Overdue and over-anxious
February 27, 2014 7:56 AM Subscribe
I'm supposed to give birth any minute now and am completely preoccupied by thoughts of what could go wrong. Can anyone help?
posted by raspberry-ripple to Human Relations (43 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I am either 40+6 weeks today (by scan dates) or 40 weeks today (by conception dates). This is my second pregnancy; my first ended in a miscarriage that was only discovered at the 12 week scan. I got over that without too much difficulty, but throughout this pregnancy have been plagued by thoughts of what could go wrong - although I'm sure the previous miscarriage didn't help, I do tend to focus on the worst-case scenario anyway. This time round, I just sort of assumed I probably wasn't pregnant after all until the 12 week scan, then I stressed like crazy about the anomaly scan (which was fine), then I've been preoccupied by fears of stillbirth ever since. This isn't because I know someone it's happened to (if anything, I have this completely irrational feeling that if it hasn't happened to anyone I know, then it may as well happen to me) or because I have any factors making me at higher risk (again, I would almost prefer this to be the case as then I'd be being monitored more closely rather than assumed to be okay) - it's just paranoia. A few weeks back I had to force myself to pack my hospital bags because I wasn't convinced we'd need them; last week we were decorating the nursery and I was wondering whether it was really worth doing when there might not be a baby to put in it; I haven't bothered writing a birth plan because it seems silly to be talking about how I feel about water births when I just want us both to get through it in one piece. Realistically, I know that very few pregnancies that make it this far end in stillbirth - and I know that if I had the same odds of something good happening, I would just assume it wouldn't happen and forget all about it! - but for some reason, that just isn't helping.
What is really troubling me is the thought that at some point I will have to make a decision between an induction and waiting. I don't really want to be induced, because I know it increases the likelihood of further interventions and comes with plenty of its own risks, but similarly, I'm aware the stillbirth rate creeps up as the days go by. If anything does go wrong, I want it to be something there is no way I could have avoided, not something that happened because of a decision I made. From everything I've read about overdue pregnancies, there is actually much less indication to induce before 42 weeks than is generally supposed, and the rational part of me suspects that waiting is the sensible thing to do, but my instinct is just to get the baby out by whatever means possible while I know it's still alive.
None of this is being helped by the inevitable "any news yet?!" messages I'm getting all the time (I know I've done this to pregnant friends myself - I wish I'd known how annoying it was!). Of course I know they mean well, but it only makes me feel under more pressure, and I really hate the fact that the entire point of my existence at the moment - to keep the thing alive until it decides to make an appearance - is completely out of my control (I'm keeping a very close eye on the baby's movements - even in the middle of the night sometimes - but even then I've heard of people whose babies were kicking away one minute and dead an hour later. Similarly I know you can have all sorts of monitoring done when you're overdue, but that only tells you how the baby's doing at that moment). My Mum in particular never talks to me about anything else at the moment, and I know it's only because she's beside herself with excitement, but I keep wanting to tell her to just calm down until we know for sure there actually is a baby to get excited about.
I suppose my questions are:
1. How do I cope with the rest of my pregnancy in this state of worry? (I realise the worry only continues once the baby's born, but let's deal with one thing at a time here.) I cannot bring myself to feel excited about meeting my baby because I'm just not convinced it's going to happen. This I can live with, but the constant anxiety is really weighing me down. My husband is supportive, but is very, very rational and sees the risk for what it is, which I seem to be incapable of doing - I also worry more about how he, and my parents, would cope if the worst happened than how I would, and I feel terrified of letting them all down.
2. How do I make a sensible and informed decision about induction, if I get to the stage where I have to make one - particularly with the uncertainty about dates? My midwife is happy for me to wait til Monday before I see her again, and she's talking about doing a membrane sweep then - I'd hoped to avoid this too, but at least it's pretty non-invasive (though not especially effective from what I've read either). I imagine at that point I'll have to start thinking about induction really seriously, and I'd like to have made up my mind by that point really.
I know this is all rather vague and rambly and I'm not sure what anyone can really say to help, but if anyone's been in a similar position, or can think of a way to help me reframe my thinking, I would really love to hear your thoughts.