As I go through what I experienced during my time being pregnant, I can definitely begin to feel a bit anxious. You see, getting pregnant wasn’t the difficult part but rather, the act of BEING pregnant was something that consumed my mind and body completely. And going back to “getting” pregnant I’d like to say that I never would have imagined it happening on the first time for us. It’s definitely not something I anticipated or expected. I have spent the last couple of years learning and discussing infertility with friends and fearless mothers I’ve connected with through Instagram. It is such a huge topic of conversation lately and it’s so important to discuss. I have the utmost respect for the families that go through this and I know that while the journey is so, so challenging—you are all so beautiful, so strong and so courageous to carry on with the level of resilience that is found within that community. But back to my story, it all started in a galaxy long, long ago…..
We were wrapped around each other in the pool. Marty and I just went through a hellacious month consumed with any and every problem you can expect when it comes to owning your own business. Water has always been calming and draws me closer to my center. It was often during those times that dreams of traveling, practicing yoga around the world and selling everything we owned to be nomads would flood my brain. We spent many a days talking about the possibility of starting a family, but all of the conversations ended with “it’s just not the right time”. But today, today was different. We looked into each others eyes and almost simultaneously the light switch flipped and we said we should start a family. I was scared and nervous and excited and overcome with emotions, I could not believe he finally agreed. In fact, he was the one that had been bringing it up more and more. Finally, after 5+ years of being together the decision to bring another life into this world was made. The next part of this story is pretty explanatory and you get the idea. It was the first time doing it like that so obviously I was sold. In that blissful moment I didn’t care if a baby was made or not because sex el’ naturel was what life is made of. Sorry not sorry for the TMI.
The next week or so was spent doing it. Like a lot. Doing it like rabbits. Forget Wednesday, everyday was hump day. Uncomfortable yet? Good. Isn’t it funny that sex is something that we all do or will do one day but yet we are weird about talking about “it”? Literally, you wouldn’t be alive reading these exact words had your parents not gotten in on in the bed of a truck while listening to the sweet sounds of Marvin Gaye after a bottle of wine. Well, I don’t know where you were conceived, but you get the point. The day after “it” first happened, I was so nervous. Not regular nervous when it’s your turn to order in line at Wendy’s or when you have to change a poopy diaper for the first time. But the kind of nervous where you are pinching your buttcheeks together because your stomach and your heart might fall out of your a$$. Yep, I went there. I had a thousand different thousands circling my brain. “Was it the right time? Did we do this too soon? Nah, there’s no way we made a baby. Holy crap, what if we did?”. Truthfully, I was so unsure of the decision we made and it was eating me alive. I decided that if it happens, it happens and there was no turning back. It’s probably not the most motivational thing to tell yourself when your mind is in crazy mode, but it’s the only thing that got me through. After a few days, the excitement of creating a little Marty and I took over. I was daydreaming of what he/she would look like, what color hair they would have or if they’d have blue/brown eyes. With very little air in my lungs and sweat on my palms I’d look up fertility calculators, ovulation calendars, symptoms of pregnancy and any other tidbit of information I could possibly obsess over. I couldn’t wait till I hit the two week mark and took probably 20 tests leading up to that day. Just a day or two before we hit that deadline, I took a pregnancy test that was pink and white. You know, the ones with the little pink plus or negative sign? Well, the first line popped up. Then within a few seconds just the faintest little line in either direction started to show through. I couldn’t believe it. I had this gut feeling that I was preggo but kept telling myself that there was no way. How would something this beautiful happen to me?
On the exact 2 week date I took a Clearblue digital test and left it on the bathroom sink. Marty wasn’t convinced just by the faded lines on the pink tests and wanted to be 100% sure before getting his hopes up. I let him be the one that went into the bathroom to read the results and he came out holding the test…..smiling. PREGNANT. That stomach and heart dropping to the floor nervous feeling finally evacuated and it hit me all at once how real this all was.
Oh. My. Goodness.
I was going to be a mom.
In order to keep this from being too, too long I am going to try and keep this post as “to the point” as possible. I’m saving all the juicy details for a book that I’m writing, but never fear—so much happened during my pregnancy I could talk about it for days.
