Keshia, 37, New York, USA
When Corey and I found out we were expecting, we were excited, thrilled, scared but ready for whatever the future held for our new family. Little did we know that would include one of the most stressful moments of our lives.
We were scheduled for an important ultrasound, one where we'd really get to see "our baby", not just a fuzzy outline that kinda, sorta resembled a human :) We invited loved ones to attend and planned to make a day out of the special moment.
Bubbly, hopeful, and giddy was the energy in the room while our technician scanned over every ounce of our daughter and it remained light, even as the tech excused herself to speak to the doctor. When a doctor returned instead, we weren't worried--she was just here to tell us how awesome our baby was, right? How could anything else be the case?
I seemed to float outside my body as the doctor described in an urgent tone the potential problems she saw as a result of the ultrasound. We had to leave NOW, immediately, to begin taking the necessary tests and scans that very same afternoon.
Time stood still both inside and outside of my mind-- the idea of panic wasn't even a concept, I barely could comprehend the terrifying news she was telling us. It was only later that day, as I lay on other doctor's table, staring up at the ceiling, holding my husband's hand, that I fully began to understand. Tears, dread, rage, sadness came steady and powerfully. And they continued through that evening, the next morning and every day for weeks after.
In short, we were told the news no expecting parents wants to hear—that we may not be able to have the baby and we’d have just a few weeks to say goodbye. The next best case was that she could have health problems that would result in extensive surgery at birth or lifelong problems. The best possible outcome, which seemed at the time like a distant possibility, was that she'd be perfectly fine, a healthy baby with a rare, but completely non-life-threatening quirk.
Painful procedures and even more painful conversations with medical staff only elevated our fears.
As we waited for the test results, which unfortunately took weeks, I began to withdraw and turn inward in a mess of anxiety and utter anguish. The thought of losing our daughter, who we had already grown to love to our core, did not seem possible.
Every kick she gave was a reminder of what I could lose. Every visit to the fridge, which featured every single ultrasound photo, became a lesson in avoidance, as I prepared myself to never actually meet our baby in person. Every time I left the house, a well-meaning stranger asked me about the baby and after several encounters that ended with me in tears and them confused, I began to hide away at home, losing myself in a spiral of doubt. Everything could be horrible or everything could be fine. How do you wrap your brain around those two infinitely opposing possibilities?
What helped me through that time, was the love of my husband, who gave me all his strength and sacrificed his own processing, in order to get me through each day. Truly, it’s an incredible person who can put their own pain aside to help make you belly laugh at your lowest point and forget your sadness for a few fleeting moments. It was just a few friends and family members, who reminded me of their unconditional love and whose positivity was there when I had none.
Over the course of a few weeks, we began to get good news, the news we had prayed for—she is ours and she will be fine. After weeks of stress and anxiety, we are so hopeful for the future and cannot wait to greet our daughter with all the love we have!
I hesitated whether to share all this, especially in such a public forum. But being able to let go of this moment and move on, with a focus on the future, has been been cathartic and healthy. And it was the ultimate reminder to be kind to those around you, as you never know what struggles they are dealing with.