Tuesday, April 28, 2009

21 weeks, 5 days: Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Phew.... What a weekend. What a weekend.

The past five days have probably been some of the most physically challenging in my life. How glad I am to be through them!

On Friday I was housecleaning to prepare for Saturday's houseguests. All was well, and then.... my back started hurting. Slowly, then more, and more, and more.... until I finally knew that it wasn't playing around. At first I wasn't too concerned, but it kept getting worse until Friday night when I was having serious difficulties just walking. What a nightmare!

Thankfully, this is not a new experience... this is back-injury/strain/etc. #3 for me. The last time happened when we were about 6 weeks pregnant with our very first baby. Each time has occurred when I've taken too much time off from exercising, which has definitely been the case for me since Christmas (severe nausea = no exercise). I've had a bad/painful back ever since pre-adolescence, so any time of inactivity is its cue to go nuts. And it did... big time.

From an outsider's perspective, there is definitely the humorous side to a back injury. For example, when one is lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, wondering how on earth one is going to get out of bed..... and, once one is up, how to lie back down again! Or learning how to brush one's teeth without leaning over, or get dressed without being able to move past vertical - or a hundred other things. What a mess!

Our houseguests ended up coming as planned, and I'm afraid I was a rotten hostess. My DH did most of the entertaining, and my sweet aunt did all of the housework (dishes, cooking, etc.) as well as playing with DS while I lay in my room on the heating pad.

Here's an interesting tidbid of information: My nausea levels rose sky-high with my back injury. At first I thought it was from the pain (which was intense, and for which Tylenol did nothing to help), but then I remembered that I hadn't had nausea the other two times I'd hurt my back. I also remembered that in my HG (hyperemesis) research, I'd run across chiropractic care as a remedy for morning sickness. Interesting, isn't it? Spine out of alignment = increased nausea. Spine back in alignment = decreased nausea. I'm a believer!!!

On Sunday I had no choice but to play for service per my commitment, and it was probably one of the toughest services I've done! After staggering in (with the best pregnant waddle you've ever seen... and it wasn't even due to pregnancy!) and gingerly perching myself on the piano bench, I stayed there for the entire service, praying just to get through it. I don't think I amazed anyone with a stellar performance, but at least I made it.

The funniest part (ONLY in retrospect) was during the sermon. I was sitting on the piano bench, in massive pain and with tremendous nausea going on, trying just to keep my seat and not throw up (not that I could have moved if I'd needed to leave anyhow).... and then I started to feel like I was going to faint. You know, that hot-in-the-face but cold-and-clammy-all-over feeling.... That's when I started to panic. So I was twisting all around, making (probably) the most horrible grimaces, trying to avoid fainting/throwing up and praying for the sermon to end soon... I made it through, but what a nightmare!!

Incidentally, if you want a quick and easy way to make a grown woman cry, try sneezing or throwing up with a newly-injured back. I promise, it'll work! After sneezing once on Friday night, I began a programme of ruthless sneeze-suppression to avoid repeating the experience. Who knew that one used one's back muscles to sneeze? And when the nausea drove me to throwing up on Saturday, I also did my best to suppress that after a few times, as it is excruciatingly painful to one's back.

Thankfully I'm back to walking, and the pain is not debilitating anymore.... Just very painful. I need to get into exercising faithfully as soon as I'm able!

I found myself grateful to God for many things this weekend - small things that have made this experience easier. I was grateful that....

- We did end up having houseguests, as they were so helpful with DS
- That this injury occurred late enough in my pregnancy so that throwing up is not absolutely necessary
- That it occurred early enough for me to recover before the delivery
- That the music on Sunday was easy enough to get through while in massive pain
- That it occurred over a weekend so I could have two days of DH's help
- That our houseguests were delayed for 24 hours so that I could get used to being injured rather than having them show up in the middle of a developing back injury

Many, many things! But regardless, I am SO glad to be through this weekend!

Baby seems to be doing fine... She is very, very active and kicks continually! I love it. We see our midwives in two weeks, and I'm looking forward to that very much. I have to take this week off of my part-time job and our MOMS club activities due to the injury, but I'm looking forward to being back to normal soon.

Have a wonderful week! Love to all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

21 weeks, 0 days: Checking in for Real

Gosh, the calendar is moving quickly! Just when I'm ready for time to SLOW down, it has started rushing along at the speed of light. Slow down! I want to enjoy this baby!!

We got the lovely news from our midwife this afternoon that our ultrasound results came in with an "all-clear," AND they didn't send the gender in the report! Hurray! I'm so relieved. I really wanted the gender to be a surprise for our whole birth team, and now it can be.

