Married to the Empire

Monday, July 25, 2011

Trusting God Through Pregnancy

Psalm 62:1-2
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
The above has been my cling-to passage in pregnancy.  It's been a rollercoaster of emotions, which is probably normal, but I've had more worries than the average woman.  Being of advanced maternal age and having various health problems has turned pregnancy into something of an emergency.  I had to see a high-risk OB for a while, and my specialists are freaking out about various things.  My rheumatologist recently ran all the Lupus panels on me again, and instead of seeing me once a year, I'm now seeing him monthly. 

And yet, I mostly feel fine. 

My last visit with the high-risk OB had me leaving in tears.  The nice thing is that she always did a sonogram at every single visit.  The bad thing is, she always did a sonogram.  With lots of measurements.  My last visit took forever because she was examining the baby and doing measurements for a very long time.  Finally, I was told that everything looked fine, except his nuchal fold measured too big.  That could indicate chromosomal abnormalities.  Then I was told she didn't need to see me anymore, please call after I have the baby to let her know how things turn out, try not to worry, and nice to meet me. 

I really hate to cry in front of people.  I mean, I hate it.  But there I was, sitting on the exam table, sucking back tears because I knew I had to walk through the waiting room full of other expectant couples.  Then down the hall, to the elevator, and eventually through the hospital's main entrance.  I mostly held it together until I got to my car, where I let loose with wracking sobs I couldn't control.  I remember screaming at God, "WHY?!"  And I'll even confess to telling him the utter unfairness of giving my sister 4 healthy children, and then giving me, the girl who was perfectly happy without kids, a messed-up one. 

Because, of course, my mind had already gone to the surety that my baby isn't perfect. 

My husband has been my rock throughout all of this.  He didn't jump to the conclusions that I did when I phoned him, then couldn't even talk for the first few minutes.  After I explained the situation, he reminded me of something I'd just told him, but hadn't paid a lick of attention to: the nuchal fold measured just fine a month earlier.  The doctor had said that.  Babies don't suddenly develop chromosomal abnormalities; they start out that way.  So it was probably just a fluke.  But even if it wasn't, we'd still love this baby just as much. 

I really, really love that man.  Thirteen years of marriage, and it just gets better and better. 

It also helps that friends started telling me their own stories of bad sonogram readings, then all was fine when baby was born.  I desperately needed to hear that. 

Thing is, I'm scared.  I'm scared of everything having to do with having babies.  I'm not a baby person.  At all.  If you have a baby, truthfully, I don't want to hold it.  It's not personal; I'm just not interested.  I don't care if people judge me for that.  I'm being honest.  Yet here I am, having a baby of my own.  This little, helpless person is being given to me.  And he's a gift.  I know in my heart that he's a gift from God.  I have high hopes for this little person, and I'm so scared of screwing things up.  I already harbor incredible guilt that I have to take migraine meds every single day.  I've never truly been angry with God, but that... that sent me over the edge, with pleading to him, begging him to take the pain away so I wouldn't risk damaging this small child inside me. 

God has chosen not to answer that prayer.  I don't know why.  And I finally came to that point that I just have to trust him.  For everything.  He knows I need my meds and can't function through the pain without them.  So I have to simply believe that he'll protect this child within me.  And if he doesn't, well, I won't understand it, but I'll know that somehow it was part of his plan.  Same for if our son turns out to have chromosomal abnormalities.  His plan is always good, even when we can't see far enough ahead to know it for ourselves. 

But I won't lie.  Trusting God is really, really hard sometimes.  However, when you're at that helpless state where there's nothing you can do but worry or trust, trust is always the better, the somewhat-easier option. 

The latest health scare is the potential for gestational diabetes.  I failed the glucose screening by a mere 3 points.  I went in this morning for the 3-hour fasting test, then was sent home after things had gotten started because all the glucose drinks were expired.  Every single one.  *sigh*  It's never easy.  But again, I just have to believe that whatever the outcome, God will lead me through it. 

8 comments:

*carrie* said...

Anne Marie,

I appreciate your honesty, and I love your post title because that will continue, "Trusting God through labor and delivery," "Trusting God through the newborn stage," and so on. But even without the same health concerns as you, I understand that pregnancy is scary.

The baby stage is not really my favorite, either, although I do love newborn snuggles! But I have found as I'd been told previously that it's so much different when it is your OWN child.

Heather said...

Take a breath sweet Mama! So much of what you are dealing with is because we, as a society are SO over concerned with complications these days. I am also pregnant and of 'advanced maternal age' and am grateful for my own sanity to have a midwife who is extremely relaxed about the whole thing. My previous nurse midwife was as well even while working very closely with some of the best OBs in the city. Basically as they have both explained it to me the tests are there for the extremes, but are given to anyone who hits the basic markers and so, so many are false and cause great worry/fear/concern. Both ladies have calmed me by constantly reassuring me that it is VERY RARE for problems if you haven't had issues from the very beginning.

Your husband is a smart man! Chances are on your side that things are great and the OB was just commenting as she sure didn't seem worried enough to encourage/suggest/demand follow up with you, right? And the glucose thing, I would personally skip it. Every doctor has a different number that is a fail and if you only 'failed' by 3 points you are fine. If something serious got going there would be other signs. Really, they are going to have you eat healthy and smart and chances are pretty good that you doing that already right? It is only in RARE, severe cases that you have to take any drugs or insulin and you'd have failed in a much bigger way if that was the case. I've actually heard OBs say it is like less then 1% of women that actually should even take the test, but because of insurance they just have everyone do it now.

You have a lot on your plate and a lot of emotions you are processing too. You are doing a good job and this baby is precious and is lucky to have such caring parents! Best of luck and try not to worry...that will be there forever and I've heard it is worst around the teen years so do your best to not waste it all before then :) Spoken from someone who worries about her babies constantly too!

