This pregnancy is already going by so quickly! It’s hard to believe that in less than a week we will officially say goodbye to the 1st trimester and start down our next adventure, the 2nd trimester.  With 1/3 of this pregnancy behind us, we are just one step closer to meeting our newest Baby Clough!

So far my pregnancy has been filled with a lot of nausea and not so fun food aversions.  I have gladly welcomed the morning sickness as it has helped keep my anxiety in check.  Nothing like a 24/7 uneasy stomach to remind yourself that you are still pregnant.  Usually morning sickness remedies itself around 12-14 weeks.  As of right now, it’s showing no indications of lightening up.  It will be interesting to see if it sticks around or if I’ll get some relief in the next couple of days.  Around the same time my nausea kicked in, my food aversions also made their appearance.  Baby Clough #5 very much dislikes sweets! I love ice cream and I still cannot even think about my favorite treat without it making my skin crawl.  I’ve found that when I do eat sweets it just makes the nausea worse, so for now I try to stick with savory meals.  This baby is loving all the protein! Specifically eggs! I could live off of egg dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each and everyday and be perfectly content.  This pregnancy has been so different from the last four.  I experienced very little morning sickness with any previous pregnancy and never had food aversions.  It is funny how differently our body responds to different pregnancies.

This last week in particular has been a real struggle for me.  My anxiety has been higher than usual.  It’s normal for pregnant women to have fears or to stress over situations that come about during pregnancy.  But I feel that pregnancy after loss is accompanied with feelings of anxiety and stress that are even further elevated.  Sometimes I feel like the anxiety is completely understandable, while other times I know I am probably being incredibly ridiculous.  I really should start a running list of all the crazy things that have set me off related to this pregnancy in the last 13 weeks:  Mosquito bites, paranoia over the safety of certain foods/ingredients, exposures to fumes, medications, exercising (either too little/not enough), taking too hot of baths, lifting items that are too heavy, don’t even get me started on COVID, and honestly the list just goes on and on.  I have been a wreck! 

This past weekend, out of nowhere I started to develop a rash.  At first I didn’t even notice it.  My back just had a pestering itch that eventually spread to my stomach.  I then realized I had tiny little bumps where the itching was really intense.  Over the last couple of days, the itching has gotten worse and I noticed more small bumps spreading throughout my body.  I’m actually no stranger to annoying skin conditions.  My skin is highly irritable and I actually developed similar rashes during my pregnancies with both Emilia and Roselyn.  My pregnancy rash with Emilia developed a few weeks before Emilia died and my rash with Roselyn developed around the same time of season that I had it with Emilia.  My doctors then reassured me that the rash with Emilia had zero correlation with her death and that the same rash with Roselyn also posed no risk to her or my health.  Despite all of that, it has been really hard not to freak out these last few days over this current skin rash. 

I knew in the back of my head (from those previous experiences) that this rash is probably nothing but a very extreme annoyance, but it is so hard to think nothing of the bumps without the reminder of what happened to Emilia shortly after I developed the rash with her.  I’ve only had a PTSD moment twice since Emilia died.  Once at the Doctor’s Office when I was pregnant with Roselyn and the second time was the other night.  I was convinced that the bumps were a sign that this pregnancy was in danger and that I had done something to hurt this baby.  I am so fortunate to have such a patient and loving husband who was able to help calm my nerves.  Dan jumped right into action, told me exactly what I needed to hear, and placed me straight into a warm bath tub to help calm my nerves.  I called my OB office the very next morning and after a conversation with the on-call nurse they wanted me to come in to the office the next day to check things out and make sure everything was okay. 

My appointment today went great! My OB office is comprised of five OB doctors that see all of their patients on a rotation.  I was suppose to see the on-call doctor, but due to an emergency csection, that Dr. was unable to make my appointment and I was seen by Dr. Schowengerdt.  Dr. Schowengerdt is an incredible Dr! She delivered both Emilia and Roselyn.  She knows me, she knows my pregnancy history, so it was really relieving to have her as my physician this afternoon.  As the more logical side of me suspected, the skin rash I have is nothing of great concern.  It could be a couple of things, a reaction to an irritant or a Progesterone hypersensitivity.  Either way, it’s not dangerous to the baby or myself and it is just an irritant I will have to learn to deal with.

The best part of baby appointments are the sonograms and ultrasounds.  I also got to hear the baby’s heartbeat today! This is always exciting for me, but also a little nerve wracking.  I mentioned earlier my first PTSD episode was at the Doctor’s Office when I was pregnant with Roselyn.  The Dr. held a doppler up to my pregnant belly and she could not find a heartbeat.  I broke down in hysterics as I was reliving how we lost Emilia.  I was swiftly taken to the ultrasound room and they quickly found a healthy, living baby on the ultrasound screen, but I could not turn the emotions off.  I managed to make it out of the hospital without creating too much of a scene, but I lost it outside again in the Infant Loss Garden.  I was relieved today when Dr. Schowengerdt found a heartbeat almost instantly.  Our baby’s heartbeat was loud and strong at 153 bpm! 

Waiting for my appointment to begin while holding my piece of Amethyst.

Right now I am feeling good.  Itchy… but really good! I am trying to take this pregnancy one day at a time and working hard to not stress out over every irritant.  In my last post, The First Appointment, I wrote about wanting to find a tangible item small enough to fit in my hand that I can hold when I am feeling anxious.  Since then, I have placed small pieces of Amethyst throughout my house, in my car, and in my purse.  When I feel anxiety coming on, I find the nearest Amethyst and hold it as a reminder that I am in control of my thoughts and feelings and it helps to make me feel a little more in control of what is happening inside my body.  Amethyst is said to be a natural tranquilizer, it relieves stress and strain, soothes irritability, balances mood swings, dispels anger, rage, fear and anxiety.  It alleviates sadness and grief, and dissolves negativity.  Amethyst is also more than likely going to be Baby Clough’s birthstone.  I think this gemstone is the perfect item to help me connect with Baby Clough and to help me find peace in difficult moments.

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