Pregnant Thoughts

I am 30 weeks pregnant right now, which is 3/4 of the way through this experience. I have quite a few thoughts about this ‘condition’ and I figured I’d share them here. Before I got pregnant, I tried to understand from a variety of books what being pregnant would feel like, but somehow the message didn’t quite get through. I’ll caveat this entire post with the fact that I think every pregnancy is different, people experience some/all/none of the same symptoms to differing degrees and what’s true for me, might be totally not true for you. I’ll also add that despite what sounds like a list of complaints, I’m grateful that I was easily able to get and stay pregnant. This baby is very much wanted, it’s just the pre-baby stuff I’d rather not have. Some of this can’t help but be TMI, so consider yourself warned. Here we go.

THE GOOD:

  • I like feeling the little bugger move around in there. It feels kind of like an involuntary muscle twitch, except it isn’t you who is moving. FREAKY.
  • Seeing the baby on ultrasound and watching its little heart flutter gracefully like a deep sea anemone was truly beautiful.
  • The relaxin hormone flowing through my body has loosened up hip and pelvis muscles that I’d previously had to go to physical therapy and yoga to fix. Now they feel fine!
  • As opposed to some people who have oilier skin during pregnancy, mine’s been drier. This has been great for my face (no acne) and hair (less shampooing).
  • No period for months is appreciated.
  • The anticipation is really fun. Planning for baby, reading about baby, imagining life with baby… and it’s brought the Fiasco and me much closer together. There’s a whole new level of tenderness in our relationship for which I am really grateful.
  • Perfect excuse to not do something if you don’t want to, play that preggo card!

THE BAD:

  • I basically feel like I’ve had the flu for months. So much mucus, everywhere, all the time. Enough that I gag on it almost daily while trying to brush my teeth. So much. Thanks, hormones.
  • Fatigue… epic fatigue. I’ve never been so tired. Naps are a survival necessity, and I hate wasting time in naps.
  • Digestive issues. Some women get constipation. Some have the opposite. Many get heartburn. Your digestive tract will basically feel completely foreign to you and mostly uncomfortable all the time. Make sure you like your bathroom.
  • Nausea and food aversions. I thankfully haven’t thrown up too many times, but I was queasy for at least 2 months straight, and still have to force down chicken. The food aversions make me super anxious and frustrated since I’ve spent a long time cultivating a healthy diet and now, when it’s arguably the most important time to eat healthfully, my body flat-out rejects many of the healthy staples I relied on. I literally hate eating. Every meal is a chore. WHERE ARE MY FUN CRAVINGS AND WEIRD BINGES AND EATING ALL THE THINGZ? That just doesn’t exist for me. I get one well-rounded meal in a day and the rest is snacks. This baby is probably 90% dairy products, peanut butter, and apples.
  • Really scary shit can go wrong, so it’s a nerve-wracking time, and everything feels unfamiliar. That is all amplified if you fall into a ‘high-risk’ category. I developed a blood clot and have had to inject myself twice a day with blood thinners for 4 months. I’ve made two unnecessary trips to the ER for normal pregnancy pains because doctors are unhelpful over the phone and it’s hard to know what’s serious and what’s not and WHAT IF IT’S SERIOUS?!?! Other people have gestational diabetes or preeclampsia or other things that land them in bed for the duration of their pregnancies. You just can’t know how it will go until you’re in it.
  • There are a lot of weird pains you wouldn’t necessarily expect: ligaments in the abdomen stretching, foot and calf cramps, sore boobs, headaches, backaches, etc. It’s a fun game of “oooh, what hurts today?” sometimes.
  • I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to go ahead and add labor and delivery in here. No matter how you experience it or what approach you take to manage the pain, I can’t imagine labor being a particularly ‘good’ experience… it’s hard, dangerous, unknowable, stressful, life-changing work.

THE STRANGE:

  • Hair grows everywhere! I had no idea! My belly looks like a giant peach. I am so much fuzzier than before.
  • Shortness of breath. I get this a lot, but especially in the beginning it was a weird panick-y CAN’T BREATHE feeling that is apparently due to your body tripling its blood volume and it taking a while for the number of red blood cells carrying oxygen to catch up. Weird, right?
  • I’m hot all the time. Prior to pregnancy, I ran cold, with a resting body temp usually around 96 deg F. Now I’m consistently 98-99 deg F and haven’t worn a jacket since February. The poor Fiasco froze his butt off this winter.
  • You really will pee constantly. It’s amazing, especially since you’ll also feel like you are constantly dehydrated. Where does all the liquid come from?
  • Bouts of itchiness, everywhere, but especially on the belly. I had to stop using normal soap because my skin became so sensitive. I use some sort of special cleanser for people with cancer. I also had to start using a super thick, petro-chemical-laden body moisturizer because the natural stuff wasn’t staying on long enough.
  • There are a boatload of ‘old wive’s tails’ that surround pregnancy, particularly with regards to guessing the sex of the baby and PEOPLE REALLY BELIEVE THAT SHIT.
  • You will not do nearly as much knitting as you expect!

TAKE-HOME TIPS:

  • Don’t be like me and think “ok, I will have 9 months left to finish a bunch of things before my life changes” when you get pregnant. Think, instead, “ok, I am dedicating the next year of my life to baby-making because everything changes from day one and there will be minimal time and energy for anything else from now on” because that’s more like it.
  • Be pregnant during the winter, it’ll save on your heating bill, and I can’t imagine doing this in the dead of summer.
  • Sleep when you have to. Just do it. You’ll be happier for it. Forget your to-do list. And when you’re really super duper cranky biting people’s heads off? Put yourself to bed.
  • A maternity support belt is worth it, especially if you’re heavier to begin with. It has helped my sciatica pain to wear the belt when I’m out walking around or exercising. You also need a birth ball. I sit on mine at work and it really helps keep my hips relaxed, the change of position is good, and by the third trimester sitting semi-reclined on the couch is super uncomfortable so it’s nice to have around the house. Finally, I wholeheartedly recommend aĀ  snoogle body pillow for sleeping. That thing is heaven-sent.
  • Surround yourself with people who get it. If you have to listen to the media or well-meaning family talk to you about the ‘joys of pregnancy’ and how ‘it’s all so worth it’ while you’re in the thick of it, you’ll go nuts. Find a support group, a chat board, a friend, anything where you can vent to like-minded people and normalize your experience.
  • Take a birth class, I recommend the Bradley method for natural birth. Even if you end up with a medicated birth or a c-section, the class is longer than the typical hospital classes and it makes you stop and think about the birth on a weekly basis. Mental preparation is half the battle, and the techniques and tips we got from the doula who taught it are helping me feel like I can handle things, no matter how terrifying. Our class also had great tips for soothing the baby and breastfeeding. it wasn’t all birth-related.
  • Find a good, caring, supportive partner for this before you do it. That might seem obvious but I’m grateful every day that I’m doing this with the Fiasco by my side. You will have days where you just freak the fuck out and you need someone there to love and care for you. (And then try not to yell at him/her too much during the hormonal tantrum times. Those happen.)

Those are my thoughts! It’ll be fun to look back on this after the Hatchling is born and see if all of it becomes a distant memory like I’ve been told…

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18 thoughts on “Pregnant Thoughts

  1. Hairier? I feel like there are lots of weird body things (pregnancy and not) that seems to get left out at school. I think I would have paid closer attention if we’d learned things like that.

    Congrats on getting three quarters of the way done!

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I’m so with you on the love of relaxin. I have a really bad hip (8 surgeries including limb lengthening & reconstruction) and my legs never felt better than when I was pregnant. And I have to tell you as far as weird pains, I was in the shower one day & my son stretched in my belly up into my ribs and I had a rib *pop*. I froze because it hurt and was terrifying, but it did feel much better from then on. šŸ˜‚
    Congratulations on making it this far! You’re in the home stretch now!

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      • The surgeries all took place before I was 13, so thankfully the bulk of my ‘grown up’ years have been spent not in the hospital. And I’m exceedingly lucky that things have turned out as well as they have for me. But yes, that rib was memorable. I remember it being uncomfortable for a few days/weeks before the *pop* and then when it happened I just froze. You know how it is with pregnancy, there’s that moment when you’re like, “Am I going to die now? Is the baby ok? What the h*l* was that?! AHHHHHH!” It was sore for a day and then felt so much better. It only took a year or two for it to stop popping on and off once my son was born — lol!

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          • I think my son was kind of on a diagonal at the time — like head pointed at my right hip, feet up in my left-side ribs. It was an interesting time! Hopefully you’re little Hatchling will be super chillaxed like my daughter was. I actually worried about her because she was so much LESS active than her brother and I never felt smooshed by her. She was born, one week early at 5lbs 15oz though, so it was probably just because she was a little bitty thing. šŸ™‚

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  3. Congratulations on 30 weeks! Every pregnancy is different, for sure, and it’s weird how quickly it can change as well. I feel like I just got so exhausted as soon as I hit 34~ weeks… (now at 38, I take three steps and want to sit down.) Here’s hoping you have improvements in the next little while that make the remainder of your pregnancy more bearable. (Hey, it could happen!)

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  4. Fantastic thoughts! Very well said! On the moisturiser, have you thought about using cold pressed almond oil? It is all natural and very moisturising. I used it on my pregnant belly and found it very soothing.

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    • Thanks for the tip! I’ve used =vitamin e oil from time to time, but that is very viscous so it made a sticky mess. I’ll give almond oil a try when I get desperately itchy again, but I’m not sure I like oils ass a daily moisturizer.

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      • I used to put it on just before I went to bed so the oils had time to soak in and didn’t stain my clothes. Almond oil is very light as well and isn’t as sticky as some other oils. The key is to use cold pressed oil.

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  5. Every pregnancy is a total different experience. You can never be prepared. And . . . .sorry to say this – but that last month? it actually seems as long as the previous 8 combined. šŸ™‚ Best wishes for a smooth and quick delivery of a special little one.

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  6. Dropped in for the spindles, stayed for the pregnancy post. I just had my 3rd baby a few weeks ago and have to agree with much of the above…even the knitting! I personally enjoy labour way more than pregnancy. 9 months of uncertainty vs a day of yay-something-is-happening? No comparison! Anyway, hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and that you can find more time for fiber/yarn when it is over. Looking forward to exploring more of your site.

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    • Aww thank you for reading and for your kind words! Congrats on your new baby!! It’s nice to hear that you enjoyed labor, I’m reading ‘Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth’ and it’s filled with birth stories of people actually feeling good about labor and it’s refreshing to hear.

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  7. Pingback: WIPWed #121: Slow and Steady | Woolen Diversions

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