Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ah, Recovery

Just a warning to anyone currently pregnant: *foodments*

Now that that's out of the way...recovery this time is SO MUCH EASIER than last time.  I think that there are a lot of factors involved, which I may or may not get into at some point, but I'm just so relieved that things are going much more smoothly.  Physically I'm in a good place, health-wise I'm doing great, and mentally and emotionally I'm also doing really, really well.  After my first birth things were kind of dark there for a while until I figured out that I had PTSD, and then I was able to start healing.  This time I feel that there isn't as much healing to do, largely due to the support that I know I have and to the significantly better care that I had.

I'm sure that it also helps that I'm way too busy to actually think about things.  NM lost his job five days after I gave birth, and since we're just barely getting by and don't have any savings for a rainy day (because if we were setting aside for savings then we wouldn't be getting by) - I returned to work at 2.5 weeks postpartum.  This isn't really as scary as it sounds; I work from home to begin with.  I could do without the added stress, but on the other hand it gives me an outlet to just be me and not the milk machine and cuddler and diaper changer that my kids think I am.  My job is really fascinating...most of the time, and I'm very good at it.  It's nice to be able to sit down and work, do something for myself intellectually while also supporting my family.

Now here's my really big struggle this time: I don't know what normal eating looks like.  I feel like I'm always eating these days, and yes, I know that breastfeeding mothers need extra calories and shouldn't be on any sort of diet.  But I just feel like I'm eating SO MUCH.  But is it really a lot of food and maybe too much, or is it just so much more than I was able to eat while pregnant?

Ever since my first pregnancy in 2010, I never eat until I have that 'full' feeling.  I eat until I am relatively satisfied and call it done.  Why?  Well originally it was because eating until I was full would make me nauseous and I was terrified of losing my meal know why.  Did more than enough of that.

Now I find myself wondering if eating until I'm full will actually make me nauseous, or if I just think it will and am too scared to find out.  Either way, I have completely no clue whatsoever as to what on earth a normal portion size is and I can't for the life of me estimate how much food I'm supposed to be eating.  I'm considering seeing a dietician simply to get the answers to those questions, because I'm feeling a bit lost here.

In the meantime, I eat whatever I want, whenever I want it.  Since I did actually gain weight this time around, I could afford to lose up to 5 kg but am not yet doing anything actively to shed that weight.  I just don't want to be gaining weight, so I guess that as long as I'm keeping it steady I won't worry too much about things.

But do you know the one worst thing about such an easy recovery?  It makes me forget how awful things were, and I would totally be stupid enough to do this all again.  So far I have given two complete pregnancies to HG, plus I didn't get back to myself until my daughter was 14 months old.  That's basically three years of my life that HG has stolen from me already - and since we're still a month-and-a-half away from our fourth wedding anniversary, that's almost our entire marriage that has been screwed up by HG.

*Sigh*  At least I know that a good recovery is possible.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

HG Vanquished

It's been a LONG time since I wrote anything.  I just couldn't deal with keeping this blog updated...not that I have a particularly large readership to begin with. :)

Baby Boy (AA) has arrived, finally, after nine VERY long months.  He is now three weeks old and what can I say - we're in love. :)  Big sister LH will be turning three later this month.  It's hard to believe that I was stupid enough to do this twice in the span of three years, but hey - sometimes man plans and God laughs, and let's just leave it at that.

Overall, I would have to say that my pregnancy with AA was easier than with LH.  For starts, this time we knew what we were dealing with and we knew what treatment to demand.  I was on zofran from around 5 weeks this time, versus last time where I didn't get it until second trimester.  Second trimester, can you believe???

I lost the same amount of weight with AA as with LH (10 kg), but I started out 2 kg heavier this time around so while I was much skinnier than I should have been, I wasn't actually as horribly ill-looking as last time.  Also, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles - I actually gained weight beyond my pre-pregnancy weight!  After about 20 weeks I started to gain weight and managed to gain not only the 10 kg I had lost, but an additional 7 beyond that.  That means that after I gave birth, I was just 1-2 kg above my pre-pregnancy weight and that's where I'm holding.

