The bee sting.
September 12, 2012

A little over a week ago, I dropped Charlotte off to enjoy some time with her grandfather while I met a buddy at a park.

Half an hour after arriving at the park, I was stung by a bee.

For most people, a bee sting is a relatively minor event, but I am allergic to bees.  Entire-limb-swelling allergic.  Stop-breathing allergic.  Carry-epinephrine-with-you-everywhere allergic.

Of course, time makes you forget about little dangers and I did not have an Epi-Pen on me.  Which was just as well because, frankly, I wasn’t sure whether or not use of an Epi-Pen during pregnancy was a stellar idea.

Instead, I drove myself to the hospital, walked into the emergency room, and explained the situation.  Because I caught the bee as it was stinging me, I was able to sweep it off my arm before the stinger even detached, so the amount of venom released was minimal.  Still, the floor doctor wanted to keep me under observation for a period of time to ensure that I did not go into anaphylactic shock.  He drew an outline of the swelling on my arm and marked the time for comparison.

I asked what would happen if I did stop breathing.  The doctor looked at his chart.  “You’re 31 weeks,” he said, “so you have a baby.  But don’t worry.  It probably won’t come to that.”

And it didn’t.  Thank goodness.

I have spent most of this pregnancy very worried about my level of emotional investment in this child.  I started the pregnancy resentful that a conception occurred when I felt unprepared and had taken steps to prevent it.  Our adoption plans were interrupted.  I bawled for weeks, withdrew from my husband.  Breastfeeding, already difficult, became worse.  Then the morning sickness came with a vengeance.  Over and over, I thought it had passed only to wake up wrong.  It lasted nearly twenty-six weeks.  Perhaps most telling of all, I kept reading about adoption and child psychology…but I kept my pregnancy books packed neatly away.

Until this pregnancy, I had no idea how much the emotional state of a woman could factor into her prenatal experience.  Time and time again, I wondered: am I going to be able to love this baby as much as I love our daughter?

The bee sting – and that brief hour when we had to face the reality of this child potentially being delivered two months early – gave us an answer.

Yes.

Ever since the bee sting, I find myself stopping at random points in the day, rubbing my belly, bonding with the child squirming within.  The constant movements that irritated me two weeks ago are suddenly endearing reminders of the life we will soon be entrusted with protecting.  And oh, how I am suddenly flooded with a desire to fiercely protect it.

A couple days after the bee sting, I dug through a box and pulled out my books related to childbirth, maternity care, pregnancy, and postpartum health.  I knew as soon as I settled in and started flipping those familiar pages that everything was going to be just fine.


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  1. By Ashley on September 12, 2012

    Our capacity to love our children is amazing. My daughter was unplanned, and I also spent a lot of my pregnancy worried, anxious, frustrated at failed birth control, mourning the loss of the plans I had, etc. And then she came, and while that didn’t all just POOF! and disappear, I realized that nothing can ever stop me from loving her, from wanting her, from wanting to protect her. I love her enough that I make room, I adapt, I give time and energy I don’t think I even have to give.

    It will absolutely be fine. You guys are incredible parents with so much love to give. And Charlotte is going to be an amazing big sister!

  2. By Amber on September 12, 2012

    YAY! So happy to hear that all is well and that you are bonding <3   Oh Sarah. You love your children SO MUCH. As if there were really any doubt.

  3. By on September 12, 2012

    The very fact that you are worrying about bonding with the new baby says that all will be well. It is ok to be conflicted. Life is complex.
      You have written that you feel that you are abandoning the child who you were planning to adopt.
    My brother says “you are where you are for a reason”. I visited my parents this winter because my father was seriously ill. Turns out that while I was there, he rallied but my mother’s health took a unexpected turn for the worse. If I had not already been present, I wouldn’t have had time to get there.  Maybe the same kind of thing is going on with the child who needs you to adopt them?

  4. By jill on September 12, 2012

    Love reading your blog.  I am pregnant as well and find it calming to hear that your fears are so similar to mine!  thanks!

  5. By on September 12, 2012

    Oh dear… I must email you…

  6. By on September 12, 2012

    I’m 9.5 weeks with my first child. He/she was completely planned and is no big intrusion to our life (yet!) But I’m nauseated all day and evenings are horrible. And I feel horrible because I’m more annoyed than happy. I feel more resentment than excitement. I know there’s a baby on the way but right now, I’m just nauseated and I hate it! I find myself wondering if I’m going to be able to bond with this child if the sickeness doesn’t go away. 
    My mother says it’ll all be worth it when I feel the baby kick for the first time.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story.

  7. By on September 12, 2012

    well finally. i have to say i stopped reading your blog for a while because i was disgusted with the way you related to your pregnancy. as a woman struggling to concieve a second child i wanted to say vile things to you - but instead i stopped reading. i have no idea what moved me to check in today, but all i can say is HALLELUJAH, its about time. Congratulations, you are going to be blessed again with another baby! Smile & enjoy it!!! Many would trade places with you in a heartbeat - morning sickness & all.

