My second pregnancy. The first 12 weeks.

Well, I went through with it. I stood up to my fear. God has done a lot of healing inside of me the past 3+ years. So, it took some change and some guts but Jamey and I made the decision to try and see if it would happen. Now, I am pregnant again. I am 12 weeks today, and here is what has been going on so far…..

I started feeling nauseated pretty much right after finding out. (I was probably around 5 weeks). It wasn’t constant, it came and went mainly when i had an empty stomach. So, eating helped a lot. I was hopeful. I felt pretty good.

Around 6 1/2 weeks the major nausea began. It scared me. I had been trying to eat no carbs and little sugar (from fruit) but that quickly went out the window as my body started wanting bread. PRETZELS. Anything dry or bland. I chose to do gluten free toast and some gluten free pretzels as a temporary aid to myself. It did help. I also decided to start anti nausea medication immediately. The nausea had become so strong that it felt like i was going to go down to that dark place fast. So i started my regimen from my last pregnancy. Unisom + B6 at night, and Zofran during the day. (Anti nausea/vomiting meds).

I have been on those medications since. I am getting by, “hanging in there”. Some days are better then others. I am on the couch a lot. I am “out of touch” with the world a lot I feel like. But, hey, I am not getting stuck with IV’s at this point, and I haven’t been to the hospital. That is a big difference from the last time around. I’m praying and hoping that this sick part will pass soon. Please pray with me for this. I really want to be able to enjoy my pregnancy like I did the last few months of my first pregnancy. I want a longer time to enjoy this one!

I have bad days. Today was one. I get so tired of the fight. I get tired of feeling so sick and tired. I’m sure that’s a normal feeling. It’s tough. I am pushing through it. I allowed myself to feel it, and then I reminded myself:  I am not dying. I do not have cancer. I did not just lose a child. I am not trying to get pregnant for the thousandth time with no success. I am not in the midst of chaos, or tragedy. I am alive.

Even in the face of the issues i’m tackling that to me, are very difficult and very real—that truth is buried deep inside and I’m glad that it surfaced when I needed to be reminded. When I was pregnant with Pursey, nothing shook the darkness off. Nothing seemed to be able to.

So, for now, until the nausea/vomiting lets up—I will “Praise Him in this storm”. For all I have. For the blessing I’m carrying inside me. This won’t last forever, and I can do it. Even when some days I feel like I can’t!

Thanks for reading,

Geneva

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The thing that most impacted me in 2011….

It’s 2012. Man, 2011 flew by for me. I wanted to share the most impactful thing that happened to me in 2011. I got healthy. It’s funny to put it that way, because a lot of my friends have always believed I was a REALLY healthy woman. I am “skinny”, a yoga instructor (on hiatus), was a vegetarian for 5 years, ate a lot of fiber, tried to eat organic, cooked my own meals….well, you get the point.

But, the truth is I wasn’t healthy. Not really. In 2011, I started a journey to try to gain weight in an attempt to “prepare” my body for another possible HG-pregnancy. I started meeting with a great trainer, and shared with him my goals and fears. The first thing he told me was that food was going to make the biggest difference in my goals, my health, and my life. Boy was he right! I had been eating vegetarian, and then basically a Standard American Diet all my life. I was a carb-addict. A sugar-addict. A junk-food junkie. I would eat tostitos and salsa every night, in large quantities. I had a superpretzel with mustard EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for a snack. I was always told (and believed) that I could get away with eating whatever I wanted. Since I never saw weight gain from my eating habits, I believed that they weren’t harmful to me.

My trainer at the time, Justin, filled me up with information about the way humans are designed to eat. He told me about the Paleo/Primal way of eating and excercising. (*A disclaimer: I believe in Creation, and I don’t think that the paleolithic era existed. However, I do believe God didn’t create us to eat Doritos.)However, Paleo living just makes so much sense to me! The basic premise of the diet is to “Eat real, unprocessed food, as close to nature as possible and listen to your body. Pretend the modern supermarket doesn’t exist. Choose foods that could be grown, hunted, or gathered-nothing packaged or processed….Eat animals, marine life, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Eat plenty of healthy fats from pastured animals, fish, coconut, avocado, olives, and cold-pressed oils. Drink water….” (Quote taken from an insert I recieved from Steves Orginal.)

