Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Not So Pretty Side of Pregnancy

I don't talk much about the aspects of pregnancy that I mourn, because no one likes a complainer. But I do realize that it's important for me to process, so what better place than a blog?

I'm pretty naturally minded. I'm probably what you'd call "crunchy light", but I am really drawn to the more natural, hands off way of doing things. This extends into medicine (as in, the practice of medicine but also medications, too) and my ideas of pregnancy and childbirth. Before I became pregnant, I imagined a fairly easy, normal pregnancy and a birth at the local birth center, safely tucked away from interventions. Before I had ever even met Steven, I somehow found out about the birth center and the midwives there, and I just knew that's where I'd birth one day.

Well, then I got pregnant. And my progesterone was so severely low that miscarriage was a real threat. I needed to remain under the care of my (awesome) doctor who knew precisely how to manage it. I needed many ultrasounds early on to make sure everything was progressing normally with the baby. And then my blood pressure began to raise a bit. So I needed a low dose of pregnancy safe medication to lower it, so my doctor would know with more accuracy if pre-eclampsia was a risk if it began rising again. And then it did start rising again, so I had to double my dose and now go in every 3 weeks for growth checks. And then I found out I'm RH- and need the rhogam shot, which does carry some extremely low but extremely scary risks.

I have guilt that my body seems to have missed the memo that it is made for this. If all these things were caused by the baby, I could joke, "this baby is a handful! He or she is lucky I'm its mother!" and sweep it under the rug. But instead I sit and think about how this baby has to be such a fighter because I'm its mother. It's dealt with dangerously low levels of progesterone and still stuck around, and now it may have to battle growth restriction? What is my body doing to this poor child!? I have guilt that my body isn't the safe haven for this baby that it should be. And then back to the RH- thing, again I know it's a routine, 'easy' fix, but to think that my body would fight off my baby's body as a foreign object? No mother wants to feel like her body is actively harming her baby, whether they are things under my control or not.

And so I know with of all this that my chances of having a labor with interventions is pretty high. If my baby stops growing at any point, he or she will need to be delivered. If my blood pressure goes out of control at any point, I will need to give birth to lower it. I know that I'm not just your 'average healthy mother' who has no need for medical interventions. And though those interventions can be life saving when needed- I get that!- it doesn't mean that I'm any less sad about the fact that I may need them.

It's pretty clear that, like many things in our lives, my ideal and my expectations did not come true or is not coming true. I have so many people tell me that all that matters is a healthy baby. And I know they mean that supportingly and lovingly, but all that does for me is invalidate how I feel. Because yes, a healthy baby does matter (though I'd love an unhealthy one just as much, of course!), but my feelings and my experience matter, too! I can't just throw that all away because the baby matters more... I still have to process through it because we carry our experiences with us for life.

So while I sit here and thank God daily for modern medicine, I don't let myself feel bad about the aspects of this pregnancy that I mourn not experiencing or experiencing differently. I recognize that it is ok to be disappointed with how something turns out, and then I pick myself up, dust myself off, and count my blessings, of which I have so many. I have a God who is ever trustworthy, a doctor who watches my baby and me like a hawk, a husband who takes such good care of me and is growing into an amazing daddy, and family and friends who pray for me unceasingly, and offer comfort and support. I know I'm blessed, and that is what I choose to focus on most of the time.

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