This past month, the world was squealing with excitement over the news of Duchess Kate’s pregnancy. (It was the whole world, right? Not just me?)
The palace then quickly followed that with the update that she is, once again, suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a form of severe morning sickness. We all know that the Duchess is a tough girl, heck, she is a MilSpouse after all, but morning sickness can be a beast.
The week after my husband and I joyfully celebrated the news of my pregnancy, it started. I woke up feeling so nauseous I could barely stand: as if I had just starred in my own personal Hangover film.
My doula suggested that I ask my mom what her experiences were, as daughters often exhibit the same trends, so I did:
"Hey Mom! Do you remember if you were sick at all while you were pregnant?"
"Oh, with your brother I was sick (insert dramatic pause) pretty much the entire nine months."
Ordinarily, this wouldn’t scare me: after two deployments, three back-to-back cross country moves, and countless detachments, I know military spouses can handle anything. However, with my family all seventeen hours away, and my husband working the standard military day of 0600-1800, I was terrified.
My friends and family offered as much comfort as they could, but I struggled with paralyzing morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy, literally lying with my face pressed up against the cold tile bathroom floor on more several occasions. The one phrase I clung to came from a baby nurse: "The sicker you are, the harder your body is working on the creation of a healthy baby."
My body worked hard on that creation, let me tell you. I had decided on an all-natural birth (no epidural) at our hospital. As I waddled into my laboring room, the only thing I saw was a laminated red paper with the word: EPIDURAL in bold. I have no idea what it was for, but I declared immediately that I wanted one. My doula quickly hid the sign and distracted me. Charlotte's birth was straight out of Knocked Up: crazy birthing mother, intense birthing team, and lots of screaming.
The movies make it all seem so beautiful. I gave birth to my darling princess, Charlotte, after twelve hours of projectile vomiting and blacking out while pushing. When we walked into our recovery room, I looked in the mirror and saw that I had broken every blood vessel in my eyes. I couldn't have been prouder.
The most difficult, and confusing, time was right after Charlotte was born. As a first time mother, you wait for the wails coming from your new baby, and Charlotte's didn't come. The nurses snapped into action, shouting, "We've got a blue baby!" as they tried to take Charlotte away. Craig and I just watched, dumbfounded, as our doula fought to get her back and put her on my chest, telling me as calmly and sternly as she could, "Bridget, talk to your baby. Touch her."
Tears streamed down my face as I spoke to her, caressed her, and thought about how much I loved her. After an eternally long thirty seconds, she came to and opened her eyes, looking straight into mine. What struck me most was how she showed her strength immediately after birth. I knew then she was just as tough as her parents; a resilient military brat from the start.
Duchess, and all the pregnant mommies to be out there, just remember that you could, and would, struggle through a thousand times the pain for that first look. Stay strong.
Bridget Platt is the CEO & Founder of Daddy’s Deployed, LLC. She is a Marine Corps spouse stationed at MCAS Cherry Point and mother to an energetic and talkative 2-year-old, Charlotte. She looks forward to your comments on her blog: http://blog.daddysdeployed.com/
Photo courtesy of Bridgett Platt.