A very pregnant and wise woman said, “You know you’re really pregnant when you have to consider the importance of the dropped object on the floor before opting to pick it up.”
Getting big and lopsided is a given in your pregnancy. But what else can you really expect? Your mother will tell you that heartburn will hit around month six, while your co-worker will warn you against the round ligament pain that will haunt you at month four. Perhaps you’ll be standing in the post office one day, innocently trying to mail a Christmas package to your ailing Great Aunt Enid when the woman behind you on line threatens you with the dreaded spider veins of the third trimester and how they still cover her legs to this day, twenty-something years later. She also doesn’t refrain from asking you in her “inside voice” amidst a line of strangers if you intend on having an episiotomy. (There is no more decorum of privacy when you’re as big as a small woodland cottage).
Will you get heartburn at the same time as your mother? Will Braxton-Hicks contractions bring you to your knees? Not necessarily. Most women enjoy regaling pregnant women with their experience as expectant mothers. It’s not far from the Al Bundy’s of the world who just can’t let go of the play he made in the last big football game in high school. But we like it – for the most part, we enjoyed being pregnant, we’re excited for you, and a part of us wishes we could do it all over again (well, maybe not all of it). The fact is, however, that just because friendly post office lady had spider veins, doesn’t mean you’ll get them. And just because your mother is a blood relative, doesn’t
mean you’ll inherit her heartburn. Pregnancy is the one medical phenomenon where everyone (and their mother) is an expert. Perfect strangers will see you buying smoked salmon and interrupt your shopping to say you can’t eat fish, when the reality is that you can eat it in moderation. Someone at the gym will tell you not to hurt your baby when
they see you working out your leg muscles.
The rule of thumb – don’t believe anything anyone tells you about your pregnancy. It’s your pregnancy. It’s your body. So unless they’re wearing a white lab coat and walk around with people calling them “doctor”, take it all with a grain of salt.
So what should you expect? You should expect the most common and bizarre things to start happening to your body; maybe nausea in the first trimester, maybe some back pain in the third. Your gums may start bleeding profusely when poked too much – enlarging reproductive organs require more blood flow in order to feed the baby, so the amount of blood must also increase (usually between 25 to 40 percent). You may get a yeast infection in the second trimester – increased sugar in the vaginal secretions on which yeast can feed may cause an imbalance, leading to too much fungus. (On that note, there is no such thing as TMI when talking about pregnancy).
If it’s happening when you’re pregnant, it’s probably normal. But if it’s debilitating, bright red, or has a funny odor, call your doctor. And most of all – fear nothing, but expect anything.
It’s time to buy stock in Sunkist Prunes and Phillips Capsules. I’m more backed up than a one-lane road in rush hour and I now fully grasp where hemorrhoids come from. I drink 90 ounces of water per day, eat at least 3 pieces of whole fruit, and consume more than 4 servings of whole grains. I’m not sure what else I can do. It took me an hour to write this entry because I had several, “This might be it” moments. I can assure you they were all false alarms and I’m starting to think I’ll be constipated for the next 220-something days.
I really thought, that if there were any symptom I would be immune to, it would surely be constipation. My diet regime has served me well in keeping me fit and, well, regular. I subscribe to the school of thought that exercise can fix anything. At least I did — two 30 minute walks a day haven’t done a thing to move me along. Oh well. I can’t complain. I’ve been lucky in other areas. I’ve had very few bouts of nausea. I’m still eating foods cooked with garlic and onion (and enjoying them). No aversions, heartburn or indigestion. Reading public pregnancy chat boards, I’m fortunate and I don’t forget that for a second.
So what is going on aside from the aforementioned? Well, I’m exhausted. I struggle to get out of bed in the morning and by noon I want to see out a locked office and nap under a desk. My breasts are tender. And I can be an emotional wreck one second and calm, cool, composed the next. My sister-in-law and brother sent us a beautiful card and little baby booties. I started to cry before I even read the card.
On another note, seeing the little booties made this pregnancy a little more real. We put them in the bedroom that’s soon to become the nursery. They look really out of place among the office furniture. It’s hard to imagine that in 7 months that room will be transformed from the place we store our junk to the place where we watch our baby sleep.
The past few days have been full of firsts; most of which haven’t been the most pleasant experiences! And in spite of my first soirée with the toilet at work, among other things, I couldn’t be happier to be experiencing them.
Each first is a rite of passage, an initiation of sorts, into the pregnancy club. As one of the newest pledges, I find a certain satisfaction from getting through each hazing incident because it means that I’m officially qualified to nod my head in agreement and compassion, sympathy and empathy.
My rites of passage this week include:
Unwarranted crying: I called my insurance company to enroll in the healthy pregnancy program. At the end of an impersonal call verifying my address and other insurance particulars, the agent said to me, “Good luck to you and your pregnancy.” Tears welled in my eyes and I could barely eek out “Thank you” and hang up the phone before they started streaming down my face.
A near bladder explosion: I learned the hard way that if attending an organization-wide meeting, do not sit in the front, center section. Sit as close the exit as possible and know where the nearest restroom is located. By the time I finally got to the bathroom, I peed for 45 straight seconds. I’m not joking. And I had to go again in 15 minutes.
Throwing up with little warning: One minute I was fine and the next, I was kneeling over a toilet gagging.
Telling our families: By far, the best part of the week! I got my first positive the day we left for vacation. While on vacation, we took a picture with my husband holding a sign over my head that said ‘She’s pregnant!’ We put this picture at the end of all of our vacation pictures and had the parents over for a slide show — something we usually do after traveling so no one suspected anything. When we got to THE picture, my mom read the words but it was clear it didn’t register. It took about 5 seconds. She looked at the screen, read aloud “She’s pregnant,” looked at me, looked at the screen, looked at me, jumped off the couch, screamed, turned in a circle three times and then hugged me and jumped up and down. My in-laws were more incredulous. My mother–in-law even asked, “Is this real?” After ensuring her that we wouldn’t joke about such a thing, more hugging and jumping and screaming ensued.
I know that out of all the firsts, I will most cherish the moment we told our families. Unlike the others, which will turn into seconds and thirds, we only get to announce once that the first grandchild of the family is on the way!