Thursday, November 10, 2011

Doubt. Fear. Faith.

Trying to conceive taught me a lot about Doubt.

Doubt in my body.  Doubt in its ability to give my husband a child... my parents a grandchild... my grandmother a great-grandchild.  Doubt in Western medicine.  Doubt in my own strength.  Doubt in life decisions long ago made.  

Trying to conceive taught me a lot about Faith. 

Faith in something bigger than myself.  Faith in pro-activity... in my ability to self-advocate.  Faith in the seemingly strange... in the alternative... in the holistic.  Faith in my marriage.  Faith in a positive outlook. 

These two continued a diametric waltz through that first positive pregnancy test and right on to the second trimester.  

Faith.  Doubt. 

Doubt. Faith

I guess I can say I've learned a lot about Fear as well.  

I can jump out of airplanes... horror movies alone in the dark are a personal favorite... I can ride that rickety, loopy roller coaster until I am blue in the face.  But I knew entirely too much to ever relax during the first trimester.  Every cramp, every temperature dip, every drop in progesterone signaled the greatest fear I never knew I had coming to pass.  

I didn't allow myself to become too excited... to day dream too long about nurseries... to look too closely at teeny tiny baby clothes... to tell anyone outside my closest circle.  

Too much Doubt.  Too much Fear.  {And, let's be honest, entirely too much Information.} 

It will be easier this way, if.... I told myself, never quite finishing the sentence.  

Mercifully, at some unseen point, with every passing week, every milestone attained, every baby flutter... Faith took over.  

And it has been a beautiful thing. 

Yesterday, we went in for a routine Level II ultrasound with our perinatologist.  I've been seeing the high risk obstetrician in addition to my regular OB for second trimester cervical checks because of past history... just making sure all my lady bits stay zipped up tightly.  As expected, my cervix and our girl are perfect.  Some other essential parts, however, are not.  

Big words were thrown at us... 

Chorioamniotic membrane separation {CAS}. The two membranes encasing the amniotic sac have separated.  The chief concern was that the amnion membrane had actually ruptured, causing a fibrous band to float untethered in the sac, potentially leading to strangulation of the umbilical cord or in utero amputation of a digit or appendage {WHAT.}{THE.}{FUCK.}.  

Thankfully, both membranes remain in tact, and the fibrous band we were concerned about is anchored at both ends.  

Velamentous insertion of the umbilical cord.  Instead of being attached securely to the the placenta, our girl's umbilical cord is attached to the chorioamniotic membranes.  If my placenta were located in the lower region of the uterus, rupture and hemorrhage could occur at any time, or upon my water breaking.  

Again, thankfully, my placenta is relatively well-placed for this condition.  The doctor assured us that the chance of random rupture was "about as great a chance as me playing for the NBA."

...to which I responded "how tall are you?" 

Doubt. 

Fear. 

We left with very few answers.  The doctor didn't seem all that concerned.  Both conditions can stunt fetal growth, but she's right on track... "perfect," he said.... no real need to worry.  He will continue to monitor me throughout the pregnancy instead of releasing me at 28 weeks as planned.  No real restrictions aside from no  weight training {HA} or running {DOUBLE HA}... Essentially, there's not much to do... aside from keeping Faith that things will continue to progress normally in spite of these conditions. 

I sat in the empty parking lot of a Sonic Drive-In afterwards, tears spilling into my Route 44 water, mentally congratulating myself for hoarding all those Starbucks napkins in my console, but otherwise gripped by Fear... overcome with Doubt. 

Doubt in the specialist's nonchalance in light of these findings {Google "chorioamniotic membrane separation" and feast your eyes on the number of results with "sudden fetal death" in the titles.  Don't worry, my ass.}

Fear that we'd be on the losing end of {what we're told are} good statistics.  

Doubt in my body's capability to do anything reproductively-related sans dramatics. 

Fear of the lack of proactive tasks I've been given... of the uncertain... of the unknown... of things I can in no way control.  

As a practitioner tasked with equal ethical responsibilities and liabilities, I should know my physicians have every motivation to take irregular findings extremely seriously.  I should know when I am told I don't need to worry, that I really don't need to worry.  I should know that this is the double-edged sword of extra monitoring... that I likely would have continued with a seemingly-normal, complication-free pregnancy without these bonus ultrasounds.  

And I think I do know these things.  

I'm just waiting on the Faith.   

