The day after we found out we were expecting, our relationship slid into an almost euphoric stage. He really began to take care of me. He stepped up to the plate.
We did the preliminary doctor’s appointments to confirm the validity of the one dark pink line and a second faint pink line. To our doctor’s mild amusement, the stick was right. I was on my way to becoming an Ammu.
We can’t keep a secret
We didn’t waste any time because we are over sharers and incredibly unable to keep a secret. By “we” I really mean me. But you know that by now. We told our families and our closest bunch of friends almost within days of finding out. I was so obvious you could see I was going to burst if I was asked to keep my pregnancy a secret from my close dozen or so people. I mean I saw them all the time!
Give me a break.
All day every day morning sickness
Not only that, almost immediately my health took a nose dive as a result of this pregnancy. Within the first five weeks, I was constantly experiencing extreme morning sickness – I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which is a pregnancy complication that is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and in my case, severe dehydration. I was always lethargic, almost falling asleep every couple of hours. I was always nauseous and would throw up within ten minutes of consuming, anything… and I mean anything, even water. So much so that I had to have a home care nurse hook me up to an IV for four hours each day to administer hydration for a period of ten days.
I lost twenty-five pounds in the first trimester. It lasted well into my eighth month of pregnancy. This was the best diet and worst thing to ever happen to me.
The gender reveal
At twenty-two weeks, we did an ultrasound that showed us the gender of our child. We wanted to find out with our family and friends so we had our ultrasound tech put the gender on a card in a sealed envelope that we took to a baker who baked us a cake and iced inside in the colour of the gender. Pink or blue. I was sure it was pink. My husband was sure that it wasn’t. Turns out the icing was blue and one of us, was in total shock while the other wasn’t.
Cravings and my disdain for chicken
As a result of my condition, I only ever had actual cravings once. I craved lemon raspberry loaf from starbucks once. And it was a super hot day, I had no car, but hell hath no fury as a pregnant woman determined to get a perfect bite of the loaf. The perfect ratio of cake to jam to icing. I got what women meant when they said I have a craving…
On the flip side, my disdain for chicken was bar none. I once wanted a shawarma and my husband was happy to oblige. We drove to our local shawarma spot and got in line. I stood there, heavily pregnant and increasingly hungry. Finally as we get to the front of the line, I say,
“Can I please get the beef shawarma plate?”
“We’re out of the beef, sorry. Can I get you the chicken?”
“You have no beef? But I want the beef.’
“Sorry, no beef.
“Fine, I’ll have the chicken”
I sat in front of my Styrofoam container, overflowing with chicken and white sauce, tears streaming down my face because I thought they were out to get me. Their plan was to stuff me with disgusting chicken and I would have to deal with it. I swiftly got up and walked out of the shawarma joint like I was in a trance.
Only to walk aimlessly to the shop next door – which happened to be a fried chicken place. The husband, wanted to bring up the oversight on my part, but refrained for fear of his over-hormonal pregnant wife. I knew it was a chicken place. Even in knowing I got in line. I’m not sure why I did that because what in the world did I plan on eating there? As I got to the front of the line where nothing sold would have met my pregnant standards… I made a dramatic turn and left the restaurant in a huff. The husband followed; but not too closely in case people in the restaurant thought he was with me.
He found me in the parking lot, full on crying and banging the door of the car. I got in and cried till I fell asleep. When I woke up next, I was in the parking lot of another shawarma place. The husband had driven there, but wasn’t sure he was ready to deal with me – awake.
He said, “let’s try this place.”
“Fine.” I said.
I walked in, and the guy behind the counter had his back turned to me. When he turned around, he looked like he had seen a ghost. The husband took over and ordered me a beef shawarma and coke and the guy made it faster than I had ever seen. We walked out and into the car, I whipped down the mirror in the passenger side as I normally do when there is a lot of sun and that’s when I saw what I looked like. My hair looked like it had been mangled, my lipstick was anywhere but my lips and my eyeliner was making its way from my lids to the side of my face. Not to mention, mascara running down my face.
Fear of Pre-term Labour
At about 28 weeks, I was hospitalized for a week or so because at a routine ultrasound they found out that I had already began the dilation process and I was three centimetres dilated. I hadn’t even thought they would have seen anything abnormal so I had gone to the hospital alone. After this finding, they told me, I cannot leave the premises. I was wheeled into the labour and delivery unit and put in a bed almost within a fifteen minute span. Once alone in the bed, I called my husband and mom, completely frightened and not ready for this to happen any time soon. Nurses entered the room and propped my legs up and said this is the way they want to see me for the next foreseeable future till the doctors clear me to go home.
Bed rest. They forbade me to walk or be upright for any longer than ten minutes at a time. I had to stay at the hospital so that I could be monitored and if my state doesn’t change and baby was doing well, I could go home. The doctors did not change their minds for a week. It was the most mentally challenging portion of my pregnancy. I was blaming everything on myself.
I shouldn’t have climbed stairs.
I shouldn’t have eaten that.
I threw up too hard.
I had no business going here, doing that.
I just couldn’t understand why I was going through so much.
First HG, as a result having to leave work early. Then having home care hydration. Now bed rest.
Why make my struggles public?
Most people in my life knew the difficulty I was going through. I posted about it on my facebook, blog and other social media. A lot of people said “this is all happening to you because of nojor” (Evil eye, ill-intentioned negativity from others because of oversharing.) And they may be right. I believe in nojor. But I also believe in the power of community and prayers in bulk. My intention in sharing my pregnancy was to celebrate this life. It was turning into a challenging pregnancy and the thought that I may not be able to carry it to full term had me worried, every day. I went from talking about my bump to talking about the difficulties I was having. It helped people empathize with me and pray for a healthy pregnancy. It helped me find mental strength. Because every day was a new pain. A new strain. A new something. It was a challenging time to be my husband too. He didn’t know how to make it better but all he could do was watch and pick up the slack in every way.
We managed to get through the thick of it. And I managed to keep Azu in the oven till thirty-eight weeks. Looking back, I don’t wish anyone a challenging pregnancy, but I still LOVED being pregnant. I loved carrying life. I loved how I looked best when I was pregnant. I had never felt more beautiful. I could also feel the love and prayers that had cocooned my little baby and protected him till he was ready to make his entrance.
To be continued.