I never really experienced a stress-free pregnancy. I was always jealous of the women who hadn’t had the experience of a scare – or a loss. I envied the way that they moved through their pregnancies, blissfully unaware that Mother Nature was a total bitch that could take it all away at any moment.
After an early miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, and a miscarriage the day before my 12-week ultrasound – when I finally became pregnant again I was beyond terrified.
My doctor, in an attempt to ease my mind, offered ultrasounds every two weeks for the first three months of my pregnancy. I wouldn’t recommend this. The ritual that was supposed to be relaxing me was actually making me a nervous wreck. On each visit I would look away from the screen, convinced that I wouldn’t see the flickering light that indicated a tiny, beating heart. Each time, it would be there. Look, there it is, the doctor would beam. Yeah, for now, I would think.
After the bi-monthly ultrasounds came to end, I purchased an at-home fetal heart rate monitor. Daily, I snuck into our bedroom to perform this ritual. I say “snuck” because my husband had no idea that this was something I was doing every day. I’m pretty sure he thought it was something I did every couple of weeks – the few times a month I would summon him to join me. I don’t know why I hid this from him. Maybe because I knew it was obsessive. Maybe because I didn’t want him to know how worried I was. Or maybe just because I didn’t want him to think I was a total freak.
I spent hours on baby boards analyzing how women were feeling and acting. I didn’t have any morning sickness. This would normally be a reason to rejoice, but for me it was an indication that something was definitely wrong. Why was I feeling so good when all of these other ladies were complaining constantly?
When women would share the ways in which they told their friends and families that they were pregnant, I would think, too early! You’re going to regret that. Daily, I would cynically judge their joy – thinking they were too naive to understand that they weren’t in the clear. When I stumbled upon an “I’m out” or “Trigger Warning” post – which indicated that someone had miscarried – I would avoid it as if just looking at the words would manifest the same horrible outcome for me.
I studied every weekly explanation of “how your baby is growing” that was offered on just about every pregnancy site on the Internet. At any moment, I could tell you which fruit my growing fetus most closely resembled and the ways in which all of his organs were developing.
Does this sound fun, at all? It wasn’t. It was an effing nightmare.