Do Not Google
(Disclaimer: This was written pre-pandemic as I chronicled my pregnancy.)
I’ve known now for about a week and a half that I am pregnant. It’s still early days - not quite 7 weeks. I started the pregnancy feeling cautiously optimistic. My husband and I said things like, “Hopefully it’ll all be fine!” and “We’ll see what happens!” I felt remarkably (read: surprisingly) relaxed about it all. When I told a couple of my girlfriends that I felt sick to my stomach, couldn’t keep my eyes open come 4pm, and winced when anything touched my breasts, they rejoiced that it meant I had a healthy pregnancy. I chuckled, kind of understanding where they were coming from, but being way too chill to read into any of the symptoms.
Then, this morning I woke up from a harrowing dream. In the dream, I was on the toilet and there was blood. I was confused and frightened. In the dream, I had the feeling that my actual pregnancy had been but a dream.
All day, I have been fixated on whether or not my dream was a psychic prophecy. I have not been as nauseous today as I have been on other days... WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
As soon as my pregnancy test read positive, I declared that I would not go crazy Googling all-things-pregnancy like I did the first time around. Literally anyone can post literally anything online. I would not get sucked into the fear-mongering cyber world.
But I reneged on this resolution last night after eating a few bites of pineapple. When I saw the pineapple at the store, I instinctively grabbed it. It looked so juicy and delicious and I can’t get enough juicy fruit right now. I got home and dug right in. I had craved pineapple while pregnant with Ryker and learned that the claim that pregnant women should not eat pineapple because it could cause early labor was simply a myth. You would need to eat something like 5 pineapples a day for there to be any effect.
And yet, mid-bite, I was suddenly gripped with fear. Maybe I hadn’t had pineapple with Ryker until later on in the pregnancy, when we were well past the risk of miscarriage. Maybe I had only cut the pineapple myself, instead of purchasing pre-cut pineapple like I had done today. Why didn’t I buy a whole pineapple? Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat pre-cut fruit that could have been exposed to bacteria!
I started Googling. It was a regrettable decision.
When you Google "word + word + word," you are basically guaranteed to be presented with results that confirm what you are searching. "Pregnant + pineapple + miscarriage" will return results of posts that say: Yes, eating pineapple when pregnant causes miscarriage.
I quickly put the pineapple away, thinking, Why did I eat that???
I’m sure this fear followed me into my dreams.
I was on the subway this morning taking Ryker to school when I noticed a lack of nausea. My mind started spiraling. Maybe the dream was telling me something. Maybe it was the pineapple. Maybe it was having done too much core work last week.
Maybe I was never even pregnant.
I Googled some more.
Apparently you can have a symptomless miscarriage. Apparently you can have all the pregnancy symptoms but not actually be pregnant. Apparently, apparently, apparently.
I called my doctor’s office to see if there was any chance of being seen sooner than at 9 weeks. That’s an excruciating 2.5 weeks away! It suddenly felt impossible to wait that long. I was told that there were unfortunately no openings and that it was normal to be seen for your first appointment at 8-9 weeks. I said, “So most women know for like a month that they’re pregnant and get no confirmation as far as whether or not there’s even a heartbeat?” I asked if I could be seen by another doctor or if there was some other place I could go just to hear the heartbeat.
I am really grateful to the woman on the other end for not making me feel as crazy as I was definitely sounding.
Rationally, I know that seeing the doctor sooner or later is not going to change my current state. Either there is a baby growing as s/he should be or there is a problem. I could hear a heartbeat today and something could still go awry later on in the pregnancy. I cannot control any of this. And that’s what I’m really looking for - a sense of control.
I wonder where that overly relaxed person I had been for a few days went. The person who, when my husband said, “I thought we weren’t supposed to tell anyone yet!” rationally responded, “I’ve just told a few close girlfriends. The reason you’re not supposed to tell anyone is in case something goes wrong, but if something did go wrong, I would want to talk to my girlfriends about it all. Besides, the risk of miscarriage decreases significantly once you pass the 6-week mark, which I have.”
Now I’m thinking: Maybe I shouldn’t have told anyone! Maybe I jinxed it! Maybe there was never a heartbeat!
I think perhaps that the relaxed me was actually still just a bit shocked and euphoric over the initial news. Now that I’ve had some time to marinate in it all, the real me - the one that catastrophizes, overanalyzes, and panics - is back in the driver seat.
I am grateful for one article that Google delivered which said, “If you are freaking out that you don’t have nausea, this is not a sign that you miscarried but a sign that you should stop overanalyzing.”
So, I am here renewing my vow to not Google pregnancy symptoms, or lack thereof. I will keep a list of questions for my actual real life doctor. I will trust this baby, my body, and the timing of my life.
It’s not going to be easy, but I am going to do my best.