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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

ttc | pregnancy | birth after loss > I’m here now...and I’m nervous

I’ll try to make my long story short(ish). I have had anxiety for many years, but managed well on therapy alone during my pregnancy. I went off of my medication before I got pregnant. Everything was going fine, and then my blood pressure started to go up around 33 weeks. My OB was extremely hyper about it, and that just increased my anxiety ten-fold. I lived in a constant state of panic after that, fearing the worst. I remember thinking that either myself or my baby was probably going to die because of the blood pressure. I ended up being induced at 37 weeks because bp wouldn’t go down...they never exactly called it preeclampsia because I didn’t have protein in my urine and my blood tests were very good, but my bp was in the severe range. All the while, everyone assumed my baby was fine.

So, I was induced, and I started to calm down, because soon the nightmare would be over, right? I wish. My delivery ended up being ok - I didn’t have to have a c section, and the doctors seemed to calm down about my well-being because things seemed under control. After my daughter was born, however, she wasn’t breathing well and was rushed to the NICU. It turned out she had an extremely rare heart defect that was not seen on any ultrasounds. A total and utter shock - out of left field for everyone. She was perfect - except for the pulmonary veins in her heart. Too small to see on a normal ultrasound, it had gone unnoticed.

She passed away after 3 days. The doctors were unable to operate on her because they were completely baffled by the setup of her veins. She was the “one in a million” case, they said.

So, worst fear came true. It wasn’t in the way I expected. Her heart defect had absolutely nothing to do with my blood pressure, the doctors assured us. Her heart formed that way early in the pregnancy, through no fault of mine or anyone else’s.

It has been over six months and my husband and I are starting to ttc again. At first I was hopeful, but today, I feel terrified. If we do manage to get pregnant, how will I ever manage to keep my anxiety under control? Will I have blood pressure problems again, or worse, another baby who doesn’t get to come home with us? I am seeing a therapist who I adore and trust, so that helps immensely. She seems to think I should try for another pregnancy and that the reward outweighs the risk. I also have a new OB who I much calmer. I need that. Ha.

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you. Any thoughts or advice are welcomed.
September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterM’s mama
Dearest M’s Mama. I am so deeply sorry to hear of your heartbreaking loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I too suffer from extreme anxiety. My husband and I are planning to ttc shortly, and I know it will be a long journey. I plan to walk as often as I can, listen to ambient, peaceful music (I love Riceboy Sleeps by Jonsi and Alex). Meditation and nature are also powerful ways to find peace. Also I suggest looking into Hypo-birthing. There is a whole hypno-birthing community out there, and podcasts available for download. And we are here for you anytime. Reaching out to those who understand can lighten the load. Sending you peaceful vibes.
September 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEloise’s Mother
Hi Eloise’s Mother, and thank you for your kind and thoughtful response. I am so thankful for the Glow community - I agree, reaching out here really does help. Nothing can bring our little ones back, or ease every anxiety for the future, but at least we have a place to share our experiences.

It seems as though my anxiety has been slightly improved over the past few days. I am trying to focus more on what I can control, like eating well and getting some exercise (I like your idea of walking often!) vs. the things that I can’t control. One day at a time.

Thinking of you as you begin your ttc journey. Thanks again for your kind thoughts! By the way, Eloise is a beautiful name. I love it.
September 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterM’s mama