46 comments:

  1. Oh, sweetie, I've been there. I know how that cry feels in the parking lot. It's a feeling you do not know until you are pregnant and are hit with some questionable news. You are so right. You have to have faith and realize that all you can do is follow orders and love on the life inside you. Keep thinking positive and do your best not to stress. Baby girl feels that! I am praying so much for you and I just know we'll be reading your wonderful birth story in just a few short months.

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  2. Really beautifully written. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I will keep you guys in my prayers.

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  3. oh kate, I am so sorry. how scary. I am glad your OB is positive about everything but I know that must be very little comfort for you.

    try to relax and enjoy the holidays {but let everyone else take care of the details}. you and the quesita will be in my prayers!

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  4. Thinking of you & hoping for a completely unremarkable pregnancy from here on out.

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  5. Thinking of you, Ev, Boom and Baby, hoping that Faith kicks in and that everything stays on the good and happy side of statistics. <3

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  6. I know how scary any irregularity, any pause in movement, any mention that something could happen to that little baby that you already love with everything you have can be. I'll keep you, your husband, and your little one in my prayers.

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  7. I'm so sorry that you are experiencing these things. I'm praying for y'all and a healthy baby girl!

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  8. I don't think I've ever posted on here...but I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it every day. It gives me great joy, and I have no doubt that in a few months you will be blessed with a healthy baby giving you great joy. Sending thoughts and prayers your way!

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  9. Thinking of and praying for your Quesita! My sister-in-law had a pregnancy scare before my nephew was born, and just from speaking with her during that time I can only imagine how horrible sitting in that doctor's office (and the Sonic drive-in later) probably felt. I hope your excellent doctors can put your mind at ease from here on out.

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  10. Ohh Kate I'm so sorry you're having to deal with all this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes perfectly from here on out. I know it is so hard to do, but try your hardest not to worry too much. Very good sign that they aren't concerned, and very good that you will continue to be monitored so that they'll know if something changes. Wish it wasn't something that you're having to deal with :( Sending you many many positive thoughts!!

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  11. Praying for you - and baby girl, too!

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  12. Oh honey - I so wish you could just have a stress-free, worry-free pregnancy. But I know that there's no use in telling you to not worry at all. But, perhaps it's time to let the doctors shoulder some of worry for you. That is their job after all.

    I know it means nothing, but I have such a comfortable faith that your story has an extremely happy ending. Until then, you have massive amounts of prayers, finger crossing and anything else I can send your way. But I do know that it will all be worth it. Sending you much love and hugs.

    Also, from now on I'm referring to little Quesita as Quesita Faith.

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  13. beautifully written. my best thoughts and energy headed your way to tip the scales from worry and doubt to faith... but, as we both know, it is sometimes SO DAMN HARD to have faith... how about this... i'll have faith for you where you struggle, and you can do the same for me...?? :)

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  14. A lovely post. Thanks for sharing, it helped me put my own baby struggles in perspective. I will be praying for you to be holding your healthy baby girl in your arms someday soon.

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  15. I'm not sure I've ever commented on your blog, but I've read it for a very long time! Your posts always make me laugh, but this one made me cry! You are so strong and this was so beautifully written. I wish you, E, and your sweet baby girl all the best.

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  16. I'm so sorry you're going through this. When I started reading this post my heart sank, as I prepared myself for the worst. I'm glad your post didn't end that way.

    I've read your blog for over a year and followed your ttc journey as I started mine. I too struggled with ovulation issues and started doing acupuncture and drank Chinese herbs. That paid off and I got pregnant in mid September. However, recently at 9 weeks I lost the pregnancy. I've been grieving, and one of the stages of grief is anger. To be honest, at one point I directed anger at you. "How dare she think it was a struggle for her to get pregnant when it took less than a year for her and she succeeded on her first medicated cycle and she never had to suffer a loss. She has no idea how lucky she is and the pain others go through." But I never wished pain on you (or anyone else with a healthy pregancy), and I hope you don't have to experience that sort of loss. I'm sure you will have a healthy baby at the end of this. In my experience, doctors generally prepare you for the worst if they think there is a chance of that happening, so trust your doctor. You have been blessed this far, and I hope you continue to be blessed.

