May 30th, 2010 by

Sickness and Anxiety

I’ve spent the majority of the past 10 days thinking I was pregnant. (No, we’re not trying).  It certainly felt exactly like it, but I started my period today, so I know I’m not.

It made me think a lot.  I was terrified.  I was terrified for several reasons, but there are 2 main ones.

First, I throw up a lot when pregnant – I’m not exaggerating, my teeth are proof (2 root canals, 4 crowns and 2 fillings so far, another crown and 3 fillings on June 1st, and 22 more fillings to be completed in 3 more appointments).  With Cora, at one point I had been throwing up at least once an hour for 16 hours, and every 2 hours through the night.  I went to the ER when I started throwing up blood.  I have to be medicated my entire pregnancy, and anti-emetics make it so I only throw up 2-3 times a day (and still feel completely, horribly nauseated constantly).  The medical condition has a name: hyperemesis gravidarum.  To translate, hyper = too much; emesis is related to emit, which means “to give forth, release or discharge;” and gravidarum means relating to pregnancy.  So “throwing up a lot when pregnant.”  Or just extreme morning sickness, though I think the previous one describes it better.  I read an article a while back which spoke of hyperemesis causing post-traumatic stress disorder.  Now, people joke about having PTSD, but this is serious, psychologist-diagnosed PTSD.  I don’t know that my stress reactions are that bad, but it is definitely something that causes me serious anxiety when thinking about pregnancy.

My other issue is also something that can cause PTSD after a pregnancy: the death of the baby.  My fear of another loss is bad (but my anxiety about being that sick again is the same, they are equal).  I don’t think that people who haven’t been through it can truly appreciate it.  With Erin, we induced at 38 weeks on the dot because the thought of going to 38w1d (the gestational day we confirmed Cora died) made me break down.  With Patrick, I decided to “be strong” and wanted to go into labor on my own, when he was ready.  I made it to 39w3d.  Every night after 38w I had nightmares of the doctors telling me that he was dead, and delivering a dead baby again.  I’m actually proud of myself for making it through 10 days of that.

Will I have another baby?  Someday, yes.  Right now, I’m just not ready.  First of all, I have to get my teeth all fixed.  Secondly, I have to want another baby badly enough for 9 months of endless puking and nightmares to be worth the risk.  Right now, I don’t.  Right now, I’m content with the 2 rainbow babies I have.  The last 10 days have proved that for me.

But I have to say, I am a little teeny bit disappointed.  Mostly because I just like babies.

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