Pregnancy (Surviving Morning ‘ALL DAY’ Sickness)
Before heading into our third pregnancy, I took a few months off from trying and gave my body time to recover from the previous miscarriages (here and here). I’ll write more about this later, but in addition to doing several blood tests, I was doing things like Mayan abdominal massage, regular acupuncture appointments, chiropractic work, supplements, eating a clean diet and more.
Around February we decided to start trying again. It took a few months, but the day after I returned from a very relaxing trip to Costa Rica, we conceived. I had such a hunch this would be a healthy pregnancy.
As mentioned in my previous post, we had already confirmed I had Antiphospholipid Syndrome, which causes tiny blood clots that can endanger a pregnancy and may have led to my previous miscarriages. We were prepared to follow a protocol of aspirin & Lovenox injections to help thin out my blood in hopes of a successful pregnancy. I started taking a daily low-dose of aspirin around the time of conception. After confirming the pregnancy by seeing the baby on ultrasound), we made an appointment to meet with the high-risk specialist so we could start the Lovenox injections. This was around 6 weeks which made me super nervous since the previous two miscarriages had both happened at 6 weeks.
I should backup and mention that around 5 1/2 weeks I was feeling queasy and remembered thinking “I feel pregnant!”. I had girlfriends over for my 36th birthday and I remember having no appetite and by the end of the afternoon I had to lay down while talking with them because I was getting so sleepy. Food became less and less appealing over the next few days, I was excited by this- I was experiencing morning sickness! But within a few days, this feeling went from queasy to full on vomiting and not wanting to consume anything, because everything I ate or drank had me running to the toilet.
So for a few days, I ate what I could. An average day during this time consisted of 1/2 a brown rice cake & a banana (which I did not keep down). When it got time to go to the high risk doctor, I was surprised to see I had lost so much weight so quickly. I’d dropped about 7 pounds since my previous appointment 2 weeks prior! When I mentioned this to the doctor she did the math and said if I lost any more weight I should contact my obgyn and they would likely admit me to the hospital and hook me up to an IV. She also mentioned casually that there were drugs that could help with this. My instant reaction to drugs is always, no thank you.
Before heading home from our appointment, Brook needed to take a work call so we headed to a coffee shop and I opted to stay in the car. As I sat in the backseat of our car, vomiting into a trash can I’d brought from home, I decided now might be a good time to call about that medicine. I felt very defeated but was not sure how much more of this I could take! I got myself set up with some Unisom for the vomiting (also used as a sleeping medication) and we picked that up at the pharmacy along with the Lovenox shots that I was to begin that day.
Well, the Unisom helped, but it also made me extremely tired. I started sleeping in longer than usual and not really leaving my bed at all! There were some days that Brook was traveling so I was forced to go downstairs to find food and to go outside to take care of our chickens. Just walking into the kitchen was sometimes enough to trigger me. The Unisom helped me keep food down, especially if I was eating all the time. I was still throwing up at least a few times a week, although I later discovered that if I split the pill up and took it throughout the day this helped most (but not all) days, but of course, led to even more drowsiness and time spent in bed. Just when I thought I had learned a trick or a food my body was tolerating really well, it would stop working. This went on for weeks. I found myself promising this would be my first and last baby and praying it would ease up after the first trimester.
Around this time I really started to lose who I was as a person. Laying in bed all day forcing myself to eat junk food every 1-2 hours and having zero motivation for work or to leave the house was the opposite of not-pregnant Allison. I have a friend who lived through extreme morning sickness her entire pregnancy. She was a constant source of motivation that I could get through this. You can read more about her story, here.
As miserable as I was, I knew that being this sick was a good sign so I tried to stay encouraged and allowed myself to spend most (sometimes all) of my day in bed and tried to be grateful, both for my pregnancy and for my flexible work schedule.
What Helped Me
Hiring a Project Manager
My team at Prep Dish has always been solid, but I have always been in both the management and visionary role. In the fall, my mentor JJ Virgin recommended reading Rocket Fuel to help me figure out some team issues I was having and I instantly knew I needed to find an “integrator”, more commonly referred to as a Project Manager. I began to plan for this, financially and mentally. After a very thorough interview process I found the perfect match. I hired Jennifer a few weeks before my trip to Costa Rica. I remember on that trip, she led our weekly call and I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders. Having Jenn takeover the management and coordination role at Prep Dish gave me the time and space I needed to focus on my fertility. It also allowed me to lay in bed for over a month and not stress out that some days my only accomplishment was watching an entire season of The Bold Type.
My acupuncturist was always telling me to get away and relax. And while Brook and I travel a ton, our trips don’t usually involve a lot of lounging. I knew my acupuncturist was right so I started dreaming of some place tropical. In fact, I even bought a new dress and told my friend it was my Costa Rica dress in anticipation of this still-to-be-planned trip. I knew I needed a last minute trip so that 1) it didn’t overlap with ovulation 2) I wasn’t pregnant (I know it’s ok to travel when pregnant, but with having to do the injections and my previous miscarriages, I’d rather be closer to home during those first few weeks!). Anyway, a few weeks later I saw my friend Sarah and she had just quit her job and asked if I wanted to go with her on a trip to the Andaz Papagayo. I asked where that was located and was not surprised when she replied “Costa Rica!” Anyway, the trip could not have been more perfect. We got upgraded to the fanciest suite in the resort and spent most of our time on our patio hanging out in our private pool, reading books, talking and lounging. I was finally relaxed!
I am not a fan of taking medicine, but when I couldn’t even keep down a few sips of Emergen-C, I knew I needed to try something. My prescription was for Diclegis which is a combination of Unisom (a sleeping pill) and Vitamin B6 (which I had already been taking to try and help with the queasiness). The pharmacist reassured me that taking a combo of Unisom & Vitamin B6 was the same as Diclegis… and cost under $10 compared to nearly $400 for Diclegis! The medicine only helped so much, I still found myself throwing up about once a day, but I was able to eat throughout the day (even if I did have an ever-present feeling of nausea). Another trick I learned was to take 1/2 a pill a few times a day vs 1 pill once per day, this helped ease my night time nausea and vomiting, but of course, also made me extremely drowsy at all hours of the day.
When I’m struggling in life, I count on my faith and optimism to get me through. Throughout my fertility journey, I’ve had to look for signs that I’m on the right path. I tend to obsessively take pregnancy tests and this pregnancy was no different. So after taking my 3rd test way to soon, I prayed about it and heard to wait until 2 days before my period. 2 days before my period I took the test and we were pregnant! This may seem like a small thing, but praying and hearing to wait and test was such a huge sign of encouragement to me.
Miscarriage #3 (DISBELIEF)
When we got to the ultrasound room, I saw the baby right away. But then I also saw a straight line where I thought the heart beat should be. It felt like an eternity and no one said anything. So finally, I broke the silence…