Bring on the Baby!

Author: Tiffany Intal

Update: Our HemoMom blogger gave birth to a girl on January 24 at 3:44 am. Mom and baby are doing well. Anjali Noelle or "Noie" was 7 lbs, 8 oz, and 20.5 inches long at birth.

Believe it or not, I had two jobs—worked 60 hours, seven days a week, to be exact—and attended school two or three nights a week during my pregnancies with Ethan and Niki. I didn’t have to be conscious of Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA) hours back then, but both times I worked up until the day I gave birth. As a matter of fact, I started having my contractions at work, finished my shift and gave birth to Ethan early the next morning. (Yes, really!)

I remember being tired when I was pregnant with my precious little bleeders, but I don’t recall being as exhausted as I’ve been with this pregnancy. I’m no longer working seven days a week, and my education is on hiatus, but nevertheless my body feels like it’s working the crazy schedule I used to have. I’m still working full time, but now it’s because I have to be ever-conscious of the FMLA hours I use. (Niki and I have to share FMLA hours that I have accrued in a rolling 12-month period.)

So, I roll myself out of bed every morning and go straight to work. And lately, each morning, I’ve felt a twinge of disappointment that I haven’t given birth yet. I’m absolutely sick of working, but I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to protect my job and my benefits.

An Exhausted Pregnant HemoMommy

Please forgive my pregnancy-induced whining, but quite frankly I hope I’ve already given birth by the time this blog entry is posted. If not, well, I’ll probably be seriously considering using a plunger to get this kid out by then. I’m grouchier, sleepier, weepier, hungrier and more worn-out than I’ve been with any other pregnancy. John has noticed it, too.

I’m a petite person—all skin and bones—so carrying around an entire human being always wreaks havoc on my tiny frame. But, there is also something drastically different about how I’m coping with this pregnancy, too. I’m a HemoMommy now, and although the physical demands of HemoParenting are no different than those of “normal parents,” the mental demands are.

I never got any responses to my blog post looking for other pregnant HemoMommies, so I don’t know if I’m alone in feeling this way. However, it seems my stress level is a bit higher with this pregnancy, and I theorize that it’s because I’m a different kind of parent now.

The fact of the matter is—like most HemoMoms—I’m the primary caregiver when it comes to managing Niki’s bleeding disorder. My medical background has been helpful in my successful management of Niki’s care at home, but these days it feels like I’ve got to command my “pregnancy brain” to remember to order factor and infusion supplies, log infusions and, of course, wake up early enough to adhere to Niki’s prophy schedule. Aside from having the kids to tend to, each passing trimester has made me feel like my HemoMom duties aren’t as second-nature as they once were.

Work vs. HemoDad Dilemmas

John is here to help—if I were to die tomorrow, he would be perfectly capable of doing everything I do—but he also has a very demanding job. A job he has to be diligent about sustaining, not because it’s more important to him than his family or because he’s the “good” insurance provider, but because it supports the financial demands of rearing three, soon to be four, children.

Most of the time I try to be understanding about it, but lately I’ve been a nasty, pregnant ogre when John is faced with “work vs. HemoDad” dilemmas. Do I resent it sometimes? Absolutely. But he has his role, and I have mine. My “parenting specialties” aren’t the same as his.

John has had to report to work during Niki’s hospital stays these past two years of her life. In fact, he went back to work when she was still in the NICU, and I totally understood and supported his decision back then. But during her recent hospital stay before the New Year, was I more annoyed now that it was my nine-months-pregnant self tending to Niki? Definitely. It wasn’t fun tending to a cranky, clingy toddler while lugging a soon-to-be newborn in my belly.

Frankly, as much as I love the excitement of awaiting this baby’s arrival and the feeling of my second daughter squirming around in my tummy, “labor day” can’t come soon enough. I can’t wait for the blood flow to my uterus to be redirected back to my brain. Raising four kids is going to be tough, but I say it’s totally worth it. Big families rock!

Read more about Tiffany's life at The Art of Lion Taming.