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truly hideous pregnancies but I think I want one more - advice on timing?

(27 Posts)
kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 13:12:06

My pregnancy was truly truly hideous (so bad medically that we considered termination fairly early on after weeks in hospital with no real improvement). I had similar issues with two very early losses, and given the medical conditions involved, my family history etc etc any subsequent pregnancy is likely to be just as bad or even a bit worse. (V. severe HG which lasted throughout + severe SPD putting me on crutches for the last few months and in a wheelchair by the end. The HG starts immediately and did with the losses too, and I'm told the SPD is likely to be a bit worse a second time.) My DS is 7.5 months old and I am not yet fully recovered physically or psychologically.

The problem is that we do want one more and I can't decide whether it is better to go for it fairly soon (though obviously waiting until I am fully recovered first) or better to leave it for several years? I find I still think ALL the time about pregnancy/how awful it was/whether I could face it again and part of me thinks I need to have got over this before trying again and another part of me thinks it's just going to "hang over" me until I do it and get it out of the way.

Would be great to hear how other people in a similar situation made this sort of decision - what factors did you weigh up etc. It is really weighing on me.

Futterby Fri 12-Jul-13 13:17:40

No advice, sorry to hear about your bad experiences sad was just thinking, have you considered adoption? smile

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 12-Jul-13 13:19:03

I'm on my second HG pregnancy and although we would like 3 DC, DH now wants to stick to 2 because of the stress another HG pregnancy would put on the family.

Having said that, if I was to get pregnant again, I think the other DC would have to be a little bit independent and spend a decent amount of time out of the house, so maybe once the youngest is 3 and spends some time in nursery.

DD1 is 17 months and it has been horrible. She is still breastfeeding and in general physically quite demanding for someone sick. The nappies have also been a killer for me. No way could I manage to be so ill again with 2 little ones.

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 12-Jul-13 13:23:34

If you will be on crutches/in a wheel chair, you will not manage with a child under 3 unless you have help at home during the day I would think.

But you also have to weigh up fertility issues against this if you're not young anymore.

CheeseFondueRocks Fri 12-Jul-13 13:24:19

I have DH at home full-time because he works from home and could have not have managed HG and DD.

RobotBananas Fri 12-Jul-13 13:32:23

I think I'd wait until your DS will be at least 3. He'll be more independent, probably out of nappies and will get the free 15 hours at nursery.

DS will be 5 when this one is born, big gap I suppose but god its easier. No way could I have managed being pregnant with a small toddler (no HG, but have crippling SPD).

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 13:33:14

Thanks everyone. I am only 33 so we probably have time to go either way.

I am back at work already and DS is at a childminder, we have already chosen a nursery for him to go to from nearly two which is just at the end of our street. So the daytime childcare is OK. We would need extra help for the evenings/weekends/holiday periods. My MIL is French and lives in Paris but they are just in the process of buying a flat close to us so if necessary she could probably come for quite a chunk of time. Would be a bit stressful though as although she is v. well meaning she gets quite flustered and isn't super practical. (And also she winds my husband up quite quickly!) My mother would also help a bit but they don't live very close by and she is quite a bit older than my MIL.

I worry more about the emotional than the practical side. I needed my DH's support so desperately during my pregnancy and realistically with a second one he just wouldn't be able to support me as much as he'd be focusing on supporting our DS as well.

I would definitely stop breastfeeding first. I dehydrated so incredibly quickly and I don't think trying to breastfeed would help that at all. Nappies is a good point that I hadn't really thought of.

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 15:14:58

cheesefondue can I ask when your baby is due so what the gap will be? do you think a different gap would have been better/easier? Ignore of course if you don't want to say!

MrsBungle Fri 12-Jul-13 15:23:51

Your pregnancy sounds very like mine OP. I was also hospitalised a lot for HG, I had liver and heart problems caused by the HG. Horrendous. I also had SPD and crutches but never a wheelchair.