My recovery from this pregnancy is about a zillion times better and easier than in my first pregnancy.  Part of it is the better medical care, part of it is knowing what the heck is going on, part of it is being much better at asking for help and making myself take it easy.  A big part of it is the fantastic birth that I had with this one.  For a quick overview of my two births, and why this recovery is so much better:

LH - labor was a total of 9.5 hours.  All natural birth; got to the hospital about three hours before the birth.  Went from 4 cm to birth in around an hour or so.  Even though she was small (2.948 kg, or around 6lbs8oz), I had some pretty significant tearing and the lovely stitches and more difficult recovery that goes along with that.  Not to mention that I was not in good health at the time of her birth due to the HG, and I was suffering from PTSD.

AA - labor was a total of 2 hours 50 minutes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I woke up at 12:47 AM with a strong contraction.  The next one was seven minutes seven minutes later...then six minutes...then five...then we hopped in a cab to the hospital.  It's about a 10 minute drive and by the time we got there, I was contracting every two minutes.  Of course the first thing they did at the hospital was lay me flat on my back and strap me to a monitor, after so helpfully informing me that I was only 3 cm.  I felt like I was dying and pretty quickly changed my mind about wanting an epidural.  So they sent me to L&D (had been in triage).  They were really hopping that night with women giving birth, so we had a midwife with us but no nurse or doctor in sight.  Basically, she told me that the anesthesiologist was busy with another woman at the time but that she thought I was moving too quickly to be able to get an epidural.  Each time she checked me (at close intervals) I was a centimeter further along.  Finally when I was 7 cm, she told me that she thought if she broke my water, I would give birth.  While I didn't really want unnecessary interventions, I just wanted the pain to end so I gave her permission.  She broke my water and I had an immediate feeling of relief...until my body starting pushing!  Needless to say, she was right.  She broke my water and five minutes later I was holding my son.  He was 3.565 kg (a coupld of ounces shy of 8 lbs), with a much bigger head than his sister, and I had absolutely NO tearing (even though I felt like I was being ripped open while pushing him out).  Fast, intense birth + no stitches = significantly better recovery.  Not to mention that I was in better health to begin with.

At any rate, I find it very interesting to take a look at my toenails.  You can clearly see where my health was bad and I was malnourished, and where it got better.  I like the smooth nail part where it got better; but the not-nice-looking nail part legitimizes for me how sick I was.  I mean, it's not that easy to mess up your nails like that through normal fluctuations in diet.  But what I was experiencing was NOT a normal fluctuation, or a small fluctuation like an acute illness.  It was honest to goodness malnutrition.

I suffered from PTSD after my pregnancy with LH, but I honestly don't think I'll have a problem this time.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally I just feel so good.  I have to attribute a lot of that to the better support network I had this time.  As much as I may not see eye-to-eye with my in-laws all the time, they really helped out a lot.  They took care of LH when I couldn't, drove me to and from hospital/urgent care/doctor's appointments, and we actually lived by them for a full month when I was at my worst.  They were a steady item in her life when everything else was topsy-turvy.

I can't not mention KT, a very dear friend with the biggest heart in the world.  We first 'met' online while she was in the midst of her second HG pregnancy and was reaching out for support.  I feel blessed that I was able to help her when she needed it...and she has repaid that a thousandfold.  I can't even begin to list the things she has done for us, but let's just say she is awesome awesome awesome.

Of course I couldn't have done it without my husband, NM.  Between his full-time job and running out household during that time, he most certainly had his hands full and he came through it much better this second time around.

The other friends and family who helped out, supported, gave LH some sense of normalcy, tried to do everything they could to help me feel better...what can I say, it makes all the difference.

And of course, my mother arrived two days before the birth and the help and support she provided in the three weeks total that she was here were invaluable.  It was so good to be able to just take it easy and not have to worry about things like cooking and housework while I started to recover.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

24 weeks, yay viability!

Well I'm 24 weeks today.  For all you HGers out there, you know how important this milestone is: viability.  All of the suffering, all of the misery, and if something goes wrong now - there's still a chance that you can get a live, healthy baby out of it.  So yay.

At any rate, I'm actually doing fantastically well.  I make a poor excuse for a woman with hyperemesis at this point. :)  It just goes to show that if you get proper medical care from the beginning and if you know to fight for what you need, then things can go a lot better.

I'm rapidly gaining weight (I expect to return to my pre-pregnancy weight within the next few weeks), I'm regaining lost muscle (catching up on five months of housework will do that), and I'm able to be more active in my daughter's life.  Although I still have to be careful about what I can eat, I CAN EAT.  Yesterday my husband was standing there looking at me devouring a small plate of food and he told me how much he loves seeing me eat.  I love it too, as does the fetus. :)

My tummy is still teeny-tiny, but I'm pretty sure that I just carry small no matter how the pregnancy is going.  We had an anatomy scan two weeks ago that showed a perfectly healthy child with long arms, long legs, and HUGE feet.  Seriously, huge is not an exaggeration here.  The feet were 4.5 cm long at 22 weeks gestation.  Now pull out a ruler and see how big that is.  Keep in mind that the baby was probably about the length of an ear of corn at the time, so now think about that proportionately.  Huge.  Feet.