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  17. While I've never heard of either of those conditions I can relate to a level II ultrasound and the crazy unknown future of your little bean when you can't see or hold them everyday. I can relate to the emotions of the Sonic parking lot (mine was in our school parking lot since there are no Sonics in NYC - tragedy!). I know people might think I'm insane when I explain my pregnancy feelings in a different way they felt them, but no one can understand the sheer terror of knowing something might be "wrong" with your baby and living with that each day. In our case it was just a false negative and B was a perfect healthy (late) baby!
    One thing I kept in mind was that medicine has evolved so much and that years ago they wouldn't have the technology to find these things and freak moms out!
    Know y'all are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  18. Thinking very positive thoughts for you.

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  19. I'm so sorry, especially that you're so stressed out about this. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of your marination time with Quesita goes smoothly.

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  20. oh lady.....sending you prayers and faith and good thoughts.

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  21. oooof. you summed it up exactly- the bounce between doubt and faith and fear and back around again. thinking very very healthy thoughts for your little girl and for you too.

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  22. Girl, this is tough. People will tell you not to worry all day long, but you can't help it! my biggest comfort was to remember that stress and worry ain't good for the baby, and all of this is out of my hands. I can do all I can do by seeing good doctors, keeping up with my health and sanity, and praying for a healthy body, healthy brain and healthy soul for my baby. I'm not sure how often you have been getting ultrasounds, but the once every 2 weeks thing is nice, insofar as you get to see the Quesita a lot! Right now, I have to alternate between the high risk doc and my normal ob, so I get a self-esteem boost every month when I sit in the waiting room populated by fifteen-year-olds, extremely obese, meth heads, and/or people coming in from smoking cigarettes with 2 liters of diet mountain dew in their hands. It's always nice to know that you are the prettiest, smartest, best-dressed fittest person in a room every so often!

    I'm thinking of you- my advice is dark chocolate. It combats the effects of stress on a fetus, so be sure to have a serving a day! Seriously! xoxo Samma

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  23. This post has me in tears at the office. We share the same weeks along and I've had all the same fears and doubts since we went through IVF and had a bleeding episode early on.

    I've finally started working on the nursery and hanging up her clothes from the grandparents and allowing myself to be excited but still wake up at night scared I've done something wrong, there's an issue they haven't found, a million things that could go wrong but trying to calm down. Now, I'll breathe and remember to have faith.

    Thank you.

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  24. oh goodness, i'm thinking of you. can't imagine what it feels like to have this information dumped on you, even with the statistical reassurance. as a thinker/worrier/googler myself, my advice would be to not beat yourself up over the fear and doubt. embrace it as part of your nature, have that good cry and then set the fear and doubt aside in a deep part of your brain and buy yourself a venti pumpkin spice latte. you're doing an amazing baby-making job and she will be perfect.

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  25. I love you. And I second the dark chocolate. Hugs.

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  26. Oh Kate, I'm so sorry you're going through this! Sending you giant hugs and many crossed fingers that this is as worrisome as it gets. You and baby will be in my thoughts!

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  28. At a certain point in my pregnancy, I just stopped looking things up. Sometimes there is a such thing as too much information in the way of Dr. Google. I figure there have been other pregnancies w/CAS and no one even knew it was going on before we had all this technology. I know worrying about something that hasn't happened yet is a time burner. I do it. ALL. THE. TIME. I can't tell you not to worry because I know I would. It's perfectly natural, otherwise it would mean you are not in touch w/reality. Pregnancy is real. Worry is real. So you have your faith. I look at faith not as a place to go between as in a fear place vs a faith place. Faith to me is a bridge. It's what got me thru from fear to the manifestation. A gateway. Additionally, a visual analogy I use is bungee jumping. I've never been, so I don't physically know what it's like. But when I worry and know I can't do a damn thing but let things play out, I close my eyes and mentally stand on a bridge, see myself turn and fall off backwards. I do my best to let go in that moment and repeat it as many times as I need. Faith always catches me. Always.

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  29. kate - i am a long-time reader of your blog, but this is my first comment. i just couldn't help myself. i can't tell you how this resonated with me. i'm 34, my husband is 37, and we are beginning down the path of having a family of our own. doubt and fear have plagued my thoughts. i've spent 34 years of my life trying NOT to have a baby. now, what if for some reason i can't?? then, not to mention, my neurosis over raising our puppy. i think i've read every book on the planet (and this is not my first rodeo). does that mean i'm not going to be a crazy mom? doubt and fear? they are a nasty, nasty pair and i'm pretty damn sick of both of them. taking a deep breath and hoping that faith kicks in for all of us when we need it the most, especially for you and little quesita.

