This was my personal experience, and not necessarily anything anyone else would experience. So don’t take this as something that’s comparable. Every pregnancy is different in so many ways, which is what I learned through this whole process. Do not read if you have a weak stomach. I spared no details for ya.
I spent the end of December basically sleeping everywhere. I was moody and tired all the time. To the extent that I started falling asleep on dinner tables. My mother in Law kept saying “You don’t look well.” and the pupper wasn’t even excited to see me anymore (yes, he smelled the hormones on me). I was then 4 days late. It was December 31st, and my immediate reaction was that I had to be pregnant. I had always imaged having a family with Martin, but didn’t think it would happen so quickly. He joked with me when I decided to take a test, “You always think you’re pregnant. No way.” – And me being the hypochondriac that I am, of course I did. But 4 days late? Not a chance I am not.
I took an old test that had been sitting in my bathroom. Positive. We laughed, “There’s no way. This must be an old test.” as though pregnancy tests had some sort of expiration and false positives. We ran to the pharmacy, I chugged a gatorade, and took 3 different types of tests. ALL POSITIVE. I then the following morning ran to a clinic and took a blood test. “You’re definitely pregnant.” said the doctor.
I was elated as we had discussed kids even before we married. I was scared, happy, nervous, anxious, excited as hell, and thought I knew what to expect. My emotions were running so wild I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Within a week of finding out, what was misconstrued as the flu took its course as severe morning sickness. I took tamiflu as a precaution and was hallucinating and in so much pain (YES, YOU CAN HALLUCINATE ON FREAKIN’ TAMIFLU)… so as you can imagine I nixed that medicine quickly after I read reviews on it. I found myself completely helpless in a bed or in a hospital not able to keep anything down. Every smell and taste was a trigger. I don’t want to get into graphics, but the vomiting itself was so violent that all the blood vessels around my limbs and face had bursted, and I at some point started to vomit bits of blood.
No medicine worked. In fact, nausea medicine made me worse. A theory (because when you’re home for days on end, you become very self aware of your body): my $900 per week nausea medicine, Diclegis, is an antihistamine with vitamin b6 which was extremely expensive because it takes insurance and while to cover it. (a tip: ask your Dr. about less expensive options, as they are available.) I had figured out my nausea was caused primarily from the hormone “Relaxin” because my food was taking very long to digest. And a nutritionist agreed. What these medicines did for me was slow down my digestion even more. Anyone who found that these medicines helped them kept telling me to try it. And they were lucky it was so helpful for them. All it did was make me sleep more. Figures.
I spent fashion week attending a show a day, if I could even do that, with a puke bag on my lap everywhere I went (thanks to all my fashun friends who thought it was hilarious). And I went to Miami for a job, and Coachella to help with JAJA stuff, and to feel like a human being. I did both like a champ and really pushed myself.
“You’ll feel fine in your second trimester!” everyone told me.
I had spent so much time inside my apartment unable to move unless it was to puke or shower, that I had started to develop antepartum depression (what would be considered to be postpartum, but during pregnancy) because I was home for days on end all alone, staring at a wall, and crying. I needed Martin or my parents to do everything for me, even sometimes to feed me which scared me the most. Some of my friends started to stop by to visit because they knew how lonely I was. My assistant at the time was definitely scarred from the whole experience, but was such a boss and was so helpful and understanding. I had always taken care of myself and never needed a hand in anything, and when I started to need people, even sometimes to just be fed, it crushed me even more. I hated to have to watch my husband who always looked at me as someone very capable to have to be constantly by my side. I just wanted to work and do normal things. I wanted to walk 3 blocks without panting. I wanted to eat anything with sugar without wanting to hurl. But I was a slave to my body who was busy building another life. And I had to accept that as a part of the process.
Weeks started to roll by, and I cried all the time… like, all the fucking time. The only time I was truly happy was at my sonogram appointments. And it was really the only thing I looked forward to. The fact that I was nearing the end of my second trimester and still not feeling the nausea subside really worried me that I had passed the mark where there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I waited for the diagnosis of hyperemesis, and there were moments where I BEGGED to be put on a permanent I.V. because I felt so depleted – but because I kept some meals down and wasn’t losing that much weight, I didn’t get the title for that treatment. It was just “Wow, you got a rough case. Don’t worry, it will end soon.”
