She Says… Worries

This pregnancy (aside from the whole “getting” and “staying” pregnant, at least) has been so easy that a part of me keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yes, I was exhausted in the first trimester. Yes, I had some food aversions and preferred bagels to salads for a few weeks. Yes, I’ve struggled (and am still struggling) with staying well while pregnancy seems to have zapped my immune system entirely. But in the grand scheme of pregnancy issues… these are tiny. I’ve had it easy so far, and every time I say it, I feel like I’m jinxing myself.

It can’t be this easy the whole time, can it?

Who knows.

I was very cautious and nervous in the first trimester, since it was only a few months after my miscarriage. I was scared of a million things, all with the same outcome: that this baby wouldn’t grow to be the healthy baby I dreamed of. But in a way this worry was easy to put aside, because the reality was that the worst had already happened, and I survived. If the baby wasn’t healthy, there wasn’t anything I could do about it. We would be ok. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, and this baby has grown beautifully so far.

So now I’m past the point of worrying about the pregnancy being viable, and I’ve moved on to worry about other things. Believe me, I know something could still go wrong while he’s growing in my belly, but the odds are in my favor at this point.

So what am I worrying about now?

  • I don’t think I ever blogged about this before, but it was something I feared when I was pregnant with Owen as well. Benjamin was born with strabismus, which in his case meant that his eyes were crossed. I know a lot of babies look cross-eyed in the beginning, but his situation was more permanent and extreme and had to be corrected with multiple surgeries. Apparently 4% of kids are born with this, so it’s not crazy rare, and chances are there are even better treatments available for it now as compared to when Benjamin was born. Even though I know he turned out ok (kidding! he turned out more than ok!), it still scares me to imagine my beautiful newborn being born with crossed eyes and eventually needing surgeries to correct it.
  • Gestational diabetes. I don’t have any family history of diabetes and didn’t show any signs of it with my first pregnancy, but having polycystic ovarian syndrome puts you at higher risk for gestational diabetes, so my doctor is testing me earlier than is normal in my pregnancy (probably later this week). I exercise and eat pretty well (ahem, with a healthy dose of Girl Scout cookies and other treats!), but I’m still nervous about having the condition and having to closely monitor myself for the rest of my pregnancy. Not to mention the possible issues for the baby once he is born.
  • Breastfeeding. Those of you who were reading when Owen was a wee babe will remember that breastfeeding and the challenges we faced quite literally consumed me from the time he was born until I made the excruciating decision to stop when he was 3 months old, and then continued to exclusively pump for 2 more months. B-R-U-T-A-L, I tell you. I have pretty much blocked a lot of that time out of my memory, but recently I was reminded of it when I came across my tattered spiral notebook where I kept notes about every feeding and how it went, how long it took, how Owen acted, how much he weighed, etc. The pages are tear-stained and worn, and just holding the book in my hand brought back memories I would rather forget. I have heard so many uplifting stories about mothers who had similar struggles with Baby #1 and went on to nurse Baby #2 or other children successfully. I know it’s possible. I also know that I will NOT obsess and lose myself in the process this time around — I will do my best to make it work, and if it doesn’t, I will have the perspective to see that it’s ok (read: BEST!) to stop if that’s what works for my family. Still, I’m scared. I’m scared to try it again. I’m scared to fail again.

Oh, and I still have a weird phobia of having a child born with a full set of teeth (it happens!). Strange and unfounded, that one.

What did you fear while you were pregnant?


15 responses to “She Says… Worries

  1. I totally worried about crazy sh*t. I worried that they would be born with cleft palate (even though my doc told me they would have been able to see that on US), I worried that they would have a crazy birthmark on their face (which my son actually does, but it is so sweet and in his hairline, STILL), I worried that my other kids would have sacral dimples (again, my son had a very minor one, not requiring any attention, but I guess it is genetic, so I wigged out every time I was pregnant– which has been three!) I think when things go well after a pregnancy scare (I miscarried twins) you think that there must be SOMETHING wrong eventually! Ha.

  2. I had a LONG list while pregnant because I was certain something would be wrong and researched my little heart out only making it worse! Circumcision, birth defects, epidurals and induction scared me to no end

  3. I’m 34 weeks pregnant at the moment and I have a new worry every day, ranging from the fear that s/he will be born with some kind of physical disability (today it’s that cross-eyed thing) to the one about the baby growing up to be a serial killer. I guess it’s all part of being a mom (kill me)

  4. RE: breastfeeding. Have the name of a lactation consultant ready to go right now and USE IT. The day you get home from the hospital call for a home visit – it’s worth the money and most LCs offer continued support for the full time you are nursing. It will help to relax you and to prevent any problems. Do it even if breastfeeding seems to be going well, and also don’t be afraid to reach out to me or any other mamas for support.

