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Lisa's Pregnancy Journal

~ Meet Lisa

Hi there! My name is Lisa Uotinen; I'm 31 years old and have been married to my husband, Karl, for almost ten years. We met while we were students at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Now, we live in beautiful western Virginia, right next to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Before having children, I worked at Colonial Williamsburg and also as a social worker and a teacher. Now, we have a wonderful daughter, Ana, who is two years old, and I stay at home with her.

And now . . . I'm pregnant with #2! I am twelve weeks pregnant and . . . well, to be honest, I'm a little scared. You see, my last pregnancy was difficult, to say the least. It wasn't so much the morning sickness that was so terrible (although it was bad, and I kept it all through the pregnancy), or the overwhelming fatigue I felt or even the poison ivy-like rash that spread from my abdomen to my arms and back. No, the most difficult part about my pregnancy was that I didn't care. I, who had wanted a child for years, and couldn't wait to be a stay-at-home mom, had no energy to care about the child or anything else. You see, I became severely depressed right around the time we conceived Ana. The depression resulted from a combination of factors including work stress, troubling family issues and a genetic predisposition to depression. And being pregnant, sick and hormonal just made everything a bit harder. So here I was, pregnant, and depressed. I felt so ashamed. Shouldn't I feel happy? Why couldn't I excitedly decorate my baby's nursery? Why did I cry all the time instead, and find myself afraid of everything from the neighbors to the wallpaper in my living room? Depression is a strange thing, and prenatal depression is devastating.

At 33 weeks, my water broke and Ana was delivered seven hours later at 5 lbs., 2 oz. She went immediately into the NICU where she stayed for six weeks. Karl and I went to the local Ronald McDonald House in Roanoke, where we also stayed for about six weeks. We would never have chosen to have a preemie and a NICU stay, but God blessed us with supportive family and friends, wonderful nurses and staff at the Ronald McDonald House, and a chance to recover physically and emotionally before Ana finally came home.

What am I afraid of this time around? I'm afraid of feelings of depression. I'm afraid of another NICU experience. I'm afraid of the multitude of possible problems and complications of pregnancy and delivery, like many other women. BUT- I am gaining more confidence every day by actively dealing with those fears and conquering them. The first step was to choose to become pregnant a second time--that was an act of faith. And now that I am, each day is a confirmation to me that I can do this, and that it is worth it. Having a baby is like being inside a miracle, and I won't let my fears keep me from experiencing it!

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