Coping with Fears

My wife is pregnant with our first baby, and I’m so worried that something will go wrong. If it does, how do you cope?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: The biggest worry for parents-to-be is if their baby will be healthy, and my wife and I were no exception. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, the baby was usually very active. But one Friday afternoon, my wife realized that she hadn’t felt the baby move in awhile. We called her ob, who was very accommodating and told us to come in right away. When we go to the office, the doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat.

My wife was taken by ambulance to JohnsHopkinsHospital, where she underwent an emergency C-section. Our baby was born with Apgar scores close to 0. Our baby had a very rare problem: In utero, her intestines twisted, and she needed to have major bowl surgery. She spent three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit, and she had surgery on her 3rd day of life.

Thankfully, things turned out well, and our daughter is now a delightful 26-year-old! But it was pretty scary.

In subsequent pregnancies, my wife and I still had all of those same fears. It was important for me to help my wife cope with the fear. You just have to keep the faith and hope for the best.  Fortunately my wife’s other pregnancies and deliveries were all just fine.

Nathan Wei, MD, a father of four and a rheumatologist who’s been in practice for 30 years with the Arthritis Treatment Center in Frederick, MD