October 8, 2009

I’ve never had this before.  At this point in my pregnancy with Teddy, I was already worrying, fearful, looking up words like congenital diaphragmatic hernia and ECMO in medical databases and on the web.  I was hoping these words had nothing to do with me, but I was still afraid of them.  Yesterday I had the strange feeling that something was missing from my pregnancy with Dot, and I realized that this time we may not have to drive to the perinatologist’s office even once, never mind once or twice a week (knock on wood).  And I realized that part of what’s missing is the fear, the particular brand of fear that hits when you hear “we think something may be wrong with your baby.”

I still have plenty of other fears.  Fear seems to be the price that babylost moms pay when entering into new pregnancies, and I don’t get any sort of special pass.  If special passes were handed out at all (and it’s appallingly apparent that they aren’t) there are more deserving candidates, anyway.  I fear for Dot.  I worry about what I can feel and what I can’t, when she moves and when she doesn’t, about all the things I can’t control.

These fears are constantly in the background, but they often bubble up to the surface, too, like swamp gas, bursting with nasty splorts and splats and releasing noxious fumes into the atmosphere of my attempted peace.  Your baby may die wafts through my waking thoughts, my dreaming nights.

And still, the fear I taste now is a different flavor than the fear I felt before, strange because your baby may die is the root of my fears now, just as it was then.  But what I fear now – all the possibilities of things going wrong – maddening as it is, is different than they think something is wrong with my baby, and from something is wrong with my baby and he may die because of it. There are days when I really prefer the fears I have now over the ones I had before, when I’m relieved to be dealing with these new fears instead.

Then again, there are days where I just want to scream because I’m so used to being afraid for my children, more used to it than anyone should be.  I know I don’t get a free pass, but I really, really want one.  I peek in at a pregnancy chat board (I know, I should know better) and read posts with titles like “My biggest fear may come true – my doctor thinks I need a C-Section,” and “My biggest fear – pooping during labor” and I cackle like the embittered old hag I am and think bitter thoughts like, “If you only knew, you foolish little idiot.”  And then I shake myself off and hope they never know, not really, and I think wistfully of the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy with Teddy when I was a foolish young idiot myself.

I hug my fears to myself and wait for Dot to kick again, and hope like mad that this time is different, new.



  1. I’m glad some of those old fears are gone. Just so sorry some new ones are creeping up, and that some of the old ones are still hanging around. At this point, there is no escape for any of us I think. We just have to ride it out. At least we can all hold hands doing it.
    And if I can be so crass to say, yeah, I pooped in labour. Oh lord, if that was the worst thing that happened on that day, I’d be a very happy woman right now.

  2. Fear – ever changing, yet a constant companion, sadly. I’m glad you’re able to let go of some of those old fears though.

  3. I am so glad that I am not the only person who is drawn to pregnancy chat boards. It is so very wrong of me but I can’t seem to help it.
    If I ever fall pregnant again I imagine I will be afraid all the way through. But a slightly different flavor of fear.
    Thinking of you and Dot. xo

  4. I cried many times during my pregnancy with Henry because I knew I had to have a c-section. How many times after he was born did I think that if I had known what would happen I wouldn’t have wasted the time or tears. I managed the blissful ignorance even, for the most part, after we learned of his heart defect. It just seemed so benign from what we were told, what I read. I think I’m glad that I got that extra time to be happy and believe all was well.

    I hope this time is different for you too, full of life, health, and happiness.

  5. Yes, that endless pregnancy chatter seems so very irrelevant after your baby has died.

    How I wish we had all remained ignorant. I wish I were a foolish young idiot too(I probably am about other things!)

    Love to you xx

  6. oh erica,
    i wish i could give you a free pass. i wish we all could have free passes.
    i too look back on the blissful ignorance. i too was so upset that i had to have a c-section, little did i know. and now we all know way too much.
    wishing you many moments of peace, breaks from all the fears that can take over. and wishes for a happy ending this time, a living breathing healthy beautiful baby.

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