How to Behave Around A Pregnant Woman Part 1

“Common Sense Isn’t Common Anymore” is a phrase that I hear and use almost daily.  What use to make perfect sense to everyone to do or not do is not the case anymore.  People now need baby-step by baby-step instructions for everyday interactions.

Especially around pregnant women.

Now, this is just my opinion, with input from some friends, but I think most pregnant women would agree.  Here is the start of my list

Having a baby bump does NOT give you permission to rub my belly.  I mean I could go on and on, make this whole post about it but here are a few of the big reasons

  1. Personal Space.  I get it, some people are just touchy-feely and will find any excuse to hug your or whatever.  But you wouldn’t want me rubbing your non-baby belly, so why should you rub my belly.
  2. Maternal instincts.  We are growing a little human in our wombs.  That is my child.  Don’t touch my child.
  3. Sensitive Skin.  Did you know that some women actually experience sunburn like symptoms on their bellies due to the stretching.  Yea, it hurts. Don’t touch.

Don’t Call A Pregnant Woman “huge”.  We’re women.  We can be vain.  We are suppose to gain about 20 to 30 pounds in a pregnancy.  We develop swelling in random places, carry water weight and have a hard time maneuvering with our protruding bellies.  We already feel huge, you don’t need to point it out. And husbands, calling your wife fatty or even “phatty” is NEVER acceptable.

Don’t Ask “Is this your first?”  Such an uncomfortable question for so many women.  There are those who have had many miscarriages, or lost a child, that the question is just hard to answer, and it is hard for the other person to hear the answer.

Then there are those who have multiple children, and people give really weird looks when you say “It’s my 4th,” like you’re some kind of side show freak.  I hate when someone responds with “Ever hear of birth control,” or even more inappropriate “Ever think of saying no.”

Children are miracles from God, a blessing to their families.  Whether in our arms or in our hearts, every baby is precious.

Are you still sick?  Have you tried ____?” If you have HG like me, the answer is always yes.  And sometimes that’s hard for people to understand.  And then they list off things that they tried to deal with their morning sickness.  When you’ve been dealing with it for 20+ weeks, don’t you think a women would spend hours online looking up home remedies and old wives tales and try them all, just to feel better?  You really think telling me to drink Ginger Ale at 22 weeks is going to make me say “Oh gee, why didn’t I think of that?”

Don’t offer to help if you’re not going to help.  If you offer to make a pregnant women or new mom a few meals, or to come help with chores, or to watch the kids so she can sleep, and she accepts – DO IT.  If you’re not going to follow through, DON’T OFFER.  And, if she doesn’t accept – DO IT ANYWAY.  Call and say “I made an extra dish of lasagna for dinner, can I bring it over to you?”  As a mom of 3 with Hyperemesis, and a husband who works 50+ hours a week, making dinner and household chores are hard to get done.

Veggie Lasagna… takes 5 minutes to put together.

Make one for someone!

And P.O.T.S. Returns

December 2013

Had a bit of energy this week… I decided to try to make dinner myself.

BIG MISTAKE!

While attempting to put a pot of taco meat on the table to make tacos for the kids, the room started spinning.  I had enough time to get the pot on the table and get into the living room before things went dark.

I don’t know how long I was out, only a few minutes I think.  But I stayed on the floor for a while, with my feet up.  Suddenly baby was moving frantically.  I was so scared.  Thankfully my nurse was on her way.  My blood pressure was 85/55, heartbeat slightly irregular.  Definitely a NCS/POTS episode.  I hadn’t had one in months, and this was the worst.  I had to take antibiotics when I got the blood clot a few weeks ago, and from what friends and doctors told me, antibiotics can mess up the system, even weeks later… yay.

Kate told me to take it easy for the next day or so, since I’d be seeing the doctor that week.  She gave me my 3rd shot – she was right, one hip hurts more than the other!

At my appointment, I was informed that I’d probably have to go back on the IV.  Probably not long-term, not yet at least.  But enough to get me rehydrated.

