Being eleven weeks pregnant today, I knew
that there was the possibility of hearing the baby's heartbeat at this week's
ultrasound. The tech placed the wand on my stomach, and almost immediately, the
baby popped into view, the heartbeat fluttering and arms and legs waving. I
breathed a sigh of relief. Initially she told us that we wouldn't be able to
hear the heartbeat with their ultrasound equipment, but after taking some
measurements and hearing our story, she slipped her hand down to a few buttons
and suddenly the room filled with the rhythmic whump-whump of the heartbeat.
I've never heard such a beautiful sound.
Yesterday, I could feel the anxiety
starting to settle in, coming as it usually does a day or two before an
ultrasound check. I would start to feel the usual sense of dread and the
thoughts would come, uninvited, through my head: What if something happened to
the baby? I would get the heaviness in the pit of my stomach, my mouth would go
dry, and my hands would start to shake. Every week. I would tell my pregnant or
postpartum friends my fears. "I wish I could relax, but I am so worried that
something will go wrong."
Those who went through fertility treatments would nod reassuringly, and tell me that my feelings were normal. That they
felt the same way. "And then when you give birth and you have your little baby,
you'll have a whole new set of worries! The worrying about your children never
seems to end."
I completely get it. I'm sure I'm going to
be one of *those* new moms that fret about every little thing, much to my
husband's chagrin. I'm going to give minuscule bits of food to my baby when
they learn how to eat solids, so they don't choke. I'm probably going to watch
them with binoculars as they play out in the backyard. I refuse to be a helicopter
parent, but I can imagine for awhile, I will be pretty protective.
Actually having a baby inside me is an infinitely better sort of worry than no baby at all.
However, that being said, it got me
thinking. Worrying about my baby at two in the morning, looking down at her
sleeping newborn face, sounds infinitely better than pressing my hand over my
abdomen throughout the day, facing the dread every week that I've lost her.
Watching my baby play in her crib, worrying if I am raising her right, sounds a
hell of a lot easier than the fear of her heart ceasing to beat at the next
ultrasound, or seeing the bright red blood the next time I use the bathroom.
I remember when I was little, how long it
took me to understand the phrase "The grass is always greener on the other
side." Since going through infertility, I realize how much that quote is true.
Making the jump from timed intercourse to intrauterine insemination was scary,
but it was so much better than all that wasted sex (my husband would disagree.) When we moved onto IVF, it brought a whole new set of worry, but this time, I
felt like we were really doing something useful. But as time went on, and each
cycle failed, the worry lines grew deeper in my face. The hopelessness started
settling in. I worried if this, all of this, was even going to work.
Now that I am on the tail end of my first
trimester, I can tell you, this worry is different. Actually having a baby
inside me is an infinitely better sort of worry than no baby at all. Worrying
about the next ultrasound is so much better than worrying if the last treatment
we can afford is going to work, when none of them had in the past.
So I get it. I get the worry will never stop when I am a mom and
responsible for another life. But I will be holding my baby. I will brush her
hair. I will buy her school supplies and the newest movie she is obsessed with.
She will be here with me, alive and smiling and wanting to kiss boys at an
entirely too early age. And that is a worry I think I am looking forward too.