I went to see my rheumatologist recently and we were chatting about my psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, pregnancy and how it’s been affecting me. I had every intention of blogging my way through my trimesters, but I gotta tell you . . . growing a baby is EXHAUSTING.
After working during the day, the last thing I’ve wanted to do was sit down and blog (sorry!!). I’ve spent the last 8 months really focused on me, my health and my baby girl.
But I do believe it’s important to let you know how my condition has been affecting me throughout my pregnancy because I KNOW I’m not the only one out there going through this.
So here’s a breakdown of how I’ve been feeling by trimester during this pregnancy 🙂
My first trimester was awful and I was sick every single day. I honestly remember thinking why people willingly got pregnant because I could barely function as a normal human being! (ugh, it sucked)
Whenever I first found out I was pregnant, I thought that I was starting to have a psoriatic arthritis flare up. But then I quickly realized it was just “morning” aka ALL DAY sickness.
It was horrible! I couldn’t keep anything down. I honestly lost 7-10 pounds during those first 3 months because my body was so upset.
I was so thankful that I work from home because it allowed me to give my body rest and not push it too hard. Between meetings, you could have usually found me on my bathroom floor or laying down.
I truly believe that there were a few things that played into my first-trimester reaction:
- The pregnancy. This is an obvious one. Of course with the changes in my body and my little baby girl’s extra hormones, my body was definitely thrown for a loop.
- Anxiety. I was so anxious about it all. Josh had just left for a year-long army deployment and I found out I was pregnant. Not only was my body being thrown for a loop, but my whole life was! This was something we had not planned on, so the definite change in course started making me a huge ball of anxiety!
- Fears. I couldn’t help but focus on all the fears I had. Is my psoriatic arthritis going to flare up? Is my psoriasis going to overtake my body? Once I give birth, how will I feel? Will I have to go back on medication? If I do, how will I breastfeed my baby? Will I pass my condition on to my child? I wrote a whole article about the intense fears I had and how I started to reign them in (click here to read!).
Between the physical changes and the emotional insecurities I was experiencing, I truly felt like a mess.
I honestly wouldn’t want to go and replay those 3 months again.
How did the first trimester treat me psoriatic arthritis wise?
Well, it’s hard to say. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I stopped taking my otezla and all of my supplements.
I had a bone-crushing fatigue that made it extremely hard to keep my head up. Honestly, most of the time I was laying flat on my back or had my head laying on my desk or the table. I’m not sure if this was the pregnancy or my psoriatic arthritis.
And unfortunately, I began to have psoriasis like I’ve never had before in my life. Skin manifestations aren’t something that typically are a big symptom for me with my psoriatic arthritis.
But between stopping my meds and getting pregnant, my body began poppin’ up plaques everywhere. All over my scalp, on my forehead, on my hairline, on my legs, on my arms and on my chest. This then compounded my anxieties and fears because I was worried that I was going to have a full out flare of psoriasis and not be able to take medications to help keep it at bay!
If you’re looking for advice on how to manage your psoriatic arthritis while you’re pregnant, click here!
Everyone kept telling me, “Oh just wait til you get to around 12 weeks. Once you hit that mark you’ll start to feel better.”
I wish I could say I made it to the 12-week mark and everything went away. But, it didn’t. It was about 12 weeks that I said enough was enough and began taking Zofran every day. I didn’t want to take medication, but I couldn’t function. I honestly couldn’t.
I canceled advocacy trips, a trip to one of my close friend’s weddings and so many other plans. I spent 99.9% of my time at home sleeping or just laying around. My scalp was so itchy and my psoriasis didn’t seem like it was going away.
But then around week 19 or 20 things began to turn around.
My psoriasis started to clear up, I began to get my energy back, and I was able to keep food down!
I went from taking Zofran several times a day to taking it once a day a few times a week. The nausea was still there, but it was NOTHING like it had been before.
And then I began to feel great.
I started to feel the baby moving, found out it was a little girl and began to fall in love with being pregnant. Those pounds I had lost in the first trimester quickly came back (and then some) and I definitely started to look like I was pregnant.
And my mindset made a complete 180. Over the weeks, I had been working on accepting my fears and anxieties and trying to calm my body down. (Here’s an article about that!) Sure, there were still hurdles I knew I’d have to jump – but I knew I was making progress and I started to really believe that things were all happening for the best.
I started getting really excited about my new baby and it was then that I realized I needed to start to get organized and plan for her arrival. I went from focusing on the fears I had to realizing that the best thing I could do was make a plan to address them in case they arose.
I hired a doula to be there to help me give labor, I started taking a hypnobirthing class to prepare myself for giving birth and I started to research alternatives in case I did have a flare up and couldn’t do some of the things I really wanted to do for my baby.
How did the second trimester treat me psoriatic arthritis wise?
GREAT. Honestly, I rarely had any problems once my psoriasis went away.
There were a few times that my hands hurt, but other than that they felt fantastic! With the change of weather into winter, I normally would have been in pain with the up and down temps, but it hardly affected me this year.
And that psoriasis, once it went away, it stayed away.
By my third trimester, I was still feeling great and really enjoying being pregnant.
I had my baby shower and now that I have almost everything I need for my little one, I can’t wait to meet her. My due date is in less than 6 weeks and I’m looking so forward to it.
The horror of the first trimester seems like a blip on my radar now and I’m already sad thinking that soon I won’t be able to feel her little kicks and punches in my belly. (that’s 100% been my favorite part of being pregnant.)
So far in the third trimester, I’ve had round ligament pain, had a scare where I thought my water broke and have realized that peeing my pants happens way too easily. But other than that, I honestly can’t complain.
How has the third trimester treated me psoriatic arthritis wise?
So far so good!
I will say my scalp has become much itchier than last trimester, but I haven’t noticed any plaques popping up (knock on wood!).
My hands still feel great and so does my body.
Now I can only hope that once I give birth these changes stay and my psoriatic arthritis keeps treating me well. (one can hope, right?!)
So how will the “Fourth Trimester” aka postpartum go? Well, we’ll all have to just wait and see.
I would be lying to you if I told you I still wasn’t worried about a flare-up or how I’ll manage my health with my new baby girl. But, instead of focusing on those fears and anxieties, I’m now focused on the excitement I feel.
I know it’ll all be worth it and whatever challenge I’m met with I’ll face it head-on.
And I can’t wait until my hubby gets home from his deployment and the 3 of us can focus on being our own little family.
This pregnancy didn’t start off too great, but it’s definitely ending wonderfully! I also love how my psoriatic arthritis has been so cooperative and really has given me a respite these last 8 months. Here’s to hoping that’s a thing that stays around forever!
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!