I missed my period and it reconfirmed the entire thing. Marty was nervous excited. I was nervous excited. We both just sat in bed and smiled back and forth. Is this really happening? To this day we are in total shock that it didn’t happen sooner, although my husband is probably the king of pulling out (sorry not sorry for the TMI, like I said—we all have sex) and being fortunate is an understatement considering our first time was years before. Although there was still a feeling of unsureness within the room, the undeniable pull between us after realizing that soon we’d be a family of three was so much stronger.
Immediately I found a doctor and booked an appointment. At the time my insurance was pretty good so being the nieve, first timer I was, my doctor was about an hour and a half away. I know. Totally crazy. This was my official first mistake during pregnancy and don’t worry because theres many more to come. At about 4 weeks pregnant I was feeling a lot of cramping and just feeling uncomfortable so in the mindset of being safe rather than sorry we loaded up and headed to the ER. My greatest fears were coming alive and I could barely breathe. The nurse that checked me in couldn’t understand why I was there. Still to this day I can remember her words. “Haven’t you read any books? Cramping is normal”. No, at 4 weeks pregnant I hadn’t “read any books” and all the research I had done led me to believe I was possibly experiencing a tubal pregnancy so yes, I was sitting in the emergency room, scared to death and this snooty b*tch wasn’t helping. After tests were done and I got an pretty invasive ultra sound with a shaky-handed, newbie intern that didn’t know what she was doing, the doctor finally came in and told us that everything was fine. Phew. She walked away and I started to cry. Marty squeezed my hand and said “see, everything is going to be okay”. From that point on I would spend every waking moment worried about that tiny baby in my belly and knew that even though that poppyseed was small, it was my entire world.
Around 6 weeks pregnant I finally got what I knew was coming all along. Morning sickness. Scratch that. All day/all night sickness. It was so bad. I ended up being hospitalized because I couldn’t stop throwing up and was so dehydrated. The IV fluids disappeared within minutes. I was prescribed Zofran and then sent home. Now, taking these meds are so controversial. At the time, the hospital told me nothing about what this medicine was or that it had been taken off the shelves numerous times due to the questioning of whether or not it is safe for pregnant women. Most medicines cannot be tested on pregnant women because of the chance that they are in fact unsafe. Which makes for a serious moral and ethic situation that is a complete gamble. They instructed me to take this medicine every 4 hours but I’ve honestly never liked medicine and will always try to take the holistic route first. I also felt that every 4 hours was just way too often and found that one a day sufficed. The day after I got out of the hospital I was texting my sister in law and she sent me articles on Zofran and it’s safety. My mouth hit the floor. I immediately stopped taking it and she told me that she had been prescribed Diclegis. It’s going to sound like an infomercial, but it’s the only nausea medicine that’s approved for pregnant women. It was a newer medicine so it took a little effort to get it but luckily I got my hands on some. *Just a little side note, Diclegis is expensive and most insurance companies won’t pay for it. But I purchased mine through CVS and what would have been $200 for an entire month (60 pills I believe), was only $40. You just have to ask them about a coupon they should have for it and it takes a huge chunk of the price off.
I personally hate the idea of taking any medication whatsoever while trying to grow another human being inside of my body, but when you are absolutely miserable and you or your babies’ health is at risk, you do what you have to do. I took two pills every night (because it helps with sleep too) and I was able to not only fight back at the puking fits, but also sleep which was rare during those first couple of months because of experiencing pregnancy insomnia.
