The Grief, Guilt, and Anxiety That Binds Us: Part 1- Grief
I think this three-part series is probably going to be the most transparent I can possibly be. I believe this is a turning point where you as the reader will get an insight into what goes on in my head. More specifically grief, guilt, and anxiety.
I’ve been told I put too much pressure on myself. I am a perfectionist at heart. I hold myself to a higher standard and the expectations I have myself, I feel I must exceed them. I am extremely organized, almost to a fault. I make a game plan and I like everything going according to plan. In fact, I rarely stray from the plan.
Well my pregnancy was a game changer, a plan strayer, a rule breaker.
As I mentioned in my last post, I did everything by the book. In my first trimester, I was absolutely exhausted. I was sure to get my sleep. I made every doctor’s appointment, drank plenty of water, and took my prenatal vitamins.
And then I started to bleed. Heavily.
The bleeding only got worse and the complications persisted. The doctors insisted that this was normal. They maintained that “bleeding just happens in some women and there really isn’t a cause for it.”
I remember walking into the hospital for my 20-week anatomy scan like it was yesterday. I looked up to Travis and said I was afraid. He asked me what I was afraid of. At that moment, I looked down at my stomach, held my hand over the first home that my son ever had. When I looked up at Travis, my eyes filled with tears and I said I am afraid they are going to tell me something is very wrong.
There was no reason for me to have thought that. My pregnancy, up until this point, was relatively normal, minus the bleeding and cosmetic side effects I experienced (we will get to that in another post). I felt that I knew my body well enough to know something wasn’t right.
The Anatomy scan is typically done at 20 weeks and would be the most in-depth scan yet. This ultrasound would cover every organ and collect measurements. It was because of its need for detail, I was told the scan would take about 45 minutes to complete. Afterward, we would meet with the doctor to discuss birthing plans and any upcoming labs that needed to be drawn.
My scan took less than 15 minutes. I waited in a room to speak to the doctor for what felt like hours. In reality, it was maybe 10 minutes at the most. That sinking feeling I experienced in the elevator before my appointment was rearing its ugly head once again. I just held my stomach and I cried softly.
Once the doctor came in. She sat down and noticed the tears I had streaming down my face. She gave me a tissue and a hug and sat down across from Travis and I. The next words that came out of her mouth were the most unsettling words any doctor could say to a patient, in my opinion. She said “The scans show there are some abnormalities. I see you have Oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid), and the baby is measuring smaller than he should be. There are other abnormalities that the scan show, but I am not smart enough to figure them out so I am going to send you to someone who is smarter than me. Hopefully, they can figure it out.”
(Yes, that was her exact statement).
I could’ve screamed. I wanted to yell. I was angry. I was hurt. I was afraid. I was worried. Here I am halfway through my pregnancy confused and petrified. I was sitting in a room with someone who was likely going to bring my son into the world, being told that things aren’t normal and that she doesn’t understand why or what caused it.
That made me question the overall health of my pregnancy. It made me wonder if my prior concerns were being written off. After all, I had been in the office for a number of scans to check on Mark since I was bleeding heavily so often. Was the bleeding a precursor to all that she saw? Would she ever tell me? Did she even know? What if it’s something else? What if it’s worse than we expected? What did I do to make things go awry? What caused my plan to go off course? What can I do to “fix” it?
I left that appointment with instructions to drink a gallon of water every day and with 2 referrals: one to a specialist in Gainesville, Florida, and another to a specialist in Jacksonville, Florida. This was just the beginning of a journey far from over.
I felt great amounts of grief that day. I grieved the loss of normalcy. I grieved the loss of my plans. I mourned my expectations and the standards I set for myself. I felt agony and heartbreak. The pregnancy journey I thought I had just had a monkey wrench thrown into it. To me, it felt like a ship that was going down in flames.
I read all of the books. I followed the instructions my doctors set before me. I was prepared… or so I thought.
The thing is… nothing could’ve prepared me for the week ahead. We traveled to Gainesville 2 days later, and 2 days after that we met with the specialists in Jacksonville. Nothing could’ve prepared me for those meetings and for what lied ahead. I felt grief at this appointment.
The next two (appointments) brought on something far worse.