I’ve been pretty absent for the better part of 2018. I wish it was for a better reason but in all honesty, I did not have the energy to handle my day to day life, much less the blog and events. I wanted to explain my absence so bare with me. It's a long one.
At the end of February, as most of you know, we found out we were expecting baby number two. Although we were so excited for this little to be on the way, my immediate reaction was “I have to get into my OB tomorrow.”
This is my third pregnancy to be viable past 8 weeks. Viable. It’s such a strong but sterile word. I have experienced three personal losses in-between my surrogacy pregnancy in 2013 and today. Not to mention, I still carry a heavy burden and guilt on the loss of the fraternal twin from that pregnancy.
In total, four babies in five years haven’t survived from my womb. Do you know how gut wrenching it is to go into an OB office and must explain how many pregnancies you have had total and then explain how many are not living and how each of them ended?
So, when I started freaking out this pregnancy early on, it didn’t surprise me. I did not want another loss because I knew emotionally I couldn’t handle it.
I wasn't expecting to start getting anxiety over little things.
The first real sign that I had a bigger issue than normal fear was when I was prescribed Progesterone Shots to take daily. It was literally out of stock EVERYWHERE but online fertility pharmacies but they wanted $125 a vial. One vial only lasted 5 days. I called nearly 60 pharmacies from Charlotte to Statesville and we only ever found six vials but luckily they were cheaper at around $55 each. Normally, with insurance, it would have been $10 for a month supply.
It started out with just a fear that we’d lose another baby. I made countdowns to milestones I hadn’t hit before like the heartbeat, week 8, week 12, week 16 and so forth. Even now, I am counting down weeks. We’re past viability but I keep fearing something will go wrong.
Eventually the anxiety grew to much more than just the pregnancy. I eventually found myself afraid to drive. I would be mid-trip and fear that I would end up in a wreck. I started doubting my career. I started to doubt my ability to mother Hayden the way he needed. I doubted my relationship and even what my purpose was in this life.
Doubt is a horrible feeling.
There were days where I went to work, came home and crawled into bed. There were many weekends where I never took a step outside. Sunny days were still bad but the rainy, gloomy days were so much worse.
Two weeks ago, we moved into a beautiful new home but that also meant packing. Packing was something that triggered the largest panic attacks I have had, not only in this pregnancy, but some of the largest attacks I have ever had ever in my life. I would sit and stare at the stuff and just break down in tears. I couldn’t physically get myself together long enough to do anything productive. I really cannot thank AJ and my family enough for those weeks and the move.
Pregnancy-Induced anxiety is the worst feeling of hopelessness I have ever experienced.
So early on, I decided to completely shut down as I got it under control.
I shut down most of my life for my sanity. I needed the ability to work my full-time job because it was a priority. I needed to reduce the stress for the baby’s sake. I needed to be present for my son.
I am not writing this for sympathy but for transparency.
Every pregnant woman knows the fears and worries of post-partum depression or anxiety. It’s something many doctors really want to check on during that 6-week post-birth appointment. But no one talks about the depression and anxiety that can happen during pregnancy.
It is estimated that miscarriages happen in 25% of all pregnancies. One in eight couples experience infertility. I’ve only experienced a small blimp of what some couples experience but the stress, pressure, anxiety and fear crippled me. The more I have spoken to other women about the anxiety I've experienced, the more I’ve realized I’m not alone.
I’ll leave on a positive note. The anxiety is going down as the days go on. It’s going from irrational and uncontrollable situations to common insecurities or worries – like the fact we are official under 100 days until she will arrive.
Some of the failures so far from 2018 still weigh heavy on me.
- I missed deadlines and events.
- I left many emails ignored.
- I abandoned my social accounts.
But that is going to change. I hope to become more social again and I am taking baby steps to being like myself again. I want to get back to my roots of writing and sharing my love of the city.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me the last six months and even more so my family.
The ones who have noticed something was wrong. The ones who knew I the fear I had during the pregnancy. The ones who offered help emotionally or physically. The ones who held me as I cried or shared my fears. The ones who just talked about anything else to help keep my mind off the fear.
You are my saviors.
Thank you for loving me through the hardest parts.