I’m having a rather stressful time right now, my anxiety is through the roof. I didn’t plan on writing this post and I’m not sure what good it will do publishing it but I guess I just needed to vent. This post is about blood test and injections throughout my pregnancy so far. I don’t want to alarm or worry any expectant mothers, I just wanted to write about my experience. I’d love any advice, tips or techniques you may have to deal with my panic attacks so please drop me a comment if you have any…
Since I was a little girl having injections and blood taken has always terrified me. I think it stems back to when I had a kidney infection as a child and was constantly poked and prodded with needles on an hourly basis for days. I remember the nurse struggling to find a vein and looking down to see all the puncture holes in my little bruised arm. This might be a total exaggeration of what actually happened. My eight-year-old self may have blown the incident way out of proportion and my adult self may have added arms and leg to the memory over the years, but the ordeal has been etched into my memory for eternity.
Just before I discovered I was pregnant I had a dentist appointment to have a routine filling and these memories began to resurface. The dentist was lovely but as I lay there with my mouth open wide she came towards me with some kind of implement and I completely panicked. I jumped out of the chair and started manically crying; it turned out it was only a mirror. The dentist felt uncomfortable attempting the procedure again after such an outburst for fear of hurting me. I ended up being referred to be sedated so that the work could be carried out, that was 6 months ago… I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t turn up for that appointment.
Now it’s not just my health I could be endangering by avoiding all things pointy, I’m responsible for another life. I guess it’s basically time to man up; that’s easy said than done. My first set of blood tests happened at my antenatal clinic were to check for Rhesus Disease, Anaemia, Diabetes, Rubella, Syphilis, Hepatitis B & C and HIV.
Ross practically had to put me in a headlock to keep me still and from looking at the needle. I knew I had to go through with it but this didn’t stop my body from instinctively jerking at the slightest touch of the midwife’s. It sounds awful, but I’d never seen this woman before and the way her hair was piled up on top her head, the way she bobbed up and down as she spoke and the way her lipstick was smudged all over her teeth instantly, well, I came to the conclusion that she should not be trusted with a needle. Would you let Pheobe Buffay come at you with a needle? Funnily enough, once she was finished she told me a delightful story about how she had to call in another midwife just this morning to take over as she couldn’t find some poor girls vein. I sat there thinking ‘please stop talking now’.
Usually, I would have got the hell out of there but I was reminded that If I didn’t have the blood taken I would be put into a high-risk category due to the uncertainty of what my blood was carrying; something I wanted to avoid. After ross securing me into a position that could pass as a WWE choke hold the bloods were taken and unsurprisingly my blood pressure was through the roof. But it was done, and my next set of bloods weren’t due till week 28 so I could relax… or so I thought.
“There’s been a bit of a mix-up and I’m afraid I’ll have to take your blood again.” Pardon the pun, but how bloody typical. I could feel the room starting to spin. Cue round two but this time with a different midwife. She went through some breathing techniques with me, had me wiggling my feet and lying in different positions; all simple steps but they actually made me feel a lot more comfortable. She was motherly but strict, exactly what I needed and, through the tears, the whole appointment ran much smoother.
I get that being a mum means that you have to put your own phobias and worries aside to ensure your baby has the best possible start at life, but I honestly think some healthcare professionals forget that you are a person too. I have similar feelings towards breastfeeding which I hope to share with you soon. Who knows, when I go into labour I’ll probably end up screaming for the midwives to inject me with all kinds of lovely painkillers, however, for now at least, the fear is real.
Do you know of any techniques to deal with panic attacks or facing your phobias that you think would help?
Do you have any similar fears and phobias?