Pregnancy–pregnancy is a beautiful thing–isn’t it? Pregnancy is beautiful in the sense that carrying a baby is a beautiful thing, and by beautiful thing I mean you are bringing a human life into the world. You’re body created a life and is growing it and doing things you never thought you’re body capable of doing. However, the honest to God truth is that pregnancy itself is not always beautiful.
People always talk to you about the “pregnancy glow”, how “special pregnancy is because of the bond you feel from the get go knowing there’s a living being inside of you”, and whatever other sayings others say about pregnancy being beautiful. However, it is not beautiful for everyone. At least that wasn’t the case for me. I would consider my pregnancies as a “beautiful disaster”. There were part of both that were really, really amazing, but the majority of both faltered more on the “disaster” end.
Let me start by saying, for those of you who don’t know, or those of you who THINK you know, speaking from experience, not once but twice, growing a human life is hard work. It is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. Picture getting hit by a truck, that is what not only my first, but second pregnancy was like.
Getting pregnant with my first was such an elated feeling for me. You see, my husband and I knew since we were young we always wanted 2-3 kids. The idea of having a family, raising little ones, what we would be like as parents, how they would turn out, what they would look like, what they would be interested in, what kind of personalities they would have, which of us they would resemble more, those thoughts made us completely and utterly excited for what was in store for our future. Little did we know that all of our hopes and dreams for creating our family may be ripped out from under us. I had went in for a normal routine check up, ya know, down south (the most dreaded time of year…at least for me because who voluntarily wants to be pinched and prodded down in that general area? We do it because it’s a necessary part of our womanhood). I had voiced some of my concerns that I had at the time of issues that kept popping up off and on throughout the years, which prompted the doctor to of course ask for family history. After giving the family medical history that I knew of, and based off the issues that I was having, the doctor flat-out told me that he didn’t know if I would ever be able to have kids. My heart sank. You know that ride, the Tower of Terror at Disney World–the one that’s a 13 story drop? Yea. That was my heart. I could literally feel my heart sink all the way into the bottom of my feet at an accelerated speed. I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes trying so hard not to escape the dams, all while of course thinking the worst. I told my husband, and he tried to be optimistic. We had had a time frame of when we wanted to have kids, and when we got to that time (which mind you was right after our wedding–in case you were wondering), we began to try. I can’t tell you how many times people asked us the 50 questions over and over. When do you want to have kids? Are you trying right away? Are you going to wait? And so on and so forth, and then of course following up with their two cents that everyone feels the need to give, but neither of us really asked for: Oh you guys are so young (we were 22 and 23 at the time of the first pregnancy), you haven’t had a chance to live your life yet (mind you, my husband and I had been together for 5 years at that point) and based off of the lifestyles my husband and I both grew up around, we had to grow up extremely fast, and were definitely a lot more mature than many our age. My husband works a job that is so physically demanding, and I had worked a job that took a toll on me stress wise, that we both felt 20 years older than we really were. We wanted to start a family young so that 1. We could physically run around and keep up with them, and 2. we knew we wanted more than one, and we didn’t want to be struggling physically and mentally with being older parents. We had a house at 21, got married at 22, and were trying to get pregnant at 22. We were responsible and always made sure our bills were paid. But I shouldn’t have to defend our reasoning to people. There is no “right time” to have a bay. There are pros and cons each and every way you look at it.
