Ok – I’m going to start this post off by telling you guys a few things (some of them you may not like):
- I didn’t stop my anti-depressants when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, last week I started a transition from one med to another and to help ease me in I’ve been taking Xan.ax once a day. Yep – Xan.ax. While pregnant.
- I have on average one caffeinated beverage per day. Some days I have two.
- Currently I am neither on a stringent diet nor on an exercise program.
- Though I think I may attempt to go for a natural delivery, I am 100% aware of the fact that there’s a good chance that I’ll break down 10 minutes in and beg for an epidural. I’m Ok with that.
- I have – gasp!- smoked more than one cigarette since finding out I was pregnant.
Here’s the thing: When I found out about my first pregnancy, I quit smoking cold turkey, quit caffeine cold turkey, and couldn’t stomach anything but saltines, and I felt crappy for not eating more veggies. After that loss, I immediately went back to smoking, drinking caffeine, and gained about as much weight post-pregnancy as I did during it. And I hated myself for it. The second pregnancy was pretty much the same story. In the months leading up to my third pregnancy, I was on this crazy self-improvement regimen. I quit smoking, I did yoga, I barely drank caffeine. I was CONVINCED that if I just did everything right this time, a pregnancy would stick.
You all know how that turned out. And of course, the few months after that loss, I hated myself more than ever. I backslid once again.
But I also learned a very important lesson from that experience. NOTHING can be done. At the end of the day, 99.999% of miscarriages are either chromosomal or physiological. Not smoking during my first pregnancy didn’t prevent that blighted ovum. No caffeine during my third didn’t keep it from being ectopic. I had no control over this from day one. I still don’t. The outcome of this pregnancy was pretty much decided as soon as sperm met egg and they started to dig in. There’s a reason the world population has risen steadily in the last centuries. And I’m pretty sure it’s not because all pregnant women cut out caffeine on King George’s orders or whatever. There’s a reason most of our moms smoked throughout our pregnancies and ate medium rare steaks and we came out fine and dandy.
Because the human body is a miraculous thing, and because one medium rare steak will not cause a miscarriage, and neither will ten (though I’m not a fan of medium rare, but you get the point).
I made the decision that self-hate and self-punishment would do more harm to my baby than the anti-depressant that would make those feelings go away. I decided that I had enough anxiety to be going on with, and I didn’t need to also deal with the nightmare that is caffeine withdrawal. I decided that I need to give myself just a bit more flexibility, and to demonstrate to myself that my control here is minimal.
And so I did. And I’m almost 14 weeks in with the Shmaby going strong, and I don’t hate myself. Which is a nice change of pace.
So why do I tell you all of this?
(I think you can tell from the video embedded above where I’m going with this…)
When we first started this journey Shmerson and I were basically the only ones in our extended circle of friends trying for a baby. In the year and a half since, that number has grown. Several friends and acquaintances have already given birth, others are close to it.
Now most of these people know my history. With all due respect I have spent 9 out of the last 19 months pregnant. I have been part of the ALI community for over a year. I follow more than 200 blogs. I’ve never once gone through IVF yet a close friend of mine who is now making a baby with his life partner through DE and a surrogate came to me when he needed information because I know it (yes, I congratulated a gay man yesterday about being PUPO, and because of me, he knew what I meant. Hi Ababaderech! Good luck on your TWW!). I can list 1000 complications that can happen in a pregnancy. A 1000 more that happen before the sperm meets the egg. I know what can go wrong. More than most people, because I’ve seen (or read) it all in the last year. Heck, I experienced quite a bit of it myself, thankyouverymuch.
So, dear fertile preggo friends – don’t preach to me about my over indulgence on carbs. My food aversions are too extreme for me to stomach something else right now.
Please don’t spend 15 minutes lecturing me about Xan.ax. I’ve read the research, and in my particular case (and with my doctor’s blessing), the benefits outweigh the risks.
Please don’t look at me weird if I have a sip of coke zero. Trust me, the chances of that doing damage are slim to none.
Please don’t lecture me on the benefits of natural childbirth. I know them all. I also know that 95% of women eventually opt for an epidural, and I’m a realist (Oh, and I bet you anything that my pain tolerance is about 1000 times greater than yours – let’s just see who lasts longer, shall we? You haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is an HSG with blocked tubes, or your uterus contracting after a D&C. If it’s down to you and me, fertile preggo friends, I think I’d win that contest).
Don’t spend an hour touting your brave abandonment of prozac the MOMENT you got knocked up. You may be able to do that. I on the other hand would most likely lose it completely without my anti-anxiety meds, because, you know, I’ve had three miscarriages and that kind of messes with a girl’s head.
Don’t look at me weird if I sneak a cigarette on a bad day. You’ve never smoked, you don’t know what a slave you can become to that horrible weed.
I have a couple of pregnancy tracker apps on my iPhone. My favorite one, from baby center gave me these words of wisdom the other day (I’m paraphrasing):
“If you’re not perfect in avoiding things during your pregnancy, there’s no need to get stressed out about it. Our mothers had no idea about these things and we came out fine.”
Hear hear pregnancy tracker elves! My mom smoked a pack a day and drank copious amounts of coffee while she carried me. I came out perfectly fine. No horns or anything.
I’m not saying all pregnant women need to take up smoking, drinking and meth use during their pregnancy for the fun of it.
What I’m saying is, we all have our ways of dealing. I chose to give up control, and to go easy on myself. So far, it’s working out pretty well for me.
And no offense my fertile pregnant friends – but I think I know just a BIT more about this than you guys do.
Please, let’s discuss the risks of pre-eclampsia and why our blood pressure is critical to the health of our unborn babies.
Please – let’s talk about infections and fevers and how they can affect the health of our children.
Let’s talk about the risks of low amniotic fluid. Let’s discuss the importance of staying well hydrated during our pregnancies.
Let’s talk about placenta previa. Let’s talk about uterine fibroids. Gestational diabetes. Toxoplasmosis. Placental abruption. RH factor. Incompetent cervix.
And let’s talk about it over a nice tall glass of coke. Because trust me, drinking that won’t make any of the things I mentioned above more or less likely.
And it may just help me hold on to a bit of my sanity as I go through this roller coaster.
You may not agree with me, but you can’t argue with this: I’ve been around the block enough to know my limits. To know what’s best for me, and how it will affect my baby. I think I know that just a bit better than you. So stop preaching. You may as well just look at me sideways and tell me to relax. Either one of those will give this hormonal preggo lady ample reason to punch you.
And I loathe violence.