A Big Little Announcement...
On a personal note, we're expanding our brood and expecting a second child this fall! We're beyond excited to meet our little and to share in this experience along the way. That said, it hasn't been without its challenges. For those of you who know me, my first pregnancy it was a difficult road. I suffer (then and now) from a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Calling it severe morning sickness is a bit of a misnomer, for one it is not a morning only affair, the extreme nausea and vomiting is an around the clock ordeal, and it effects my ability to carry out my day to day activities; for another, it lasts far beyond the first trimester. With my first, I didn't find relief until about a week post-delivery. I've been lucky this time around to have found a medication regimen that works, along with care team that really gets it and it is making things much more manageable, and unlike the first time around, I understand what is happening and can set my expectations in a much more realistic way. To put some numbers on it, with my first pregnancy before discovering treatment options that worked for me, I would vomit 30+ times on a bad day and dropped ten pounds in under two weeks. This time my vomiting is down to about four to five times a day when it flares up, and I lost only five pounds in the first week while we sorted out my treatment plan, then held steady throughout the rest of my first trimester. I'm lucky that my case is not nearly as severe as they come and I can't even start to put myself in the shoes of some of the women who aren't responsive to medication and have to get their nutrition through a feeding tube. Despite this, I think that it's important for me to talk about and share my experience as there is so little awareness around the condition and so many misconceptions surrounding it. An excellent resource for those interested in learning a bit more is the Her foundation, and I highly encourage you to go check it out.
The other complication we faced with my first, was pre-term labor which landed me on bedrest for nearly two long months. I started experiencing regular painful contractions around 16 weeks which we brushed off as Braxton Hicks until they became more intense and closer together at 29 weeks. When they admitted me to Triage, we discovered that the contractions were only five minutes apart and I had dilated significantly. It took nearly four days of interventions to stabilize things enough for me to go home. From there, I was prescribed medication to help slow the contractions, but they continued regularly and caused me to dilate slowly up until I delivered at 36 weeks. In between, I was re-admitted multiple times: put on hospital bedrest when they would see changes then allowed to go home when things stabilized. It was one of the scariest and most challenging times in my life and also one of the times I felt most helpless to control my own body.
With this pregnancy, the contractions have started even earlier (11 weeks) and because we aren't sure exactly when I began to lose my cervix last time we're keeping a close eye on things now. It's quite literally right on the line, one millimeter less would be considered clinically short, so we'll continue to pay close attention and stick with my current treatment plan. Much like the Hyperemesis, I'm lucky in that I have a much better idea of what is going on this time, have a treatment plan in place, and a great team of doctors who seem to know what they're doing and just as importantly I am setting realistic expectations for myself. To be honest, I struggle a lot with that last one. It's tough to pass on opportunities because I know my body just isn't up to it right now, to allow others care for my daughter on the days that I am unable, and to let things slide when I just need to rest (for example, my spotty blog posting as of late). What I have to keep reminding myself is that this is only for a season, that I won't feel this way forever and that my biggest project right now is getting this little safely home, and at the end of all of this... we really can't wait to meet you, kid.