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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 > Pregnancy After Perinatal Loss: Managing Anxiety

Hello my lovely friends. I am currently 14 weeks pregnant. I had an emergency c-section in July, 2018. I was 40 + 5 with my beautiful baby daughter. Something went wrong (they don't know what) and she had no oxygen. She only lived two days. We got pregnant again very quickly. My doctor says we are "treating this as a high risk pregnancy even though it isn't". He said I have every reason to be confident, although it will be hard for us emotionally. We will be delivering at 37 weeks via scheduled C-section and so far everything looks normal and good. Squirmy healthy rainbow.

But I am beside myself. I wake up in terror, thinking I've lost the baby. My nuchal results come back on Wednesday of next week, and I am sick thinking about it. How or HOW do I get through this? How can I believe everything will be okay? I try to visualize June, holding my healthy, chubby, pooping baby...but I can't. I can't put myself at ease.

Is anyone else going through this? How do you manage the anxiety? Podcasts? Meditation? Therapy? What is helping you or has helped you.

I am thinking of you all, and send you love and courage.
January 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEloise's mother
Hello, Eloise's mother!

I'm 12 weeks, and also waiting on results. My son died at birth in 2012 of a chromosome abnormality, and I had a healthy little girl right after (similar to your current pregnancy timeline). Since then, we've had a lot more pregnancy losses and ended up doing IVF. Like you, my current pregnancy should not actually be high-risk, but we are approaching it that way. I should be getting my NIPT results today and the nuchal translucency scan on Monday. The NIPT results actually could have come as early as Wednesday this week, so I've been very nervous and distracted. I've spent way too much time looking up stuff about NIPT this week.

The only helpful distraction I've found is reading home improvement/design blogs--I can't get myself to be productive with anything.

I'll be thinking of you and hoping you get good nuchal results.
January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack's mom
Hello to you both good Mamas,
I am there with you with my whole heart. I'm 35 weeks as of today and I can't believe the anxiety hasn't killed me outright. I can only pass along what has helped me but I imagine this is as personal and unique an experience as one can live through.
In the fist two trimesters vigorous exercise with loud music played through headphones was helpful. I think the higher blood oxygen was good for the old brain, the exertion helped even out my sleep so that I wasn't up half the night in a complete worried panic (I also took benedryl regularly before bed) and knowing that I was doing something healthy for my baby was a comfort.
I kept my pregnancy a secret from as many people as I could for as long as I could to avoid the sad eyed stares and worried questions. I have no patience for it at all. Anyone who has been anything less than kind and understanding I've limited contact with or cut from my life completely and I am better off. I have my own emotional garbage heap to sort through and I can't be bothered with anyone else's anxiety.
My OB recommended supplementing with Magnesium and it has been life changing. It has to be taken as a stand alone supplement with food or it will bind with the other minerals and pass through your body unabsorbed. It has a calming, quieting effect on the neural impulses and has been used for years to treat agitated psychiatric patients.
I'm normally not a big believer in vitamins and such (I don't even take them when I'm not pregnant) but the magnesium has helped more than anything to soothe my anxiety. It hasn't gone away and I don't expect it ever will after the trauma of our baby's stillbirth but in the last three weeks I've actually been able to ENJOY this pregnancy. I wouldn't have thought it was possible before.
I also needed and continue to need a ton of therapy with my husband and alone. There was almost no other time in my very busy life where I could just fall apart and talk about the heartbreak of losing our baby boy. His name is Moses Juniper Huckleberry. We call him Mosey and I need to talk about him constantly. Saying his name has been really important for me.
I have had days, big chunks of time, where I felt lost at sea, completely cut off and unreachable. It was so painful and isolating. I couldn't get anything done and I know that my children suffered for it but it couldn't be helped. I just had to survive and I did that by allowing them to watch a ton of TV while I listened to podcasts about complex, engaging subject matter alone. They didn't mind and I haven't ruined them forever.
I'm not home free yet but I feel the end of this roller coaster approaching and I can't wait to hold this new baby.
Hold me and my baby girl in the light please. Her name is Birdie Juniper Phoebe Daffodil. She's our fifth and everything has been medically perfect so far but we all know that nothing is promised. Hope is my motor right now. Love to you both and all of your beautiful babies.
January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterks
ks, thank you for that post - I’m sure it will be a help to everyone on here. I know I’m already struggling at 13w... I don’t know if I’m up for all that vigorous exercise you mention to combat anxiety (total couch potato here!) but it’s nice to know that by taking each day as it comes, you have found the strength to get through your pregnancy to date. All the very best for the last couple of weeks before the birth of your beautiful daughter. I wasn’t going to comment, but your daughter shares the name of my daughter who was stillborn in April 2018. Phoebe. My little star xx you have chosen a gorgeous name, but I’m biased!

