Sunday, 4 July 2010

Agoraphobic Pregnancy


I am hanging my head in shame. Its been a month since my last confession... I mean blog.

Ok so where do i begin? I am now... drum roll please... drrrrrrrr... 17 weeks pregnant!

I have been very lucky in that i had very mild sickness which didn't last very long and my only major problem has been feeling completely exhausted but hey I can live with that. My tummy is growing rapidly now and it is no longer just looking like Ive eaten too many pies. I now have a proper baby bump and have even had people come up and touch it already.

Only a couple of days ago I felt the baby move for the first time. It was just how everyone described it would be, like a little flutter. Accept it was a very strong flutter and went on for a good 5 minutes. The picture above is exactly how a baby looks at 17 weeks. Very impressive how developed it is already and to be honest the time is flying by. I'm sure it will drag towards the end when I am the size of a small country but so far Ive had it easy

So that's the basics. But mentally it has been much more complicated.

My 12 weeks scan was mentioned in my last post. I prayed I would make it there and I focused on it for weeks. But I focused on it too much and turned it into mount Everest. I couldn't go. And on the day that I missed it I had a complete breakdown of guilt. Already I thought I was a terrible mother. Why couldn't I do this for my baby as that's what matters here. Not me! How could I be so selfish. I called the hospital and thankfully they were really understanding and told me they would look into scanning me in my local health centre. What a relief! I waited weeks to hear from them and i was growing more and more concerned knowing I was well over the 12 weeks by then. Finally at 15 weeks they called me and told me that I will STILL have to go to the hospital as originally planned but that I can go anytime I want instead of having to make an appointment. When I first found out I was really upset as I was looking forward to my scan being local and it being 'doable' so i was a little shocked to discover that it took them 3 weeks to do nothing really.

As it stands i am now 17 weeks gone and still haven't had my ultrasound. I feel so guilty about it. I have piled the pressure on myself but then I also have everyone else desperately wanting me to go so I have the pressure from them too. The midwife has told me they only want me there for my 20 week scan so basically I have another 3 weeks to get there. In a way I feel less pressure knowing i have time to buildup to it, but that is another 3 weeks that I can obsess and get myself worked up about it. Oh i have tried everything, think of the baby, think of getting a picture to show everyone, think about finding out the sex of the baby. I try turning the experience into an exciting fun thing and not a stressful scary one, but it is hard as you know. So now I am basically making the journey bit by bit each day and just building on it. Hopefully one day Ill just do it.

I do feel very embarrassed and that probably why I haven't written before now. Also I worry about what people with think of me and that I will be judged. I am mortified when people ask me how my scans have gone, I just mutter something and change the subject quickly.

I should mention that I have been to every other appointment, had all my bloods taken, been thoroughly checked over. I did have a little scare one week and needed to see the midwife but she had a listen to babies heart and a feel of my tummy and told me everything seems 'perfect'. I have never felt so much relief.

What amazes me though is that the hospital, as much as they are being helpful, they seem to never have had any experience with someone with agoraphobia before. At least if they have they have never told me about it. They seem a little confused as to what to do with me. And that only adds to me feeling weird and crap. Am I really the only weak person who couldn't just bite the bullet and get to a hospital for the sake of their baby. Did everyone else just suck it up and do it? Pffft who knows. So far it looks like it. And then my frustration grows even more when i am reminded that last year I was up and down to the hospital for appointments all the time, and never missed a single one. I know that the experience WAS Stressful last year and that maybe the memory of that has added to my anxiety this year but still.. i could do it then so why not now? That's actually a rhetorical question because i know the answer to that already. Anxiety sucks. it comes and goes. Sometimes we are good, sometimes we struggle, and do to all my worries and stressing my problems are flaring up, just to remind me they can. Such is life.

Regardless of this I am actually coping really well. Although I do understand pregnancy hormones can have you all over the place which is just fabulous! One minute I am stroking my tummy feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. I am blessed with this wonderful little baby inside of me and Life is beautiful. I am going to be an amazing mother and this baby is going to be so so loved. It is also very lucky as its becoming part of a wonderful family and we are all excited to meet him or her. But then ill wake up the next day and see my bump and ill feel fear. Arrrgh i have no control. My body is not mine now. And this baby, what if it hates me. Can I really do this? What if i cant cope? What if I'm a crap mum?. But i remind myself that this is natural and everyone must go through this with their first pregnancy. The fear of the unknown...and we all understand that perfectly by now. I am just totally neurotic to be honest. I still have the same worries I had at the start, scared that a huge bump will freak me out, that Elbows and legs popping out of my tummy will send me into a panic, but i try to breathe and tell myself I will be fine.

On top of this I am STILL house hunting and praying something turns up soon, and of course I am buying baby items now. My car breaks are giving up on me so that needs fixed this week and I think my laptop is about to have a breakdown. Jeez my blog used to give me stress relief but as I type i feel myself getting worked up haha I hope you guys aren't getting stressed just reading my crazy rant.

Now maybe some of you will even ask the question, how are you going to cope when the baby arrives. And would you believe that that part doesn't actually scare me! I have had children around me for years and know I can provide a great life for this wee one. And more love than I ever thought possible. The bond is already there and that is something I am grateful for. I look forward to getting baby into its pram and going for long walks with other girls who are having babies at the same time as me. Taking the baby to visit relatives and for walks in the park. Going for drives and showing him or her the beach, going to the zoo. This all feel completely easy. So basically my only issue is actually MAKING the baby. Making sure its ok. Developing properly. Because I cant see that right now. At least when its born its there in front of my eyes and i can constantly check its ok. Poor wee thing wont get peace with me watching it.

