Monday, 18 January 2016

My First Pregnancy

I feel guilty to have this opinion, but I do not recommend getting pregnant.  Of course, this is entirely based on my (terrible) experience so don't make any decision based on this account alone.  I just want to share my experience and explain how it has affected me and whatever decision I make as to whether or not to expand our little family.

"Morning Sickness"

I felt nauseous all the time for the first 3 months or so.  I rarely vomited - unfortunately.  (What a relief when I did!)  I had no appetite but was always starving, and if I didn't eat immediately once my stomach started grumbling, the nausea was unbearable!  Almost all scents triggered nausea as well, so cooking was left to Lucas most of the time (while I hid in the bedroom).

I began to dread tutoring because I felt sick so frequently.  It seemed to get worse whenever I was stressed.  Eventually I stopped tutoring in April 2014.  Other community activities like choir and partner dance lessons had to be put on hold as well since I was getting sick more often than not.

I often stayed in bed most of the day reading books to distract myself from the nausea and the depression that began to set in.  Lucas checked in on me whenever he could, sometimes to the expense of missing school.

photo credit: Alison via photopin (license)

My First Journal Entry About Depression

April 6, 2014:  "Over the last three months I have steadily been growing more and more depressed, manic, dark, hopeless, defeated.  You may not likely have noticed this since most of my entries as of late have been about my better days.  Especially in the last week my mood swings were becoming unbearable.  I felt like a crazy person, being ripped up inside, wanting so desperately to be happy but having no hope.  On Friday [April 4] it was really bad and delayed Lucas and I getting to [my hometown to visit family].  I was close to having suicidal thoughts (or at least afraid that I might cross that line) and I didn't know what to do anymore.  When Lucas got home [from school] I unloaded on him that it was no longer grief about moving to [our current home], that it had gone so far that it didn't matter where we went, I had no hope that I'd be the former Kristina I was in [my hometown], doing the good I had been doing.  I told him I needed help because I'm so far gone I feel unable to get back on my own. ...
 "I remember crying and Lucas comforting me and telling me to just let it all out.  Eventually I calmed down enough that he turned off the light [to go to sleep].  I can't remember very much of what was said last night [April 5], but I do remember that I began crying again and eventually said I didn't want to continue being tormented by these evil spirits (and there was even some relief in just saying this because I had just identified why I had been feeling so terrible and helpless).  Lucas verified what I said and I told him I was pretty sure there were two or three evil spirits attacking me (I don't know how I was able to identify this).  Lucas asked me if he could say a prayer for me and then rebuked the spirits for tormenting his wife and to never return in the name of Christ.  I instantly felt lighter, and sobbing again I hugged Lucas and thanked him.  I already felt different and hopeful for a bright future.  I climbed out of bed and offered a prayer of thanks.  I felt now that saying my prayers and reading scriptures wasn't so hard (like the way it used to be) and that I really would be able to do the good, righteous things I used to do.  When I climbed back into bed and closed my eyes I kept seeing pure white and I felt happy and pure.  It was like being baptized and feeling clean again.  It was such a purifying experience and now I've been able to feel the Spirit so much easier (like I used to) and have the yearning and enthusiasm to read my scriptures, etc.  I think I might have slowly fallen trap because of small inconsistencies in keeping the commandments but also because of the effects of pregnancy on my mind and body, like the dreams I was having.  For a while I hadn't been feeling like myself but now I'm really glad that it is over."
So I thought.  That was just the first deep, dark pit of my depression.  I was fortunate to have the blessing of being lifted out of that hole and back on level ground for a time.
April 24, 2014:  "[Lucas] came home to me having terrible crying fits.  I've decided to meet with the Bishop about all of these episodes (possibly depression?).  It's only been less than a month since I was released from those evil spirits, but I still wind up in the same hole.  I'm stuck again, but I don't think I'm necessarily being tormented by demons."
By the time I wrote this entry I had started to research about depression during pregnancy.  I now began to shift my original perceptions of depression as an explanation for demonic possession to being an actual illness in the brain.

Near the beginning of May 2014 I hit my next deep pit of depression.  I won't go into details, but it was really hard pretending nothing was wrong when we had friends and family over.  I kept my depression a secret (even from my family) for a long time.  Lucas was my only true support.

