Being pregnant was wonderful.
Being pregnant was awful.
Yep. I said it. Somebody needs to. Just because we have had a hard time getting pregnant, doesn't mean that former infertiles don't have the same right to moan about their aches and pains as fertiles do. There are two sides to pregnancy. The first side is the end result: The baby. That is what makes it all worthwhile.
Then, there is the other side. My mother once said to me that the Pregnancy Stick hits everyone. You are going to get some sort of pregnancy evil, so you might as well just accept yours. For example, it might be horrible vericose veins that my friend got, in locations that I didn't even know that you could get such things (hint: think Britney). One of my girlfriends got a hernia during her pregnancy and the cute baby bump that she'd always dreamed of - marred by this ropey, knotted bulge right in the center. For me, it was endless morning, noon, and night sickness and incredible sense of smell, which I termed Dog Nose.
The first funny smell reaction that I had was doing the laundry. I reached into the hamper and the smell from those dirty clothes had me racing for the toilet. Now, you think to yourself, of course, laundry can be stinky. But the other problem that I had with laundry was using my favorite dryer sheets. The smell was too strong. I couldn't handle it. I couldn't even handle it if my husband did it. One of his favorite smell memories was when he had lovingly made the bed for me and I came upstairs, only to start frantically heaving because the dryer sheet smell was too strong. He had to get a pair of sheets from the closet and remake the entire bed. Good man.
Some of the nausea moments can certainly be funny, but around 8 weeks, it became more serious. When I went in for my first appointment at the regular OB, I was still semi-controlling my nausea, but had already lost a few pounds. The nurse told me that if I went 24 hours without keeping anything down, I should call in. "But," she added, "That is pretty rare, so don't worry about it."
Apparently, there is a small percentage of women (really? another subset of pregnancy that applies to me?) that get something that is beyond the morning sickness usually associated with pregnancy. That condition is called hpyeremesis gravidarum (HG), which is defined as unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and fluids. This affects less than 2% of women. Huh. Another statistical bullet.
Now, let me be clear. I was actually never diagnosed with HG. However, at my 11 week appointment, before we found out that Gummy's heart was no longer beating, the doctor was very concerned. I had lost a lot of weight, I was constantly dehydrated, and I had been to the ER or urgent care clinic for fluids more time than I could count. I had been prescribed anti-nausea medication, but it really didn't help. He was talking in terms of taking me out of work and that if I lost any more weight, I would have to be on a stronger medication.
This was more than simple nausea. I would put food into my stomach and it would immediately come back up. There was no time for the food to be digested. It was an immediate in and out reaction. I would literally eat over the toilet, because it became impossible to dash from the dining room in time to make it. If you have never suffered extreme morning sickness, you are probably thinking EEEEWWW right now, but I would actually find it the easiest to eat immediately after throwing up, as if I had fooled my stomach, so there were times that I was literally eating the second that I was done throwing up.
It was absolutely disgusting.
We never went to dinner anymore, it was a waste of money. My husband existed on food from various drive thrus in town that he could eat in the car. The smell of food in the house was too much for me.
My job was an interesting dilemma. I am in a sales position where I need to be quick on my feet and speak to my customers as they are running from one thing to the next. There were several times that I ended up with my head in a trashcan in their offices. Luckily, I had been calling on these people for several years, and they were kind about it, but it is hard to keep a pregnancy under wraps in this scenario.
I kept a box in my car, with a plastic bag looped over the handle. This box became my new best friend and saved me from a lot of embarassing moments.
I became so sick that, other than work or doctor's appointments, I didn't get out of bed. I slept anytime that I could. My house was in shambles, laundry piled up, my poor furbabies would whimper for a walk, and all I could do was hope to keep a sip of water or a bite of yogurt down.
There was one Saturday that scared both of us. I was in bad shape. I couldn't keep anything down, my lips were dry and cracked to the point of bleeding, and I just cried and cried. My husband begged me to eat something, anything, and finally, he came upon the idea that I should eat something every twenty minutes. By something, he meant one Wheat Thin cracker or a bite of applesauce. He set the timer and every twenty minutes, brought me one or the other. It workd for the first hour, but then, I couldn't keep that down, either.
The next day, I woke up at 5 AM so thirsty that I literally felt as if I was dying. I asked my husband if he would go to the store for me later that morning to get me some Pedialyte. He told me to make a list and jumped out of bed. I have never been so in love with a man as I was that day. I only asked for Coke and Pedialyte, but he got creative and got me popsicles and no-salt rice cakes. Those popsicles were the best thing that I had ever tasted. I was able to eat three and then I finally fell into a deep sleep and didn't wake up until later that morning.
I came downstairs and my husband had put up the Christmas tree. This was wonderful, because I am into Christmas, big time. But I couldn't fathom the energy that it would take to get the tree up. I usually take care of that, but this year, he had taken matters into his own hands. I sat on the couch, admiring the beautiful lights, and he brought me another popsicle. This time, there was no keeping the icy goodness down.
The pregnancy stick beat me up pretty good all right. And I still thanked my baby for making me sick and smiled through the tears and the vomit.