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The Return of Anxiety

32w3d- Everything in life is cyclical, including, or perhaps especially, your emotions during pregnancy. 

For the first 20 weeks, just like all first-time moms, I was nervous about everything. Should I eat that turkey sandwich? Should I be feeling more kicks? Is this topical steroid OK to use? But then I had the 20-week ultrasound and most (if not all) of my fears were put at ease. The ultrasound tech went down the checklist: there are the 2 kidneys, there are the four chambers of the heart, the lips, nose and eyes are fully formed, etc. 

For the next 12 weeks, I just coasted with a big smile on my face. I felt calm and excited, and pretty much proceeded through my daily life as if I wasn’t pregnant. 

So why then do I feel the anxiety coming back? I should be mastering this whole pregnancy thing, not reverting back to my old, nervous self! 

At my 32-week appointment a few days ago, I talked to the doctor (once again) about how many Braxton Hicks contractions I get. “As long as you don’t get 6 an hour, you should be fine.” OK. But I’ve had 5 an hour. And 6 in an hour and 10 minutes. Is this ‘6’ line written in permanent marker or just penciled in? So, he did a cervical exam (even though they aren’t supposed to start until 35 weeks) and said everything was normal but my cervix was already thinning. Lovely. To my knowledge, Braxton Hicks are a good thing, unless you get too many. Then, they can thin things that shouldn’t be thinning yet and send you into pre-term labor. Awesome. “Just take it easy,” he said. 

Me: “Is having this many Braxton Hicks contractions normal?”

Doctor: Insert generic, non-definitive answer that tells me nothing.

Me: “OK, well, then, should I be worried?
Doctor: Insert generic, non-definitive answer that tells me nothing.

Me: “Is this harming my baby?”

Doctor: Insert generic, non-definitive answer that tells me nothing. 

All this awesome reassurance (can you hear sarcasm through the written word?) sent me over the sanity edge. Does this mean I’ll have her too early? Does she get squished when I have these Braxton Hicks? Does she have enough room in there? Do I have enough amniotic fluid? My mind was gone. When we got in the car, I broke down. It was really the first time in 32 weeks that I’ve cried from being nervous. Flash forward to later that night when nervous took on a whole new level — I had bleeding from the exam. (Yes, I know this is totally normal. But when you’re already on high alert, there’s nothing worse!)

I trust my doctor 100 percent. I really do. I know he’d speak up if he was concerned about something and that his job is to keep me calm. But seriously — What’s a girl got to do to get a little positive reinforcement? A little, “Everything looks normal. You’re doing a good job. Your baby is perfectly healthy, from what we can tell.” Now that would keep me calm. 

My last question to the doctor as Jason and I walked out of the room was, “Why do you think first-time moms assume there’s something wrong?” His response: “Do you want one last ultrasound? Would that make you feel better?” 

I jumped at the opportunity. “Yes! That would make me feel better!” After 20 weeks, he told me there were no more ultrasounds, unless they suspected something was wrong. I can’t wait for my next appointment. 

But wait… Was this his genius way of scheduling an ultrasound without telling me he suspects something is wrong?! 

Good grief. Welcome back, anxiety. I haven’t missed you. 

Did your nerves return late in your third trimester? Did you have as many Braxton Hicks as I’m having? If so, did your baby come early?