I did it again: 2016 and Baby #2

So in truly terrible blogging fashion, I completely fell off the screen in 2016. Looking back at my blog posts, I realize that I didn’t even muster the energy to share that I was pregnant again! If you’ve followed along and read about my 1st pregnancy then you might give me a pass. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum the 1st time, and while #2 was different and not quite as severe, I was similarly useless and incapacitated as this time there was a toddler involved.

After I found out I was pregnant again, I celebrated and then got very, very anxious. Nervously waiting for the nausea and barfing to start,  I was honestly a little alarmed when I didn’t get sick right away. With #1 the misery started promptly at 5 weeks.  For me being pregnant=being sick, so not feeling like crap was disconcerting.

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But, rest assured, it hit me. At 7 weeks, the cycle began in poetic fashion: I was bopping out the door on my way to work with my toddler in tow, and when riding the elevator it just hit me like a bus. I knew I didn’t have time to get back up to my apartment, so I just dashed outside and found the nearest tree. I’ve done a lot of barfing on trees in this city, it almost felt ceremonial to kick off the sickness by doing so again. It was extra fun with my daughter calmly watching from her stroller, amused and slightly perplexed at the goings on.

And so began another yucky 40 weeks. This time, I didn’t wait to get help. One of the biggest lessons I learned about Hyperemesis Gravidarum the first time is that when it gets out of control, it’s very, very hard to claw your way back to functional. So my strategy with this pregnancy was to use all the tools at my disposal right away. I demanded to see a doctor early (usually they like to see you at 10 weeks or so) to confirm the pregnancy and discuss all of my medication options. This helped a lot– I still barfed and dry heaved a ton, and I was still nauseous around the clock, but I took medication at the first sign of trouble and didn’t end up spiraling down so low as I had with #1.

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Well, until the 2nd trimester. You’re supposed to feel better then, right? For me, in both pregnancies, the 2nd trimester has been the worst. Once again I had multiple episodes of literally being unable to cease vomiting. Like, you stop, but then you lay down for 5 minutes and then start again, until your body has absolutely nothing left, but it still tries. And then it gives up and you rest again and oh, great, some more bile has built up, and your body is excited that there is something to get out. Rinse and repeat for hours on end. This time, there was a toddler announcing the play-by-play “What are you doing mama? Mama are you spitting in the toilet again? Can I see it?” Sometimes I had no choice but to let her watch as it’s difficult to force a toddler out of the bathroom mid-puke. I felt badly about that, but also hoped it would help her understand why I spent every moment that didn’t require something urgent and important to happen laying down on the couch.

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When it get’s like that, I’ve had to go to the hospital to get drugs and fluid through an IV. During one particularly awful week, I made a trip to hospital every afternoon for 4 days. I saw a variety of practitioners as it was over the 4th of July weekend and thus not the regular staff schedule. The variety in care I experienced was frustrating– some nurses/NPs/midwives/OBs seemed to totally get it and hooked me up with some fluid and drugs with no problem. Others were a little more conservative, or just slower to respond. One didn’t seem to worry until I started dry heaving without being able to stop while I was waiting to be seen. For any pregnant woman out there who is unusually sick: you MUST advocate for yourself. It’s not fair, but it must be done. They gave me one bag of fluid and I asked for two, because one bag barely makes a dent when you have crunchy lips. They offered me Zofran pills and I told them to get the liquid and put it in the IV bag. They offered Phenergen as pills to take home and, in the lowest of low moments, I instead took the alternative, which were SUPPOSITORIES, because that actually sounded more effective than attempting to keep the pills down. If you know what works and what doesn’t, speak up. It’s your body and baby.

Trimester #3 was probably the best part of the pregnancy, oddly enough. While the unwieldy size made me feel like a houseboat floating around my office, I at least had a few breaks from the nausea and managed to keep the barfing under control in a way that I never experienced with my first. I even managed to enjoy some food, venturing out with friends and colleagues for a few dinners out prior to the new baby.

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But, I was EXHAUSTED. My poor husband was functionally a single parent during this time. When I stumbled in the door from work, he would do all the things to care for the crazy 2 year old, who was reaching the apex of her terrible-twos during this time. He and I are all about attempting to split parenting and household responsibilities 50/50, but at this stage he was running the show 90/10. I was only holding up my end of the bargain by continuing to get to work. Life note: if your pregnancies suck, reconsider timing. If I could go back, I think I would have either done it sooner, when the toddler was less resistant (i.e. during the 12-24 month period) or later, when they supposedly chill out (3 years +). I got pregnant just a couple months before she turned 2, and I swear the crazy switch flipped right on her birthday.

