Pregnancy Diary: Reflecting on Struggles, Changes and Growth.
As I head closer to our half way mark of my second pregnancy and the daze of the first few months is lifting I have been finding my feet and wrapping my head around the reality of being sick this entire pregnancy, my mind is certainly stronger than last time and because I've been here before and Ive worked on myself a hell of a lot in the past few years I feel like I am more aware of what I should be doing and how to cope better. I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my struggles, my growth and my changes from this pregnancy to last.
During my last pregnancy and even for a long time after my daughter was born I swore I could and would never do it again - I was done, one baby was all we would have. So when I started talking to my husband and discussing wanting to have another baby and before we fell pregnant this time my husband kept asking me if I was sure that I wanted to do it again, to put my body and my mind through what it went through during my last pregnancy.
MY FIRST PREGNANCY EXPERIENCE
To get an idea my first pregnancy I suffered Hyperemisis the entire time all the way to the delivery table where I threw up just before we went inside, not from nerves but still from being so sick due to HG.
In my first pregnancy I lost 10 kg in the first trimester from constant daily vomiting up to 30 times a day. I spent countless days and nights at the hospital on a drip and IV meds and nutrition. The only relief I got was around 22 weeks where I only threw up once or twice a day for about 3/4 weeks. From 28 weeks onward I was just as sick as I was in the first trimester, spent so many times in the hospital or crying to my OB to make it stop and at 38 weeks I had a c section as my liver and kidney were having some issues due to such long term and crippling illness/stress my OB thought it was safer to deliver than it was for me to be so unwell. After the birth of my daughter I paid the price of long term HG and I don't think my body ever returned to where it was - I required several stomach surgeries, the removal of my gall bladder, extreme weight loss getting down to only 40kg (I was 57kg before I had Millie) and acute pancreatitis.
These were the physical effects on my body in my first pregnancy and the mental ones were just as hard. HG is extremely isolating and scary especially for a first time Mum, you never expect or understand what you're in for and its a total shock. I had heard of morning sickness but I thought it was a quick vomit in the morning before breakfast and you'd be on your way out the door for work and life would continue as normal - I was so wrong. HG is totally life changing and the physical and mental aspect took such a toll on me that I was unable to physically work which made me so isolated I became severely depressed, anxious and required medication and psychiatry to cope especially as it lasted the entire time. The thoughts I had were scary and still looking back now I feel a sense of guilt and sadness at who I was but I know that it was just my illness speaking and not who I truly am. The constant depression and vomiting also triggered my eating disorder thoughts and took me back to to those constant thoughts and negative voices surrounding my body which is not easy as pregnant woman.
At the time I kept wondering why my husband would ask me if I was sure I wanted to do it all again but now after reflecting on that time and being where I am today I can see why my husband would have kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to do it all again - it was completely out of compassion and worry for what I might have to go through. Over time I think I had blocked out the reality of living with HG and almost felt like it never happened and I also wanted to prove to myself that I am strong and capable and that HG would not take away from me the chance to have the family I dream of. If I could do it once before surely I could do it again? It's not with every battle that tears you to shreds that you can face it again and prove to yourself you're stronger than it?
MY EXPERIENCE SO FAR IN PREGNANCY 2...
Many people have asked me if I think I'm better or worse than last time?
At the start of this pregnancy the shock hit me hard of the reality of having HG, a toddler and many business/work commitments and I was in a pretty bad place physically and mentally but as the pregnancy has progressed and I've found my way, a routine and reminded myself of how strong I am I believe both physically and mentally so at this point I can say I am in a much better place this time than last time. I'm stronger and happier and I have maintained my weight a lot better than last time and also in a strange way knowing it probably won't end has helped me find a sense of normality because I'm not waiting for a certain date to feel better where as the first time round I was waiting for 12 weeks, then 16 weeks then 20 weeks then the 3rd trimester hoping and praying for it to stop but continually being disappointed when it didnt. I knew from the start that this time I HAD TO EAT where as last time I could literally goes days without food. This time I have been forcing myself to eat knowing that it probably wont stay down. I have mentally prepared myself for endless hospital visits and accepted that this is my reality, the sickness probably wont end and even though it might not look like most pregnant women's reality its mine and my journey is not worthy of comparison to the next.
In saying all of this the reality is that it is still hard. Most nights I go to bed wishing that the next day I wont be sick any more. To say that it's not hard or depressing living along with HG would be a lie. I miss exercise & I miss my healthy eating. Without exercise and good nutrition I tend to become extremely anxious and I feel myself slipping closer to my old thinking, my devil inside - my eating disorder voice and the voice that is highly critical of my body. No matter what happens in my life and no matter how far I have come for me self love is always going to be a journey and one that I something I will always have to battle against is my eating disorder voice but I will never give up. Being a pregnant woman with a history of disordered eating and body issues it is extremely hard to watch your body grow and change even when you know in your rational mind that it is beautiful and necessary to bring your baby into the world. I respect and honour my body but it doesn't mean that it's not hard some days.
Above all miss my ability to be a fun and energetic, attentive mother to my daughter. The biggest challenge of this pregnancy would have to be trying to mother while being so sick. Some days I physically couldn't/can't care for her and I have to send her to her grandparents for a few days or to daycare for extra days , many days I've cried because I feel like I'm letting my darling girl down and every single day I feel guilty for not giving her 100% of me or for being the Mum she knew before I had a baby in my belly. As the pregnancy goes on she is more understanding of what is happening and knows Mummy is sick that's why she can't play. The poor little thing was so incredibly scared of me when I would vomit at the start but now she will come and pat me on the back while I'm vomiting and tells me "You'll be OK Mummy" followed by lots of cuddles afterwards. Gosh Mum guilt is hard but our babies are so much more resilient and understanding than we ever realise.
So here I am at 17 nearly 18 weeks pregnant and 12 weeks into HG and these are my thoughts and feeling of where I am at. This is my pregnancy diary, my honest and real account of what pregnancy is like for me. Its not glamorous but its real and if you can relate in the slightest I hope it has helped you to know that you're not alone in your thoughts or feelings.
For now I'd say I'm doing pretty well but who know where I'll be tomorrow or in a few months but I am always going to continue to battle and not give up. In less than 21 weeks I'm going to hold my newest baby in my arms and that is what is truly getting me through because I know once I'm there a weight will be lifted and I will be complete and heart will be bursting with gratitude and love all over again.
"No rain, No Flowers."