Ok I've exhausted myself now. Sorry to the men if I have bored you with this, if you have read this far then I am impressed. To the girls I hope you know where I am coming from and have maybe even had some of these issues. I'm not the only one surely lol. I hopefully wont take so long in posting something again and will remember not to avoid writing out of embarrassment. I hope you are all well and enjoying life wherever you are. xx

12 comments:

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nioniel said...

Lynn, you are doing so well! Pregnancy is stressful enough without throwing agoraphobia into the mix! All the hormones and the sickness and the fatigue and everything else is enough to make anyone want to retreat to a safe place!

I am sure you will get to your scan eventually. Like with any other challenge agoraphobia has posed, just take it bit by bit and do it in your own time. When you do make it, you'll be so glad you did. Seeing your baby on that screen will be such a magical experience.

I'm trying for baby number three at the moment, and sometimes I wonder how I will cope with scans and even the birth (although I hope to have that at home!) At the end of the day I think we just need to be patient and give ourselves a little more time to do these things.

You will get there, and I have no doubt that you will be a fantastic mum :)

Nicola said...

Are you on any meds Lynn?

Little Miss Serendipity said...

You're doing AMAZINGLY! Ive followed your blog for a while. I've gotten over a 2 year bout of agoraphobia. It still flares up but it's not as debilitating as before. I still have a mild anxiety problem. You're right to tell the hospital the truth! In fact I was at a show the other night in an arena that seats 10,000 people and my seats made me feel anxious (even though they were great). I told an attendant I had agoraphobia and needed to sit at the edge and she found me amazing seats near the exits at a sold out gig. The girl didn't act surprised and she just told me to wait 10 minutes and came back and showed me to my new seat. I'm surprised at the hospital they should have been more sensitive. You will be a great mother. Just take care of yourself and don't push yourself. Agoraphobia is annoying, at the moment I can only work 4 hours a week over it. Although I began counselling in October, was too scared to even be at the appointments and by December I ended up doing stand up comedy! It was hard because I had to put up with agoraphobia (the venue wasn't a safe place), finding a safe place car park, anxiety and stage fright. I still did it!! My therapist said I'm a walking contradiction. Comedy is easy to me as it's only 10 minutes on the stage then I can disappear but my goal this year is work or college, anything that has a routine. Email me at nicriordan@gmail.com if you ever need to talk to a 27 year old former agoraphobic, current mild agoraphobic. ;)

Lynn said...

Hey Nionel thanks so much for your message. The fact that you are trying for baby number 3 makes me feel good. Your willingly putting youself through another pregnancy so it goes to show that it doesnt have to be soo difficult!

Nicola - yes I am on medication and have been for years.

Little Miss - All i can say is congrats on your amazing recovery. I too go through times of success, and I actually thought i was completely rid of agoraphobia but it flares up again when im stressed. Well done with all your achievements they are fantastic and I hope you are so proud of yourself.

I will be fine and baby will be fine, i will see to that. I am just sorry I alloed my nerves to win this time. But hey ill be back on top before you know it

Laura said...

Lynn,

Be patient with yourself about the ultrasound. Women got by for a long time without them and I think the doctors tend to overdue them nowadays. My fiance's daughter had one every few weeks which I thought was excessive. When I get pregnant I would prefer not to have an ultrasound at all.

Laura said...

Woops sorry, I meant to say overdo. I suppose you could say that you feel you are overdue for the ultrasound!

And I forgot to say congratulations on the baby!

Anonymous said...

lynn - there was a time when scans did not exist and many healthy, beautiful babies were born into this world. have faith :)

Clare said...

I am so glad I found your blog.
I don't have full blown agoraphobia but I have social anxiety and sometimes can not leave the house as I can't face bumping into the neighbours and having to talk to them. I shake uncontrollably and make no sense. People think I am a po faced b!tch and that I am stuck up but I am so not. I know you understand how people can be so ignorant about these kind of things.

Anyway, congratulations on your pregnancy and keeping so positive. It is really hard worrying about other people's judgements on the fact that you MUST just get over your agoraphobia because you are pregnant and need to be better for the welfare of ur little one (getting to appts and stuff). People close to me seemed to think I would be a crap mum since I am painfully shy with people I do not know but I now have a 2 year old and although I have not done all the typical mum things like mums and toddlers or playgroups or nursery, I am a good mum to him and am slowly making progress.

Good for you writing this blog as it must help to keep you motivated towards getting better each time you post since you have people reading your posts and getting much encouragement from how well you are getting on.

Keep posting - I really feel like I can maybe get somewhere with my anxiety but am still struggling to get help.

Thanks

T Chan said...

You are amazing and doing really well. I just found that by taking it step by step and continuing to push myself forward I made great progress to the point of almost being "normal".

I think it is dangerous that people with agoraphobia are sometimes pigeon-holed as if it is a lifelong condition. lots and lots of people get over agoraphobia and the key really is to learn to not be scared of the symptoms, which are harmless.

All the best.

T Chan

T Chan said...

Also, I would like to publish some snippets from your blog on my blog and my agoraphobia page. If that is ok with you! My email is info@anxiety2calm.com

Anonymous said...

hi
i,ve just found out i,m 9 weeks pregnant i,ve been house bound for 14yrs is it possible for me to get to my scan anyone any advice .mary