Another thing I absolutely loved hearing (note my sarcasm) was that we hadn’t even had time together as a married couple, we needed to travel, see the world, do this, do that, it was basically a honey do list of things we should and should not do before we have kids. Now hold on just a second. I was under the impression that 1. This was mine and my husband’s decision, 2. This was our life, and 3. that we were ready to have kids. No? We’re not ready, we’re too young? No? This isn’t our life or our decision, it’s everyone else’s? Oh, okay then. I didn’t know that! If it was everybody else’s decision, then can you come pay my bills too please? ANYWAYS. We had started trying. The first month went by, I was 2 days late so I took a test and sadly it was negative. The 2nd month went by, and I was also two days late (mind you I have never been late. I get my period to a T and if I am under stress, then I get it twice in a month, but never am I late), but sadly it was negative again. I couldn’t get what the doctor said out of my head. Tim and I were both devastated with each negative test and we thought that just maybe, this was not in the cards for us at the time. So we stopped “trying” so hard, and just tried to be casual about it. The third month came. This time I was 3 days late, but given I had been 2 days late the past 2 months, I decided to wait a couple more days just to double-check. On the 5th day of being late, I finally decided it was time to take a test. It was the most nerve-wracking test I had ever taken in my life. I followed the instructions, took the test, and then it was just the waiting game to see the results. All of the times I had taken a test, I always got the same kind, the one that says “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant” (because who wants to guess on if there is a 2nd line or what it means if one is darker than the other), and also had the week estimator with it. The first two times I took the test the hour glass kept moving until it said Not Pregnant. So here I am waiting the excruciating 3 minutes you have to wait, and I’m so anxious that I peek over. The result said PREGNANT. When I first saw that, I saw the hour glass keep moving (I hadn’t peeked at the other ones until after I knew for sure it’d been 5 minutes so I wasn’t sure if the hour glass kept moving until the not appeared). I’m sitting here still watching the hourglass move waiting for a NOT to appear…but it never did. Instead, a weeks estimator came up estimating that I was about 2-3 weeks pregnant. I was so shocked and excited that I obviously started crying like a little girl. We couldn’t believe that our dreams were becoming a reality. I know it had only been 2 1/2 months, but to us it felt like a lifetime. We were struggling to become pregnant and we were lucky to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, I know that there are people who struggle with infertility, or can’t get pregnant and they’re scenarios are a lot worse than ours was, but that was our fear when I wasn’t getting pregnant and based off what the doctor had said. Now onto the pregnancy.
When they say every girl is different, every pregnancy is different, THEY ARE NOT LYING. I had no idea how I would be as a pregnant lady. I started showing at 6 weeks. From then on, I got really big, REALLY fast. It was the most uncomfortable I had ever felt. My stomach was so big so fast, that I literally felt like I was pregnant for 5 years. Plus I had found out so early (I hear most don’t even know until they’re a couple of months along), that it seemed to drag on. Apart from being extremely uncomfortable and the nausea the first 5 months, I was doing fine. Then around 6-6 1/2 months I wasn’t doing fine. I was getting extreme migraines (worse than I normally get, and I get the, really severely and really regularly), dizzy spells, and all of a sudden I would get really hot in the face. At my doctor appointments at that point were showing that my blood pressure numbers were slightly getting elevated. My appointments then became more frequent. They wanted to start seeing me twice a week (they don’t even start seeing you once a week until 36 weeks). My BP numbers kept reading higher and higher every time. I was having blood drawn twice a week to check my other levels to make sure I was not having issues with other organs in my body. I was having stress tests once a week, and I had more frequent ultrasounds to check my fluid levels. I had to do two 24 hour urine tests because my urine tests were coming back with trace protein. I was sent to the hospital twice for further monitoring, and then at 7 1/2 months was put on bed rest due to being borderline pre-eclamptic. On top of all of that, I was also anemic. My body didn’t even feel like my body. I was so drained, in part to the anemia, in part to being poked and prodded and having blood drawn twice a week, and in part from the pregnancy itself. I was extremely swollen and retaining a lot of fluid (the high blood pressure made it worse) and I could barely even put sandals on. They ended up inducing me 12 days early because not only did my urine test come back with trace protein, but my blood work had come back with one of my levels getting increasingly higher indicating that I could be having problems with my liver. which was not good news for me or babe.
