So as you can imagine, we were quite nervous this time around. There wasn’t a trip home to share the news (although my mom did happen to be up for a visit then) and we only told our immediate family and closest friends. Instead of excitement, most of our family’s reactions were those of concern. Was it ok for me to be pregnant so soon? We assured everyone that it was fine, and on the inside wished that they would have shown more excitement about our news. Not wanting my nerves to get the best of me, I called my OB’s office and requested to have some bloodwork done. I knew that HCG levels should double over a 48 hour period, and thought that learning that mine had doubled would provide some piece of mind. The nurse agreed, and blood was drawn the next day and then again two days after that. They did in fact double, and I felt that it was easier to breathe the next few weeks before I had my first appointment. At nine weeks we went to the appointment and I cringed as I walked past the exam room where I had my follow up appointment from my miscarriage. Luckily, I had requested the same nurse practitioner that had seen me for my follow up appointment- Joan. She had been so kind to us, and offered both words of comfort and encouragement. She had even hugged both of us before we left, so I knew she would take a very calming approach to caring for us. After all the routine questions were out of the way, Joan went to listen for the heartbeat. Now I had warned Joey ahead of time that it was very common to not be able to hear the heartbeat this early on. If we weren’t able to hear it this time, we would be able to the next. Joan slid the wand back and forth, up and down- no heartbeat. She applied more pressure. Back and forth, up and down- nothing. Seeing the panic in both of our eyes, she quickly announced that she was going to grab the portable ultrasound and rushed out of the room. I looked over at Joey and it looked like his stomach was churning. I smiled and assured him that everything was fine, and in walked Joan with the ultrasound. A quick blob of jelly, a touch of the wand- and there he was! Our teeny tiny peanut. He was moving around like crazy, and had a good strong heartbeat- 162. We floated out of the office clutching a picture of our little creation.
Shortly after, my “morning” sickness set it. If you could see me say what I just typed, you’d see me using air quotes and rolling my eyes simultaneously. I’ve heard it referred to as all day sickness, and I consider that a more realistic description. It could also be called near death sickness, never ending sickness, or bowl worshiping sickness. For those of you that have seen Bill Cosby Himself, his bit on the drunk getting sick and saying to the toilet bowl, “Ohhhh toilet bowl. Thank you for being so cool on the side. You’re my only friend toilet bowl.” This was me every day. I couldn’t even keep down a sip of water. So my doctor put me on a medication for it. This same medication is also used to treat extreme nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients!! That’s how bad it was. The medication helped, it didn’t make it go away, but it did allow me to retain some of the things I ate and drank. (by the way- I lost 17 pounds before I gained an ounce, and this so called morning sickness continued well into my third trimester!) The months drudged on, and I kept my mind off my misery by reading. I read countless pregnancy books, and constantly taught those around me the wonders of the human body. How anyone could experience pregnancy and not know there is a God is beyond me. When I first started reading about labor, I was searching for an alternative to an epidural. I knew I didn’t want one, and although I was laughed out of town- I really thought I wanted to attempt natural birth. So in doing some research I came across the Bradley Method- Husband Coached Childbirth. It was based on a healthy diet, exercise, and natural childbirth through relaxation coached by- you guessed it- the husband! I knew after reading just a little that this method was for me! So I signed up. The course was 12 weeks long, and although that was much more than all the other types of classes I’d seen, it also boasted very high success rates. Practice makes perfect, so I made the commitment to learn and practice for 12 straight weeks. To my utter disappointment and humiliation, Joey ended up not being able to attend class with me. His new job didn’t allow for shift changes, and the nights I had class were nights he had to work. (I might quickly mention that Joey had a new job because we had moved from Minnesota back to our hometown…you should thank me for sparing you that saga!) My saint of a sister-in-law, Staci, stepped up to the plate though and went with me to class each week so I wouldn‘t be there alone. Now the funny thing about this was that she was also pregnant and only a few weeks behind me! We were quite the sight wobbling into class each week, and doing an awkward dance around our bellies each time we tried to practice relaxation techniques or labor positions. We did our best though, and I was able to bring home a lot of great info to Joey. I decided on using a midwife instead of a doctor, in order to feel less pressure to receive unnecessary medical interventions during labor. The one I used came very highly recommended to me by a close friend, and my Bradley instructor mentioned hearing great things about her as well. Now she’s not at all the midwife you may be imagining- a lady with hot water and towels, right? Admit it, that’s what you pictured! She works in a doctor’s office, and delivers in hospitals. This sort of in between option was exactly what Joey and I were looking for. A midwife that supported natural labor, and a hospital just in case things didn’t go as planned. The end of pregnancy was much more challenging than I had expected. Now don’t get me wrong- I DID expect to be tired, uncomfortable, and miserable. I just had no idea how extreme all of those feelings would be. I tried to prepare myself mentally to go past my due date, but I admit that I did count down days to myself. Others counting down the days to me however, were considered the spawn of Satan! A bit of advice to those with little experience around a pregnant woman about to pop- don’t let yourself utter any of the following- “You’re ALMOST there!” “Any day now!” “Only ___ more days!”, “When’s that baby coming?” or “No baby YET?“ Oh if you only knew the hateful things I said to Joey about people I truly love and care for! J At least during the last few weeks I had a lot to keep me busy- an appointment with my midwife each week, the last few Bradley classes, a class on breastfeeding, one last baby shower, and the long awaited family Thanksgiving.