Monday, May 31, 2021

High Risk Pregnancy Survival Guide

I want to be very open.

If your pregnancy has been deemed high risk because of statistical prejudices like number of previous pregnancies or your age (more on that in a later entry), this entry is not for you. 

This is for those Mamas who have been told some news about themselves, or their babies, both, or somewhere in between. This is for the Mamas who are apprehensive about discussing their pregnancies with friends and family, or declaring it at work. This is for the Mamas who have to spend lots of time, energy, and emotional labor on additional doctor's visits. It's for the Mamas with negative or near zero PTO balances because they have to see a specialist every other week. This is for the Mamas who are isolated while literally sharing their bodies with another little human at all times and being kicked in the ribs enough. 

Having received the confirmed biological sex of my child through an email right before midnight a bit after the start of the second trimester, my husband and I walked into 20-week ultrasound appointment ready to get it over with. We were not nervous. 

In fact, my husband had fallen asleep on the most uncomfortable chair invented by the human race as the ultrasound technician typed and clicked with different black and white images showing up here and there. 

I was used to being uncomfortable, but then we were notified that I might have to come back. 

I had yet another ultrasound and this one confirmed the initial images and they would have to monitor growth throughout the weeks with an ultrasound machine. 

Most expecting parents wish they had more ultrasound pictures to get a glimpse into the life of their baby and here I was practically filming a reality show. 

So here are my lessons learned in case it is helpful for anyone else out there. 

1. Read up on the reason for the high risk pregnancy 

Yes, knowledge alone doesn’t fix the situation, but being prepared can help. Also, for anxious parents to be this may come natural following reading some more confusing names on the reports.

While learning about a previously unknown medical term does not necessarily reduce stress and anxiety, it might help to recognize some treatment options and approaches. Even better, you might find a few articles on WebMD not only about the condition, but also about successful medical treatments and trends. Treatments that were out of reach of science and the typical medical care consumer years ago are now possible and the future might be even better. 

2. Talk to a professional councilor, therapist, or life coach

Or, another option is to talk to a very patient and caring friend. You and your baby may be the only ones going through the pregnancy, but you need a village because it takes a village. 

It is also good to let others know that what you are going through is not typical, so that they should not be caught off-guard when you don't react to medical appointments with the same enthusiasm as a first time parent without any diagnoses.

3. Save as much PTO as possible

My single and childless days included staycations and time off for long lunches or more pleasant road trips. I hate to say it, but almost no one has the time off required to meet the requirements of high risk pregnancy appointments. It was very embittering using up days that would ideally be vacation days, being spent from the emotional labor, and feel like I had to make up for my absence at work. 

4. Don’t expect any medical intervention following birth

I assumed that once the baby was born that it was time for medical intervention and everything would be behind us by the time we reached 12 months of age. It was profoundly naive because doctors don’t want to take undue risks. 

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