This pregnancy has been so unusual, something I’ve talked about several times before. And this time we’re doing things a bit differently, too. I honestly never imagined myself where I am now — the way I was in my first pregnancy was basically night and day from now! Back then I saw an OB, birthed in a hospital, ate the “usual” American way (canned and boxed meals a lot), did all the recommended tests (including the optional quad screen), planned to disposable diaper…and so on.
And I was afraid.
I spent way too much time reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” which was entirely useless and completely freaked me out. I was certain I needed every single test ever, and any little twinge or symptom made me worry about what might be wrong. Despite all my reading, I was woefully uninformed, and I didn’t trust my body at all.
But this time, things are different. And by doing things differently, I’ve learned to trust my body more.
I really don’t like being scared all the time. Who does? I don’t like wondering “what if” or thinking that every little thing is a sign something’s wrong. I don’t like the overly cautious attitude of “Well, there’s a test/procedure for that…” without the additional information of, “…but mostly likely everything is fine, and here’s what the possibilities are.”
I didn’t know, in my first pregnancy, that it was really quite normal to have a very tiny bit of light pink spotting. I would have completely freaked out (more than I already did) if I hadn’t had an ultrasound the next day. I didn’t know that light spotting that quickly stops and doesn’t come back really is not a problem.
I didn’t know that very light meconium staining is usually not a problem. It can be, and it’s wise to be aware of the situation, but typically it causes no issues with babies. No one told me this, so when it happened, I was convinced my baby could be very sick at birth.
I had to let go of all the worry.
Sure, there’s always a chance something could go wrong. There’s even a chance that maybe whatever’s wrong could be fixable before birth, via surgery — or immediately after. It’s a tiny chance that that would happen, but it could. I’d rather not deal with the “what ifs” and the extra testing. I knew someone whose quad screen came back with a high chance of Down Syndrome, which led to lots more testing and many nerve-wracking weeks…plus the doubt until the baby was eventually born…completely healthy.
That’s not a situation that *I*, personally, want to be in. It may mean that something unpredictable happens at birth…I don’t know. But I am hoping that in trusting my body, as I have come to do, that I would have a symptom, or at least an intuition that that something wasn’t right.
I’ve had to learn to trust my body. If I feel any pain, I can identify it. I know if it’s round ligament pain, Braxton Hicks, or something else. I’ve come to identify the different types of “normal” pain that I experience. I know what contractions feel like, real ones, and I’d know if I was having them…which I hopefully won’t feel until the time is right.
If I ever do experience something new, I can sit and sort through it and take note of what’s going on: is the baby still moving okay? Am I dilating? What could have caused this? I can figure out what is going on and understand it. I don’t have to freak out. As long as my baby is still moving and I feel basically “normal,” I know things are okay.
I also know when something is not okay and when I need to call my midwives or ask for help. I trust them, too. I know they will tell me what is likely going on, what could be going on, the chances of “this” being a problem, and give me the full information…before recommending what they believe to be best for me to do. I know they’ll trust my instincts but also err on the side of caution. I know they have transferred laboring mothers before for no other reason than both mom and midwife felt, instinctually, that something “wasn’t right,” despite everything progressing normally.
Being pregnant and being in tune with my body and my baby this way has allowed me a freedom I didn’t have. A freedom to trust my body and my instincts, to listen to what’s actually happening instead of letting my mind wander to all the crazy “what ifs” out there. A freedom to know I am connected to myself and my baby and that I will be absorbed in that and ready to handle it…if anything does go wrong. That is how I am — I need to be absorbed and experienced before I can understand. And now, I can.
Has pregnancy helped you to trust your body more? Or does pregnancy worry you?
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