My First Pregnancy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Happy New Year everyone!

According to my WordPress, it has been over a year since I’ve written and posted a blog…. that is crazy! I guess I will blame it on planning a wedding then getting pregnant a few months later.

Let me just start by saying that Dylan and I were not planning to get pregnant, but we were also not actively preventing it. We had decided that if we got pregnant, we were 100% okay with being parents this early in our marriage.

Ever since we discovered we are expecting, I’ve wanted to write about my experience. Even though I’m 31 weeks pregnant now (7 months), everything still remains vivid in my mind. I’m going to go through the different stages/experiences I went through from finding out at week 5 to now, 26 weeks later.

July: Dylan and I were finishing up a month-long vacation in Rancho Palos Verdes (L.A. area) and I wanted to visit the beach one last time before we left. Mubs (Yvette, Dylans mom) and I went on a lady date to the beach, and searched for sand dollars. We found so many beautiful ones to bring home and grabbed some lunch at Whole Foods afterwards.

On our way back from the beach, we talked about Dylan and I having kids. I vaguely mentioned that I hadn’t had my period recently, and based on my estimate, thought I was around two weeks late. My cycle is not super regular, so I didn’t think too much of it, but knowing that two weeks late could equal pregnancy, I mentioned that I should probably get a pregnancy test.

The next morning, first thing, I went and bought two pregnancy tests. I brought them home, peed on the stick, and waited. Sure enough, two blue bars appeared, indicating that I was pregnant. I have taken several pregnancy tests over the last five years, and never gotten a positive result. Even still, I doubted that it was accurate. I came out of the bathroom, in shock, and told Dylan and his mom that I just took a pregnancy test and it came out positive! We immediately called my parents and Dylan’s dad to share the good news, to which we were met with the utmost excitement.

To keep this section short because there is still a LOT to write about, I will just say that I was still in disbelief. I wound up scheduling an OB appointment for the same day in San Pedro in order to get a blood test to verify the pregnancy. Even after the blood test came back positive, I knew the high rate of miscarriage and also didn’t feel pregnant, so none of it felt real. I went on a roller coaster ride of questions and thoughts. “What if the baby dies?” “What if the blood test was wrong?” “What if we aren’t ready to be parents?” “I hope it’s a boy.” “I am SO excited!” “We need to start saving money now!”.

So many things went through my mind. I was immediately in a panic and so protective, worried about doing ANYTHING to hurt this fetus inside of me. I was also so anxious to find out, boy or girl, when am I due, when will I get an ultrasound? I told my work right away, probably the day after I found out, so we could start discussing maternity leave.

We came home, and not a week later, I was T-boned in a car accident. I called 911 right away, telling them I was 8 weeks pregnant. Already my entire mindset had shifted from “am I okay?” to “is the baby okay?”. This also marked the beginning of my morning sickness, which brings us to the following month.

August: Despite hardly being able to walk or function, I was able to celebrate my birthday with my family. Through the nausea, I forced myself to eat pizza (one of the VERY few foods my body would tolerate) and Dylan took me out to a dinner where I also had to force down what used to be all of my favorite foods (pasta, bread, and more pizza).

I would say that August 2018 was probably the hardest month of my entire life. The car accident happened the last week of July, and I spent that entire week recovering from the wreckage that was my neck, spine, and head after being T-boned.

The last few days of my recovery from the accident, the nausea started. The thing about pregnancy sickness is, nobody can prepare you for it. Each woman is different, each pregnancy is different, and you never know whether you are going to have it or if you do, how bad it is going to be.

Mine was horrible. “Morning sickness” is a bullshit term. Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue were 24/7. I was unable to eat anything, and laying on my stomach was the only reprieve. I probably spent 75% of about 3 straight months laying on my stomach to rid myself of the nausea. All I did during the month of August (and beyond) was work and sleep.

In the mornings, I would wake up, and immediately feel so sick I could not stand up. I would try drinking water, and the nausea would worsen. I would try eating Saltines, and the nausea would worsen. I can’t remember exactly when, but at a certain point, every morning I threw up. Even if I hadn’t eaten anything, I would wretch and throw up yellow stomach bile, every day. That was my morning coffee for weeks and weeks on end, probably over a month. As soon as I stood up, my stomach would turn and I would run to the bathroom.

Brushing my teeth made me gag and then throw up. Drinking water made me throw up. Food was out of the question, my body was not interested in consuming anything. I started to drop in weight, 2 pounds… 5 pounds… 10 pounds. I wound up losing between 15 and 20 pounds over the course of 10 weeks. My body was starving, thirsty, and so fatigued, but would not allow me to nourish myself. I was paranoid about the baby’s health. The only thing I could stomach was saltines and Powerade, and even those would sometimes come back up.