I finally thought I was going to be put out of my misery by being induced. Boy was I wrong, and the scary part was nowhere near being over. I was on the Pitocin for 23 hours. I had been contracting regularly but luckily I couldn’t really feel very much pain, other than in my back (yay for back labor said no woman ever). I was not dilating, I was still stuck at 2. They upped my Pit all the way, lowered it and started increasing it again. After those 23 hours, I finally dilated enough for them to break my water. Once my water broke, things went fairly quick. I dilated from 4-10 within an hour. I spent about an hour and 10 minutes pushing, which I guess for your first one isn’t that bad, and HELL YES I got that epidural. FINALLY after almost 2 long days, our peanut was here, and I thought all the troubling stuff was over. Wrong again. Being so over the moon about our handsome baby boy, combined with being so incredibly delirious after not eating or sleeping in nearly 3 days and just having pushed a baby out, I forgot about the after part, you know, when they put you back together? Now I’m not sure how long that is supposed to take, but after a day and half of grueling pain and exhaustion, 45 minutes after delivery, and I was still not aware of what was going on. My legs were still in the stirrups, my mom and my husband were both on either side, and my mom had this look on her face. The kind where she was almost sheet white fighting back tears. I finally said “what the hell is going on? Why s this taking so long”? She looked at me teary eyed trying not to freak me out and said, “Tor, you’re hemorrhaging REALLY bad. You’re bleeding through all the stitches and they can’t stop the bleeding”. I remember seeing my husband look like he had seen a ghost. I remember being so completely and utterly scared of what might happen. The doctor had literally went through all the supplies in the room, and there were about 4 people down in my lady business. I was bleeding so bad, she sent my mom to go find another nurse to get more stitches. FINALLY after almost 20 more minutes, they got it to stop. They finally laid my peanut on my chest and I was just a mix of emotions having just delivered this tiny little human, going through that scare, and then finally being able to hold him. But something was off. He wasn’t making any noise, and he had stopped breathing. They took him away so fast, I didn’t know what was happening. After just going through the scare I had been going through, now I have to worry that I’ going to lose my baby too? My poor husband–thinking he might lose both of us in such a short span of time–I did not envy him. Apparently, our son had gotten too much fluid in his lungs, but after a few minutes they were able to get him breathing again. My blood pressure was still high in the hospital, so my doctor wanted to see me a week later instead of the normal 6. When I went in for my check up, she sent me straight to the ER. My blood pressure had been 200/100. After that hospital visit, I was on blood pressure medicine for a month before it finally got back to normal.
*Fast Forward 2 years*.
My husband and I were trying to get pregnant again. We had wanted our kids to be 2-3 years apart. I am 4 years older than my sister and my husband is 3-4 years older than his brother and 3-4 years younger than his sisters and we both felt that was too much of a gap. I was never really on the same page with my sister until we got older. When he was starting high school, I was starting college. When she was still playing with barbies, I was into other things. We wanted our kids to (hopefully) have a close relationship. I know, I must be crazy, especially given everything that transpired with the first pregnancy, but like they say, every pregnancy is different, right? But we were willing to take that chance. This time was different in terms of getting pregnant. The first month came, I had been feeling really off. Dizzy, nauseous, blurred vision, and migraines. I took a test Christmas morning of 2015, and SURPRISE, what a great Christmas present we got! Going back to my conception date, we literally conceived the first try. This pregnancy was very similar, yet very different to the first. I found out really early, except this time I was a month along before I found out. I showed even earlier than the last time (I started showing at 4 weeks instead of 6), and I felt worse than I did the first time around in terms of the nausea. About 7 weeks in, I was feeling really sick. Turns out I was dehydrated on top of not being able to keep anything down. I had my first appointment around 8 weeks. Based off my last pregnancy, they were being extremely attentive and making sure they monitored me more. They weren’t taking any chances, and wanted me to call at the littlest thing, even if I thought it was nothing. As with the last pregnancy, we told our closest friends and family, but weren’t publicly going to announce until after the first trimester. We were a week shy of being out of the first trimester, and we were so excited to announce.
