It’s been such a crazy ride so far. When I visit my doctor, he jokes that we can’t have it easy. At this point, I’m seriously just glad he’s willing to work with my complicated medical history!
Around the end of 2019, amidst an extra annoying bout of pain from my fibroids, I got the inkling that I needed to make a more serious change in my life. Dieting hadn’t worked for pain management or inflammation, birth control hadn’t worked, CBD oil turned out to be a joke for me, and surgery seemed pretty much off the table since I had lost my insurance in October, so I was kind of running out of ideas. My best option for the time being was exercise. And from December until the end of June, I worked out five days a week consistently and found some alleviation and escapism from problems I couldn’t properly deal with quite yet.
I remained stagnant for a while with an itching in the back of my head that I needed some real change. If missing one work out meant being thrown back into a pain cycle, maybe I wasn’t managing my symptoms as great as I originally thought.
The universe seemed to brighten a little for me when, in March, I was able to get insurance under my dad again until I’m 26 and I have never been more grateful for any news. I began shopping around for doctors and finding out the doctor who delivered my son in the first place was in our network.
A decision had been made in my mind. I was either going to get a hysterectomy or try to get pregnant one last time (considering pregnancy last time around was a breeze for me lol). Of course I talked it over with my fiancé and we went from there… which brings us closer to the present.
In mid June we found out we were expecting. Guess the hysterectomy was going to have to wait! Two pregnancy tests and a visit to the doctor later, I was between 7 and 8 weeks along at the end of June.
I’ve been fortunate that, despite the pandemic, I can have one other person go to my doctors appointments with me. I’ve been following other pregnant women who can’t even have one person with them when they go to the doctor. We have to wear masks and get screened upon arrival, but I’m lucky to be in a low populated area due to current circumstances.
I have to go in once a month just to make sure everything’s growing normally due to my fibroids and their location. The term “high risk” is terrifying in what feels like your first pregnancy. I cling to the idea that high risk just means they watch more closely, but sometimes, if I think too hard about giving birth, I have flashbacks of the last go around or a worse scenario than last time. It makes me wonder if I’m strong enough to do it again if I have to. For my babies, I think I am.
(If you don’t know what happened last time here’s the story.)
On top of having fibroids, when I got my first blood test we found out I was exposed to Kell positive blood (I’m naturally Kell negative) when I had a blood transfusion after my last c section. That means I formed anti-Kell antibodies which could fight my unborn baby’s possibly Kell positive blood cells through the placenta – so now I have to be monitored for that. I remember I was camping when I got the “urgent” test result. I couldn’t get any other info until after a long weekend. That was tough. [My doctor explained it to me similarly but probably much more eloquently and I fact checked from this source (https://www.thebump.com/a/kell-factor)]
At around 21 weeks I had to go to a larger hospital for imaging to make sure the baby wasn’t anemic because of this. Luckily, everything seemed to be perfectly fine with the baby! The geneticist ordered Micah’s blood to be taken as well, in case his blood has the kell antigen in it, but it doesn’t! If it did, we were looking at having to have a procedure done through amniocentesis. I was only worrying about that for a few days before we got results. I still have to go to the high risk doctor every couple of weeks for monitoring of blood and fibroids, but I’m willing to drive the two hours to make sure everything is good.
Everything is already so different from last time. All the symptoms I “missed” before are here. I got the almost all day morning sickness for a few weeks. My system couldn’t bear being even kind of hungry or my body would reject basically all food from that point on. I was on an oatmeal, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, crackers, ramen noodles and chips kind of diet. Thankfully, now that I’m farther along, the only things I don’t eat are beef and pork or I suffer later. Shrimp and chicken are my main sources of protein now, but I’m happy to go without and have been eating quinoa at lunch to get protein other ways.
There’s another thing that I couldn’t eat earlier on in pregnancy: garlic. In what sick world can I not have garlic? I’m the kind of person who sees garlic in recipes and uses it as a suggestion to add about 10 times that. I couldn’t do that for a while. Lately, though, things have started turning around and I’ve been adding garlic back into my cooking. The only time the smell bothers me is when I smell it on my family later and feel a little queasy, but it’s nothing near what I dealt with before.
Since I wasn’t eating much meat, I wasn’t able to work out which was kind of a bummer, but paired with the constant urge to nap, I survived. In the last couple weeks I was able to start doing band workouts at home and have been loving the feeling of using my muscle again.
During my mostly vegetarian phase of pregnancy I had been looking into protein powders. According to someone online, their midwife told them protein powders make your unborn baby’s bones grow too quickly and too dense. After I talked to my doctor, I don’t google things like that anymore.
I know I’m complaining, but I’m so happy to have been able to get pregnant. Following the stories of many other women with reproductive issues has put it into perspective just how lucky I am.
I really wanted to be able to give Pax a best friend for life the way my brother is for me. Plus, I’m sure it will give him some much needed practice with sharing. We’re also working on him being gentle both with me and for a future fragile infant to be in our home. I love my son more than life itself, but he gives me a new bruise once a week.
Everyone around me has been so positive about this and surprised. I’m always grateful and aware of how lucky I am to have such strong support. The women around me have vast amounts of wisdom in pregnancy and Micahs sister, Lisa, shares her nurse knowledge with me often – especially when medical terms are tossed my way that I don’t fully understand.