I was watching a Baby Story on TLC today and I was remembering my own baby story. A friend had asked me to recount my experience and this spurred me to finally write it down. I am sure I have written this before in e-mails and spoken about it to some but I’ve never written it out and made it public.
I think the first post I ever wrote for this blog mentions the disgusting sick feeling I experienced for most of my pregnancy. I often feel a bit queasy a few days before my period. Nothing too terrible just a slight wave of nausea occasionally hits but it doesn’t really bother me. In the interest of sharing as much information as possible I am going to enter TMI territory (that’s too much information, for anybody wondering).
My periods can be irregular. My cycle is normally 32-35 days in length but emotional stress can cause it to go a bit crazy and I’ve had 50 day cycles. I use an app on my phone to track it. I like stuff like that. Anyway when I started feeling sick I thought my period was likely imminent and for a day or two I ignored it. I was cramping and feeling blah. A week went by and I had other symptoms.
Firstly my nipples were really sore. (I am not going to apologize for using anatomically correct names but if this stuff makes you uncomfortable I suggest you stop reading now.) As were my breasts in general. It was a soreness unlike I had ever experienced. Tender I knew but this, this was something different. It hurt to put on a bra. It hurt to stand in the shower. Still, I was expecting the mother of all periods. When I became constipated I self diagnosed. I was dying of some terminal disease. This is how my mind works.
I was not eating much and the nausea was getting to the point where I couldn’t ignore it. When a friend jokingly suggested I was pregnant I laughed it off and told her to piss off. When I got home from work that day the idea that I might be pregnant was nagging at me and even though I had decided to go to the doctor about my symptoms I figured it couldn’t hurt to rule out pregnancy.
I had some tests at home so I took one as soon as I made my way upstairs. The two lines appeared before the test was even complete. I was shaking. I think it was both relief and every other emotion a human is capable of feeling. I will never forget that day, nor that test. The date was February 23, 2012.
Once I told my husband (I promise this part of the story is not worth mentioning. I was such a mess I can’t even be sure I spoke words) we told some family and friends about the positive test. We were so excited to share this moment. It’s a moment you don’t ever get back. Choosing to tell people right away is not something that everybody does. Some people like to wait until the pregnancy is past the first trimester. I cannot keep a secret and I wanted everybody to share that moment with us so spilling the beans right away was right for us.
My husband and I went to La Bamba for dinner and our good friends met us there. They brought me the most beautiful flower arrangement. They didn’t know it at the time but they were expecting as well!
The next week was exciting. The pregnancy was still sinking in. I was feeling pretty much the same but knowing the reason alleviated my symptoms. On March 2nd we went to Carrabas for my friend’s birthday dinner (she’s the one who would soon become my pregnancy buddy) and the next day she called to tell me that she too was pregnant. Our due dates were one week apart!
My first appointment with my obstetrician was on March 5, 2012. My pregnancy was confirmed once again by a pregnancy test and my due date was calculated to be November 1st. I left the office with some goodies along with orders for a lot of blood work. I went to the lab the following day and almost passed out after vial number seven. I felt horrid but went back to work afterwards. I was so dizzy and nauseated that I couldn’t drive home from work that day. I had to call my husband to pick me up.
On March 18th I had some bleeding. I remember the terrifying moment vividly. When I saw the blood my first thought was “No.” I didn’t want this to be happening. My mind immediately went to a dark place. I remember walking out of the bathroom feeling dazed and telling my husband that we needed to go to the hospital. I didn’t know what I was going to do if I was losing the pregnancy. I didn’t want to know.
At the hospital they performed an ultrasound. The technician told us that she would not be able to tell us anything and we were both prevented from seeing the screen. We had to wait for the doctor. I lay there feeling already as if my life had taken a turn for the worst. While the technician worked the wand over my abdomen I studied her face for any signs of doom. She had a good poker face.
Finally once I had been wiped free of jelly and had righted my clothes the technician smiled at me and showed me the screen. She pointed at my baby’s heart beating inside a little blob that would soon become a body. I thanked her and silently hugged her. I was seven and a half weeks along at this point.
After a pelvic exam and some blood work (after which I almost passed out again), the doctor told me that I had what is known as a subchorionic hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood in the fetal layer next to the placenta. In a lot of cases it is reabsorbed and poses no risk to the pregnancy. In others it could result in a miscarriage. The good news was that I only experienced minimal bleeding and was no longer actively bleeding. The ultrasound had shown a small hematoma so size wise it was in our favor. I was told to rest, abstain from sex, and follow up with my obstetrician.
After this scare I decided to quit my job. I was already barely functioning with my intense nausea that often reduced me to tears. I also didn’t want to wonder if staying home would have saved my baby. Being a legal assistant wasn’t strenuous by any means but I am of the mind that if I can’t do a job well I might as well not do it at all.
As the weeks wore on my nausea got worse. It was almost painful. I was prescribed Zofran but this gave me a really bad headache and I stopped taking it after a few days. A few weeks after that I gave it another whirl and found that it gave me some relief. I still felt nauseated but I didn’t feel like death. I think it was during week thirteen that I started throwing up. I continued this daily ritual for about ten weeks. Afterwards I still felt sick but I could actually eat.
Not eating and throwing up will cause you to lose weight. I did. It was very worrisome to me. I was anxious about everything already but knowing that my illness could affect the baby terrified me. The night before my 20 week ultrasound I spent it awake. In the hours before I had a full blown panic attack. I was so scared and worried that the ultrasound would reveal a problem.
Thankfully all that was revealed was a healthy baby boy.
Aside from my own anxiety and debilitating nausea and morning sickness my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I had some hip pain from time to time and I was constantly tired and out of breath. I think that my own fear and reaction to my symptoms took away from any enjoyment I would have found in my state.
Diego was mostly active at night. Once I could feel him moving I spent a lot of time focused on the sensation. In many ways knowing he was there helped me overcome my discomfort. He did spend a lot of time on my bladder and for this I will hold him accountable, ha ha. Going to the bathroom every give minutes is something I won’t ever miss.
Let’s fast forward to thirty-five weeks. By this point I’ve had my baby shower and this appointment was supposed to be my first weekly appointment. Once you reach thirty-five weeks most doctors see you weekly and check you for dilation and high blood pressure. The latter was sky high and I was admitted to the hospital that evening. At this point they were just monitoring my blood pressure, doing some blood work and running some tests on my urine.
I thought they would medicate me and send me on my way but the next day after consulting with the neonatologist I was seeing my doctor decided that the baby needed to come out. Preeclampsia is thought to be caused by the placenta becoming toxic to the mother. The only known cure for it is to remove it. Diego was breech so a cesarian section was the only way to get him out.
I’m going to stop here for now because this post is way too long. I will pick back up tomorrow.