My first pregnancy was close to what I expected it to be. I had morning sickness for about 7 weeks during the first trimester, felt great during the second trimester, and felt slightly uncomfortable and fatigued during the third trimester. This fit the description of pregnancy many people had shared with me. And I didn’t think it was so bad.
Then Came My Second Pregnancy
Morning sickness lasted 11+ weeks and was more severe. At my 20 weeks ultrasound, we found out our son had slightly dilated kidneys, which we began seeing a specialist for every few weeks.
At 34 weeks, I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid building up in the uterus). I felt huge and started having severe rib and chest pain. My uterus was pushing so far up into my rib cage, I couldn’t breathe. I was sent to the hospital to have an amnioreduction, where they took out 3 liters of fluid out with a long needle in my abdomen. We stayed in the hospital overnight because our son wasn’t moving how they liked. I ended up in triage again two days later because his fetal movement had slowed way down. At 37 weeks, my fluid had built back up, and we scheduled an induction for 5 days later.
The Final Stretch
The last two months of this pregnancy were particularly grueling. My husband and I felt like we had the wind knocked out of us. I had twice as many appointments scheduled and I felt several times more exhausted than I had in the third trimester of my first pregnancy. And this time around, I had a very busy 2 year old to keep up with at home.
There were several days I broke down in front of my husband saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”
We had no routine.
I couldn’t cook or clean. Just trying to keep my daughter and I both sane and alive became my primary job. I started thinking, “I have to get through this for my son’s sake. I can’t keep falling apart because my daughter and husband need me to be stay strong and healthy.”
I needed encouragement. I needed help. And I needed things to look forward to every week to help me get through the hardest days. So, here’s what I did to survive:
- I asked for help. When people asked me how I was doing, I didn’t lie to them and say, “I’m fine.” I told them how I really felt—like I was drowning. I told them I needed help. My friends and church family responded with meals, offers to clean, and offers to take care of my daughter so I could get a nap. My in-laws came out to give us a break from childcare and housework. It was wonderful.
- I planned outings. Even when I felt tired and just wanted to stay home, I planned outings to the park, to the mall, and to friend’s houses. It was a way for me to get my mind off of all the hard going on at home. It was a way for me to spend quality time with my daughter before our son arrived. And it was a way for me to stay connected with friends and to share my heart with them.
- I let go of the unnecessary. Anything that didn’t need to be done on a regular basis got put off until another time. So it was pretty much down to doing the laundry, doing the dishes, and making sure food was on the table.
- I took care of myself. I pampered myself on the hardest days with a warm bath, a good book or a favorite movie and snack. It was a pick me up at the end of a long day.
I am happy to report that our son was born healthy and happy on September 5th. Then a whole new hard phase started: the newborn phase. I still need help and I still need to do these things to survive. And that is okay. It is okay to have a season of survival. Let yourself breathe and just survive.
What are some ways you dealt with a difficult pregnancy? How did you survive?