I’d gained 1 pound at my appointment, a good sign.  But liquids are still a big issue, and I’m still getting sick daily.  With Thanksgiving this week, I really just want to rest and enjoy time with my family… maybe some time at Mom & Dad’s will get me back on my feet.

Surviving my first year with P.O.T.S.

December  2013

Surviving my first year with P.O.T.S.

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to eat healthier and run a 5k.    Who would’ve thought cutting out french fries and soda would darn near kill me….

I’d been diagnosed with NCS after the birth of my daughter Samantha in 2005.  I’d been exhibiting symptoms for YEARS, but because they came and went, and seemed ‘unrealistic’ to my childhood pediatrician, it was untreated.

I’d spent a few years taking Toporol and a variety of Beta Blockers, all of which were absolutely awful, and actually caused some pretty severe anxiety issues.  One morning I woke up and decided that I wasn’t going to allow the headaches and dizzy spells control my life, and I threw my pills away, in Jesus Name!

I’d been symptom free for about 3 years, a few bad days here and there, but nothing like it had been.  Then Pastor called for a church-wide Daniel Fast, and I thought it was a perfect time for me to cut my yucky soda habit.

And no, I’m not exaggerating when I say it almost killed me – started having my first ‘episode’ (considered by my neurologist to be seizures) while driving.  Not good, but I was able to pull over before things really got dark. 

I didn’t really realize what was going on.  I did a 48 hour detox water drink (water, cucumbers, lemon and mint), to help cleanse out the chemicals in my body.  It was supposed to last a week, but I couldn’t handle more than 2 days.

I switched to just water, no juice and NO SODA and still felt really dehydrated, like I was voiding more than I was taking in, when I knew I was drinking at least 70 oz each day.  Then other weird symptoms started to develop.  My word would slur, or I’d use the wrong word completely.  I’d lose focus, and would be extremely exhausted.  All this within a 1 week period.  I went to my doctor (who was a new doctor, fresh out of med school), who was testing me for diabetes, everything came back normal.

So I went to Facebook to lament.  I’m thankful I did, because a few high school classmates of mine had also recently experienced similar symptoms and had been given a diagnosis of POTS.  So I looked it up.  Sure enough, everything I’d been experiencing was right there.  So I printed out the information I found and brought it to my next appointment.  She’d heard of POTS, but was told in one lecture that covered it, that she’d likely never see a case.

As it happens, she’d had a patient come in earlier that day who also had already been diagnosed with POTS, and was picking her brain about her condition because her case reminded me a lot like mine.  My doctor told me that the brain fog and word jumbles were this other patients biggest hurdle, as she was a university professor.

The more research I did, the more people I spoke with, I realized that this was going to be another fun battle.  I needed to maintain my BP or the seizure would start again (Gotta love when the Doctor tells you to add salt and caffeine to your diet) and I needed to keep my stress levels low (Did I mention I have 3 kids?).

We tried some meds but I hated them.  The Beta blockers gave me anxieties again, and the BP meds made me exhausted.  I phased them out and trusted in Healing, because medications were not the answer.  I adjusted my diet, added salt (I honestly don’t use salt in my cooking) and enjoyed my tea and soda.  I also forced myself to drink more sports drinks (the zero calorie ones, which are gross, in my honest opinion).

I still have bad days, and I’ve learned from others with POTS and from experience what triggers can be such as antibiotics and dehydration.  I may have to deal with this condition from time to time, but I’m not going to ever let it control me.

First Images

November 2013

18 weeks, still getting sick.

I was scheduled for our mid-pregnancy ultrasound, but it had to be rescheduled due to illness.

My husband and I didn’t want to wait.  We wanted to make our announcement, we wanted a picture to show everyone. But most of all, we wanted to make sure baby was ok.

We already knew a few people expecting and due around the same time as we are (April 2014) had made their announcements early on in their pregnancy.  We hadn’t wanted to steal anyone’s thunder, but we wanted our moment too.

