Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Pregnancy, Auto Immune Disease, Anxiety and other fun stuff

So this is a topic I have been avoiding, but feel I really should share this journey. To date I have kept my pregnancy pretty quiet and there are a number of reasons.

I am scared. I am scared that at my age (39!) a normal pregnancy is fairly high risk, and this is anything but a normal pregnancy. I have a heart condition (that I knew about & accepted that risk), I am overweight, we HAD a blood clot between the placenta and the uterus (its resolved itself now thank God), I have Gestational Diabetes, I have auto immune disease that can affect my unborn baby....yeah, the list goes on. And so I am scared that my precious little baby won't make it and it will be my fault.

I am aware that this pregnancy, without any intention to, is hurting some very close friends of mine. They don't begrudge my pregnancy, they don't say hurtful things, they don't ignore me, they at least on the surface celebrate the small milestones with me. But regardless, for one friend this baby is due right around the same time they gave birth to their beautiful angel sleeping at 38 weeks, for another friend, she should also be going through the same milestones as me as she was due just 4 days after me, but sadly miscarried at just 8 weeks. After years of struggle to have a child of their own, it is, it must be, incredibly painful to watch us have yet another child. 

I don't blame them for feeling the way they do. If the situations were swapped, I would no doubt feel the same way. They are beautiful and gracious and tell me not to hide my pregnancy.....but I can't help it. I hate that something that is filling me with so much joy, is hurting them so deeply.

To put it like any 2 year old (or teenager for that matter!)...


To add to my mixed and confused emotions, people seem to have suddenly forgotten I have an illness. It's like the pregnancy cancels out everything else I have been dealing with in the last 12 months. Sadly, the opposite is true. Sjogrens, possible Lupus, and certainly anxiety and depression do not stop because you are pregnant!! 

I still have pain, lots of pain, pretty much all the time. Certain joints are worse than they ever have been, but given how blessed I am to be pregnant, I feel like I don't have the right to complain about it. The dryness, particularly my eyes and my skin, is the worst it has ever been, and I can't take most of the medications that keep the symptoms under control as they simply are not proven to be safe in pregnancy. So, while most people in the second trimester are partying with the news they are past "the danger period", they have endless amounts of energy, they have that "pregnancy glow", I am finishing each day by collapsing into bed and wondering how I will do it all again tomorrow! 

The Sjogrens gives me an antibody in my blood known as Ro+. This antibody can affect our babies heart at any stage from 18-36 weeks and interrupt the electrical impulses, causing heart failure. This is a constant source of worry as there is very little we can do unless we catch it in time, and the time window is small. So prayers and regular scans is really all we have. 

And depression. Wow. The worst of my depression and anxiety was sparked by Antenatal and Post Natal Depression, so of course things are worse. Pregnancy hormones do not do nice things to my brain chemicals. Thankfully this time we are prepared. I have not stopped my anti depressants and my amazing husband and friends and even employer are supportive, understanding and accommodating to the "bad days".

So is this post all just one big whinge? Am I looking for a whole heap of "poor you" comments?


I simply want people to understand. 

I am beyond THRILLED to be pregnant. I love this baby so much already, that at times I cry from happiness. I feel blessed, not burdened. Despite all these odds, all the hurdles, I am carrying this little person I am honored to be mummy too! I am, all things going well, going to be a Mummy one last time. And that makes me the happiest person alive! 

So PLEASE, do not confuse my bad days, my cries, my whinges that things are hard as me saying I don't appreciate the blessing I have been given. I appreciate it more than you can imagine. Each and every day this baby is a part of me, a part of this family, is a blessing. But the pain is exhausting, and the exhaustion is never ending. Sometimes it overwhelms me, gets the better of me and I crack. I am just a human!

And PLEASE do not confuse my seeming lack of excitement or silence about this pregnancy with disinterest. On the contrary, I am bursting with excitement at each and every milestone! I share with my husband and family the joy I feel at every little kick, every scan that shows things going well. I choose not to blast it all over social media, simply because I love the people who are suffering watching this pregnancy. I want to protect them, although I know I can't. Any little thing I can do to lessen the pain, I will do. Not because they want me to, but because I care about them so much, I can't bare to continually hurt them.

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