I was then diagnosed with Placenta Previa. It was the first time I wasn’t cracking pregnancy jokes with the staff in the doctor’s office, and instead I started to cry hysterically. More of my freedom had been stripped from me. I was put on pelvic rest, which to me, at that point, was basically bed rest.
“I didn’t ever realize that being a mom was like a private club that speaks a different language. A language that only until you’re a mom you will understand it.”
My openness online had opened floodgates to other women who had been dealing with a similar situation (… oh, and I mean floodgates). Girls who were begging me for answers I didn’t have answers to, other than to ride it out, which sucked, but at least we knew we weren’t alone anymore. I even had a friend’s husband reach out because he didn’t know how he could “fix his wife.” – my answer, “Rub her back every night and tell her it’s going to be ok. And yes, do that for nine months.” … it’s hard as hell on the men too.
It seemed like everyone in my life was pregnant. My friends had quickly switched from my normal crew to women who currently had their heads in porcelain and moms who just “got it”. I didn’t ever realize that being a mom was like a private club that speaks a different language. A language that only until you’re a mom you will understand it. It became, “Oh, you’re a mom. Did we just become best friends? YEPPPPPPPP.”
But it was all going to be fine, right? I got my amazing husband who I had always dreamed of. A healthy little love on the way. A home I decorated and feel so much love in. I had a supportive family, & kick ass in-laws through this whole journey. I knew all of this. I knew that while I couldn’t physically or mentally do anything but watch TV in that moment, that I was really fine and being taken care of by everyone around me.
It all ended slowly at 26 weeks. And while I wasn’t fully myself, I wasn’t in physical pain or excruciating nausea anymore. My Placenta has finally moved to the right spot. My tears had turned quickly into uncontrollable fits of laughter. I laughed like a crazy person at everything. I watched comedy specials and anything that put me in a good mood. I started to eat, A LOT. And had finally started to enjoy food again. My weight picked up quickly, really quickly, and I gained 10lb in a month. I ate like crap, but whatever.
I really felt what I had needed to feel when the baby started hiccuping in my belly one night. I told Martin to come over and feel it. I started to tear up, “isn’t this so cute!?” … it really was besides all the kicks I had felt, my true connection to the life that was in there were these hilarious hiccups. I finally felt like there was my baby in there. I spent hours all day watching my belly get rolled around. The baby played with me as we poked back and forth at each other every morning. I played music for the baby who danced away just like his dad, and sang love songs every night in the shower without fail staring down at what used to be my feet. It was at this point where I just wanted my kid in my arms so badly, and the waiting game had finally begun. As one of my high school friends put it, “There are some situations where being a mom is easier with the kids out rather than in.” … and that was definitely the case for me.
THE NINTH MONTH
The ninth month hit me like a ton of bricks. The baby moved down so the acid was slowly going away, and it was out of my ribs. And there were cooler kicks and movements where anyone who saw my stomach move would be completely freaked out. This kid is ACTIVE, and I could also hear the “Get me out of here!” by the way he kicked his way downward. But it comes with another level of symptoms. My swollen legs were now so bad that even if I slept with my feet up, they’d still be swollen. Braxton Hicks lasting days, and pressure in my pelvis making me feel like I had to pee when I didn’t.
My pre-labor lasted a while. Days, actually. I had hired a doula who had been walking me through the whole thing. My swelling got worse and I was periodically checking my blood pressure. It got bad and I went to my Dr. who said, if this persists one more day, I would have to be induced.
HE’S ON HIS WAY
Just my luck, my blood pressure skyrocketed and I had to quickly go to the hospital two weeks earlier than my due date. I called my doula and my parents, everyone made it to the hospital quickly. And I labored for a full day, without an epidural, feeling every contraction and weirdly enjoying it. My doula had me sitting on a yoga ball and doing stretches trying to stretch my pelvis so my 8lb baby could fit through without getting stuck. My biggest fear was that he wouldn’t fit through (I am super petite), and I would have to get a c-section which would mean I’d have to deal with healing both spots simultaneously.
“Motherhood is definitely all I expected it to be, and in many ways even better.”
I wasn’t dilating. I was stuck at one centimeter and the Pitocin (a drug that induces labor) wasn’t pushing it forward. My labor pains were getting painful, but I was just tolerating it because if I got an epidural, this would slow the process longer than it was already taking. So the next thing they had to do was the “balloon” to stretch it out. I heard one story about the balloon; and it wasn’t really a story as much as it was “get that fucking epidural before you get the balloon.” But me, the champion that I am, thought I could handle that pain until I was screaming bloody murder “GET ME A FUCKING EPIDURAL!!!” – I definitely scared all the women coming in excited to give birth. Yes, I was that screaming woman. Like a horror movie. And yes, that was hands down the most painful thing I ever experienced in my life.
