Whether you planned for it or it just happened unexpectedly, carrying life takes a toll on most women. From early morning sickness to other trimester ailments, pregnancy can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining.
As I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect I turned to my mom and Google to seek advice but what transpired during the following months was nothing more than eye-opening. Here are a few ways that I was affected during my pregnancy:
Most women will face morning sickness (which can happen at any time of the day) at some point in their pregnancy but for the unlucky few, morning sickness can turn into a debilitating and even life-threatening symptom. Whether it’s excessive nausea, vomiting, or the inability to keep food or drink down; all these effects can have a negative effect on a woman at her most vulnerable time. Unfortunately for me what I thought was regular morning sickness, turned out to be anything but.
Dehydration, weight loss, constant hunger, low energy and broken blood vessels in both eyes left me constantly seeking medical treatment. After countless visits to the doctor and several prescriptions later, I was feeling overwhelmed and scared. A lot of women don’t like to talk about this, but in your darkest moments when you’re in bed praying and hoping that it all stops, your mind tries to rationalize a solution that no expectant mother (who wants to continue with the pregnancy) should ever have to conjure up.
Every day was a new struggle and there were times that I didn’t want to do anything but lay in bed and cry. However, as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I was grateful that my little one was healthy, even when I felt like my body was inhabitable. Despite the negative side effects, I only gained 22lbs which was a plus.
Lack of sleep and the horrible case of catch 22
In my third trimester, I finally felt like things were falling into place. My hyperemesis was settling and the only symptom I had to contend with was heartburn. I was finally beginning to enjoy my pregnancy when it became apparent that I was having a difficult time falling asleep. I chalked it up to anxiety and nerves the first few instances, but after a few weeks, I realized it was something more than new mom nerves.
‘Try to get enough rest before the baby comes’ everyone said to me but it was becoming increasingly difficult as the weeks went by. As my bump grew bigger and bigger, I was having a hard time. Despite my full body pregnancy pillow and making several adjustments throughout the night, I never felt comfortable. Feeling like my chest was being crushed and constantly finding it difficult to breathe, I spent most of the night tossing and turning. Instead of finding solace in sleep, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time scrolling through Instagram to get my mind off of the fact that I couldn’t sleep.
It was my last day at work when I was told by the midwife that I needed to go to the hospital. My blood pressure was very high and there were traces of protein in my urine, signaling early signs of pre-eclampsia. After two days of checking my vitals, a consultant woke me up in the wee hours of the morning to discuss inducing my labor. Tired and concerned about the health of my unborn child, I decided to be induced. Looking back on my experience now, I would have taken my chances on a natural delivery.
To induce labor and help speed up the process, suppositories were given to help soften and dilate my cervix. Despite hours of bouncing on the ball and walking the ward halls, my induction failed. Tired and feeling like a failure, I had to wait an additional day and a half before I was brought to the labor ward to get my waters broken. Fortunately for me, they went naturally and I didn’t need medical intervention. However, that is where my luck stopped.
Waters Breaking (Front & Back)
After answering routine questions about my pregnancy and my stay in the hospital, I was told to change into the outfit that I wanted to give birth in. Scared of having something foreign placed inside me, I said a silent prayer and hoped for the best. As I stood up to change into my birthing shirt, my waters broke and a loud gush of water hit the floor.
Excited that it was finally happening, I completely bypassed the fact that I was a soaking mess and hobbled out the room in search of the midwife. As the initial shock and excitement faded, I was told that my front waters had broken days before and due to that, I had caught an infection. I knew that something was amiss because I constantly felt wet (sorry that it’s TMI); unfortunately, my comments to various midwives fell on deaf ears.
Contractions and its evil stepsister… pitocin
Two days before I was sent to the labor ward, I started experiencing contractions. They were intense but I was coping with them. However, after I was brought to the labor ward, I was giving the devil Pitocin, to help speed up the process. I can’t even describe to you the level of pain I was in. The higher the dosage, the more intense the contractions felt. Despite inhaling gas and air and going through my breathing techniques, I had a very difficult time coping with the contractions. Feeling like I was going to fling myself off the bed, I made the difficult decision to go against my birthing plan and get an epidural. Not going to lie, that was the BEST decision I made that night.
5 hours into my labor I began shaking vigorously. Due to my front waters breaking days earlier, it was suspected that I caught an infection. As several midwives and doctors rushed around me checking vitals and speaking in hushed voices, concern started to fill the room. Scared and confused, my concerns shifted from delivering to what was causing my body to go into shock.
After an injection to help calm the shakes, I was informed by the doctor that Olivia had turned and I had to go into theatre. Confused and upset by the turn of events, I was giving a speech by the doctor telling me that I was unable to have a natural delivery and a number of techniques (episiotomy, vacuum, forceps, and cesarean) to get Olivia out will be needed. Not prepared for the sudden change in events, I made it very clear that under any circumstances I did not want a c-section.
Not sure what was going to happen next, I signed the paperwork and was wheeled into theatre. After a pep talk with the midwife and reassurance from the doctor, I avoided a cesarean and was able to push Olivia out with the help of forceps and a prayer.
Going to the toilet
I won’t go into detail but let’s just say that it was a difficult few days and I don’t wish that on my worst enemy. After a few tries, I can tell you that a lot of it is mental but don’t get me wrong it does hurt. I mean let’s be honest, you pushed a human being from that area, what do you expect?
Despite having an awful pregnancy, I would do it all again (in a couple of years) this time I’ll be prepared!