To those still around reading my lengthy blog/journal posts, bravo to you. Thanks for your patience as I record my pregnancy experience to remember in the future. It also sets the stage for some posts I have in mind for the future. I promise, there will be shorter and more visually appealing posts coming up soon!
I had wondered for almost three years what it would be like to experience pregnancy. What symptoms would I experience more than others? Would I struggle with many pregnancy symptoms, or be one of those women who loved every moment?
As I mentioned in my previous post, I experienced nausea pretty quickly after finding out I was pregnant. I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t taken a pregnancy test on the Thursday. Would I have guessed something was different when I first felt a little nauseated that Saturday? Or maybe the following Tuesday when the “all day” sickness started?
It wasn’t just nausea; I was physically sick (i.e. “upchucking almost everything”) at least once a day. Within about three weeks, I had lost almost 15 lbs, so I went to my family doctor in hopes that she would prescribe me something. At this point, the nausea was so bad that I was feeling incredibly discouraged. Most days I stayed in bed when I could. Every time I heaved in the toilet, I would chant in my head “be thankful, be thankful, be thankful.”
My doctor’s medical student saw me first and asked whether I was taking anything for the nausea. By this point, I had tried almost everything that Google, Pinterest, friends, family, strangers, etc. recommended. Wristbands. Ginger pills. Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day. Food like oatmeal, baby crackers, etc. I explained all this to him at which point he felt the need to explain to me that nausea is one symptom of pregnancy and perhaps I should “tough it out” for a while. I was torn between breaking down in tears and hitting him. (I may have even texted Mark with something along the lines of “I want to kick him in the groin and tell HIM to tough it out…”). My doctor came into the room and asked him to summarize my case; he did and ended with “I told her nausea is a common symptom of pregnancy.” She asked “…so… what should we do next?” He didn’t know what to say. Luckily, my family doctor knew better than to tell me to “tough it out” and without question prescribed me Diclectin. The Diclectin eased the nausea, but I would still continue to be physically sick for months. Around Thanksgiving (about 30 weeks or so?) I was finally able to go down to 2 pills a day. Thank God I was still a student with health insurance because pills that would normally cost over $50 for about 3 weeks only cost me about $15.
Mark, usually very sqeamish when it came to vomit, became a pro at grabbing me a bucket quickly and rubbing my back when I was sick. One of the funniest times I remember while pregnant was just before bed one night. We were lying in bed and I had been complaining for a while that I felt like I was going to be sick (I always tried so hard to keep my food down). We were ready to go to sleep, and Mark turned off the lights. Almost right away, I knew I was going to be sick. I leaned over my side of the bed and started vomiting. What Mark didn’t know was that I had a bowl beside the bed to puke in. I swear, I have never seen him jump out of bed so fast in his life as he thought I was puking on our bed sheets.
One of Mark’s favourite stories was when we were in Chicago. I had a work meeting in Grand Rapids over our fourth wedding anniversary (and our last as a childless couple), so we decided Mark would come with me and we would visit Chicago first. We were in the middle of a nice restaurant for lunch when I started to feel ill. When my nausea first started in my pregnancy, I wouldn’t go anywhere without knowing where my closest 1) bathroom, 2) exit, or 3) garbage can was. By this far in my pregnancy (about 28 weeks), my nausea had subsided so much that I had started letting my guard down and wasn’t always aware of my escape routes. But the nausea came on me so quickly, I couldn’t do anything. I was sick at the table right in the middle of the restaurant. Our waiter was mortified (as was I…). Mark was a champ – he’d come so far in all those weeks!
Sometimes all you can do is laugh! By the end of the pregnancy when I was going as long as a couple of weeks without being physically sick, I had a “[# of days] without incident” countdown on a whiteboard in our kitchen. One day I was in the kitchen and suddenly felt ill and ran to our kitchen sink. As I was heaving in the sink, I see Mark walk by me to grab a marker, walk past me again to our whiteboard, erase the number that was there and put a big, fat “0.” We both had a good laugh at that one…
Honestly, I always thought that I would gain tons of weight when I was pregnant because I love food and imagined I would use pregnancy as an excuse to “eat for two.” Because of my lack of appetite, it took a while for the pregnancy to show. One day in the summer, I knew I was finally showing when I bumped into an old co-worker who excitedly asked when I was due (he’s lucky I was actually pregnant…).
In my third trimester, I started having pretty bad heartburn. Again, I tried anything Google, Pinterest, friends, family, strangers, etc. recommended. Most websites said to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. Too bad water seemed to make my heartburn worse…
At the beginning of the pregnancy, I think my femoral nerve was pinched because if I was standing/walking for longer than 5 minutes the front of my left thigh would go completely numb. That finally subsided and then turned into sciatica on my right side. Before becoming pregnant, I would try to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. Because of the nausea, I took a break until late summer when I started to feel a bit better. When I went back, I found I loved pilates class, and I was faithful with attending until the end of October when (at home) one evening it took me about 3 minutes to get up off the floor because my back kept seizing… And that was with the help of my husband. I decided I didn’t want to be stranded on the ground in pilates, so I took a break.
I started feeling the baby kick the afternoon after our 20 week ultrasound. I was watching The West Wing and took it to be a sign that Baby Lucking was going to love the show as much as I do… I knew Baby Lucking was going to be a mover and a shaker… At my genetic screening ultrasound (around 13 weeks), Baby Lucking was sleeping in a way that the ultrasound tech couldn’t get the pictures she needed. She had me go pee (but “only about a cup full – you can’t empty your bladder!” Geesh…) and when she continued with the ultrasound, she couldn’t believe how active the baby was moving. She had a hard time getting the screenshots she needed because Baby Lucking was moving so much. At my 20 week ultrasound, the technician said the same thing – she couldn’t believe just how much the baby was moving. Everytime I visited my OB or family doctor, they always had a hard time getting a good heartbeat reading because the baby was moving around all nimbly bimbly. And could I ever feel it… The jabs and kicks would be so startling, I would often jump.
Looking back now, it’s easy to forget how difficult my pregnancy was. While I was pregnant, I questioned having any more biological children after this. I had a hard time coping with being so sick, I couldn’t imagine doing it again and looking after a little one (or more!). But I also think that as human beings, we adapt and find strength we never knew we had.
Up next on the blog, maternity photos!