38 Days to go

So much and so little has changed lately. My anxiety had me paralyzed into inactivity for a while now, but that didn’t stop me following regularly scheduled events. I’m a little exhausted by doctors appointments, and I leaned into the last gap in visits while I digested new information: breastfeeding, childbirth, nesting.

I’m still heartbroken about breastfeeding. I am hopeful that I can establish some supply once treatment is all done. But I cannot know when or where that finish line is. I learn after we have surgery and get the pathology. And we have scheduled that just 3 weeks after I deliver her. It seems so soon. And it is frightening.

What if I have to have a cesarean section? That is serious abdominal surgery. They don’t recommend lifting your child for 6-8 weeks after that, and I’ll be expected to mother my toddler, bond with my newborn, grieve my inability to feed her, and recover from a second surgery three weeks postpartum?? Have I mentioned that my anxiety disorder will flare up with postpartum hormone fluctuations?

No. That just seems outrageous. Two surgeries in one month is too much to contemplate. Childbirth and lumpectomy seems like too much in one month. I need my Labor and Delivery team to know how impossible a C-section is unless I am actually dying.

And if a C-section is the only way to save my life, then I must be put under general anesthesia. I experienced the trauma of an awake surgery already in this journey. It was only a 15 minute procedure to place my mediport in my chest. And those 15 minutes will not only haunt me, but the surgical staff that attempted to comfort me through a panic attack as I submitted to torture involving one of my worst fears.

If my life is on the line, I very much doubt that a panic attack will help matters in the operating room.

I see all of my baby doctors this week. I have an appointment with my counselor to prepare my birth plan and find the words to state my case. I hope I’m made more brave before Thursday afternoon.

Luckily I have learned some tools and coping mechanisms to help myself. Presently, I’m just giving myself the patience and grace to accept that I need to move slowly. I can’t take on many challenges. I limit myself and take breaks. I’ve not had a panic attack during this period of high anxiety. I have been a little short and a little rude to my family from time to time, but it doesn’t escalate, I stop and ask for help, I apologize and take steps to give affection as a means to help them heal from my anger.

This improvement has been a dramatic change from the person I was just 6 months ago.

I’ve also changed in my increased patience with myself. I am very proud of that. In my last pregnancy, at this time everyone was telling me to slow down and rest more because my blood pressure was high, my ankles were swollen every night from standing too much, I wasn’t sleeping when I was tired, I was working far too hard at my day job. That isn’t the case now. I rest when I’m tired at home or at the office. I go to bed when I’m sleepy. I don’t climb the stairs in my house. I don’t squash my belly to reach into the washing machine. I take measures to keep myself comfortable before I get into serious pain.

I’m also proud of my bravery at Quest Diagnostics! I had my blood drawn for the glucose challenge and it was a synch. I didn’t get faint, or sweaty, or worried about the poke in my arm. I unfortunately have to do it again. In a few days. Three times in one day. I failed the first glucose challenge. Boo.

So these are the things that have changed. The scary ones are at the forefront of my mind because there is no more time to avoid them. I must take action. And before I take action, I apparently have to saturate in my anxiety for a few weeks. The good changes are a silver lining, moments of intense pride in my growth.

The things that have not changed are environmental. My house is not organized for an infant yet! Pack’n’plays, bassinettes, baby swings, bouncers, clothes, dresser, postpartum care, are all still packed up in the attic. And my hospital bag! I haven’t even packed my labor and delivery hospital bag. Meanwhile the house looks like two working adults and a toddler are living there with no thought of a newborn baby joining them in 6 weeks. (Except, Thanksgiving weekend we did rearrange the kitchen so we’d have more room for formula preparation. That was a big relief)

Also unchanged are holiday decorations, the Christmas stuff is also still in the attic. I sense that only a tree and some string lights will go up this year, since I’ll need it all to go away soon after Christmas is done. You know, before a stork shows up with a baby.

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