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?