I wanted to take a few moments today and post about this pregnancy, this miracle pregnancy. I'm too busy with my other five kids to keep a detailed pregnancy journal like I did with Snapper and Pepper's pregnancies. But I don't want to forget.
Part of the reason I even thought to take a pregnancy test was because I was feeling really queasy all the time. By the end of Week 5, the queasy had accelerated to plain ol' SICK. I developed the strongest sense of smell known to humankind. I could have joined TSA's team of drug sniffing dogs, because if there was something to smell, I could smell it. And if I could smell it, it made me puke. Our bathroom began working overtime and I think our water bill doubled in September because of the amount of morning sick that found its way into our septic system. In mid-September I ended up spending 4 days in the hospital, with an official diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum. In plain English, HG means "vomit your guts and bowels and brains out every 20 seconds or so around the clock." Dehydration. Extreme weight loss...as in 17 pounds lost in three weeks. I was in bad shape. I could hardly even sleep in the same room as Matt because the smell of his skin, his breath, his very existence, made me want to vomit. Poor man! We had to switch to unscented deodorant and body wash because the scents were overpowering. We tried three anti-nausea meds--all of which didn't work and gave me migraines--before we finally found a cocktail of three that worked together to stop the puking and decrease some of the nausea. I still struggled to eat, though. My weight loss didn't stop until I was 17 weeks along, and I didn't start to gain weight back until 20 weeks.
Here's what I survived on for the first 20 weeks of this pregnancy:
- El M0nterey beef & bean burritos
- Bagels with loads of whipped cream cheese
- Steamed rice with nothing on it
- Fuji apple slices
- Ice chips
- Cherry 7-Up
Health food, I know. But when everything that goes in your mouth comes up within 15 minutes, you settle for whatever will stay down.
I experienced a host of other miserable symptoms, too. Headache, severe back pain, bloating, extreme fatigue (3 hours of naps per day, plus 12 hours of sleep at night), dizziness, CRANKY, stuffy nose, itchy, dry skin.
Every single day, though, I thanked God for the symptoms, because I've experienced five pregnancies with few symptoms. Five pregnancies that ended by 12 weeks. When I was at my sickest, I thanked God for the baby who was growing securely in me. I tried not to complain, and I think I did really well.
At 11 weeks I had a huge scare--a large gush of bloody fluid. I called my doctor in a total panic. When she learned that I had no cramping or fresh bleeding, she wasn't too worried. She took a peek at my ultrasound from 8 weeks and reminded me that there had been a pocket of blood in my uterus then. She said the gush was likely my uterus releasing that pocket of blood, which was unrelated to my pregnancy. I went in the next morning to listen for baby's heartbeat and wept tears of relief when I heard a strong, steady heartbeat. At 12 weeks I had another ultrasound, and the doctor was able to confirm that baby was just fine and growing normally. The pocket of blood was gone.
At Week 13 I felt the first little flutters in my belly, a wonderful reminder of the miracle.
At 16 weeks my bio momma gave me the wonderful birthday gift of an early gender determination ultrasound at a 3D ultrasound boutique. We all wore the color representing our individual guesses at the baby's gender. Matt and Snapper wore blue. The rest of us wore pink. On that wonderful day, we discovered that our extremely active baby is Girl #5 for our family! While a boy would have balanced out our family a bit more, we're all thrilled to be welcoming another precious girl.
From Week 12-17 I developed a strong desire for salty foods. I just wanted to suck the salt off potato chips and to drink pickle juice. Not because I wanted pickles, but because the pickle juice satisfied my need for salt.
I'm carrying very differently this time. With Snapper my pants got tight around 12 weeks. With Pepper I was in maternity pants at 9 weeks. This time I'm very small, and didn't need maternity pants until 18 weeks. Other places expanded pretty quickly, though...
I had the anatomy ultrasound at 20 weeks. The tech was able to confirm right away that our little one is, without a doubt, a little girl. And she looks perfect! She is a very active baby, making the ultrasound very difficult for the tech, who spent 30 minutes trying to pin her down for measurements. In the end, she was not able to get a good look at baby's heart or hands...which means I get another ultrasound at my 24-week appointment! I'll never complain about getting sneak peaks at my little sweetie. Sweetie! That's what her blog name will be!
Here's a "photo" of Sweetie at 20 weeks.
Three days before Thanksgiving I woke up, prepared to limp into the kitchen and try to stuff a bagel down my throat with my morning meds, in hopes of avoiding a day of puking awesomeness. I stood up slowly, waiting for the gag to start. It didn't. All morning I moved cautiously around the house, waiting for the inevitable sick to slam me. It never did. And poof, just like that, it was gone! Just in time for Thanksgiving! YAY!
Matt and all the kids have gotten to feel Sweetie's kicks in the last week. My little Sunny's eyes got huge and she said, "Hey! There really is a baby in there!" The kids ask me all the time if they can feel Sweetie kicking.
I am 21 weeks pregnant today. I'm sitting in my big chair, enjoying my morning coffee and having a silent conversation with my little Sweetie. She apparently has a very full schedule today, because she is hustling and bustling all over the place. With every kick and roll, I marvel again at this miracle. This wasn't supposed to ever happen again for me. I just can't get over it. My belly has "blossomed" in the last week, and I am starting to get comments and congratulations and when-are-you-due from random strangers. I can hardly believe it. If this pregnancy ends like my other two pregnancies, it will not be 19 weeks until we meet Sweetie...it will be more like 17 weeks. That's just over four months, y'all!
This morning on the way to school, Snapper and I got to talking about Sweetie. We both have the same emotions, but at differing levels, of course. She is really enjoying this pregnancy. It is so much fun having a middle schooler, can I just say that? She is a delightful kid. She understands so much about pregnancy this time around, and she marvels in it right along with me. She came with us to the anatomy ultrasound and she was full of awesome questions for the tech. I believe Snapper will one day have some sort of career in the medical field. She loves to talk to Sweetie. I'm considering letting her be in the room for the birth. She's excited to see what Sweetie looks like, what her personality is going to be, who she is. We got a little bit giddy talking about it together.
My belly hurt from the stretching ligaments. I have to get up two or three times a night to use the bathroom. My skin is a mess. I get tired really easily. My gag reflex is hypersensitive, even though I don't feel sick. I still smell EVERYTHING. But it's okay. It's all worth it. This pregnancy--while it has been very challenging--is so very good. I can't wait until April!