almost 5 years ago

I am 2 days away from reaching week 12, end of the first trimester.

This morning I was reading PTT's maternity board (PTT is a Taiwanese ASCII-based bulletin forum, just think reddit) and came across a fellow preggie who just discovered at week 20 that her baby has severe chromosomal disorder and will have to abort it. Coupled with my own trauma of having a natural miscarriage at week 6 in my first pregnancy, this just makes me even less willing to declare myself safe out of the woods. I think I will have to wait until I pass all my prenantal screening tests and see the damn thing with a clear set of normal looking organs before I can stop being paranoid.

Last night was the first night since the new year I have been able to stay awake till 10PM and not feel like a wreck. For the past few weeks, I have been consistenly in the following state:

Morning --- Wake up around 7 or 8 AM (but laying in bed for at least 30 min), have a slight headache that usually goes away before noon, then I can concentrate on work till lunch time.

Afternoon --- After lunch, I usually can maintain a relatively high level of intelligence until 4PM. Then starting 4PM, all starts to go downhill. I start to feel nauseated and have a painful sense of hunger (that comes regardless of how much and how constantly I eat throughout the day).

Evening --- I usually try to eat my "dinner" meal around 6PM. Then by 7PM I am reduced to a moaning piece of mess. At this point, I am not entirely sleepy yet, and my food is not completely digested so I have to stay up. I usually watch something brainless at this point, like YouTube cat videos or Japanese anime. I try not to think about work as the thought of not having "finished some work" makes my already shallow sleep cycles worse. I stay awake till about 8PM, eating my last and most "defensive" light snack (ex: saltine crackers, lightly sugared cookies, Japanese pudding, bland toast) before dragging myself to bed. Oh, and typically I throw up once after dinner.

Midnight --- If I am lucky, all that happens is I wake up somewhere between 2 - 7 times to pee. And most of the time I can fall back to sleep immediately. If I am unlucky, some time between midnight - 2AM I will be awakened by a sudden, revolting sense of hunger. It would be so painful that the only thing I can do is drag myself to the kitchen and force myself to slowly eat a piece of bread or a bowl of cereal, followed by some crackers and a little liquid. Because food goes down slowly in pregnancy, it would be at least 15 min before the hunger pain subsides a bit and I can go to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I have become very sensitive to the taste in my mouth and I always have to brush my teeth after food, especially at night. Unfortunately, brushing my teeth is one of the activities that is guaranteed to stimulate gagging reflex and occassionally I would throw up at this point as well.

Evening and midnight is the hardest for me. In the morning I feel somewhat like a person. At night I feel like a freaking piece of human battery that just keeps stuffing down food even though I don't want to eat and keep throwing up food even though I don't want to throw up. There is no pleasure in eating and more often fear associated with the question: "What can I eat that will both prevent me from waking up from hunger and won't make throwing up too disgusting?"

There is a difference in what you throw up. On the bright side, I can "choose" what to throw up. For example, almond milk tastes about the same going down and coming up. Things that people tell you to eat during morning sickness: bland food (rice, toast, noodle, all with very little sauce/meat), truly make it more enjoyable when you have to do the inevitable. I have also discovered the category of sweets that work well: usually low-fat sweets with a light soft consistency, a little cream and sugar is OK.

I did not have to worry about quitting coffee and tea (in general, caffeine). What coffee? I nearly died from the smell of freshly baked beans in a coffee shop at week 8. And at Japanaese restauants now I only order sobacha (buckwheat tea, which is caffeine-free and tastes great). Tea at Chinese restaurants are OK, because they're sooooooo diluted with water they're just flavored water, haha.

But it is still miserable to wake up at night to eat or vomit. I cried a few times when that happened. If I am feeling more positive I would cry thinking "Please stop torturing me baby." If I am feeling negative I would cry thinking "I don't want to live like this anymore." And usually after a release of extreme emotions, I'd feel numb which is great because then I can go to sleep and wake up to another day.

Reading others' experiences definitely helps. Reading how other people have wayyyy worse morning sickness than I do on the PTT Maternity board is....sometimes consoling. After all, all of them survived the vomiting hell and lived to tell the tale. I also get to read about various problems folks have after the baby is born (the board covers from pregnancy up to generally 2-3 years after birth) and know that the pain and exhaustion I'm feeling now is NOTHING compared to what comes down the line when you successfully "offload" (a term used by PTT mothers for labor).

I stopped exercising after the new year. That was probably one of the hardest blow to me. I got depressed during graduate school and one of the things that kept me from completely giving up on life was yoga and later circus. But it became obvious there was no way I can climb a rope, flip upside down, do a handstand, jump on a trampoline, or do a backbend, after the hunger+nausea+vomit cycle started. I was barely able to get enough work done, and sickness in the evening (which was usually when I exercised) eliminated all further hope. I froze my circus and rock climbing gym membership. They say it gets better in the second trimester and I hope by then I will be able to do some light yoga and stretching on my own, but I know if all goes well, it will be a solid 7+ months before I can be comfortably in the air again.

Last Tuesday I finally had enough of a break from work in the morning and a need to visit the hospital for blood test, that I went swimming for the first time in a long time. It felt good. I didn't swim a lot, and didn't swim very hard. I felt OK during and after the swim. It made me happy that I could still move. After all, even walking up flights of stairs leaves me breathless these days! I swam for the second time this Saturday morning. I think I am going to try swimming twice a week for a start.

So why did I feel OK last night even after 7PM? Maybe it's because I was enjoying watching UFC 169 (at home, since I was too afraid to be out that late)? The fights were all extra good and I was shouting a lot. Is it because I am finally out of the worst part of the sickness? Is this just a one-day break that's gonna come back with even stronger nausea and more misery? Or is it because something is wrong with the fetus and my hormone levels are no longer rising? That's the curse of morning sickness. First you love it (cuz you're finally pregnant), then you hate it (cuz it makes you miserable), then you fear the lack of it (cuz it could be a warning sign).

The right thing to face all of this, as any sane person would know, is to NOT CARE. After all, most things are out of your control. Most miscarriages happen because it needs to.

I have gotten over my miscarriage. In fact after finishing this entry I am going to write about it. Looking back at it now I think it's a "cool experience" because ...well, I'll write about it. But anyhow now when I do occassionally tell people about it I joke about it because like any traumatic expeirnece in life, it's both scary and funny.

I am sure whatever happens to this pregnancy, I will find both scary and funny things about it. But right now, I just try to worry as little as I can. Or more precisely, worry as much as I can, but then either blog the heck out of it, or read other people's blogging the heck out of it.

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