I’ve hit a little rough patch in my pregnancy. I’m not sure if it’s typical third trimester issues or if my circulatory system just isn’t up to par, but I’ve had a little bit of a tough time lately. It’s all VERY minor in the grand scheme of things but, nevertheless, I’ve needed quite a bit of help from my family this past week.
Like with my last pregnancy, starting at about 30 weeks I’d get occasional bouts of extreme shortness of breath and the feeling like my heart was racing. When this happens I need to sit for a while and feel like I’m not getting enough air, even when I take slow, deep breaths (does anyone else experience this? is this normal?) It happens about three times a day. The other day when I was in the grocery store I was positive I was going to pass out. Luckily I didn’t but I barely made it back to the car before I collapsed into the seat, and I had to work up the strength to get my son into his carseat and drive.
The big problem, though, is that I have some varicose veins in my right leg that seem to have gone awry. At first they were just unsightly, but starting earlier this week the whole back of my leg was throbbing and swollen and the veins began hurting to the point that I couldn’t walk and couldn’t bear to even have my pants brush the skin on my legs. I’d cry out in agony any time I stood up or bent my leg.
On Friday my midwife was concerned about it so she sent me to my doctor, who was even more concerned and sent me to the emergency room at the Heart Hospital where I spent my entire afternoon. The good news is that the ultrasound didn’t show any clots; the bad news is that there’s nothing I can do for the pain until after I have the baby. Due to the pain I can’t walk much at all. My toddler, on the other hand, has no problem walking. Or running, climbing, jumping, and generally getting himself into a variety of harmful/house-destroying situations, which means I need a lot of help with him.
My mother has been picking up a lot of the slack, sometimes at the expense of her job and other commitments. My mother-in-law is going to make arrangements to come up for a while. Other family members and friends are concerned and frequently ask how I’m doing.
So this is all fine. For now. Maybe it’s third trimester hormones or general paranoia, but I’ve started to worry about what people’s reaction will be next time. As I approached hour number five in the ER and hour number seven since I’d left my son with my mother for a “quick trip to the doctor” (she had a big deadline at work that day that she ended up missing), I got increasingly paranoid about how this sort of thing will go over with future pregnancies. If the current trend continues and the shortness of breath, heart racing and vein issues get worse with additional pregnancies, it could get to the point that I really need a lot of help during the third trimester. The ER doc indicated that I can almost definitely expect to have big issues with my leg if I get pregnant again, and that I’m at a higher risk for the very dangerous Deep Vein Thrombosis or vascular infections.
Everyone is eager and willing to help now, but I’m still with in the society-approved range of children. I keep wondering what the reaction will be next time, or with pregnancy number four or five. All of this has seemed to confirm for everyone that pregnancy is (all together now:) SO HARD ON YOUR BODY and SUCH A SACRIFICE. I think people will be somewhat perplexed that I’d “subject myself” to future pregnancies (a couple people have said stuff like “at least you almost have this one over with and then you’re done since you’ll have a boy and a girl”). Of course my wonderful family and friends will offer me support whether it’s my third or tenth child, but I can’t help but think that they’ll start wondering, “This is hard on everyone — why don’t you stop having kids?!”
So anyway, these are my paranoid thoughts that raced through my mind in the hours I spent waiting in the ER. I think a lot of it might be in my head, and of course I know that should I be so blessed as to be able to have more children any grousing by friends are family will be insignificant in comparison. It will just be interesting to see how it goes, building a big family and experiencing what may turn out to be challenging pregnancies in the midst of a culture that thinks that children are a burden to begin with.
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