Pregnancy: the final frontier. These are the adventures of a high-risk mother. My nine month mission: to explore strange new sleeping positions, freak out about this new life inside of me, and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Okay, so I like to think I’m clever if only to distract myself from the crazy new reality which life has handed to me. But seriously, this is kind of a cray situation, and what better way to deal with it than to make a no-holds-barred, GIF-filled, TMI sharing blog about it?
So first things first, let’s start with the whole pregnancy deal. When my husband and I found out I had a bun in the oven, I was all like
But then when it actually hit me that I had absolutely no Idea what I was doing and that this could potentially end horribly because of all my various health issues, I spazzed out
Luckily my husband, Justin, was far more rational than I and he quickly talked some sense into me
After our first prenatal visit where we found out that I was high-risk in four – yes FOUR – areas, I was a tad freaked out to say the least
But luckily I had what anyone in a trying situation needs: supportive family and friends. My sister and best friend, Amy, consoled me more times than I can count (and still does). Lord knows I’ve called at inopportune times with the weirdest questions just looking for some reassurance. “I just sneezed and farted at the same time!!! Is the baby okay?? Did I just squish his brain?! Cuz you know baby heads are all mushy and pulsey and stuff!!!” But Amy has the wisdom and patience of a saint.
However chronic illnesses are no joke and invisible illnesses also have their own set of issues. The whole “But you don’t look sick!” thing was already something I was used to getting, but being pregnant just added a whole new layer of awful. People will say crazy insensitive things to you when they find out you are pregnant.
“Are you sure you should be having a baby?”
“You’re pregnant? How did you let that happen??”
“Insert random awful statistic about deformities or infant mortality here”
“You know, my sister’s friend’s cousin had (insert illness here), and she lost her baby… but I’m sure that won’t happen to you…”
“You know, you can always adopt if this one doesn’t, you know, work out.”
I have Ehlers-Danlos (a connective tissue disorder), Mitral Valve Prolapse (a heart condition), Scoliosis, and Lupus (an autoimmune disorder).
And as anyone with a chronic illness knows, it’s not only trying on your body, but it takes a huge toll on your emotions, too. You go from moments of optimism, where you’re like, “You know what? I *can* do this! I may have Lupus, but gosh darn it, Lupus does not have me! I won’t just survive, I’ll thrive!!!”
That positivity can last for a while, especially when you’re telling yourself that you have to be strong for the sake of your unborn child. But inevitably the pain, stress, fatigue, and complications of your illness will break through. And it won’t be fun. And you probably won’t be very much fun to be around, either.
If I can offer even a smidge of advice here, it’s to not fight it. I know that doesn’t sound very courageous, but honestly you will tire yourself out beyond redemption if you try to ignore the signs your body is sending you to just slow down and take a break. And let the people around you take care of you. If you’re like me, you hate asking for and receiving help, but guess what? This is not a contest. No one will think any less of you if you let your partner, family, or friends help you out when you need it. Pride disguised as bravery is not going to do your baby any good, sweetheart. So when you have a flare up or episode or whatever, acknowledge that it’s a bad day, but remember that it will get better. Because the best thing you can do for your baby is to accept the rough times when they come, but look forward to and embrace the good moments!
So that’s my brief introduction to the beginning of pregnancy feels like for a high-risk mom. It’s scary, it’s awesome, it’s horrifying, it’s exciting, it’s painful, it’s wonderful, it’s gross, but it’s your moment and you should embrace it, sneeze-farts and all.