  8. By Sarah Christensen on September 12, 2012

    Tamara - My husband and I encountered trouble trying to conceive both of our children.  I think the hardest part for me while struggling to conceive - and miscarrying along the road - was watching the way other women who were fortunate enough to conceive behave as though their child was unwanted and unloved.  There were so many times when it took all of my patience to bite my tongue, so many times when I complained about women I knew not enjoying their pregnancies, taking their pregnancies for granted, didn’t they know I would move mountains to be in their place?  WTF?

    So I know exactly how you felt when looking upon this pregnancy with me, because I felt that way too.  I even felt that way when reflecting upon this pregnancy.  I looked at how I was relating to my pregnancy and felt ashamed to be one of those women who I had previously detested, but I felt for a very long time that I just couldn’t get a handle on my emotions.  I felt immensely guilty for my reaction to the pregnancy when we had so very much wanted another child and when I had so thoroughly loved being pregnant with Charlotte.  I just didn’t know how to control my emotions, how to turn the tide, so to speak.  I’ve been lucky to have such excellent support from my husband as well as family and friends because they’ve all been very encouraging, excited, and reassuring that this baby is every bit a blessing as Charlotte and that this is the way things are meant to be, that the child we are meant to adopt must not be ready for us yet, etc.

    Over the last week, I have found myself really and truly excited about this baby.  I’ve been preparing for the baby in tangible ways - creating a birth plan, laundering onesies, nesting like nobody’s business lol - and really enjoying the whole process.  I’ve been kind of pissed off at myself for letting a stupid funk get in the way of all the fun I could have been having all along the way lol and I’m starting to really look forward to the next few weeks before the baby is born.

    I hope very much that your dream of a second child comes true soon.  There are few things worse than yearning for a child and not having the pieces of the puzzle fall together.  I’m sending warm wishes for some sticky baby dust!!  And I am truly sorry for anything I wrote on here that was upsetting; it was never my intention to upset you or anyone else.

    Last but not least, thank you for the congratulations.  We’re all very excited Chez Christensen!

  9. By on September 12, 2012

    I had similar feelings throughout most of my second pregnancy. We were not planning to have another baby so soon and my husband had been unemployed for over a year. When I was about 30 weeks pregnant I was hospitalized overnight to rule out preterm labor and all I could think about was how it was the first night I’d ever spent away from my oldest daughter. When my second daughter was born though, it was love at first sight. Congrats on #2!

  10. By on September 13, 2012

    I’ve been kind of pissed off at myself for letting a stupid funk get in the way of all the fun I could have been having all along the way.


      I don’t think you were having a stupid funk at all. I remember a post where you mentioned that when you decided to adopt, you put all your energy into that basket and threw in your heart for good measure. Then this pregnancy put a long wait on the adoption. You were not in a funk, you were mourning the loss of your adopted child. In a way, it was another miscarriage, so soon after the loss of Aurora.  A friend of mine had twins. One of them was stillborn. In her grief counseling they mentioned that you have to deal with the loss before you can celebrate the joy.  I’m so happy for you that the celebration is starting.

  11. By on September 13, 2012

    So you understand now!

    I remember when you and Donald had decided to go forward with adoption. I was pregnant with #2 and had to put adoption on hold for a second time (likely indefinitely, unfortunately). I was upset that my dream to adopt was not going to be realized, especially after all the counselling my husband and I went through to choose that path.

    I told you how jealous I was that you were adopting, and you told me how jealous you were that I was pregnant. Well, I guess we were just two silly people, weren’t we? :)

  12. By Weekend Cowgirl on September 13, 2012

    So glad you are OK! And so glad you are now able to be excited and enjoy getting ready for the baby. Life is hard sometimes, but it’s funny how one day can make all the difference in how we look at things…

  13. By on September 13, 2012

    Bring on the celebration, Sarah.
    You are one lucky Momma!
    I’m sorry if my earlier comment sounded harsh (reading it now, its a bit bitchy, i’m so sorry) - i guess i can chalk it up to the fact that i am both frustrated in my own situation & jealous of yours.  ... Ugly, ugly emotions.
    But really I’m so happy your heart is opening to this new life. You are such a great mom, it was hard to read that you weren’t 100% excited. At least you came around while there is still time to enjoy the kicks & the flutters, and before the labor ... good luck! My heart is happy for you. xox.

  14. By Sarah Christensen on September 13, 2012

    Mitzie - I think there might be something to that.  When we passed the one-year mark of our miscarriage, which happened the exact same day that Aurora’s pomegranate tree bloomed for the first time, I noticed that I felt MUCH better about the pregnancy - and then the bee sting just seemed to really rush things along.

    Tamara - It’s not bitchy; emotions are slippery beasts sometimes.  I understood completely!

    MC - I need to e-mail you sometime soon! =)


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