In the days following the test I am euphoric, but it’s also very unreal. After all the setbacks, all the meetings in which we heard about the real facts and figures, we got pregnant on the first try! I keep thinking, “There was only an 8% chance…!” But I also don’t want to celebrate too soon. The normal chance of a miscarriage is 10%, and with ICSI it’s even higher. I’m not afraid, and not really that worried about it, but I am realistic. I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ve seen many friends do 10 or more pregnancy tests, so I’ve resolved not to do the same thing. Denny will make sure I don’t. 😉 The first test was over it’s expiry date, so that same day we buy 2 more tests. One I take immediately (also positive), and one I did 4 days later (to ease my concern that it may still be a false positive due to the Pregnyl). It’s really, truly positive!
After a few days the euphoria ebbs away, and I’m really just looking for confirmation that I really am pregnant. My breasts are sensitive, but not more than usual, and everything else is the same as always…
At 5 weeks and 1 day pregnant I come downstairs. The night before we ate salmon, and because we have an open kitchen, the smell sometimes still hangs around. That’s the case today. I step into the living room, and feel a wave of nausea rise up. And I am thrilled… I call out to Denny: “I felt a wave of nausea. Yay!” The rest of the day I smile from ear to ear.
How naïve, in retrospect.
3 days later I cannot get out of bed. The entire world spins. I can hardly walk in a straight line to the toilet. I feel so incredibly ill! I try to cling to the thought that it’s just ‘morning sickness’, and it’ll settle down soon. But it doesn’t… not at any point during the day. At the same time I am unbelievably hungry, and the emptier my stomach is, the more nauseous I feel. But there is no food which appeals to me. I have to search for food which I am prepared to put in my mouth. And so, from one day to the next, all my healthy eating flies out of the window (usually I eat organic bread, home made salads, and other whole foods). The only thing I can force myself to eat now is white bread, with cheese and jam. White bread. I was so determined to give myself and my baby the most optimal diet, and now this is what I’m eating… In the days which follow I scour the internet, and I try everything: ginger tea, chewing on pure ginger, eating something before getting out of bed, first drinking lukewarm water with lemon, sea bands (used for motion sickness), ice lollies, regular lollies, you name it, I tried it. And after just 4 days, I’m at the end of my tether…
The hardest part of this is that I don’t recognise myself any more. My entire psyche is affected. I’m usually so positive, and even when things aren’t going well I can usually put things into perspective by thinking about how things could be worse. Not any more. This is the worst thing that there could possibly be. In my opinion, at this moment. That morning my father phones me, and I just cry and cry… He comes up with the idea to phone a homeopath, and a little while later he’s at my door with Nux Vomica 30. The strong version, in granular form. In retrospect I know that those little pills saved me during the 14 weeks in which I was nauseous. It didn’t always help, but gave me a better day every now and then. At the time I didn’t see it that way though.
I had to cancel a lot of photo sessions, or turn clients away. I had weeks in which I did nothing around the house, couldn’t do the groceries, or even just clean up after myself. When Denny came home he usually found me on the couch, with a collection of things around me, and a trail through the house of where I had been, and just left things lying around. I’m amazed that he remained so patient, because I was just so apathetic. I just didn’t care about anything. Often he would do his best late in the evening to cook something for us, but once it was in front of me I would take one bite, and 9 times out of 10, I would push it away.
It shames me to say it, but there were days (before the first scans) that I wished I wasn’t pregnant. That was, to me, the worst thing I could think. After years of trying, my dream was coming true, and now I didn’t want it any more. What kind of ‘mother’ does that make me? What kind of person? As soon as I thought it I would be overwhelmed with guilt, and many, many times during the course of a day I would quietly apologise my belly, and say that I didn’t mean it, and that he or she was very welcome, and that I knew it wasn’t his or her fault. Before I got pregnant I thought that there was a single pregnancy ‘problem’ that would be able to destroy my joy, and look at me now. No joy, no happiness. I never thought a psychologist would be able to earn any money from me, and now I was ready for therapy!
Every now and then I had a better day. A day on which I managed to be dressed by 11am, and sometimes even to go outside. But it felt as though the world was passing me by, and I was just wondering through it, lost. The few photo sessions I did manage, were done, I now know, in a kind of daze, and I survived on white bread and lollipops. And so many times I thought, “Now I understand how relationships can break during pregnancy.” Poor Denny.
The question I heard most often during this time was: do you also have to vomit? When I said no, I got the impression that people were thinking “Oh, it’s not so bad then.” But the crazy part was that I did have all the ‘symptoms’ of throwing up. At least 3 times a day I found myself retching over the toilet, but nothing ever came out. Thanks to all the ‘fake-vomiting’ (no idea what else I could call it), a nerve in my back became pinched, and caused me to be unable to bear weight on one leg, and have immense pain in my pelvis. I immediately thought of pelvic instability (pelvic girdle pain), but then my angel the osteopath rescued me again. Luckily it was a problem easily solved,.
And yet, no matter how sick I felt, it’s a good thing that I never actually vomited. When you are dealing with HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) you vomit so much that you don’t get enough liquid and nutrients into your body. Often it continues throughout the entire pregnancy, and involves hospital stays.
It can be worse… and now that I’ve experienced this, I have so much more respect for women who do go through HG.
For 14 weeks I was so worried that it would not pass, but suddenly, from one day to the next I thought, “I’m not nauseous.” It was so weird! And I was so happy! In the days that followed, I regularly cried happy tears! Food began to taste good again, I was able to do things around the house, I could do the groceries. Wow! I had missed all those things so much (and if you’ve missed doing the grocery shopping, then you know you were really sick, in my opinion!). 😛
Things are now going really well. I have a few other small pregnancy issues and symptoms but nothing, and I mean NOTHING could ever be as bad – in my opinion – as that nausea (which I’m saying at this point anyway). I’m really enjoying the pregnancy, have quality time with Denny again, I’m able to work again, and I am ecstatically happy.
So why have I written this blog? I hope, if you’ve experienced this, that you’ll know you’re not alone. I can’t tell you, “This will pass,” because I don’t know that it will. In most cases it does, but it didn’t help me to hear that during that time. And hearing, “Well, at least you know what you’re doing it for” didn’t help me either. Because with a first baby you have no idea what you’re doing it for. How could you know?
I often think back to that first morning that I was so happy to be nauseous. If only I’d known….