I'm daring to hope at this point that I am completely past everything and that there is no looking back from here, but I know that I may get sick again as the pregnancy progresses.  For the moment, though, despite the limitations and the issues that I still have, I am going to wholeheartedly pretend that I am having a fluffy pregnancy.  I always wanted one of those. :)

On a sad note, I am praying for all those who were in the tornado's path in Oklahoma earlier this week, for those who lost their lives, those who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and those who came through unscathed but without a single piece of clothing to their name except the shirt they escaped in.  I can't imagine what the parents of those nine little angels are going through right now.  I hope that they are able to find some peace and comfort down the line.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Post!!!

Most of the time I fell decidedly UNhappy with this whole grueling process, and I get the feeling it may show through in my writing.  So since I am no longer chronically completely dehydrated or starving to death, let's have a happy post for once with all of the GOOD things going on in my life.

- My husband, NM, is doing really, really well at work.  He has been promoted and received a raise, with the option for more good things in the future and things like a bonus every month.  Big sigh of relief on the financial front; we are by no means rolling in riches, but we're feeling less poor and this will help with the financial impact the HG has had.

- I gained weight!  As I have said before, I lost 10 kg/22 lbs at the beginning of this pregnancy (same overall weight loss as last time, but this time I started out slightly heavier).  Well in the last week or so (I'll be 20 weeks tomorrow) I have started to gain back some of what I lost!  To anyone who has ever dealt with HG, you know how big of an accomplishment this is and how much it means.  Last time I didn't start gaining until 22+ weeks, and never got beyond my pre-pregnancy weight.

- I'm 20 weeks tomorrow!  That's the halfway point, and the second half (for me) is decidedly better than the first half.  Just three more weeks until my anatomy scan to check up on the Brownie, and just four weeks until viability.  Once you reach the point of viability, even though 24 weeks is NOT something you want to be looking at, it's such a relief to know that you've gone through all this pain and suffering and even if something goes wrong now, you still have a chance to get a live child out of it all.

- Work for me has been going really well as well and has been very busy, so my paychecks should be quite reasonable.  I work as a freelance transcriber and editor, so I get paid by the file - the more I take on, the more I get paid.  I have been very lucky to be very busy lately, and that will be really good for our bank account.

- Our 2.5-year-old daughter, LH, is awesome as usual. :)

- I've been able to eat more in the last two weeks than I ate probably in all the 15 before that.  Now THAT's an accomplishment!

- The Brownie gives me plenty of jabs and does plenty of somersaults to let me know that everything is good and that he/she appreciates the food I've been sending down there for supper.

- I have still been unable to reduce my Zofran dosage, even by a tiny amount, but at least I have good insurance coverage so I only pay a fraction of the cost.  If I have to stay on it long-term, at least I won't go bankrupt for it.

And now I've run out of happy happy things to write, but I think I made a pretty good list of it. :)  For any other sufferers out there, I can only hope and pray that you also have an improvement in your symptoms.  I know that not everyone does, and I count myself very lucky that I have.  Stay strong, mamas!  You can do it!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Insomnia Woes

Much of my first pregnancy is a bit hazy, due partially to the wonderful fact that God seems to have created women to forget these difficult stages of life, and partially because I have intentionally blocked out all of the suffering.  So when people ask me specific questions about how this one compares to the previous one, I sometimes have trouble answering them clearly.

For example, right now I'm suffering from insomnia.  I fall asleep quite easily at night, but only stay asleep for around three hours before waking up and staying that way until shortly before I have to wake my toddler for my husband to take her to daycare.  Aside from the fact that this is annoying and I'm always exhausted, this also has the effect of making all of my oh-so-wonderful symptoms worse.  Your body just can't do what it needs to do if you don't give it the tools to do so - and one of the most important tools is rest.

I can't for the life of me remember if I had the same sleeping issues last time.  I don't really think that I did, but I honestly have no recollection.  Of course things were different back then, as I had neither a job nor an older child to care for, so even if I couldn't sleep at night it wouldn't have been the end of the world and I could have made it up a bit during the day.  But I just don't know.

