Mentally Managing My Medically Normal Pregnancy, After A Scare

We had a scare recently. At a wedding in California this weekend, for seemingly no reason at all, I went into preterm labor. This was complicated by multiple factors, the most pressing of which were at the time I was only 26 weeks along, and separated from our toddler and our home by a few state lines. After spending a nervous and uncomfortable night in the hospital, and running just about every test in the book, I was given a medication that brought my contractions to a stop, and then sent on my way, with no clear understanding of why this had happened or if it would happen again. Two extremely nerve wracking flights, and a 3 hour trip in the car later, I made it home all in one pot-bellied piece. Yesterday I followed up with my midwife who confirmed all is well, and suggested I proceed with my pregnancy as if it were completely normal, because at this point in time, medically it is.

Except it doesn’t feel that way.

Instead of being able to take a deep breath and relax in knowing everything is fine, my body buzzes with nerves. Every muscle twitch, every movement is analyzed and questioned. Are the contractions coming back? Is this time the real deal? Is the baby still alive?

Now if this is where you are shaking your heads and saying, “It could be worse,” please know that I understand this. This all could have gone so, so very differently, and so tragically wrong, and trust me when I say I feel absolutely stupid for feeling the way I do.

But man, am I having a hard time letting go of the fear.

Hearing the nurse tell me in the hospital that the NICU was ready for us if we needed them sent chills down my spine. Listening to her explain how she would start the baby on steroids if things continued down the path they were going, I actually let out an audible groan. Not a groan like a frustrated patron who has been waiting on their check for too long, but a guttural, uncontrollable, I-might-break type of groan, the memory of which still gives me goosebumps. Because at that moment, more so than ever before, I was completely and utterly terrified.

The fear of losing my unborn baby elicited a response so powerful and all-consuming, that a few totally fine, contraction-free days later, telling me to carry on as if everything is normal almost feels like an insult. Casually suggesting I should be happy because everything turned out okay feels insincere and dismissive. Maybe everything on my labs said I was fine, but my head and heart feel so shredded and profoundly shaken, I don’t even think my husband can fully understand.

But perhaps the worst part of all is knowing I am actually the one in the wrong. Because medically I am fine. And the baby is fine. And everything worked out fine. And I should be thankful for the care I received, and take solace in knowing that if the baby did show up, they were prepared to give him the very best shot at surviving. Yet even as I sit here thinking through all of this, my head still spins with panicky what-ifs.

My best guess is soon enough my head and heart will calm down and equilibrate, leaving me in a better place to process what happened — and more importantly, what didn’t.Β Even in this jumbled place I hear how whiney I sound, and how maligned my focus is. But I also know some of you will get this, and maybe, just maybe, you can help light my way back home.


Image credits: Cover photo, sunset belongs to HMDHM


  1. How absolutely terrifying that must have been. I can only imagine your fear, since in my completely uncomplicated pregnancy with no scares, I was fearful of losing our baby after hearing of another mom, due around the same time, who lost her baby at 20-something weeks. Hopefully relief will come once you reach term! Thinking of you, friend.


  2. Wow Em, so scary! And I’m so glad you shared this with your HMDHM community. To help light your way home…Today, in this moment, to the best of your knowledge everything is okay. Tomorrow that might not be the case but you don’t know that and you can’t control that, so, rub your belly, speak to baby 2.0, cherish each hiccup and kick and let that fill you with joy and comfort in that moment. I hope focusing on those moments will begin to quiet your very understandably, shaken nerves. Love to you and 2.0!


  3. I completely understand! I’ve had a horrible time maintaining healthy pregnancies over the years suffering multiple miscarriages. Even though I had a perfectly normal pregnancy with my now 3yr old daughter, and I’m currently 36 weeks with twins, absolutely everything about pregnancy scares the living day lights out of me.

    With my current pregnancy I ended up in the ER at 16 weeks bleeding. It turned out to be a normal thing that often comes with twins, but for those few hours in the ER and many weeks afterward I felt sick with worry all the time about everything. I’m still apprehensive even less than two weeks away from my scheduled delivery with no additional complications.

    Don’t worry about how you appear. It’s how you feel and those feelings are always valid even if they seem unfounded. I’m glad everything worked out for the best for you. Hang in there!


    1. Thanks for sharing your story, and for your kind words. I can only imagine what you must be feeling after the roller coaster of a journey you’ve been on! Fingers crossed everything is easy breezy for you from here on out.


  4. Ahh! That is very scary indeed. And you have every right to feel the way that you do and process this in your own due time. For all the medical advancements have come, birth and life are still a big mystery. Sending you my love and good vibes.


  5. So glad that you and the baby are fine, as doctors say, and then I know past that… yes, you’re human. Thanks for sharing this part, we care about more than your sense of humor…


  6. Emily, reading this makes us all realize the miracle of a beautiful little baby growing inside and the overwhelming love you have for your baby. Even when doctors tell you all in normal I know it is hard to believe when you had such a scare!! I am thinking positive thoughts that the rest of the pregnancy goes as normal as possible and we all will be celebrating the wonderful birth of your baby on the due date πŸ™‚ Blessings! Kim


    1. Thanks, Kim! Hopefully all continues on the same path, and we get to meet the little one sometime in February. Maybe he will share a due date with your own lovely February baby. πŸ™‚


  7. You are NOT in the wrong. That’s a scary thing to happen and it’s totally understandable that you’d want to know what caused it (even if it’s also true that they can’t tell). Give yourself permission to take time processing this, it’s a big thing to go through.


    1. Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. Writing this all out has been so helpful, and feedback like yours makes my heart sing. Thank you for reading it, and taking the time to pass along your insight.


  8. After struggling to get pregnant and having two miscarriages my last pregnancy was wracked with worry even when everything seemed to be fine. Although a slight bleed scared the crap out of me I gave birth to a healthy son. The relief I felt when he came out was incredible. So this scare you had is going to throw you for a loop and that’s totally normal and please, please don’t feel bad for feeling normal. Too much emphasis is placed on feeling grateful and not letting people feel how they feel. Best of luck to you and your little bundle.


    1. Thanks for sharing your story, and for your kind words. Very great advice from someone who has walked a much more difficult journey than I! Hugs to your little boy from our family to yours πŸ™‚


  9. While I have not had a pregnancy scare I have had an “I almost lost my children” scare in an accident and I imagine it feels the same. We are mothers from the beginning. First off, don’t compare your experience to others. It can almost always be worse. All that does is marginalized your feelings, which are valid. Secondly, cry if you need to. And as much as you need to. And last but not least, talk about it. Get outside of your head and let those around you support you. Many times our mommy minds take us to scary places as some sort of protective instinct to be able to evaluate all situations. The more we talk the more we can keep mind over emotion and logic sets in. Sending lots of love and peace of mind your way! Xoxoxox


    1. Oh geez, Lex! I didn’t know about the accident. You are totally right, something shifts from minute one, and from then on out, we are mothers. I appreciate your wise advice. Hugs to you and yours! Hope to see you all soon.


  10. Although my pregnancy was as normal as any mother could have hoped for, the fact that I am in this for the long haul completely alone, literally and figuratively, has brought about waves on constant and draining fear about everything and anything. So yes, I feel your pain. It is real. It is valid. Hang in there, mommy! πŸ™‚


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