Saturday, June 18, 2011

SURELY it will be different this time: Pregnancy #4

In between pregnancies I would say, "Those pregnancies were so awful;  I just don't know how I'm going to do that again!"  And people would ACTUALLY SAY, "Oh, you'll forget how bad it was!" which made me think 2 things: 
1.  Apparently people either think I'm a big whiner about "morning sickness" or I'm just not explaining the severity of the misery clearly enough because I WILL NEVER FORGET how awful it was, and
2.  HELLO?!  I am not pregnant when we are having this conversation and, OBVIOUSLY, I STILL REMEMBER.

But that feeling that another little person wanted to join our family just WOULD NOT GO AWAY!  I was SO busy with my three littles, and there always the worry that I would get sick again if I got pregnant.  BUT!  I LOVED all of my kids, and I wanted this new baby too!  I STILL HAD HOPE:  maybe I was one of those people who just got really sick THE FIRST TIME I was pregnant with a boy or girl--now that I'd had one of each, maybe it wouldn't be so bad this next time!  Maybe it would be like my second pregnancy!  And SURELY it couldn't have been as bad as I remembered the other times!  SURELY it was just in my head and if I just REFUSED to be sick it wouldn't happen, right?  And maybe I hadn't felt as sick the 2nd pregnancy because I had taken the vitamin B and half a Unisom every night, so maybe if I started that the moment I found out I was pregnant, it would keep me from getting so sick this time!  (Ian's response when told him that we were going to try to add another baby to our family:  "Oh good!  If you get another baby in your tummy, you'll get sick and we can watch TV all day again!")

The planning of this baby was a little tricky because we knew we were going to be moving at a certain time.  So, either Marie and the next baby would be closer together than any of the others had been, or they were going to be much farther apart because we would need to be finished moving before I got pregnant (just in case...).  We only had a small window of time if we were going to have the baby before we moved, so we decided to try, and if I didn't get pregnant we would wait until after the move.  (I was thinking that there was a SLIM chance of getting pregnant because, hello!  Three kids!  HOW do people even have more children after the first few;  there is LIMITED opportunity, if you know what I mean.)  It didn't take long.  Marie was about 14 months old when I got pregnant.

We told the children that we would be getting a new baby in a few months and that Marie wouldn't be our baby anymore because she would be a big girl.  A few days later, David came up to me looking worried, and asked in the saddest voice, "Are we going to have to give Marie back since she's not going to be our baby anymore?"
Love that sister!  (Who pulled her beautiful, lacy headband off after 1 picture...)
Two weeks after I found out I was pregnant, despite taking the Vitamin B and Unisom IMMEDIATELY, the constant, severe nausea started again.  And, again, it was EVEN WORSE than it had been the time before.  THIS time, I had to lie down for 8 weeks, and then, for the next 4 weeks, I could stand if I didn't move too quickly.  I tried the Vitamin B and Unisom, sea bands, some homeopathic nausea medicine, Zofran, a special electronic bracelet thing that was supposed to zap a certain point on my wrist to keep me from feeling nauseous, crackers, peppermint, ginger, sour candies, drinking small sips of water all through the day...nothing worked and I vomited more than I had the last time.

I discovered at one doctor's appointment, that I had lost 12 pounds in one month.  Naturally, the doctor put in a referral for me to talk to the Nutrition Center because OBVIOUSLY the problem was that I didn't know how to eat properly.  The problem CERTAINLY had nothing to do with the unending nausea that flared into a fiery, erupting volcano every time I tried to eat or drink anything. 

My mother came to stay for 4 weeks to help take care of things while I was sick (Husband did what he could, but he had just started his Master's program).  She said, "This is terrible!  I can't believe you are suffering this much and nothing can be done!"  I said, "Mom, it was like this with Ian and Marie too."  She was shocked;  I guess you have to see it to really believe it, and she hadn't actually been around me the other times I had been sick.  Again I wondered how I person could feel SO AWFUL and not just die from the suffering.  And I wondered HOW IN THE WORLD I was going to be able to choose to do that again because I still felt like our family was not going to be complete after this baby.

Somehow I managed to nurse Marie through all of this (she was down to 2 feedings).  I kept nursing her because she was so tiny, and any time she would get sick she would fall off the weight chart.  When she wasn't sick, she would be in the 3rd percentile for her weight because she just wouldn't eat much.  I hated to wean her since she WOULD nurse, and I had heard that my milk would change around week 20 of the pregnancy, so I hoped she wouldn't like that and stop on her own.  No luck!  One week, she was about 18 months old, she had a cold, and couldn't nurse for a few days because of her stuffy nose, and that was that.  I SINCERELY HOPED that since I ended up nursing Marie for over half the pregnancy, that my body would still be in bfeeding mode and I wouldn't have the nursing agony this time.  (Have you noticed that my hopes are so frequently misplaced?)

Once or twice I had to take Marie to my neighbor to get her diaper changed because I knew I would throw up all over her if I tried to do it.  (BLESS THAT NEIGHBOR!!!!!)

Around the time I could stand again without throwing up, I went grocery shopping to see if I could find ANYTHING I thought I could eat.  I could eat something once, but it would immediately make me so sick that the next time I considered eating it I just couldn't get past that sick feeling.  I went to the store to see if there was anything I hadn't already tried eating, and I came home with a can of cashews.  Marie wanted some, so I gave them to her because nuts were one thing she WOULD eat, and they were high in healthy fat and protein.  I had noticed that every time I gave her peanuts she would stick a bunch of them in her cheeks, so this time I only gave her 3 cashew halves.  *sigh*  Twenty minutes later, she was covered in hives.  I had had an allergic reaction to something when I was a child, so I knew what hives were, and I knew that this could lead to trouble breathing.  I took her to the ER and told them she had eaten cashews and was now covered in hives;  they rolled their eyes at me (apparently many people think they have hives when they don't?), and then were SO SURPRISED when I took her clothes off and she was covered in hives!  (Thankfully, she never had trouble breathing.)  In the end, they told me I should keep her away from all nuts, and, by the way, this long list of things is also related to nuts, so keep her away from those too, and get her right in to see the allergy doctor. 

The first appointment we could get at the allergy doctor was SIX WEEKS LATER!  I DID NOT appreciate that AT ALL (HELLO!  LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIC REACTION!), and it was a very stressful 6 weeks!  When she finally did get in and get tested, she tested negative for cashews but positive for hazelnuts.  I knew we were in SERIOUS TROUBLE if she had had such a strong reaction without actually eating a hazelnut:  she had eaten something that had COME IN CONTACT WITH a hazelnut.  They sent me home with an epi-pen and instructions to keep her away from nuts and have her retested in a few years.  It was so frustrating to have to take nuts out of her diet because they were something she would eat and they were a good source of calories for her!  (I took her to another allergy doctor about 4 years later to be re-tested, and, thankfully, she tested negative for any nut allergies, however, even though she is still very thin and could use the calories, she refuses to eat anything with nuts in it.)

David and Marie were very excited about the baby in my tummy!  (Ian was....resigned to the fact that we would be getting YET ANOTHER baby at our house.)  They loved to feel my tummy and give the baby kisses.  Marie was quite proud that she knew where our new baby was.
I was quite surprised when 4 year old David informed me that Battleship was his new favorite game;  aren't kids supposed to be a little older before they can play (the old, non-electronic) Battleship?


Marie signing "shoes".  Oh the adorable girl outfits!!

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