I'm 29 weeks pregnant and have never felt this awful in my life. I can't tell if it's actually worse than normal, or if I'm just bad at handling it.
posted by Toothless Willy to health & fitness (53 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've felt sick and weak since the sixth week of pregnancy, and it hasn't let up -- after months of this, I'm at the end of my rope. And judging from the pregnant women I know, and from other women's stories, I'm afraid that I might not be normal. I need to find out if that abnormality is my body or in my mind.
To explain why I'm not sure, I need to give some background. It's not a glamorous adjective, but I've always been... sturdy. For thirty-one years, I've enjoyed excellent health. I'm used to having a body that can keep up with the demands that I put on it. Here's what I'm like when I'm not pregnant:
I don't get sick. (well, I got the flu once as a kid and had mono in high school.) I get a cold once every couple years, but the symptoms are mild -- more of a nuisance than a real hassle.
I can move my own furniture, change my own tire, and do physical labor all day long without a hitch. I've been called butch and I love it. I was reckless as a kid and got plenty of stitches, so I'm not that inexperienced with pain. Teachers and friends' parents would comment on how I wouldn't cry when I got hurt, even after sledding face-first into a thorn bush or wrecking my bike into a gravel pit, so I thought I was tough (not anymore!).
I don't get allergies. Being hungry or tired doesn't make me shut down. (My husband gets a migraine if he doesn't eat lunch, and my best friend will throw up if she gets too tired and hungry -- that's the kind of thing I mean here.) Sleep is no problem, and I wake up at seven every day feeling great because I'm a morning person. I don't get migraines, or back pain, or any of the problems that almost everyone else has to deal with.
So in other words, I'm spoiled. Thanks to good genes or whatever, I don't know what it's like to have to put aside pain in order to get through the day.
All of that has changed since I got pregnant. I'm exhausted and in some kind of pain all day long, and I'm useless because of it -- I'm missing tons of work and all of my regular responsibilities are being neglected, and I'm ashamed of myself but I still can't make my body work.
Morning sickness started in the sixth week and has not stopped. I'm able to keep down enough water and nourishment that my doctor isn't concerned. But for four months, I threw up all day every day, and I've lost forty pounds. It's let up enough that the weight loss has stopped, but I'm still repulsed by most food and I dry-heave at least twice a day.
When my doctor saw the weight loss, she scolded me for "dieting" and seemed to doubt that I was telling the truth about the nausea since "that's not normal."
As for exhaustion, I feel like one of those tragic girls in old books who are so delicate and sickly, like Beth in Little Women -- right down to the swooning. If I go out and am on my feet for more than an hour or so, I get shaky and light-headed. I sleep ALL THE TIME. Entire weekends are wasted while I sleep through them. I'm always having to cut things short and ruin other people's fun because I have to go home to lie down. On days when I can drag myself to work, I hardly get anything done and I often have to sneak off to rest, lest I start throwing up or feeling faint.
And there's a bunch of other pregnancy symptoms that are kicking my ass: the constant heartburn, the pain from varicose veins on my uterus that keeps me from standing or sitting, the headaches, and the burning/freezing/agitated feelings that I assume are due to hormones.
Meanwhile, the women in my birthing class are going to work every day and only complaining about having to pee a lot. They enjoyed mild second trimesters and are busily preparing their lives and homes for their new babies. My house is a disaster area and my job is in jeopardy because I'm using all my FMLA time before the baby is even born.
So I don't get it. Is this what all the other women are dealing with, and I'm just a big wimp who can't cope? My doctor seems to think I'm a drama queen; she acts impatient and dismissive of my complaints. My boss has also started acted coldly to me, so I'm worried that she also thinks I'm being over-dramatic. (I don't talk about my problems when I'm at work, but my attendance record is raising eyebrows. People seem confused about why I'm missing work when I'm only pregnant.)
This makes me think that I really am just making a big deal out of nothing -- that my lack of physical suffering in the past has left me with an abnormally low threshold for discomfort. I am willing to believe this and to try harder to accept this struggle as normal. I already know that I can be high-strung and excitable, and I try to be aware of how that colors my perceptions.
But then maybe I really am having more pain than most women, and I'm not being unreasonable by staying in bed and getting nothing done.
So do I need to suck it up, because hello, all pregnant women feel like this? Or am I really dealing with more than most?
I think I should clarify about my mental state, since it's the first thing I would wonder about if I were you: I'm on Zoloft and I don't feel depressed. I do feel humiliated by my uselessness, just because I've always based my self-worth on getting things done -- I'm used to being reliable, capable, and self-sufficient. So that is stressing me out and may be why I'm not coping well.
I'm thrilled about becoming a mother though. I comfort myself by thinking that my problems are worth it, because it means my body is spending all its resources on making my daughter healthy and safe. She's totally fine, by the way. Every test is normal, she's growing like a champ, and I feel her squirming happily all day long. It's just me who's a wreck.