I distinctly remember counting down the days until I reached my second trimester. Everyone told me that as soon as I hit 12 weeks the sickness would start to subside, I’d get my energy back, my skin would start glowing and the excitement of feeling my little princess somersault inside me would almost make me forget the copious amount of hours I spent with my head wedge in a sick bowl feeling sorry for myself.
Twelve weeks came and twelve weeks went, and I was still patiently waiting for all of the above to come into play. I knew I was probably going to end up still being sick until around week 20 because the doctors had already tried to pre-warn me that hyperemesis can linger for a *little* longer than normal sickness.
I’m taking each day as it comes now because some days I can’t keep anything down and other days I completely forget I’m even pregnant. But I’m past 20 weeks now – almost 22 and I still chucked up the whole bottle of strawberry-flavoured water I desperately tried to get into my system this morning.
I haven’t been able to eat or drink anything apart from two packets of ready salted crisps for the last three days. Fluid just isn’t staying down, my stomach feels like I’ve hosted 20 rounds of boxing in there, the heartburn is so strong I feel like I’ve swallowed a ball of fire, the taste of my own spit makes my insides churn and my head feels like I’ve repeatedly banged it against a cast iron pole.
I already know that my body is super sensitive to any changes; I’m very aware of everything that’s going on inside me (I always have been) and I can usually pinpoint exactly when she’s having a growth spurt. But I’m not sure if this week I’ve caught a stomach bug or whether the hormones have had another spike.
It started last Thursday when I got a piercing pain down my right side, into my hip and down the front of my thigh. It was sore, I couldn’t stand, sit or crunch up, but the pain wasn’t unbearable. I know that it’s going to get a lot worse in labour but it was the not knowing what the pain was that freaked me. Was I going into early labour? I knew that if I was, my little darling would never survive because her tiny organs are still forming and growing. And that terrified me more than anything.
The pain did eventually go away and I put it down to her perhaps sitting on a nerve. But the following day I woke up feeling nauseous and I knew I had to be sick before I even attempted to take my anti-sickness tablets. I crawled to the bathroom – trying desperately not to disturb my belly – and chucked up bile.
The day got progressively worse and by the evening time my stomach felt so battered and bruised. I remember laying in bed, bundled under seven cushions (one of them I had kicked off in frustration) with Love Island playing from my laptop in the background as tears rolled down my cheek. I sobbed so hard into my pregnancy pillow – which, may I add, I’ve noticed is shaped like the female reproductive system, ironically – that the fine cotton was all matted and rough to touch.
I kept apologising to my baby for being such a failure already; I couldn’t help but hate my body for starving my unborn child of vital food and water. I sat there, staring into space through my bleary eyes, wondering whether I could get through another four months of this. And then, every so often, she’d give me a little nudge to let me know that we are in this together. I have her and she has me. And we’re a team.
I love my baby more than anything and I would literally give her my last breath if it meant that she was kept safe. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through the next four months if every day is like this but I just keep reminding myself that you have to have a bit of rain to watch the flower grow. She’s my flower and every bit of sickness – albeit horrible and draining – is worth it as long as I get her in the end.
I think I just have to accept that me and pregnancy don’t go well together and I’ll probably have to put up with this sickness, exhaustion, lack of sleep and dry skin for the whole nine months – although the sleep deprivation maybe a little bit more because I will have to raise a newborn single-handed.
But, despite every hospital dash, every drip in my arm, every time I got sick in my hair and every time I cried on my mum’s shoulder, I feel so lucky that I can carry my baby.
The second trimester for me, although not quite over yet, has been a tiny bit easier than the first because the sickness isn’t as relentless but it’s definitely not one that I would tell women to look forward to.
I don’t want to put people off having a baby but I just want to share my experiences as they happen so that people who don’t have an easy and enjoyable pregnancy can relate to someone and know that they’re not alone and, in the end, every bit of pain and tear was worth it for their precious bundle of joy.