Terror. Terror is a thing (NBHHY)

Yesterday, I was paddling about on Twitter, seeing if anyone had said anything amusing lately, in a fairly serene and optimistic mood (I know. Optimism. Who’d’a thunk it?). And instead I saw the news of an eight-week scan gone tragically wrong – no heartbeat, no baby after all.

Yes. That can happen. It happened to me, once. Seeing that forlorn tweet was like falling through a trap-door. I was overwhelmed with sorrow for the woman who posted it, and empathy, and for a few minutes I could only think of her sadness and remember how bereft I had felt when Pikaia turned out to be blighted after all.

And then, of course, I panicked on my own behalf.

It’s over a week until my scan. I am five weeks and four days pregnant right now (by that slightly daft reckoning that assumes pregnancy a) begins on the first day of your period and b) your cycle is always exactly 28 days. This embryo was actually conceived three weeks and four days ago). If I had a scan now, it’d be inconclusive at best, as my embryo and his/her entire playpen are still too small to visualise as more than a tiny circle, a few millimetres across, the heart, even if it is there, too small to see beating. And I have no worrying symptoms at all. The cramps that bothered me last week have mostly naffed off, unless I walk a lot, and then they go away when I sit down and have a drink. I feel sick in the evenings. My breasts hurt. I get light-headed easily. I am not spotting at all. I, a life-long night-owl and midnight-oil-burner, am ready to clamber into bed at 10pm sharp. Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet.

And I am absolutely paralytic with anxiety.

The baby will not die because I rejoiced in its existence.

The baby will not live because I panicked and fretted and grieved over it.

I must keep telling myself that. And keep taking the medications. And wait.

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20 responses to “Terror. Terror is a thing (NBHHY)

  • KeAnne

    Hugs to you, and I hope you have the first of many perfect u/s w/ this pregnancy. It is terrible we have the knowledge we do and that ultimately, it is out of our hands.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    It is both a mercy and a horror that none of those thoughts influence the result. All our houses are built on sand.

    I hope that you can still take some joy, even while waiting, but if you find you cannot always, there is the mercy part of the helplessness.

    Meanwhile, I will keep hoping and hoping for the most reassuring scan ever. Xo

  • Blanche

    The waiting was the hardest part of all to me, even harder than the processes which resulted in the need to wait.

    Peace to you in the wait – peace with the ups and the downs and the terror and the rejoicing. I will be wishing for peace and excellent results next week for you.

  • Jo

    Oh, I understand this all too well. I do not have any good advice – as I approach MY 8-week scan in a few days, I am terrified that the heartbeat we saw last week will be gone. I can only say that you are right – whether you fret or celebrate, things will go how they will go. And no amount of worrying ahead of time will make it easier. Sending hugs across the pond.

  • Robyn

    One of the mysteries of the universe to me is, that despite our innate intelligence, we still make room for magical thinking. And there are times I enjoy playing with magic very much indeed. But, in the end, I have to remind myself that I’m just a poor mortal (and after the recent termite attack, very poor). You captured the reality quite a few posts back with your reference to the plodding ox. When things get murky, all any of us can do is plod on through the actual evidence of reality. It’s the opposite of magic, but it will take you to some very true places.

  • Emily Erin

    Nothing brilliant to add, just a candle to fight back the darkness and terror and some chocolate to help you get through the next week. Boo on waiting.

  • Betty M

    The waiting is agony. But nbhhy. Hold on to this thought hard. We are holding on to it with you. And taking deep breaths. And hoping hard for you.

  • Mina

    One is only prepared for the good to happen, unexpectedly or not. No amount of prior thinking/worrying/ panicking about anything can make something bad be easier. You know that better than most people. Until the next “pit stop/scan”, hold on to the nbhhy and numb your mind with whatever you can (I am looking at you, candy crush) to stop it from sliding into the “bad things can happen” snake nest.

  • Valery Valentina

    These are special days. weeks. And hopefully months.
    hugs and heartbeaty thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    Sending ‘hang on in there’ thoughts to both you and your baby. Take care x.

  • Lilian

    Identifying with this post, especially the last 3 sentences (apart from the medication bit). I’m trying to take things a few days at a time at most. In a way, I’ve been ‘fortunate’ to have to have early pregnancy scans and more check-ups in general because at least more regular checks means less potential fretting in between times. Well, in theory! Hanging in there with you.

  • Chickenpig

    No truer words have ever been spoken. Nothing about how we feel makes any difference in the world to a 4 week old fetus.

    The worst is having people tell you to relax and not stress because “That is bad for the baby.” So then you feel guilty and stressed for feeling stressed. And if something bad should happen, then you feel like if you had only felt happier everything would have gone well….It is a horrible, vicious circle.

    I am anxiously waiting for your scan. I know that it is totally crazy, but I persistently hold on to the belief that if enough people hope, wish, and hold that little fetus in their hearts that whatever wheel of fate is out there will roll on by. I said it was crazy, but still I hope.

  • sheila

    I know that feeling and its horrible. Big hugs. Just be very kind and gentle to yourself until scan day.

  • a

    And that’s why I like being reminded that Nothing Bad Has Happened Yet. Because it can happen. No amount of wishing can change things. All you can do is wait and see.

    But on the other hand…nothing bad has happened. And there is every possibility that nothing bad will happen (past performance is not a guarantee of future events – isn’t that what they say in investing? Works here too.). So, you wait and see.

    I think everything will be fine. I hope everything will be fine. I was thinking of you this morning and counting off the days ’til your scan…and imagining it going very well with heart beat and arm and leg buds and such. So beat back the fear and keep in mind that NOTHING BAD HAS HAPPENED.

    (Oh, also…I think you’ve gotten past the blighted ovum stage at least. There should be some upside to having your embryos tested, and I think that’s it. So…there’s something anyway?)

  • Melissa

    AW! I think it would be impossible NOT to be terrified sweetie! We’re counting the days with you!

  • wombattwo

    The terror. Oh the terror. Even now I get PTSD-style flashbacks of it when I think back to those weeks.

    Hoping that distraction comes easily to you. I have everything crossed for your scan.

  • kylie

    Yep, in the throes of that right now. And as much as I keep telling myself that I will relax after next week’s scan (which is week 8) I suspect I will not. It just becomes the next milestone. So fingers and toes crossed. The odds of a good scan are much higher than the odds for a bad scan.

    I laughed when I heard about Tom Cruise buying a monitoring machine when Katie was pregnant. I totally get that now. there must be a space in the market for home dildo-cam, for all of us nervous ones. Somehting you can rent from the chemist, like crutches or blood pressure monitors.

  • carole

    I’m so sorry. Early pregnancy when one has a History is just utter, utter arse. There’s no dressing it up; it’s god-awful almost all the time. Just try to distract yourself as much as possible, it doesn’t really work to be frank, but it can take the edge off a little bit. Try a few safe, calming books: personally I always found children’s classic literature very soothing. Bit of Anne of Green Gables, or the Little White Horse, that sort of thing. With carrots and hummus, if you must! Also Wodehouse. It’s always hard to feel worried when reading Wodehouse!

  • Womb For Improvement

    Every time I had a scan I’d feel sanguine for about 2hours before I’d worry about the baby not making it. I’d long for my next scan or heatbeat check to reassure me that all was well. I thought it would get easier once she’d started kicking because then her movements would reassure me but too long without feeling anything would have me prodding myself in vain attempts to get a reaction. Best of luck, I’m rooting for you.

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