The doctor I had signed up for ended up being a high risk doctor, although she didn’t tell me that to begin with and waited till I was at the half way mark to inform me. I was not high risk and she personally made my anxiety so much worse. She was a good doctor, but she wasn’t afraid to make money and would constantly want me to come back for this ultrasound and that ultrasound when there was nothing actually wrong. Doctors still don’t know with absolute certainty if the ultrasound waves from these machines have any negative effects on mom or baby, so I really wasn’t comfortable that she was wanting them done all the time. We ended up going the more natural route and opted in to having a home water birth. It’s pretty difficult to talk about that point in time when I was 22 weeks, because I had a terrible experience with my midwives. But I’m hoping to one day really dive into it and discuss it in specific detail. There was a certain level of expectation that I had when deciding to pay (in cash) for a service that with my insurance I could have gotten for free. For months I spent almost every day obsessing over the details of my birth. I knew that I couldn’t control everything, but I also wanted to make sure to do the absolute most that I could in order to give birth to a happy, healthy baby. For months I battled with HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) ,finally at 6 months I weaned myself from the Diclegis and could finally eat again. I couldn’t keep anything down. Not crackers. Not water. Not ginger, raspberry, chamomile fruity-tooty magical unicorn pregnancy tea. Nothing. Everyone was down my throat to try this and that but just thinking about those things made me throw up. Nobody understood it either. I love YL oils but if I had a dollar for every time my crazy grandma (love you, Memaw) suggested I mixed this and that in order to fight off the nausea; I’d be a freaking millionaire. Nothing helped. The medicine helped but even that wasn’t a guarantee that I wouldn’t throw up all day and night.
I used to just sit by the toilet, waiting to puke. Then I would stuff my face because for the 5-10 minutes right after it happened I would have a normal appetite just for the food to hit my stomach and I’d end up right back at the toilet again. I was so miserable. And nobody truly understands just how awful it is unless they personally go through it. You can try to empathize and feel sorry for that person, but truly it was the hardest thing I’d ever been through. I had zero control over it and that drove me crazy at times. Soon I became a prisoner in my own home, in my own BODY and no one wanted to visit because obviously most people are uncomfortable around others that are puking. But this just made matters worse. Some nights I’d get woken up by vomit pushing it’s way up my throat. With the most speed I could muster while being half asleep I’d run to the bathroom and puke my brains out. Once I was back in bed, my husband would say “can’t you just shut the bathroom door??”. I wanted to kill him. Like, go full blown episode of snapped mixed with shaved head Brittany Spears circa 2007. I can’t even explain how angry his lack of sympathy made me and it wasn’t the first time he had said that. Oh sure, let me just hold back the throw up thats bursting at the seams in order to make you more comfortable and not have to listen to my throwing up noise. Sorry to inconvenience you. *inserts giant middle finger*
No way. Heck no.
It wasn’t until I was at the end of my pregnancy that he would finally be slightly more supportive, but to this day he still hates the sound and almost always complain about it.
Around 16 weeks we did a early blood test that would tell us the gender and also check for Down Syndrome. She tested negative for DS and she was a SHE. A girl. The day that the blood test was done we came in because the thought of finding out the gender so soon was beyond exciting. I was sure that Paisley was a boy, I knew it in my heart. So when the doctor was looking at the computer screen investigating the ultrasound, she immediately said “yep, three lines. I’m 99% sure that you’re having a girl”. I immediately felt tears streaming down my face. There was no way. I secretly had hoped for a girl the entire time but didn’t think it was possible. Marty was crying too and he never cries. We had decided beforehand that if the sonogram said she was a girl that we would get the blood test done just to confirm because sometimes bits and pieces are hard to see. My little brother was supposed to be my little sister Ashton if you see what I’m getting at.
