Monday, March 13, 2006

Today was my 6 week postnatal check up.
This marks the end of the final chapter of my pregnancy. Logan & I have completely healed from the trauma of birth. Now we move forward into experiencing life as a new family with an infant. It's kind of a sad day. This has been one of the most challenging & amazing experiences of my life. I'm in constant awe that we have been able to create another life.

The very beginning started May 8, 2005. Bill had been away for a week at a convention in Hollywood. While he was gone, I read an article on ovulation. I came across this article by chance, as I wasn't researching fertility & family planning at all. We had talked about starting a family for a while & at this time in my life, I felt ready. The article gave me the information to figure out when I would be ovulating. Oddly enough, the night Bill came back was when I would be ready to try & get pregnant. The funny thing about this is, that night was the first night we had ever "tried". We never tried like most couples, counting the days on the calendar, taking temperatures, treating the situation more like a task. It only took that one night for us. Not only did we feel ready, but God or the universe felt we were ready too. This baby was supposed to happen.

I didn't know that I was pregnant at the time, but looking back at how I felt, it was very clear. I had never been so tired & moody in all of my life. I thought that I had hit burn out at work, something that almost everyone had warned me about because of the way I was running my schedule. I was booked from 6 am to 9 pm everyday of the week, then there was a half day on Saturday, totally booked too. I worked out for 2 or 3 hours on those days as well. I had just taken on the position of Assistant Fitness Manager the month before & I thought that the added responsibility was killing me. The thought of napping had always been a nice idea in the back of my head, but I couldn't survive without them that month. I felt something was going on when I would rather take a nap than workout. With the hormone changes, I thought I was going crazy. I really went into a deep depression. I kept telling everyone at the gym, "Either I'm crazy or I'm pregnant. I hope it's the latter". It really was starting to worry me. If I wasn't married to such an understanding relaxed guy like Bill, I'm sure separation or divorce would've been other couples answer to this craziness.

Everyone at the gym kept telling me that I was pregnant. What did they know?! I wasn't even late yet! I was supposed to start menstruating memorial day weekend. Nothing happened Saturday, nothing Sunday, nothing Monday. Now I was late. Something was up. I was never late. Monday night at 10 pm, I turned to Bill & said, "I think we need to go to the store to get a test". So we went out & got a digital EPT test. We came home & I just looked at the box on the coffee table for about 2 hours. I didn't know what to think. I finally decided to take the test at midnight. The directions on the box indicated that it would take 3 to 5 minutes to process the results. By the time I flushed the toilet, the results were in. It took 15 seconds. I was very pregnant. I walked out into the living room shaking like a leaf in the wind. "The test says I'm pregnant", I told Bill with my hands over my mouth. He smiled & held out his arms as I collapsed into them a nervous wreck. He held me as a hurricane of thoughts spun around in my head. Bill kept telling me that everything would be great , we had each other & we would make a good family. It took a little bit of time to calm my fears from my own family & childhood experiences. By far my biggest fear was turning out like my mom. Bill assured me that I wouldn't. Once I had calmed down, we sat there holding one another, just cuddling. We looked at each other & I said, "We are officially adults now. Our lives have changed forever". Boy was that ever true.

The month of June was interesting. My body had been changing with smells, tastes & food cravings. It was very challenging with the beginnings of what I thought was morning sickness. My tastes & cravings started very early in the pregnancy. In the 4 th week I could eat almost everything. I felt like a bottomless pit. I was eating carrots like they were the last food on the face of the earth. That didn't last very long though. It seemed like each week changed from the next. The 5 th week was strange because I was eating cheese & drinking milk when I had been lactose intolerant before. I was also eating more fruit than I ever had in my entire life. In the 6 th week I was eating less. I could barely eat dinner or even drink water. I couldn't eat anything sweet or sugary like cheesecake. I used to love cheesecake & now it tasted like pure sugar & it was just disgusting. The other major change was becoming completely vegetarian. I used to eat meat daily. Turkey sandwiches, chicken breasts at dinner...never a problem. However, just the thought of meat made me sick. Which brings me to the 7 th week, where I couldn't eat anything & "morning sickness" really took over.

"Morning sickness" started early & gradually. I was getting sick before I even knew I was pregnant. I started getting sick in the evenings around 8 pm. After a while of trying to tough it out, I cancelled all of my 8 pm clients. When Bill came to pick me up, I was running out with my hands covering my mouth, gagging & dry heaving on the way home. Thank God it was only a few short minutes. Bill would drop me off at the stairwell & I would sprint up the stairs, run down the hall & into our apartment, throwing the door open & barely making it to the bathroom. It felt like I had the flu for weeks. Soon I was starting to feel sick earlier in the day, starting around 4 pm & I was becoming debilitated by 8 pm. I was throwing up at work in between clients & then throwing up in the morning after breakfast. Soon I was throwing up all of the time. In my 7 th week I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't keep food down for a few days. Even the smallest sip of water made me sick. I was literaly starving & dehydrated. I went to the Doctor to get some medication. When the nurse checked me in & got me on the scale I was very worried. I had lost 5 lbs. in a week or less. When the Doctor came in, he assured me that the weight loss was ok & normal for morning sickness. The baby would be fine. He perscribed a phenegran suppository because I couldn't eat anything. I went home & tried the medication. It was the worst experience of my life. Not only was I nauseous, achy & weak, but now my rear end felt like it ws on fire. I couldn't do it again. The next day I went back & was perscribed Reglan. That worked for only a few short days.