I remember doing my normal routine: going to work, picking my oldest up from daycare, coming home and cooking dinner, playing, getting him fed and ready for bed. One night, after cooking dinner, I started to get a dull ache in my lower back. I ignored it and continued to cook dinner for my son and myself. The more time that passed, the sicker I started becoming. I was getting nauseous and my stomach was cramping extremely bad to the point I was in tears. I put my son in his seat so he could eat, and I went to the bathroom thinking I would feel better. Wrong. I noticed a little pink on the toilet paper when I stood up. Next thing I know I have blood running down my leg. I remember calling the doctor, waiting on a call back, and calling my dad in the meantime, all while sobbing uncontrollably. I was scared at how much blood there was. I literally soaked through 3 pads completely within 45 minutes if that gives you any idea where that fear was coming from. The doctor asked if I had any cramping associated with the bleeding, and at the time my cramping had ceased, so I said no. She remained cool as a cucumber and told me that for right now, try to remain calm and not stress because stress will make things worse. She said no cramping is a good sign and that if I felt like I needed to go to the ER I could, but they can’t really do anything for it anyways. The best thing was to wait until first thing in the morning so I could get in and they could do an emergency ultrasound to see what was going on. After I got off the phone with the doctor, I remember calling my husband at work, still sobbing so much I could barely talk, and explaining the situation to him. He asked if I wanted him to come home and I said no because there wasn’t really anything he could do, and he said “I could be there for you”. I had called my closest friends that knew about the pregnancy because I was such a wreck and so afraid. My husband ended up coming home. He helped me get our son cleaned up and into bed, and he just let me sit there in cry. That waiting game was no fun, not that any ever are, but this one was particularly excruciating. Not knowing what we were going to walk into the next morning, if we were going to hear a heartbeat. I was so sick to my stomach I couldn’t even sleep. I lied awake all night and cried. Finally the next morning rolled around, and we went in for our appointment. They did an ultrasound, and much to our relief, confirmed there was a heartbeat. After looking further, it was found that I had a separation with my placenta and that was causing a blood clot. By the time the appointment rolled around, the bleeding had almost completely stopped. They warned that I could experience bleeding off and on throughout the whole pregnancy. Given these circumstances, I was considered high risk. I had appointments every week for the next month accompanied with ultrasounds every week to monitor the progress of baby, if the separation had gotten any worse (because if it completely abrupted it could potentially be fatal to me and baby, or at the very least, cause pre-term labor), and if the blood clot was getting worse or not. At the time, they didn’t see any immediate threat, but said I needed to take it easy, and try my hardest not to lift my son (how is that even possible)? They put me on bed rest at 3 months. I went back to having my appointments tentatively scheduled for once a month. About 3 weeks later, I started bleeding again. It wasn’t as much this time, more like a regular period. They did yet another ultrasound and determined that the separation had not gotten any worse, but the blood clot was definitely still there. I bled off and on for about a month and half. Luckily, I didn’t bleed anymore at after that, but there was always that fear that it would come up again. I was having appointments every other week, and finally the blood clot started to get smaller and smaller. However, I started to have a couple of higher blood pressure readings to make sure those didn’t get to be regular readings. At 7 months, I started getting real contractions (not those annoying Braxton Hicks). One night, I felt so sick and was getting the contractions to where they were timing regularly, I put a call in to the doctor. She sent me to the hospital, and turns out I was severely dehydrated and needed an IV of fluids. Considering how much water I drink on a daily basis, I was shocked.