At 22 weeks, I transferred my care provider to the midwifery service that we went with and truthfully I was elated. It was exactly what I had wanted—my dream home water birth. I would be chanting affirmations while getting a back massage from my doula and listening to my birthing playlist surrounded by candles and flowers. Or so I thought. I have a separate post that details my birth story, but these were the things I envisioned for her birth. But not long after, my excitement was basically non-existent. The service and support I received from my midwife and the company that she worked for was so poor and unexpected that I spent almost every single day in anxiety induced coma at the thought of these people guiding me through labor and delivery. She never answered her phone when I called, she always told me horror stories about first time mothers who suffered during labor (usually resulting in transferring to the hospital) and would talk poorly about her other clients. I’ve always had great veins and never once in my entire life of numerous hospital visits and doctors appointments has a single person had to dig through both arms to draw blood. But yet, she tried on both arms and left me with trauma and bruises. She blew both veins out and showed little remorse. And then STILL couldn’t get blood. Considering you are paying thousands of dollars to have a premium service you would expect to be taken care of like so. It was the opposite. I’d like to add, not every midwife experience will be like this of course. I watched so many documentaries, read a handful of Ina May Gaskin books and took the time to prepare/educate myself on midwifery. This experience became my worst nightmare realized. They were the worst case scenario when it came down to it. My doula gave me almost the same exact experience. Consistently cancelling appointments, never coming prepared, not answering my calls or texts and refusing to show up to the hospital until the very last minute. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and for me personally, I won’t ever try for a home birth with a midwife ever again. I’m haunted by the what ifs that these people who couldn’t even support me or let alone show up on time or get blood from my arm would have caused during birth. Paisley ended up being born at the hospital which scared me when it finally came down to that decision, but I am so thankful and grateful to the wonderful nurses that took care of me more than I could have ever expected. It was during my delivery at the hospital that for the first time ever, since I had gotten pregnant, that I was finally at the right place and the anxiety that weighed so heavy on my shoulders was lifted away.
While I was pregnant, some days were easier and some days were hard. I experienced severe lower back pain which could only be alleviated from weekly chiropractic visits and monthly massages. I carried her very much in the middle of my body and didn’t really show until my third trimester. I would walk around always sticking my stomach out but I know people couldn’t tell if I was overweight or if I had a baby in there. That was the hardest part (besides the HG) of being pregnant; going through it while being plus-sized meant that most of the time I felt invisible. You see moms on the internet with their cute little baby bellies and people love that stuff—but when you’re curvy, it goes almost unnoticed. I would wear a stretchy, undershirt type belly band just to give me some shape and then pray that someone, anyone would notice that I was pregnant and make me feel a little special or different because of it. It was a difficult thing to process mentally and it’s another one of those situations that you can’t really comprehend unless you go through it yourself. The feeling of knowing that theres a baby inside of you but coming to the realization that you’re the only one that knows for sure is truly complicated. I ended up experiencing mood swings and fatigue as the cherry on top of the rest of my symptoms, if you ask me what the most fun little tidbit was I’d have to say the boiling lava heartburn that filled my mouth every time I ate anything fried. Yayyyy.
The beginning was the worst for those things because I’d spend all day feeling crazy, anxious, slightly depressed, tired, hungry and then not hungry. All the while I was throwing up every 10 minutes but also felt like I needed a 10 hour nap unless it was dark because that’s when the insomnia took over. That first trimester was brutal but luckily, the third trimester made up for it. That was my favorite time of being pregnant. My belly was big but because of how I carried her it was managable. I no longer felt sick so I was eating everything in sight and since I felt better most days my husband and I would walk 1-3 miles every day. The fresh air and the exercise mixed with feeling my baby move and preparing ourselves for the start of something so incredibly beautiful during the spring months was something I’ll never ever forget.
As I got closer and closer to my due date I started to journal and make home videos trying to prepare myself for the journey that was unfolding over the next couple of weeks. I have tears filling my eyes as I think back to those days. God, I was so nervous. I was so scared. And truthfully, even though many days were spent knowing that this was the thing I had dreamed of for so long; I wasn’t completely sure I would know what I was doing. Letting go of control is one of the most difficult aspects of life that I struggle with and girl, at 42 weeks pregnant, I was driving that struggle bus like you wouldn’t even imagine.
Something I learned from being pregnant is that you seriously need to let go of the idea that everything will be a certain way. Nothing will go perfectly. Accept it and move on. Go with the flow. Fighting it will only make it worse on you and your baby. Of course, I mean that lightly. I obsessed over my exact birth plan and her first outfit but truthfully the important things started to show themselves and THAT was what I focused on. You should always, always, ALWAYS have a voice in your birth. You should never, ever be afraid to speak your mind and get what you want, but in the end, it’s truly about what is best for you and that baby. I promise you that one way or another, that baby is coming out of you and when they do; those are the most precious, euphoric, transcending experiences of your entire life.
Hold onto those precious moments and don’t ever let go.
Sending you so much love + positive vibes.