When the pregnancy test confirmed what I had already been suspecting for over a week I was both excited and apprehensive. This was an unplanned pregnancy but one that I had wanted for a long time. Knowing that my partner didn't quite feel the same about growing our family past two I was nervous but felt confident that this time I was going to make sure I would savoir my time with child. My previous pregnancies had been far from ideal. My overwhelming happiness in my first pregnancy soon gave way to exhaustion and anxiety the second was absorbed in anti-natal depression. This time it wasn't going to be like that. This time I was going to document my growing body and carve our positive memories.
When the nausea set in at about 6 weeks and I found myself hugging the toilet several times a day I told myself that this soon will pass. When I left the doctors a week later, anti-sickness mediation in hand again I told myself once again, this soon will pass. After two previous sickness free pregnancies the last thing I expected was to be incredibly sick every day all the way until the end.
I spent hour upon hour laying in bed suffocating in overwhelming nausea. Constant running back and forth to the toilet. My throat sore, my lips dry, I found an unexpected appreciation for actual vomiting that I never thought possible to have because at least it eased the nausea for a small while. My body felt weak and I often questioned whether it was possible to even make it to the end of the pregnancy. Days turned into months. My dreams of having one last chance of the happy pregnancy my heart yearned for shattered completely. I didn't document my growing body in any way, I have no pictures at all. I didn't create any art about my experience nor write any words about it. Each day was simply about surviving until bed time with the children cared for as best as possible. Hyperemesis stole all the joy.
Baby was born unexpectedly 5 weeks early and just as quickly as it had begun the sickness stopped. Despite having just had major surgery I felt well. The monster had lifted off of my shoulders and I was free. Looking back the experience has in many ways been humbling. It has given me a new appreciation for my physical health and capabilities. Having spent 9 months unable to muster up the strength, motivation or inspiration to pick up a paint brush I have come back now to my practice with more motivation and desire to create then I have ever had before. Equally I have found a new appreciation for motherhood, despite the less then ideal pregnancy and the unexpected emergency birth I feel capable as a mother. I hold my baby close knowing that she is my last and knowing that I fought hard to bring her here to me. I breathe in her scent and savoir it. Thankfully except for a few difficult days the cloud that is perinatal mental illness has not darkened my door this time. I wonder sometimes if this new creative energy comes from months of pent up inspiration waiting to burst out as soon as it could but also I think perhaps hyperemesis has graced me with a new understanding that really we never know what life may throw at us. Our health can never be taken for granted. I appreciate now deep inside that I must make the most of these days while I can.