Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The fear

The days are long and hot and sleep, restful sleep anyway, is hard to come by. The time is fast approaching, the time when I lost Caleb. I think I know the night he died. I remember a sudden flurry of kicking. I remember a fleeting thought, what if the baby is choking and I remember dismissing it as ridiculous paranoia. I remember hitting the 20 week point in his pregnancy and thinking, "Ha!, no chance of a miscarriage for me anymore." The thought of a stillborn child lingering in the quiet corner of my mind, dismissed again, as ridiculous paranoia.
In the days after those rapid fire kicks I felt, I convinced myself that our baby was still okay despite the fear I felt rising inside of me. As each day passed without his regular nighttime exercise routine, I told myself it would be okay, the baby had just turned the other way and I could not feel the kicks the same way. I thought about all the kicking I had seen during the ultrasound only a week before and I had felt none of it. Babies don't die, I told myself. At least mine don't, that would never happen to me. But it did.
Now as I have hit the 20 week point with this pregnancy, every time I feel this baby kick I wonder, will it be the last time? When are you going to die? When is the rug going to be pulled out from under me? Today driving in the car with my two not so little anymore kids, my son, out of the blue asked me, "How is the baby doing?" . I was having a morning where I hadn't felt the baby yet and had worked myself into a state of hidden panic, desperate to eat something to encourage movement, and I did not know how to answer him. So I said, "Are you worried?" And he told me he was. I wonder how long he has been waiting to ask me that question and I wonder if my answer made him worry more. I told him I was worried too. But that we thought for now, the baby was ok. My daughter piped in with, "That's why I always have my fingers crossed. To keep the baby safe.". I drove my anxiety filled car home and shoved some food into my belly and sure enough, kicks, little kicks that said to me "Hello, I'm still in here, alive and, well, kicking." Reassurance, yes, for a few moments and then it will come back. The fear. Was that it? Have you died now? Are you gone from me forever?
I know there will never be a time with this pregnancy where I ever feel any guarantee that it will all be alright. In my successful pregnancy's I know I worried, (I am a worrier by birth right) but I think I was just arrogant enough to believe that really, the bad things never happened to me. I am not arrogant anymore. I ate one huge, not slice, but one whole humble pie the morning my Caleb was born still. I know the bad things do happen to me and that there is nothing stopping them from coming around for a repeat visit.
The fear isn't ordinary or imagined, it is born of real life terror. It comes from a place within I hadn't known existed before I held my dead son. It makes my previous lifetime of worry pale in comparison. "Before", I worried about things that I thought might happen, things I could conjure up, things that happened to other people and I wondered and worried could they happen to me. Now I worry about the things that happened to me. I don't have to conjure or imagine, I only have to remember, I only have to look at the tiny footprints, the tiny hand prints, the death certificate. Now there is no convincing myself that these things don't happen to me, there is no talking myself down from the ledge. Now the worry has earned a permanent place in the forefront of my thoughts. I tell myself the worry won't, can't make it not happen, the worry won't, can't make it happen, the worry does nothing but take, take, take. And yet I can not stop it. The fear, the terror, the worry.
I don't know if the worry will subside if I make it past where I lost Caleb, my inner voice and past life tell me no it will not. I'd like a day where I can just enjoy this pregnancy, where I can feel confident in my body's ability to safely nurture a child to full term...I'd like to be innocent again. But I can not.
Instead, I will spend these next few days and hopefully these next 18 or so weeks, alternating between the moments of calm that come when this baby sends me a message of hope, kicked out in baby Morse code, and the times filled with anxiety when I feel nothing, but the fear.


Aunt Becky said...

Just *hugs*.

It must be excruciating right now. If there's anything I can do, holler.

janis said...

Hugs to you, gal. The pregnancy after is just brutal, eyes wide open, walking a tightrope, trying not to fall. I wish I have wise words for you, or a magic potion, but alas...
Hang in there... so many are rooting for you.

G said...

Fear is a bitch and the more we are told to not let it eat at us, the more it does. Vicious thing.

You and the baby are constantly in my thoughts, K@l.

Coggy said...

You are in my thoughts too Kal. I can almost feel your fear in your post. I know its lame but hang in there you
will get through this next 18 weeks. I wish I could wrap you up in cotton wool and keep you safe till 38 weeks. Seeing as I can't do that know that like your daughter I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. I do believe everything will be OK this time for you I really do. Big hugs Kal x x x

CLC said...

I can't relate (yet) but I imagine the next pregnancy will be exactly like you describe. It's so sad that you can't relax and enjoy it, but I don't know how you or anyone else who has been through this could. I am sure the fear is awful, and I wish I could take it away and say everything will be alright. I am always thinking of you and am always clicking over here as soon as I see a new post. I am feeling anxiety for you!

Ya Chun said...


Are you doing kick counts? This was not something I had heard of before- would it have told me that she was going through cycles of distress? Not enough through that tight cord? Maybe it would have helped, maybe not.

I, too, felt a strange kick like you described. Hindsight.

Unfortunately, now you know what to look for...hang in there, and you too baby.

c. said...

Oh, K, this breaks my heart. It's just so unfair that the after-effects of our losses can be so far-reaching, so much so that we can't even enjoy a subsequent pregnancy when we manage to get it. Thinking of you and your little babe, K. Always thinking of you.

Julia said...

I know. I so know. My date is still ahead of me, but that doesn't matter. The terror is here all the time, has been for a while. And this responsibility, this desperate hope not to let down the little people who live in our houses, right? Monkey's anxiety is almost harder to take than my own.

I really think there is a market for a wearable belly-belt doppler with a read-out to a watch-like thingie for people like us, no? A constant proof of life. I could definitely go for that, I think.

Tash said...

This post made me think two things: One, for some reason I'm only remembering now, a real flurry of kicking during the week of Christmas, which must have been 33-34w. I'm talking crazy. And by this point, whichever doctor I chose to believe (genetics or infection), she must've been pretty bad off. So what was that about? I only remember because I threw my back out royally, was trying to get Christmas dinner, and remember thinking, "NOW you're kicking like this? Little bugger."

Huh. Most likely seizures or distress, I suppose.

Two, your fear is just searing. It cuts right through me. And honestly makes me think I can never do this again.

a- said...

I got chills reading this post K. What can I say? I'm terrified but not for you. I truly believe you'll make it. You will.