Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!
Prompt 30: Process Over Outcome. What did you take on this year where you truly enjoyed the process (and didn’t just focus on the outcome).
During the early weeks in my pregnancy with Thomas, I bled. A lot. It started around six weeks. I guessed I had a miscarriage. What else would be causing all this bleeding? My heart sank every time I discovered more blood. And more blood. And more blood.
I just figured this pregnancy wasn’t meant to be. Miscarriage rates are high, something like 1 in 4 pregnancies. So while I wasn’t all that surprised and I was grateful I already had two healthy children, it was a sad blow.
I called my OB about the blood but the nurse kept insisting that the baby might be just fine. No, no, I said, I’ve bled too much I think. But she kept persisting and scheduled me for a 7 a.m. ultrasound to check it out.
Still miserably nauseated I tucked my pajama bottoms into my faux Costco Uggs and made my way to the ultrasound. Laying on the cold table in a flimsy gown, the technician got to work.
“I’m sure there’s no heartbeat,” I said. “There isn’t, right?”
She squinted her eyes at the black and white screen and said, “No. There is a heartbeat. See, it’s beating.”
I thought I’d feel relief. But instead I felt wary. Beating, for now, I thought.
The technician said she’d report the results to my OB, and later that morning the office called me and said Dr. Wolf says everything looks good and when can I come in for my 8 week visit?
But I was still bleeding some. Something had to be wrong, right?
The nurse said no, there’s nothing wrong with your baby. Come in at 8 weeks and let’s check you out again.
So I made an appointment. And when 8 weeks rolled around my Mom took my unwashed and nauseated self to the exam. I laid back as Dr. Wolf jellied up her ultrasound wand and began the exam.
I held my breath. Waiting for the sad news.
But Dr. Wolf just smiled and said “there it is!”
And there it was. Beating away on the screen. Blink, blink, blink.
“But,” I croaked. “I had so much bleeding.”
“Yep,” she said, not at all concerned. “Sometimes we see a lot of bleeding. But everything’s okay!”
Shocked but still not feeling a wave of relief, I left my appointment with a roll of fuzzy ultrasound pictures and a prescription for Zofran. I hunkered down and waited for the nausea to dissipate.
And then there was all the worry that this baby would try to come a little too early, like Michael.
But he didn’t.
I ended up walking around 4 centimeters dilated for over four weeks.
First this pregnancy tried to scare me into thinking it wasn’t going to take. Then I spent weeks and weeks worrying I’d deliver a micropremie. And now this baby is fully cooked and won’t come out!
I did not want to be induced with Thomas. I wanted him to come on his own, like his sister and brother did. I spent evenings wallowing on the couch while Dan rubbed my feet, anxious about emergency C-sections.
The night before my scheduled induction I whined to Dan I don’t want to do it this way! I don’t!
But I knew there wasn’t another way. Dr. Wolf and I discussed all the options, she assessed how I was progressing and this way was the best way for him and for me.
You would think, given this my third rodeo, that I would know I had zero control over this situation. I guess I’m a slow learner. Because I spent an exhausting amount of energy devoted to trying to control an outcome that was decidedly outside my control. In every single way.
Everything ended up going near perfectly with Thomas (Save for that one point where I blacked out and Thomas being directionally challenged and coming out sunny side up but in terms of deliveries, those things were pretty minor.). All that wasted energy, flailing around, trying to control bleeding or nausea or when he’d make his appearance.
I desperately wanted to know what was going to happen. And I believed if I fought hard enough against reality, I could bend the outcomes to my will.
I learned that that way never works. So the only option I have is to accept (over and over and over again) and live through those values I created. Letting go of the outcome and trusting the process again and again and again.