Needless to say…I was totally not into it. I wanted to be happy, and enjoy my life and I LOVE FOOD and ENJOYED what I was eating. I wasn’t ready for such a “huge change”. I believed also, that I felt healthy and well even though I did have a few “weird” physical issues I had been dealing with for years. I pushed that aside as “something my body has going on, just a part of life” and kept eating what I wanted. I didn’t think I could “pull off” changing my diet SO DRASTICALLY—by cutting out all gluten/grains/processed foods. That was my favorite! Ha!

After debate, and feeling defensive (on my part) while talking it out with my husband….I decided I didn’t have anything to lose. I would “try” this new way of eating temporarily if only in an effort to reach my main goal: weight gain. So, it begun. My husband was already on board-so we threw out all the junk food we had in our cabinets and pantry, and started buying even more fresh meats/eggs from our local farm, and even joined the vegetable CSA for the Spring/Summer season too. We started cooking even more then we ever had. It was different….

I didn’t notice an immediate change in my body. There were ups and downs, and at times it was hard to cook and clean just to make another meal and clean up again to start cooking! I frequently got discouraged. The thing I realize (most days) is….that’s life! We still have it way easier then most people in the world. I have a dishwasher to help me, thank the LORD! Anyway, the changes did come….and are still coming….

First, I should tell you that I was diagnosed many years back by a Rheumatologist with “myalgia” (which is basically muscle pain). This doctor told me I probably had fibromyalgia. I woke up every morning with stiff joints, and pain in my body. For years I had random joints that hurt me and were stiff….for seemingly no reason at all. I also suffered from migraines. Though i still get headaches, they are much less frequent, and severe. However, my “fibromyalgia”—well, that I learned, was a CROCK! Since I cut out the crap food from my diet, it is COMPLETELY  GONE!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how amazing that is. I would wake up and cry some days and just wonder why my body was like this! Now, I am FREE!!!!

That’s not the only change I have experienced. *We’re about to get personal*. Constipation was an unwelcome friend when I was a vegetarian. Nothing crazy–but it was something I dealt with. NO MORE. I am a regular gal now, with no problems in the poop department! Hooray! Also, the most awesome thing….I HAVE SO MUCH MORE ENERGY. I used to feel so wiped out all the time. I thought it was just the way my body was. I would go to the mall, shop for an hour and then be EXHAUSTED–unable to do much the rest of the day! Those days are over. I take care of my 2 year old daughter everyday, I lift heavy weights twice a week, and I love to walk and spend time with my family. I FEEL GREAT!

My husband, Jamey has experienced several dramatic changes also. We both are SO HAPPY that we learned the truth about food and are finally experiencing the benefits. We thought we “knew it all” when we were vegetarian—but we didn’t FEEL GOOD. We had issues and didn’t understand why. Well, now we do. We were created to eat -as I like to call it-like we live in the woods! Sure, eating all that processed crap is “convenient” and “fast”….but it isn’t worth it to me anymore because I can’t SURVIVE and THRIVE on that food. It didn’t help me, it harmed me.

So, you’re probably wondering, did I gain the weight I wanted? Sadly, no. (Not yet!) But, that is most likely because I’m still nursing my daughter. However, I’ve started a new training regimen, and am getting MUCH stronger and feeling wonderful! (Thanks Geoff Blake!)

I still don’t know if another pregnancy is a good idea for me. The jury is still out on that one. As for me and my family, we are looking forward to a healthy and strong 2012, filled with fun times in the kitchen and happy bellies. I want to thank some people who have really helped me in my journey so far. The first is my wonderful husband. He really helped me to start this journey with him by my side, and he’s been a real encouragement to me. Another is my trainer Justin Scott. He has since moved and now works at Norcal Strength and Conditioning in California. Bless you, Justin for helping me discover the truth about food and excercise! Also, Geoff Blake my current trainer; thank you for continuing to help me discover my strength and to love my workouts! The others, I don’t know personally, but I am inspired by you and your focus, creativity, and love for food! Thank you! (Links below to more of those I appreciate and continue to learn from.)

Sarah Fragoso-Everyday Paleo

Mark’s Daily Apple

Nom Nom Paleo

Robb Wolf

The Food Lover’s Primal Palate

Be careful little eyes what you see….

Well, believe it or not folks….i have been contemplating another pregnancy for several months now. NO, i’m not pregnant yet—so that’s not what this blog is about. What it is about however, is the journey i’m taking before i even try to concieve.

