Please note: this article contains images and information regarding pregnancy
I have been wanting to write this post for the past 2 months, ever since I first took a test and saw the faintest of lines. But, like many, I decided to err on the side of caution and keep the news until after a certain milestone.
Have you guessed yet?
Yes, that is the first image we have of the most amazing person in our lives… our baby.
I am currently 13 weeks pregnant, and thankfully coming out of the hell that is the first trimester. I'm not going to lie to you: there were times when the going got so tough I actually resented being pregnant. And that was not something I expected to feel in a million years.
Now, I know how incredibly lucky I was to fall pregnant so quickly… stunned is not a word that covers quite how emotionally surreal the whole thing seemed when we first saw that second pink line and tested again and again over several days to check that it was indeed the real thing.
Statistics show that approimately 40% of all women with Endometriosis suffer from fertility issues of one kind or another. That's almost half, and we had prepared ourselves for a long wait, and perhaps even facing the dreaded infertility diagnosis further down the line.
So, I spent the two-week wait between ovulation and taking the test looking for symptoms, and the week following the test in absolute ecstasy. At that point I was just overwhelmed by the fact that my body had, for the first time since my periods began, done what it was supposed to do. How could I not be happy?
Then the sickness began.
I had naively expected morning sickness to be similar to the nausea I felt prior to and during my period… sickly and annoying, but manageable. What I hadn't expected was the hypersensitive gag reflex that meant that anything from trying to swallow certain foods through to simply getting out of bed to walk to the toilet would start me retching. I ended up spending weeks 5 through 10 terrified of doing anything that would set it off, and weeks 11 and 12 wishing the gag reflex would settle down as the nausea had.
At its worst (around weeks 7 through 9) I struggled to get enough liquid down, surviving on a measly 400ml per day. I faced hospitalisation due to dehydration and only managed to stay home because my body somehow managed to survive on that small amount of liquid: had there been ketones in my urine to indicate otherwise I would have been shipped off to hospital straight away.
Throughout all this I couldn't help but feel guilty that I resented being pregnant when so many women struggle to achieve the same fate. The joy and anticipation I had felt right at the beginning was quickly replaced by desperation and depression: I was stuck in bed, day-after-day, dreading the times I had to move, eat or even talk some days. I dreaded anything happening to the fetus, and yet wished for an end to the misery of my own personal hell (I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I have Emetophobia or a fear of vomiting and though I have learnt to deal with nausea through the years, this constant urge to retch was new and terrifying!)
I am sad that the experience was marred by this, worried that I couldn't provide the best possible nutrition for my body and the new life it carried, and felt like a failure for constantly saying "I can't ever do this again, let's only have one child!" I feel cheated in my own way, that my body has yet again amplified the symptoms that most women feel to a point where my life no longer felt like my own. The Endometriosis may not have stopped me from falling pregnant, but my body did not react well to the high levels of pregnancy hormones, and I feel like circumstances are forcing me to decide to only go through this once in my life.
But, here we are, at 13 weeks, with a picture of the baby who we will meet in 6 months time. Our lives are changing forever and we couldn't be happier (or more petrified!) And now the nausea and retching is gradually easing up, I feel ready to talk about it and share it with you all.
But before I go further, I wish to make it clear that I never, ever want to alienate any readers who may be struggling with fertility issues, but I know that I will need to share the ups and downs of pregnancy on here, as the Patch is a place I use to write about my life. All my posts are written from personal experience, and so pregnancy will come up from time to time. I just wish it weren't the case that so many women face the struggle that they do to reach this point.
A couple of my fellow "Endo sisters" who blog have just had FETs (Frozen Embryon Transfers) and I wish so hard that they will also be sharing their happy news with us all. But the timing just reminds me how important it is to remember how lucky I am to have fallen pregnant naturally and how mindful I must be of the different journeys some couples have to take and how I will never, ever understand the pain of that and must never take for granted anything in life.
For now, though, I just wish to share this news of ours and relish in the moment for just a little while before returning to more regular posting.
From tomorrow I will also be writing a weekly article on pregnancy over at iVillageUK. This is to replace the TTC articles that I have previously been writing. I hope that you may decide to pop over once in a while and see what is going on over there too. You will find the articles on the Pregnancy and Baby Channel.