March 31, 2018

The Journey to Motherhood

Hey guys – it’s been a very long time since I’ve been on here so I thought today I would share my very exciting news and share our journey getting to this point that will help explain why I’ve been so MIA this past year. I’m forewarning you, this post is a long one!

This still doesn’t feel real even as I type out these words, but it’s true, I’m pregnant – I’m going to be a MOM this September!!! My biggest dream in life has always been to have a family, so the fact that it’s becoming a reality is surreal! Getting to this point though has been quite the journey. My husband and I have longed, dreamed, prayed, hoped and wanted this for some time, so the fact that it’s finally here leaves me so very overjoyed and thankful.

Let me begin by saying, although this journey to motherhood has been difficult for me, I’m fully aware that many women have it much worse than me and I know how unbelievably fortunate I am to get this opportunity to be a mom. I contemplated whether I wanted to share what I’ve been going through or not, as I want to be very considerate of those women out there trying desperately to have a baby and I don’t want to seem insensitive or come off as ungrateful as I talk about my challenges that might seem miniscule compared to those challenges others are facing. I’ve decided to write this though, as this is my corner of the Internet that serves as my journal where I share about my life, so it only seems fitting that I would share this huge chapter in my personal story. Plus, I love reading about other women’s journeys so I thought maybe somebody out there would be interested in mine, especially those with the same condition as me.

To give you a little background, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I have narcolepsy with cataplexy. For me, with Narcolepsy I have extreme daytime sleepiness and with cataplexy I have muscular weakness or paralysis that is usually triggered by emotions such as laughing or being startled. To many people my cataplexy attacks would look like I’m passing out, as I often will collapse during them. I take medication to help with both conditions to help me function throughout the day, but with medicine I’m still constantly tired and have cataplexy attacks, it’s just much more controlled and not severe and I have learned to live with it.  To get pregnant, however, I had to go off all my medicine two months prior to even trying to get pregnant and have to stay off it throughout the entire pregnancy, as the medicine could be very harmful to the baby. I’m currently 4 months pregnant and have been off my medicine at this point for 11 months and have about 5 more months to go.

Being off my meds for the last 11 months has been the most challenging thing that I have ever had to face. I have had to get accustomed to a whole different lifestyle that is full of limitations, very little independence and A LOT of sleep and resting. I’m used to being tired constantly, but since being off my medicine my fatigue is at a whole new level that has been very debilitating. Most of my days are spent on the couch or in bed as I sleep on average between 13-16 hours, and during my first trimester I was averaging closer to 18 – 19 hours. There has been many days that I haven’t left the couch at all. As someone who usually very active, it’s been a struggle being confined to the bed or couch and having limited mobility.

I also haven’t been able to drive this whole time, or be anywhere by myself as my cataplexy is much more easily triggered now so I can’t risk having a cataplexy attack and not having my husband or somebody else there to catch or support me. I am very fortunate that my husband is my best friend and is so willing to take me anywhere and constantly be by my side when we’re out and although I appreciate the extra quality time we get together, it has definitely has been an adjustment getting used to having constant supervision as an adult.  That said, my solo home décor shopping trips I used to do weekly is pretty much nonexistence, hence another reason why you haven’t seen me on my blog.

I think the hardest thing besides just being exhausted, is missing doing the small things that I used to do and now realize I took for granted.  I have a ton of wife guilt as my husband has had to take on almost all our household chores. I no longer clean, cook dinner or do laundry like I used to, as I’m often too tired and weak at the end of the day.  I never used to love doing those things and viewed them as chores but I really miss having the ability to do them and feeling like I contribute as a wife. (These are just my feelings though, as my husband is very happy to do everything as he realizes how much I’m contributing by getting pregnant/ carrying our baby.)  I also took for granted small things like walking. During a large part of my first trimester I was too weak to walk by myself so if my husband wasn’t there to help me I would have to crawl to get somewhere in my house. Moments like these in the last 11 months definitely have made me much more appreciative for the small things in life, like days where I can get out of the house or blue skies that I can enjoy from the couch. I have made a promise to myself that once I’m back on my medicine I won’t ever take these small things for granted.

From this past year I have also learned some other valuable things, one being patience. I have never been a very patient person and this experience has forced me to be. I have had to learn how to be patient with my body both because of my limitations but also in regards to getting pregnant. I have always been a planner and have willed things to happen, but I learned that getting pregnant is not something you can just will into happening. I was hoping/ planning on getting pregnant right away, but ultimately it took almost 6 months for us to get pregnant. Getting pregnant was the thing I wanted most and something I was willing to sacrifice for, but there were times that it brought so many challenges that I didn’t know if I could keep going. I’m so glad that I was patient and trusting in God’s plan to wait it out, because I know in the end when I’m holding our baby it will all be so worth it.

Mainly what I have had to also learn is that gratitude and struggle can exist in the same place. I actually heard this originally from Jenna Rammell’s instastory from @jennaskitchen and I’m so thankful for it because it really helped me with my whole perception of my journey. During my first trimester I felt A LOT of shame. During the 6 months of trying to get pregnant I would see other women talk about being sick during pregnancy and I told myself I would never complain about how I felt if I could just get pregnant. I would just be so grateful and enjoy everyday. Around 6 weeks I started getting really sick. I experienced constant extreme nausea 24/7 and fatigue is a common symptom in the first trimester, so adding fatigue onto what I already was experiencing was almost intolerable. Many dinners were spent with my husband trying to wake me up as I would constantly fall asleep eating, and as I already mentioned I had to crawl everywhere. I would call my mom crying and telling her I wasn’t cut out to be a mom because I was struggling so much. I felt so guilty having these feelings. It wasn’t until I watched Jenna’s instastory who also had a terrible first trimester and felt guilt and she said she had realized that gratitude and struggle can exist in the same space and it was then that I recognized that was exactly how I was feeling. It’s okay to say that you are so grateful for something, but at the same time say that I’m also really struggling. This is something that I still have to remind myself daily. Everyday I am beyond grateful and feel blessed for being pregnant and getting the opportunity to be a mom, but at the same time I’m really struggling at times and that’s okay to admit. I hope that if someone reads this that is also pregnant but is struggling that you too recognize that those feelings are normal and okay. I pray for all those out there who are striving to become mothers and I hope that their dreams become realities and that they find the fulfillment ultimately through the journey to motherhood even though it may bring a lot of pain and struggle.

For those of you who have made it this far, you are absolute champs as this was a really long post.  This was a very personal blogpost and I appreciate you all letting me share it. I don’t plan on blogging very much the rest of this pregnancy, but I definitely plan to share about the nursery and maybe some other projects my husband plans to do in preparation for Baby LaMacchia!


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