Hola lovely bugs,
I wanted to give you an update on my pregnancy journey and how I’m travelling this time around.
So many of you have been with me on the journey last time I did it, and I gotta say it’s actually really helpful to me that I wrote + video blogged it all down. So helpful to revisit and see where things are the same and different for me this time!
First and foremost: I’m about 7.5 weeks pregnant now. I’m due approx March 5.
HYPEREMESIS (aka Morning Sickness From Doom)
Let’s get to the nitty gritty: this is the thing that’s most on my mind right now.
I was really, really hoping that I wouldn’t get hyperemesis this time around.
Hypermesis is like morning sickness on speed. It means chronic vomiting and 24/7 nausea.
It means your body has an allergic reaction to being pregnant.
It can mean weight loss, dehydration, hospitalisation.
It happens to between 0.5% and 2.0% but is often not diagnosed because vomiting and nausea occur in over 50% of pregnancies.
Trying to stop hyperemesis with ginger and peppermint tea is like trying to stop a tsunami with a colander.
(This is what Princess Kate had in the early stages of her pregnancy.)
Last time around for me it was 5 weeks of that kind of bullshit. But I didn’t KNOW at the time it was hyperemesis. I thought it was just morning sickness. I didn’t even go see my doctor about it because I thought it was just part of pregnancy.
And to be honest, I really doubted myself. I wondered why it seemed so much harder for me to exist compared to other pregnant women. I had a feeling I must have been a bit soft or weak. Looking back I believe hyperemesis was the catalyst for ante natal depression for me.
It’s kind of been a blessing to experience it again just to see:
Nope, fuck that, I am NOT weak. This shit is just really, really hard.
It started right on the same day as it did last time – right on 5 weeks. Last time, it ended right on 10 weeks. So I’m hoping beyond hope it follows the same (or hello! earlier! I would be totally okay with that!)
I’m very grateful that this time around:
- I know what I’m experiencing (instead of just thinking it was par for course)
- I know that if I lost weight I did last time, I actually should go to hospital
- I have lots of support. I don’t have to turn up to a cubicle everyday and fall asleep under my desk and pray to the vomit gods that I don’t spew all over my desk. I’ve got my husband and parents-in-law at home.
- I have an amazing amazing team who say “Just give it all over to us. Delegate delegate delegate. We’ll get it all done.”
How I’m doing hyperemesis differently this time around
I’ve made a commitment to myself to do pregnancy differently this time around. Last time I tried to do it all perfectly and it drove me bonkers. Last time I tried to do it all on my own in my head.
This time around, I decided to see what would help, and how I could feel more supported.
- I decided to take very-safe-for-pregnancy anti-nausea medication prescribed by my (adorable) doctor (last time I was all “ALL WESTERN MEDICINE IS BAD AND I WILL NOT CONSIDER ANY.” This time around I was like “You know what? Tell me the options and risk factors.” And who woulda thunk it? There’s a kind of medicine that’s Category A (aka the safest stuff around). It’s a real relief to not be a freaked out hippy this time around and instead just be an open one.
- I have fortnightly intuitive healing/therapy sessions with Hiro.
And I took a VERY big leap of self-care capacity, and decided to get daily (5 days a week) acupuncture for the duration of my morning sickness.
I started going to see if I could get some relief from it, and noticed I did.
And after noticing that, I had this whole teary awareness moment in the shower:
You know what? I’m actually going to get as much of this as I possibly can. I deserve to feel supported during this process because it sucks so much. It’s a worthwhile investment to have some relief!
I tell ya, it was really, really big for me to decide that. As I’ve shared before, I’m a slow-comer to the self-care game. As Hiro’s said to me before:
Leonie, the reason that you think any kind of self care is extreme is because you grew up in a family that never took care of themselves. You’ve got to write a new story about support.
So I did. And having that kind of daily support has made a HUGE difference.
So much so I did this ode to it on Instagram:
So I’ve been getting it daily now for about 1.5 weeks.
Most days I get between 2-20 hours of relief from overwhelming nausea and vombombing. Which is HUGE! LIFE SAVING!
Having moments of feeling almost normal and almost functional has been a real relief. To get respite from the chronic doom makes the big difference between feeling despair and hope.
There’s been a few days when my hormone levels were so high that I didn’t get a huge relief from it – just enough to stave off chronic vomiting, but not the nausea.