For a long time after I said I was not having another child. We changed our minds,though and I had DS when DD was just turning 3. This was a good gap. I was off work practically the whole pregnancy and couldn't look after DD - it was impossible. I felt very guilty because I was so ill I could hardly interact properly with DD let alone be the mother she had known.

DD spent an extra day in nursery and DH and MIL did the rest of the childcare between them. DD was out of nappies day and night and was more mature so a bit easier.

My second HG pregnancy was not as extreme as my first.

You are right that your DH will not be able to support you as much with the second as with the first. DH had to look after DD and so I was left alone quite a bit but you get on with it.

When my DD was 7.5 months I was nowhere near recovered physically or mentally. I would say it took over a year. When I got pregnant with DS when DD was about 2.2 I would say I only then felt well enough to cope with another pregnancy. Good luck, hope it all works out well.

Andanotherthing123 Fri 12-Jul-13 15:52:50

Hi, don't have anything to add about HG but I had SPD with my first and was in a wheelchair from 6.5 months on, totally unable to get myself out of bed or from a chair. But, second time round, it was much better and I kept my knees practically glued together for the full 9 months, avoided pushing trolleys or doing anything which would exacerbate it. I've heard before that it can be better second time round from others too. My eldest was 2 when I had my second DC and it was hard explaining to him that I couldn't pick him up etc. I think a 3 year gap would be easiest for you. Good luck.

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 15:58:07

Thanks MrsBungle that is v. helpful, it is hard to find women to talk to about this as such bad pregnancies are quite rare. A lot of women with severe HG seem also to get bad SPD, it is interesting. I wonder whether it just the immobility/weakness caused by months in bed or whether there is actually a link. I know that SPD can be related to higher than normal hormone levels or increased sensitivity to those hormones, as HG might be so perhaps there is actually a connection.

I was basically confined to bed entirely for the first five months, and had very little/no mobility from month seven onwards so there was only a month in the middle where I was sort of functioning (but still on a lot of drugs and throwing up every day).

The lack of emotional support from DH is the thing that scares me the most.

My sister who also had bad pregnancies (though not quite so dramatically as me - she avoided hospitalisation) said she thinks it takes a year to recover.

I haven't really enjoyed the baby stage very much so I suppose a bit of me is also nervous about going "back" to that stage with a second child after we have come out of it with DS.

But three-ish seems like a reasonable gap. Would you contemplate it again or is that definitely it?!

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 16:00:12

Oooh andanotherthing that's encouraging. Any idea why it would be better? I'd just been told that it was likely to be a bit more severe in subsequent pregnancies - start a bit earlier and so end up a bit worse, which is quite hard (and not pleasant!) to imagine to be honest! Do you think it's just that you were super careful?

We live in a second floor flat as well which doesn't help. I was totally housebound by the end, and the only thing that I was scared about re: labour was actually getting down the stairs and to the hospital at the beginning!!

Justfornowitwilldo Fri 12-Jul-13 16:06:00

Have you gotten a medical opinion? To see if there are any benefits to giving your body more time to recover or if age will make it worse (bones fusing)?

RNJ3007 Fri 12-Jul-13 16:06:42

I too had heinous HG and SPD with my first. I am now 33w with child 2 and feel like I am dying. They will be 4y2m apart. Wanted it sooner, to be 'done' but took over 18m TTC. That said, I'm glad we have the gap as DD is pretty independent and can help DH with things in the house and is great at bringing the sick bucket, bless her. She's dealt with the hospital stays admirably (with help from my parents) and is understanding that crutches are necessary even if they make me slow and boring!

MrsBungle Fri 12-Jul-13 17:23:27

Hi Kalidasa

It is hard to find people to talk to it about. The amount of people that said to me - oh well it's only 9 months and just looook what you get at the end!

Yes, 9 months is nothing is it when you feel like you are half dead?!

My second pregnancy was no where near as bad as my first. My friend is a midwife and she told me that people who get HG are more likely to have in subsequent pregnancies but it is usually less extreme. This was certainly the case for me. I went to see my GP before I contemplated getting pregnant again to check that they would put me on ondansetron from the outset. Ondansetron did wonders for me but I didn;t get it until about 16 weeks with DD. GP phoned my consultant and asked her about this and consultant said just to get me on it straight away. So, I am not sure if it was less extreme because I had drugs that really helped or if it was just generally less extreme.

