Facing Fear

My fear has been showing up in amazing and powerful ways lately.  Ways that have forced me to stop playing with the same deck of cards, the same habits, mental tapes and conditioned responses. I feel as though I’m being tested – handed the biggest lessons to see if I can finally break through to the next level of being.

After my January miscarriage, I got pregnant again at the beginning of March. One of the ways I got through the loss in January was “knowing” that the next pregnancy would be just fine. After all, I told myself, that’s how it was the first time around. Then at 6 weeks I saw blood again. Over the next four weeks I rode a rollercoaster of not knowing. Ultrasounds saying all was well, then more blood, then another ultrasound, then even more blood, then the heartbeat was down to 89 beats per minute (which is considered not-viable).

The doctor looked at me and said something that woke me out of my fear-induced stupor. “It’s rare for heartbeats to go back up but it’s possible. I’ve seen it happen”. Somehow those words penetrated. I realized I had spent the previous night awake, “accepting” another miscarriage and I suddenly wondered if the baby felt me giving up. Deep in my soul, I felt a shift. I vowed in that moment to use every spiritual lesson I had ever learned to keep my baby alive. I enlisted my husband. A friend poured her beautiful Reiki-light into my body and spirit. I knew there was no guarantee that any of it would work, but I wanted to be able to say I’d done everything in my power to stay pregnant.

The ultrasound technician had two of her students in the room for my next appointment, five days later. One of them was working the machine. Torturing me, they looked at a number of things before they got to the heartbeat. The technician’s jaw dropped. She looked again. Her jaw dropped. She looked at me and said “You have angels watching over you. Baby’s heartbeat is 179bpm!” I can’t tell you what that felt like. I got the miracle I’d been working for.

As the bleeding slowed then stopped over the next weeks, I started to let go of my spiritual work a little. Fear reared its head every time I felt a pang, or went to the bathroom but I started to relax, wondering if I was tempting fate.

Then two weeks ago I was in Berkeley with my family. We were there to witness and celebrate my brother and his wife receiving their PhD’s. Had I not miscarried, my sister-in-law and I would have had due dates a day apart. As it is, they will be about three months, which is the age difference between our first children. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom (ah, the joys of pregnancy!) and again, fear presented itself. In my mind I saw an image of more blood, shook the image away and left the light off, just to prove to myself all was well. Unfortunately all was not well. Over the next few hours I lost so much blood I decided to go the ER. Fear coursed through my body even as I told myself everything would be fine, that I’d gotten through the bleeding once and could do it again. My husband, who was working elsewhere, was concerned about me but believed in his heart that the baby was fine. I was grateful for his confidence.

The ER at AltaBates Hospital is actually very nice. Everyone was friendly and they saw me quickly. The doctor had some trouble with the ultrasound. Finally she smiled. “You have a VERY active baby”. Tears. Relief. Gratitude. A more detailed ultrasound later it was determined that I had a bleed between the placenta and uterine wall. Not that uncommon. The doctor had experienced one herself. The prescription was to rest and not lift anything heavy (including my daughter) for a while. Deep breaths. Gratitude. A decision to return daily to my spiritual work.

The above journey has taken me away from other parts of my life and fear has reared its head here too. Rest became more important than ever, so I blogged less, tweeted less, felt the online relationships I was enjoying drift away. I find myself wondering if it will be like grade school all over again. I’ll show up excited and ready to reconnect and everyone will have decided in my absence that it would be fun to never speak to me again. Invisible. Again. That pain is still fresh even though it’s been almost 30 years. My adult brain knows that returning to my blog, to Twitter and Facebook will be a completely different experience than showing up to 3rd grade after a week of strep throat. Still…the fear lives on.

So that’s my challenge now, to let go of the fear. At times it doesn’t even feel like mine. I’ve learned it from my family, my friends, newspapers, television, the internet. I know there are big hurdles ahead. It’s easy to slip into old habits and patterns. Fear is a great teacher, it just never wants you to graduate. This time though I’m putting on the cap and gown and walking across the stage. There is no going back. There is only now and freedom awaits.

And you? How is your fear showing up? What does freedom look like?

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~ by Alana on May 27, 2010.

17 Responses to “Facing Fear”

  1. Alana,

    Wow. What a ride you’ve been on. That beautiful baby is a survivor. You are, too. Fear is a teacher, but I love that you are determined to graduate…
    It’s wonderful to see you here, there and everywhere, again. I missed you. And, I’m so glad I got to meet you in Berkeley.

    Hugs,
    Julie

  2. Alana dear one – what a miracle you have created. How powerfully you showed up when you decided YES I am committed to this child. Fear is no match for you. Fear doesn’t want you to graduate and you have graduated. You have earned your diploma in feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You are navigating the seas of truth. You’ve been on quite the stormy journey. Sending you lots of love and light for you and your baby and yes, I will be here when you come back!

    • Kathy – it does feel like a miracle. As I walked this path, I came to fully realize that we are all miracles by the simple fact of our birth. Thank you for the love and light!

  3. My first daughter wss born at Alta Bates. I’m glad you had such a good hospital to go to. When fear grips you, it keeps you from relaxing. I learned that the hard way. Now you’re learning it – in fact you have to so you can stay relaxed for your child. Good work, Alana. Be proud of that diploma.

    • Susan – it really was a great hospital experience (not something I’ve ever said before). Yes, I’m learning to relax for myself and my child(ren). Any tips you’d like to share?

  4. Alana,
    Sending you lots of light and love – it sounds like it has been a rugged few months indeed. But what an amazing lesson about the power of spiritual work. You are in my thoughts, as is your baby and family.

    • Lindsey – thank you 🙂 Your lovely posts about your children have brought so many tears to my eyes lately – the beauty and vulnerability in being a mama is like nothing else.

  5. I’m reading this on Friday night. I wish I’d read it as soon as you posted it. Timing is everything, n’est ce pas?
    My fear (I’ll just pick one) is that nothing is happening in my life and nothing will ever change (okay, that’s two, but they’re linked). Oh, and a third, that I have no time.
    Freedom would look like acting on my dreams and seeing, truly SEEING, them manifest. God damn, how very much I want that!
    I’m so looking forward to seeing your belly 🙂
    xoxo
    p.s. you will never EVER disappear.

  6. Emma. I love you. I trust that your dreams will manifest – you are on the path. I’m here to support you any way I can. (And the belly at 3.5 months is the size it was at 6 months with Ada – yikes!)

  7. Alana,

    Keep walking through the fear. Keep working for the miracles. And know that the connections in this space that we’ve all created will be here, holding you, and will engage you with open arms any and all of the time.

  8. Alana,
    Thank you for having the courage to share what has been and will continue to be a scary, yet beautiful, experience. I’ve found in my own life that fear is one of the toughest teachers, but the one that I learn the most from. You, your baby and the rest of your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Once again, thank you for your openness and honesty. Blessings,
    Jenn

    • Jenn – I debated how much to share, but it feels so important to me to talk about these things that can be even scarier when kept secret. Thank you for the love and prayers.

  9. and. this. one. too. I really need to have a conversation with you. Really. This hits so home for me, with just a slight variation. You have been missed, and I am a little behind in getting my reading done.

  10. […] I just read Bindu’s post on Fear. My life lately (even my dreams last night) has been all about facing fear. I am terrified to press publish on this post. So I am going to breathe, acknowledge that my fear […]

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