Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My terrible secret

I want to talk a little bit out my "terrible secret". If you've read here for awhile then you probably already know a few things about me such as: I don't use artificial birth control (though you may not know we've made the decision to stop NFP, as well), I hated my cesarean, I adore the experience of giving birth. What you may not know, however, is that I'm absolutely, whole-heartedly, terrifyingly afraid of my next pregnancy. So scared, in fact, that last night I dreamed that I finally got my period back and woke up in a cold sweat, shaking, at the thought that now I was sure my fertility had returned.

So there it is. My secret. It's not that I don't like pregnancy. I do! I've never been a skinny girl, so when I get pregnant I sort of get it into my head that, "I'm not fat, I'm just pregnant!" I think pregnant bodies are amazingly beautiful and I love feeling beautiful. I love watching my belly grow. Feeling my babies move in my womb is one of the most treasured memories of my life. I feel so special and blessed when I'm pregnant. What an high honor to be chosen to help bring life into the world!

For me, though, there's a putridly dark side of pregnancy. My body hates pregnancy and babies and does everything it can to starve and kill my babies and me. I suffer from a traumatic pregnancy illness called hyperemesis gravidarum. I've had it will all of my pregnancies except the baby I miscarried, so that's three times I've survived.

It's a horrifying, soul-crushing illness. For me, having HG is exacerbated by hypersensitive senses; specifically taste, smell and touch. In my pregnant state, the world--everything--smells as if it's coated in a thick layer of vomit. My sense of smell is very sensitive when I'm not pregnant so when I become pregnant my husband calls me the "human bloodhound". When I move from one smell to another, I vomit. Leaving my bedroom and going into the hallway-I vomit. Going out the front door, I vomit. Getting into the truck, vomit. From the truck to outside the truck, vomit. It's really that bad.

Everything tastes horrible. The thought of eating food repulses me. I can't even stand to kiss my husband or children. I can't stand to put anything in my mouth. My HG world is also filthy. I feel like everything around me is covered in grime, dirt, sewage, etc. I can't touch anything.

Do you see how awful this is for me? HG is bad. So bad that sometimes women die from it. So bad that women will abort...abort!...wanted, prayed for, dreamed of babies because they feel like they're dying and no one will/can help them.

So the idea of going through this a fourth time gives me hives but... what if? What if I'm supposed to be learning and growing from these pregnancies? What if all the knowledge and strength gained from a mother-led, unmedicated birth is also available to me if I quit "numbing" my pregnancy with fear, doubt, lack of faith, hopelessness?

What can I learn about my Lord, my body, my husband, my children, my baby, myself... from an un-numbed HG pregnancy?

8 comments:

Diana J. said...

Wow. I could have written this blog post. My fertility hasn't returned yet after this last baby, but I am dreading getting my period and having to deal with the decisions - birth control, NFP, or being open to a baby and having to go through HG hell again. I just don't know what to do! I wish we could talk in person!
Diana

www.whiningpuker.blogspot.com
www.birthingathome.blogspot.com

Stassja said...

I'm so sorry pregnancy is like that for you. Honestly I don't know if I would have had more than one (at most two) if it was that miserable for me. (I don't think I would abort, but I might work a little harder at BC!) It probably sounds empty in the face of all that but one day your children will know what an amazing, incredible sacrifice you made for their sake.

I'm terrified of getting pregnant again, but for different reasons. I'd love to have a third one day, and I would LOVE to give birth again, but that's just it. After one traumatic birth, and then one smooth, wonderful, amazing and uncomplicated birth I am scared witless that my "luck" has run out and the next one something will go wrong, or I'll need a cesarean or who even knows.

*hugs* I hope your decision becomes more clear in time.

Diana J. said...

In response to your comment on my blog (thanks!!): I'm curious! You said that you have made peace with your decision to be BC/NFP-free. Does that mean that you're really okay with going through HG every couple of years through menopause? How do you manage the fear? I lived with overwhelming fear for every cycle in between our eldest and our youngest, and it was exhausting. Also, what I noticed during my last pregnancy was that SO many things in our life got out of control, especially with our son (things like diet, TV time (skyrocketed), behavior issues (too sick to discipline), etc.), and they took months to get back under control - and we're still feeling the ramifications. How do you deal with not being able to care for kiddos, especially with multiple children?

