From the beginning of my pregnancy I was really sick. But I didn’t care. I knew the joy that it would create, the joy that would follow. I knew how “worth it” all the sickness would be. I had been sick with my first and knew it was normal. People would ask how I was feeling and my answer was always the same, “SO sick! Even more sick than I was with Lane. But it’s ok. It’s going to be worth it.” Over and over and over again, I said those words, I heard myself say those words. At some point, I started to get abnormally sick. I remember looking at myself in the mirror every morning and thinking, “Gosh, I look like death.” I was so pale, and my eyes looked sickly. I couldn’t really pinpoint what it was, but something about me looked “deathlike.” I honestly don’t think I have ever looked worse than I did during those months that I was pregnant with Judah. However, make up is a beautiful, wonderful thing that covers a multitude of flaws, so most people never actually saw how awful and sick I looked.
One day, when I was probably 13 weeks or so along, I was going about my day teaching my theatre class. Our insurance had still not been approved, so I hadn’t had the chance to see the doctor yet. I started to notice a familiar pain in my feet. During my pregnancy with Lane, my feet swelled up like balloons. They hurt so bad that entire summer. It was a pain I knew well. I looked closely at my feet, pushed on them, poked them a little bit. Sure enough, they were a teeny bit swollen. It concerned me some, I knew it was too early to be swelling, but even so I tried to brush it off as normal. I asked my mom (who is a nurse) if she thought they seemed swollen to her too. She agreed; it wasn’t just in my head. She told me to bring it up when I did see the doctor. She knew it was a red flag, and tried to convince me it was a big deal without actually scaring me.
The next few weeks happened so quickly and it all seems like a blur. My timeline is probably off, but know everything else that I am about to tell you happened between 13ish-18ish weeks of my pregnancy.
It wasn’t too long after my feet started to swell that our insurance was approved (praise Jesus!). I can’t remember if I saw the doctor or not before I started to get crazy sick. I think it was near the end of my 13th week, and I started to get this weird pain in my upper stomach. It wasn’t constant. I felt it every other step. I was at the mall with one of my good friends, and I just kept telling her that my stomach hurt in a weird kind of way. Every other step. The next day, the pain was worse. It still wasn’t constant, but if I was walking, it was every step. Finally, on day three, it was pretty bad. My mom, Lane, and I went to a local park to play and I couldn’t even focus I was in so much pain. And I had lost my appetite entirely. Mom took me to one of my favorite restaurants downtown in hopes that I would be able to eat something. I took a few bites. I went home and tried to get some rest. That night we were attending a surprise party for a dear friend of ours. His wife had planned the whole thing weeks in advance and we were so excited to go. We went, and I had to leave early because the pain had grown so much. I groaned and cried the whole way home. As soon as we got home, Blake helped me into bed and I called the on-call doctor (of course it was a weekend). I had an appointment the following Thursday morning and I had been hoping that I could hold out until then to figure out what was going on.
By the time the on-call doctor had called back, I could barely even speak, the pain was so intense. She told me the problems I was describing to her were not because I was pregnant. It was impossible that I was experiencing any of those symptoms from my pregnancy because I simply was not far enough along. I was told to maybe go to the urgent care or the ER. I was basically disregarded. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in an uncomfortable chair, writhing and screaming in pain for hours in a crowded room with a bunch of sick people. I have no idea why she gave me that response. When I was 14 weeks pregnant with Lane, I had some serious pain in my lower stomach, and when I called the on-call doctor to see what was going on, she was afraid it was appendicitis, and told me to come in right away. Turns out it was scar tissue tearing, and I was just fine. But the point is, she told me to come in and see her even though it was not a “pregnancy related problem.”
We decided to stay at home and try to ride it out until Monday morning when my doctor would be in. My mom came over that night with her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff so she could monitor me. My blood pressure was high. The pain was bad. I was miserable. I don’t really remember that weekend.
That Monday was my birthday. I woke up feeling like death itself. My husband was running a job at the mall at that time, just around the corner from us, so Lane and I went to see him, and a few of the guys he worked with. Blake bought me some chick-fil-a and a smoothie (two of my favorite things), hoping I would eat or drink. I couldn’t do either. All three of them told me I looked terrible. I was anxious to go to my appointment so they could tell me what was going on. I kissed Blake goodbye and went to drop Lane off with my mom, who was teaching some classes that day. After I dropped her off, I drove the long drive to my doctor’s office.
When I arrived and told them what had happened over the weekend they asked why I didn’t call. When I told them I did, they asked why I didn’t come in. They were also confused when I told them why I hadn’t come in. They took my blood pressure-which was still way too high. My hormone levels were out the roof, and my doctor told me they thought I might have pregnancy induced hyperthyroidism. I certainly had all the signs. My doctor told me he wanted to see me again the next day. I told him I had an appointment that Thursday and he said Thursday wasn’t soon enough. Then he sent me downstairs for some testing. I can honestly say it was the worst birthday I have ever had.