Life can feel really, really hard when you are spending every moment of each day trying not to vomit, and trying to force yourself to eat because an empty stomach makes you barf more.
Hyperemesis thoroughly sucks giant donkey balls. I really want to give major love and high fives to the women who go through it in order to bring a new soul into the world. The women who can go through it for nine months and be in and out of hospital. The women who suffer organ failure and super low blood pressure because of the vomit convulsions. The women who go in and out of hospital. The women who need to terminate their pregnancy because their body will cease to function if it continues. The women who have it for less time or more time or the same time. Hypermesis is french for: that shit’s bad.
And the women who may not have hyperemesis but who still have morning sickness. It’s just not fun at all.
And I really want to say: I’m sorry if you are suffering. My heart goes out to you. I understand, I understand, I understand. And I wish you so much gentleness and healing.
A note on acupuncture
If you have morning sickness (aka not the chronic vom boms), acupuncture CAN cure it. Like fix that shit right up within 3 sessions.
Get someone who is experienced and ask if they can fix morning sickness.
They can cure about 80% of women from it completely by fixing the hormonal imbalance.
If you’ve got the giant-suck-balls-of-hyperemesis, they can’t cure it but they CAN provide temporary relief to help you get through it.
When hyperemesis first began again with me, I noticed that I got covered in a grey cloak of depression almost instantaneously.
I went to my acupuncturist and cried and cried about how lonely and miserable I felt in hyperemesis.
She explained that women who suffer from the voms are highly likely to get it – with all the convulsions around the belly, the pericardium channel which moves along the stomach is thrown out of whack, and the pericardium channel moves up around the heart – it’s the heart’s protector and nourisher. When the pericardium channel is thrown out, the heart feels very tender, alone and sad. It made so much sense to me.
She fixed the pericardium from the first session, and that grey cloak hasn’t been back since.
There have been moments where I’ve felt despair (mostly as I chunder all over myself), but it’s bouyed with more hope and more light-heartedness. Like “ho boy, this is funny, this is going to make a good story!”
Like that time that I puked so hard in the morning that I peed myself. I thought that was quite hilarious and couldn’t wait to tell Chris/Marissa/my acupuncturist about the new level of attractiveness I exuded.
And when I do a really massive puke, I like to tell Chris “Ahhhhhhh, the miracle of new life!”
But of course there are still days when it’s really, really hard and that I don’t find funny at all. Like yesterday which was an acupuncture-free day and a festival of vomit. I ate three dinners before one managed to stay down.
Back to acupuncture again this morning, and I get a few good hours of partial-normal back before hoiking up lunch.
It’s up and down, up and down, but just knowing I can get SOME relief is making all the difference in the world.
I’m not throwing up as much this time and not recording weight loss like I did last time, and I believe that’s a combo of acupuncture/medication/intuitive healing at play.
UPDATE 3 DAYS LATER:
Hahahahahahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAHAHA HA.
Just when I thought I had it under control… nope!
It got worse (HOW! WHY!) and I ended up in hospital for a rehydration drip and stronger anti-nausea medication to help me keep food and water down. Oh what a fun journey hyperemesis is. And when I say “FUN” I mean: “This sucks giant donkey balls.”
Some other things that might possibly help with morning sickness/hyperemesis
The homeopathic remedy Cocculus (hahahahaha, I dirtily thought to myself – like really DOES cure like! That’s what got me sick so this should fix it!) may help. Morning sickness pills of ginger and Vitamin B6 might help.
I don’t really know if they’ve helped me with hyperemesis, but fuck, I’ll give anything a go at this stage of the game. PLACEBO ME UP BABY!
One thing that definitely definitely definitely makes a difference is eating protein.
Try and eat protein for breakfast. And every meal.
I’ve found it can stabilise my blood sugar levels and clear my head. I’ll get nauseous quicker after meals if I don’t have protein.
And I love my doctor to the moon and back for this – instead of the horsepill sized pregnancy multi vitamins, have the tiny i-Folic tablets instead. Last time around I hurled so many horse pills over the kitchen from gagging on them, so tiny ones are like little miracle unicorns in my mouth.
Other things I’ve noticed with pregnancy this time around:
Okay, let’s stop talking about puking for a while, yeah?
Here’s what else is happening:
My tummy has popped earlier this time.