My SPD was about the same I would say - certainly no worse and maybe even slightly better. The only issue was that I got sciatica this time too! Not too severe though.

Generally, though, it was a lot better than the first.

I won't lie, it's quite lonely being on your own a lot as DH had to look after DD/entertain her/go to work etc and I felt very sorry for myself at times!

But I am glad I did it again. I was absolutely fine practically as soon as I gave birth - isn;t it weird to feel well? I felt like I could run a marathon or something, you get so used to feeling ill! It's lovely to have two.

It's weird but I wouldn;t absolutely rule out number 3! I don;t think I really would, I think my DH would expire on the spot! He is totally done - I think he has been traumatised by 2 pregnancies like that! My second labour was worlds apart from my first - first was an horrendous 52 hour nightmare with forceps and no pain relief - the second was under 2 hours and easy - out in 3 pushes. I just wonder if a third would be easier all round! I won't really be going there though I don't think!

Sorry, that turned into an essay! You've got loads of time to think about it. I think you are probably still a bit traumatised by it all to be honest and it is still very recent. In a year or so from now you'll hopefully be in a good position to consider if you want to do it again and if it's right for you.

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 19:33:19

Thanks both. RN I can see you understand about wanting to be "finished". People keep telling me just not to think about it for now and that we've got plenty of time which is true but I find the idea of a pregnancy still being somewhere in my future quite hard to handle to be honest. I'd rather we had a plan about roughly when.

MrsBungle I was on max doses of cyclizine, metoclopramide and ranitidine from week 5, ondansetron from week 6. Once they put the ondansetron up to a massive dose as well in week 9 I managed to stay out of hospital but it really wasn't a magic bullet for me - I was still stuck entirely in bed, still vomiting a lot and with absolutely no quality of life. Also I found the side effects of such high doses of ondansetron pretty horrific in themselves. So I do feel concerned that there's not much else they could do, since I was on all the drugs from so early on.

The other thing is that although I felt a lot better as soon as the baby was born, it wasn't the magical transformation people had talked about. I still have some problems with the SPD, and my stomach has not recovered fully either, I still feel nauseous quite a lot and have even thrown up a few times.

One good thing is that the labour itself was fine.

You're definitely right that I am still a bit traumatised so obviously it's too soon to make any real decision. I just think maybe if we made some sort of preliminary decision I might be able to set it aside a bit more? I'm not sure. (Also doesn't help that everyone asks about it.)

RNJ3007 Fri 12-Jul-13 19:48:53

kalidasa It is so hard thinking about it. It took me until DD was 15-16 months to even consider it. It took some serious talking and a change of antidepressants before I finally got my head together. Even after the battle of TTC, my first reaction on seeing the BFP was utter panic. I felt queasy and didn't fancy wine with Christmas dinner... POAS and then freaked out, as did DH. Steadily got worse and was in hospital at 5w. It has been a battle, this time has been worse, but I also got ondansetron earlier, and although I am still vomiting and nauseous 23/7, and had a lot of time off work, I am now at a late enough stage in proceedings to be able to think it will be worth it. But I am so done after this one. We wanted 3, but no. We cannot do this again. Knowing we have great childcare in place, and that I had 3 people on standby to do nursery pick ups or hospital runs did help a lot. Without that I don't know that we'd be here.

My osteopath is actually amazing and my SPD, although requiring a brace and crutches, hasn't deteriorated between treatments.