Any brilliant suggestions that anyone has, preferably without further medicating myself, are more than matter how much I've improved recently, nothing good is going to come of it if I can't get proper rest.  Ah, the wonderful joys of pregnancy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

19 Weeks, We're Getting There!

Today I am officially 19 weeks along.  Yay!  One more week until the halfway mark, five more weeks until viability, and more weeks than I care to write until the babe himself is here.  But the point is, we're getting there!

In the past nine days, I have had a significant improvement.  I still am not gaining weight (total weight loss of 10kg/22lbs), but I am also not losing.  One day I tried to reduce one dose of zofran slightly, and that didn't go too well.  Heartburn is increasing, but so is my teeny tiny little pregnant belly.  My belly is slightly larger than it was with L.H., so I'm taking that as a good sign.

I can eat more overall (around 1500 calories a day now, yay!), and I can also eat a larger variety of foods.  The past couple of days protein has been staying in the best, so that's what I'm eating.  I'm not going to go into details of specific foods, in case an HG sufferer is reading need to cause you any more issues than you're already having!

My big issue right now, which of course makes all other issues worse, is that I am having an incredibly difficult time sleeping at night and I have no clue why or how to improve the situation.  I fall asleep just fine and sleep really well for around three hours before waking up and, for the most part, failing to fall asleep again.  As you can imagine, this makes all of the bodily aches and pains, the nausea, and my general mood and ability to cope much worse.

We're still taking it one day at a time, but now I have hope (which is a much bigger thing than it sounds like, to anyone to has never been through this).  I still spend a lot of time fantasizing about the birth and planning different scenarios for how it can go down, but I also plan some more short-term things, like maybe this afternoon I'll go to the grocery store across the street to pick up three foods I think I can eat.  I can now walk into the store without automatically vomiting, so we're really making progress.

My improvement this time came several weeks earlier than it did last time, and it is also a much more marked improvement than last time.  Of course, until I start managing to put on a little weight and hopefully manage to reduce my zofran by at least a little, I won't feel quite like I've halfway beat HG.  But in the meantime, I'm doing my best and fighting as hard as I can to bring this little life into the world.

Anatomy scan coming up soon (we wound up skipping the first one this time because I couldn't physically get over to the doctor's office to pick up the referral).  My last u/s showed a healthy baby who measured about a week ahead, so apparently whatever it is that I'm doing is working for the baby, even if it's not working for me.  Hopefully the good news about this wriggly little creature will keep pouring in.

I hope that all fellow sufferers out there are doing okay, and that even if you don't wind up with such a wonderful improvement like I have this time, that you at least have your fair share of good days.

Monday, April 8, 2013

18 weeks and slightly less miserable

I know that it's been forever since I wrote anything here, and you'd think that while I'm suffering from this oh-so-wonderful malady would be the perfect time to tell you all exactly how it is.  Truth be told, I keep thinking of posts to write, and then when it actually comes down to it I decide not to.  It's depressing enough to be going through all of this; I don't always want to also be hashing it out in words on the internet.

So let's just say this.  Life has been super super sucky, but I'm starting to improve.  The Brownie is perfectly healthy and growing very nicely (is actually measuring about a week ahead, and since there was some question as to my dates to begin with, now I am thoroughly confused about how far along I am).  I have an itty bitty tummy poking out of my bony body.  While I am managing to eat and drink enough to keep going, I have been completely unsuccessful at putting on any weight, and so I am still at -10kg (-22lbs) from where I started.  Lovely.

I'm working pretty much full time to what I usually do, but since I work from home and can work in bed, that's no biggie in the grand scheme of things.  Our bank account is looking pretty sad because at the beginning I really couldn't work at all, plus of course zofran takes a big chunk out of it every month.  Oh, zofran.  How I love you.

I went to the doctor last week for a regular check up, and she sent me straight on to an emergency center for hydration (a lovely relative decided to share a stomach virus with me).  One blown vein and one bag of IV fluids later, my urinalysis came back exactly the same as before the fluids.  And they discharged me anyways.  I don't really know why they sent me home like that, as I'm still struggling to make up the lost fluids now, almost a week later.  Oh well, I have survived and shall continue to do so.

So that's a quick summary.  I have very little desire to go ahead and detail my living hell while I'm still living through it.  Afterwards it can be therapeutic, but during it just makes me feel worse.  I am NOT doing this again any time soon....