I got pregnant. And it was all I ever wanted…except so far it hasn’t turned out quite like I expected. I haven’t been writing for a few reasons.
- I sometimes still give in to a faulty core belief that it’s okay to give advice or wisdom if you WENT through a hard time, but not if you are currently GOING through a hard time. I figured I had to get to the other side of this particular trial before I could help others along. Spoiler alert: that’s false.
- When I’m deep in depression and anxiety mode, the gremlins in my head tell me that no one cares what I have to say and that if I can’t write perfectly I shouldn’t write at all. Also false.
- I’m just so dang tired and sick. This one is very true.
The truth is that even though this baby is something I’ve spent my life dreaming and wishing for and I was so impatient for it to happen, it all took me quite by surprise. This pregnancy has been so hard on my body, mind, and spirit and no one could have prepared me for the exact struggle I’ve experienced. I had no idea how my body would respond to this new strange person growing inside of me.
It responded first with no major symptoms. I realized after a few months of trying that I wasn’t ovulating, so I started my first round of fertility meds back in March. I did NOT expect them to work right away. But for some reason I felt that it was time to take a test. I’ve taken so many of those things that I bought a bulk pack on Amazon and got into this routine of laying it face down and convincing myself for 5 whole minutes that it would be negative. That way I wouldn’t be disappointed when it was.
Well this time I just sang a hymn to myself and waiiiited the eternity it takes for the lines to decide if they’re pink or not. I was honestly floored when I flipped it over and say two pink lines. I cried. I prayed and thanked God. Then I took two more tests. I paced all day because I wanted to tell John in person when he got home, not over the phone. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Announcing it to our close friends and family was so fun and happy. I told everyone honestly that I hadn’t felt a bit sick. Maybe I would dodge that bullet after all.
Then on the day I was exactly 6 weeks pregnant, I threw up.
Not only do I loathe throwing up (I mean, who likes it?) I also have serious anxiety about it. When I get the stomach flu I will spend all night pacing, trying to convince my body not to throw up because I’m so dang afraid of it. It’s usually violent and loud and I’ve developed a serious fear of dying while leaned over the toilet.
When you can imagine how it went when I began feeling nauseous 125% of the time and puking on the regular. I was so miserable and afraid. I have spent nearly all of my time and energy on the ongoing quest How Not to Throw Up Again.
Around that same time the familiar intense depression descended again. I had decided with my doctor to stop taking one of my medications because it’s not well tested for pregnancy. This sent me into a spiral the likes of which I hadn’t seen in a long time. I spend many long, painful days in bed fighting to stay alive. I had to quit my job, send my dog to stay with my mom (bless her), and hunker down a fhile. Depression is a dark cloud full of mean gremlins that descend upon your mind and try to swallow everything else up. It almost succeeded this time. I wasn’t always brave and I didn’t suffer gracefully. I complained a lot.
I went to another doctor. I was now faced with my first agonizing decision as a mom-do I choose to take the medication that keeps me alive and functional, or do I choose to avoid the possible risks it poses to my baby? It’s something no mother should ever have to choose, but its the kind of choice mothers have to make every day.
Ultimately I decided I need to be functional to care for my body and my baby. So I’m back on my miracle drug (Lamictal, if anyone is wondering.) The combination of that and Symbalta have been the magic elixir for me. After several years and 10 failed medications I can finally sing praises to modern psychiatric medicine.
But, I was still left with the incessant sickness and puking. It has worn me down emotionally and physically and there have been times when, sprawled on the bathroom floor in my total birthday suit, that I have genuinely asked God to just kill me. Pregnancy is NOT an amateur sport.
I’ve found this pattern in my life though- God pushes me to my very limit, right to my breaking point. The pain and sorrow and heartache are so much that my body can’t physically carry on. And then he pushes me about one more day. That one more day of intense suffering is where I truly realize how strong I am. There were so many ways I could have given up but I fought through the one more day and for that I am freaking proud of myself.
And then, mercifully, the pain lets up for a while. God is the perfect trainer and He knows exactly how far to push us and when to step in and let us rest. My mom (bless her again) helped me realize the work I needed to do to combat my anxiety and remember that I know how to fight back. I found a good combination of medicine that keeps the pukes down. After barely treading water for many months, it feels good to be making slow progress forward again.
Now we’re caught up. I can’t say that I’ve been through this pregnancy and learned all of these sage life lessons but I can share what I’m currently learning and give solidarity to others fighting their own intense battles. I can be one more voice in the increasingly growing crowd that is willing to admit LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE THAT WHAT IS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. My life currently is messy and weird and so incredibly difficult just like yours, and also full of joyful moments and growing excitement to meet this little soul who has already rocked our world so profoundly.
Here I am, showing up even when I feel there’s not much of me to be seen. Let’s keep going together and learned from each other. Thanks for reading.