MrsBungle Fri 12-Jul-13 20:22:57

It's a big decision op and so raw and recent for you. Have you thought about talking it over with a counsellor? Or a medical professional? Maybe it could help with mentally coming to terms with a horrible experience? Just a thought.

kalidasa Fri 12-Jul-13 20:31:58

Thanks both. Yes, I have been seeing a couple of people - a mother/baby therapist and also a psychologist at the children's centre, both of them for several months now. This was mostly because I got very depressed after DS was born and I can't take antidepressants at all because years ago I had a very extreme reaction to a single tiny dose. They have both been good and a big help, but we've focused more on the relationship with DS and so on and not so much on the pregnancy. I am still depressed but it is a lot better than it was. I think for me there is a lot of loss involved - I mean loss of the whole possibility of pregnancy being something positive/special/anything other than a total ordeal. I had always looked forward to being pregnant one day and now it just frightens me so much which seems such a sad way to think about it. I really didn't enjoy any single minute of it whereas my mother, for instance, also had HG but reports feeling a lot better and being able to enjoy the last few months each time.

I also saw a counselor when I was in hospital which was helpful as she had seen several women with severe HG. I think if we did decide to do it again I would try to have a therapist of some sort in place, perhaps someone who could come to me if necessary. It's a good point.

Re: the childcare and work I think I would just have to assume that I wouldn't be able to do anything at all for the entire pregnancy - I mean we'd have to plan for that level of support - and then anything that I was able to manage would be a bonus.

Andanotherthing123 Sat 13-Jul-13 08:04:05

Hi kalidasa, I started Pilates a year before ttc and kept it up during pregnancy even tho by the end I was just sitting on a blow up cushion thingy and chatting! I also had physio during pregnancy which although the movements seem small and useless, actually do work. I changed the way I went down and up stairs and the physio reckoned I've gt one leg very slightly shorter than the other so I wore a heel insert ( which I wouldn't normally need). I got on the crutches earlier as it slowed me down and made me think about how I moved. And I kept my knees together. Always!

You have my total sympathy as your pregnancy must have been terrible for you together with severe HG. You're doing the right thing talking it through and thinking about how you would cope a second time. Wishing you a much better pregnancy in the future as you so deserve it.xx

MrsBungle Sat 13-Jul-13 09:36:11

I think that's a good idea: to have the support in place and to assume that you're going to be out if action re childcare the whole time.

That way, you have plans in place to help you cope. That's what we did. I couldn't have considered doing it without knowing that medically they were on board with trying to keep me out of hospital so much/going in earlier with what helped somewhat the first time and that we had childcare sorted with nursery, dh's work and mil.

SuffolkNWhat Sat 13-Jul-13 10:10:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kalidasa Sat 13-Jul-13 13:50:19

Thanks everyone. andanother I had a lot of physio in pregnancy including hydrotherapy but it didn't really seem to make much difference and didn't stop the deterioriation (though of course it might have been worse without it). I think I had a very "purely" hormonal case of SPD though attributable almost entirely to the instability of the pubic symphisis itself. Other associated problems I had with back pain/muscle pain etc did respond to the physio and massage and so on but the actual pelvic issue didn't seem to. It also worries me that it hasn't really recovered properly yet so might "go" quite quickly a second time. I have just started private yoga classes though to try to get back a bit of strength and confidence.

Suffolk I'm so sorry to hear you had such a miserable time as well and that you are going through it again. How far along are you? Is the end in sight?

SuffolkNWhat Sat 13-Jul-13 13:53:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

3boys3dogshelp Sat 13-Jul-13 19:30:03

Hi kalidasa I didn't have hg but I did have spd with my first pregnancy just the last 2/3 months. Then I got pregnant again with ds2 when ds1 was 9 months old. Even without hg it was ridiculously hard work! My pelvis was a mess but as he wasn't in nursery and was too little to understand I had to lift him in/out of car, push in pushchair, push in shopping trolley etc and I really struggled. I honestly thought I would never have another but I fell preg again when ds2 was almost 3. This pregnancy (so far) I've had no spd. I'm 28 weeks, it flared up about 8 weeks with ds2! I've also found I can manage much better with 2 children who are physically able to do things like walk properly, get in and out of car/bed etc than with 1 more dependent child. Its easier to interact by sitting chatting or reading or colouring with them at the table rather than having to sit on the floor. These things sound so insignificant but to me they've made a huge difference to actually being able to enjoy this pregnancy AND my children rather than just endure it.

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