So on November 22, we went and had 3D/4D ultrasounds done at My Little Me.  For $70, we were really hoping for some great pictures.  However, baby kinda had other plans.  We were able to get a few cute shots, but baby was breach.  Feet right by the face for most of the session, sitting at a weird angle.  We got one cute one, though.  Not sure which sibling the new baby looks like…

Samantha, 2005
Emmalee, 2006
Steven, 2008
Baby #4

It was an emotional moment, watching our son/daughter moving around, kicking it’s feet, even waving at us.  It creeped the kids out a bit, they didn’t quite understand how we could see inside mommy’s tummy.  But there is the newest member of our family.  Even if I’m sick everyday until the day the baby is born, as long as he/she is ok, it will all be worth it.

At 19 weeks, my official ultrasound was rescheduled.  Baby still breach.  It was hard to get measurements, but we estimate around 8oz in weight.  Couldn’t really get a length.  Again, baby was active, but this time it was harder to watch.  It was like there wasn’t enough room for him/her.  More waving, lots of hiccups.  Even a yawn.  We aren’t planning on finding out the gender.  Even if we wanted to, however, the baby didn’t cooperate.  Oh well, Steve wins this time.

Thumbs Up
Big Yawn!

Shots Shots Shots!

Week 17 AKA:  my worst week yet.

Now that I’m not getting fluids through the IV, I really needed to try drinking more.  On a good day, I might get 20 oz in.  But I really needed 40-60 at least!  The Zofran helped me from getting really sick, but didn’t prevent the nausea.  The problem with it, while I could take 8mg every 8 hours, it really only gave me relief for 3 to 4 hours before it faded away.  It made for some unpleasant days at work.  The last thing I wanted was for anyone else to have to be around me when I was getting sick.

The doctor has tried to get me a prescription for Diclegis, but the insurance wouldn’t cover it.  They had some samples to give me, hoping that the insurance will cover it now, since we’ve exhausted every other option.  It took a few days, but they finally approved.

Because my 3 other children were born 2.5, 3.5 and 5.5 weeks early, the odds of baby #4 being early were pretty good.  With my son spending 10 days in the NICU, and then 2 months on an apnea monitor, I wanted to be sure to do whatever I could do to prevent another premie.

So to be proactive with this pregnancy, my doctor ordered me P17 (progesterone) weekly injections.  Yup, shots.  Every week.  For 18-20 weeks.  In the hip.  Every week.  And the medication is thick.  And it hurts.  Every week.  For the entire week until it’s time for the next one.  Granted, everyone has different pain tolerances, and my new nurse Kate said some patients say one side hurts more than the other.  But it is not pleasant.  However, the alternatives are worse, so I’ll stick with my shots.

Aside from the pain the first few days after the initial injection, I noticed my nausea wasn’t as uncomfortable.  I wasn’t getting sick at the thought of food, so I began to eat more.  Beverages were still a different story, but I was actually able to chew food for the first time since before I found out I was pregnant.  No more over-cooked pasta and mashed potatoes!

I wasn’t really sure if it was the shots or the Diclegis, so I tested it out by skipping the pills.  Bad idea.  The combination of the progesterone, Diclegis, and my Zofran all were working together.  Take anything out of the equation and I’d be asking for it!  So, now I know.

I feel really thirsty though.  I tried to drink, not just sipping like I had be, but properly drink a small glass of water.  Bad idea.  I tried juice, it stayed down, but I felt “swishy.”  From what I’m reading in a few support sites, many moms dealing with HG can’t tolerate plain water…  I wonder why that is…

Is A Baby Shower OK For Baby #4?

Going in to this pregnancy, we’d gotten rid of just about everything.

We have some outfits for each of the kids, our favorites, and the ones not ruined by spit-up. 


Any toys we’d gotten rid of because of concerns for the chemicals in the plastic.  


