New plan

6 Mar

Yesterday I made the mistake of venturing back into the interwebs in search of more information about gastroschisis. I had been feeling a lot of anxiety about all the unknowns and figured it might help to read real life stories of people who have been there, so I know more of what I can expect.

Big mistake.

First I read about a mom who got to have a vaginal birth, hold her child briefly after delivery, and visit him in the NICU within hours of his birth, and I found myself feeling sharp pangs jealousy since none of those things will likely happen for me. What’s more, they got to go home in 30 days. Four weeks. Virtually unheard of for a gastroschisis baby.

Was it silly for me to feel jealous of this woman? Completely. Her child still struggles with stomach problems and beyond that, anyone who’s walked this road is someone to embrace, not envy. But I couldn’t help but look at her story as the best case scenario that I likely won’t have and that hurt.

Then I read about a mom who had to be in the hospital for 5 weeks before her C-section, due to low amniotic fluid. She wrote about how her baby girl did have some dilated portions of bowel outside the belly and how thankful she was for that because she had heard that when the dilations are inside, you’re looking at a much more serious case of gastroschisis.

Awesome. All of our dilations are inside and this was the first I had heard that that might be bad.

Then I found a gastroschisis support group that was started by a mom who’s child died due to complications from gastroschisis. I read her whole story. I read how some of the very same complications we’re looking at with Turtle’s dilations lead to multiple surgeries which ultimately lead to her son’s death. I read how she was in one of the best hospitals for gastroschisis in the country when this happened.

Holy shit, I thought. Forget having to spend six months in the hospital instead of three. Forget having to worry about shortened bowel syndrome. He might not survive this. Not all babies do. That’s just a fact. Does he have a really good shot? Sure. But he could die. And I know any newborn can die due to all different kinds of unforeseen factors but this challenge is on top of all of those things that every baby faces.

Cue terror. Cue feeling silly for getting obsessed over which freaking lamp to buy for his room. Cue getting mixed feelings for my upcoming baby shower that I had previously been so excited by.

Enter the what ifs. What if he never sleeps in that room. What if we never use all those wonderful shower presents. What the hell will we do with that crib and that pack n’ play and that stroller and all those things that were meant for him.

Admittedly, I was spiraling and this was just late yesterday and I still kind of am. But I did remember last night something I realized during my last freak out, way back… last week. When I looked at the tattoo on my wrist, written in my husband’s handwriting, that says AMOR VINCIT OMNIA. Love conquers all. It’s kind of the slogan to our relationship, if a relationship can have a slogan.

Ten and a half years of deep-seated, unconditional love and partnership. We’ve survived distance, depression, an eating disorder, anxiety, and just the natural changes that occur between the ages of 17 and 28. We’ve changed, our love and devotion to each other has not and will never. I know this. I may not be a religious person but I have faith in us, and faith in the fact that we can face anything together. Even if the worse happens. Even if worse than I can ever imagine happens, we have each other. I will not be alone. And our love for each other, and our love for Turtle, and the love of our families and friends will get us through.

So here’s the new plan:

1. Stop reading shit. It’s not helping. The truth is we won’t know what we’re facing until we face it and we’ll just have to deal with it then.

2. Believe in Turtle. Because only good will come of that and he. is. amazing.

3. Love conquers all. But I already knew that.


19 Responses to “New plan”

  1. Alicia March 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    I so needed this post right now. I am terrified of all the things that can go wrong with baby girl too. I have never been this psychotic or nervous about anything in my life. Thank you for always being relatable Shelley!!!

    • Shelley March 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Dude, birthing babies is scary business! So many possibilities… I am sending so many good thoughts your way, for you, Bob, R and baby girl! Can’t believe you’re in this moment right now. It’s scary but also so wonderful too.

  2. ewagner123 March 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    I like your new plan! Remember, there is always a worse case scenario for everything. Turtle will most likely be just fine! I think it’s perfectly normal to freak out once in a while – glad that you hit the reset button though!

    • Shelley March 6, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

      I think I’m going to have to keep pressing that button over and over, every day. But at least I know where to find it!

  3. nickeecoco March 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

    One thing that I just did yesterday in a session with my therapist might be helpful in your situation. I have a tendency to go to “worst-case scenario” almost immediately, and she asked me to describe my whole TTC process in an entirely positive way. It was difficult at first, but once I started it became easier and easier to find so many positive things within the negatives. It’s really difficult to change your thinking patterns, especially when you’ve gone through so much. Hang in there. Turtle is strong.

