Man, it’s tough being considered a normal pregnant person after loss and expensive treatments! It’s been a whole week since my last ultrasound, and I’ve been spoiled with weekly ultrasounds and regular appointments since November. I won’t have another until the Nuchal Translucency scan on May 5th — a whole 2½ weeks away!
With no proof of heartbeat to reassure me, I have a new tactic to separate anxiety from Something Is Wrong: if I sit quietly, I can feel a diffuse warmth in my lower abdomen that feels like life unfurling. Sometimes there is the sensation of a tickle-scratch on the inside of my uterus.
I imagine lots of women who have miscarried before might take comfort in usual pregnancy symptoms. Oh, I have them alright, but because mine was a missed miscarriage — one that ended silently, with no cramping and show of blood — I don’t put too much stock in symptoms. (But unlike women whose pregnancies ended with a sudden show of blood, I am not a habitual loo paper inspector; nor have I been freaked out by the tiny amount of spotting from the progesterone pessaries which irritate my cervix.) Although symptoms are less intense some days than they are others, I haven’t had this uneasy feeling that something is wrong like I did last time. For as long as I don’t feel like something is wrong, I tell myself that all must be well, even if I don’t believe it.
However little reassurance actual symptoms give me, I still take delight in my changing body. (Well, except for the dry, red skin on my face and the fine dehydration lines that persist in spite of guzzling over two litres of water a day.) My breast tenderness comes and goes, and the girls have a network of green veins they didn’t before. My nipples are darker, and their edges are blurred. Strangely, their skin is dry and flaky, so I’ve taken to moisturising the girls once a day, along with my belly.
I have the beginnings of a bump that even my friend, E, noticed a couple of weeks ago. When we met up again a week later, she noticed a difference. This is perhaps the most exciting change in my body of all! What used to be a flat area between my hipbones is now slightly convex, which in turn pushes farther out the pouch of fat around my navel. I can still fit into my jeans, but am more comfortable fastening them with a hairband. And I’m wearing baggy t-shirts, a style I haven’t worn since I was a grunge-y teenager. And, like a teenager, I’m sleeping a lot — about nine hours at night, and a two-hour afternoon nap if I can squeeze it in (the perks of working from home part-time). No wonder I haven’t been blogging as much! The fatigue is overwhelming at times. I read that my body is using more energy at rest than someone who is doing a work-out! I believe it — I haven’t been this exhausted since I had glandular fever (mono) in 1997.
But there is one symptom which brings me some comfort: Morning (and After Dinner) Sickness! I have never been so glad to feel so shitty in my life. Even DH grins when I am ashen. I’ve taken to eating a Ritz cracker or fig newton when I get up to pee around 4am, which takes the edge off the nausea. I haven’t thrown up yet, although I’ve come close a couple of times. My main problem is a new-found aversion to most food and not being able to eat before noon. Fish is out of the question, as is anything that smells fishy — like the edamame that MIL heated up the other day. I’m occasionally willing to eat some chicken. I’m not even into my morning cup of (now herbal) tea, preferring a yoghurt drink instead. And, most unusual for me, I have gone off my beloved evening treat of a few squares of dark chocolate. I get by on goat yoghurt, cheese strings (thanks, Josey!), beans, oranges, vegetables, and the healthiest junk food I can find (carrot & sweet potato crisps, unsweetened fig newtons, Kashi cookies).
Slowly, slowly, I’m beginning to relax into this pregnancy a little, even going so far as to take my first belly shot and buy myself my first pregnancy-related items (Preggie Pops and Earth Mama Morning Wellness Tea): in just two weeks’ time, I will stop taking all the hormones that are sustaining this pregnancy because the placenta will have taken over. And what a milestone that will be! I don’t mind taking six extra pills a day, but I will be very pleased to stop the pessaries. Apart from what looks like a baking soda experiment in your knickers (pantiliners, how I have come to love thee), progesterone up your hooha twice a day (several hours after taking the estrogen, often inconvenient) causes a burning discomfort to the point where I asked my nurse practitioner to check for a yeast infection. (I was mildly disappointed because it means there’s nothing to take for it!)
It’s incredible to me to think that in two weeks’ time I will be in my second trimester. It’s not a finish line by any means, but I’m so looking forward to reaching that milestone, when risk of miscarriage drops sharply, when I don’t have to skulk around avoiding questions, when I can start learning how to be a normal pregnant person, encouraged by a swelling belly and the first sensations of movement.
But I have to take things day by day. Today I am 10 weeks’ pregnant, and so grateful for this little date-sized human who I hope is still growing inside me.