I have been doing my research. I have been thinking. I have been considering. I have been weighing the options, and commitment of being pregnant again.

It’s tough. Things i read encourage me, and then other things i read frighten me. I know the reality of a pregnancy with HG. I haven’t forgotten. But i also know, i haven’t wanted to remember all the time either. And, all this research….well, it’s getting me remembering. A lot. Do i want to do this again? The joy of holding another child in my arms, and growing my family is so hopeful….but what if i have to suffer through another year with HG to get that? Can i do it? I already know it’s worth it. You don’t have to tell me that. I have friends around me aching to be pregnant. I would be blessed to be able to conceive again, I know. But, what if in that blessing….also, lies a curse? A curse that could destroy me again?
This time on my journey I also have to consider my daughter. Her life. What could be stolen from
her if I battle HG again? I don’t want her to have to see her Momma sick, or not be able to be near me…What if i can’t stand her smell so badly that I can’t even hug her? (I had barely any physical contact for months during my last pregnancy as smells were just too nauseating).

All these heavy things weigh my mind down.

I’ve been trying to prepare. I’ve been trying to gain weight. Over four months ago i dramatically changed my diet to resemble that of a Paleo/Primal type diet. I’ve been meeting with a trainer, and have started lifting weights. To my discouragement, I haven’t gained a single pound. I sometimes wonder if God is not going to allow me to gain weight, because it’s really just me trying to scramble and “control” how I would feel when I get pregnant again, and I know I really don’t have much control over HG and whether or not it chooses me, yet again. I do know that God CAN and I pray that He DOES have mercy upon me and allows me to have a pregnancy that is better then my last, and hopefully—free of HG or all NVP. (Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy)

So here I sit…writing up some things I need to ask my midwife. To prepare. Things to still consider. Will I do this? Can I handle it? Sometimes, I answer myself with a resounding YES!
Other times, like today….I am sad to say I really just don’t know.

I do NOT want fear to rule my life or decision making. I want to overcome. I want to succeed. I want to birth another beautiful baby into this world. I know I can’t do it alone. I don’t think I can even do it again with only the small circle of family who got me through last time. I was too isolated. So this blog is the beginning of me reaching out to you, my community of friends and family, to let you hear my heart and to support me…..and my family….

In closing, I’d like to share a quote I found today that really hits home for me with where I’m at today.
“We are not doubting that God will do His best for us. We are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. ” C.S. Lewis

Thanks for reading!

The hope that lies in you…and in me….

Below are some lyrics from a song by The Glorious Unseen. (The Hope that Lies in You)

….And through all the questioning, You’ve been the hope in me.
Despite uncertainty, You’ve been the only constant thing.
And when I’m struggling, You keep on loving me the same.
This is the hope that lies in You.

Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out. We need Your love to shine down.
(Hallelujah. Hallelujah.)
Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out.
(Hallelujah. Hallelujah.)
Come down – we need Your hope to come down.
We need Your grace to pour out. We need the face of God now.
(Hallelujah. Hallelujah.)

Well, what a ride this past year (and then some) has been. As soon as i had my baby in my arms i was all at once overjoyed and relieved that my pregnancy journey was finally over. I also knew the road that lay ahead of me was going to be a tough one. I was broken. Having hyperemesis gravidarum (www.helpher.org) during my pregnancy had taken me to some very dark places (see earlier posts on my pregnancy) and i knew i needed some counseling.

After my daughter arrived, I believe i was dealing with some Post Traumatic Stress. Everytime i would lay down in my bed i’d have flashbacks of being sick, and had horrible memories of sticking my legs with needles and nurses putting iv lines in my arms….it was never ending thoughts. After months of dealing with that, i wondered if switching my bedroom furniture around would bring any relief. Seemed a strange little thing to do but my husband agreed, and it really helped me. It eased my flashbacks and helped me to get a bit of sleep. I still have flashbacks anytime i feel nauseous, too full, or like i’m getting ill in any way. I absolutely hate hospitals and i’m terrified of ever having to go to an emergency room again. That’s the short story of my life after “HG” (hyperemesis).

The other major part of me that was broken though, wasn’t just my mind/body. It was my spirit/soul. God and i had gone through one hell of a ride together. It’s funny that i now say we were in it together. That’s good. Part of the issue i had was that i felt so distant from God during my illness. I felt like he left me and wasn’t healing me. (see previous pregnancy posts)
So, i took a journey. A journey through counseling. Healing. Discovering. Release.

