Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Body Hates Pregnancy

I was around 4 months along when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. There had been no signs or symptoms prior to that. There was no morning sickness or weight gain. There weren't even missed periods. By 5 months, I had gained a total of 5 pounds. At about 7 months, I got dizzy & lightheaded, vomited blood, and almost passed out. It was also about that time that I stopped being able to keep down solid foods. The last two months of the pregnancy, I couldn't eat anything more solid than ice cream. I was walking 5 miles a day until just a few weeks before I had her, despite having Braxton Hicks contractions for the last month to month & a half of the pregnancy. That was the closest to a healthy pregnancy I've ever had.

My pregnancy with my son was no picnic. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I started to bleed. That lead to bed rest. I was on & off bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I also started to suffer from widespread, unexplained pain. Years after my son was born, it was decided that the pain was the onset of Fibromyalgia. My placenta was in the wrong place. I actually lost my job due to my absences from work because of the pain & illness. At 23 weeks, I went to the doctor, after a night of pain so horrible that I could not sleep at all. My doctor did an exam and found that my cervix had thinned, I had started to dilate, and my water bag was bulging. I was sent directly to the hospital, where I was immediately admitted. They gave me Magnesium Sulfate to stop contractions, even though I was not having contractions. They told me that it was possible, though not likely, that the Magnesium Sulfate may cause fluid build-up in my lungs & around my heart. I was quickly transferred to another hospital, one that had a better High-Risk Mom's Unit & better NICU. Not long after getting there, breathing became very difficult. They found fluid build-up in my lungs & around my heart. I told them the other hospital said that was a possibility from the Magnesium Sulfate, but they were certain that I had pneumonia. So, I was transferred to the ICU. They decided to give me Zithromax. I told them I can't take that antibiotic. It causes violent, uncontrollable vomiting. They figured I'd be fine getting it in IV form, since I didn't have a 'real allergy' to it. My body really hates Zithromax. I would get huge, red welts at the IV site & they had to move the IV every day or two. They refused to take me off the Zithromax, though, insisting that I had pneumonia. I was on that antibiotic for 10-14 days (I don't remember if it was 10 days or 2 weeks). I was eventually moved back to the High-Risk Mom's Unit, once they were sure I was out of danger from the pneumonia I didn't have (I have had pneumonia since then & can say with absolute certainty that what I had in the hospital was not pneumonia). I had steroids shot into me to help develop his lungs, in case he came early. I had shots to help prevent blood clots. Luckily, I'm not afraid of needles. Though, I will admit that I came to really hate needles during that pregnancy. I had bruises all over my belly & hips from the shots. Spending all day in bed didn't help the widespread pain. They did some form of test on me every day. The hospital food tasted like plastic. My daughter was staying with my dad & step-mom, due to my husband's work schedule. Even better, I was admitted mere days before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, that was not our best holiday season. After 5 weeks in the hospital, my son decided he was ready, and my water broke. The night my water broke, the doctors were still calling it 27 weeks. So, it was technically the very beginning of 28 weeks that he was born. Just prior to heading into the delivery room, the doctor did an ultrasound to make sure my son was still in the right position. During the ultrasound, my son turned sideways & tried to come out arm first. They rushed me off to an operating room, knocked me out, and did an emergency C-section. (I just did a post about my son's NICU stay, if you want to read that.) After surgery, I got to see my son for a few minutes before being taken to a room of my own. Then, they found that I had a fever. They wouldn't allow me to see my son while they figured out why I had a fever. It turned out my fever was caused by an inter-uterine infection. Luckily, some of my family members are wonderful. They came and celebrate Christmas with us in my hospital room. It was not an ordinary Christmas, but it may have been when I felt the most loved & most blessed - my loved ones gathered in the hospital to share the holiday with me. I finally got to go home just about a week after my son was born, after a stay of about 6 weeks total in the hospital. That was my 2nd healthiest pregnancy.

Between my daughter and my son, I was pregnant 2 other times. With the first of those, I also had unexplained, widespread pain. I was unable to eat, starting at about 4 weeks along. Sometimes, I was lucky if I could keep down water. I repeatedly ended up in the hospital dehydrated, from vomiting everything I attempted to eat or drink. My doctor kept telling me I was fine, everything was fine. He lied. He didn't want me to know the truth, because he didn't want to risk me having an abortion. He is Catholic and allowed his religious beliefs to cloud his judgement. He put my life at risk, because he didn't approve of what he assumed I'd do if he told me the truth. I lost weight during the pregnancy. I was not eating, so my body was eating my muscles to give the nutrition to the baby. I lost muscle mass & got weaker day by day. I was certain I was going to die, but stupidly believed the medical professional I should have been able to trust. At 4 1/2 months, I was at home alone. I was in excruciating pain. I crawled to the phone & called my mom. I told her I was dying and asked her to come get me. She took me to the ER, where I learned the truth. I was diagnosed as severely dehydrated and starving, not surprising since I hadn't kept food down for 3 1/2 months by that point. They did an ultrasound, yet another one I wasn't allowed to see (they had not allowed me to see any of them during that pregnancy). The ER doctor said he had done the ultrasound to check on problems from previous ultrasounds. I asked what problems. This was when I was informed  about the hemorrhage & abnormalities. It turns out, not only were my fears that the pregnancy would kill me totally correct, but the baby wasn't healthy at all either. The next day, I saw my doctor & confronted him about keeping these things from me. He tried to claim that he thought we'd talked about it. I dropped him as my doctor, of course. I saw another doctor and had the pregnancy terminated. The next pregnancy was a repeat of the one prior, but it was terminated sooner.

I am not ashamed that I had abortions. I would not have survived to bring either to term. Neither baby would have made it. I already had a child at home that needed me, and I couldn't leave her without a mom. My life was in danger, and I made a decision. Some people may judge me for that, but that is their problem, not mine. I did what I had to do, and do not apologize for it.