My nausea levels are now almost always manageable (when I remember to take my Unisom/Zofran, that is) and are only troublesome a couple of times a day. Hurray!

But this has made future thoughts of the fate of our fertility more difficult.... We have always planned that this would be baby #LAST, due to this terrible problem with morning sickness. I still feel that this is the path of wisdom.... but having had an "easier" time this time has made making that final decision in cold blood a very difficult one. I find myself mourning for the "might have beens," and if we do go ahead with the final step of ending our childbearing with this child, it is going to be HARD... but I can't stand the thought of going through this blasted nausea again.

Honestly, I'd always thought that the thought of secondary infertility was a bit silly... After all, one child is a child, right? But here I am upset over the thought of "tertiary infertility"! My goodness.

I know that there are at least 3-4 women reading this blog who have had to end their childbearing years permanently, willingly or no, because of their severe hyperemesis. How have you guys dealt with it? Any grief over future babies lost, or just relief over no more HG? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I've got a busy weekend coming up... Birth circle tonight, houseguests over the weekend, and playing for a church service on Sunday at the church where I sub. Should be interesting! Having houseguests, though, means that I will have to cook (blech!!!).... so I need to think of something (quickly!) that tastes decent but doesn't require... cooking. Hmmm. I haven't really gotten back to cooking yet, unless you count heating something out of a can... in the garage... done by my husband.

Well, I had more to write, but my toddler protesteth! So I'll save that for next time. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

20 weeks, 6 days: The Journey Continues

I realized as I awoke this morning that this month (or possibly last month) marks the four-year anniversary of our introduction into the childbearing world. What an incredible, varied, tumultuous time it has been! And it started so simply, so naively: "Hey, hon - Laura's having a baby; looks like fun, want to have one too?" "Sure, why not?" And off we blithely went, with no clue of what was before us, spiritually or physically or emotionally.

We started off with the ups and downs of a first pregnancy followed by an eight-week miscarriage. Then hardly had we recovered from both that and our move that summer when I found myself pregnant again, and had two weeks of divinest bliss before we were plunged head-first into the hellish world of hyperemesis which became our existence, waking and sleeping, for the greater part of the next year. Then the life-changing experience of natural birth, followed by the boot camp of breastfeeding, baby care and parenting (all 100% new to us) - and now we're doing it again! (Thankfully, though, without hyperemesis again!!! Thank you, God, and thank you, Zofran!!)

Along the way I discovered one of my life's greatest passions - working with and promoting homebirth midwifery and natural birth. I've discovered Phoenix's birth community and am loving every minute of it. I've experienced my greatest triumph in life - childbirth. And I've also had the greatest spiritual struggle of my existence - dealing with the fall-out of post-hyperemesis, a journey that is still on-going.

Who would have guessed that all of that would come from, "Hey, hon! Want to have a baby?" My goodness!

Did anyone else experience this?

I was talking with a dear friend of mine the other day.... We both began our exploits into childbearing at about the same time. Ours led to the above, and hers has led to the discovery of permanent infertility. She and her husband have had just as tumultuous a journey as we have, spiritually and physically, but in a completely different way. It's interesting how God hand-selects the journey for the person. And I had a thought which I shared with her - that being, that I don't believe HG would have bothered her spiritually as much as it bothered me (because she is very focused on the end-goal of children), and vice versa with infertility for me (as I'm not the overwhelmingly maternal type). God specifically chose the path for each of us that would bring us to spiritual crisis, and thereafter to a deeper faith. Not pleasant, but possibly comforting. Thoughts, anyone?

I have also been surprised to learn that spiritual journeys (from rebellion/despair/anger/etc. to deeper faith) are not the work of days or weeks - they are the work of months and years. When I hear people give testimonies, they generally say, "God gave me cancer and I was upset, but then I decided to trust him and never doubted him again!" For me, at least, that's not how it works... and I suspect for many other people as well. Things take time, and spiritual things take LOTS of time.

As a side note, I find it interesting how birth and hyperemesis contrast through the lens of time. Immediately post-birth, I could not settle the debate within myself of which (birth or HG) I would choose to go through again if I had to choose one. HG had been suffering, and birth had been pain - and I couldn't pick. But now, having some distance from both of them, the thought of another birth is of cheerful excitement and planning, while the thought of repeat HG fills me with the deepest fear, something akin to panic. It's interesting how they've sorted themselves out in the three years since I experienced them.

