Before we became pregnant the second time we asked each other, “If we get pregnant again, will we tell our family early, like we did the last time?” Our answer – NO. Definitely not. We will wait until we are much closer to the end of our first trimester before we tell anyone at all.
Not exactly how it went.
Back in April my husband and I had gone to dinner with some friends of ours at a very nice Italian restaurant that was celebrating it’s 60th anniversary with a prix fixe 5 course meal. We were both very excited to go. We got a babysitter for our son, we both dressed up, and planned to spend the evening having a wonderful time with fantastic friends. I was excited to have a glass of wine and to indulge myself in whatever the chef had prepared.
The first course we were served that night was Scampi alla Livornese. The plate they brought me had 5 beautiful shrimp in a perfect row that were swimming in a rich and creamy pool of sauce made with butter and white wine. The dish was delicious and we were excited to see what was next. However, as I waited for the second course – a pasta dished called Cappelini d’Angelo alla Nanni – I became very nauseous. I excused myself from the table and went to the ladies room and as I closed the door behind me I fell against the bathroom wall. I had no idea what was happening. My temperature had gone up, I was sweating, I felt as though I could vomit, my abdominals were throbbing. I tried to throw-up, wondering if I was sick with food poisioning, but I couldn’t. After 10 or so minutes, I washed my hands and face with cold water and went back to the table.
By that time the cappelini dish had been served, so I sat down, smiled at everyone, then quietly told my husband that I wasn’t feeling all that well, but didn’t want to ruin dinner. So, I tried to take a few bites of my pasta (angel hair pasta with mushrooms, prosciutto ham, peas, lots of fresh cream, tomato and fresh grated Romano). A few bites in and I had to excuse myself again. My throat felt as though it was slowly closing, the pressure in my stomach was too much, my pants were suddenly becoming too tight. I went to the ladies room again and panicked. What was I going to do? I decided to step outside the restaurant for some fresh air and felt some relief, but could tell that whatever was going on with me wasn’t going to magically get better.
I summoned the courage to walk back into the restaurant to find my husband, concerned that as I walked across the long room I may pass out, and whispered to Jeff, “I’m done. I can’t do this. I’m going to the car. Stay and eat and bring my purse when you’re done. Please apologize to everyone for me”. At least I hope that’s what I said. As soon as I got to the car I opened all of the windows and unbuttoned my pants, resisting the urge to rip all of my clothes off. With every second that passed I felt like my body was expanding and my clothes were shrinking and I just couldn’t take the pressure. I was also covered in sweat and having a hard time breathing. My breaths were shallow and my throat felt as if it were trying to close up completely (a common side effect of nausea for me).My husband decided not to listen to my request for him to stay and eat and had followed me out of the restaurant, remembering my purse, and told me he was taking me home. I again begged him to stay – the meals were already paid for and we’d only received two of the five courses, but he insisted. Before we left I told him I wanted to take off my clothes – I felt so restricted and everything was so tight. I felt like there was a balloon in my stomach that was getting bigger and bigger and BIGGER and there just wasn’t any more room for it to grow. The pain was intolerable. It was radiating through to my back and up into my shoulders. He helped me get my bra off and that helped a bit. Not knowing what was going on and concerned I was having an allergic reaction to the shrimp, he stopped at a gas station on the way home to get some Benedryl and water for me. I remember him parking and getting out at the gas station, and then nothing after that until we got home.
Forty minutes later we pulled in to our driveway and Jeff helped me get out of our car. Jeff sat me on the couch with a tall glass of cold water and got me some ibuprofen. And then we sat there, not knowing what to do, for the next 4 hours. The pain was still radiating throughout my abdominals, shoulders and back. The nausea was still quite intense. Several times he said to me, “Can I take you to the hospital?” to which I responded every time, “No. My health insurance doesn’t start until May 1st. I’m fine. I’ll be fine.”
I really thought it was just food poisoning. But, I’ll tell you what, had I had health insurance that night, we would have gone. The pain, the pressure, the nausea all lasted 8 hours. I tried to go to bed, but I couldn’t find a comfortable way to sleep. It hurt to lay on my stomach. I hurt to lay on my back. It hurt to lay on my sides… All of the pain, pressure and nausea didn’t stop until 3AM when I finally ran to the bathroom and threw-up. Instantaneously I was relieved and was able to finally fall asleep.
The next day my neighbor popped over to bring J a few books and toys and found me sleeping on the couch. She apologized for waking me and I told her, “Oh it’s okay, I had a really rough night” and I told her all about what had happened. She said to me very seriously, “You have gallstones. That’s exactly what I went through a few years ago. You need to go see a doctor”. Immediately after she left I began to google gallbladder and gallstones and I knew she was right. The 1st of May could NOT get here soon enough.
Between that dinner and waiting for May 1st, I told my family and closest friends all about what had happened that night. My mom. My dad. My sister and her husband. Jeff’s entire family. I called my two best girl friends. I told our best couple friends. I surveyed everyone to see if they’d ever had problems with their gallbladder or knew of anyone with gallstones. With every response I believed more and more that I definitely had an unhappy gallbladder. Everyone knew that on May 2nd I was going in to talk to my family doctor and that on May 6th I’d be going in to have a sonogram done on my gallbladder.
My doctor’s office called me on May 9th to let me know the scans from my sonogram had come in and that I did, indeed, have gallstones. The night before my doctor’s office called I’d taken a pregnancy test and found out we were expecting. The night before that we’d started receiving calls from friends and family wanting to know when we’d find out about the sonogram.
So, in WEEK #5, as friends and family called to find out what was going on with my gallbladder, we told them. Several of the conversations went something like this:
FRIEND/FAMILY – “So, what did you find out about your gallbladder?”
US – “They definitely found gallstones.”
FRIEND/FAMILY – “Are they recommending surgery to have it removed?”
US – “Yes”
FRIEND/FAMILY – “Do you know when that will happen?”
US – “In about 10 or so months.”
FRIEND/FAMILY – “…why so far out?”
US – “Because we want to wait until the baby is born… We’re pregnant!”
At WEEK #5 our baby was the size of a mustard seed. His/Her millions of cells have been busy multiplying and creating the complex structures of his/her developing body. His/Her sweet little facial features have started to form and his/her little heart had started beating regularly.
SPICY GREEN BEAN PICKLES WITH GARLIC, DILL AND MUSTARD SEED
So far this pregnancy has been TOTALLY different than the first. With J, I didn’t crave much of anything outside of Sonic ice and cheese burgers. This time around, you name it, I WANT it! We were given a bucket full of beautiful garden fresh green beans from a neighbor and before my husband had a chance to give me suggestions, I knew right away that I wanted to pickle them. With garlic and chili peppers. And that’s exactly what we did.
This recipe is insanely easy. No boiling necessary (except to prepare the jars). It seriously takes just a few minutes to prepare. And the result is exactly what you expect – fresh crisp garlicy spicy green bean pickles. De-licious.
Ingredients (per pint jar):
8 oz fresh green beans
3 cloves Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Dill Seed
1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seed
1/2 Teaspoon Whole Peppercorns
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tablespoon Pickling Salt
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water
Wash as many pint size mason jars you’ll need with hot, soapy water.
Measure spices and garlic (not including the salt) into the bottom of each jar.
Wash and trim beans then pack, vertically, into your jars.
Mix together salt, vinegar, and water. Stir until salt is dissolved then pour over beans.
Refrigerate beans for at least 24 hours. Enjoy!
Adapted from this recipe.