Fun fact: we have a honeymoon baby.
I know of many couples that want children so badly and they have been trying for years, and they are having infertility problems. Peter and I are very blessed to conceive on (probably) the first try. We’re due May 5th, you do the math. We’ve had a couple reactions. Mostly the squeals and jumping, but also concerns since we are still finishing our last year of our undergrad.
I’m going to be honest. I am at peace. We were called to show that young couples can be successful. Since before 1980, the average age to get married was 22 or younger. Peter was 22, and it was a week before my 21st birthday. Now the average is between 25 and 30 because people are waiting until they are done with grad school or are settled in their jobs, or have figured out how to live financially independent. I wanted to figure out all of those things together. Also, I’d rather have the energy to be a mom now, than start getting old and not being able to carry my children or run around with them.
So we are married and I am pregnant. (That’s how it’s supposed to work.) Now what? Well, we found out at 4 weeks. At five weeks I started feeling very faint a lot. Then I threw up. Definitely pregnant. We went in to the Life Care Center (now called Abria, look them up!) and got another test done and learned some morning sickness remedies.
I continued to throw up and feel lightheaded. It was actually getting worse. At this point I was going to classes, working, and mostly keeping it together. I’d throw up twice in the morning and have headaches the rest of the day.
It continued to get worse. I was so weak, dizzy, lightheaded, and faint, that I needed to lay down a lot. My social life dropped immediately so that I could keep up with school. I then lost my appetite. All food started sounding absolutely disgusting, even bacon! Peter would make something for himself and I would have to hop out of bed and run to the bathroom to hurl.
Again, it’s getting worse. I would have days where the moment I open my eyes, my stomach was in a lot of pain. It didn’t like that it was empty. So it would make me heave. (It doesn’t make sense to me either.) So I was eating saltines, drinking ginger ale, trying all the remedies. About a half hour to an hour, I’d throw it right back up. Drinking water was worse. I would lose that in about 10 minutes.
There were a lot of tears. I wasn’t able to keep any food in. All food sounded disgusting. I couldn’t really sit up without my head throbbing. I spent a lot of time on the floor of the bathroom, crying, looking at my reflection in the toilet, praying for the pain to stop. This turned into an all day experience for two or three days.
We got an appointment with a doctor as soon as we could get in. We tried more remedies. After a couple days I was becoming malnourished, losing color, and sleeping so much because I was exhausted from retching all day. We called the doc, and it was time to go into the hospital to get IV fluids. I was there overnight. They said I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, or Severe Morning Sickness. About 2% of pregnancies get it, and I was one of those lucky gals. It’s different for everyone, but kind of looks like food poisoning. Some throw up all day. Others get really lightheaded. Either way, it’s really bad, and there isn’t really a cure for it. You just have to suck it up.
After getting back from the hospital, I started going to class and work again. As the days went by I continued to be sick and get dehydrated. So we had a nurse come to our place so that I could get two bags of IV fluids a day. It was helping a lot, but it took three hours for each bag so I was restricted in movement a lot, but I was feeling better than I was before. The problem with IVs is they can’t stay in for very long. You have to get repoked. These nurses were also very bad at it, and I was very bad with needles. (Picture someone shaking in fear and closing my eyes shut tight and me silently crying.) It took them seven tries to get the next one in. The next day, I kid you not, the IV needle leaked and fell out. I was done with this, and got discharged from their services.
My life feels like a movie.
My classes became independent studies and I was home in bed all day, trying to keep fluids, crackers and apples down. The doctor and I decided that it would not be beneficial for me to get up that much since I was so faint all the time and at risk of falling. I was on bed rest for two months. Prayer sucked, I was mad at God, and I was in chronic pain and agony. According to Peter, “You were pretty grumpy.”
Eventually, I stopped having as many days with puking 10 times a day. It turned into only puking once or twice a day, with having a really bad day here and there with constant retching. I was still really dizzy and light headed, but I wasn’t in the bathroom as much, which I really appreciated. Things started to improve nausea-wise as time went by.