Anyhow, I feel like a completely different person from who I was before this journey started. I have a different type of faith, different interests, different pursuits, a different knowledge-base.... Everything has changed. I don't think I can say that about any other period in my life. Who knew that adulthood could be so shattering? My world-view conceptualization has always been that character development, etc., developed until high school graduation and then were pretty set for life. Ha! It seems to be quite the reverse. But if the first 10-years post high school have had this in store for me, what about the next ten? Or twenty? Or forty? An interesting thought.

I'll do a proper update next time. Love to all!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

20 weeks, 0 days: And It's a ..... Baby!!!!!

Yup, all done! We had our ultrasound today! Hurray! Now I can stop stressing about the ultrasound issue (and probably find something else to stress about, LOL).

Anyhow, it was rather fun. I felt like I was forging into new, uncharted territory, having never before had an ultrasound. Our tech was super-nice. I told her at the beginning how important it was to me to not find out the gender, and I must admit that a lot of the fun of the experience (most of it, really) was completely obliterated by my nervous fear that something would slip. I know most people want to find out baby's gender, but I would be heartbroken if I found out. So I had her turn off the TV screen (where one would usually watch one's scan) and didn't end up seeing anything except the pictures (gender-free!) she so sweetly printed for us at the end. I was sorry not to see baby's scan, but I would have been much, much more disappointed if I'd watched the scan and seen something I didn't want to see. So I ended up escaping knowledge-less, which was a big relief.

Baby definitely didn't like the scan - she (a random pronoun) was moving around constantly during it! It didn't help that I had all the information I'd ever read about ultrasound running through my mind, but I focused on the fact that I had prayed about this decision and felt that it was the right choice for this pregnancy.

DH was planning on being there with us, but due to a few slip-ups on the part of various parties didn't get to make it into the room. I wasn't sorry - after all, I didn't get so see any more than he did - and since he is a wee bit more curious than I am (he wouldn't mind knowing the gender) and wouldn't be able to keep a secret (I know), I didn't want him peering around to the screen constantly and finding something out. So it worked out well for everyone!

I'm glad to have it over with. We won't hear results for probably a week or so. I'm just hoping that the gender won't be on the results sent to our midwife! We want our birth team to have a surprise too.

If I ever have another baby (very unlikely) I'm hoping that I won't get this urge to have an ultrasound again, because it is nerve-wracking! Having done it both ways, I know now that I'd rather just not have one at all - but I really felt this time that I needed to, for whatever reason. So hopefully that need wouldn't arise again!

Love to all! Signing off for the night.....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

19 weeks, 2 days: Finally, A Decision

Yesterday I got fed up with myself and just called and got an ultrasound appointment. It's for next Thursday afternoon, so I'll post after we get our results (which probably won't be for a day or two after that, as the results will go to our midwife, not to us). It should be interesting!

This decision-making process has been an interesting experience. Most mums are wondering, "What's all the fuss about?", as most people get ultrasounds these days, but it's a personal thing. I don't want an ultrasound, don't believe in routine ultrasound for all babies, and am distrustful of prenatal diagnostic testing all around (especially since most of it these days seems to be geared toward discovering and killing non-perfect babies; also because it can disrupt bonding between baby & mum because the mum is so fearful and distracted waiting for test results). But for some reason, I have not been able to find peace about not having an ultrasound this time. Most of the time I would just dismiss it casually out of hand (like I did last time), but not this time. I just keep going in a circle of "I don't want an ultrasound, so I'm not going to have one..." and then five seconds later going back to "I wonder if I should have an ultrasound?" So I'm just going to go ahead and do it.

However, I'm terrified of a tech slipping on gender! So I am going to ask that we stop talking once she starts scanning. I don't care if I see any pictures - but I would be heartbroken if we found out the gender by mistake.

Otherwise, we're having a great Holy Week! Went to a nice Good Friday service last night and are looking forward to spending Easter morning with our church family tomorrow. We did DS's first-ever egg hunt this morning - it was raining, so we did it on our porch instead of our yard, and it took all of three minutes (he caught on quickly!) but it was fun, and I was quite proud of myself for doing something holiday-ish (I normally ignore all holiday trappings - a bad habit).

Happy Easter, everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

19 weeks, 0 days: Time is Moving Too Quickly!

I'm ready for time to slow down now.

I'm feeling pretty good most of the time, and I'm past the point where I'm praying for time to move faster so that I can feel better... I can feel baby move now... Life is good. I'm ready for time to stop moving so I can take some time to enjoy this baby! But of course, now that I want it to slow down, things seem to be speeding up. I can't believe we've already hit 19 weeks!

We saw our wonderful midwife team last night and had a total blast. We got to meet the practice's newest apprentice, Jennifer, whom we like very much, and just spent an hour chatting and asking questions.

