There are a lot of things I was never able to share with anyone about our pregnancy since we had decided to wait until the second trimester to let everyone know. By that time, we already had learned that something was amiss so we never were able to share what-should’ve-been-joyful news with most of our family and friends.
I wanted to share a few things about our pregnancy. Some aren’t entirely new but some I haven’t shared with people before.
I experienced horrible morning sickness
It’s really common for pregnant women to have morning sickness. However, mine was really bad. I developed something called “hyperemesis gravidarum” around the 8th or 9th week of pregnancy and it lasted pretty much until I delivered in April.
Let me just say, it was awful. I would eat something and within five minutes would be rushing to the bathroom, enduring violent vomiting (or dry heaving if I didn’t have enough in my stomach). I tried nearly everything. Candied ginger. Mints or chewing gum. Eating smaller, more frequent meals. Saltines. Cold compresses.
My doctor also prescribed me some medication, along with some Unisom, to help with the nausea. However, Preggie Pops seemed to be my best friend during the last few weeks once I found them at GNC. I was popping those things like Skittles to keep my tummy settled. I think Brett was on a first-name basis at the store when he’d pick up their entire supply for me.
The nausea was so bad that I lost weight during pregnancy so I didn’t even look pregnant. I was wearing all of my normal clothes up until the end at nearly 5 months. I think that’s what makes me the saddest sometimes that I never got to experience the joy of looking pregnant and having people come up to me and ask to touch my belly.
We had only been trying to conceive for 3 months
Earlier in 2015, I had received some scary news. I went in for an MRI of my neck for some ongoing pain. The radiologist came back to let me know that they found growths on my thyroid so I needed to follow-up with an endocrinologist.
I was fast-laned into seeing an endocrinologist who did a bunch of ultrasounds and biopsies of what are called “thyroid nodules.” After waiting for the results, I received the all-clear that they weren’t cancerous but I would need to come back in six months for another biopsy and scan. During that time, the doctor suggested we not try to get pregnant.
In early September, Brett and I went to the follow-up appointment and received the good news that there hadn’t been any change in the size or make-up for the nodules so I’d be ok to go a year without another check-up. We also received the OK to start conceiving.
I downloaded an app on my phone to start tracking cycles, moods, temperature fluctuations, fluids and all the things that could suggest when I was the most fertile. I have always been regular since I started having my period back in middle school so I thought it would be fairly easy to track my fertile days.
We followed the recommendations of the little app and got busy. We’d wait to see if my period started or I was exhibiting any other weird symptoms. I’d be reading into strange feelings or a twinge in my back. (Could that be the implantation pain?!?) Nope, nothing happened.
Then, I was like “Screw you app! Let’s just do it on a day that doesn’t say I’m fertile.” And…voila! We found out I was pregnant on my birthday, Jan. 24, 2016.
Really bad nose bleeds
I had really bad nose bleeds as a kid. I had to get them surgically cauterized a few times when they wouldn’t stop. However, I didn’t know nose bleeds were a side effect of pregnancy.
When you’re pregnant, your blood vessels expand with the increased blood volume to account for the baby. This can cause those delicate vessels to rupture, especially since I was pregnant during those cold, dry winter months where I’m already more susceptible to nose bleeds.
I was having three to four nose bleeds a day at one point, usually pretty quick to stop. But, then, I had one that was just scary. It started in the middle of the night and went for over an hour. I swear it looked like a scene from “The Shining” in our bedroom. I had to wake Brett up to be my kleenex changer as it was just coming so furiously. I’m already anemic (I have a chronic form of anemia called beta thalessemia). I was starting to have a little shallow breathing but also freaking myself out a bit, thinking, this can’t go on much longer, it’s going to harm the baby. I called my OB’s after-hours line and asked what I should do if it doesn’t stop.