It is so good to get this stuff out and then remind yourself why it will all work out. If you are at all into natural childbirth and such Ina May Gaskin has a wonderful book called Ina May's Guide to Childbirth that is great and does a lot to encourage! I highly recommend it and one of my pregnant friends who just read it commented that if she was rich she would give it to every pregnant woman on the planet!

Take care!
Heather

Gina said...

Before I had my son, I was definitely not a baby person either. Had never babysat, never changed a diaper, never did anything at all baby-related. Still, when I met my husband I knew I wanted to have kids with him. Nevertheless, I was really scared when I was pregnant with my first. I'll be honest with you, when he was born it wasn't instant love. That is something no one ever told me: that you don't always immediately bond with your baby. I had to get to know him and he had to get to know me. It took some time and it was rough. That first baby is such a challenge it's not even funny! But know this: you will love that baby more than you ever knew was possible. Maybe not right away, but every day you will love him more and more and suddenly you'll just bawl one day because you can't believe how much you love this little alien creature. I promise that will happen. It won't matter if he's born totally free of issues or with a whole boatload of challenges, you will love him more than anything. You will be an amazing mom and you won't screw it up. You just won't. Babies are amazingly tough creatures and very forgiving of our mistakes and ignorance. You will do great.

As for gestational diabetes, I know a lot about this subject. Do NOT worry about it. I had it with my son and it was diet controlled. The diet is bland and boring, and it's a real pain to have to prick your finger 4-5 times a day, but it's over before you know it. Once you deliver, you're done. With my daughter who was born in March, I had diabetes again. This time it was much worse and I had to be put on insulin. I hated it and whined about it, but in the end it was no big deal. The insulin actually turned out to be pretty great because I could relax about my diet a little and have a little ice cream. :) A hassle yes, but nothing compared to some issues I could have had. Giving birth at 41 opens you up to a whole bunch of potential problems that luckily I avoided most of. Both of my babies were and are perfectly healthy, no effects from the diabetes at all. So please don't worry about the glucose test. You'll most likely pass the 3-hour one, most women do, and if you don't, it's really not that terrible. It's the women who have GD and don't treat it that have the huge babies and complications. If you have it, you follow the diet and you'll be fine. You really will! :)
Gina

Jen said...

You are right, all you can do is trust. It's wonderful that you see that. Try not to worry about the ultrasound - your husband is right, if it was normal before, it's not an issue now. In fact, I think this is pretty late for even looking at that area.

I had gestational diabetes last pregnancy and I recently had to take the three hour test with this one. Not my favorite test. It IS important that you know whether you are diabetic or not though. And you can have complications even if you control it well - not to scare you, it's just the truth. I controlled it so well that my son was just 7 lb 3 oz at birth, yet we almost lost him during delivery and had a terrifying c-section because, thanks to the excess fluid caused by the diabetes, his cord had managed to shift in front of his head even after they had checked this just an hour earlier. Things happen, and they happen more if you have concerns like diabetes. More than likely you'll pass that three hour test though, and even if you don't, terrible things are still very unlikely. And I didn't find the diet bad at all, should you need it. I actually found it had a positive effect on my eating habits long term.

The really wonderful thing is that you have the whole range of medical help available these days. I am into natural childbirth, in part because statistically complications are less likely, and some of my health concerns make things like the epidural a bit more risky. However, when something goes wrong, as it did for my son, you've got an amazing array of ways they can help you and your baby. I'm so thankful to be having kids now and have emergency help available when you need it.

I'm approaching delivery now, 34 weeks tomorrow. I'm hoping for a VBAC - please pray for us if you can. If I don't manage that, I'll have a month and a half on blood thinners afterward and another tough recovery I imagine. However, I'm not afraid. I am trusting that things will work out fine and looking forward to seeing my little girl. All you can do is the best you can.

Try to relax and enjoy. Pregnancy will have flown by before you know it, even though it doesn't seem like it now.

Gypsy Chaos said...

Your honesty brings out honesty in others. What a blessing you are giving those who need to share.

I thank God often that I am a rather casual parent; it takes major traumas to get me upset. But that doesn't mean I don't worry!

With two starting college in the coming month, I worry about their abilities to make decisions - to eat, to do the laundry, to study....while I KNOW they have the skills and maturity, I worry about others' influence on them... knowing that neither bends to peer pressure.

I remind myself that humans have been reproducing for a very long time without modern medicine and science, and still do so in many parts of the world. Nobody has the instruction manual - each new human is unique, so what good is a manual?? Yet, most individuals raised by 'ignorant' parents have grown into functional, contributing adults. Seems to me that we're quite resilient!

When someone tells you not to think about a purple frog, you will immediately think of ... a purple frog. Give yourself (and your son through his life) positive statements, ones you want running through your minds.
When a worry comes to mind, take the time to think about it. Is it likely to happen? What will happen if the worst possible outcome arrives? Consider the options, the ways you'd cope - and kiss that worry night-night. Pack it off to bed, with stern direction to stay asleep for a long time.
Trying to ignore a worry is like trying not to think about purple frogs.

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Thank you, all! The nuchal fold thing was over a month ago. It just took me this long to be able to write about it. I'm generally okay about it these days. As I said, I'm just having to trust God that he knows what he's doing when it comes to this baby! I appreciate all the encouragement.

Beth S said...

Just wanted to add that I developed severe allergies when we moved into our first home after the wedding. I use a prescription steroid nasal spray. I was concerned about any effects on the babies, but the doctor told me that me not breathing would be worse for them. I know it is scary and it must be more so when you have accepted that you are not having children. Hope you're feeling better. The raging hormones don't help either. Relax and enjoy feeling the baby move!

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