Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, people can be quite judgmental over the idea that I decided to have a baby when I already have a laundry list of health issues. Sometimes it is out of their genuine concern. Often times it’s because they think it was selfish of me to have another child when I already struggle with many daily living activities. While this can be unnerving at times, I don’t let it get to me to deeply. Yes, this pregnancy has been challenging. Yes, being high risk is a scary feeling at times. Yes, many of my symptoms are exacerbated due to pregnancy. I still have no regrets, and if I don’t have any regrets, neither should anyone else, because it’s not their life to have regrets over….it’s mine.
I am proud of my body for still being capable of creating life. I do not take this immense Blessing for granted. Despite my body’s greatest efforts to break me down, there is still this miracle that grows from within me. I may not be in the best health, but my baby is. He is growing strong, doesn’t have any defects that we are aware of, and I’m expected to have a very healthy pregnancy and baby.
A few things I’ve learned to help me deflect judgment:
- I’ve been asked, “Why would you do that to yourself and to your unborn child?” My answer is this; “If my body wasn’t capable of creating life, then it wouldn’t, but it is. Also, I’m already a Mom. My kids think I’m a pretty great mom despite my condition. This baby will share the same love I have for my other children, and that they have for me.”
- Take it with a grain of salt. People that haven’t walked (or tripped, or stumbled) in your shoes can’t possibly know what it’s like to be brave enough to face pregnancy with a chronic illness. I did not have a moment of weakness, I had a vision of strength.
- Snip those bad apples from your tree. I’ve had to distance myself from a few people in my life. Negativity is toxic for my mind, body, and spirit. I have the choice not to receive it and so do you.
I’ve started to feel Baby Jax moving around in there and it’s such a wonderful feeling! What’s not a wonderful feeling is the horrible back pain I’ve been having. When I say horrible I mean feels like my spine is in a vice grip, lightning bolts are coursing through my legs, and forget about trying to get up on my own if I dare to bend at the waist or sit on the floor. ( I literally had to text Jax’s Daddy to come help me off the floor the other day. The struggle is real, yal’ll) I expected this during my third trimester but not in my second! I have increased spasticity which is definitely not helping. I’ve also noticed changes in my mobility as I’m less steady on my feet and have had some gait issues. While keep my pain under control has been difficult, here are a few things I’m doing to try to soften the intensity of the pain that really seem to be beneficial for me.
- Epsom Salt Baths- I like to dim the lights, burn a few candles, and just make my atmosphere highly relaxing and I allow the water to take some of the pressure off of my back and the heat and Epsom salts sooth my aching muscles and nerves.
- The wide wall squats are definitely not happening for me, but the other stretches in the photo above have been of great help! The cat and camel probably give me the most relief.
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs. This has been my saving grace for getting any sleep. I have a nice long body pillow so I can rest my legs and my growing belly on it.
Ok, before you get all up in arms about my photo, it’s just mint tea people! Saving those double shot espressos until after BabyJax makes his arrival! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s chat about neuropathy. I’ve started to notice that the neuropathy in my feet is increasing, as well as some of the nerve pain in both of my legs and back. This is a bit alarming to me because I’m barely into my second trimester and I really cannot take any preggo-safe medications to help the symptoms. I did bring this up to my OB and have a neuro consult scheduled so I’ll keep you posted! The last thing I want is to be a fall risk while I’m pregnant…I’m ungraceful enough as it is.
A few things I’m doing that have helped to alleviate some of the neuro symptoms include:
- Not sitting too long. I sit for work/writing/because I’m tired and feel like it, etc. I try to get up and stretch every 15-20 minutes. I march in place or go for a quick walk.
- Sleep with a pillow between my legs. This has seemed to help alleviate some of the back discomfort, and I have a nice long one to rest the belly on which is nice!
- Wear comfortable shoes. Most of the time I’m pretty consciences about my fashion sense… Right now I just want to be comfortable and not fall on my face. Wear shoes that are supportive and roomy. Our feet don’t need any more excuses to hate us.
- If you’re experiencing increased nerve pain or neuropathy, be sure to bring it up with both your OB doc and your neurologist! Pregnancy is no time to be stubborn because you don’t want to be a complainer. You’re creating new life all while battling a weird and scary disease! You’re already tough 😉
So excited to announce that we are having a BOY!!!! Even more excited to announce that the genetic testing all came back normal. This was such a huge relief for me. While I’m still in utter awe of the fact that science has come so far that you can tell the gender of your baby and test for genetic abnormalities through a simple blood test at 10 weeks gestation, I’m so incredibly thankful! Up until this week, I’ve mostly touched on the difficulties of pregnancy with a chronic illness but today I just want to focus on celebrating! Our pregnancies can certainly be a challenge but what an incredibly Blessing to still be capable of growing a little, precious human despite all that our bodies have been through.
So, let’s celebrate!!
- Treat Yourself!!! You an your baby have worked so hard through this first trimester! I went and had a manicure and it just felt so wonderful to be pampered!
- Make a family “Wishes” jar. Throughout your pregnancy, you and your family and friends can write down wishes for the baby. “My wish for you is that you will always feel loved.” Fold them up and put them in the jar! After baby is born, put them in his baby book, or just close the jar up for him or her to open at graduation!
- Just sit an enjoy your bump. Put on some soothing music, get in a cozy spot, and just love on that sweet belly. Rub some coconut oil on it, talk to it, embrace it because it’s so beautiful!
So close to my second trimester! How exciting is that? The nausea is starting to subside but dizziness is really kicking in. Dizzy spells and vertigo are fairly common symptoms of many auto/neuro conditions. I certainly have my fair share, even before pregnancy. It’s also fairly common in pregnancy. Mesh the two together, and I’m feeling a bit like I’m on a Merry-Go-Round or the Spinning Teacup Ride (both which I super hate). I’ve almost fallen several times, only to be saved by falling back onto my bed or into a wall. Now that I realize the dizziness is going to be a real issue for me, I’ve made some strides at curbing the spins before they start! Hopefully this may help you too!
- Sea Bands- These little acupressure bands slide onto your wrists and help to naturally reduce nausea and dizziness by applying direct and constant pressure to your wrists. (I’m sure it gets more scientific than that but all I know is that they help!)
- DO NOT just HOP out of bed! This one gets me every time!!! Now, when I go from laying to sitting, I sit on the edge of the bed for a minute. When I feel stable, I pump my legs up and down a few times before standing. When I stand I make sure I have something to hold onto.
- Water Water Water Water – I cannot stress enough the importance of hydration! Dehydration will totally exacerbate your dizziness. I track my water intake by carrying my fave Tervis cup around with me and pay attention closely to how many times I fill it up a day!
- Sleep – I’ve noticed that when I don’t get adequate sleep I get really light-headed. I personally need about 8-9 hours of sleep a night and good nap during the day. Sleep deprived Lisa is not only dizzy, but a super cranky bear so… it’s just not pretty for anyone.