Sorry for besieging you! No worries if you haven't time to reply!

Mother's Care Doula Services, Inc. said...

This was an amazing read! Thank you for sharing your heart

Becky said...

Diana,

I'm curious! You said that you have made peace with your decision to be BC/NFP-free. Does that mean that you're really okay with going through HG every couple of years through menopause?

Yes, I'm really okay with having HG every 2-3 years for the next 10-15 (ish?) years. Through my birth experiences and through those experiences of those I love I have learned that it is truly the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away (Job 1:21). If I decide I don't want any more children, as happened before I conceived Anna (third child), the Lord may still decide that he wants me to have more. Should I decide I want children before the Lord's timing, I may have that child taken away (as happened with "baby MAC", conceived just 4 months after my second child, Caleb, was born). I've found that when I wait on the Lord's timing instead of my own, blessing abounds.

Becky said...

How do you manage the fear? I lived with overwhelming fear for every cycle in between our eldest and our youngest, and it was exhausting.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6) I have prayed so hard over the last few years. I feel like my relationship with the Lord has become deeper than I ever thought possible. I try to focus on the things I love most about pregnancy and how privileged I am to be used by the Creator of Heaven and Earth to bring life into the world. I view my trials as suffering for Christ. Through my sickness, those around me are witness to the physical and spiritual saving grace of Christ. They see how ill I am, and how I lean on the Lord, and how He always gets me through.


Also, what I noticed during my last pregnancy was that SO many things in our life got out of control, especially with our son (things like diet, TV time (skyrocketed), behavior issues (too sick to discipline), etc.), and they took months to get back under control - and we're still feeling the ramifications. How do you deal with not being able to care for kiddos, especially with multiple children?

We've had this problem in our house, too. It's of particular concern now since Sarah (5) will begin homeschool in the fall. How will I homeschool through HG? I don't know. Thankfully, the worst of my illness is usually confined to between weeks 7 through 20/21 or so. We can take a good portion of that time "off" and call it summer vacation. As for diet, I've found that simple, nutritious meals aren't that hard to prepare/serve if planned carefully. My children LOVE frozen blueberries and will eat them like candy. Served with peanut butter crackers, it makes a nice snack. I've also found that by adding a bit more high-quality, high-calorie foods, as well as adding a good carbohydrate and protein each meal makes them full quickly and keeps them full longer. TV does tend to take over my children's time when I'm sick, so I'm planning to take away all tv's in the house except the one in my bedroom. They can watch bible movies, veggie tales, talking word factory, etc in there with me when I can't get out of bed. Also, I've found that when I take the tv's away they play nicely together and have a lot of fun! I wish I had an answer for you on discipline, but I don't. We have major problems there, too, during HG. Kelly at Generation Cedar also talks a lot about teaching our children to have Christ's "servant heart" and how pregnancy, especially a difficult one, is an excellent opportunity for children to learn to serve.
I don't have all the answers. I simply feel called to give this part of my life over to the Lord and seek His will, not my own. I don't feel I should obey the Lord only if I'm sure the consequences will be to my liking, or if I think I will succeed. I feel I should obey "anyway", not "because". It's hard, I know it's hard!

Diana J. said...

All I can say is - WOW! You are an amazing woman! I've been reading your blog for quite a while, but I'd never made the HG connection. Reading your responses was very inspiring. I am still praying for guidance on this issue as I don't feel complete peace yet either way (BC or non-BC), but I'm hoping to find the peace you have found with the issue soon. Would it be okay with you if I quoted your answers in a blog post? (Fine if you'd prefer not to!!)

Thanks so much!
Diana

Becky said...

You're more than welcome to use my comments, Diana. I'll look forward to reading your post!

Don't you think HG deserves a puke-green awareness ribbon? ;)