Dealing With Fear

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” - Nelson Mandela 

From the very same day we found out about Little Babe (my nickname for Elijah's sibling), a terrible habit began. I would do "underwear checks" every time I went to the bathroom. I still do. At 17 weeks pregnant with our second baby after loss, I don't think there will ever be a day that I feel safe about this pregnancy, probably not even after birth because of SIDS. 

Every wipe, every time I pull my underwear below my waist, I can't help, but to check for the one thing that would set me off on a panic attack - blood. 

Struggling with infertility made the sight of blood leaking from under me painful to the core. Seeing blood is more than heartbreaking, it's like having your whole world spin out of control and then stolen from you; it's like experiencing death over and over again. And the strange thing is, even while pregnant, there is this lingering expectation of that monthly visit. Only, it wouldn't be "Aunt Flo" that decided to bring on the bloody war. 

Stillbirth and infertility ingrained in me this other horrible habit of expecting the worst: finding disappointment, witnessing happiness slip away, losing everything that I have worked so very hard for. When you have lost so much, you start fearing that everything and everyone around you could disappear. I learned of that feeling after Elijah died; I began fearing that those I loved could die, too. 

That's when I began these night prayers that everyone I cared about, along with our home, and so on, would be safe from any and all kinds of danger. But, the biggest fear isn't the blood, it's water... from the womb. Amniotic fluid. 

With our history of pPROM at 20 weeks, there's no telling that it would or wouldn't happen again. We don't know why it happened or what caused it, and that's the worst part about our loss: not having an explanation or a reason. Everything was normal, until it wasn't - it "just happened." 

We are 3 weeks away and the anxiety is eating away at me. I am afraid that while sitting or walking, even doing nothing, water would come rushing out of me. I am afraid of reliving my worst nightmare. I just want to make it there... 40 weeks should be my goal, but I just want to make it past 20 weeks, then 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30, 34, 36, 38, home... 

We are fortunate this time to have a doctor that considers preventative care. I just wish that it didn't take a loss to realize how much more prenatal care and education that all women should have. Even with weekly cervix measurements, overcoming my fears is going to take more than 9 months; it's going to take a lifetime. 

Our empty crib is still waiting amongst the shadows.


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