It kicked my butt.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Describe your first pregnancy...piece of cake or terrible experience?

I was 33 when I got pregnant with Zachary.  I had my life in order.  We were financially, socially and emotionally ready to have a baby.  I read at least a dozen pregnancy books.  I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.  I started taking prenatal vitamins, watching what I ate, dropping alcohol and getting plenty of rest long before I actually got pregnant.  I was READY.

Except nothing - NOTHING - could have ever prepared me for just how horrible I felt.

The first 2 months were ok.  I was pretty tired, but my books all said that was to be expected.  But then somewhere toward the end of month two, the nausea and vomiting started.  I hadn't told anyone I was pregnant yet, and I was working a more than full time job as a bookstore manager, so I was doing my best to hide it.  One particularly memorable night came during the release party for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Princewhich was in July 2005.  I was just over two months pregnant at the time, and I was sick.  Sicker than sick.  Barely holding on sick.  But since a) I'm a martyr and b) it never really occurred to me to miss work for anything other than being very nearly dead, I showed up for the event in full-on wizard regalia, then spent most of the evening darting around vomiting in trash cans (hey, I wasn't the only one, I'm sure, plus the lines to the bathrooms were LONG) while still managing to keep 30 staff members and roughly 1,000 customers content to play trivia games while waiting until the stroke of midnight so everyone could buy the book and GO AWAY.  I remember it so, so very clearly because I cannot ever remember a time I wanted to lay down and cry as much as I did that night.  

But I soldiered on.

Then in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast.  I'm not trying to make a hurricane about me exactly, but I was a mess.  I called in sick to work for a couple days (which I NEVER, EVER, EVER did; see: very nearly dead) and stayed in bed watching news coverage and sobbing hysterically.  I didn't eat.  I didn't sleep.  I told R I was just sick and let him believe it, but I was in the deepest throes of depression.  Finally when I saw a most ridiculous news clip of Harry Connick, Jr. "saving" people with his full camera crew in tow, I managed to snap myself out of it enough to get out of bed and take a shower.  Because really?  Really you're going to claim you're there for anything except publicity but you bring a FULL CAMERA CREW?!?!??   I still can't really look at Harry Connick, Jr. without feeling a sense of dread? disgust? distaste? all the way down in the pit of my stomach.

The next few months were horrible.  Miserable. Terribly awful.  My blood pressure was high, my legs swelled to roughly the size of a baby elephant's, and I continued to projectile vomit at least a couple dozen times every day.  EVERY. DAY.  A well-meaning co-worker bought me my first pair of Crocs around that time, and seriously? I'm not sure what I would have done without them.  No normal shoes would fit over my little swollen stumps.  But my books told me that might happen, so I just kept going.

And then, just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the kid shifted this way and that and grew a little bit and something got all twisted up and I developed a lovely limp.  As in one leg was kinda useless and I just kinda dragged it along for the ride.  Oh, and about the same time I suddenly had to pee every 20 seconds.  But it didn't matter if I peed, I still had to go.  And I stopped sleeping.  Even though I was tired all the time I couldn't stay asleep more than an hour at a time.  I was also (according to my hubby) making weird  "EEEHHHNNNNHHHH" zombie-like noises in my sleep.  All the time.  And the heartburn OH GOD the heartburn.  I couldn't really eat.  I lost nearly 20 pounds when I was pregnant.  But my books told me all those things were normal, so I kept on keeping on, going to work, living my life, because for goodness sake I was pregnant, not dying.

I was between seven and eight months pregnant when I worked through a retail management Christmas season, which means 6 day weeks and 8-9 hours at a time on my feet.  I managed to get through family holiday celebrations.  I did what I thought I needed to be doing. 

I thought I was going to die.  Occasionally I even hoped for it.

My ob started making me come into the office every other day to get my blood pressure checked, and I continued to tell her "Oh, I'm fine." and "No, really, I'm ok," every time she recommended taking it easier.  Finally she figured out my martyr game and I was put on bed rest for the final stretch of pregnancy.  It was blissful.

And even though we had a pretty bad scare, equipped with an emergency c-section and weird blood sugar levels and IVs and an extended hospital stay when he was born, I did get to bring this ugly little critter home with me.

So all in all, it was worth it.

But the truth is, as much as we wanted kids that were close in age, it took me almost three years to work up to the possibility of being pregnant again.  I was terrified that my next pregnancy would be just as bad - or worse, if that was even possible.

Thankfully, though, as is often the case, my second pregnancy was a breeze, comparatively speaking.  But that's a story for a different day.

Did pregnancy kick your butt?  Or were you one of those happy, healthy glowing types during pregnancy?


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  1. "ugly little critter" <--- hahahaha! So funny. One of my best friends had that nerve issue in her leg. She tried to describe it as repetitively being stung by a bee or stabbed 24 hours a day. She was miserable. Good thing those kids are so special...otherwise we might really hate them forever for some of the crap they put us through.

    1. Exactly! It's a form of amnesia, I think. Every time my kid does something really cute, I forget just a little more about how miserable I was getting him here. And really, he WAS an ugly little critter. All those "babies are adorable" people have never seen one projectile vomit on your last clean sweatshirt and sheets at 3 in the morning.

  2. You must have been a real treat throughout your first pregnancy. I never threw up but ate everything in sight and was as big as a house. I can blame part of it on the toxemia but truthfully, I never stopped eating. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Yes, I'm sure I was a real pleasure to be around :) Thankfully it was only nine months.

  3. The joys of pregnancy... Thanks for sharing your story! Cheering for you in how you trucked through that Harry Potter night and pulled yourself up from a slump! GO YOU!

    1. Thanks for the cheers! It was pretty miserable at the time, and I'm pretty happy it's all done with now.

  4. I love it when people say "the memory of the pain of childbirth goes away when the baby is born." Because they never take into the consideration the miserableness of pregnancy. You were a rock star for getting through that time.

    1. In retrospect, I can't imagine why I didn't realize it was THAT bad. I really thought it was (mostly) normal.


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