My Pregnancy Story: Difficulties and Challenges
The majority of my pregnancy was difficult. Although I wasn’t on complete bed rest, a perinatologist (er, ultrasound doctor) evaluating my case recommended partial bed rest.
Where to begin?
The beginning of our son’s life began on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. That was the day 5 retrieved eggs were fertilized with my husband’s sperm. On Monday, June 10, 2013, my husband and I made the decision to transfer Blastocyst Grade AA into my uterus and to freeze Blastocyst Grade AB (which we hope will be a second child). Unfortunately, the three remaining fertilized eggs were not viable and needed to be discarded.
One week into my 2WW (2-week-wait) before the scheduled blood pregnancy test, I decided to use an HPT (home pregnancy test) to see if I had conceived yet. A faint positive line showed up the very first time and only grew stronger with each day I tested myself. (Technically, you’re not supposed to use an HPT before the blood test but I was an impatient little bugger and just couldn’t wait.)
On Monday, June 24, 2013, the fertility clinic confirmed I was pregnant with our first child. I was so excited! (My husband, generally even-keeled, replied with a nonchalant “That’s cool.”) During the first few weeks of the first trimester (about weeks 1–7), I felt great. I did not experience morning sickness. The only problem seemed to be that my appetite was decreasing.
Little did I know that my appetite problem would only continued to worsen.
Optimistic that my first pregnancy would be generally uneventful, I decided to transfer my care from the fertility clinic to midwives at a local birth center. I wanted to have a vaginal birth without an epidural. In the end, however, I ended up with a spinal in back for a C-section—far from how I imagined my birth plan would go.
Around weeks 8–10 of my pregnancy, I threw up my breakfast in the car while driving. I determined that I should avoid eggs during the remainder of my pregnancy.
I developed an aversion for eggs and onions (especially raw ones). My morning diet consisted of a banana. My lunch diet could be a bit less meager or could be nonexistent. In the evening, my appetite opened up and I could eat almost anything (particularly steak).
With the exception of a decreased appetite, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful except for occasional puking while brushing my teeth. My gag reflex was especially sensitive and even if I hadn’t eaten anything, bile could come up.
After puking bananas twice, I began eating oatmeal for breakfast. I tolerated chicken soup for lunch. I began to get picky about dinner. I lost my sweet tooth. Eating cake or ice cream was a chore rather than a delight.
My sickness came to a head after week 20 right before Thanksgiving. On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, I went to the ER for abdominal pain. I was scared. I thought I had come so far only to begin losing the pregnancy. But I was hooked up to monitors and my baby’s heartbeat was fine. After an ultrasound test, it was discovered that not only did I have a 10-cm fibroid on my left side, I had a degenerating 5-cm fibroid on my right side. I’m not sure of the timing anymore but it was also discovered that my placenta was not attached to the uterine wall (like a healthy placenta should be) but was attached to my left fibroid. It was only after the placenta was removed that I discovered it was also small.
My husband and I went to visit my family in Long Island, New York for Thanksgiving. My appetite seemed to have opened up and I ate more than I ever had on Thursday. My husband and I thought I had turned a corner. But Friday, I got sick and my lunch came right back up. Saturday was no better. I was laid up in bed. When we left to go home early Sunday morning, my husband had to pull over as I puked a few sips of coffee and water.
During my pregnancy, I lost 11 pounds. But thank God, my miracle baby was still healthy and still growing. But another problem cropped up: he remained breech (sideways/transverse lie) in my womb and needed to be head down for a vaginal delivery. It began looking likely that midwives were not going to deliver my baby at the birth center.
Family and friends encouraged me to eat heartily, but no one could understand how hard it was to eat, much less keep the food down. Coworkers told me that I looked “good” but it was only because I was actually slimmer during my pregnancy than before pregnancy. While I thanked people for the kind compliments, I knew my slimmer figure wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
Life began to get disheartening. After eating fruit and vegetables and trying to eat healthy, I lived off of oatmeal for breakfast and chicken soup for lunch. Whatever I had for dinner, I ate half of (if that much). I felt like a horrible mother. I was encouraged to eat fries and drink milkshakes to help my baby gain weight. I ate fries but could not stomach a milkshake. (It really would have been a waste of money.) He dropped from 36th percentile to 24th percentile to 20th percentile to less than 10th percentile. A doctor gave me an unofficial prescription to eat ice cream. I could barely tolerate eating half of one scoop.
Enter my depression and crying fits. What kind of mother was I who could not feed her child in utero? All the mothers I had spoken to told me that the third trimester opened up their appetites like never before. That was not my experience; my appetite was hard to come by. I must have been a bad mother if I could not eat food in large quantities to help my baby grow. Instead, I merely tolerated food as a necessity and forced myself to eat at least half of whatever was before me in an effort to sustain my pregnancy.
In January 2014 came a new breakfast I could tolerate: plain bagel with cream cheese. Of course, that meant oatmeal had to be set aside. I was pleasantly surprised to discover my baby was most active in the womb after downing a bagel with cream cheese. At the maximum, I ended up gaining 5 lbs over my prepregnancy weight.
The perinatologist recommended that I get fetal nonstress tests twice at week at the birth center. A nonstress test is basically medical terminology for monitoring the baby’s heart rate and activity. The baby almost always passed with flying colors. (There was one time when a midwife was concerned about a dip in heart rate but after putting me back on the monitor for another 20 minutes, she determined everything seemed to look okay.)
The baby’s position in my uterus refused to change. He remained transverse. I tried natural methods (mostly moxibustion) to encourage him to turn, but the stubborn little turd would not cooperate. The possibility of a C-section at a hospital was now becoming an eventuality. (I soon learned that he turned full breech and that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.)
Toward the end of my pregnancy, I lived on Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich meals for dinner. My poor husband, who never thought he’d ever tire of Chick-Fil-A food, began to tire of Chick-Fil-A food.
At my last perinatal ultrasound, a doctor determined that the baby was not gaining enough weight in the womb and that he would get better nutrition on the outside. Because the baby remained breech, I was scheduled for a C-section on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 12:30 pm. My pregnancy would come to an abrupt halt even earlier on that date because my son (by God’s providence) decided naturally that it would be time for him to be outside.
That’s pretty much the end of my pregnancy and its troubles. You can read my son’s birth story here.
Postpartum, my appetite has returned in full force. I eat (almost) whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m not as picky about eating. I’m tired of chicken soup, tired of oatmeal, and so done with bagel and cream cheese (for a while). Chick-Fil-A, though… I’m never tired of Chick-Fil-A!
Most importantly, my son is healthy and thriving. And I am adjusting to having him around. It’s been a tough road to have him (4.5 years of waiting and nearly 9 months of difficulties) but completely worth it to have this little guy in my life.