I Almost Died

At least I thought I might die.

Two days ago I was minding my own business when suddenly I couldn’t breathe and my heart started pounding and my head felt woozy. Web M.D. said, “you’re dying,” and I climbed into bed and stared at the ceiling until the bad feeling passed an hour later. I thought it might be my low blood pressure or anemia again so I just tried to relax for the rest of the day and ride it out in bed. But then the same thing happened again the next day and F told me to call the doctor just to make sure everything was okay with the baby. When I called, my doctor asked me to come in which kind of freaked me out a little. I’ve only got 8 weeks left in this pregnancy and I desperately want to finish without anything “bad” happening (and wow, can so much go wrong and every single stranger at a cocktail party can’t wait to list off those possibilities for you).

But turns out I’m healthy as a horse. My blood pressure is normal, my heart rate is normal, and the baby’s heart rate is a strong and steady 140 like a little hummingbird. So what’s wrong, then?

After a long chat with my doctor, she took a deep breath and looked at me like she felt bad to tell me the next part which made my throat tighten. “Honestly,” she said, “I think you’re having panic attacks.”

Wait, what?

This caught me off guard. I have a history of anxiety, panic, complex trauma, and depression, that’s true, but I’m usually pretty good at spotting the symptoms early enough to manage things before they get out of hand (thank you, therapy). And lately, I’ve been happy and relaxed and my symptoms didn’t feel like panic, which I told my doctor. “Well, everything feels different when you’re pregnant,” she said, “because of the hormones. It’s entirely possible that I’m wrong but it really sounds to me like anxiety. Can you talk with your therapist about it and work on getting your stress down? Remember, your body is under a lot of strain right now even if you’re mind isn’t.”

True. And in addition to lugging around twenty pounds of baby, I haven’t been sleeping very well at all because it’s hard to get comfortable when I have a little fist jabbing me in the bladder like they’re in there fist pumping to Def Leppard.

She asked me if my baby moved a lot.

“Constantly,” I said.

Then I pulled out my phone and asked, “Can I show you a picture of my stomach? I’m in my underwear but you’re going to be like elbows deep in my vagina soon so I doubt that’s an issue for you?”

“Show me,” she said, with a chuckle. And so I handed her a picture of my stomach with a giant cone shape protruding from my right side where my baby seemed determined to burrow to freedom through my abdomen.

“So cute! It’s good that the baby moves so much and is so active! That means they’re healthy and strong which is what we want!” And that’s always good to hear, that my baby is healthy.

“But can the baby actually burrow out of my stomach?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, with a concerned look on her face like, why don’t you already know that. 

Then she sent her nurse in to poke my finger to check my iron which is still low and so now I have to take iron twice per day in addition to my prenatal and I’m pretty sure my body is going to implode from so many vitamins.

But on the flip side, we’re both healthy. Now, on to therapy.

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