You guys, I couldn’t even vomit in the toilet. If I got up to vomit in the toilet, the smell of the TOILET WATER would make me throw up for the next 5 minutes until my stomach was empty and lots of bile had made it’s way back up. I had to miss morning meetings at work just to spend my morning throwing up.

It was the middle of summer, so it was deadly hot outside, and even standing outside for 2 minutes made me throw up. I had become so familiar with vomiting, I felt prepared for a lifetime of food poisonings and the flu. Vomiting used to be the worst thing in the world, and it had become a daily occurrence, usually multiple times a day for me.

Dylan was my personal angel during these weeks. He took care of me. He had to carry me to the bathroom many days because I was too weak to walk. I didn’t even leave the house for probably an entire month for two reasons: 1. The car was almost totaled and was in the shop for the entire month of August and 2. I could not make it down the staircase (let alone back UP the staircase) and any movement in the car was enough to make me SICK.

The Emergency Room: By the end of August, I was a physical and emotional wreck. One day at around 12pm, I began to feel an excruciating stabbing pain in my lower left side, a pain that reminded me of past ovarian cysts I’ve suffered through. Thinking it was that, I took some Tylenol and tried to sleep. The doctor told me to take Unisom (usually used for sleep, but also great for nausea) which helped me sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up, and the pain was back. I sat myself in a position where I was most comfortable, but the pain was still so bad I couldn’t move. I continued to take Tylenol at the right intervals and tried to force myself to sleep.

The next morning at about 5am, the pain had not subsided. I had spent most of the night before awake, sobbing to myself and trying to heat, ice, and comfort the pain as best I could. I was only 12 weeks pregnant at the time, so I was terrified I was having a miscarriage. There was no way of telling whether my baby was alive, because he hadn’t started kicking yet. Being that our car was out of service, I woke Dylan up and asked him to Uber with me to the ER. He helped me down the stairs, into the Uber, and wheeled me into the ER.

In the ER, I was in excruciating pain. I was delirious from it. I was sweating, shaking, and crying the entire time. The doctor came in and asked me what was wrong, we told them I was pregnant and had extreme stomach pain. They immediately ordered ultrasounds and blood tests, but first they gave me nausea medicine to counteract the sickness that would be caused by a shot of morphine (which they also administered). The morphine took an eternity to kick in, at least thirty minutes. My mom had met us at the ER and was sitting at my side, looking concerned along with Dylan, who had been holding my hand the whole time and telling me I was going to be okay.

That day, I feared for the life of my unborn child. I thought I was having a miscarriage for certain, and that all the pain and suffering I had gone through in the previous month was going to end in tragedy. Once the morphine had finally kicked in (I was still in extreme pain even AFTER the drugs), the ultrasound tech put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me across the hospital to an ultrasound machine.

Laying on that ultrasound table was so unbelievably painful. I was choking back tears the whole time but trying to stay still while she put pressure on my stomach, then biting my lip while trying to flip over without irritating my pain further.

When my uterus popped up on the screen, the first thing I asked was, “is my baby alive?”. She said, “you didn’t hear it from me, but yes, your baby is alive”. In that moment, all the pain was worth it. I knew that my little one was still alive and growing inside of me, safe in my womb.

Fast forward to the end of the ER visit, and the doctors told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. My theory is that my body was so fatigued and so stressed from not eating and drinking that this pain just… happened. They said it could have been gas, which is just insane to me. Morphine couldn’t even relieve the pain I felt.

The best thing to come out of this day was the nausea medication they gave me when I first arrived. I asked them what that was, and they gave me a prescription. After receiving that prescription, my entire pregnancy changed.

DYLAN: I just want to take a moment to say that my husband, Dylan, is an actual hero. When you get married, you vow to love each other in sickness and in health, and he took care of my every need while I was sick. He carried me to the bathroom and helped me stand up when I could hardly put my legs under me. He brought me water, Powerade, medicine, and anything else I needed while I laid in bed barely able to sit up. He comforted me when I was overwhelmed with emotions over the misery I was going through. He was and is an absolute angel. I would not have been able to make it through pregnancy without him.

September: All the sickness described above, continued. But now, I had something to help.

After my ER visit, I took home that prescription of Zofran. I previously albeit briefly mentioned that Unisom was helpful for nausea, but this relief only lasted an hour at best and made me sleep, so it really wasn’t helping my nausea, it was just drugging me to sleep all day so that I didn’t feel sick (which is horrible).