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I worked until I was 37 weeks. I could have left at 36 weeks because I live in California, but financial considerations along with everything that was going on at my office in preparation for the holiday season kept me going. Sometimes I regret not taking every moment off, but as I discussed the first time around, working was also a major distraction. It was miserable dragging my body to the office every day, but at least my brain was required for a few hours to ignore the nausea and think about something totally unrelated. It’s a love-hate relationship for me, working while pregnant. I think if I didn’t, I would wallow in misery, even though I would likely be more rested and physically capable of dealing with how I felt.

Baby arrived early this time, right at 39 weeks. This was a surprise, #1 was over a week late. His birth was totally different than my first, except that it kicked of with my water breaking. That’s two for two on hollywood-style labors starts! Everyone loves a birth story, (or at least I love everyone else’s birth stories!) so I’ll save that for another post.

Copyright 2017 © i am a working mom blog

Maternity photos by the wonderful Cristin More

 

 

 

 

 

Moms to Marvel: Meet Cristin, “working-part-time-when-I-feel-like-it mom”

Welcome to the April installment of my series Moms to Marvel. I am regularly sharing a stories from inspiring moms to get unique takes and experiences on balancing life, working and motherhood. Check out previous posts here. If you have a story you want to share, contact me! 

Cristin and I met via a mutual friend who astutely observed that we happened to be pregnant/due at the same time, and more importantly, we both were miserable and despised pregnancy beyond description. Thus she concluded we might get along! Turns out that’s a winning formula, I’ve never been set up with such a fabulous friend. 

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Hyperemesis Part IV: Birth and Baby

This is the final post of my pregnancy story with hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s the best and worst part. I’ve told the story by trimester and if you need to catch up here are links to Part I, Part II and Part III. Just a disclaimer, while I do actually have several pictures of my labor, you don’t want to see them nor do I want you to, so just enjoy the pics of my babe when she is just a few hours old.

Labor is when one of my greatest and most painful HG lessons occurred. I will preface this story by telling you that my goal was a labor and delivery with as little intervention and medication as possible. I had a detailed birth plan, involving all kinds of good feelings and  absolutely no drugs.

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Hyperemesis Part III: The 3rd Trimester

Fact: The 3rd trimester of pregnancy begins at week #28, and lasts an average of 10-14 weeks, as measured by standard linear time on a Gregorian calendar.

Fact: The 3rd trimester actually lasts approximately 25 years in time as experienced by women with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It feels like forever plus another forever on top.  Especially when trying to muddle through pregnant life as a productive contributor to the work force.

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Hyperemsis Part II: My Holiday Cocktail & First Hospital Visit

My 2nd Trimester was supposed to be fabulous. It was poised to occur right in the middle of the winter holiday season, the most wonderful time of the year! I would cross over from 1st trimester misery around Halloween and not reach the awkward 3rd trimester until well after the new year.

The proverbial “they” agreed I was going to feel so much better once I hit this magical 2nd trimester. Supposedly I was even going to want to have sex. Big promises.

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Hyperemesis Part I: The Duchess and Puke Purgatory

Prologue: When I was pregnant, I spent countless hours on the internet looking for stories of working women who were experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum and had hope and coping ideas to share.  Especially the moderate variety- the kind that only puts you in the hospital a few times, instead of the poor women who just have to quit their jobs and live with an IV trolley next to their couch. The middle ground of this sickness was emotional torture because I would have moments of feeling ok, which made me (and others) think it shouldn’t be getting in the way so much. Or that I could predict and/or control it.

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Pork, Poop, Puke

Morning sickness is a farce. The nausea, vomit, and extreme fatigue of pregnancy is often a 24-hour kind of misery, cloaked in a casual name that insinuates it’s just a little inconvenience each new dawn of the day. Nothing a few saltine crackers can’t resolve, right? But I and the working moms who have met morning sickness (or worse, as I will discuss in the future) are not fooled, and we won’t soon forget the havoc it can wreak on daily working life.

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