This post runs the risk of sounding ungrateful. I’m not. I am super excited about my soon-to-arrive baby girl. But I also feel like it’s important to talk about the downright crappy sides to pregnancy so that expectant parents going through tough times don’t feel alone. So here we go:
Pregnancy has been the worst experience of my life and I’m not even the one pregnant. Here are but a few of the reasons our pregnancy has been hell:
The excruciating way we found out
Those of you who read Jammie’s far better-written blog will know that the way we found out she was pregnant was pretty horrific in itself. Short version: Jammie broke a bone in her foot by falling into a well-trafficked Bangkok street. At the ER she had the presence of mind to ask for a pregnancy test before an X-ray and BINGO: We found out we were going to be parents.
Jammie’s limited mobility meant that, on top of adjusting to all the discomforts of being pregnant for the first time, she was also on crutches since we decided that getting a wheelchair was not a practical solution given the lack of wheelchair access in Bangkok. For the first several weeks we were in the hospital every few days running up all kinds of hospital bills, either with an orthopedic specialist monitoring Jammie’s foot or a precarious pregnancy (more on that below). Not fun.
An instantly fire-able doctor
As if Jammie’s broken foot was not enough painful punishment, within a week of our discovery that she was pregnant, she was actively bleeding (not spotting). We rushed to the hospital and the awful doctor (who we ditched after our first appointment) yelled at Jammie for asking questions and helpfully informed us that she had experienced a “threatened abortion.” For those of you lucky enough not to know what that means, a threatened abortion is a term used to describe vaginal bleeding within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy that could indicate risk of miscarriage.
I felt dizzy when we got that horrible news. Jammie and I had gone from complete elation the week before at the news of the pregnancy to utter despair when we realized that we were at real risk of losing our baby.
I don’t deal well with 20 minutes of nausea. Jammie has routinely dealt with stretches of misery that have lasted longer than a week. In fact, most of the first trimester was one long nausea fest punctuated by more than the occasional sleepless night (read: Jammie felt too horrible to sleep.). The only silver lining to the first-trimester nausea? Jammie “only” threw up once.
Shockingly, this magical cocktail of sleep deprivation, nausea, major pregnancy scares and incompetent medical personnel — all fused with the incredible uncertainty of simply not having any answers because this is our first pregnancy— has a way of affecting your mood. And not only does it affect Jammie’s overall temperament, it stresses me out because I feel powerless to help with some things. Let’s just say that there have been a lot of mutual apologies so far. We have a lifetime to go but the last several months have been a crash course in maturity acquisition.
A Little Perspective
Luckily, little Journie has hung in there and she is due in about seven weeks. She has stuck with us through thick and thin and we are sure that one glimpse of her will provide complete perspective on all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that led up to her birth. Even now, the mere sound of her heartbeat at our prenatal hospital visits makes us feel all warm inside. As our apartment gradually starts to fill up with baby gear and we talk about how surreal it is that we are about to officially +1 the Karlman party, we are barely able to process the fact that our first pregnancy has almost reached full term. And then (as my friends-with-kids love to remind us), the Journie really begins!