Did you notice anything about the tops and dress in my last Stitchfix post? They all had something in common. They were loose around the middle.
Why would that be? I’ll give you a minute.
It’s because, as Baby I says, “there’s a baby in the belly.”
That’s right, Dear Readers, I’m nearly halfway through a pregnancy as I type. Now, don’t worry! This isn’t going to become a pregnancy blog, although this is a pregnancy post (so feel free to skip it if you’d rather just read about other aspects of my life).
Also, here’s where I need a disclaimer: this post is about to get long, and a little scary. If you’re currently pregnant, especially if you’re in your first trimester, I probably wouldn’t read on. This is a description of an atypical pregnancy experience, and I know if the tables were turned and I was the pregnant woman reading this, it would just make me worry unnecessarily. There will be happy, fluffy pregnancy posts in the future. Maybe wait for those.
I haven’t felt comfortable “coming out” as pregnant until very recently. The first three or four months of my pregnancy were, in fact, pretty complicated and scary, so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, and wasn’t secure about celebrating until later on. In fact, I’m still scared about celebrating, but I think I need to celebrate right now, and I think every baby deserves to be celebrated, no matter what.
My first trimester this time around was probably even more miserable than my first trimester with Baby I. Maybe just by virtue of my lifestyle now. I was busy at work. I was busy at school. I had responsibilities at church. I had responsibilities at home. And I was sick a lot. I threw up a lot. I was exhausted beyond belief. Luckily, my family, friends and co-workers (who I had to tell about my pregnancy at my 6 week mark – long before I had planned to – due to an at-work puking episode) were all so supportive. That almost made things bearable, until the bleeding started.
If you’re unfamiliar with how pregnancy works, here’s rule #1: you’re not supposed to be bleeding. About half the time, it’s a really bad sign. And even when it doesn’t mean the worst, there’s usually not a single thing doctors can do to make you stop bleeding, predict when the bleeding will slow down (or come back), or even tell you why you’re bleeding in the first place. I bled a few times here and there up until I was about 10 weeks along, and then I bled every few days for a month.
There was one particularly scary episode when the bleeding got heavy, and I had to go to the emergency room. At this point, I had had three ultrasounds already and was nearly in my second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced. I was supposed to be happy about leaving morning sickness and exhaustion behind. I was supposed to be planning how I’d announce my pregnancy to the world. Instead, I was lying in a hospital bed, with an IV in my arm and a catheter in my bladder, and the ultrasound tech was furiously clicking her machine over and over, and she wasn’t allowed to show me the image of my baby on the screen or tell me what she was seeing. Several hours later, a hurried doctor (who, in all fairness, probably had bigger fish to fry than me that night) told me that baby was alive and appropriately sized, and that the term for bleeding in pregnancy was threatened miscarriage, and to follow up with my doctor. After about 5 hours in the ER, that was it.
That’s when I found out that I had an early version of placenta previa (click the link if you want more info – also, doctors don’t usually officially call it a previa until after 20 weeks, so I never had clinical placenta previa. I digress). In order to give myself the best chance at avoiding another big bleed that would send me to the ER again, I had to severely limit my activity until the condition (hopefully) cleared itself. With another appointment in about 3.5 weeks, I was sent home with instructions to stay off my feet as much as possible. No excessive walking, no climbing too many stairs, no exercise of any kind. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but, again, my friends and family got me through. A was amazing, cooking dinner every night, doing all of the dishes and laundry, taking care of Baby I, and still working 6 days a week. I don’t know how he did it, honestly. My mom made us freezer meals that we could just heat up and eat, and helped A fill in the gaps with chores. My friends kept my spirits high. I can’t express how grateful I am to all of them.
Even though I was well supported, I felt like I was mourning a normal, happy pregnancy. I was sad because I felt like I was failing in a lot of aspects of my life. I couldn’t pick up Baby I, or follow her around the house, or do a lot of things with and for her. But, looking back, it was good to show her she could rely on A for lots of things, too. She’s even learned some things that will be especially handy when the new baby comes, like not to expect to be held all the time, and how to get herself into and out of her car seat. I wish the past few months hadn’t been so difficult, but I don’t regret them.
Happiest of all, the baby seems to have come through it just fine. Everything looks healthy, and I’ve been green-lighted to begin returning to normal activities. I know that so many pregnant women have it worse. But my brush with serious complications taught me to slow down, take care of myself well, and most of all, to trust and to hope. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for reading, and promise that my next few posts will be more positive. I’ll sign off with this: