Friday, April 23, 2010


Every night I cuddle close to my little girl and savor the sound of her breath and the pum pum of her heartbeat. Sometimes when she is asleep, I put my ear to her chest and try to impress the sound on my mind forever.

Yesterday we had our monthly OB appointment for Eric. I am feeling great, and his heartbeat was strong and loud...and then Dr. Elfelt said that parts of it were a bit "irregular." Then he said that irregularities in the heartbeat of an unborn baby were quite common at this stage of development and not to worry.

He seemed calm and unworried and ordered no tests, though I think a good doctor is going to seem calm and unworried no matter what news he gives you. He definitely did not belabor the point and said that the heartbeat had a good rate and was strong.

Of course I am trying not to worry, but losing the battle a bit. Research online suggests that most likely I needn't worry. Some information, however, is quite alarming---but only applies to a small number of cases.

I did find, though, that Eric's heartbeat irregularity may be due to my being dehydrated. This would make sense, as two nights ago I experienced about half an hour of heartbeat irregularity myself (which was pretty freaky!) and have had some other signs of not having enough water on board recently. In fact, even before this appointment, I had made plans to be more vigilant about my water intake.

Of course my mind is struggling to stay away from the more frightening possibilities and outcomes I found in my online research. Yet I have had to come to a peace in my mind: I know that whatever is to happen, will happen. My mind knows that very probably, I will have worried for nothing and that all will be well. My mother's heart, though, is a different entity: a mother's heart worries constantly about all the hundreds of thousands of horrors that can befall our children. My greatest fear is something bad happening to my children. Part of being a mother is coming to the realization that we have to live with this fear forever and yet not letting it get in the way of our enjoyment of our time with our children. (And worse, letting them grow up and make their own decisions---even if we think those decisions, as adults, put them in danger).

I woke up this morning knowing that, whatever is to happen in Eric's life, his life has already begun---from the moment we conceived him. I could spend the next month (or even several months, depending on next month's heartbeat monitoring) worrying deeply about what will happen, or I could spend each day with the goal to hold the worry at bay and living the goodness of each day. To give in to the worry would be to deprive him and I of our together-time now: we are together now, no matter what the future holds, and now should therefore be a time of happiness and beauty.

Isn't that the underlying axiom for all time with our children, in the womb or not? We never know what tomorrow brings. We never know how much time we will have with them... If we don't appreciate the time we do have, then we are wasting it. Of course, I will have nagging worry (I still worry constantly about Katie), but I have to compartmentalize it.

Needless to say, I think this will be a long time of waiting until my next OB appointment, in some respects. But I also need not to think of it as "waiting" and just continue to celebrate each day and be thankful.