We don’t have a crib anymore, and the old baby carseat is long since expired.  


High chair had it’s last meal a few years ago…

So now here we are, expecting another baby.

We’ve had several friends ask us if we were going to have a baby shower… and several people tell me that if I’m thinking about having one, to not.

So I don’t know…. The last baby shower I had was for Samantha, almost 9 years ago.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to have a party; why not have one for just the baby.  I mean, we still have a few clothes, and I’ve been slowly stocking up on diapers (very slowly).

I mean, a diaper party isn’t too unreasonable, is it?  Or a casserole party?  I mean, I’m having a hard enough time feeding my family with my being so sick, what’s it going to be like once the baby’s here?  Plenty of people have asked if they could help, and we’ve accepted, but then it slipped their mind or life happened…

http://www.toysrus.com/registry/

Registry #: 52002962

Hubby and I had a few evenings to ourselves while the kids were visiting my parents, so we went and did a baby registry.  Not really planning to have a shower; it was more to see all the things that we didn’t have… it’s  a long list.   We did sign up for the Babies R Us V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) program – where was this when my other kids were little?  Friends and family can contribute to a gift card, that can be used for diapers, formula and baby food, and then Toys ‘R’ Us adds an additional 5%.

So that is the question: to have baby shower or to not have a baby shower…?  This the the response I got from a 30+ mom group on WhatToExpect.com.  Still not sure what to do…

Off the IV

November 2013

Week 16 brought a few more firsts for us.

Steve was able to feel the baby for the first time… it was an encouragement for him to know that the baby was ok.  We still haven’t made the pregnancy “Facebook Official” yet, in fact, only a handful of people know about the pregnancy at this point.  But that moment resonated with Steve, and he even posted “Felt something magical last night” on Facebook.  Call it hormones, but it choked me up when I saw that.

I began eating a bit more.  Soft, bland foods, still, but I was eating.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast, pasta for dinner.

This week, after church on Sunday, while my husband was at work I took the kids to lunch at Salsaritas (Gotta love Kids Eat Free days!).  I actually had a bit of energy to drive there, but the line was super long, and I regretted it.  But standing in line, a lady with a small child in a sling came up behind me, and said “Sorry you’ve got the PICC Line.  I had it too.”  While waiting to order, we chatted.  She had to have her IV for the entire pregnancy.  After a few months, her doctor let her unhook at night.  She told me that she too had trouble with people not understanding the symptoms.  It was encouraging for me to see that she had a healthy baby after all that stress that she’d been through.

Again: Let me break it down for you.  Have you ever had a stomach flu? or food poisoning?  It took a lot out of you, right?  You felt like you spent all day in the bathroom, right?  And the last thing you wanted was to eat or drink something, in fear of it coming back up.  But the relief you felt knowing that it’s only going to last a few days…  Yea, imagine all that, except you don’t know when it’s going to stop.  That’s HG.

Oddly enough, my nurse was off that week for my weekly dressing change, but her nurse was filling in.  She was also sharing with me some of the issues she’s seen with her patients. Again, it was really nice to know I wasn’t alone.

This week when my PICC Line dressing was changed, something felt off.  Usually, it doesn’t hurt, but later that day, I started feeling some pain.  I texted my regular nurse, and she came over the next night.  My arm (which is measured weekly) had swollen over the 24 hours from the dressing change.  And was very warm to the touch.  She sent me to the ER.

After 3 hours of waiting, blood tests and an ultrasound of my arm, I got my diagnosis.  Blood Clot!  Yay.  So my PICC Line had to come out.  I had 10 days of antibiotics to take, plus heating pads to the swollen arm, but no IV, no fluids.

As annoyed as the bag made me at times, I needed it.  At least I knew that on my worst days, that baby was getting what it needed.  Now, I don’t have that comfort.

The days following the IV coming out were some of the worst.  My nurse told me that many HG moms start to feel relief after week 16, but that week, it didn’t seem I was going to be one of those moms.