Friday, August 4, 2017

Pregnancy This Time Around

Forgive me for pregnancy is on the brain. Your alternative is to hear about my housekeeping and homeschooling angst and I know you don't want that.

When I first seriously considered pregnancy again, my biggest fear was just being pregnant again. I wasn't worried about having another baby or where another might fit in this house or the implications for the car situation. I just really didn't want to be pregnant again. For months I longed for a surprise, a misreading of the chart, a margin that didn't really exist. That didn't happen. Instead we had to make the deliberate decision. I've never been so nervous in my life. Gah, what was I signing up for?

My fears mainly congregated around three main issues: nausea, heartburn, and pelvic pain.

My nausea has never risen to the level of HG, but it is debilitating to me. It comes on fast and knocks me low. The constant feeling of nausea for weeks and weeks leaves me almost worthless and everyone around me has to pick up the slack. Some people seem to be able to fight through this feeling to attain some level of functionality. I, for whatever reason, cannot.

The heartburn is more annoying than debilitating, but it comes on around the midpoint of pregnancy and is a ready companion until about 12 hours after birth. I have to sleep practically sitting up to keep the acid down through the night and pop Pepcid like candy with middlin' results.

My biggest fear, though, was the pelvic pain. I have struggled with pelvic instability since my second pregnancy. It was only slight that time and disappeared after birth, but set the stage for real pain later. It was especially terrible during my third pregnancy where I had trouble walking and standing and dressing myself. But again, it disappeared after birth. During my fourth pregnancy, the pelvic instability was not as bad as the previous time and I took proactive steps to rein it in by going to a chiropractor who specialized in pregnancy and doing stability exercises. In spite of these things, the pain lasted long after birth. Years after birth. I was truly afraid of permanently maiming myself with another pregnancy.

So how's it been?

The nausea came on fast and furious at 5 weeks along. I lasted about a week and then I decided this was dumb. Give me all the meds. I have never taken nausea meds during pregnancy before because I could not take a chance on the sleep inducing side effects while driving upwards of three hours a day. I might feel sick, but at least I was awake to drive. This time, I didn't have to worry about all that. I latched onto the Unisom/B6 combination. I slept long hours, but it did help. In retrospect, I probably could have and should have taken a higher dose. The meds functioned to take the edge off the nausea. It didn't completely disappear, but it gave me enough margin to eat in the morning and not spend the entire day retching.

The severity of the nausea also only lasted to about 12.5 weeks. I know that's when all the books say the nausea should end, but that has never, never, never been my experience. I usually have severe nausea through 16-18 weeks. It may have been the combination of the medicine and the sleep, but the 'I want to die' nausea portion of pregnancy was much shorter than usual.

Even though the nausea was a bit better, Dave was not prepared for how thoroughly the first half of pregnancy affects me. In the past, I would go off to work and he would carry on his normal duties at home. It's true I didn't help much when I got back home, but he already had meals and laundry covered so the functioning of the household didn't suffer too much from my stasis. This time all those were my jobs. He had to work all day and then come home and work all evening. The older girls had responsibilities they had never had before and didn't particularly care for. All while I held down the couch. It was rough to say the least.

A different experience with the nausea this time is the long tail. Usually I have hard nausea and then it leaves by around 20 weeks. This time mild nausea hangs on even to this day. I don't know if it is the meds or my age, but even now I am on a half pill of Unisom because every time I try to wean off of it, I get sick again. I wish I could stop taking it, but by this point I am just not willing to do withdrawal, if that's what it is, until after birth. No need to compound miseries.

The heartburn started this time earlier than ever. I tried intermittent Pepcid. I tried systematic Pepcid. I was still having breakthrough heartburn almost everyday no matter what I ate. After a bit of stubbornness, I finally asked the doctor about taking Prevacid. She gave the go ahead, and let me tell you, Prevacid is a freaking miracle. The acid is gone. GONE! I can lay down! I can drink water! I can eat food! It is a miracle. Now, you are only supposed to take it for fourteen days and it is supposed to last four months. I, on the other hand, have the heartburn return at about day 14.5 if I miss a pill so I am on constant Prevacid for the duration. I am not entirely comfortable with this, but I am also no longer willing to burn my throat with acid when it is avoidable.

Finally, the hips. I was extremely worried about the hips, but it really hasn't been a problem at all. I haven't been this comfortable hip-wise since my second pregnancy. I am now about 34 weeks and I haven't had to wear a support belt or anything. I feel a twinge in my left hip when I stand on that leg alone, but that's it. It is a really pleasant surprise. It is true it could all go down hill between now and the end and I could end up with a debility, but it looks good so far. I think I must be up and around more at home even though it feels like I sit a lot as opposed to spending all day in an office chair. Or maybe all those stability exercises did more good than I realized. Whatever it is, I'll take it.

A couple of things that I did not expect is anemia and an elevated heart rate. When the nausea died down a bit and the second half of pregnancy rolled around, I expected that burst of energy everyone talks about. It never showed up. Eventually I was diagnosed with mild anemia, but I had weeks and weeks of time when it seemed like I should be doing stuff, but getting off the couch was monumentally difficult. I started taking a Floradix once a day and eating a lot more red meat, and now I feel fairly normal, energy-wise, considering my age and it's the third trimester. I am disappointed I missed that magic window of productivity, but it is what it is.

Also my heart rate has been elevated for months. It's not high enough to trigger any medical concern, but it is really annoying and tiring. It feels like I have been up and around and active all while sitting in my very own chair. The constant pounding is a frustration. Coffee is totally out. I miss coffee. I cannot handle any morning caffeine. It sets me up for a bad day. I have to have enough protein at meals, otherwise carb heavy foods sets the pounding off again. I will be quite pleased when my heart rate goes back down to normal. Hovering in the 90s and lower 100s all the time is a drag. 

So there it is. The fears of the pregnancy were not entirely unfounded, but we survived while other issues I never worried about popped up. I am taking more medicine than I ever thought I would, but my patience for the "normal" aches and pains has been exhausted. Just six more weeks, right?

No comments: