Sunday, April 10, 2016

What I thought I knew about pregnancy

I'll admit, I was a little cocky about pregnancy. I know a lot of pregnant women and moms. I've done a ton of research. I've read the blogs. I've thought about pregnancy pretty much since I was a kid. I was pretty sure I would rock this thing with minimal surprises.

And while I have generally known what to expect, the symptoms and experiences have been a little different than what I thought they'd be. If you're someone who, like me, thought you knew what you were in for, maybe this post will resonate with you. If you're someone who does not want to know the TMI of pregnancy (mine in particular), maybe skip this one. I've included a handy page break for easy skipping if this isn't your bag. I'm writing about it on the internet because I like normalizing something that should be normalized. Let's not be ashamed to speak candidly about the wacky and awesome things that our bodies do.

Welcome to "What I thought I knew about pregnancy" - aka "TMI: All the stuff going on with my body".

Pregnancy Symptom: Large, swollen breasts
What I Thought: I'm already a 34G. How bad could it get?
How it Actually Went Down: LOLOLOL by 12 weeks, I was already up to a 36H. At nearly 20 weeks, it's almost time to go shopping again. Even early on in the pregnancy, things started feeling different. My breasts started changing shape, heavier and fuller on the outsides and undersides. They feel...full. And heavy. And full. Lord help me when my milk comes in.

Pregnancy Symptom: 
Morning sickness
What I Thought: I'm a pretty good barfer, and my stomach can be pretty sensitive. Whatevs.
How it Actually Went Down: Luckily, I didn't have debilitating morning sickness. I only threw up a couple of times. But I basically felt hungover for two months. For all of January and February, I had a low-grade, but constant, nausea that meant I lived on a diet of Saltines, Sourdough bread with cream cheese, bagels with cream cheese, and plain macaroni and cheese (specifically, Kraft-shaped noodles. No Annie's shells for me - it was a texture thing). I don't think I ate a single vegetable in two months, and rarely had fruit. For two months. For a while, I just had evening sickness that kicked in right around the time I had to leave work and get on the bus. Sea Bands didn't really help, and I just ended up carrying barf bags (that I didn't end up having to use) in my purse. Eventually, it went away and I thought I was off the hook, but then...towards the end of the first trimester, I had morning and evening sickness: I'd wake up and feel nauseated, unable to eat. Then midday, I'd be ok (but still eating bland stuff). Then the evening sickness would kick in. Yippee!

Pregnancy Symptom: Exhaustion, Fatigue
What I Thought: I didn't really think about this; wasn't even a concern.
How it Actually Went Down: The week after we found out (so, about week 4 or 5), we went up to Tahoe. I pretty much slept the entire time. For a week. There were nights in the first trimester when I came home from work and literally lay on the rug facedown for half an hour, before I could get up to do anything. My body was just so. damn. tired. It's getting better now, but I'm still tired a lot. When does that 2nd Trimester "OMG MOST AMAZING PART OF PREGNANCY EVER" part start?

Pregnancy Symptom: 
Peeing constantly
What I Thought: I already have to pee all the time! No biggie.
How it Actually Went Down: There hasn't actually been a huge change here. The biggest thing is that I feel like I can't actually go all the way when I go. Frequency is about the same (though I expect it to increase in the second half of pregnancy), but sometimes hardly anything comes out. And I pee a little when I cough. Or sneeze. Or barf. I hear that never gets better.

Pregnancy Symptom: Gas, lots of gas
What I Thought: I don't think I knew about this one at all. Did not expect it.
How it Actually Went Down: I am so gassy. Burping, farting, comes out wherever and whenever it can. Sometimes during yoga class, sometimes at work, often at inopportune times. I try not to be too self-conscious about it, but jeez. Calm down, gas.

Pregnancy Symptom: 
Crying at everything
What I Thought: I'm an easy crier. I cry at commercials. I cry remembering something that made me cry. I've got this one.
How it Actually Went Down: I was actually inspired to finally sit down and write this post because of something that happened last night. Yes, I've always been emotional and sensitive and whatever. But last night, for the first time, I lost it because of a storyline where a mother had to give up her child - two of them, actually (damn you, Once Upon a Time, I was not expecting this roller coaster!). This was a different type of crying than the usual Hallmark Commercial heartstring-tugging (which of course still make me cry). This was something from inside my heart, not just my eyes. I felt overwhelmed and sad, with a sense of understood loss. I guess this means I've bonded with my fetus? Or just that the hormones have kicked it up a notch?

Pregnancy Symptom: Crazy cravings and food aversions
What I Thought: I eat all the food. No idea what to expect here!
How it Actually Went Down: Like I said, those first two months or so were a doozy. I've only really had cravings for things I already like eating, like macaroni and cheese (cannot. get. enough. mac. cheese.) or spaghetti with meat sauce (mama needs iron!) or chocolate cake (Safeway sells a slab for $2.99 that hits the spot every time). No stereotypically weird cravings, but I already liked pickles and ice cream together, so maybe I'm just biased :) The weirdest thing has been the aversions. It took me a long time to be able to eat broccoli, and I haven't been in the mood for fish, like, at all (except for smoked salmon, which I crave and can't have). I know that fish is good for the baby, but it just sounds so unappealing. Yesterday, I had Thai food that I promptly threw up, as I left the restaurant, in the gutter next to my car (forgot about the barf bag in my purse). Have been sticking to sourdough and macaroni and cheese (with peas!) for the last 12 hours.

Pregnancy Symptom: Cramps and ligament pain and sciatica
What I Thought: Just straight up did not know about this
How it Actually Went Down: I figured there would be pain or discomfort associated with my body stretching to accommodate a growing human baby. I just didn't know exactly what to expect. The first trimester came with some friendly sciatica, focused in my right butt cheek. Luckily, it didn't spread down into my leg, and I've heard it can go all the way from the low back to the feet on both I figure I got off easy. But man, did that sciatica hurt. Especially when it came up suddenly as I walked or something - it would stop me in my tracks! And when that went away, I started getting the "round ligament pain", which is my new constant companion. That's fun.

Pregnancy Symptom: 
Weight gain/bloating in the belly
What I Thought: I've had a little bit of a belly for years now (thanks to my love of cheese and beer and ice cream). Oh well.
How it Actually Went Down: I've been loving this. It's rad to finally not be self-conscious of my belly, or rather, to be proud to look pregnant. I've spent years not buying certain tops or dresses because they make me look pregnant, sucking in my stomach a bit in photos when I'm wearing tighter shirts, and just generally trying to remember to stand up straight so that my food belly doesn't give the wrong impression. Now? I love wearing things that emphasize my belly. It's a point of pride, and something I like to show off. There are still some shirts that don't make me look pregnant (I can "pass" for not pregnant in them), but I'd rather just look like the 20-week preggo that I am!

Ok, I think that's all of them. What pregnancy symptoms surprised you? What were you prepared for? What was just like "oh holy crap, that was NOT what I expected"?

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