PREGNANCY; MIRACULOUS, MAGICAL & MISERABLE

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Throughout your life as a woman, before you have even had children of your own we hear about the pregnancy myths.  How you get a pregnancy glow, if you have heartburn your baby will surely be hairy.  If you carry high it’s a girl or low it’s a boy.  Well no matter what, it is something that we as women are so excited about.  Falling pregnant and becoming a mother is a rush.  We wait those 40 long weeks that seem to drag and drag.  Some women breeze through and look as remarkable as they always did.  But a large amount of us women crave the perfect pregnancy only to feel miserable throughout it.  It really is a challenging experience for a woman, and is actually quite a difficult journey.  Clearly growing a human life is no walk in the park, but the emotional affects it has on us during this time is a force too intense to put into mere words. Postnatal depression is something that we all are aware of.  We just know that it exists, whether or not we have discovered it first hand or through the experiences of others.

Prenatal depression is also a factor during pregnancy that I never even knew existed until I went through it with my second pregnancy.  Maybe it was because it was my second baby, and not that I didn’t want to be pregnant, I tried for 6 months and when I found out I was over joyed.  But the reality of my life changing so dramatically yet again was hard to fathom.  Being a mother for the first time is undeniably life changing.  There are so many ups and downs, too many to count.  You learn so much about who you are and what you were, and the direction in which you were travelling ultimately comes to a screeching halt and your life is flipped upside down and inside out.  But you get into the routine of changing nappies, sleepless nights and wearing spew stained clothing and that’s fine because you are a new mum.  You create a bond with this child that you cant even put into words, it is so indescribable.  Thinking about adding another child is the scariest thing.   You aren’t scared about the tiredness or the life altering changes another baby brings because you have been there.  What is petrifying is in your gut you know you have to share your love and that is the toughest thought to overcome.  You have made this little world for yourself and your child and now that little bubble will be popped and you have to share your love and become accustomed to a whole new bubble and I honestly didn’t think I had it in me.   

Pregnancy is so beautiful, there are so many factors that make it the best thing to ever happen to you, but there are so many that also make you feel so lonely and sad.  Not because you don’t want to be pregnant or you don’t want a baby it’s just that it takes a massive toll on your body as a woman.

Along with these feelings I had, I felt ugly.  That isn’t even a strong enough word to describe the way I felt.

Obviously pregnancy is an individual experience.  Unique to the mother and child.  Some women look as though they haven’t changed at all apart from this beautiful and perfect baby bump they are sporting.  Then there are other women who get stretch marks, cankles and that dreaded 24/7 sickness and nausea.

I was one of those other women.  I felt so guilty to feel the way I did, but I just couldn’t seem to get my mind in the right place to cope with the stress the pregnancy was putting on my body and mind.

I love my body for what it has achieved.  I don’t necessarily like the look of it anymore but hey, my heart is full and for every stretch mark I have there is a woman out there who may never have them or never have the feeling of a baby in her womb.  My heart breaks for those women.

But I literally felt broken.  From the moment I found out I was creating life at 4 weeks, I felt like I was incubating an Alien.  I was so sick.  Not just nausea, I literally threw up anything and everything I put into my mouth.  Water made me vomit, brushing my teeth made me vomit, and even smelling certain smells made me flat out vomit.  It was a nightmare.  I was so tired all of the time and extremely hungry.

I felt like I was starving but the thought of food made me gag.

I was working 3 days a week at the time and it was hell.  I remember sitting on the floor in the toilet cubicle with my head in the bowl.  I hadn’t told anyone at work I was pregnant yet as I had only just found out.  But this sickness was so intense I felt like I lived in the bathroom.  I was drained and exhausted, and it was torture.  It was like having gastro or a really severe hangover day after day after day.  One of those ones that linger forever and when you stand you wobble, and when you think everything is hazy and it feels as though your brain is repeatedly slamming against your skull.

At lunchtime I would set my alarm on my phone for 30 minutes and go and lie on the back seat of my car in the foetal position until it was time to drag myself back to my desk for about 5 minutes before again sitting in the toilet cubicle.

This went on for a week or so and I was feeling worse by the day so went to the doctors to see if I could get anything to help me.  Not just for the sickness but the sheer emotional hell I was struggling to deal with.

