Slaying Dragons

I’m pregnant with Amelia.  It was a long journey to get here. Getting here has been good but it has been a scary one with dragons disguised as helpless emotion and big thorny plants that resemble self-pity and can swallow you whole. Luckily I’ve discovered I have swords to slay the dragons and some round-up for the weeds.  I haven’t written about this pregnancy much because it feels personal and a not that unique.  Every mother has a story of a child- of her child- of the journey to have a child.  Wherever you are in (or out) of that journey, thanks for reading a glimpse of my baby story

Amelia has been diagnosed with CCAM, which means part of her lung is filled with unhealthy cystic tissue. Which means the unhealthy tissue in her lung is big enough that it pushed her heart to be on the wrong side of her chest.  Which means the pressure on her heart could cause heart failure.  Which means that we go in to see a doctor weekly to monitor the health of her heart and the size of the cysts. Which means she’ll likely need surgery after she’s born to remove part of her lung. The outlook is good.  The process is scary.

On a Friday Brandon and I went in for a routine ultrasound to measure our baby’s little body and organs.  When the ultrasound was over, the technician printed out pixelated photos of what we saw on the screen and we cooed over the photos as if Anne Geddes herself handed us the first colorful vibrant pictures of our baby.  The technician left and I wiped (smeared) ultrasound goo from (around) my expanding belly—making sure to get the puddle from my soon-to-be-outie belly button.  When the ultrasound technician entered the room again, the words that left her lips were quick and to the point, “your baby has a large mass in her chest so an appointment on Monday for follow up tests has been scheduled”.

I held it together for a good six minutes, which is just enough time to make it to the hallway where my emotion flooded my cheeks and neck with tears that couldn’t take my helplessness away. I wished my tears had magic healing power.  But they didn’t make me braver.  My tears didn’t numb how scared I was.  They didn’t give me peace.  All they gave me were puffy red eyes and clumpy has-been mascara marks.  After making my way to the restroom I lowered to my knees in the stall.  I wasn’t in control.  I’m not in control. While Brandon’s emotions stunned him into his stoic German roots, mine swirled into a steady flow of heavy tears. 

We’ve had lots of follow up appointments, been through lots of tests, and met with lots of specialists after that Friday.  We gained insight into our new reality.  We talked about potential scary outcomes and we talked about hopeful possibilities.  Each visit with a specialist brought both a sense of fire-breathing anxiety and the undeniable fact that ‘this is really happening’. Sometimes I was filled with a bright ray of hope though. And I loved feeling the hope. I wanted more of that feeling.

So I decided to go get some hope.  I decided each visit was an opportunity for more information.  Information helps make better decisions.  And I like good decisions.  I decided that I would not wallow in helplessness.  Instead I would repeat pep-talks to Amelia (which I think were really for my soul) about being a strong healthy person in the face of imperfect situations.  I stopped allowing myself to feel sorry for having to see all of these specialists and I started being grateful for weekly checkups on my baby’s health.  I decided that in my lack of control, my love for Amelia would have to do.  I didn’t have any magic tears to numb the feelings I didn’t want to have, all I had were dragon slaying tools like gratefulness, love, and compassion to fight with.

Not everyday is perfect and my thoughts are not positive 100% of the time- sometimes I’m frozen in the thorny weeds with fear.  But on those days, I go on a walk.  I think about holding Amelia and send her as much positive energy as I can bring about.  I listen to a happy song.  I smile.  I’m not in control but I’m okay even in an imperfect situation.


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