So the cold didn't actually kill me, thankfully, though it was touch 'n go there for awhile.
Thursday night I experienced a real live panic attack for the first time in my life. I've had periods of intense anxiety and what I would call very mild panic before (most notably since losing a child) but never anything like what I went through last week. I woke up after being asleep for one hour, convinced I was suffocating. My whole head felt congested to the point where I thought I wasn't getting enough air, despite the huge gulping gasping breaths I was taking through my mouth. I jumped out of bed (literally), scaring Hubs, who followed me out into the family room. I paced around, arms flailing, repeating "I can't breathe, I can't breathe!" over and over again, all while Hubs assured me that I was, in fact, breathing. I begged him for some nose spray (forbidden during pregnancy) which we didn't have in the house anyway. I started to cry, making the congestion worse. My body felt like a trap, a cage. I wanted to tear off my skin. I wanted to open a door and run outside. My body was drenched in sweat and I couldn't stand to be touched - Hubs tried to rub my back to calm me but that made me feel worse. Finally I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach, so I ran to the bathroom, tearing off my pajamas. I demanded a t-shirt and God bless him, Hubs ran and got me one. I swayed over the toilet, feeling woozy and having those funny burps you get before you throw up, but I didn't throw up. Hubs wisely said I should kneel down so I didn't hurt myself, so I did. And then I collapsed sideways onto the blessedly cold bathroom floor, where I stayed for the next 20 minutes or so, shaking violently. My sinuses slowly cleared, my body finally began to cool off, and my head started to pull itself back together. Hubs just sat in the bathroom doorway, calmly talking to me and assuring me that I was not dying.
When I finally stopped shaking, Hubs helped me back out to the sofa and we watched Conan O'Brien. It was over, and I felt completely drained and exhausted. The panic was gone. It was the strangest, most horrid involuntary experience I've ever had. The only thing I can compare it to was my second labor when my epidural was turned up too high and I couldn't breathe or control my nausea, so I thought I was choking and suffocating even though my oxygen levels were normal. Just total loss of bodily control. Horrible.
Friday Hubs had to go to work, and I spent the day collapsed on the sofa playing Candyland with Daughter and running to the bathroom to throw up. But my body was finally ridding itself of all the mucous and germs, so I felt I was turning the corner.
It's been steadily uphill ever since, though I am still struggling with a raggedy, wet cough and runny nose.
Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday Daughter ran a low fever. Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Seems to be gone now but I'm watching her closely.
Oh, and Hubs left for a business trip Sunday and won't be back until late tomorrow night. So Daughter and I have been crashing at my parents' house. Oh yes, we have. Total moochers, that's us. Conveniently, my sister shipped her wedding invitations home so for two days Mom and I have been addressing envelopes because the family consensus was that we have the nicest handwriting.
I've reached the point in this pregnancy - second half of the second trimester - where I wake up every day feeling bigger. Perhaps those of you who have children can relate to this weird phenomenon. I swear the pants that were loose a week ago are now cutting into my belly when I sit down. This is also the point where the baby has grown large enough to make very obvious, visible movements. I am large enough that casual observers can tell I am pregnant. This little boy child is now so very real to me, and I have to wonder if that wasn't part of my panic last week. He's in there, rolling and kicking and punching and LIVING. The knowledge that that could all change in an instant is rather overwhelming and difficult to live with. I have had to talk myself out of a few freakouts because it would be so, so easy right now to just be paralyzed all the time by fear.
No, no, nothing is "wrong" at all. But not knowing exactly what happened last time leaves us hanging, not able to watch for any specific thing to be wrong this time. It's maddening. This is why, though we definitely want one more child, the decision to go forward was so very difficult. Some people suggested the answer was to get pregnant again right away, but I couldn't do it. Hubs couldn't do it. We had to mentally prepare ourselves in such a different way for this pregnancy - in a way we had to make a commitment with a certain detachment, if that makes sense. Like we had to keep this baby at arms length for as long as possible to keep the fear and pain at bay. I don't know, I can't explain it.
Anyway, besides this rotten cold, I have felt fantastic. Very similar, in fact, to Daughter's pregnancy. I don't feel heavy or tired or "draggy" like I felt last time - I have energy and I'm mostly quite comfortable. And even that leaves me wondering if I've been lulled into a false sense of security. Basically, I am hoping for the best but half-expecting the worst, and I know that sounds terrible but it's all I've got. That is why we haven't even told Daughter yet. We have only just talked in very vague and general terms about babies, pointing them out when we're in public places, asking her how she feels about babies, whether she'd like it if a baby came to our house to be a part of our family. What we don't want is to have to explain a tragedy to her. It leaves me in a weird place. Perhaps some of you know this place. I hope not, but reality tells me some do.
I just want this baby to be born alive - a prayer I never thought I'd pray. So I am in constant communion with my child, "listening" for him, carefully, obsessively tracking his movement. Luckily he is busy and active, even at 23 weeks, so I am reassured many times each day. Still, I keep uttering that same prayer. Just let him be born alive, Lord. It's all I ask.