Most preggos find this: if you’ve already had a baby, your ready made pouch inflates at the very hint of pregnancy.
It’s like all the muscles are all:
Yeah, I know this gig. POOF!
(That’s EXACTLY how muscles talk, by the way.)
Last time around I remember inspecting myself every day looking for a bump.
This time around I reckon I look at least six weeks more pregnant than I did last time around.
Cravings/smells/feeling like a human animal
Everything smells overpowering right now. I’m like a sniffer dog. Except every smell makes me want to throw up.
Like dirt. I can smell dirt, people.
And let’s not even talk about cooking food. Oh holy stinkfest, me and my ultra sensitive nose DO NOT LIKE.
The outside world feels very noisy, very loud, very smelly and very hard to be in.
Which makes perfect sense on a biological level: at this stage of pregnancy, nature kinda wants you to just chill in a cave and be hyper aware of what you’re eating.
I have that feeling again of being an animal.
So often we can ignore our body’s needs for hunger, thirst, movement, sleep.
In pregnancy, you can’t.
Your body is your dictator.
I’ve become a champion napper once again – usually I’m a shithouse napper and don’t nap at all. But with first trimester pregnancy: TRY AND STOP ME FROM SLEEPING. There’s been a number of three hour long naps. I guess baby was growing a new organ that day or something. (Yep, I’m supremely grateful that I have extra support around so I can nap while Starry plays endless rounds of skateboard tobogganing down the driveway with her grandparents.)
And again, this time around I don’t get weird cravings (ala pickles on ice cream) but I do get very specific desires of what to eat. As in: THIS IS THE ONLY THING I WANT TO EAT RIGHT NOW BECAUSE EVERYTHING ELSE IS DISGUSTING TO EVEN THINK OF.
Some I’ve had so far: gluten free pumpkin and fetta pizza, lemon squash drinks (for that sharp punch in the mouth), home made marshmallows (must be for the gelatin inside them), red capsicums, red capsicums, red capsicums, full fat milk and coconut ice cream. I’m also quite cognizant of the fact that right now, my major aim of the game is to keep ANYTHING down. ANYTHING at all. So I really don’t judge whatever I’m eating. Salads are a no go zone for my mouth during the festival of barf, and that’s okay.
How I’m feeling
I’m feeling for the most part fairly optimistic.
I have had quite a few panicked moments of:
OMG! I AM PREGNANT AGAIN! FUCK! SHIT! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WHAT WAS I THINKING! THIS STUFF IS HARD!
I’ve had a few moments of crying in bed to Chris.
I have lots of fears and sadnesses come up for me remembering my experiences last time.
And I also know:
It doesn’t have to be the same again.
I don’t need to suffer the same again.
I also have this very firm vision in my head of Starry with her sibling, and it really warms my heart, and it’s something to move forward into.
I expect that my stuff will keep coming up over the pregnancy, birth and newborn period.
And that I have the support this time around between my acupuncturist, kinesiologist and Hiro.
And my relationship with Chris is even stronger this time around – thanks to already having been through this before and because of our transformative time healing our relationship and learning to communicate with couple’s counselling. Last time around, I think me and Chris were both very naiive and new to the game of parenting last time around – neither of us knew what to expect. He’s got a better handle on these things last time around and I know he’ll be a listening support.
I know I’ll be able to heal whatever comes up. And it will be okay. It will be a different experience.
Prissy Pregnancy Princess Syndrome
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t have bouts of “Prissy Pregnancy Princess Syndrome” (that’s what my acupuncturist calls it!)
You know, the special moments when you are completely overrun by hormones and emotions but don’t know it and your love is DOING IT WRONG.
I totally get this time around that my thoughts are not actually necessarily the truth, and the truth is often halfway between what you and your love are both experiencing and arguing about.
As Prissy Pregnant Princess, you may find yourself outraged at your partner’s lack of compassion and understanding, his inability to experience what you are experiencing, his complete ineptness at working out what you need.
Just wanted you to know you’re not alone, and that it’s okay, and that it will pass.
It’s not actually a sign of the worth of your partner or the validity of your relationship.
You are (for very good biological reasons) overrun with hormones and everything feels ridiculous, shit tastic and awful at various times.
Be gentle with you. Be gentle with him (as much as possible).
