Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Needless Worry

*****(Spoiler Alert - This contains details about the 4th episode of Season 3 of Downton Abbey)*****

The past 24 hours have been filled with needless worry. As mothers, I don't think there's really any way around this reality. 

To start, we watched the 4th episode of the third season of Downton Abbey last night. As the episode progressed, I became suspicious that I was not going to like the outcome. The youngest daughter is going through childbirth and there are complications. Aware that I may not want to watch a woman die in childbirth right now or an infant die, I had Jason look up online the summary of what was going to happen. Sure enough, Sybil dies. Knowing this, I felt a little more prepared for what I was about to see and decided it was okay for us to finish watching the episode.

I think this was a mistake. Sybil dies of eclampsia after her daughter is born healthy. We watched Sybil's terrible suffering and her pretty graphic seizure before she dies while her family, her husband and two doctors all helplessly stand by and watch. This scene probably only lasted about two minutes, but it left a permanent imprint in my mind. Before I went to bed, I researched eclampsia and discovered I have none of the risk factors. Furthermore, my doctor is screening me for symptoms of pre-elampsia each month by taking my blood pressure and checking for protein in my urine. I went to bed still feeling unsettled, but reassured.

I slept terribly. Last week, Kahlua had a very upset tummy I think because of a piece of bacon I gave her. She would whine and bark in the middle of the night and need to be let outside to relieve herself. Well, last night, even though she's perfectly back to normal now, she kept whining because she just wanted out of her crate. I didn't let her out because I don't want that to become the norm. I just let her whine. But this made a pretty sleepless night for me, even with earplugs in.

My mom arrived this morning at 8:15 so that I could go to my scheduled prenatal checkup. Very sleepily and tightly grasping the coffee in my hand, I left for what I thought would be a very quick appointment.

At first, everything was going just fine. I was weighed, measured and had my blood pressure checked. My doctor then listened to my heartbeat and the baby's. She was having trouble finding a strong heartbeat for the baby and distinguishing it from my own heartbeat. She fetched the ultrasound machine so that she could watch the heart beating on the screen. While observing, she saw the baby's heart skip a beat. Because of this, I had to immediately be admitted into the hospital across the street for further observation.

Very scared, I was admitted into the hospital. The nurse hooked me up to two different machines, one recording my heartbeat and the other recording the baby's. She immediately began reassuring me that everything looked fine. The doctor on duty at the hospital came in and reassured me further, saying he thought everything was fine. When I told him that I was surprised because this was my fourth pregnancy and nothing like this had happened before, he answered that it probably had but hadn't been recorded. It's normal for babies this young, but they just have to make sure that there isn't a problem. We recorded twenty minutes of the baby's heartbeat with no irregularities, and then I was discharged.

Everything is perfectly fine. There was no need to worry.

However, I still feel eerie and emotionally spent. I know that everything is okay, but it is hard to shake off the great fears of this morning. With each pregnancy, I have become more apt to worry, not less. There are many reasons for this. Foremost is probably that my first two pregnancies were easier and without concern. During my pregnancy with Veronica, I had some bleeding that was worrisome and required me to rest as much as possible. Now I've had this visit to the hospital.

Another reason for my greater anxiety is because I don't feel invincible like I did eight years ago. I am wiser now and I have witnessed so many others go through different types of suffering. I no longer feel like, "That won't happen to me." I've known more women who have had complications in pregnancy, childbirth and in the health of their babies. Now when I witness this, I think, "That could happen to me."

This past weekend, Jason showed me an article and the first three words of the title were, "Pregnant Woman Dies." I looked at him with disgust and he knew I could not understand why he would show me this. He quickly pointed out the rest of the title, "Pregnant Woman Dies, Gives Birth, Comes Back to Life." Aaaaaaaaah. That makes more sense. I didn't think I was married to a complete idiot! Lord knows I do not need to be reading or hearing any stories right now about pregnancy and childbirth complications or about infants' health problems.

In the ninety minutes that it took before I knew everything was okay, all I could do was grasp the medal of the Lady of Divine Mercy that I had in my purse and pray. When I couldn't find the words, I just prayed the Hail Mary. When the words were there, I prayed for the baby's health, for blessings on the rest of this pregnancy and for everything to be okay.

But as mothers, we all have moments when we wonder, "What if everything isn't okay?" What if our worst fears are realized? What prayer do you pray then? Aware that this was a possibility, I prayed for God to help me accept whatever His plan is. Then I went back to praying that everything would be alright.

Right now, I am reading A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy. I would strongly recommend it. It goes through your pregnancy week by week with insight into how the baby is developing, how you may be feeling and how our faith can guide us during this time. There are also chapters that help spiritually prepare you for labor, childbirth, infancy and the baptism of your baby.

Because of this preparation, I was able to find more peace, strength and comfort today. I was very scared. I cried. But I was also able to remember that God was with me. I was able to feel the Holy Spirit's presence in the hospital room. I was able to envision Mary holding my hand, comforting me. For very brief moments, I was able to put my fear aside and trust in God.

Back at home now, I am finding that was really all I was able to do today. Emotionally drained, I am spending the remainder of the day resting and praying. I think some comfort food may be in order. And below I've added many pictures from all of the fun things we've done in the past couple of weeks.

Thank you God that everything was okay. Thank you for my children. Please bless me and the baby and the rest of this pregnancy. Please bless us with another healthy child. Please help me to continue to trust in Your plan. Amen.
At the St. Luke Auction
Noah's traditional birthday cupcake in bed

At our surprise trip to the Great Wolf Lodge
Enjoying our room
Noah's Birthday Dinner
Down the Slide!

Low Tide at Hood Canal Over Memorial Day Weekend


  1. We're glad to hear that you're doing alright. Sounds like a very scary experience! I don't think any mother to be is ever prepared for things to go awry.

    The picture of the sea stars makes me think of your growing family. :)

  2. ((HUGS)) I totally understand where you are. I live it way more than I care to. I've had to put away books well-meaning friends have given me because they contain stories of mothers and babies that have less-than happy outcomes. I have to pray through my fears, and continue to recognize that God is God and I must trust. Praying for you tonight!

    1. Thank you, Amy! I'm so grateful for your prayers and encouragement. And I have SO appreciated your blog this week. I just read today's post about homeschooling once the baby has arrived. I know I will be coming back to it in September. And so many of your posts have helped give me ideas and get me excited about all of of the organization and planning I am doing for homeschooling this fall. Thank you!


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