  5. I’m 32 weeks pregnant with my second and also struggled with breastfeeding the first time.. we ended up having to switch full time to formula at 4 months because little man would not gain weight (obviously low milk production despite doing everything to ramp it up).. I’m also worried about how things will go this time but at least this time (hopefully) I wont be so hard on myself and not see this as a failure if i can’t… Here’s to having an easier time.. fingers crossed!!!

  6. When I was pregnant I worried about my baby being born disfigured or with some type of disability. Even though all the screens and ultrasounds were “within normal range” that wasn’t too reassuring. I even considered an amnio even though my doctor advised agsinst it because i wanted to KNOW (i did not have the amnio). I remember thinking that I just wanted a 100% healthy, normal baby. I would freak out to see any disabled person or child because it would remind me that people are not alway born healthy and “normal”.

    Towards the 9th month I started feeling better that everything would be fine THEN I saw a baby with a Huge red birthmark on her face and really freaked out cause that can’t be seen on an ultrasound! And let’s face it-beauty matters…THEN I was watching A Baby Story on TLC and a

    couple was so excited expecting a little boy. The grandfathers were big baseball fans and kept saying that they couldn’t wait for their baseball player to be born. The Dad talked about sports and playing catch with his son too. Then the baby was born and was missing all his fingers on one hand!!! Everybody was shocked- they took the baby to the mother and immediately said he’s beautiful but there is something here and pointed to his hand. You could just see her heart sink in one moment. The Dad went out to announce the birth and had to add that the baby is missing his fingers on one hand – and I could see everyone’s heart sink. It was hard because obviously they were very happy of course but also sad.

    Their ultrasound had missed this abnormality and immediately I looked through all my ultrasounds and realized that only my baby’s right hand was ever visible. So I convinced myself that this would happen to me and was getting pretty stressed about it. I talked to my SIL who was also pregnant about this fear and she said it wouldn’t happen and even if it did people with missing limbs are able to do a lot of amazing things–NOT reassuring 😦

    When my son was born the first thing my husband said was “10 fingers & 10 toes and perfect.” I’ve never been more relieved and happy!

    Now my son is 6 months and I read the book “10 little fingers and 10 little toes” to him all the time and he loves that book. But occasionally I do think about that family on baby story and feel a tinge of sadness. I know how lucky I am to have a healthy, beautiful and sweet child. I’m sure I will have irrational worries for my next pregnancies. I think it’s part of being a mom and having overwhelming love for your baby. You want then to have the easiest life possible….

  7. Oh I worried about EVERYTHING. My husband said that im not happy unless I have something to worry about. In some ways he is right, I think it comes with my incessant need to prepare myself (even for things that are never likely to happen).
    I’m not pregnant again yet but I had almost identical issues you had with breastfeeding. Reflux, tounge tie & in my case a fast flow & oversupply. It became so stressful and Eve wasn’t gaining as much as we would have liked that we stopped at 3 months and I am now pumping full time. I was DEVESTATED let me tell you, and was in tears all day for 2 solid weeks once we moved to bottles. I missed the closeness so desperately and Eve was confused with the swap that it broke my heart. I am so worried it will happen the next time round, however I will be paying for a private appointment with a lactation consultant within the first few days next time. Eve’s tounge tie could have been sorted with a simple operation had anyone bothered to look!

    I honestly don’t think there is anything wrong with a (healthy) degree of worry. I think women have it ingrained as part of the ‘protect & solve’ instinct we have.
    I will say that you have learnt so much with Owen that you can/will judge what is really worth worrying over and what is just ‘intrusive thoughts’. I wish I’d have spent more time rubbing my stomach and talking to the bump than googling every symptom I had!

    Relax and enjoy if you can (easier said than done!) x

  8. I totally feel for you and your fear of gestational diabetes. I was diagnosed as having it at 36 weeks, but I had high sugar levels throughout, so I think I must have been borderline until quite late on. I had to work hard to keep my blood sugars down (quartering my carbs intake) but I did it and Olwyn was little miss avarage size the whole way through and her blood sugar levels went back to normal after being out for about a day. You can read some REALLY scary stuff about GD but I wanted to reassure you that it doesn’t automatically mean insulin injections and enormous babies.

  9. I didn’t fear at all. Of course that’s not entirely true but I’m safe in God’s hand. And if he decided to give us that pregnancy after so much troubles he probably would save us trough labor etc. without any problems. I trusted God that he would help us in any way.

    The only fear I did have was that my mother in law would pop up on the doorway and wanting to stay for a week. NOOOOO And she didn’t.. pfew.

    About breastfeeding i was curious at what time the allergies of Owen were first diagnosed. The problems you have faced during the first months could easily be caused by him having allergies. A baby has an instinct on refusing stuff they get sick of.
    I had a niece that hungered herself at only 4 weeks old. My aunt had to stop with tomatoes, apples, spices, any type of milk or dairy. And after one week she would slowly accept the breast and drink! My aunt had of course a nervous breakdown because of it, and it was her firstborn to.

    What you also could do is follow some classes about breastfeeding. I know LC’s give that sort of classes here in the Netherlands.

  10. My first wouldn’t take the breast and now the second won’t take the bottle. Either way babies are kind of a pain in the ass in their own special ways.

    But you’re going to have fun. There is nothing more festive than a screaming newborn and a whining toddler when you’re trying to make dinner. Yay!

  11. You already know that in some ways, the worrying never stops, it just changes. Having kid #2 doesn’t change that you worry, but some things don’t carry the same weight for #2 as they did for #1 (at least with me.)

    I will say BFing for us has been easier this time in some ways, and harder in others. I’ve had a good supply, but I’ve had to take a lot of supplements to make it work. We also nurse a lot.

    I did things differently this time, and the difficulties the first time made it easier to be prepared. I had supplements ready (after taking some in the last trimester of pregnancy as well) and I knew to use the hospital LCs to check for latch, tongue-tie, etc. It’s been rocky at time, but it’s been so, so much better.

    You’ll figure it out no matter what. 🙂

  12. Oh man, you read my mind on some of this. I know it must be totally normal but I feel like I’m a mess this pregnancy (I have also struggled with infertility and miscarriage). I’m 17 weeks and my firstborn was growth restricted and born prematurely via Caesarean section because they were afraid she wouldn’t tolerate and induction (she wouldn’t). They took her then because they thought she was better off out of me at that point. So this time I am afraid of being on bedrest again. I’m afraid of being on hospital bedrest again. I’m afraid of having an IV for weeks again and losing that control. I’m afraid of the NICU and complications of a preemie. I’m afraid of having another C-section. I’m afraid breastfeeding will go badly again. I’m afraid I’m not eating well enough for this baby (the nausea was awful and the food aversions still linger majorly for me). I’m afraid I’m not exercising enough, but I’m afraid if I exercise too much I’m contributing to the (currently non-existent) problems I had with my first. I also have PCOS and am worried about gestational diabetes.
    The best part is I’m super emotional about it (since 20 weeks is around the corner and that would be the first time we’ll know if we’re having the same problems when we have the anatomy scan) but again with the sensitive gag reflex lingering with the food aversions, crying makes me throw up. No joke.
    So I’m going to do what I can do and do my best to arm myself with a doula and lactation consultant in advance. I’m hoping for a VBAC so I want to start preparing for that. I’m going to ask lots of questions at my appointment on Friday about the hospital policy so I can make an informed decision about where I’ll get the best support if I can have a VBAC. And if I’m not comfortable with the answers, then we will switch to a standard version of our insurance we pay for and I’ll go to a Civilian doctor and hospital if I need to (my husband is in the military). Being a parent is hard before they even get here! 🙂 I wish you a happy healthy worry free pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a great breastfeeding experience!

  13. Do you read Bower Power Blog? She’s an excellent writer and I think you’ll enjoy her posts…especially her breastfeeding ones. Hoping it gives you hope for #2!

    Also want to say good luck on your gestational diabetes test but like another commentor said, its not the end of the world if you have it. I had it later with both my pregnancies (at 36 wks with #1 & 31 wks #2). Fortunately it wasn’t so bad that i needed insulin or any medication, just needed to manage my carbs and worked with a great dietician to help. She was very reassuring that I couldn’t have prevented it (only gained 20lbs with #2) and it’s just how my body handles pregnancy.

    Good luck and try not to worry 🙂

  14. Going into breastfeeding with that “If it doesn’t work out” mentality sets you up for the possibility of failure, imho. You know the benefits of nursing, and there are SO MANY resources available to you (both lactation consultants and the wide, wide internet). There is no excuse for you to say, this time around, there’s a possibility for you not to breastfeed. Even GERD can be overcome. You need the confidence to say, “I WILL,” and I swear things wont be as stressful this time around. (I know that seems harsh, and I’m sorry, but what I’m trying to say is I’ve been there and I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. Decreased supply is the result of “topping up” with formula or even bottled breast milk and not compensating with a pump that feeding–though rarely (more rarely than people think) it can be a physiological issue. Supply and demand!) Worry after pregnancy loss is normal. I know I freaked out at every little thing during Aiden’s pregnancy (after my early miscarriage the month before), and then at 25 or so weeks he developed a heart arrhythmia. I was sent to a specialist for testing every other day. His murmur cleared up on its own but he still had NICU doctors coming into the room every so often after delivery, an oxygen sensor on his foot; meanwhile every time his oxygen saturation dropped below 90% *I* had a heart attack. But he’s FINE. Healthy, growing, beautiful. This little one will be, too. Even if challenges arise (as with Owen’s respiratory issues) you will deal with them in the capacity you’re able to. You are an amazing mother to Owen–the next baby will be just as lucky.

  15. Hmmm, I think I worried about most of the things mentioned above. I tried to avoid reading any of those “What to expect” or similar books, because it made me worry about every little twinge!
    Just wanted to add that I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, and have experience with GDM. If it does come to be that you have gestational diabetes,, please don’t hesitate to email me. I would offer to meet with you in person, but I am based out of Long Island.

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