Each week went by & I started canceling out most of my clients during the day. I would work for a few hours in the morning, throw up, go home & sleep, eat, throw up & sleep some more. I stopped working out. Not only did I feel like total crap, but I still continued to loose weight. in my 9 th week I went in for my first prenatal exam. I had been really sick for 2 days prior. On the scale, I lost another 4 lbs. Now it was a total of 10 lbs lost. I'm still really thankful that I was in the best shape of my life before getting pregnant. I don't know what the outcome would've been if I hadn't. At the appointment I asked for a stronger medication. They wouldn't give it to me. They really didn't seem the least bit concerned that I was so sick & loosing so much weight. Part of that appointment was getting an ultrasound of the baby. That was a really exciting moment for us. It made the pregnancy that much more real. It was surreal watching "it" up on the screen bouncing around. I was very surprised that it looked so developed. It looked like a stubby baby. To see it move & be alive was amazing & I was really emotional. If the nurse hadn't been there, I would've cried for a long time. It was really hard to hold back.

During the 11 th week I ended up in the Doctors office to get re-hydrated by IV. Morning sickness took a turn for the worse (like it couldn't get any worse) & I still couldn't keep anything down. The nurse checked me in & got me on the scale again. I was 117 lbs. I had NEVER weighed that little in my adult life. I broke down into tears again. Bill had mentioned that my clothes were hanging off of me & you could see my spine & other bones sticking out. I certainly didn't feel healthy & here I was trying to carry a baby. They started the IV & added phenegran (the medication that didn't work the 1st time) to the second bag. I think I had an allergic reaction to it because I felt like I was in space. Once the bag was empty a nurse came in & asked me some questions. I was slow to answer & my speech was slurred. She said that I was worse than when I came in. They wrapped me up in blankets & wheeled me down to urgent care. My blood pressure dropped down to 80/72. They hooked me up to a third bag & added a different medication, zofran. When the Doctor came in to check on me, I had been there for 5 hours. He told me that I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I thought that was the technical term for morning sickness. I didn't find out that it was an actual pregnancy complication until much later. He mentioned that if they couldn't get me better in the next hour, they would have to admit me to the hospital for a 24 hour watch. Fortunately I got a little bit better.

The following 4 weeks were tough. I went into another deep depression. The new medication was helping, but I still felt gross & I was sick & tired of being on the couch all day long. I would just lay there & cry. It was such a drastic change from the activity level I used to have. I started to feel indirect pressure from upper management at work & Bill started stressing me out about finances & my limitations. Finally I had enough. I had the "screw it" mentality. I would go back to working 10-12 hours a day. If I got sick, oh well. So during the 16 th week I went back full force. I got my schedule booked back up & started working out again. It was tough, but I was in denial about how sick I really was.

I stayed on zofran for the entire pregnancy. It's mostly used as a medication for cancer patients while they are on chemo to help with the nausea. I could honestly say I knew what it felt like to have cancer, minus the pain. I started to get my appetite back & ate whatever I wanted. Because I lost 15 lbs in the first trimester, I really didn't care if all I ate was junk. At least I could eat. Taco Bell was my best friend for a while. I lived on 7 layer burritos. In the 17 th week we went to a reggae concert at Red Rocks (but got rained out). I hung in there ok. I was also getting accupuncture treatments at my chiropractors office to help with everything. During one of my visits that week I swore I felt the baby kick for the first time. I knew in my heart that it was, but I was still a little unsure until it happened again the next day. I told Bill & he was so excited. I had a very active baby because it proceeded to kick me often throughout the day. I felt like it was learning karate & break dancing in there. That proved to be true when the Doctor had to chase the baby around to listen to the heart beat at the next appointment. It felt good to know that it was doing alright after the hell we went through in the last weeks. When I was sick, people would say, "That's a good sign! It means the baby is healthy!" I would always say that "This baby better be an olympic athlete with how sick I am". Now with the kicking all of the time, I was thinking it was an olympic soccer player.

At 20 weeks I had another ultrasound. In this one we were able to find out if we were having a girl or a boy. I had been having dreams of a girl, but Bill was persistent that it was a boy. Bill was right & it was pretty obvious. It was funny that we've had his name picked out for years, even before we started to even think about having a family. Trying to agree on a girls name seemed like mission impossible. I should've known it was a boy. In the following weeks I started to relapse again. I ended up going on an early maternity leave. That really helped. I never got sick again after that (but still continued the medication up until his birth).

The third trimester seemed to drag on forever, but fly by at the same time. We took all of our prenatal classes & did a tour of the hospital. I was starting to get really uncomfortable. I was getting bigger & it was a little difficult to watch myself get fat & there was nothing I could do about it. I was getting terrible heart burn & restless leg syndrome. I had pain in my sternum from getting kicked & stretched. Sometimes I felt like I had been abducted by aliens. Speaking of kicking, since Logan was getting bigger, he packed a little more punch. Litteraly. Sometimes so much that I would gasp & jump. It was pretty funny for Bill to try & feel him move. He would put his hand on my stomach & wait & wait, but nothing ever happened.

Logan's birth will be one of the ultimate highlights of my life. Even though it was nothing like I had planned, I couldn't have asked for a better birthing experience. I was lucky enough to have been able to bond instantly with him. We got the hang of breast feeding right away. All of the pain & suffering I had gone through in the beginning was worth it. Our recovery was really easy. Six weeks later I think back on these last ten months. I will never forget how I felt with HG, but I have already forgotten the pain of contractions & labor. I remember the events, but not the feeling. It seems that the amnesia has set in. I'm thankful that I've been able to record all of these events, otherwise it would have all become a faded memory as I fill my brain with the new experiences of being a first time stay at home mom.

2 comments:

Avorie said...

What an incredible journey. I also lost weight because of the morning sickness and since I was underweight to begin with, my doctor put me on Zolfran.

I felt like I was going to die, but after reading your story, I don't think I was nearly as sick.

Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing this ... I got goosebumps as I read about your walking into Bill when you found out ... Awesome.