I got all of my ultrasound questions answered, which was nice.... But I'm no closer to making a decision. Unfortunately, it's crunch time! We have two weeks in this particular window left, so I'll have to be snappy about it. Will post whenever I finally do make up my mind... (Probably about a week after baby is born...)

I have also decided that I need to start interviewing student (i.e. "free") doulas. After talking to our midwives, I realized that much as I would love to have my two professional doula friends at our birth, I probably don't really need them, much as I want them - we're having a homebirth and it's a second baby, so (1) I know what to expect, and (2) I don't need that extra protection that hospital mums need in what is usually an intervention-heavy atmosphere. I'm kind of bummed, but the truth is that we simply can't afford them - and I don't know them well enough to ask them to attend as friends. So we'll probably save our money for pregnancy photography and just go with a student doula.

And now we have to wait a whole five more weeks before we get to go in again! (should have been four, but we can't make it that week) Bummer!!! I can't wait till we get to the every 2 weeks point. Honestly, half of wanting another baby has been wanting to see our midwives! People think we're crazy until they have a midwife-attended birth, and then they get it. So we're really not that nuts... just enthusiastic! But I got a whole armful of books and videos, so at least I can keep busy. I got one I've been meaning to read for years, Goer's "Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities" that I'm really looking forward to.

We're having a busy week with work, seeing our midwives, and our MOMS club events, plus all of usual life things. We're going to go to Good Friday service tomorrow and then do Easter at our church, and we're going to add an egg hunt for DS this year, which should be fun (candy! mmmm!!!!). We're also going to try to dye eggs if we can figure it out. DH and I have been really weak on setting up family and/or holiday traditions, but we know that they're important for our family and our son, so we're trying to work on doing more in that line.

Oh, and since this IS a hyperemesis blog, I should mention that my NVP is doing just fine. I'm only throwing up once or twice a week, and most of the time I feel..... decent, I guess... it really depends on the time of day and the day itself. I'm still dependent on Zofran/Unisom, but on the whole life is good.

Speaking of NVP, has anyone else experienced this? That is, a sharp increase in nausea while laying on one's back. I hadn't mentioned this, but I haven't been able to lay on my back since conception because it causes my nausea to skyrocket. Probably for the same reason one's not supposed to lay on one's back during pregnancy and/or labor - impaired blood flow. But it's interesting! So I stick a pillow under half of my back when I'm sleeping, so that I'm tilted one way or the other, and that seems to help.

Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

18 weeks, 0 days: First Forays Into Housecleaning

Here we are at 18 weeks! Hurray!

On Tuesday (17w, 5d) I got my first real live baby kicks - the kind I could feel with my hand. What a glorious moment! Unfortunately nothing that definite since, but I can definitely sense baby moving. I can't wait till we have the real, no-nonsense kicks all the time - when one can just lay there and watch one's tummy dance! So fun - the best part of pregnancy, I think.

Our visit with our midwives had to be put off again till next week, so it will have been six weeks in between visits. What a bummer!!! But I'm looking forward to seeing them.

We are having DH's entire family visiting this weekend, so yesterday I did my first bit of real housekeeping since about Christmas - I even washed a floor! Conclusion #1: It is HARD to clean house when one is dead tired! Conclusion #2: Cleaning a big house is a LOT harder of a job than cleaning a tiny apartment! How do you people with houses do it? Conclusion #3: Cleaning with a toddler in the house is somewhat pointless anyway. I'm sure I don't need to go into details. And a constantly-regurgitating cat doesn't make things easier either.

Normally I'm a paranoid mess when my in-laws visit, because my MIL and especially my SIL are model housekeepers of the first water. My SIL vacuums AND mops her entire house EVERY DAY - and her house really ought to be featured in a showroom. It's gorgeous. I love it. But though I'm an uptight housekeeper myself, my home has never even approached the heights that she reaches. So I'm normally a bit nervous! (Sometime when I have the time, I'll regale you all with the horrifying details of "The incident of my SIL and the imperfectly-cleaned cheese grater." It's a chilling tale.). But this time I'm just too tired to worry too much, so I'm just trying to chase away the biggest dust-rhinos and take the trash out, and hope people are satisfied. Thankfully I have an excuse!

Other than that, life just marches along! I'm starting to realize that settling into a house is an entirely different animal than moving into an apartment. I'll be surprised if we're done "settling" inside of three years. My friend Pat told me recently that she is just starting to feel "settled" after living in their house for 15 years, so perhaps it's not a bad thing.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I'll check back in soon.