In less than five weeks, my third child is due to be born. To say that this pregnancy has been surprising, challenging and a whirlwind would all be understatements. It’s been a rough pregnancy trip — let’s just say that.
Here’s a synopsis of how my rough pregnancy has gone so far:
Rough Pregnancy Timeline
- Week 4: Two days before I plan to enter the lottery for the Chicago Marathon, I learn that I’m unexpectedly pregnant (with a due date that falls 5 weeks prior to the race). I cry. I get angry. I feel bad for myself.
- Week 6: I suffer debilitating morning sickness that lasts until week 14.
- Week 13: A breast lump appears that is not officially declared benign until week 33.
- Week 14: I am declared Vitamin D deficient and start on an uber-supplement.
- Week 17: My husband and I travel to Boston so he can undergo testing to donate a kidney to his brother (he was declined as a donor; my father-in-law donated his kidney at week 32 and all are recovering well).
- Week 20: I am told that I’m having another little girl (yay!) but that I have placenta previa that could prevent her from safely making it out of the birth canal. (that diagnosis is later reversed at Week 28)
- Week 25: A lice outbreak infests all six of the heads in our household and takes just over two months to eradicate completely.
- Week 27: After several days of my clear, watery discharge, my husband and I spend a long evening in the emergency room. A nurse initially tells us that she is sure my amniotic fluid has ruptured, only to follow up later to say that it is actually just an infection that is easily treated with an antibiotic.
- Week 28: I fail my one-hour glucose test.
- Week 29: I fail my three-hour glucose test and immediately begin a gestational diabetes diet (read: protein, veggies… and yeah, that’s about it) that will last the remaining 11 weeks or so until my delivery.
- Week 30: I’m told that I am anemic. I begin an iron supplement alongside my Vitamin D one.
- Week 30: A rapid growth on my upper thigh balloons above my skin, turns bright blood red and sends searing pain through my entire leg every time I pull up my shorts or underwear. It is removed during week 34 and declared a benign granuloma during week 35.
- Week 35: My toddler contracts hand foot and mouth disease, spikes a fever of 103 and stops eating or drinking for about 48 hours. Just as we are discussing when to take her to the emergency room, she starts sipping juice and asking for pizza.
There are at least three other situations still a little too raw and personal to list here, too.
During the early weeks of this pregnancy, when I was still feeling like a victim of my own circumstances, I comforted myself with the idea that perhaps this pregnancy was a blessing in disguise — one that I had not expected but one that was going to bring me all sorts of warm and happy moments. During my first pregnancy I was a single mom, working two jobs in an area where I knew very few people and had zero family nearby. During my second pregnancy, I was overwhelmed with the pressures of combining a family of three kids (all under the age of 5) and starting my own writing business, with a less than comfortable family income.
I told myself that this time — THIS TIME — I was in a position to just enjoy being pregnant. I had a loving husband, a strong parenting partner, by my side who I trusted completely to be there on delivery day and after. Three of my kids were basically self-sufficient and in school for 6+ hours each day, and my toddler was a handful but gaining her own independence too. I was making a decent living, working at home, spending nothing on childcare costs, and enjoying the flexible schedule that being self employed allowed me. If I wanted to kick my pregnant feet up in the middle of the day, or take a nap when the toddler did, I could do that. I could spend an occasional $30 on a pedicure with a girlfriend and it wouldn’t mean coming up short when I went to the grocery store. I could indulge in a pregnancy craving here and there and know that I’d have the time to dedicate to a workout routine after the baby had arrived and I had recuperated.
And I have enjoyed these things (well, the giving-in-to-cravings stopped at week 29 but they were fun while they lasted). But it hasn’t been the glowing, euphoric and comfortable period of time I talked myself into during those early days of doubt. This rough pregnancy has been a time frame filled with stress, and self-doubt, and realizations about my own and my family’s mortality. I’ve cried so much that I feel like a hormonal cliché.
But you know what? No matter what was happening around me, or to me, my child continued to grow right on schedule, with no effort on my part. She passed from the size of a pea, to a pinto bean, to a Temple orange, to a cantaloupe, to the watermelon consistently applying pressure to my bladder today. Oblivious to the outside world, or the health concerns taking place just outside her pool of fluid, she has continued to grow and develop and prepare to enter the world. I don’t care what belief system you subscribe to – that is pretty darn amazing.
So perhaps instead of expecting the pregnancy to bring anything to me, or do anything for me, I should have just been awed that it was happening at all. I should have counted that positive pregnancy test as one more blessing, one more amazing life to add to the charmed one I’m already leading.
I can’t guarantee the crazy will end after this rough pregnancy with the birth of my daughter, but I’m okay with that. Just her being here is all that matters to me now — and we will have one hell of a pregnancy story to share with her one day.
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