The rest of the pregnancy went fairly well. I went in for my appointment 8 days before my due date. My doctor had been out-of-town the previous week and we were joking that I better wait until she got back to have that baby. This was her first day back from vacation. I went to do my routine urine sample, and I saw some foreign object in the cup. I was like “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS”?? I let the nurse know, and she let the doctor know after the ultrasound. The doctor checked me and I was dilated at 5 (a week before I hadn’t been dilated at all). She hooked me up to the non stress test to see if I was getting any contractions, but I wasn’t. She said if they’re even 7 minutes apart to call her. If my water broke I better be almost at the hospital before I call her because of 1. how fast I went the first time (once my water broke) and 2. how far I was already dilated. She old me she would most likely see me later that night, but if she didn’t it would definitely be first thing in the am. My husband asked if he should call off work and I said no. We joked that he’d be here for an hour and he’d have to leave. The rest of the morning and early afternoon I was having random contractions. I was waiting on a call back from the doctor when my husband left for work. They finally called back and told me it was baby time. All the nurses and the doctor were thrilled because they had ben honest with me that they didn’t think I would make it past 28 weeks let alone full term. I called my husband at work, and sure enough, he had literally been there an hour on the dot. From the time we walked in the door of the hospital to the time I delivered, it was just under three hours. I remember getting the epidural and the anesthesiologist saying “I’m not really happy with how that went in”. “Umm what the hell does that mean?” I’ll spare all the nitty-gritty details, but basically, the epidural did not work, baby was coming way too fast and I felt EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Peanut came out like a quarterback throwing a football it was literally that quick. 10 minutes of pushing and our second beautiful boy was here. However, because he came so fast and I didn’t have time to stretch out completely, I ended up with a 4th degree tear (sorry for the TMI). for those of you who don’t know what a 4th degree tear is like, just pray like hell it never happens to you. Because the tear was so bad, I had to get 3 little shots, 2 to my nether regions, and 1 to the other end. Yes I was still feeling this at that point (The Dilaudid was only JUST starting to kick in). Imagine 50 bees stinging you in those areas, that’s what that felt like. Considering everything that had happened, it was smooth sailing from there, fortunately.
I had a couple of friends who were struggling to get pregnant at the time. Some of them had been going through infertility issues for a couple of years, some coming up on a year. I would try to avoid talking about my pregnancy or my son as much as possible because I felt so guilty. Unless they asked how my pregnancy was going, or how my older son was doing, I tried to be considerate and not talk about them.
However, I did get the questions about how my pregnancy was going (especially the second one). In turn, I was honest and laid it all out there. To say I was a little annoyed and hurt by the responses from these “friends” was an understatement. I understand they were having problems of their own, and that’s why I tried to avoid these conversations, but man! Responses to me explaining how my second pregnancy was going: “At least you’re pregnant”, “At least you’re pregnant with another child I can’t even get pregnant with one” or my all time favorite: “I’m sorry you’re going through that, that really sucks, but at least you already have one child, if God forbid something did happen”. Ummm, what?! What is wrong with you? Yes I am pregnant, but it’s not easy, look at everything I have gone thorough to remain pregnant. Yes I’m pregnant with another one, but barely. What do you not understand that I thought I lost him, or that I could still lose him at any point during the pregnancy?? I’m sorry you’re struggling, but DO NOT downplay what I am going through like it is a walk in the park. And yes, I do have one child, but if I lose this child, is already having one child supposed to make it okay? Would that be any better? No it wouldn’t.
You see, I knew these people were struggling, I knew these people were hurting, but so was I. It is a miracle my second baby was born, and that I ended up carrying to term and having no further issues myself. It was a miracle both of them were, if I’m being honest.
This would be exactly why I say that pregnancy is a beautiful disaster. For some, it is beautiful, and they love every minute of being pregnant. For some, like myself, it’s more of a disaster. It is not beautiful, there are difficulties, and you hate being pregnant, and that’s 100% OKAY. Everyone has different experiences. I think the idea of pregnancy is beautiful, but in reality, it isn’t always like that. Your hormones are all out of whack, sometimes you can’t stop getting sick, you’re in an insane amount of pain from all the stretching and the kicking, and the growing belly, sometimes you eat entirely way too much food…and that is all okay. Just know, if you’re like me, and you too, are or were a beautiful disaster, it is completely normal.
Until next time,
Peace, love, happiness & lots of coffee! ❤