Overwhelming Fear

I haven’t written much lately, although I have tried to keep up with reading and commenting on blogs.  I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the emotions I have swimming in my soul.  The truth is that I am all at once overjoyed and terrified.  My hopes soar and then they are dragged down by the weight of my fears.  I daydream of holding my sweet little girls next to my skin, kissing their heads and fingers and bellies and toes…then the worry and doubt, like nightmares, start to consume me. 

It has all become so much worse since sometime in week 20. I think it is because of a many reasons.  The main one is that I can feel my grrl monsters pushing and kicking and wiggling many times throughout the day.  Gone are the little flutters that I question are real.  MrBeep has even been able to feel them kick when his hand is on my belly.  Feeling these little beings gives me such great elation and hope.  They are so much more real to me now than they had ever been before.  Not just images on a screen or results of a test or fantasies of children to be.  Now I feel their presence, they are tangible in a new way that my heart cannot describe.  The thought of losing it all fills me with dread.

I know I should “just relax” and that most women will end up having healthy babies.  I know that my weekly checkups have been encouraging.  The babies are growing well, the stitch seems to be doing it’s job.  I begin to breathe.  I begin to let hope ease my worried mind.  Then I read from the LFCA, or other wonderful bloggers who ask for words of support and sympathy for others who lose their little ones.  All at once I crash back to the land of nightmares and I don’t know how to escape. I know many of you have/had these fears, how do/did you cope? 

Yesterday I think I overdid it a bit.  Sat in a chair for too long, did a few extra chores and by the evening I was feeling a new kind of achiness in my lower abdomen. Just before bedtime I had the smallest tinge of pink on the TP.  I was so afraid as I went to sleep that something was wrong and all would be lost.  I have now had a very full night’s sleep.  I have put myself back on strict bedrest, just laying on the couch or in bed with only bathroom breaks.  I have had no other achy feelings or pink since last night.  I have felt each little grrl monster wiggle and thrash and kick. My achiness could have just been ligament pains, it could have been from the previa moving (it has been moving and may clear completely).  I just don’t know. I actually feel fine…and sometimes that’s a problem too.  Every time I had complications, there was no warning.  Feeling fine and then all at once, the big bleed or the cervix almost fails.  My problems seem to come out of the blue and that deals a lot of anxiety that fuels these overwhelming fears…and I don’t know how to conquer them.  Only time can help, but it drags and lags and taunts me.

Today I am 22w1d.  At 22 weeks if something terrible goes wrong, my baby girls will not be saved.  It is too early for any hope.  Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and lay in the dark.  I watch the clock, my mind racing.  I feel I am so close but so far away.  2 weeks to viability, 8 weeks to likely survival, 16 weeks to “full term” and these are indeed markers to celebrate.  The numbers as weeks look so small, but as hours in the dark of night they stretch to what feels like infinity – 312, 1,344, 2,688 hours.  I have been so fearful and sad today.  I have cried so much.  I feel defective.  I feel weak because of my worry.  MrBeep has been an incredible comfort, he soothes my soul.  I am lucky to know and love him.  I know that I will come out of this eventually, I will build myself back again…but in the meantime…my friends, can you help?  Any advice? 

UPDATE:  OK my friends, I have just read mekate’s post and am again overwhelmed.  I won’t give anything away, but please please go read and send her love.

25 comments on "Overwhelming Fear"

WiseGuy on February 20, 2010 at 9:12 PM said...

I know you have been reading around, coz you left this George Michael comment on one of my posts and made me laugh.

I am poor at advice, but I can feel the panic and great sensitization that is going on right now.

Frankly, I turn monkey in all the
2wws of the cycles, I am really trying, so I would be kidding if I impart any wisdom.

All I can say is start reading ginormous number of books, watch ginormous amount of TV, do not overdo on housework, take ample rest, embroider or crochet, and go for regular check-ups. Can you ask your docs to allow you to come in more often than the rest of the preggo ladies?

Take Care...am sending a lot of blessings to the two weeny monsters...and I pray that they stay safe and sound in your caring womb for all the while that they should be there....

FET Accompli on February 20, 2010 at 9:21 PM said...

I have been there - sometimes I am still there. Could this be real? Could this joy be mine? All the worry, the stress - try to take things one day at a time, each day brings you closer to the goal.

For me at least, the worries seem to continue, even if they are unfounded - we have been through so much, it's hard to shut them out... So I try to just live with them - like an annoying roommate, hanging around sometimes, and other times out for pizza or studying in the library. I guess we can learn to make peace with our worries and fears, if that makes any sense...

jill on February 20, 2010 at 9:43 PM said...

I wish I could help but I have no advice.

