Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Post I Hoped I Would Write

Well, I'm pregnant. I'm almost halfway through, in fact. I've waited and waited to write this post. I even started it twice. I titled this it just after finding out I was pregnant. My hopes were high, though I still was armed with my defenses. After a year of researching, changing eating habits, and figuring out what my body is specifically deficient in; after 6 months of triple Juice Plus, magnesium baths, and body work; after 2 months of focused emotional and spiritual healing, correcting mineral imbalances, and getting physically fit all unfolded like clockwork. 

Everything I've ever read says "you can't have pregnancy symptoms prior to implantation", but I do. Almost immediately that stomach ache started. Like there was a rock in my stomach. I had thought I was pregnant, so perhaps it was all in my head. A negative test changed that for me, yet the stomach upset continued with added heartburn. Maybe it was a weird stomach bug, I thought. Very confused, I continued on correcting my mineral imbalances. 

Then, by complete surprise, we got a positive pregnancy test. I guess I had tested too early (though I tested later than when I got my first + with #2, and I'm precise with dates). From there my energy slowly decreased, my hair started falling out, and right on cue at 5 weeks, the nausea started. The all day, all night nausea. I managed this for a week, tweaking this and that to find out what would work, getting acupuncture, guided psychological trauma release from my previous pregnancies...but it didn't help. 

I was devastated. That first night that I couldn't shake the nausea, I was so sad. Do you know what it's like to stare 9 months of suffering in the face? Wondering how many IVs I'll need this time? Wondering who's going to take care of my kids so my husband can work because I can't get off the couch? Praying I could wake up and NOT wonder if food or water will stay down today? Wondering what kind of depression it's going to cause this time and how long will it last? It's a special kind of Hell. 

After that first night the devastation passed and I found hope and put on my (weak) game face. There were multiple things I still hadn't tried yet and a couple things were already in the mail to me. There were still blood tests I could have drawn. It could last a shorter duration this time. All was not lost. 

After a week of the nausea, came the sickness. I couldn't move off the couch or cook food or play or walk for more than 10 minutes. I lost what feels like 1/4th of my hair. I binged on Gilmore Girls (because what else can you do?).  I discovered if I ate constantly I was less likely to throw up, which illuminated a low blood-sugar/fast-metabolism problem. So I focused on eating (and water, of course). There was a direct correlation between amount of food in my stomach and likelihood of vomiting. I started Unisom this week as well. 

Then my Lugol's liquid iodine arrived, and I managed to keep this down with grape juice. This would kill any h. Pylori as well as support my thyroid. I can't say I noticed any improvement while on this, but it certainly didn't hurt. 

At 7 weeks what I nicknamed My Last Hope arrived in the mail: Sublingual Adrenal Extract. And it worked! :D For a day. :'( But for that one day I was off the couch and cleaning my church. I did notice that when I took the extract, my face would stop breaking out. So even now, if I notice my face breaking out in certain places (upper lip specifically, related to the liver), taking this stops it. 

For a few weeks I also took Floradix. This stopped the rapid hair loss and dizziness I was experiencing. 

But I was overwhelmed. Weeks 6-13 basically required that I sit still, watch shows, not communicate in any fashion, and eat constantly.  If I texted or facebooked, it would basically guarantee I'd throw up. If my girls cried too much or talked too loud to touched too much, I would throw up. If I talked too much or sang, I'd throw up. If I needed to burp, I'd throw up. If I was hungry, I wouldn't feel hunger, I'd just throw up. Sensory sensitivity was not something I'd experienced before. 

Eventually during the 2nd half of the first trimester I was able to start doing some art again. I started a personal series on Joy, more as motivation for myself to not give into despair. It's been a healthy exploration (though I haven't done much with it, admittedly). Then at the end of that trimester I was able to read books again (looking at words makes me too nauseous in the first trimester). Somewhere in there I started taking a Hemp Oil Supplement, and this has made a huge difference. Once I got into the 2nd trimester I found that social interactions with other adults would make me feel better for a couple of days, and by week 16 my good days were more frequent than my bad days, and I wasn't living quite so moment by moment.