The other day I was overrun with my fuming sensibilities, and took myself for a little drive down to the village for a solo lunch. Once I had some food in me, and a bit of fresh air, I couldn’t quite remember why I was so pissy with him to begin with.
Feelings change. Hormones come and go. Communicate where possible. Let the rest go. Get the support you need from lots of sources (not just your partner).
Speaking of love…
Chris is writing a book called “101 Things To Not Say To Pregnant Women.”
We both laugh about this of course. It has stemmed out of PPP Syndrome.
He is writing it by trying out different phrases and seeing how I react.
“DON’T SPEW IN THE KITCHEN SINK! I JUST CLEANED IT!”
“Why did you just spew on yourself? Can you do it outside next time?
“You don’t look THAT sick.”
“Everyone goes through this honey.”
“YOU WANT TO STAY INSIDE AGAIN? BUT I’M BORED!”
If steam starts to rise out of my ears, he reckons it’s a shoe-in for the book.
I mostly find him funny (when I’m not steaming and fuming).
And when I am steaming I remember:
Oh that’s right, I got pissed with him last time sometimes too. And it didn’t mean anything was broken. We’re going to be okay.
It’s a real joy to not be a first timer at this shin dig, I tell ya.
It feels less rupturous, less alien and scary.
Even on a body level – that feeling of stretching between the hips, the solid mound of energy around my uterus, the feeling of being host to a new life form – it’s less:
HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THIS?
Oh yes, this ole feeling. I know this one.
I can relax into it a little more gently.
Last time felt like a complete unknown that I struggled to integrate and understand.
This time around I get it more. It’s more peaceful. I can sit with it a little longer.
Not being lonely
Right now, I’m writing this on our verandah as my hunky love and daughter play soccer in the yard. My two fluffy dogs are by my feet after being banned from the game for being far too ball-bustingly boisterous.
At this point in time, something else I’m noticing is a real feeling of not wanting to be lonely.
Hyperemesis can feel very alienating like I’m doing it all on my own.
I don’t like that feeling of aloneness. I’m usually very comfortable and happy in my own company.
But right now I need to feel like I’m not doing this all on my own.
So I don’t work in my office right now. I want to be around my little family. I get work done in the hours when I’m not sick (usually in the afternoon after acupuncture if it’s worked enough). I need to know that I’ll be witnessed if I’m hurling, and not just doing it like a sad lonely animal in a cave.
I will not be alone. I will not suffer.
At this point in time, we’ve decided to skip the date-testing ultrasound and wait again for the 20 week one. We will find out what we’re having like we did last time. I really loved knowing what we were having earlier in the game. I totes respect when peeps like to keep it a surprise. I just don’t wish to – it’s not in my personal makeup of what makes me happy. I feel more connected when I know what gender we’ll be having. And I don’t actually want another thing to process on birth day – it’s enough for me to process HOLY FUCK I JUST GAVE BIRTH TO A HUMAN. I’d rather emotionally process whatever gender we will have in 13 weeks time. I’ll be delighted with whatever we have of course:
It’s a boy: Oh yay! Something I haven’t done before! That will be really sweet!
It’s a girl! Oh yay! How cute is that! Starry will have a lil sis! That will be really sweet!
For me it’s something I can’t really lose at, ya know?
I’m not considering home birth this time around – it’s not something I am called to do. If all goes to plan, we’ll go to a small country hospital that has a midwife run maternity ward. If I need pain medication, I’ll take it.
We had a doula last time around which was so important to us. I was waiting to see what would arise for the kind of support we’d need this time.
And my lovely angelic acupuncturist Kellie (who is also a wonderful friend) also acts an acupuncturist/doula for many births in that hospital. When she told me I immediately got tears in my eyes and goosebumps all over me – I knew she was exactly what I needed for support. A supportive woman sister who is intuitive and also has needle magic powers to help with pain and labour! WOO!
I’ll be getting acupuncture through most of the pregnancy, with another bout of intensive action in the third trimester to get my body ready for labour. I did use acupuncture last time in pregnancy to turn Starry from being breech twice (which totally worked and was awesome) and to try and induce labour when it stalled. This time I’ll be much more dedicated as using it as a preventative and preparation medicine instead of just “fix what’s fucked”.
In other news, I don’t really have plans as such. Not die hard ones like last time.
More: what will be, will be.
I will not suffer, I will be supported, I will not do this alone.
All my love,
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