Sending lots of hugs and hope. C'mon little monsters you can hang in there for another 16 weeks!!

K on February 20, 2010 at 10:05 PM said...

I'm so sorry for your fears. We are in different situations but I understand the fear of losing it all. I understand looking at someone else's loss and feeling yourself freeze up as you wonder what separates me from them?

How do I cope? I literally tell myself one day at a time. I have a lilypie counter and each day that passes is a victory. It's a countdown to the end of the week. I cannot look at the end, I look at it in weekly increments. I remind myself that so far all is good. I google stories of preemies who survive despite the odds (some stories on this blog post: http://waitingforsunflower.blogspot.com/2010/01/26-weeks-and-double-digits.html ).

Its scary to have so little control over the one thing in your life that you want to see through as smoothly as possible. Please know its normal to feel as you do. Despite the scary way things unfolded about your cervix etc they were discovered and on time. Surely this counts for something- that you're getting excellent care and a lot of people are working hard to make sure your little girls are with you 16 weeks from now, and forever more.

meinsideout on February 21, 2010 at 5:51 AM said...

It is tough - really tough. I have so many of the same fears - and I feel like a freak so many times because I get so scared. I have to say - I am envious that my IRL friend's babies are born - they are out, they are safe, and they are fine - I still worry about placental abruptions, cord mishaps, infections, etc. I still find myself emotionally distanced from the fact that I may have two babies in my arms - very soon.

These are some things that I did/am doing: I bought a doppler - that really helps; I blogged about all my fears - rational or not; I tried to stay busy (although with your stitch, you may need to stay busy with sedentary activities!); I focused on getting the nursery started in the second trimester (I urge you to as well - I am worthless now and can only do one small thing a day); and I try to focus on loving my husband up.

It goes quickly - I cannot believe I am over 35 weeks at this point - I did not think I would make it.

My strongest assvice to you is to do whatever it is you need to do to get through this - I have said many times before and will again - the goal for me throughout IF and our losses was to maintain some sense of sanity - and that is up to me to do in ways that I am comfortable with.


M on February 21, 2010 at 5:55 AM said...

i do understand... i think week 20 until 24 is the most tense, screw making it to 12! (just jokes, that one was pretty hard too).

while i dearly love the support and friendships i've found here, i do often wonder about our reverse effect on each other. in all honesty, we of babyloss and infertility are quite the sad bunch! and just as we are boyed up by each other's successes, we are dragged down into sadness by eachother's losses.

all i can say is take it one day at a time. each day brings you closer to your goal. if days are too much (and some days do stretch forever) go for hours, minutes. each that passes is another bit of strength and a step in the right direction.

sprogblogger on February 21, 2010 at 6:01 AM said...

As you know, I'm crap at dealing with anxiety. I would say though, as much as you can, stay away from the loss boards, the blogs dealing with loss. Unless you follow the people daily and would feel bad about not being there for them, don't go seeking out the scary stories. Maybe you could take up a new (sedentary!) hobby? Become obsessed with, say, a long-running show like the Simpsons and watch them all on Netflix? Go all BeneGesserit and practice moving each individual muscle for hours on end?

Seriously, sweetie, take it one day at a time. You're doing everything you can to do this right, and I have faith that your monsters are going to stay put til they're finished baking. Thinking of you all.

Kate on February 21, 2010 at 6:53 AM said...

At that stage I was taking it a day at a time on the couch. Even though my cervix was holding up just fine, I was having lots of little contractions and was sure I was going to deliver a micro-preemie.
You've got to set little goals. First one is 24 weeks and viability (though I think some places will resuscitate the babies if you want at 23 weeks). Then at 26 weeks things are looking better, and at 28 weeks you can really heave a sigh of relief, as the stats just keep getting better. Same thing with 30 and 32 weeks - by 32 weeks, they shouldn't need much if any respiratory support. And by 34 weeks, outcomes are same as for term infants.
I was cheering internally for each passing week after I made it to 24 weeks. Felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders at 28 weeks when all was still good despite the contractions and I was allowed back to work.
I read harlequins, watched trashy TV, ate and slept a lot. Lived for my appointment once a week for reassurance.
DH did all the cooking, cleaning, shopping. And we ate a lot of very tasty takeout.
My cycle buddy with the incompetent cervix and twins, who had bulging membranes and was 1-2cm dilated when they discovered hers at 20 or 22 weeks? She recently delivered her babies at 35+6 weeks. She'd had preterm labour too, and was on bedrest for weeks. So there's hope - bulging membranes are a bad prognostic factor when it comes to IC and cerclage, from what I read, and you were definitely not at that point.
Hang in there!

Pie on February 21, 2010 at 7:56 AM said...