There were times when the depression was so bad that I couldn't be left alone, even in the bathroom.  I was so afraid that I'd do something stupid and terrible like overdose.  But I always knew that if I did commit suicide, I'd be a murderer as well.  The best thing at that time in my prenatal depression was that my baby was alive and I was still alive (though somewhat reluctantly).

Feeling Baby Move

Finally some happy news.  First hearing the baby's heartbeat at my first obstetrician appointment and then feeling movement!
April 24, 2014:  "Today was the first time I felt the baby move inside me!  Actually, the first recognized movements.  I've felt them a few times before but didn't realize what it was.  To make sure it wasn't gas inside of me I turned from one side to the other to see if it shifted, which it did.  I generally have to be quite still and laying down to notice them.  I also shone a flashlight on my belly and felt movements.  I can feel them in my left side right now."
June 9, 2014:  "'s been very fun feeling this baby kick.  Sometimes the kicks or pressure kind of hurts or feels funny (like directing towards the cervix or bladder [or bellybutton]).  Sometimes I can see the movements on my belly.  Lucas has been able to feel the stronger kicks since 20 or 21 weeks (I am on week 23 now)."
Even more exciting was my first ultrasound!  We chose not to find out the gender.

Reaching for [her] toes!
The "Thinker" Pose

I had a second ultrasound at 32 weeks to check my low placenta.  I didn't mind because it gave me another opportunity to see my baby!
August 12, 2014:  "...this baby is exceptionally large in regards to the head size (but also pretty big everywhere else) - in the 98th percentile.  Apparently big heads run in the Ogrins side. ... And the movements I feel are very strong and frequent."
August 23, 2014:  "I wanted to add to the ultrasound results that [Baby] has huge lips (they look bigger than the nose in my opinion) and my feet (long, narrow and with the second toe longer than the big toe)!  The lips part would be inherited from Lucas since he has big, luscious lips haha..."

Big lips like Lucas!
Long second toe like me!

Other Uncomfortable Symptoms

In addition to common pregnancy symptoms like dizziness, forgetfulness, fatigue, frequent bathroom trips, etc., I also dealt with severe heartburn that required medication, terrible back and hip aches made worse by my scoliosis, a huge belly with stretch marks, and immense weight gain (about 70 lbs).
July 28, 2014:  "I am 30 weeks pregnant today and whoopie for pregnancy brain - I forgot to go to my appointment!  ... Good thing I haven't been having any issues with anything except heartburn (which I can pick up a prescription for this evening).  And I had even been talking about this appointment for days but thought nothing of it until I was in the shower shortly after [the time] my appointment was booked for."
September 14, 2014:  "...about a day or two before my last entry [August 30] I went to the hospital to get checked out for some abdominal pain.  I think I may have torn a lot of abdominal muscle due to stretching and baby kicks and pushes.  I had such terrible pain that no position was comfortable or relieving in any way.  They monitored me for a while and it showed that I was having contractions but they were all painless.  I was sore for quite a few days after."

And then the worst symptom of all (other than depression)...


From mid-September until about 2 months after Tevia was born (so a total of about 3 months) I suffered immensely from the uncommon, detestable PUPPPs rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy).  I had a very severe case in which I considered getting induced and also endured the rash for much longer than normal (for most women it clears up soon after giving birth).

Final belly photo!  I was a whale of a woman!
PUPPPs usually appears in the last few weeks of pregnancy in less than 1% of first-time pregnancies on average.  Its cause is unknown but frequently occurs in first pregnancies of women who have large bellies or gained a lot of weight during their pregnancy (me, me, me!).  It's not dangerous but extremely annoying (to say the very least).

This hive-like rash starts out in the stretch marks on the belly and spreads to the rest of the body, sparing the face, bellybutton, palms of hands, and soles of feet.  I had it everywhere possible and it was so unbearably itchy that I had multiple panic attacks and couldn't sleep unless Lucas held me so that I couldn't scratch anything.  It was worse if I was hot, if my clothes rubbed the affected areas, and if I did happen to scratch it.

Since it doesn't look too pretty, I'll just leave you to look up images of it on Google...  Or just don't.

