. I landed on my knee, didn’t hit my belly, never landed on my butt, partly caught myself on the chair so I didn’t land all the way down. I twisted my ankle and had a little bruise on my knee. I sat down and told work I might be a little late because I wanted to sit and make sure everything was okay. I didn’t have cramping, I didn’t have contractions, baby was moving fine, I never had any bleeding. The rest of the day went fine other than a sore knee and ankle. I didn’t think anything of it. The next morning I was having intermittent back pain and some menstrual like cramping, it came about every 10 minutes and lasted a minute or two…I knew something was wrong.
I got to work and was texting my cousin who is an OB nurse and she told me to call my doctor right away. I had to wait until they opened at 8, I was terrified. When they said they wanted to see me, I broke down. My mom came and got me from work and we made the hour trek to my doctor office. After being monitored, it was determined I was having high frequency, low intensity contractions and they sent me to the hospital. At that point DJ headed down from work. They did a sonogram and didn’t see anything wrong but kept me overnight to be monitored. The next day, late afternoon, they released me. But I was still having the contractions.
The following day, Saturday, I was still having contractions, but more frequently. I laid down, I drank water, I waited until DJ got home from work and we ate, then called my doctors office’s after hours line. They wanted to see me again and told me to go straight to the hospital as the office was closed.
We went down and I was put back on the monitor, they said it didn’t seem like anything to be worried about and if they could just get a solid 20 minute reading of the baby’s heart rate I would be good to go. Great! Then the on call doctor came in to check me, she could feel the baby’s head and I was 70% effaced and starting to dilate. It was like my world spun out of control. I was suddenly being taken off monitors, given steroid shots for her lungs, getting ready to be moved to a room, an IV being put in and given fluids, penicillin, and magnesium to stop labor. I never wish magnesium upon my worst enemy. They have to do a lot all at once before they can slow it down and it was like my body was on fire from the inside out, everything went wonky, I was throwing up, it was awful. I’ll spare you the rest of the details from what had to be done that night, but it was the scariest night of my life. I thought we were going to lose our baby girl. The next morning my blood pressure bottomed out to 59/37. I barely remember people running into the room, laying my bed back, and honestly I’m not sure what all they did. It was terrifying. Once they stabilized me I got moved to the antepartum ward, given the second steroid shot, and was still on the magnesium and fluids.
The next day they were finally able to get me in for a sonogram and we discovered a large blood clot between the placenta and the uterine wall, I later found out this is called a sub-chorionic hemorrhage or an SCH. I was taken off the magnesium, but still was unsure of what was going to happen. The clot continued to get larger and I had an increase in contractions and cramping. My high risk doctor told me there was a good chance they would have to do an emergency C-section because I was at risk for a placental abruption with the placement and size of the clot. Our goal was to keep her in until 32 weeks. I stayed in the hospital until just after 29 weeks and was sent home on strict bedrest after they believed the clot had stabilized and was starting to reabsorb.
Those 2 weeks in the hospital were the most emotional and scary weeks of my life. DJ stayed with me for the first week, but the second week we needed him to go back to work and he made the 2 hour drive from his work each night to see me. When he had to leave, it was pure torture. For the remaining 7 weeks of bedrest at home, I tried to be positive and throw myself into my work and an amazing friend and mentor gave me access to her online course for free, I was going to turn this into a positive. But I didn’t take into consideration the emotional toll bedrest would put on me. I would start having contractions if I sat upright too long, I had no interaction with other humans during the day, I had no idea what was going to happen with my daughter and when she would come, and my mind just took me down a rabbit hole. Luckily, she stayed put until 38 weeks. My doctors were completely shocked, and I was thankful.
I was never truly convinced that the SCH was from the fall. Maybe worsened, maybe caught because, but not completely because of it. Which has led to anxiety during this pregnancy. Not only do I not think I could handle going through that again, but I don’t think I could go through that again knowing that SJ is at home, or not being able to care for her. So my anxiety isn’t just for my unborn daughter, but for my older daughter. I’m a little more overly cautious, my hypochondria is worse, I’m more emotional, and I have anxiety attacks. Which all started with my nursing aversion.
My Nursing Aversion
I always thought I was going to be that mom that tandem nursed her toddler and infant. I loved nursing. I even looked into becoming a lactation consultant. I enjoyed researching it and everything that came with it. It created a bond that I will forever cherish. So when I started getting this feeling of NOT wanting to nurse SJ, I felt confused, hurt, and guilty. It started during her middle of the night nursing sessions. I wanted to crawl out of my skin, I would get mad at her, I wanted to scream, I would feel panicky. During the day I was fine, nursing was actually a God send because it would distract her for 10-15 minutes and I could rest. So I decided to night wean thinking that would solve the problem. Then it started to creep into daytime nursing. I would feel panicky if she wanted to nurse, I just wanted her to stop! I felt beyond guilty. How could I be getting mad at this sweet little girl for wanting her only pure form of comfort that she had known from day 1. How could this one thing that created such a magnificent bond between my daughter and I cause me to want to run and hide?
I didn’t understand it. I thought I could push through it. I had read about nursing aversions, but I never thought it would happen to me. I thought it was a mind over matter situation. I learned one day at 4:30 in the morning that it was not. The very last time I nursed my daughter, I sat in the rocking chair in her room and shook as I let her latch on. I cried, I shook, I was terrified, I was trying not to hyperventilate, I prayed to God that she would just stop. I tried to unlatch her and she fought with all her little might to continue to nurse. I gripped the side of the rocking chair, I shook my hands, I did everything I could to keep my body from pushing that poor little girl away from my body. Once she finally fell back into a deep sleep, I went in my room and sobbed and hyperventilated and took an hour to calm myself down. I was racked by guilt. I knew we had to stop for both of our sakes.
It took a good 2 weeks before she stopped asking to nurse. We went through tantrums and tears from both of us. I thought about just trying one more time, but honestly the thought of it would make me freeze, shake, and tears well up in my eyes.
This lead to the anxiety of would I not want to nurse my second baby? I still fight this anxiety. The what ifs are constantly racking my brain.
What if I can’t nurse my baby? What if we don’t have that bond? What if something happens this pregnancy? What if something happens to me? What if something happens to DJ? What if we get in an accident? What if the house burns down? What if SJ gets kidnapped? What if all of this causes me to have postpartum depression or anxiety? What if my dizziness is a brain tumor?
It has caused this anxiety to spiral out of control. The most ridiculous things cross my mind. The craziest what ifs are like a scrolling board across my thoughts. And sometimes they cause me to go into panic attacks that result in hyperventilating, shaking, uncontrolled sobbing, and everything that comes with anxiety. I have always had slight anxiety, but never to this extent. And it scares the everliving crap out of me.
How I am Handling It
God. My husband. My family. My friends. This blog. That is how I am handling it. I pray, I talk about it, I share my fears with those that care most about me. I write about God, and marriage, and motherhood and hope that I can help one other person out there not feel alone. I trust in God with all I have to know that he will take care of us. That he has a plan for us. Trust me, I just want to keep this all bottled up and not burden anyone with my feelings of anxiety or guilt, but I can’t do this alone. I’m not going to get rid of my anxiety, it’s there. It might fade after the baby comes and everything is okay. But for now, I know my past is going to shape my fears. And that acceptance, is helping.