A Northern Pregnancy

So it’s official: I’m pregnant! Yep, the Aussie girl (who said and wrote, for years, that she would never have kids) is having a kid! So what have been the ups and downs of being pregnant in the remote northern Canadian wilderness of the Yukon?

Pre-pregnancy

Let’s just say I’m no spring chicken. At 36 years old, there’s only so many fertile years left, and with a much younger husband, I didn’t want to be a grandma while my kid was growing up. My husband Ryan and I agreed, “OK, let’s see if kids are in our future.” 

We removed any conception barriers and figured let’s see if it happens or it doesn’t. Either way, we’re happy with or without.

However, we obviously wanted to make sure that we were trying so we could know if we were able or not able to have kids. We knew we didn’t want to spend lots of money, so if we couldn’t biologically have one ourselves, then we would have to accept that it would just be us … and lots and lots of dogs. Which was totally OK.

But to confirm we were, in fact, biologically able, we did ovulation testing every month.

Then, boom! Within three months the double lines appeared on the pregnancy test. Ryan and I were shocked and stoked. We started planning what our lives would be like—maternity and paternity leave, the kid’s room, what school they would go to …

Then one morning, almost six weeks in, there was blood. My heart fell. We went to the emergency room and multiple tests confirmed a miscarriage was happening. Nothing could be done. 

We went home and, for the next week, I was a shell of myself. I had no motivation for life.

It was a tough experience for Ryan and I. It broke my heart having something taken away before you really got a chance to have it.

At first I was too depressed to deal with anything and was telling Ryan, “I can’t do that again.”

But as most women know, our hormones can sometimes rule our lives, and I realized I actually did want to have a baby. That’s why I cared so much about losing it.

So we kept trying.

Rainbow Baby

“The name ‘rainbow baby’ comes from the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time” (https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/rainbow-baby).

The first month

August 16, my period was a day late. I tested and the double lines came up. I was pregnant! Excitement briefly washed over me—but then, also fear and dread. How can I be excited when it may not stick? I asked myself.

At this stage of four weeks, a pregnancy test is the only confirmation that there is even something going on inside your body. I was so afraid that anything I would do would hurt the baby. So I stopped all my crazy adventures, stopped drinking alcohol and started eating healthier. I called Solstice Maternity and applied for a midwife, to hopefully alleviate some concerns that I had … Each day I would go to the bathroom, expecting blood. 

The second month

At week five, I spoke with the doctor and midwife and was relieved to hear I could exercise and do other things. My intense fear of another miscarriage was subdued because most women go on to have a healthy baby after a miscarriage. Doesn’t exactly still prevent you from worrying. But there isn’t much you can do if it happens again.

So, my really crazy adventures were still on hold, but at least I could do some exercise—so many, many hikes of Fish Lake and Grey Mountain!

I really wanted a midwife but I also wanted to make sure that if there were complications, or if I needed a doctor, that it was possible. And it is! They work together to help ensure that you have the healthiest pregnancy possible. I wanted longer appointment times and a direct line to my baby deliverer, and postpartum care. My fear is that I will have postpartum depression, with my already-medicated anxiety and depression, and that Ryan would be stuck with a baby at home and with me unable to help.

The midwife service is new in Whitehorse but has highly qualified women who love babies and you! It’s great to have the options of who will help you and how you want to have your baby. My response to home birth was, “I want a hospital and all the drugs.” My midwife laughed and made a note.

At six weeks, the only symptoms I had were irrational crying (for no reason) and exhaustion. Like, when I say exhaustion, I mean I’m sitting on the couch and the next minute I wake up foggy and dazed and realize I’ve been asleep for two hours. And I hope I’m one of the 20 per cent of women who don’t experience nausea.

However, in week seven I was not so lucky and the nausea hit like a ton of bricks. I was debilitated and the only way to relieve the nausea was to lay down in certain positions. It was exhausting. How do women get through work or their day like this? I called the midwife, who said, “I’m writing you a prescription. It’s no way to live.” And within a day of taking the medication, the nausea was gone. Miraculous, miraculous drugs!

The third month

Ultrasound! Yes, it was time to check on the baby and see if it was alive at nine weeks. This was the first step to confirming that everything was actually going OK. I mean, my boobs hurt just sitting, my belly looked like I constantly ate a big lunch, I napped all the time while still getting 10 hours of sleep at night, and I randomly cried on weird occasions. So I figured it was still alive, and when we went in for the ultrasound, we got to see the little “kidney bean” and its flickering heart.

It suddenly felt pretty real.

Depression hit me pretty hard. Not wanting to move or do anything, feeling like a meat sack, being drained of all my life energy by this “blood-sucking, food-stealing kidney bean.” It was pretty bleak. Luckily, my doctor is amazing and helped me through it. Not going to lie, it felt awful. But addressing the problem quickly resulted in getting out of that funk, quickly, and onto 11 weeks successfully. Although the exhaustion still made me less active than I would like, the midwife just kept telling me that there would be this “magical” day in my second trimester and that life would be good. I can’t wait!

Whoever said that pregnancy was beautiful or glowing clearly never experienced it. It’s basically feeling like you’re a lazy whale that’s always exhausted—and everything hurts. It continues with nausea so debilitating that you kind of wish that the random crying fits (for no reason) would come more often to distract you from it. But the worst thing is not being able to tell people—because miscarriage and the possibility of genetic issues linger over you—so you can’t even be excited for it because you don’t know if you will get to keep it. Basically, you’re emotionally and physically in pieces, but you can’t talk to anyone about it. It’s the loneliest and most-uncomfortable place to be.The first trimester sucks, seriously!

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