I’ve spent the entirety of the last two and a half years trying to conceive, pregnant, or immediately post-partum. During that time, I’ve been pregnant three times for nearly 20 months in total. 20 months pregnant – that’s about equal to the gestation period of an elephant. I recognize that I’m lucky in a number of ways – we’ve been able to conceive three times and carry to term (almost) twice. I’m thankful for that. AND, along with being thankful, I’m exhausted. Completely physically and emotionally exhausted.
I didn’t quite realize how tired I was until last month when my doctors were worried about gestational diabetes. For a week, I checked my blood sugar four times a day and tried to understand how my body was processing the foods I was eating. I learned that I still don’t have gestational diabetes, but the exercise was just a slight exaggeration of the normal mindset of being pregnant or trying to conceive. How is this food/exercise/activity going to affect my child? Is this helping or hurting the goal of having a healthy baby? Forget about whether I want a giant bowl of ice cream or not, is the sugar good for baby? No, stick with some fresh fruit.
On one hand I felt reassured by double (read: triple/quadruple) checking. On the other hand I started feeling really angry. Angry that I have to keep the emotional eating in check to make sure baby is healthy. Angry that I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing enough to keep myself physically and emotionally healthy. Angry that I’ve been doing this for so long and have yet to hold my own crying, wiggling baby. Angry that I also tried to do everything right with Arthur and it didn’t make a difference.
This week, my normally healthy blood pressure crept up into the hypertensive range and I’m really scared.
I had a few high blood pressure readings towards the end of my pregnancy with Arthur but I never had any other signs of preeclampsia. I remember being nervous, but it was much easier to trust that everything was OK back then. This time, not only are my doctors watching extra closely, but I feel the need to be hyper aware of every ache and pain so I can raise alarms quickly if I develop any signs of complications.
With every other potential complication throughout this pregnancy, I’ve had the energy to say, “Ok, what can we do about this? How can I minimize the risk through diet/exercise/vigilance?” This is the first one that I just feel defeated. Before this, I could sympathize with the moms who feel like baby is safer out than in towards the end of their pregnancies. Now, I can empathize. I want to give my baby girl a little more time, but it’s getting really hard to trust that all is well in there… and I’m just really tired.
Fortunately, all of my lab work came back clean (including a 24 hour urine test – super fun). Based on those results and a few follow up blood pressure readings in the normal range, my doctors to believe that I’m just tired and anxious right now. Go figure.
We’ll keep watching closely, but there’s no need to check into the hospital and have this baby today. She gets a little more time.
So my husband and I spent this weekend intensively engaged in self-care – my favorite breakfast place, new sheets for our bed, a little bit of gardening, TV and pizza, and a long slow waddle with our dogs in the woods. I’m happy to report that I’m feeling a little better, a little more rested, and a little more optimistic about being able to finish these last few weeks strong.
I’m still not sure if I’ll enthusiastically run across the finish line of this pregnancy, brave and triumphant, or if I’ll need to be carried across by my ever supportive husband and our vigilant doctors. This week reminded me that an urgent and slightly scary ending to this pregnancy is a very real possibility. But I’m not surrendering quite yet and as long as my baby girl gets there safely, I suppose it doesn’t matter how we arrive… I’ll keep you posted.