Imprisoned. If I were to choose one word I’m feeling at the moment it would be imprisoned. Bed rest physically imprisons me where ironically my view from my bed is workout equipment. My “go to” coping skill for stress would normally be to workout, but instead our rower and kettle bells tease me from 5 feet away. I’m also mentally/emotionally imprisoned where I am void of choices and must rely on my body, my body that I feel betrayed by, to decide the destiny of our family. I hate not being in control.
Giving up control over things we cannot change is an incredibly challenging task. A lot of times when soldiers come to see me for their own impossible situation, we talk in great lengths about things we can control and things we can’t control. I usually write on my whiteboard in my office and have them tell what each side looks like for them. I tried to do this for me and this is what I came up with:
Things I Can’t Control
- Leak in my amniotic sac
- When I go into labor
- Environment of the baby in my body
- Survival of the baby
- My Muterus
- When I leak/bleed
- Physical limitation
- Complications to the baby
- Outcome of the situation
Things I Can Control:
- Amount of fluid I intake
- Staying on complete bed rest
- My entertainment - Books, movies, knitting, talking to friends/family, petting the dog (can’t believe I just put down petting the dog as entertainment haha)
- My outlook
- Coping - Writing, talking, processing, asking for help when I need it
I put down “my outlook” as “things I can control”, but this is not entirely true. Perhaps it’s more of a wish rather than a reality. I feel as though 90% of the time my outlook on the situation is something that I can control and feel comforted by. However, the ugly 10% slowly creeps up like molasses and I then feel suffocated by guilt, anger, incredible sadness, pain, confusion, and sometimes jealously. I attempt to work with each of the undesirable emotions and allow them to consume me while I give myself permission to be consumed. Conceptually I understand it is important to work through each emotion associated with grief, but f*ck it’s hard. And I am grieving even if there isn’t a physical loss. I’m grieving the loss of a normal pregnancy where I wanted cute maternity tops, a themed gender reveal party, and a baby shower with all my friends and family. I wanted to work on designing a nursery and spend hours creating a spreadsheet filled with a cost/benefit analysis for baby items (yes, I’m a nerd) while semi watching reality tv. I wanted to enjoy being pregnant with 3 of my best friends who are all within weeks of each other. Most importantly, I’m grieving the fate of my child that is so unknown.
Although the list feels bare and insignificant, there are some things I can control which gently coats my anxiety about this situation. The problem for me is that the things I can control amount to a molehill in actual significance whereas the things out of my control stand tall as a treacherous mountain firmly planted in the earth. I will guard and protect the molehill as best I can, but I am not naïve to the monster before me.
One of the positive things that have come from “things I can’t control” has been the overwhelming love and support we have received from our family, friends, and support groups. My parents came up from Southern California to help around the house, friends have visited/called/texted showering us with love, my in-laws stop by daily bringing warm smiles and practical necessities, my brother-in-law & his girlfriend bring laughs and ice cream (okay…we are mostly eating healthy…ice cream is totally approved in this situation), Joe and Deb have made nightly healthy meals (this counteracts the ice cream of course), cousins have stopped by bringing hope and reinforcement, and there have even been an abundance of squirrels in the backyard for Buster to chase so he’s not that affected by the lack of walks. The support, love, companionship, acts of kindness have been incredibly helpful in showing Casey and I that we can stand strong with many beside us. Hope may be small and the outcome is unpredictable, but I know we will be okay. :-)