While pregnant, there are so many things that you cannot control, like cravings, weak bladder, incessant hunger pangs, nausea, swollen feet and others symptoms that come with the nine month journey. Not to scare anyone, but that’s the reality for some women.
But if you are a control freak like Funlola, then you know that when you can’t control so many things, you begin to go stir crazy and just have to find something to control. She pretty much breezed through her first pregnancy. No nausea, no cravings, quite a healthy pregnancy if you ask me.
However, she got some ideas of what was regular for some women, like the fact that it was past her due date before labour came on, and it lasted forever. She kept walking the hallway of the hospital, until she was no longer able to. Twelve hours after the first labour contraction, her daughter came in to the world. It was a joyous moment.
And that was the last time she had anything easy. She got pregnant again two years after her daughter’s birth, after they had been trying since her daughter’s first birthday. She lost the baby in the first trimester; there was just no explanation for the loss, the longed after second child was not coming then. So they kept on trying.
Some months later, she was feeling all weird and extra hungry, and just out of sorts. She went to the hospital, where the doctor asked that she take a pregnancy test, just to rule it out, before further treatment could commence. She did, it came out negative. She was given some medication, and asked to come back in a few days to undergo another test.
Funlola returned a few days later, for the test. Instead of the regular blood test, the doctor performed a pelvic scan instead, and there she got the result; there were two small persons growing inside of her, and she did not know.
Wow!!! It was news, she was not expecting and it took a while for her to accept, and then call her husband with the good news; instead of one baby, they were being blessed with twins. From that scan, she had regular scans, and one of the scan report showed that the twins not only shared the same placenta, they also shared the same amniotic sac, a situation which worried the doctor, which in turn caused concern for Funlola and her husband.
In the end, it meant plenty of bed rest, even before 30 weeks, and a scheduled early birth, not to mention spending a long time in the neonatal unit of the hospital. But after two months, they were able to take the twins home, and they had no major physical or psychological challenges as a result of their birth condition.
Her eyes were opened; being pregnant was a privilege she had taken for granted with her first pregnancy. Her subsequent experience changed her and defined her path in life. Thankfully, it also meant the end of her childbearing journey. Her family was perfect.
But how did she survive those years being the control freak that she was? Those were times, she had no control over so many things, but she had to manoeuver her way around some things and they included the following:
#1. She stuck to her doctor
It was the same doctor that had helped her through her first text book pregnancy that she stayed with, because she liked his bed side manner and fatherly care. She felt at home talking to him about all the twinges and pinches that she experienced during her first pregnancy, and when the twins came with their peculiar nature of being mono-amniotic and mono-chorionic twins, the doctor was up to the challenge, providing her with as much information as she wanted, concerning the condition of her babies and her health.
But you know what, if she had felt for one moment that the doctor was not doing what was in the best interest of her and her babies, she would have switched to another doctor without batting an eyelid. Those babies were that important!
#2. She got plenty of rest
During her first pregnancy, she had plenty of activities she was performing…she hardly rested! But by the second pregnancy, she did not need any prodding to get her to rest, as she would fall asleep at the drop of a hat. She slept often, and it was very good for her and the babies she carried. She said it helped her to gain the strength needed to give birth, and all that comes after like sleepless nights feeding, diaper changes and attending to the needs of the new babies.
#3. She took prenatal vitamins before, during and after her pregnancy
She was a fervent pill popper in the days leading to her pregnancy. She had started taking prenatal pills since they started trying for another baby. Even when the miscarriage happened, she was still taking the pills, knowing that she was still trying to conceive. When she was eventually pregnant, and it was over the first trimester threshold, she continued to take the pills.
Those little pills are an important player in fetal development because they are packed with calcium, folic acid and iron, just to name a few. Calcium helps build and support strong bones, folic acid is critical for proper development of your child’s nervous system, and iron is vital for red blood cell formation and a key part of hemoglobin, a protein that enables red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body. The need for iron increases for a mom-to-be while pregnant. Taking a prenatal vitamin helped her manage that need.
#4. She changed to a baby-friendly diet
She loved oriental cuisine and banana bread, but had to give up both while pregnant, for different reasons. The fact is, based on the individual needs of her pregnancies, it was important for her to ensure the well-being of her babies was being considered, and if her diet had an effect on them, then she was changing it. It was, after all, one of the few things she had control over, if her goal of birthing healthy children was to be considered. It felt terrible to her, when she had to stop eating all those food, but there were babies to consider.
#5. She deliberately tried to minimize her stress level
This was easier said than done. She worked full-time during her first pregnancy, which meant she was on the go all the time, and sometimes under a lot of stress. By the time, the twin pregnancy rolled by, she had to quit and went on bed rest, due to the nature of that pregnancy.
To help her further, she had an excellent support system in her mother and mother-in-law. Those women really helped her while she was pregnant. They were always quick to notify her whenever she was overdoing it…which was a good thing, as she had the tendency to go overboard whenever she was feeling super energetic during the pregnancies.
With her experience with her pregnancies –the good, the challenging and heartbreaking– she had learnt that there is only so much you can control. So instead of worrying about what you can’t control, prioritize what you can, like she did.
Godspeed on the journey!
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