Now, many months later I have a spark of hope inside. At times i feel it flicker and almost fade, but other times i feel it grow warmer and begin to be able to light that fire again…..so that’s what i’m praying for. For the Spirit of the living God to burn in me again. I know what it’s like and i long for it….but there’s still so many obstacles this daily life brings, right?
And now i’m a mom and also a wife and i have duties. It’s tough to make time to spend with my Father God. Breaking through some of my preconcieved notions of God and how i see Him, and talk to Him also weigh on my mind. But, like the song says—I know He’s loving me the same. No matter what my uncertainty may be or my doubt or my lack of love. I can now imagine what that’s like….because i have a child. I can see things in a new light now. Things i couldn’t really relate to before.

I love my daughter, and would continue to love her no matter how much she loved me or spent time with me. In fact, i’d just yearn for more of her, more time with her, more attention from her…..waiting for the day where we could be restored. Reconnected, and rebuild our relationship.

I think that’s how God really feels about me. It’s so crazy i can barely believe it. But, when i relate it to my love for my own child, i think i can see a piece of how God must feel. I am so blessed to be chosen by Him to be loved.

So, come down, i need your hope to come down Lord
I need your grace to pour out
I need the face of God now…….

Wanna Listen to the song? Click Here.

32 Weeks pregnant. My story.

Well, here i sit. I’m now 32 weeks pregnant. Let me tell you, it’s been a real journey and struggle. I have suffered (until about week 14 of my pregnancy) without the help i needed. I have a pregnancy condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It is not a very well understood condition, and there hasn’t been much research done on this illness because it only affects pregnant women (and who wants to test things on pregnant women, right?).

Unfortunatley, dealing with how sick i was took it’s toll on me mentally, emotionally and of course-physically. I lost over 10lbs, in weeks 6-14; and my mother finally got my very uncompassionate OB to finally prescribe a home-care service for me so i could be adequatly hydrated and given continuous anti-nausea medications from my own bedroom. I had made two trips to the ER, and it added up to over $1,200.00. I needed help. A service called Matria/Alere came to my home and gave me an IV drip of fluids which i had for several days, several different times as needed. I also was given a Zofran medicine pump which was a type of subcutaneous medicine that i wore 24/7 until about week 25 of my pregnancy.

Although thankful for the IV’s, and the kind nurses who called or came by the house to start my IV’s, it was a difficult process for me to have to go through. I didn’t get relief from my constant nausea–it was a total waiting game just being (im)patient that my hormones weren’t settling, or easing up on me. When the nurses came to find a vein and start my iv, i would always end up being stuck 2-4x while they struggled to find a good vein. They blew two of my veins out so bad my arm swelled up for 24 hours. It wasn’t their fault, i have difficult veins—but the process was painful, and on top of everything else sometimes all i could do was lay there and cry–just wanting it to be over. I’d sink deeper into self pity and depression, wondering–why was God allowing this to happen to me? Am i going to make it through this? Am i going to die?

I felt so alone, so much of the time. Jamey worked at home, and took care of me through my entire sickness when he could (which was a lot). My mom also came over most days to bring me magazines, fuzzy socks, and her love and support. My dad came over too, several times, to just sit with me, pray with me- or read me a devotional. But, then–i’d be alone again. Lost in the thick nausea and darkness of my bedroom.

It was a tough time, and it did something to me. I can’t say what exactly, but it took me to a very dark place, somewhere i could have never imagined i’d ever go in my life. Some of the thoughts i had, and decisions i almost made during that time shock me but i felt i had lost complete control, and many times–had no choice. I also never anticipated that i’d take any drugs while pregnant, only to be so sick that i took many different ones–sometimes all at once; and it still didn’t help. The nausea was completely debilitating. Sometimes i would salivate so heavily from the nausea i would have to keep spitting in a cup beside my bed to keep myself from vomiting, only to vomit anyway eventually. It was so disgusting. Sores covered my tounge from the stomach acid that kept having to be passed through my mouth from the puke. I couldn’t shower sometimes for a week or more, and when i did–Jamey had to help me and i sat on a bucket in the tub because i was too weak to stand. Other times, all i could do was wash with a soapy rag while lying in bed. Basically sponge bathe. I literally felt like a dying cancer patient.

Those are just some of the gory details. There are more, and some that only my husband would really understand somewhat–and still others that only another woman with HG could possibly comprehend. It’s a hard price to pay, to get to the prize—a beautiful baby.

So here i sit, at 32 weeks pregnant. I am told Jamey and I have made a little girl, and we are so excited. It feels good to be able to feel well enough to eat things again, decorate my baby’s room, do her laundry, and wear maternity clothes instead of pajamas all the time. It feels so great to take a hot shower, and enjoy the smell of soap and shampoo and of being clean. I cannot wait to have my baby, and experience the joy and reward of all my effort. But there are still fears.

The medicines i took while pregnant are not all considered “safe” for pregnancy. Not many medicines are. I pray health into my little girl as often as i think to, and pray that she is perfect in every way. I already have so much inside myself to work through, i can’t imagine if she was injured in some way by the things i had to do to stay alive while i was pregnant. It’s a fear that i can’t let myself run wild with–or i’ll go back too far into the darkness.

Now, I cling to Purslane Kate Hoff’s birthday. The day Jamey and i pray about, and practice for with all our relaxation and belly breathing. We can’t wait to see her face, and hold her in our arms.

I also awake everyday to the knowledge that, deep inside,—i feel far away from God. Before my pregnancy, i felt so close to Him–closer then i’ve ever felt. And so loved. I truly felt i understood his love in a new way–and i did. But now, i struggle with doubts and confusion as to why i was so sick and why my biggest fears came true most of the time. It’s hard for me to get past at this moment in time. But, i am trying and i want to fix what has been broken. I believe one day i will be healed from these “wounds”, with the support of my husband and by the Grace of God that i do still believe is upon me.

One day at a time, all i can say to the Lord is ….”God, i believe-but help my unbelief”.

And, until I’m done being “pregnant, and Pursey is in my arms—it’s a daily struggle but i know that it will be worth it in the end. That’s what everyone tells me. I just can’t wait to experience it for myself.

My 1st Pregnancy. 9 weeks.

Baby,

I am already so attached to you. I don’t want anything to happen to you. Daddy and I love you and are getting excited for when we actually will meet you so many months from now. We talk about what we will name you, and what we will make your nursery look like. I heard your heartbeat on the doppler at the Dr. this week, and that was great. Me-Maw  heard it too, and she cried with joy.

I started off this week with a trip to the Emergency Room. My Mom took me, since Jamey had to work. I had been taking my Promethizine, but still not holding anything down so i decided to go and get some fluids and hopefully some better anti-nausea medicine. I hadn’t really been feeling well enough to take my antibiotics regularly, and that is a concern. I went to the ER and recieved 2 bags of fluid and some Zofran through my IV. Praise the Lord that this week i relented to pay the hefty dollar price for this wonderful new anti-nausea medicine. It’s the generic of Zofran, called Odansetron. It’s costing us about $200 for around 6-7 days worth. But, I am able to eat and drink and not feel as sick–and for that i would pay almost any price at this point! The end of this week i had my 2nd OBGYN appointment where I heard the heartbeat for the first time. Mom went with me because Jamey had to work, she was so excited to hear the heartbeat she cried. I found out i had lost around 3lbs. I felt well enough to step foot inside a grocery store for the first time in several weeks on that same day. I also ate a yummy whole grain bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese from Panera. I got a lot of fresh air and felt my spirits lift a lot. This weekend i went out to Trader Joe’s with Jamey, and we even made pasta salad together. I felt great on Valentines day, and Jamey got me the sweetest card. I’m so thankful for him being such a great nurse this past month when i was at my worst.

My 1st Pregnancy. 8 weeks.

Baby,

This week has been tough. I’m still really sick and have now been bedridden for about 3 weeks. I miss my friends, and I really miss being able to do my “normal” daily tasks. I even miss being able to clean the house, and cook, and grocery shop! Being this sick has been a real struggle for me. I think I might be losing weight. But, I’m starting to really love you and realize that you really are real!

This week was rough. I was getting to the end of my rope with feeling so sick 24 hours a day. I have probably lost a little weight, and by the end of this week–friday to be exact–i woke up and couldn’t empty my bladder even though it felt so full. All morning i had problems and i finally called the OBGYN office. They told me i probably had a UTI and to come in right away. They tested my urine and confirmed i had a bladder infection. I now have to try to swallow some antibiotics 2x a day on top of trying to swallow anything at all….I am still so sick. The doctor debated about sending me to the ER for some fluids. But i made it through this week without more intervention.