I'm PREGNANT!

I'm PREGNANT!

I am sure for every woman who takes a pregnancy test, that moment it turns positive creates a host of feelings from happy to overwhelmed. For me, it was a moment of disbelief. It was almost 18 months of negatives before we were finally gifted with a BFP (Big Fat Positive), and we had almost entirely given up; resigning ourselves to the idea that we would just be a family of three. And we were OK with that.
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I'm not going to sit here and say that it was my "change of attitude" or the fact that I had "relaxed my mind" or taken the "pressure off" (as many people seem to say to you when you are having a hard time conceiving) but I do think that getting your mind into the right headspace is imperative. I was also incredibly guilty of abusing my body. Too little food, too much of the wrong food, too much exercise, too little exercise, a couple of extra glasses of wine when it probably wasn't necessary, stress, anxiety, people-pleasing, bottling up emotions; the list goes on.
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About 2 months before we found out we were expecting, I had started a "major transformation" of my mind, body and well-being, and I can't help but think that this had everything to do with our eventual success. 
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The joy of discovering that I was finally pregnant, dissipated within a week of the positive reading when I started to feel sick. I knew in my heart that what I was experiencing was not "normal morning sickness". I have been pregnant before (my son is now 4 years old) and know what queasiness, occasional vomiting, food aversions and general fatigue should feel like. This was not that.
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I felt like a bus hit me.
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I like to think of myself as a strong person. I don't run for my bed every time I have a cold or a headache, I don't like to feel weak and I certainly don't like to talk about it; so when I found myself absolutely bedridden for days on end it was emotionally and mentally devastating. 
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Hyperemesis Gravidarum is what the ER and my Gynae diagnosed me with, the day my husband rushed me to the hospital because I hadn't managed to keep down a single drop of fluid (never mind food) for 4 days in a row. After 3 weeks of constant vomiting, exhaustion and being bed bound, I had woken up shaking uncontrollably and couldn't even stand on my own two feet from dehydration. 4 Hours in the ER and 2 "banana bags" later, I was sent home to self-care.
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What strange times we are living in.
Under normal circumstances I probably would have been admitted into the hospital for a day or two for monitoring, but we are living in COVID times now, and the risk of me contracting the virus in hospital (not ideal in your first trimester) was too high to warrant admission. (Gynae's words - not mine.)
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HG (as it is referred to on social media support groups) is a severe manifestation of frequent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and affects up to 2 percent of pregnancies. Basically, this is morning sickness gone wild.

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For me, HG meant vomiting about four - six times per day (on really bad days it was 4 times every hour for about 3 hours straight.) If I accidentally awoke in the middle of the night, I was 'tickets' until the morning, or until I could lull myself back to sleep. Food was a no-go. The odd banana would go down and stay down, but everything else went down and came up again. Eventually I was choosing food to eat based on how bad it would taste coming up again.

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Many a kind-hearted friend would suggest ginger tea or ginger sweets because "that really helped to ease their morning sickness before they ate breakfast." My general response was "you got to eat breakfast!?".

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I lost around 7kgs between week 5 of my pregnancy and week 18 (just over 10% of my pre-pregnancy bodyweight). For most woman HG lasts up until around the 20th week of pregnancy, and for a very few it can go on until the day they give birth. 

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So that's where I have been for the last 4 months; in my bed, trying to feel some semblance of a human being again. The idea of "work" was just getting the bare minimum done so that I could go back to sleep again. My whole body was focused on surviving - it sounds extreme but there were days that felt like a fight to survive the day. I cannot begin to describe the mental journey; the feelings of guilt around wishing your pregnancy away, or the inability to feel joy around this tiny human growing in your belly.

The hardship in trying to separate your baby from this illness.

To any mamas to be that are currently experiencing HG, I know that it feels like it is never going to end, and that each day feels harder than the day before. Don't be afraid to take the medicine, don't feel shame around not being able to eat anything, sleep (you need it) and ask for help! Don't try and do it on your own. It is impossible. Take all the support you can get, and know that it will pass. It may take days, it may take weeks, but it will pass and you will be stronger for it.

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I am 20 weeks now and my body is definitely making up for lost time. I have gained back the weight that I lost and our bean is strong, healthy and throws one heck of a punch already. Here's to 19 weeks to go, and hopefully smooth sailing from here.

With Love,

xx

 

 
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