I will hold you in my thoughts x
January 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterk
Hello all,

I’m currently 12 weeks 3 days pregnant after losing my son in January 2018 at 11 days old. I too am having a lot of anxiety and I have a hard time imagining this baby arriving safely and living. I’m having a hard time telling people about the pregnancy and I am terrified to plan or do anything to get ready, for fear I’ll have to add it to the baby’s room with no baby. i don’t have much advice to offer for dealing with the anxiety and fear, but I just wanted you to know you aren’t alone and there are others here with similar experiences. Hopefully we can all be a support to each other as we go through this terrifying anxiety laden journey.
January 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermj
Little good news update: My current pregnancy just passed 13 weeks with all good scans and test results, so all the doctors say I'm having her. I have a hard time imagining it working out. I'm not constantly anxious about losing the pregnancy, but the idea of things working out seems like an alternate reality from what I've been living in.

ks--I LOVE the name Birdie. I hope she is continuing to do well and grow.

Thinking of all of you.
January 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack's mom
Thanks for all the support and feedback. 36 weeks and holding steady... This week will be bonkers with my husband flying out and all the children home from school for the MLK weekend. Then when the husband gets back on Wednesday he has about six hours to catch his breath before he begins interviewing candidates for his job at the university where he teaches and practices. I mean to say that time is moving so slowly at this point that I hope the hectic pace of this week will keep me distracted and moving forward. My anxiety was pretty rough towards the end of last week. I had an imaging appointment with the MFM which always triggers the feelings of fear and worry. My blood pressure is never normal at those appointments! Which makes me feel like a crazy person. Everything was found to be perfect medically and our darling girl had the most outrageous, gigantic hamster cheeks!!! She'll probably be our biggest baby but I'm not worried about that. The MFM found everything so prefect that she discharged me from her care unless any red flags are raised by the NST at the OB's office. I felt totally elated and of course by the time I'd picked up our youngest and made it home there was a message on my answering machine from her office suggesting I come back in for another scan due to the baby's persistent transverse lie. It was a let down and normally I would completely disregard her advice because after five babies my uterus is waaaaaayyy roomy and the babies tend to settle into a birthing position much closer to delivery. But I feel like I would never forgive myself if I skipped an opportunity for a scan and something was missed. ANXIETY!!!! FEAR!!! WORRY!!! I'm so worn out by all the feelings. I'd love a break from it all. The BIG WORRY kind of spread all over these last weeks of pregnancy is the induction. It will be my first and it has me nervous. I've always gone weeks past my EDD with the exception of our stillborn baby and I'm worried my body won't know what to do or that I won't be able to handle the pain of pitocin contractions. This must seem so trivial and it is really but down in my heart I've been hoping for a lovely healing birth experience that leaves me feeling like I can live in my body again. It has been such a terrible struggle these last 15 months and yet I know so many others have s much harder path than I do. I want to magnify the good but sometimes the fear and grief and heartache steal all my hope and joy.
We all have so much to carry. I'm holding all you mamas and your babies in the light. Thank you for holding space so I can get all that out.
January 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterks
Just checking in--

ks, did you have your new baby girl? I hope you are both doing well!

k, Eloise's mom, and mj--how are things going?

I am 17 weeks today and she passed the spina bifida screening this week. So far, so good.
February 15, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJack's mom
Hello Jacks Mom and everyone,
I’m currently 17w along, physically all going well but definitely feeling very detached and not able to bond with this babe (cue the endless guilt, they are a very much wanted child). It’s frustrating but I’m guessing it’s a normal reaction to PAL and hopefully later in the pregnancy I’ll feel more positive about the situation.

I’m looking forward to having our anatomy scan in two weeks time and seeing how this placenta is functioning. That was our issue last time...

K xx
February 17, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterk
A little update from postpartum land. Birdie June is hatched and doing beautifully! I went into labor on Valentine's Day but by the time I arrived at the hospital Birdie had turned breech. A sweet old OB attempted to turn her twice but she flipped back into a transverse lie and then after the second version she flipped into a frank breech position. After all that I called off any more intervention and opted for a cesarean birth. I had hoped to avoid a c-section but the doctor who delivered her found that her cord was extremely long and wrapped around her neck four times. So perhaps Birdie knew best how she needed to be born. I did find the recovery from the c-section extremely painful and difficult at first but now at just two weeks out I feel more or less fine. The body really is amazing and I am so happy to home and healing and in love with our baby girl. She'll never know how much she's healed the heart of our family. This is all so hard and imperfect and we all just limp along with our brokenness for the rest of our lives but there is hope for everyone in different ways. Blessings upon everyone on this path. I hope it is short and brings you peace.
March 2, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterks