Monday, January 24, 2011
I went through a difficult first trimester of pregnancy, and I am so happy that I am in the second.
My pregnancy began with morning sickness, even before I knew I was pregnant. I thought I had just eaten some bad Indian food, which could very well have been the case. But deep down, I guess both my husband and I knew that I could very well be pregnant.
My first trimester was not only about 24/7 morning sickness. I also had insane fatigue at all times at any time of the day or night, food cravings and aversions, and perpetual low blood sugars.
I think I went through three large cases of glucose tablets a week. I started getting sick of the glucose tabs and started mixing it up with orange juice which worked out well since I couldn’t get enough oranges! I craved oranges but couldn’t eat peppers or drink tea. I was hungry and nauseous at the same time, and could only eat crackers and cheese without making matters worse. I could sleep on demand, and I would wake up at 3 am, and then 4, and again at 5 from serious thirst - only to conk out a few hours later.
On top of that, I had some complications in the beginning, and the doctors kept me under close watch. I wasn’t allowed to exercise, and I was told to take it easy. None of the doctors knew what was causing the complications, and so nothing more than rest could be prescribed.
Only a handful of people close to me even knew that I was pregnant, and I was running to doctors’ appointments a few times a week. So needless to say, it was pretty hard to balance life’s – and well people’s – expectations with prioritizing my own health and the health of these babies.
There are some pros to being under close watch by the way. I knew early on that I am pregnant with twins. That’s nice. It has given us lots of time to prepare, which we’re still doing. I also had the ongoing assurance of knowing that the twins are okay, and the comfort of hearing a doctor say that despite the complications, everything is just fine. My parents didn't have that luxury since medicine was not as advanced then as it is now.
But it still wasn’t easy. Running to appointments in the middle of the day does not make for a happy environment when people don’t know what’s going on. Wanting to sleep in the middle of the day is a whole different situation!
I began announcing my pregnancy at week 13. I could have continued to keep it a secret for superstitious reasons, but I was starting to show, and people were talking about me. I noticed that things were getting easier as people learned the news.
I noticed that I started feeling better at exactly 14 weeks. It was kind of miraculous actually. The complications completely disappeared on the exact day my husband and I left for Los Cabos. I wouldn’t say that I was feeling totally fabulous, but I was on the mend. It took until week 16 until I was feeling great. Eating what I want and when I want. Exercising again. More energy.
So what made the difference at week 14? I think it’s a number of things:
I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that I started feeling better once I started to telling people and left for vacation. I have a need to fulfill others’ expectations. I have a classic fear of disapproval. This is one of my life’s lessons. I am aware of it, and as a life’s lesson, it means being aware of it on a daily basis.
But when I was pregnant, I was too tired and nauseous – and worried about the complications – to pay attention to being conscious. At one point, I think it was right around week 11, I realized that I hadn’t meditated in almost three months! I hadn’t journaled. I wasn’t exercising. I wasn’t going through the daily discipline of the conscious life that I strive to live.
I did meditate that day, and I briefly felt better. But then the issues that hold me back returned when I reverted back to my first trimester self.
I do also know that some of the feeling better at week 14 is just good old biological science. I was entering the second trimester, and symptoms are known to ease up for women between weeks 14 to 17.
Those who read my blog regularly know by now that I am a true believer in the mind-body-spirit connection. I think that some of the first trimester symptoms are purely medical. I am carrying twins after all. But I also believe that the experience was a lesson, an opportunity, in developing my conscious practice. I am a true believer that when we don’t deal with the stress in our lives head on, our bodies hold onto it. The stress then transforms into illness or pain. I actually wrote about this topic almost exactly a year ago in Listen to your body.
I strongly believe that I was holding onto stress, fear, and anxiety in my first trimester – in addition to the task of creating two babies.
Any of life’s challenges, not only the first trimester of pregnancy with twins - is an opportunity for all of us to grow, learn, and become more aware.
If there is something I learned from the experience is that even when I’m feeling like I don’t have an ounce of energy in the world, it’s important to stick to my daily routine of self-awareness. I do this through meditation, journaling, talking to the right people, being creative, and exercising, such as yoga. Any of these methods – and more – help ease the pain by helping us become more aware. Allowing us to let go of past hurts and be more present with each day.
And if nothing else, when life’s woes get you down or cause you pain, just remember: This too shall pass.
Posted by Ophir Lehavy Busel at 11:24 AM