    • Shelley March 6, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

      Finding the positives is so hard but I know they’re there, and making a conscious effort to look for them and appreciate them is oh-so-important. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. sass March 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    That is the best plan. And you, and your husband, and Turtle will be surrounded by love. Love, patience and excellent medical care will get you through this. **hugs**

    • Shelley March 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      Thank you, Sass. 🙂

  5. Theresa March 6, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    Oh man, definitely quit reading shit. You are absolutely right – there is nothing you can do but face it once the time comes, and given all the two of you have been through already, I am sure you will do great.
    Thinking of you guys and little Turtle…

  6. JustMe March 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    This post literally gave me chills. Some of your comments – about how silly it is to stress over what lamp to buy, or the shower presents…wow you made me feel an inkling of your terror. But then, your writing about your husband. Wow. I have also been with my husband since we were 17 and I agree that that gives me a sense of strength and solidness because I know I have him, no matter what.

    BUT, the point of your post is to stop googling, stop living in the What If land and I support it. Keep enjoying your pregnancy, keep getting excited about the shower. This is your pregnancy with Turtle! Live it!

    Here’s a “What If” poem by Shel Silverstein:

    • Shelley March 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      Really enjoyed that poem – thank you for sharing! Shel Silverstein rocks.

  7. Joanna March 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    Even though this post was about your fear, I thought your message was absolutely beautiful. Love does conquer all. It’s very hard not to get wrapped up in the what if’s and to be completely consumed with researching and obsessing over every little detail. That’s human nature, and any expectant mom who says she doesn’t do that (no matter her situation), is either a liar or completely abnormal and not worth our time! You have a tremendous obstacle to deal with, from the very beginning. But you also have the strongest and most stable beginning to parenthood, your marriage. Keep thinking about Turtle and his amazing fighting power and keep looking at your wrist! Sending much love and hugs ❤

    • Shelley March 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Thanks Joanna, I am. I look at it at least several times/day!

  8. Esperanza March 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Not reading is a good plan. I used to go looking for stories of babies dying for no reason when I was pregnant and I would send myself into these horrible spirals. The truth is you can always find that horrific story. And I know you have a specific condition rife with its own horrific stories, on top of the shit that every other mother has to face, but the truth is you just don’t know yet what your story will be. That is what is SO HARD. The uncertainty. You have even more uncertainty than most which makes it even harder to deal with the uncertainty. I hope you can find some peace even though you don’t yet know your story. And I’m glad you have such incredible faith in your relationship.

    Abiding with you.

  9. Courtney March 6, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    This is a great plan! Reading shit on the internet is rarely helpful when there is a scary situation in front of you.

    I did not know that you and your husband have been together since you were 17. WOW! Love does conquer all, and you have a great foundation in one another to get through this, pulling Turtle along beside you, and end up stronger than you’ve ever been! Turtle is one lucky little guy!

    ENJOY your nursery preparations, your shower, your pregnancy. Turtle is coming home – and he’ll love coming home to such a loving environment!

  10. Courtney March 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

    I too have made the same mistake of reading these stories several times now in the past few weeks since finding out about baby girl’s gastroschisis, and it has led to an emotional meltdown every time. I talked to my doc and she said while it is good to educate yourself, every SINGLE case is completely different, and there’s no way to tell if your story will be similar to someone else’s. it’s normal to have good days and bad, but we have to try to stay positive and your blog is helping me do just that. I commend your strength to post about this because everytime I break down I am almost ashamed I let myself do it AGAIN. Our babies are fighters and stronger than we think.. Just remember they will most likely be absolute perfect after all is said and done, and that’s really the only guarantee for any baby, not just a gastroschisis baby. Ill keep hitting the reset button right along with you, and if you feel the urge to read more as I sometimes do, just try to stay positive. I know, easier said than done. We finally got our first update on our baby girl.. So far so good.. Growing on target and flipping around not letting that gastroschisis get in her way =) our little ones will be so strong and we will be so proud. Hang in there and thanks again for giving me a place to vent and not feel so alone!

    • Shelley March 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Thank you for coming back to update me! I’m glad to hear your girl is doing well and I’m happy my blog is helping you process your emotions.

  11. Amanda @ March 7, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    This is a great post and a great plan. Enjoy the journey and then deal with whatever you need to when the time comes.

  12. AmyG March 9, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Hang in there! I like your plan of boycotting the google machine. As you’ve seen, people who post are often at one extreme or another. I know that all the usual fears about birth must be multiplied for you, knowing that you will have to deal with an issue right away. But you have a great team lined up, and the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor. xo

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