I left you all at week 23 of my pregnancy, and now, when I look back, I wish I could be in so much comfort and bliss! Month 6 was amazing.
In January, my husband and I went to Mexico, and although I couldn’t enjoy the benefits of an all-inclusive bar, I ate my weight in food! It was challenging to find activities permitted for pregnant people: most of the bigger organizations that ran activities had a blanket “No Pregnant Women Allowed” on all tours. Even though I was fit and active, there were no exceptions. So I reached out to smaller organizations and managed to do a number of activities while we were in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This included some fun trips to the desert and trying our hands at cactus farming, as well as getting out of the touristy big city and exploring some smaller villages. My absolute favourite was when I found a provider that would let me swim with whale sharks—yes, the giant, endangered gentle giants of the sea. I’m not going to lie; it was tough. You need to be a good swimmer, and coming from Australia, that is a must, but some from our group struggled in the choppy waters while trying to keep up with these massive, beautiful creatures. I’m still so stoked that I got to do this while pregnant!
Right at the end of Month 6, I surprised my husband, Ryan, with his parents who had come up from Vancouver Island. It was incredible that, for months, we all managed to keep it a surprise, and it was so great seeing him lost for words and so excited to see them after Christmas in 2021.
Their trip was to come and see little Maverick (on the 3D ultrasound) at iSpy Baby 3D Ultrasound in Whitehorse. It was incredible to finally see his face, and it actually made it seem so much more real. He actually looks like a human, which is a good thing I suppose. But still, I actually realized I was going to be a mom, and that was a rather terrifying thought.
All was going so well. I went cross-country skiing and hiking. Baby was doing great and there was nothing but blue skies and happy “unicorn rainbows” as I thought I was the most awesome pregnant person in the world.
Then week 30 came and my belly expanded. Breathing became laborious, even when doing the smallest task, and my back was in excruciating pain from being at work. I no longer had the energy to do anything like walk or cross-country ski, and slowly and surely my mental health broke away and I slipped into a huge depression.
Even though I take antidepressants (yes, even during pregnancy), I still have depressive events. They usually aren’t long and there isn’t much anyone can do about them. You just have to kind of hold on through them. But this depression was severe and lasted days. The only reason I ate was because I knew the baby needed to eat, but I had lost all joy in life and was feeling like a “meat-sack incubator” whose sole purpose for existing was to keep this baby alive. And then I felt I couldn’t do that well.
I felt that my lack of exercise, my inability to cope with my body’s changes and my poor diet of KD (Kraft Dinner) and cereal, showed that I was a terrible mother. I felt so trapped. I couldn’t just “put the baby down,” tell my husband to take care of him and then go have a beer and break at Winterlong. No, I was trapped for 10 more weeks of feeling useless and stuck. I engaged in therapy, and my medication was increased.
Slowly I came out of the depression.
After days of being bedridden, I knew I needed to at least try to go for a short walk, but of course my body had other ideas. All of a sudden I had sharp pain in my lower left hip—so excruciating that, with any movement or position, I was in constant pain. I went to the hospital, after two days of pain, and was given morphine and told that this hormone Relaxin was basically turning my ligaments to mush. So, at 31 weeks, the only way to relieve this pain was to have the baby, but the baby was not “cooked” enough yet. So all I could do was try Tylenol, a bath, stretching …
I managed to see a physio and a registered massage therapist and found that my SI joint had basically given up on me. So, in addition to a belly belt, to relieve my back pain, I now had a hip belt to put compression on this joint. I lived for a week being attached to ice packs, heat packs and multi baths, each day. I don’t even want to think about what our electric bill will look like!
Eventually I could move again, without screaming in agony, and could get out walking. Although it is still painful, the pain went from a 10 to about a five, which, to me, is liveable.
At this stage I was done with pregnancy.
If you can’t guess by now, I hate pregnancy. I know that women spend thousands to get pregnant, and many find it joyous. I do not. I hate pregnancy, and even though it’s “only a few weeks away,” it’s agony getting through every day as my body seems to shut down.
I made a decision that I want my body back and that I want to bottle feed my baby. I don’t want to be latched twenty-four seven to this kid, and fail at that too. Feeling like a future “milk sack” made me feel, again, like I wasn’t going to be a good mom.
All the media tells you is that you’re supposed to breastfeed, and if you don’t, your baby is going to be dumb and sad. I was terrified to tell my husband, but when I did, he said “That’s okay. Why would you be scared to tell me that?”
I realized I had built in my head that my expectations of myself as a mother are more debilitating than reality and that I need to have a better assumption of my husband’s understanding and ability. He has come to every appointment and has been there for every complaint. He can’t wait to be a dad and wants to support me in being the best mom I can be.
So I finally started moving around again. Breathing was still difficult and walking was improving, even with the back and hip pain. And then, at week 32, I got sharp upper-quadrant pain and a blistering headache. We went to the maternity ward and the baby was checked over. He was (and is) completely happy, but my body is making no sense to the doctors. I have quite-low blood pressure, so although high protein in urine and all of the other symptoms pointed to pre-eclampsia, I can’t have it with a low BP. So, after making sure the baby and I were fine, we went home with a BP machine to monitor my blood pressure, each day, to ensure that pre-eclampsia wasn’t developing.
Two days later, at week 33, I was working from home and rushed to answer the door. By rushed, it was probably more of a penguin waddle (but down stairs), and as I turned to go up the stairs, I collapsed. Seeing white spots and unable to move my legs, I army-crawled to the bedroom to get my phone and call my husband. I sat waiting for him, and in-between falling and his arrival, I couldn’t feel Maverick move. I was shaking him and his usual squirmy self. I was literally gasping for air from crying, begging him to move.
Ryan rushed us to the maternity ward where they put the doppler on my belly and I heard Maverick’s heartbeat. I sobbed in relief. He was alive. You could also hear the “swooshing” (meaning that he was moving). I just couldn’t feel those movements. He was okay. Of course he was okay … this kid is tough as frigging nails!
They checked me over and determined that I must have had a vasovagal syncope episode where my blood pressure dropped so low that I passed out. There’s not much you can do about that, other than to get up slowly, drink more water and take electrolytes. I’m not sure how I can increase the already two litres of water daily, and probably another two litres of other liquid intake, per day—but sure … I could try.
Now, instead of peeing 20 times a day, it’ll probably be 50.
It was a scary episode and was the first time the doctors had mentioned an earlier delivery. It was kind of met with relief to hear that “April 26” may come sooner … I just know that the longer I can keep him in there, the better it will be.
So, as much as I feel like a failure as his incubator, he’s perfectly healthy. As much as I feel like a whining complainer, my son is growing strong and healthy. I just hope I can survive however many weeks I have left until he’s out and I’m not the only one in charge of keeping him alive.
It’s hard to feel like there is anything happy to look forward to. I’m terrified for birth and terrified for postpartum. Then I’m terrified to be responsible for parenting a boy into a man.
I guess this is my new life now, always putting someone else before myself. It’s a strange feeling for someone like me who is rather selfish. My biggest fear is that I won’t like him or what might happen if he’s an asshole. Apparently, as a mother, you have to overlook these things, so I guess I gotta get through this last little part intact and hope that he can stay inside for a few more weeks!