I made a deal with God. It went kind of like this: “Okay Lord, if you let me be better enough this weekend for the Campus Ministry retreat on prayer, I will be a better person.” Yeah, we have a weird relationship, but Jesus works in funny ways, and I did really well that weekend. I only took one nap. I did have to sit on a couch a lot instead of the chairs, but I was present and retreat-ing. I grew in prayer and it was really nice being somewhere other than the apartment.
After we got back, I got really sick and had one of those days where I lived in the bathroom, but I had a much different attitude. I learned more of why I’m doing this. My suffering for my child now is preparing me for a newborn that will cry all night and day, a defiant toddler, a child accidentally breaking the window, a sassy teenager, and all of the other sufferings of having children. After teaching Totus Tuus Ministries and being a camp counselor, I can confidently say that I do well with children. Babies on the other hand, I don’t have much experience. Peter has a lot of experience, we are taking classes with Abria, and we have friends that are parents and I have been “practicing” with their baby, so I feel fine. Back to the point, I realize that this morning sickness is teaching me to love my child through everything.
So I originally did a ton of research on hyperemesis gravidarum, but I was getting a lot of explanations on what it was and that there is basically no cure, but I started to type in my search bar “Catholic” or “Christian,” and I started finding what I wanted. I wanted to read what others have gone through and how they dealt with it. I learned that women like me are prone to depression during this time (something I already struggle with), and many actually have abortions because they want to get rid of this sickness.
Okay I realize this post is getting depressing. SO. Slowly I have been throwing up less, and my lightheaded-ness is also lifting a little bit. Last week my friend got into an accident, had brain surgery, and was in the intensive care unit. It was oddly enough actually motivation for me to get up and go to the hospital to visit him. I have to sit a lot to visit him, but his accident helped me. His accident has taught me to wear a helmet, be grateful, and most importantly from this, that attitude truly truly truly is key. Evan is already in rehab, and he got hit only a week ago! He’s been so stubborn, he’s getting better miraculously quickly. So it’s his fault I’m getting better.
Now that we know that Evan is alive and will get better, my adrenaline from that has gone down and I did have a bad day or two, but I’m still seeing a lot of improvement. So much improvement that I’m able to walk to the coffee shop with my laptop, drink a hot chocolate, and sit up long enough to type this.
This pregnancy has actually been a blessing. It’s helped me grow as a daughter of God. It let me get really mad at Him, and then have it resolve. It let me be a grumpy lady to my husband, and then have it resolve. It let me suffer, and then have it resolve. These are all lessons I’m glad I got to learn and I know I would have needed to at some point.
We had an ultrasound and I saw the baby’s head, back, rump, arms, legs, and he/she was dancing! Note: every time I say “they” I mean “he/she.” I am NOT having twins. There is only one child growing inside of my tummy. They were wiggling and rolling over. It was amazing. Right now I am in the middle of my fourth month and this kid is already half the length compared to when they will be born!
They have eyebrows, eyelashes, fingers, toes, fingerprints, eyes, eyelids, and all of their organs! They can suck their thumb. THEY CAN HICCUP. They can hear Mommy and Daddy talk, (and all the Christmas music I’ve been listening to). They can feel when I poke my tummy. They can see light. And now, I am starting to feel them ever so softly. I only feel them when I wake up and roll over. It’s really soft and feels like a very light poke, but eventually Peter will be able to feel it, and it will get to feel more like karate kicks.
So overall, I’m still lightheaded a lot, but if I sit or lay down, I can usually get back into business. I only throw up once or twice a week now, and it’s usually right away in the morning. I’m doing school stuff again, and getting out of the apartment more. I’m excited for Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas, and I’m so excited to see my little baby in May.
|Food baby beats real baby.|
Tips to help a mom with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
1. Ask her if she needs anything at the store. She might need milk or underwear in a bigger size.
2. Do not suggest ginger or saltines, or any remedy/treatment. She’s tried it all.
3. Visit her. She misses company. She probably won’t be able to sit up, but she’s lonely being in bed and the bathroom all day.
4. If you want to make her a meal, ask her what sounds good. She might have weird aversions.
5. Text her pick me ups
6. Offer to come over and clean. She feels terrible that she can’t stand long enough to do dishes for her husband, let alone shower.
Remember, as Peter’s mom told me, “Nobody is pregnant forever!”
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