Friday, February 19, 2010

Something's Gotta Give

My hands trembled as I dialed my husband's number as quickly as I could. This was the first of two times I'd do this in a span of 24 hours. I did my best to hold back my tears and choke back sobs and when he answered the phone I let it out.

I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The event that was the straw the broke this camels back isn't that important, in fact, I hardly remember the specifics. I just knew that I felt like I had so much weight on my shoulders coming from every angle. The stress was getting to be unbearable but it would be nearly detrimental to show weakness among my peers.

Before I ever started college I told myself I'd find a way to get all of my tuition paid for. After much research and many many scholarship applications I was able to more than do so.

Before we decided to get pregnant, I told myself I'd find a way to save enough money, aside from my normal day job, to cover the money I'd be short during my maternity leave. So far I've been able to do that, but it means working on my days off. It means working when I get home, after my long 10+ hour a day shift at work. It means networking my butt off, and losing sleep. This week, the effects hit me hard.

Migraines, restlessness, and a cramping scare that sent me to the OBs office to check and see if I was dilating prematurely. Luckily I was not, my cervix was closed and just fine, and baby girl's heartbeat was strong and normal, and based on her level of movement, she seemed to be doing great. But my already low immune system was down for the count, and caught a terrible stomach bug that's going around. The midwife told me to rest and drink lots of fluids, but to call again if I started throwing up or couldn't keep any liquids down.

That diagnosis was confirmed a couple short hours later when I upchucked my lunch... And was just 10 seconds shy if it landing on my boss instead of in the porcelain god. I laid on the floor in the bathroom (gross I know) and kept my head on the toilet between heaves, all the while praying no one would walk in.

I didn't have much morning sickness, and being well into my second trimester I assumed I was mostly past that phase. I debated working through it at work, but I gave it another half hour and had to leave.

When I got home I noticed my husband had left five packages for me on the kitchen table (my eBay winnings) usually when I get home and see these the first thing I do is run to grab the scissors and tear the packages open like it's Christmas morning. But all I had the strength to do this time was grab the boxes and carry them upstairs and lay them next to me in bed. I curled up with my bottle of water and tried to sleep.

My husband called a few times to check on me and realized how sick I was when I told him I hadn't opened my packages yet. He decided to skip basketball and come home to take care of me.

I couldn't stop throwing up. Even a sip of water would send me to the bathroom. I was scared to eat. Scared to drink. Scared I would get dehydrated and send myself into preterm labor (yes, I'm a nutcase, but I know it can happen). I paged the on-call nurse and wondered if she'd tell me to go to the ER to get IV fluids. Turns out it can take awhile for you to get that dehydrated. She told me to drink smaller sips and call in the morning if I was still throwing up.

Sadly, more than my fear of ending up in the ER was my fear of missing work the next day. I knew I already had a story assigned that people had taken time to arrange, I felt guilty knowing that I may have to cancel it all, and wondered what they'd think of my absence. I sent an email warning a few people of my condition, but hoped I'd feel well enough to at least go in for part of the day.

Today, I woke up able to keep liquids down. I was still feeling nauseous but didn't think I'd throw up, so I decided to go in for a few hours. I'm sure to everyone around me I looked perfectly fine but inside I felt like I was dying.

Trying my best to put on a serious face I survived my three hours of work and checked out after my interviews. On my way home I told my husband I was stopping off at the grocery store to get ginger ale and fruit. When I got out of the car and walked into the store I knew I had to make it quick. My head was light and my legs were weak.

I skipped looking for a cart and grabbed a hand basket... A mistake. I hurried down the drink isle and grabbed apple juice and a six pack of ginger ale. I rushed over to the produce section to grab a container of fruit. A man down the isle asked if I wanted to try a free sample of something and I tried to squeak out something like "no thank you" but I knew the clock was ticking.

I've fainted before so I know the signs when it's getting close. Having no shame I knelt next to the fruit while I thought about which one I wanted and how I'd execute my exit strategy.

I made my decision, chose the fruit with the biggest variety... Also the heaviest... Another mistake, and b-lined it for the check out lane.

Literally having to stop and kneel several times along the way. I began to worry how I'd make it out of there. The first time I fainted--pre-pregnancy I left the building on a stretcher. I didn't want that today.

I walked with haste, dropping the fruit container a couple of times, but finally made it to the register where I knelt again. I prayed the woman ahead of me would take her time paying and that the woman behind me would stop looking at me like I was crazy.

The man at the register was too good at his job and must have rung in my items in record time. I stood up to pay and only focused on one thing... "Staying conscious."

I swiped my card, entered my pin, and stabbed the "enter" key like a mad woman. But then I knew my time was up and I was going down. The last thing I remember was grabbing the unstable counter and saying "I'm sorry, I'm going to pass out."

Thank God when I fainted this time, I didn't hit my head, or land on my stomach or really fall forward or backwards. I think I had barely enough consciousness to collapse on my knees while I waited for my sight and hearing to return. This was the third time this has happened since being pregnant. The other two times I was out for interviews at work and had to apologize as I knelt down on the ground as I was blacked out. I chalked it up to being newly pregnant and my body adjusting to changes. But this time in the grocery store was the worse case so far, and the scariest time since I'm much further along than before.

I was still shaking when a woman from another register came over and asked if she could get me a chair. A manager asked if he could bring me some water and I told him I just needed to sit. I didn't chance it, and called my husband to come get me, hands trembling as I dialed his number like the day before. We only live a few blocks away from the grocery store so he ran, literally, over to come get me and drive me home.

This afternoon as I've sat and pondered about everything I'm going through, my body changes, demands at work, demands dealing with getting ready for the baby, I've decided I need to reorganize a few things.

Recently I decided to take on another opportunity but I realized that adding it on to everything I'm already doing would be absolutely ridiculous, and I really need to give something up in return. Obviously I can't really do much about my day job, but I will be more conscious about over exerting myself and be less afraid to speak up when I know I'm not feeling well. I've been scared to be judged or seen as a "drama queen" but I've come to see that my, and my baby's health is more important than peer perception.

Next, I'm no longer going to be doing my MomTV Show every-other week. For now, I'm changing my show to once a month until I feel like I can handle more. I initially started it every-other week because I knew every week would be too much to add to my plate, but it's the least "profitable" out of all of my extra curricular duties and the one easiest to cut down on.

Also, I'm keeping my full term of giveaways going but I'm not filling the unassigned spots, and I'm asking my sponsors to be understanding if it takes me an extra week to get their feature up.

I also think I'm going to cut back on babysitting in another month or so. I LOVE the kids I watch, but not having a full day off to rest and recuperate is killing me (yes, I understand this is what moms go through on a daily basis, but I think I should try to enjoy my non-mom status as long as possible). Luckily my husband can help in the babysitting department and take over most of my duties if need be.

Unfortunately, another thing on the chopping block has gotta be blog stalking. I've already cut back on commenting because of time, and I hate myself for it. I loved the days when I could spend hours surfing the web after work on my weekends, and reading the blogs of all of my readers, finding new blog to read, and making new friends. With this baby coming and planning for her it's sucking away a lot of my extra time and energy... Even my search for a doula has caused me several migraines... But that's another post entirely.

I love what I do... Everything I do, but something's gotta give, and I'd prefer it's not my legs out from under me.