Pregnancy Blinders

Two years ago, I longed to be pregnant and be a mother. I was ready, Tim was ready to be a dad, we were ready to have our family grow. I welcomed every single bad pregnancy symptom with open arms. I was totally ready for it!

I finally got my positive pregnancy test on April 5, 2013, when I was just about 4 weeks pregnant. I lived in happy La La Pregnancy Land for a month.

Then I got hit hard.

On May 12, the day I announced our pregnancy (first to the faculty at my school, and then to the world on Facebook and this blog), I realized that this whole first trimester thing is no joke. That’s when it started.

I could barely keep anything down, I was so sick constantly. I carried around crackers, ginger, apple, a lemon, and my ice chips, just so I could make it from one minute to the next. Kinda hard when you are expected to be on your feet all day, teaching 4th graders with the expectation that they ALL pass all 5 of their end-of-the-year tests.

I went from 124 pounds at the start of my pregnancy to 117, the weight that I was in high school.

I woke up, stuffed my face with stale crackers from my bedside table, took my Zofran, and dragged myself to the shower, where I sat on the floor of the shower, waiting for the water to wash over me, barely with enough energy to get the shampoo out of my hair. I was a mess.

I couldn’t go in the kitchen because of the smells, so Tim made me my lunch (apple slices, a lemon, crackers, and a piece of Bertucci’s pizza), a cold water, and sent me off with some popsicles for the teachers’ lounge freezer.

I had a couple special students learn where I kept my popsicles, and when I felt really lightheaded, they would run and get me one, and it would help bring me back from the brink.

Let’s just say it was not the best of environments for me, my students, or my babies that were twincubating.

I had a lot of sick days built up, and since I wasn’t returning the following year, I used them. I figured I needed to rest as much as possible so that when I was at school, I could do the best job possible, given the circumstances. I started taking the afternoons off. I taught from 7:20 AM until 11:15, when my students went to lunch. Then, my sub walked them to lunch, where she was able to have a light afternoon with just about 30-50 minutes of teaching time, since that was when we had lunch, resources, and recess.

My principal wasn’t happy with me. I knew that parents were complaining (or “asking questions” as I found out after being pulled into a meeting to discuss my severe illness with the pregnancy). To be totally honest, I didn’t blame them. I was frustrated that I was so sick, but there was literally nothing I could do.

For this, I want to openly apologize to those parents, my team members, and those students. I’m so sorry for not being there during a critical time of the year. I wanted to be there. That’s not how I wanted to end my teaching career. I just… couldn’t.

Once I hit my second trimester, it was amazing how… well… amazing I felt. I was Superwoman and I could do anything. Of course, the first day of my second trimester was the first day of summer break. Just too little too late for my dear students and their families and my coworkers.

Looking back now, I do have on those blinders. I forgot how absolutely dreadful I felt. How I absolutely could not do anything worthwhile. How I just was trying to survive and keep my babies alive.

We forget what it is like to be that miserable for that long. That is what makes us women want more babies. I know that every single woman that questioned my illness and absence from the classroom forgot what it was like. They were focused on the well-being and education of their children. I don’t blame them. I just bring it up because I don’t want to totally forget. I want to be understanding if Audrey or David’s teacher is in the same position. I want to be supportive. I don’t want to point fingers or talk or blame.

Yes, a woman really CAN be that sick while she is pregnant. You may have been too, but you forgot. Please be supportive of her while she faces her first struggle as a mother: the pull between her responsibilities as a worker and that of a mother.

I made my choice to be a mother first and foremost. I protected my babies by taking the time for me. I thank everyone that supported me in that choice.

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Comments

  1. I, too was very sick my first trimester! I have an autoimmune disease also, but have never felt so lethargic and nauseous in my entire life. I just got into my second trimester and it amazing the differences I have felt so far.
    Until you have been in those shoes it is hard to understand how debilitating it can be. Good for you for sticking up for yourself and your babies. I keep having to tell myself I will never get this time back again, and need to do the best for them and for me.

  2. Hey! Stopping by from the Nov Blog Hobnob. Love seeing sweet pics of your little blessings! Glad I found you!!

  3. I was horrifically sick at the beginning of my twin pregnancy also. I threw up probably 7-8 times a day. My twins are almost nine months old, but I still remember vividly how horrid that whole period was. Luckily I was working from home anyway, and for my husband’s company no less, so I had awesome flexibility. I cannot believe you worked at all through that, and I think you deserve 10 million gold stars for your super human effort! I would have died. Literally. I’m just shuddering at the memory!

    • Aw, I’m so sorry you were so sick too. Thank you so much for the support! Thankfully I can be home with them now, which makes even those sick days much more bearable!

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