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  30. Oh dear. I am sending along a very awkward, very stiff, but feeling-filled series of back pats. They equate to a what normal person would call some sort of hug. I'm thinking good quesita thoughts.

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  31. Oh Kate- I'm so sorry you're going through this. You have my prayers and my Faith. It will all be fine. {hugs}

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  32. I am praying for you and sweet baby girl!

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  33. Ugh, my heart aches for you. You are all in my thoughts.

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  34. I'm not sure how much you know of all of our pregnancy issues, but we had scare after scare with Ella. At one point after hearing yet another scary diagnosis on her umbilical cord, I gave up. I couldn't google anymore, I couldn't worry anymore. I just wanted to enjoy my pregnancy. And that's kind of all you can do. Just try to relax and take care of little Quesita the best you can. Someone else will have to take care of all that going on inside. Thinking of you hon.... And praying for all three of you.

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  35. Oh baby. I am just going to tell you a piece of hopeful anecdotal data.

    A friend of mine was pregnant, and at her screen, they saw there was something wrong with a membrane, something on the neck. They were told by one doctor that it was serious. They almost aborted, but went for a second opinion. The expert told them it was OK.

    Almost 21 years later that boy is 6 foot 4 and almost played soccer for Stanford. He's smart and able and all you could hope for. His birth was normal. I was there.

    Anecdotes are only anecdotes, but we build faith however we can.

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  36. So sorry to hear about a potential complication, and I know if it were me there'd be no way I could be calm and not worry. So, do whatever you need to do to cope. I can totally relate to everything you said about doubt and fear. During my first trimester I couldn't think about anything except making it to second tri. Then I wanted to hit 24 weeks (viability) before I really, really celebrated. Then I realized (I'm now 32 weeks) that I'll be worrying for the rest of my life, since anything can go wrong at any moment. Not to be a total Debbie Downer, but I think part of our impending motherhoods is going to be worrying -- we're never out of the woods, so we just have to count our blessings as they come. I hope your story has a happy ending!

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  37. lots of prayers, thoughts, positive energy. interweb hugs coming your way.

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  38. Thinking of you. I was ridden with fear and doubt through several months of my pregnancy when Logan had a few of the markers for Downs Syndrome. And although I spent countless hours on the internet living each possible scenario, I wish I hadn't because it would not have changed a thing. There is simply too much information out there and sometimes you I feel you just have to have Faith and give it to God...whatever that looks like. xo

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  39. Have faith dear cheese fiend! Everything will be fine. I'll keep you all in my prayers.

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  40. Oh Kate, I didn't know that you were seeing a high risk OB--thinking of you all. I can't imagine the stress that you must have on your shoulders, but, I know already that you are an excellent mother and everything will be just fine. She'll be perfect.

    xoxox

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  41. Ah, the parking lot cry. I know it well. I think you're right that we know too much now. Don't you wish you could just blindly trust your doctors?
    The amount of worry I feel every day as a mom is so OUT OF CONTROL huge, and yet, the amount joy and love and awesomeness that I feel every day as a mom makes it look miniscule.

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  42. PS. And obviously, sending prayers for a very healthy quesita and quesita momma!

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  43. So sorry, Kate. I remember the pregnancy worries all too well. And the ability to Google every symptom only makes matters worse. Unfortunately, it doesn't end when baby arrives, either. But just know that it is all SO worth it. Thinking about you and quesita!

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  44. *knowing* when a Dr. says that everything will be fine and *feeling* whether everything will be fine our two totally different things. It is not always easy to rationalize the head and the heart- especially during pregnancy! I knew the parking lot breakdown all too well during my complicated pregnancy and my heart goes out to you. Praying for you and Quesita and a healthy remaining pregnancy.

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  45. That was beautifully written ... I hope since I'm a little behind on reading that faith has gained some ground. It has a certain Michael Myers quality to it ... it doesn't matter how fast you run, it will always catch you. :) Praying for you and your family, friend.

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  46. Just now reading this - a little behind over here. We had a couple of really big scares with HUT and I still remember every tear and every dramatic moment like it just happened seconds ago. Like you said, those doctors have your, and the baby's, best interests at hand. It's so hard to let go and trust that it will be ok, but at some point you just have to. For your sanity, for your health, and for the health of the baby. Keep the faith - thinking of you and quesita, mucho!

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happy little comments!