Saturday, May 29, 2010

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.

But it made me think a lot.  I was terrified.  I was terrified for several reasons, but 2 main ones.  1) I throw up a lot when pregnant.  And 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 and 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) again 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.  And 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.


  1. I am petrified to have another child. Although Arista arrived safely, the fear is still there.

  2. I never knew there was an actual term for really bad morning sickness. Some things should not be part of pregnancy, that is one of them. Of course death is top of that list. I'm glad you have two rainbows in arms, so sorry your Cora isn't.

  3. I had the same thing in my pregnancy with Zech. hooked up to a zofran pump which only reduced the vomiting to a few manageable times during the day...oh and the nausea is so terrible. I swore I wouldn't have another baby...because I really do think I had/have joke. However lately the idea of Zech needing a sibling has been creeping in. And I'm starting to think maybe 9 months of puking would be worth it for us all. I haven't lost as late in pregnancy/birth as you lost your precious Cora but I do fear another loss. It's so much to think about. enough to cause anxiety in and of itself. Anyway, just sharing because it's validating to know I'm not to only one with such fears...because no one IRL has gone through what I have so they don't "get it"...if I have one more person flipantly say "you have to have another baby" I might punch them in the face :) Thanks for sharing your heart.