I mean no disrespect at all by this, but at this point, I felt like a cancer patient. I was sick all the time, couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand, couldn’t eat. I very seriously considered buying a shower chair because I literally could not stay standing in the shower. I would collapse. I was so weak, had lost so much weight, and was so sick all of the time that I couldn’t even clean my own body. Circle back to the Zofran, and everything changed.

Every morning, I still woke up and was extremely sick. Melt-under-the-tongue Zofran tasted absolutely repulsive, so I had to have a routine every morning to prevent myself from throwing up. If I messed up one step of this routine, I would become ill and vomit the medicine or the saltines I had eaten. Every morning I woke up, made sure to stay laying down (sitting up made me nauseous), and ate about 5 saltine crackers. This was a feat in and of itself, and most mornings I had to force them down. Then, I would dissolve a Zofran under my tongue, and wait about 20 minutes for it to kick in.

Once the Zofran kicked in, I could wake up and maybe eat a banana or something small. Throughout September, my eating was still extremely minimal due to the nausea. Zofran also only lasted about 4 hours, so I was taking it several times a day in order to keep myself from throwing up. Once I started eating again, I noticed I had an extreme aversion to meat. The smell, the look, everything about meat made me gag. I could not even think about eating a hamburger or bacon, two of my favorite foods.

My diet in September consisted of vegetable soup, Spaghettios, saltines, and Powerade. I continued to not be able to drink water, so Powerade it was. I truly believe that the Powerade provided many of the vitamins my body was not getting from food.

Speaking of vitamins… another big thing that changed at the end of September was the prenatal vitamins. I had been taking prenatals every day, faithfully, and they were making my sickness 10x worse. I knew the prenatals were affecting me because I would feel sick just hours after taking them. I did some research and found out that iron is MAJORLY disturbing to many people’s stomachs, therefore, sacrificing the iron in your prenatal is alright as long as you are not anemic (I was not!).

I went to Whole Foods and bought a Folic Acid and Calcium + Vitamin D supplement, and the sickness became exponentially easier to handle. I went through so much guilt and worried for weeks about this, because everyone SWORE dramatically that prenatals would prevent your baby from any kind of ailment or disability (false).

The truth is, prenatal vitamins are mostly an American thing, pressuring American women to pump their bodies full of vitamins in order to ensure the baby gets all the proper nutrition they need. To be honest, the prenatals were preventing my baby from getting all his nutrients, because they were making me sick. I would throw up the vitamins and any food I ate, so the baby wasn’t getting ANY nutrition at all. Makes a lot of sense right? (note sarcasm).

Anyway, September was a doozy as well but not as hopeless and miserable as August, which brought us into October…

October: This month was lovely. We found out we are having a BOY!!!

Probably halfway through the month I was able to start eating normal foods (not from a can) again, slowly but surely. The baby started kicking, and I passed the 20 week mark, which made my concerns for losing the baby drop.

November: Feet began to swell, belly started to get big, and Dylan and I took a swaddling and newborn essentials class at the hospital. The heartburn began, making it difficult for me to lay down without throwing up in my mouth.

December: Sleep has become difficult, as my belly has become so big I can hardly turn over without help. Heartburn continued throughout December, bringing us to January.

January: This baby is beating up my ribcage. His kicks are actually hurting me, which is not fun. He also likes to kick my bladder, making me jump and have to hold it in so I don’t pee my pants. I’m ready to hold our little one in my arms now, but I will patiently wait 9 more weeks until that can be a reality.

Needless to say, the past 7 months have been the most difficult – but also, the most magical months of my life. Seeing my belly swell from a tiny little bump into a large protruding balloon has been amazing. Feeling his kicks and feeling him react to Dylan and I’s voices has been incredible. Thinking about holding our newborn and raising him makes Dylan and I more excited than we have been for anything else.

Dylan and I’s relationship has always been incredibly strong and constant. In the last seven months we have grown closer than ever, bonding over our son and preparing for the greatest adventure of our lives. I tell him every day how thankful I am for him, and he tells me every day how happy he is and how excited he is to be a dad.

Even through all the pain, emotions, and difficulty, pregnancy has been a blessing. I am so thrilled and excited to be a mommy, as I’ve always wanted to be one. Now, it’s just around the corner and I can’t wait.

Love,

Elise

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2 thoughts on “My First Pregnancy: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Thanks for sharing baby. There is nothing better in life than being a Mom. You and Dylan are going to be such great parents. I can’t wait to meet himm love you most.

    Nina

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