I got the epidural moments later (for all of you preggos, not to worry, it was a BREEZE and the easiest part of labor, it sounds scary, but it was great). I fell asleep for a few more hours and woke up to being 10cm and fully dilated at 2am. It was time to rock and roll. I thought about all my fears of pushing out a watermelon, but then I looked back at how insanely hard my pregnancy was, and I said “A few hours of pain, I can handle.” I asked if I should push the button for more epidural, and I was told it would go quicker if I had more feeling in my pelvis. And at this point, no amount of pain scared me.
So standing over me was Martin, my mom, my mother in law, my doula, a nurse, and my doctor. Everyone cheering me on to get the baby out. I made jokes in between each contraction to keep the mood light, as I hate very very serious situations, especially when I am the center of attention. Had everyone laughing, so I felt happy. Hitting contraction after contraction and having so much of an urge to push, I didn’t want to take a break. I kept wanting to hold my baby. I was going to do this.
After a few pushes, and one hour later, I felt a huge warm rush go through my body and I was concentrating so much on getting him out that I didn’t even realize they got him fully out. My doula said “Lainy look, it’s a boy!” And before I knew it, my clothing was stripped by everyone around me and my doctor threw him on my chest. “I’ve waited too long for you!” I told him. There he was. Ten toes, ten fingers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This slippery little guy, weighing 7.15lb. He had my ears, Martin’s eyes. The rest I couldn’t really figure out. His smell was absolutely intoxicating. And it was a kind of love I have never felt in my life. I am not one to ever talk about religion, but it was the first time I really felt G-d in my presence. Everyone says you don’t know a mother’s love until you have a child yourself and it’s so true. I felt like I was on a crazy high just looking at him and smelling him. Euphoria is an understatement. Nothing else in the room mattered. No one else mattered. My whole world had shifted forever in focus on this little boy.
FROM DARK TO LIGHT
As he was lying on my chest my body started to shake profusely. So uncontrollable I couldn’t speak. My mom was speaking to me, but I was shivering so hard I couldn’t speak back. They immediately took Louis off my chest and gave him to Martin. All I remember is that everyone was asked to leave but my mom and Martin. 14 doctors and nurses rushed in and they were pushing down my stomach like it was a stopped heart – it was in fact an exhausted uterus. I was hemorrhaging more blood than a c-section, and had to be stabilized. This can happen when you’re laboring for too long, and I was. Thankfully, I had been taking my iron pills to help my anemia during my pregnancy. If I didn’t, I would have probably been in trouble.
I was immediately given morphine and passed out.
The next day, they rolled Louis into our delivery room and the nurse said, “We have to check if this is your boy.” Louis was hiccuping so hard, and I said “With those hiccups, that’s definitely my kid!” I plopped him on my chest, and his big almond eyes were glaring at me. I decided in that moment I’d breastfeed, even though it was never my plan.
“I felt like a whole new person, and started to feel more confident that taking care of him wouldn’t be as hard. “
I spent the next few days in the hospital just holding him. It was this weird feeling that because he was held in my belly for so long, I wasn’t able to let him go. I was healing very well, and every day I got better and better. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
WE’RE COMING HOME
Coming home was a little hard, physically and emotionally. Again, dealing with my trouble with asking people for help. I needed a lot of help. I could barely walk, was very sore, and the biggest hormonal mess. I was hearing ghost cries in the shower which freaked me out because I thought I was hallucinating from sleep deprivation (to find out later this was normal), and couldn’t go to the bathroom without freaking out he was in the other room, even though he was being taken care of. I decided now I’d need to take some time off to be with him. That working is not going to be easy with this anxiety, and he was already changing so much every day, I couldn’t bare miss a second without him. I started to stand a lot more, didn’t feel the need to sit, and swelling started to fade. I felt like a whole new person, and started to feel more confident that taking care of him wouldn’t be as hard.
So now I’m here. I’m home. Taking some time off and soaking in every second of this new life. Enjoying the diaper changing, feedings, and cuddles. Motherhood is definitely all I expected it to be, and in many ways even better. “Worth it.”? You bet.