Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Sometimes when you are already fearful and already struggling things get worse before they get better. For me, this is one of those times.
I was struggling with my pregnancy during the first trimester. I didn’t feel well, I was overwhelmed, I was injured, and I had this nagging fear in the back of my mind that something would be wrong with my baby. I was so fearful that something would be wrong with my baby or that I would loose her that I prevented myself from truly feeling connected to her until about 18 weeks into the pregnancy. I told myself that after the 20 week ultrasound it would finally be safe to connect to her and become excited. For reassurance along the way, I did every genetic test I could, and every test came back stating that my baby was healthy. I’ve been sleeping more than I ever have in my entire life. I desperately want to drink a pot of coffee but I’m not going to. I’ve been exercising throughout the pregnancy and eating healthy foods. I’m very hydrated. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I’ve done everything I can possibly do to grow a healthy baby. In theory, my baby should be in perfect health and she isn’t.
Four weeks ago at the 20 week ultrasound my biggest fear became reality when I learned that my baby has a congenital heart defect. I was told my baby has a congenital heart defect and then sent away. I was told that I have to go to Denver to see a specialist. I wasn’t given any hope or reassurance. The doctor kept saying, “I don’t know, you have to go to Denver”. It was maddening. I wanted her to tell me that my baby wasn’t a lost cause. I wanted her to tell me that my baby would make it. I wanted her to tell me that these things happen and that there are ways to help. I wanted her to simply be empathetic and compassionate. She didn’t do or say any of those things. She kept telling me, “I don’t know, you have to go to Denver”. She sent me away with no idea what exactly was wrong or how serious it was. For four days following that appointment I lived in fear that I was going to loose my baby. I had finally let my guard down and I had slowly started to allow myself to connect with my baby. I had just started allowing myself to get excited about the pregnancy. I had thought that I was far enough along in the pregnancy that it would be okay to for me to attach myself to this particular baby. We gave her a name and she became my very real daughter. This news devastated me.
When we finally got through the four days of waiting and went to Denver, we learned that our baby does in fact have a congenital heart defect and that she will absolutely have to be born in Denver so that she has access to a team of specialists. We were originally told that she would definitely need surgery at birth and possibly more surgeries as she grew. We’ve since been told that there is a chance she won’t need surgery if a specific set of events take place within her heart after birth. The doctor still doesn’t know for certain what is going to happen. We have to wait. I hate waiting. I hate not having an exact plan. We have a lot of appointments to attend, each in a quest to provide more information and build a plan.
This has been the worst few weeks of my entire life. Hearing that something is wrong with my baby is the worst thing I’ve ever heard. However, in the midst of this nightmare I’ve gained perspective. Nothing else seems to matter anymore. I didn’t care that we only had half a couch for a month. I don’t care that a few weeks ago I wore a raincoat to a restaurant and someone mistakingly took it. I don’t even really care very much about the meniscus injury I had at the beginning of the pregnancy anymore. I don’t care when I meticulously plan out a meeting and it turns into chaos right before my eyes. In the past these kind of things would infuriate me and I would react and now I just don’t care. None of it matters anymore. I can’t explain how much it doesn’t matter. It’s all trivial nonsense because no problem will ever be worse than learning that my baby has a congenital heart defect. When something really awful happens you realize just how meaningless everything else becomes. If there ever was a time for someone or something [unrelated to my baby] to try to rattle me or upset me without a reaction, now would be that time. Quite honestly, I just don’t care about anything else right now. I’m not abandoning my responsibilities, but I am completely unaffected by day to day nonsense and trivial chaos. I can only focus on my baby’s health. I want to get to the end of the pregnancy without any further complications. I want to get to the end of the pregnancy and meet my baby. I want to meet my baby and do whatever we need to do to make sure that she comes home in good health. I want to meet my baby and make sure that she knows she is loved.