A different experience of pregnancy

Blogging is an interesting world. Some are insightful and compelling like this from FlipChartFT. Some are thought provoking and make you question things like this from Rob Jones. Some are about daily life and the struggles of divorce like this from Rob Harrison. Some are about profession and current thinking like this from Neil Morrison. Some are about a specific industry like this from Mervyn Dinnen.

And some are so joyful and heart warming that you are compelled to come back and read the next one like this from Jane Blackmore. I don’t know Jane. I’ve spoken with her once on the phone for about 5 mins, but that was to talk shop, which is a shame because we would have had far more fun talking about family’s I gather. But I do know Jane from her writing. A working mother with 3 kids not that far in age from my 3. Daily trials and tribulations they throw her way and how her husband (He who helped create them – a wonderful turn of phrase!) helps along the way.

In today’s post she writes about a personal matter, which will resonate with any couple who have tried for a baby are likely to experience. Miscarriage of a baby. It’s a heart wrenching experience, that we too have felt, and it’s a sad thing to go through.

I’d like to talk about a different experience of pregnancy.

When my wife and I were trying for out first child, and we found she was pregnant, it’s a joyous time! I am not one to keep my mouth shut, and duly told EVERYONE. Seriously, there was not one person I knew at the time that didn’t know! I loved that we were on this journey, and loved the thought of having a family!

But, after a few days of finding out, my wife started to get morning sickness. It wasn’t restricted to just morning’s though. It was all day. After two days, she couldn’t keep anything down. We were worried for her health, and for the health of the baby. A trip down to the maternity ward and they did some tests which showed her ketones were low. This effectively meant she wasn’t eating enough, she was dehydrated, her sugar levels had dropped and she wasn’t producing enough proteins due to the lack of food.

She had to be put onto a drip to rehydrate her, and kept in for observation. After 3 days of being in hospital, they did a scan to make sure baby was ok. I will never forget the phone call. 8.40 in the morning on may to work, about 10 mins left before I get to the office.

Crying wife “Sukh, I’ve just had the scan”

Me thinking the worst “Oh, is everything ok?” What does the scan show?”

Crying wife “We have twins.”

A shocked and stunned Sukh “NO WAY”

Crying wife > crying

Me “Shall I come back to the hospital?”

Crying wife “No, it’s ok, just come later”

Me – Big Solid Ear to Ear grin for the rest of the day. As a complete aside, I subsequently went on to broadcast my news to the world, ringing everyone I knew and sending text messages galore – social media was in its infancy in those days (2006). Later, when I was with the wife and my parents had come to visit, they advised:

Them “We should keep this news quiet for now while she recovers”

Me “Oh.”

Them “What?”

Wife “He’s told everyone.”

Them “Oh.”

Originally we thought this must be the reason for the extreme sickness. It all made sense now! She was carrying twins, double the trouble, double the sickness! Alas, no.

The doctor finally advised she had hyperemesis. Hyperemesis gravidarum is it’s full name. It’s an extreme form of sickness in pregnancy which means the mother has a lot of difficulty keeping any food or fluid down. It’s also very rare. Mothers will typically have some form of sickness, and it can be quite a lot, but for a smaller population, they experience this extreme form.

This is what the experience of hyperemesis was like. My wife had to take 7 weeks off work because of the sickness. In that time, she had to spend between 2-4 days every week in the maternity ward due to the hyperemesis. While she was at home, she stayed away from the kitchen and spent much time on the sofa. Her sense of smell was heightened something chronic and anything that had an aroma was undesirable. She ate little because she was too scared of being sick. She hated pregnancy and felt like she was being an awful burden on the family.

Personally, I hated seeing her like this. I didn’t care about cleaning up after her, nor being at her beck and call. I was just worried about her health, and of our little unborn babies.

It wasn’t until about 16 weeks into the pregnancy that she finally overcame the hyperemesis. And when she finally did, things made a slow return to normality, as much as they could for a mother carrying twins!

We were hoping it was restricted to the twins, but when she fell pregnant for the third time (second time being the miscarriage), she again suffered with hyperemesis. Thankfully this time she didn’t have to be admitted to hospital, but she still struggled for about 5 weeks this time.

And it’s why I’m reluctant for us to try for more. Those of you who follow me on Twitter, may be aware that my brother-in-law’s girlfriend has recently had a baby who is now 12 days old! My wife is obviously broody and making wild claims about having a fourth. I would love this, particularly as I’m an only child so a big family would be a wonderful thing to happen! But I am more than happy with our 3 and I cannot bear to watch my wife go through another bout of hyperemesis.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

6 thoughts on “A different experience of pregnancy”

    1. Welcome, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment today 🙂

      It helps for my wife to know she was suffering something that can happen to others.

  1. Hi Sukh – lovely post and appreciate your openness. You know we have two boys, 6 & 9 now. I don’t think we’ve ever stopped wanting even more children – my wife even dreamt she gave birth last night (ok, it was a “first” but what a topical dream!!!). However, we both know that we will not have any more kids now. We rationalise this thus…

    Our youngest has mild hemiplegia – it doesn’t stop him from being amazing but we’re more conscious of what can happen in pregnancy (not a good reason but there it is). His emergency caesarean saved him but left my wife bed bound for weeks. We tried for our 3rd and lost twice – heart-wrenching for both of us and can still bring tears to my eyes. Neither of us are getting any younger…. So we settled for a dog who is closer to a 3rd child than you’d believe.

    And we’d both have a baby tomorrow if we could! Rationality doesn’t come into it and I think that’s the way it’s meant to be.

    1. I did not expect a level of openness such as this David, and i appreciate you doing so very much. I know parents, like you, whose children suffer from conditions, and I have a lot of admiration for the lives you must lead.

      It seems we are both lucky that although we have had the experience of losing unborn babies, we’ve had our children to soften that blow for us. Yes, sometimes things are just meant to be.

  2. You two guys have had me in tears on a Friday afternoon…

    As always Sukh – great blog, very moving and as a Mum found it a compelling read, just about recovering from that and then read David’s comment! I’m off to hug my gorgeous son feeling very happy to have had a healthy child after a fairly straightforward pregnancy (albeit considered a geriatric Mum at 38!)

    Hope we all have lovely family weekends and Happy Fathers Day for Sunday you two!

    1. Margaret, I think this is the first time you have commented on my blog! For this, thanks.

      I’m glad you’ve found heart in something said today, and thank you for the good wishes for this Sunday.

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