I'm sorry this fear is getting to you - but I do understand it. I don't have any miraculous advice (assvice??) to give you, other than to say we're all hear to listen to the fear with you, and none of it is unreasonable. IF scars us.

((((HUGS)))) and I hope today finds some distractions for you.

Kate on February 21, 2010 at 8:34 AM said...

Me again - just nominated you for an award. I thought you should know your blog's appreciated, and figured you might just have time to write about yourself while you're on couch/bed arrest!

Sunny on February 21, 2010 at 9:05 AM said...

Oh T, I wish I could give you a hug and tell you not to worry. I know it's hard, I'm laying in bed with my teeny cervix fretting about what our sons will face when born.

Milestones are nice, but I also try to appreciate every day for what it is. I know you aren't quite at viability yet, but when you get there, every day you stay pregnant is worth TWO days less in the NICU. My boys are constantly using my internal organs as punching bags, and instead of letting the reality of two people freak me out, I think of how strong they are. It seems like they will just push right out of my belly sometimes -- they are strong, they are fighters, and we ARE all going to get through this.

I also agree with previous posters, don't read the LFCA. We are officially granting you a break from giving support to bloggers you don't know. Stick to your blog roll for now. Unless you visit the "Parenting Multiples" section of Mel's "A Whole Lot of Blogging." I'll give you permission for that. :)

I've also read this thread so many times, it gives me loads of hope each time: http://www.twinstuff.com/forum/index.php?/topic/101334-bedrest-success-stories/

mekate on February 21, 2010 at 9:29 AM said...

I love you extra.
The big kind. The kind where I wish I could gather you up into my lap and rock you and kiss your head.
I want to say everything will be ok, that your monsters are THRIVING (and thrashing), and time will pass and soon it will be week 24, then 32 then...
but I also have no desire to discount your fears. I can only imagine how scared you must be, and I do not think you are crazy. We all know too much, truly. We cannot unknow it. I had to step away from the blogs and announcements because I could feel my hopefulness ebbing away, and I need to take different care of myself than that. You may need to too.

Please ask for what you need from your medical team, they are there to help, and that may mean reassurance on a day you did not expect to see them.

Thank you so much for celebrating with me. I am delighted shocked scared out of my wits and oh so very ready to have this work. I also know that my guard will not drop until I am holding him/her/them, and even then a different terror will arise 'cause I'm good like that. Trying to remember to breathe.

Be as gentle with yourself as you can ok? you are precious and wonderful.
and being scared makes sense, it does not mean you are crazy.

Beautiful Mess on February 21, 2010 at 1:44 PM said...

I think worry and such are different for everyone. But assvice never hurt, mostly because YOU asked ;o) With Nae I worried but NOTHING compared to the worry and thoughts I had with Zilla. When it got to be TOO much, I would sit or lay down and hold my belly and talk to him. Sometimes it would be random events of the day and others it would be the pleading to let me raise him. it always helped me. That and the burying my head in the couch and crying. I did much of that, too.

I hope you find what works for you, hon. I'm praying and sending you SO much love!

The Steadfast Warrior on February 21, 2010 at 5:01 PM said...

I was the same way for large portions of my pregnancy. There was such a small window where everything seemed fine and I actually enjoyed it. In the beginning I was just trying to get through the first trimester for the first time and at the end there was the high blood pressure and pre-e worries.

The reality is, you've got a lot going on and it's okay to be scared, hell if you weren't terrified a little, I'd think you were in denial. The only advice I have is to take solace in the movements and the special moments that come up. Run them over and over in your mind when the fear hits. Also, create a little bubble of happiness around you. I found reading about losses and complications too difficult sometimes, so I backed off and recognized that I could only give so much and that I needed to keep some strength for myself and the baby.

You are a lovely and strong woman. You and the Monsters WILL be okay. I can keep repeating it if you like? ;) (HUGS) to you, since sometimes that is what we need the most. I've left a little present for you at my blog...

Rotten on February 21, 2010 at 7:19 PM said...

The joys of motherhood, eh? The worry stays once they come into the world as well, but I totally understand where you are right now. Premature labor at 19 weeks was no fun for me and I just couldn't understand how I could deal with loosing our little girl after becoming so attached to her even after only 19 weeks. It does get easier though and I know you will hear this from everyone and I know it is hard to do, but you have to have faith that the girls are going to be fine. You are going to be fine. Because if you can't get to that point, the stress and fear you are feeling will transfer to the babies and that is never a good thing. Deep yoga breaths. Meditate. Pray. Whatever works, but find a way to just take that leap of faith because until something actually happens, worrying about it won't do anything. Geesh, I'm sorry. I sound like my mother. I just know where you are and I just want the best for you and the girls. Hang in there!!

