I recall that my breasts felt painful in a way that I hadn’t yet experienced. In fact I was wondering if maybe cancer would cause such a dull pain. The cravings for falafels arrived, again something new.
Indeed, with every pregnancy I had had so far, they all gave me different symptoms, as though each pregnancy already has its own personality. And then there were some similarities…I always had the sickness not just in the morning but also in the afternoon and sometimes evening, depending on what I ate. And then there were the food aversions…suddenly I hated the taste of meat, garlic, onion…anything strong and lasting. Greasy foods were out, it was like something coated my mouth that only something sour could get rid of. Not even potato chips were safe. A sip of wine would make me want to faint. But it all started with the painfully dull breasts. And the sudden bad temper. I tried one at home pregnancy test and it came out negative. But I just knew something was up. A few days later at work I went to the bathroom and there it was, the positive. I told my office coworker and my husband right away. And then the doctor to organize blood tests and the ultrasound.
I had a trip planned to visit my family about a week after I found out, and I ended up telling my mom even though it was super early. I hated to put them through the ups and downs of my pregnancies and miscarriages, but after all, these are their grandchildren regardless of whether they are born or not. And I am their daughter and they want to know about these important things especially, to support me and share in every aspect of life with me. This is what family is all about! Love and sharing and supporting. I told my mom and she said she already knew because she saw it in a dream..it being me pregnant. She knew this one was going to be okay somehow and really kept positive and cool and calm the entire time. The other pregnancies, she said, had prepared my body for this special baby on his or her way.
I guess it was around the second month when my vomiting and food aversions kicked in. Even my healthy smoothies weren’t staying down. Just potatoes, falafels, and pita with plain hummus. Starches!!!!
The first ultrasound, as I mentioned in my first post, was nerve wracking and then magnificent when I saw my little baby’s heart beating so strong. I was completely speechless to be honest, my eyes glued to that screen just watching the little bean thump away. At this point in time, it was the fertility specialist who was looking after me and performing the ultrasound. But he said that now I had graduated to needing an actual OBGYN. I was disappointed that our time together was over – he didn’t do anything to help me get pregnant, but he ran a lot of tests, and advised me that “there was nothing wrong” with me. And then performed a safe and good D&C when I experienced the second missed miscarriage. But his results and fact based approach helped to ground me and make me feel normal and I think this was a huge corner to turn after I had been certain that I had done something wrong or that there was something wrong with me and that’s why I lost the babies. It was sad to me that after sharing so much, from my fears and wishes to my Catholic decisions, that we were moving onto someone new, who didn’t know anything about us or how this little being had come about for us. And how funny how after all that you’d think it’s appropriate to hug someone but yet somehow a fertility treatment center is too clinical for that. We had witnessed a full on miracle but because they can create these miracles with test tubes and syringes, the magic and importance was not present in that room for our doctor I don’t think, but I’m sure he was accustomed to patients having hearts swelling with joy, but just didn’t know what to do about it. Well, it was clear to me and my husband that there is only God, and after that appointment we went to the church to thank Him and then pray to Him to help us be good parents.
And then the blur of buying maternity clothes (Seraphine is my favourite!!!), getting the monthly ultrasounds (because I was high risk due to my miscarriages and my age) and the increasing excitement of the growing person inside me. I was convinced I was having a boy but at the 20 week ultrasound we found out The General, as we called him, was actually a girl. A very active girl with arms and legs kicking a LOT. It was amazing to see her moving around to match the tickles I was feeling at that point.
Because of the position of my placenta and the baby, I didn’t get see the baby moving from the outside much, not like you hear about seeing a baby’s elbow move from left to right and it looks like an alien is trying to break out of my stomach, but I certainly felt her stretching and punching and moving around and on occasion, I would see a thud as she kicked me.
Then there was the hormonal/emotional ride that I went on…one day, I found myself crying so hard because I had so much love gushing out of me…I saw everyone as a baby, and knew that all people really need is to be loved and hugged and that I wanted every single person to know that I loved them. Yeah, a lot of love was building up in me, love of which I never knew I was capable.
Another day, I reflected on my life and was so relieved and grateful to see that I had not failed. I was married with a child on the way, after all those years of wanting to be married and having 7 children, I had figured that it was not meant to happen, that I had ruined any opportunities by messing up my relationships. But it was true that God had a good plan for me as He does for us all, I just had to believe it, and that all things come in God’s time.
The morning sickness eased off by the fourth month for me but all the food aversions stayed all the way through up until I gave birth.
Halfway through the pregnancy, my husband and I moved from the big city to the suburbs to be closer to his very large family, so as to let our daughter grow up with cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents nearby. I wasn’t crazy about this but it made sense for our family as the new environment was much more virtuous with the people and churches around us, more conservative and more traditional; we had escaped the new liberal Catholicism.
On I grew and gradually became very very uncomfortable in the last month, and the last couple of weeks were difficult, I won’t lie. First, I think the position of my girl was perhaps off and what I should have done was hire a doula, instead of just watching doula videos on YouTube (they can work with you to help position the baby through movement and stretches). That last week I also got hit with the worst cold. I know that pregnant women tend to get sick in the days leading up to their deliveries but this was ridiculous. And finally, I was past my due date and didn’t want to have a c-section for the life of me.
I could have used someone to relax me in those days and most importantly to help me know when it was time to go to the hospital so that I could have better chances at achieving my goal of having a natural birth. Please read on in my next post for the story of my labour and delivery.