Only four more weeks, give or take a couple, until my baby makes his or her way into the world. I can’t wait to meet the little monkey who has been somersaulting around in there. He or she has already helped me grow in so many ways (aside from the obvious!) and our journey is only just beginning.
One thing I’ve had to really work on lately is flexibility. Not just physical flexibility in preparation for the birth, but also being flexible when it comes to my comprehensive management plan.
As I’ve mentioned before, most of my usual GI symptoms improved after I became pregnant (with the exception of heartburn, which has been akin to what I experienced when I weaned myself off of PPIs five years ago). This allowed me to expand my diet to include additional GP-friendly foods, such as chicken breast, eggs, and cheese. I started drinking larger quantities of fresh juice, diluting it less, adding more leafy greens. I was eating organic lean hamburgers a few times a week to keep my iron levels up. I had a piece of cake or a brownie here and there. I still had to watch portion sizes and overall volume carefully, but even if I did overeat the only real consequences was regurgitation of the “excess” food.
That was the first seven months. But in the last month or so, things have started to change. More nausea, more fullness, more pain. A lot more regurgitation. Hmm…
My first reaction was, “Nooo! My run of good luck is over. The gastroparesis is getting worse again!” Has that happened to you? You’re doing really well and then things seem to take a turn and you immediately assume that that’s the new direction you’re going in long term? In actuality, it’s perfectly normal at this stage in pregnancy for women without gastroparesis to experience increased fullness, heartburn, nausea and other GI symptoms as the stomach gets more and more squished in the abdomen. So it makes sense. Just like most GP-flare ups, there’s a reason. It doesn’t mean that the gastroparesis has gotten worse in the past month or that things will keep getting worse over time.
What it does mean is that for right now I have to change some things — choices, actions, mindset — to reflect the current reality. I have to be flexible, in other words. That means drinking less juice and using milder fruits and veggies. It means more potatoes and less lean beef. It means hubby and I are back to our nightly walks and I’m practicing more breathing exercises on my own. It also means being okay with these changes. Realizing that they don’t represent a setback, so much as just a fact of life.
There are always ups and downs. All things ebb and flow. Without the ability to be flexible, one of two things usually happens: we resist making any changes and therefore feel worse and worse, OR we give up completely and resign ourselves to “this is how it’s going to be from now on.” Neither is true and neither is terribly helpful. By taking one day at a time, we can more appropriately address our needs as they arise and find more consistency and better outcomes (physical and mental) overall.
This isn’t the first time in my pregnancy that I’ve had to be flexible with my management plan. It wasn’t easy to add new foods when I initially noticed my symptoms improving, for example. Ebbs and flows. Things will certainly change again after the baby is born — and many, many times after that — and I’ll continue to practice being flexible knowing that it’s a big part of living WELL!