Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fear of what?

During my pregnancy with B (my youngest) and throughout her young life, I have been plagued by anxiety.  At first, it was a fear that something catastrophic would go wrong during the pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy.  Then, when I was about 20 weeks along, H1N1 hit with the news media blowing everything way out of proportion.  I was fearful of myself or my older children getting sick and I was fearful of something happening to B in utero.  I can honestly say that I did not enjoy her pregnancy at all.  We ended up delivering via C-section 3 weeks early due to concerns over possible uterine rupture from complications stemming from the pregnancy I lost.  My OB required an amnio to determine lung maturity at 36 weeks, and that stressed me out, too. 

Once she was here, she was a very sleepy newborn and lost almost 14% of her body weight in the first week.  I pumped and gave bottles for a while and eventually she started gaining, but not after being given a failure to thrive diagnosis.  As a side note, we did manage to establish a very successful nursing relationship, and I am very proud to say we nursed for almost 18 months and just stopped breastfeeding this week.   Next, we were sent to a pediatric orthopedist after our pediatrician heard a "clicky hip" at her one month appointment.  She had multiple hip ultrasounds over the next few months, and checked out normal in the end, but we had a possible diagnosis of hip dysplasia (which involves therapeutic bracing as a treatment) hanging over our head until she was about six months old or so.  Interestingly enough, her gross motor skills were right on target, maybe even a little ahead.  She crawled at 8 months and walked  at 11 months.  No worries after all.

When she was about a year old, I had her eyesight tested for free through the Infant See program.  F is extremely farsighted and required patching for several years, and because that vision problem can be hereditary, I wanted B tested as well.  Sure enough, she is also farsighted enough to require glasses.  Since we had already gone through this with F, it was really no big deal for us.  Keeping them on, however, has been a bit of a challenge!

As I wrote back in November, B had about about a month and a half of diarrhea and unexplained rashes, so we took her to an allergist.  We think the diarrhea was caused by the almost continual use of an antibiotic last fall when she had a string of ear infections.  The test results showed mild to moderate milk, egg and beef allergies.  Our allergist explained that with her bowels already raw from the antibiotics, the consumption of these foods could have exacerbated the condition causing further irritation.   A prescription anti-fungal seems to have cleared up the diarrhea, and we've slowly been able to add back some of the foods we eliminated from her diet.  The rashes were diagnosed as mild eczema, which could have been linked to the food allergies or even the bitter cold we've had all winter.  And it's been a horrible winter for us weather-wise.  But that's is content for a whole other post.  Some over the counter hydro cortisone and lots of moisturizer has really helped with her skin.

Each of these issues in itself may not seem like that big of a deal.  Certainly none of these conditions are life threatening, but they have all caused me anxiety.   Many of these "scares" ended up being a whole lot of worry for nothing.  I'm sure we all want our babies to be spared unnecessary discomfort and lead normal, happy, healthy lives.  But I don't remember feeling such fear of the unknown with my older children, yet they were conceived after struggling with infertility.  Maybe I felt, in a way, that we had "conquered" the infertility and the worst was now over?  With the older kids, we kind of rolled with the punches, and there were (and continue to be) numerous illnesses and injuries, most of which are pretty normal kid stuff.  I can be a bit of a worry-wart by nature, but it does make me wonder how much of my anxiety with B really is related to my loss. 

So I will end this with a question.  I'm curious, how many of you who have gone on to have a baby post loss find that you continue to have anxiety over their well being, whether justified or not?  Some of what I worry about may or may not be warranted, and most of it results in nothing too terrible in the end.  Feel free to share your experiences.  I would really like to know how others view infertility or loss in terms of coloring their parenting style.  If you have other children, do you find that your parenting experience has been different post loss?