I had a few tests and was then put on some meds to help with the nausea, but they didn’t seem to work.  Everything was getting so hard, I had a toddler to look after as well and a house to maintain and a new puppy.  I felt too weak to even shower let alone be in charge of other things.  I cried every day and night to my partner who was hardly here as he works away, and I depended on my family a lot.  

By the nine-week mark I ended up in hospital and was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a severe case of morning sickness with symptoms of severe vomiting, nausea and dehydration to name a few.  I was given some IV fluids to replace some of the lost water and some strong medication (the strongest there is available).

The medication I was given was little wafers that dissolved on your tongue and they were called Ondasatron.  This medication is meant assist in relieving the vomiting and nausea.  It is commonly used for patients that are under going Chemotherapy.  By this point I had lost about 7kg and was sleeping a lot of the time, I was unable to work.  I could barely walk I felt like I was wasting away.

My partner ended up having to fly home from work on parental leave to look after our son as I slept the days away in bed.  This was the only time I ever felt any sort of relief.   I visited the doctor each week to get regular tests to see how I was travelling, but unfortunately although I did have doctor’s certificates and was informed that it was best for my health not to be at work for the time being, my employers didn’t like this.  It was so stressful.  I totally understood that they had a business to run, and without me there it put a lot of pressure on other people (as my job was something only I did in the office) but I was so torn.  I felt so anxious all of the time that they were angry with me that I was going to be fired.  But on the other hand my health was the biggest factor.  The baby was absolutely fine, perfect even,  but was legitimately draining the life out of me and the anxiety of work hung over my head every single day like a dark and angry cloud.

I decided it was best to resign.  

I felt sad, I felt like I had failed and let the company down.  But I was in such a state both physically and emotionally that I could crawl out of.  I was so miserable, and teary and emotional.  I kept thinking about how much I hated this pregnancy but then I would feel a phenomenal amount of guilt that would keep me awake at night because I had a healthy baby inside of  me and I seemed like I was being ungrateful.   Our children are our life.  Whether they are on the inside or the outside, they are ours to protect.  We would die before we let anything happen to our children and I tried to remember that the way I was feeling would subside at some point.  I just had to battle on and be strong for my babies, but it felt like I was walking on a hamster wheel,  walking and walking trying to get ahead but inevitably going nowhere.

At 16 weeks I found out I was having a little girl, and most likely the elevated oestrogen levels were what was causing my sickness.  It is said that because girls carry the same hormones they create more sickness and nausea but then again I know women who have carried girls with no sickness at all and women who have carried boys who have suffered HG.  So who knows, just another myth to add to the list.

By the 5-month mark I started to feel a bit more normal.  I was still vomiting a lot, to the point  where my neck and face were covered in burst blood vessels from wrenching, and I hadn’t gained much weight but my daughter was healthy and that was all that really mattered to me.  I was still taking bags out with me, around the supermarket and shops to try and discretely vomit into if I need be.  Gross I know but at least I was out of the house and actually walking.  Nothing could be worse than being unprepared.  If I ever had to go through it again I don’t know how I would cope.  It was so mentally exhausting as well as physically and I was one of the lucky women.  Some women have this throughout their whole pregnancy, and that is something I can’t even manage to listen too let alone experience. 

But one thing I like to take from this pregnancy apart from having a wonderfully beautiful and healthy daughter is how strong us women truly are.  Our bodies are the most incredible things to grow and nourish life. 

When my daughter finally showed her face in this world, I was smitten.  Every little ounce of doubt I had melted away completely as soon as I laid eyes on her.  She just seemed like the missing jigsaw piece I didn’t know I was missing.  She created more love in me for both of my children.  Love was oozing out of every pore.  An insane amount I never knew my heart could sustain.

Ladies, we are absolutely amazing!  We are the most undeniably astonishing creatures on the face of this earth.  We are so strong and no matter what, we get through whatever is thrown in our direction whether it is during pregnancy or after when we battle with hormones, breastfeeding, weight loss and juggling motherhood as well as trying to keep our relationships afloat, whether that be with our partners or our friends.

AND THE CRAZY THING IS THAT WE WILL PROBABLY DO IT AGAIN.

Love to all you beautiful Mamas out there!  May your bladder be strong, your stretch marks be small and your heart be full to the brim forever and always.

Love Jodie xxx

Pregnancy; Miraculous, Magical & Miserable