So that's been the run down. But perhaps you're wondering, has anything been different? Has anything been better? Did anything even help? And the truest answer is YES. Yes, it all helped. I am better. I AM THRIVING. I had hoped to gain maybe 5 lbs the first trimester. Well, I've gained 20 so far (which is terrifying in another way, and causing other unforeseen obstacles - like my biggest maternity clothes not fitting...but I'm working through all those emotions and I've plateaued now that I'm more regulated). In my two previous pregnancies, we ate out constantly and I craved fast food and sweets. This time I couldn't stand going out. Fast food tasted terrible (except McD's fudge sundae's, those were stellar for like a week) and just thinking about sweets made me nauseous (again, except those Sundaes, haha!). Also in my previous pregnancies just the sight of vegetables would cause me to throw up, but this time I've been able to eat veggies the whole time (peas are a serious winner). My meat aversion is still a thing (but I'm okay with that - Sunwarrior shakes with coconut water, coconut milk, and Juice Plus capsules mixed in have been a stellar protein/nutrient source for me instead), but in general the aversions have been much less, and the smells far more tolerable. I have had to be very careful about energy output, as I get exhausted very easily. But I think even that is beginning to take a turn for the better. Because of the Hemp supplements, I've been able to wean off some of my Unisom. I was taking three a day, but I'm currently only taking 1/2 2x day. I'm hoping to wean off them entirely, but I'm taking it slow. I am sleeping great. I've rarely thrown up (besides the typical morning retching that is still happening). My urine tests have come back 100% perfect every time - when previously I was always very acidic and showing signs of (unhealthy) ketosis. My midwife has been impressed.

Perhaps the biggest and best difference is my anxiety. It's just not there (though I did have an anxiety attack last night, but it ended in a major emotional breakthrough instead of despair). In my previous pregnancies every vomit felt like the absolute end of the world, with visions of a starving baby. But this time, I'd just be sick and move on, and it was just what it was in that moment. I've been able to just be very much more in the moment. For the first time I haven't prayed my pregnancy would end so the misery would go away. (And yes, sadly some mothers have had to terminate their HG pregnancies to save their own lives). I've never felt connected to my children in utero, but I do with this one. This baby and I are already so close.

Biggest helps supplement/dietary-wise:
Unisom - though I'm currently weaning off this
CBD Hemp Oil - I tried two different brands, but the one linked above made an incredible difference; my nausea is almost completely gone with it
Magnesium - supplement, powder, spray, lotion, baths - all of it; helps with anxiety, restless legs, cramping/tight muscles, constipation, and many other things.
Juice Plus - without it, head aches were intolerable, lasting for days; nutrient powerhouse with little effort
Skullcap and Oat straw tea - I drink an infusion before bed to keep insomnia at bay
Adrenal Cortex serum - helped with acne, I only take a dose when I'm breaking out
Floradix - helped with hair loss and energy
Sunwarrier shakes - these helped me transition from needing to eat constantly. I mixed them with coconut water, coconut milk, and Juice Plus capsules to get good fats, proteins, and nutrients in an easy serving. My husband makes me one every night before bed so I can wake up first thing and drink it. Makes a world of difference. For a while I was drinking 3 a day, but I haven't needed to snack lately.
Valor Essential Oil - helping with some chronic sacral back pain (chiropractic isn't helping complete, and I'm waiting on a pelvic floor therapy appointment as I think it's a previous birth injury thing)
Stress Away Essential Oil - I did enjoy using this when I was really sick. I can't say it lessened it, but it was a very nice scent.
Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water - this is all I drink. Keeps me hydrated, adds minerals, and is alkaline. I get dehydrated on other waters (tap or otherwise). It's an annoying expense, but better than the alternative.
HCL - I've had very little heartburn thanks to Hcl. Turns out a lot of heartburn isn't from too much stomach acid, but from too little. I took Hcl for a few weeks in the sickest weeks, and now I typically only take it if I'm feeling the burn, which I've noticed is more likely to happen in the evening (or when eating when stressed out).
Lime Popsicles - I don't know what it is about these, but they soothe my stomach like nothing else

So that's where I'm at! We had a busy weekend cleaning, going to the Ren Fest, church, and Lunch with friends....but I'm not totally wiped out, and it's 8 pm and I'm not feeling sick, waiting for the time to take my medicine again. So thankful. It's not been easy by any means, but it's been better. And I am so thankful to have FINALLY arrived in these better days, where I can function, serve, and engage again. And I'm so so thankful for all the community support we've had with meals, and childcare, and well-wishes, prayers, cards, etc. It's been nice. Dealing with HG is always lonely, but it was far less lonely this time around.