It’s typical isn’t it, I’ve been counting down the past 22 weeks to feel Avery’s brother so I’d have reassurance he was there and this wasn’t in fact all a dream. But, little did I take into account the stress and anxiety that would come with movement!
Movement and kicks are a big part of my loss journey; I loved feeling Avery kick. She was my first experience of feeling a baby inside me and I cherished every second until it was taken away from me suddenly. Without any warning to embrace that final kick I lost it overnight and that was one of the hardest parts. I’ve experienced a lot of trauma surrounding kicks; one of the strongest nightmares is the memory of me rolling around in bed before we visited the hospital, desperately trying to feel her. I tried ice cream, hot chocolate – nothing worked and with every ten minutes of absence, the fear of whether she was ok sank in deeper.
I guess looking back I have a lot of emotions when it comes to movement, and it seems bizarre that I hadn’t taken in account what these new kicks would mean. Whilst I love every second of them when they arise (he’s a wriggler so it’s often), the moment they stop, my body freezes up and the intrusive thoughts begin, and so I go into panic mode.
The closest thing I can describe it to is PTSD, and I experienced this full throttle last week when I woke up in the middle of the night in a pool of sweat, heart beating out of my chest and unable to breathe properly. That night I’d gone to bed aware that I hadn’t felt much movement, and so it caused me to wake up in that much of a panic attack I ended up throwing up hysterically! Not the state I ideally want to be in whilst carrying our precious rainbow. But, no matter what I did, nothing could stop the intrusive memories of ‘that night’ and I convinced myself it was happening all over again – which I just can’t even bear to imagine to be honest.
Eventually I put on my laptop and some earphones in and started watching a documentary at 2am, low and behold once I calmed down he started moving about. Since then it hasn’t happened to that extreme, the intrusive thoughts are there from time to time, but his frequent movement is keeping me sane – it’s the only thing that can bring me back to reality in a panic.
As a result of the panic attack, I sought help and as usual my wonderful bereavement team arranged it right away. I had my first counselling session on Thursday with a specialist in this area and anxiety during pregnancy. Whilst its early days I do feel talking therapy will be good for me at getting grips of the panic attacks and learning to control them better instead of relying on movement to bring me back to earth.
The biggest advice I can give to anyone struggling with anxiety, pregnancy after loss of PTSD – seek help! There are people out there who can support you, it’s not healthy to live with and bottle up.
As I said, the movement has been frequent recently, so my anxiety levels are at bay and I’m just enjoying every second of him for now.
One day and kick at a time .. XO Nicole