This past week was a rough one for me. I had a lot of digestive issues that led to an upset stomach over the past weekend, and then on Tuesday my stomach issues developed into belly cramps. I called the nurse line on Tuesday night, after clinic hours and asked what I should do, as I could not tell the difference between just belly cramps or preterm labor. So, the nurse had me come into the hospital for a routine check. My anxiety was high, but I went anyway.
We got to the hospital, and after some monitoring of baby’s heartbeat and monitoring for contractions, we learned that everything was fine with baby and with me. I was not having preterm labor. Rather, the doctor explained that I probably have irritable bowel syndrome. After hearing that, a part of me felt foolish, I felt like I had wasted the good doctors and nurses’ time with my silly fears that turned out to be nothing. I voiced this concern to the doctor and found myself apologizing over and over again for coming in.
Finally, the doctor said something to this effect, “After what has happened to you, it is normal to be concerned. It’s normal to want to be reassured and we can do that. Even if you had never experienced a pregnancy loss, it’s STILL normal for a pregnant woman to need reassurance. If you need to come back 20 more times before the end of your pregnancy, you can. That’s what we are here for.” The beautiful doctor leaned in and gave me a hug and after hearing her words of permission to not “be okay” all the time, to not have to be “strong” every minute, tears began to fall as she embraced me with genuine concern. Nick even told me later as we drove home in the car that he got misty eyed seeing the doctor give me a hug. A big, compassionate, what I needed in that moment, long hug; writing about it now still makes me tear up.
The lesson I have learned is that it is okay to not be okay during a pregnancy after a loss. I don’t always have to be strong and hold in my feelings that I am scared to death, that each day is filled with anxiety and fear, and that I can rely on others to help provide a moment of reassurance that I am doing the best I can with what I have. With reassurance that it’s okay to not be okay.