Dealing With Pregnancy Anxiety.
Man, all this baby talk sure is fun! :) Sorry for the cliffhanger yesterday – I didn’t want to blab on for so long that I made you all fall asleep. So I will just pick up right where I left off – where was I? Ahh yes, peeing on a stick…
The funny thing is, I had done so many pregnancy tests over the past year, that I didn’t even bother to look at the box and see what I was supposed to be looking for. Most of the ones I had done in the past were supposed to be plus signs, so when I looked at the stick and saw two bold blue lines side by side, I didn’t think anything of it. In fact, I thought it was negative.
As I went to toss it in the trash, I saw the box peeking out from the trash can, and pulled it out just to take a second look. It was only then that my heart skipped a beat. I looked at the box, I looked at the test, I looked back at the box. And then I completely freaked out.
I stood in the bathroom for about 30 seconds, totally unsure what to do next. I had no plan, and my mind was racing so quickly! I ran back into the dark bedroom and stood next to the bed. The conversation that followed when something like this…
Emily: Casey, wake up.
Casey: What’s wrong?
Emily: I think I’m pregnant.
Casey: Why do you think that?
Emily: Because I just took a pregnancy test.
Casey: Just now? What did it say?
Emily: That I am PREGNANT! Go look at it!
My initial reaction upon seeing the test myself was such shock and panic that it initially outweighed any excitement. When people ask, “were you surprised?” – I have to think, no matter how hard you try or plan, you will always be surprised to find out you are pregnant.
What followed our conversation is one of those moments that I know will be etched into my memory forever. I will never ever forget the look of happiness and excitement on Casey’s face. The minute I saw his smile, I crawled back into bed, stopped being scared, and started dreaming about the possibilities. The two of us talked under the covers for at least an hour, until we finally went up to the office so I could immediately start researching.
The very first thing I did was Google an online due date calculator, and came up with this…
OCTOBER? I was shocked! For some reason the calculations in my head led me to believe that I was going to have a Thanksgiving baby, but somehow I had already lost a full month! October seemed so SOON. I’m still not totally sure how all that works – apparently you are already 2 weeks pregnant at conception? News to me!
Next I g-chatted a friend and asked her for a doctor recommendation (although I didn’t give a reason). Being new to the area, I didn’t have one yet – setting off a whole other string of panic attacks and freak outs. With a doctor name and practice recommended, I picked up the phone and dialed to make my appointment, wanting as much information as I could possibly get right away.
Nurse: Hello, how can we help you?
Emily: I need to make a new patient appointment with Dr. D.
Nurse: Okay, she can see you on March 10th (this was February 7th).
Emily: Oh I’ll need to get in sooner than that, I’m actually PREGNANT!
Nurse: (not sounding impressed) Oh, okay then. Well that actually works out perfectly, because we won’t see you until you are 8-10 weeks for your first prenatal visit.
Emily: (panicking) EIGHT weeks? Oh wow – I can’t possibly wait that long.
Nurse: Well that is standard practice. We’ll see you on the 10th! Congratulations!
An entire month of nothing but WAITING. I don’t really talk about it much on here since it doesn’t affect my day to day life (Casey would argue this), but in the past I have suffered from very bad anxiety. I worry and panic about everything. It has gotten better in recent years, as I’ve made a conscious effort to recognize and manage the symptoms, but pregnancy has definitely brought back a lot of those old feelings and worries.
The minute I started researching pregnancy, I went from excited to TERRIFIED. Every website I logged into said things like “Congratulations on your pregnancy! Here’s what you should know about abdominal pain, risks of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, placental abruption, etc.” Suddenly I felt like I was drowning in a sea of everything that could (and in my mind WOULD) go wrong.
I spent the first week feeling somewhat crampy and uncomfortable, and absolutely CONVINCED that I was having an ectopic pregnancy. When I was 15, I had surgery to have an ovarian cyst removed, and since this was listed as a possible risk factor for ectopics, I just knew that I had one. The thought of waiting four weeks for answers was literally crippling, and I found myself calling the doctor’s office in tears several times – literally begging them to see me.
Finally they agreed to let me come in for some blood work to see if my hormone levels were progressing as they should. I practically jumped in the car right then and there, off to give my blood sample for day one. Two days later, I went back for round two – and anxiously awaited a phone call to let me know the results. The next day, a nurse nonchalantly called with the following, “Your test results are back. Congratulations, you are pregnant!”
Um yes, I already knew that.
After several more questions and prompting, she located the second round of numbers and told me that everything looked great, hormone numbers had more than doubled, and I was off to a healthy start. HUGE DEEP BREATH.
Once I had SOME (any!) sort of medical confirmation that things appeared healthy and normal, I was able to stop obsessing so much about what might go wrong. As much as I wanted to educate myself on pregnancy, I found that the resources online (and the commenters!) all tended to focus heavily on risks, possibilities, and potential negatives. While I realized it was important for me to know the whole picture, taking into account my personal struggles with anxiety – it was way too much for me.
Around the six week mark (and after two weeks of driving Casey insaaane with my obsession with miscarriage), I made it my personal mission to simply allow myself to be excited. I knew that there was nothing I could do to cause or prevent any possibilities, so worrying about them was entirely pointless.
Which brings me to tomorrow – my first official prenatal appointment! To say that I am nervous is an understatement, but I am hopeful and excited – hoping to hear a heartbeat. While the idea of being pregnant already feels very real, I know that seeing and hearing this little miracle in person will take it to a whole new level.
I promise to update to you guys once I know something! Please say a few extra prayers tonight for me, Casey, and the raspberry.
After what is hopefully a successful first appointment in the morning, we are heading to SEATTLE for the weekend to take care of some family business. (If I have any Seattle readers interested in getting together Saturday morning, shoot me an email!) See you soon from the West Coast!