Brooke on February 22, 2010 at 8:02 AM said...

Ugh, I am so sorry you are feeling so stressed...I don't have any advice (but I see lots of good advice in the comments), but I just wanted to say am thinking good thoughts for you and hope you are feeling better...take care...

Mrs. Gamgee on February 22, 2010 at 8:48 AM said...

I hope that your anxiety has eased a bit, but know that you are totally normal. The road you have travelled to get to this point, plus the added hormonal and physical stress you are currently under, is bound to play on your emotional state. I am so impressed that you have passed your halfway point. Hang in there hon, and know that there are a lot of us out here praying for you, thinking about you, and cheering you on.

kimbosue on February 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM said...

I hope you have settled back down and are not so anxious. I pray for the grrls to stay in there another 16 weeks!

Clare on February 22, 2010 at 1:30 PM said...

It's only natural to have all these fears. I have them everyday too and I'm not even 6 weeks yet! But then I remember the power of positive thought. I am sure that's what helped get me pregnant. I remember lying on the bed with my hands on my belly willing this cycle to be it. I talked to the fertilized egg that I hoped was there and willed it to happen. I am sure if we do the same thing with our babies and surround them with lots of positive thoughts and energy all will be well. You're doing great xx

K on February 22, 2010 at 3:03 PM said...

Wow, I actually read all of the other commenters and you got such great advice - advice I mostly second. (Stay away from disaster fantasy blogs and such.)

I, too have felt your same fears. Some time ago you asked me what week it will get better. I think it's probably 28. But I will say that calling the doctor puts me at ease sometimes. (Even though I apologize profusely when I call.)

I found myself in the same spot up until this past week - knowing that there would be no chance of survival if something premature happened.

Now, I must admit, I find myself in a different place. Sort of that no man's land. At 25 weeks, many doctors will attempt intervention. My doctor has already had that conversation with me - that he would prefer not to attempt rescusitation. And Mr. W firmly doesn't want any intervention before 28 weeks. I struggle with that a bit. What if.....?

But then I step back and think about where I am now, and how I REALLY feel. I am mostly fine. My body seems to be staying strong despite the continued nausea, mild contractions, and crappy virus I caught, and noodles are kicking away every day. This builds up my confidence...that I can do it...one week at a time.

And before you know it, week 24 will be here, then week 28. Everything looks so good for you. If it didn't, your doctors would throw your ass in the hospital - which isn't necessarily a bad thing either. So take a breath, watch a little ice dancing maybe? :)

Thinking of you. :)

Kate on February 22, 2010 at 5:19 PM said...

Thanks for letting me know you read my super insanely long spill-my-guts-to-the-world blog entry. I was beginning to think no one would "like" me any more!
Hope you're feeling a little more optimistic today. Only 1.5 weeks till the viability celebration!!

JJ on February 22, 2010 at 7:53 PM said...

Oh that fear...do you know I still get nervous when I look at the TP to this day? I know that overwhelming feeling for sure. I wish I could tell you that *one* thing makes it go away, but I know its different for everyone...I couldnt even concentrate long enough to read--everyone kept telling me to just read--well, dammit, I was too scared to read!

I coped by just living in the day. I had to stop thinking about being 20 weeks, etc. I just thanked my stars when another day was in the books.

But anyway--youve gotten super advice--so Im just merely here to send you my virtual hugs and tell you Im thinking of you and the monsters!

One Who Understands on February 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM said...

Oh my darling friend, I am so sorry the fear is striking you all over again. Does it ever go away? I really think this must just be part of living through IF and then continuing into motherhood. Man does it suck!

I will be sending you happy thoughts and hoping you can relax and just be for a bit. I know, easier said then done. Especially with all you have been through. Take comfort in knowing you are OVER half way done and they are keeping a very close eye on you and the girls. It will all be ok. I can feel it.

Chickenpig on February 26, 2010 at 8:14 PM said...

The fear will drive you crazy. My advice to you is to try and let it go. The odds are in your favor, no matter how scary the posts can be. The fact is that you want to remember your pregnancy itself as a positive experience, no matter what the outcome. I spent time looking at catalogs, buying baby stuff, trying to think and feel positive when I got in the dumps and frozen by fear. Once my twins reached that magic viability mark a lot of the terror went away. Hang in there, and when you get overwhelmed 'fake it until you make it', assume your twins are coming home and start preparing. Because no matter how prepared you think you are, you're not, and fear can immobilize you. My twins arrived at 38 weeks, and I STILL felt like I didn't have enough time.

Kristin on February 27, 2010 at 6:05 AM said...

I wish I had some brilliant advice for how to get by the fear. Since I don't, I just want to say I am thinking of you and the wee grrls and praying for you.


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