It finally stopped but then it started up again in the morning and we went to the ER. The doctor did a quick cauterization. Gotta love smelling the frying of your own skin when you already have morning sickness. He gave me a nifty little nose holder thingy so I didn’t even need to hold my nose should I have another severe one.
Dakota’s demeanor change
Dakota has always been our little cuddle buddy since we adopted him from a Boston shelter back in fall 2012. He’s a little stand-offish to new people but once he knows you, you’re his best friend, especially if you have food.
He’s always been protective of me and knows when I don’t feel well, like if I’m having a migraine or fibromyalgia flare-up. Most days, when I work at home, he snuggles right up next to me in a tight little ball and stays there all day. He’s like a big real stuffed animal. He’ll get up to follow me to the bathroom or out on his walk during the day. Occasionally, he brings me a toy to play fetch with but generally playtime is when Daddy comes home from work since he’s a better toy thrower. He’s not very independent, but we’re ok with that. Dakota has actually been really helpful since Emmett’s loss. He just gets me and knows when I’m sad. He nuzzles up to me or licks my face and I can just tell he’s thinking, “Momma, it’s gonna be ok.”
He’s also always had this floppy ear thing that is super adorable. His right ear just flops over and when he gives you the big brown eyes, you’re done. We once were in a drive-thru and the girl was like, “He has eyes that are like the window to your soul.” Yea, it was a really deep and cathartic fast-food convo.
Anyways, once I got pregnant, the floppy ear disappeared and he started to snuggle less with me. He seemed to be much more on-guard than before like he knew something was different. While he wouldn’t necessarily cuddle with me, he would always be close to me, like as close as he could get, which, at times, meant sitting on my head in bed to protect me from the smoke alarms or doorbell.
Once we lost Emmett, Dakota was back to his pre-pregnancy self. Cuddling with me, floppy ear is back, too. It’s like he was protecting me and Emmett for that time.
My crazy food cravings
Like the morning sickness which you’ve always heard of, food cravings are another thing. I always thought it was funny how some women wanted chocolate ice cream and pickles or other weird combos. It wasn’t until I was pregnant that I “got it.”
I had some bizarre food cravings (bizarre for me but maybe not to others) and they wouldn’t go away until they were satiated. Like, I would be a mad person on a mission to fill the void with a particular food item.
Taco Bell. I’ve always had a stupid weak spot for Taco Bell because they have Pepsi. But for whatever reason, I totally had this craving for their Fritos Locos burrito and I had never even had one before. It’s a beef burrito with Fritos and nacho cheese. I would stop working, pop Dakota in the car, and drive the 30 minutes to the closest Taco Bill to get one (or two or three…) One day, I was in such a rush to eat it, half of it got on my jacket and I was at a stoplight licking my jacket to get every morsel of nacho cheese. If I was in the car next to me, I’d be like $#&%
Hot Pockets. I haven’t had a Hot Pocket since high school. My Mom would get them for me because it was fast in the morning for breakfast and I am not a morning person. One day, I texted Brett and I asked him to get me a bunch of boxes of ham and cheese Hot Pockets. There was just something satisfying about warm bubbly cheese and meat wrapped in pastry. Still, I wouldn’t eat this now when I’m not pregnant.
Ravioli-o’s from Chef Boyardee. Ok, this is where I think I scared Brett. I texted him one day asking for Ravioli-o’s from Chef Boyardee. He comes home after work with cans of Chef Boyardee but they’re plain mini-raviolis….with mini meatballs. How dare he!?! I was explicit in my request for ravioli + in the shape of O’s. I didn’t ask for square raviolis + meatballs. The gall. The nerve. I yelled at him for about 10 minutes as I cooked the ravioli with meatballs and scarfed it down in disgust anyways, followed by a Hot Pocket. I made him go back out the next day to fix his mistake. I hadn’t had Chef Boyardee since at least elementary school when we would have Spaghetti-o’s at swim meets.
Honey, I’m so sorry for what I said when I was hangry. Please forgive me.