Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From Worry to Wonder

Today's post was written by one of my favorite mommy-bloggers, Jessica Fisher, AKA FishMama...

I was always a worrier as a child. I always thought about the “what ifs” and the worst case scenario. My mother became accustomed to fielding my fears and helping me through them. But, that didn’t solve it. I carried my tendency toward anxiety into adulthood and, my husband became the one to help me think rationally about the fears that plagued me.

We had been married for two years when I conceived, and how excited we were! Yet, I worried.

What if there is something wrong with the baby? What if I miscarry and I don’t know it? What if I go to the doctor appointment and the baby has just vanished?

I never said these fears were rational.

Every time I went to the bathroom I worried that I would see blood or that I would lose the baby. But, after an easy-going pregnancy, plagued by only a few bouts of heartburn, our son was born. And I could worry about other things.

He was about eighteen months when we conceived again. I didn’t worry this time because the first time had been such a success. However, nine weeks into the pregnancy I started spotting. The midwife said it could be implantation bleeding. But, after several days of bleeding and an ultrasound, we found out that our baby had died. We chose to miscarry naturally rather than have a D and C. And I found myself with a new set of worries:

What if I hemorrhage? What if I die, and my son is left without a mother? What if?

But, I didn’t die. I didn’t hemorrhage. Instead, I went on to conceive again and again, but to have two more miscarriages in the following eleven months. In that year of doctor’s visits, blood tests, and loss, I learned a lot about how a woman’s body (and heart) works. Here are some of the things I learned:

1. Ask questions. No matter how silly they may seem, ask them. To know the truth about your condition is power against anxiety. Yes, something bad may happen, but don’t fear the things that couldn’t happen or those that are highly unlikely. If you’re confused, ask for help to understand what is happening to you.

2. Become familiar with the medical terms involved. A miscarriage is really called “a spontaneous abortion.” I hated the connotations that the phrase brought because I so badly wanted those babies. I wasn’t aborting them, but my body was. It helped to understand what was written on my paper work. To be able to ask questions in an informed manner, adopting medical terminology, helped me to feel a little more in control of an uncontrollable situation.

3. Find out your options. I chose to miscarry at home the first two times. I assume that I was low-risk for complications. Determine what choices you can have. I was able to stay in the comfort of my own home, unmedicated except for high does of ibuprofen as opposed to being an out-patient and undergo anesthesia.

The physical aspects of miscarrying were not very painful, just like a very bad period. You are instructed to watch for excessive bleeding and to seek medical attention if you see signs of hemorrhaging.

The doctor will determine if the miscarriage is “complete” through blood testing for HcG hormones.

4. Keep your mental health in mind. The psychological aspect of miscarrying can vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy. Keep a gauge on how you’re doing by talking with your spouse, friends, and medical professionals. And make your decisions accordingly. My second miscarriage took six weeks of bleeding before it was complete. That was excruciating for my mind. It seemed forever before I could “move on.” So when I miscarried a third time, I chose to have a D&C. I chose not to risk another couple months of being constantly reminded of my loss every time I went to the bathroom.

5. Trust in the One who knows your body inside and out. One thing that really helped me during that time was learning to trust God with the outcome. I was listening to a radio program of a family that had experienced great loss one day and heard the father say, “We trust not in what God will do because we don’t know what He will do. We trust in Who He is. Creator. All-mighty God. The Great Physician.”

Amen. God created me. He knew my body. He knew the plans He had for me. And He said they would be good. I could echo Job’s words, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” To pray over and over for faith to trust Him was the best way to battle the anxiety of the “what ifs.” He was able to take my worry and make me wonder what great plans He had for me. May He do the same for you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

Jessica Fisher, aka FishMama, is a happy wife and mother of SIX kids. (Yes, we went on to conceive and birth five more children!) Follow her on her journey to Joyful Motherhood at www.lifeasmom.com.


Ryann said...

I'm also a big fan of fishmama and I am so proud of her for sharing her struggles and triumphs with us. Thanks so much!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jessica. We chose to opt out of the D and C, too. Miscarrying our baby was so emotionally painful. I was certainly happy to have my husband and our 9 month old daughter to cling to at the time!