Future Pregnancies?

July 16, 2014:  "I have been very reluctant to write in my journal this pregnancy.  It has been a very hard road and there are many things that I would rather not remember...  I've just started out in my third trimester and the last month has been going so much better.  I have energy most days; my mood swings are minimal and mostly only appear when I'm tired, hungry, or hot; and I'm motivated to do certain things that I used to like to do.  Within the last two weeks I actually have started to feel like me again, emotionally and spiritually (to some degree), just with a belly full of baby.  I am concerned still about how any following pregnancies will go.  I really don't want to experience depression like that again (and hopefully I don't get postpartum depression either).  Lucas and I are going to try to plan things so that pregnancy and moving to a new place don't overlap, especially in the first half of pregnancy.  It made things really hard on me adjusting to a new environment while not feeling like myself (it's really hard to make friends if you feel like you don't know who you are)."
I still am not keen on enduring another pregnancy, especially if I have to suffer through depression and PUPPPs again.  Fortunately, no pregnancy is ever the same even for one woman, but there is no guarantee that I won't experience these things again.

To the women who read this post:
If you've been pregnant before, how was your experience?  If you haven't, what are your feelings and expectations about getting pregnant?

To the men who read this post: 
Please support any woman who ever gets pregnant, especially if they are pregnant with your baby!

Next week's topic: [Tevia's Birth Story]

For more information about PUPPPs:
Fit Pregnancy | Pregnancy Rash: Is it PUPPPs?
Pregnancy Corner | PUPPP Rash During Pregnancy


  1. Kristina, you are a strong and powerful woman. You have proved to yourself that you can do hard things...really, really, REALLY hard things. As someone who deals with depression everyday, in some form or another, I will not say that I understand, but I can only imagine. How brave you are for being so incredibly honest!
    Whenever I go through a 'rough patch' I think of this video: I believe it is true, that the more we feel sorrow, the more we have the capacity to feel joy. Do not forget that there is One who is perfect and felt all that you have felt. (He knows how difficult it is to get out of bed on those days when it feels like you almost have nothing to live for.) He loves you.
    My husband and I are currently trying to start a family and though I want a child more than almost anything in this world, I am terrified that I will experience a worsening in my own depression during or after the pregnancy. A lot of the things you said you felt (loss of identity, suicidal thoughts, etc.), I've felt them too but, I've found a way to minimize the intensity of my lowest days. For me, it's exercise. I hate it, and I love it. I still have those days but, somehow, I can make it through them now. Exercise was something that my counsellor suggested to me that I did not take seriously at first (but, I promptly obeyed her advice to eat more chocolate...hehe) but, I don't know how I ever got through without it.
    If I could offer any advice, I would say that you need to find your 'thing' that helps you get through, even if the depression might not be affecting you now, as it did before, and find someway to remind yourself of the things that you do have. (For example: At the end of our hard days (and sometimes on good days too), before we go to bed, my husband and I ask each other what we're grateful for that day.) Lastly, remember that God loves you, your husband loves you, your baby girl loves you, your family loves you and your friends love you.
    A long-winded comment but, I just wanted you to know that you're not completely alone...

  2. Love reading your blogs :-) My first pregnancy was not fun but my 2nd was awful, my third was even worse and my fourth....well I think I cried every day for the last three months. It seemed I had almost all the discomforts or down right sufferings pregnancy can cause. I feel for you because I can relate to so many of your symptoms. Why did I keep having children and tormenting myself? Because they were worth the hardship.... and I couldn't imagine my life without any of them. They are worth the 9 months of agony and yes even the more brutal deliverys I experienced. I didnt always feel that way DURING the pregnancies, but it came later. My husband and i would both feel it was time to bring another precious spirit down from heaven- we would just know it was something we needed to do, that someone up there was forordained to come into our family and that it was time.

    Thankfully I did not have to struggle though severe depression with my pregancies. I couldn't imagine dealing with that on top of everything eles. I only felt depressed about the physical struggles I had. I know there are some excellent supplements out there that can help with depression for some people. I know my pregnancies sucked my body dry of all nutrients and that replenishing my body with all sorts of quality vitamins was important. I hope you can find what helps you. ♡


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