I’m not even sure where to start for this blog entry. Nine months is a long time to get used to your body being completely different, and then suddenly one day you’re trying to remember what life was like before you felt like the Michelin Man.
The first five months of my pregnancy were constant nausea. Everyone told me to wait until my first trimester was over and then it would be fine from then on… they f*cking lied. I would throw up so violently, and so often, that even my hubs started to worry about me. I tried going on medication out of desperation, but I had to take it so often and barely felt any relief so I quit after a couple weeks. My midwives gave me a lot of natural remedies that helped. A few were:
- Ginger lemon tea
- Gummy prenatals
- Vitamin B6 & B12
- Sea Bands (They really work!)
- Ginger Beer (It isn’t beer)
I ate so many different ginger infused drinks and foods that I may never be able to stomach ginger again. I lost almost 15 pounds in those first few months, and I wasn’t back up to my starting pre-pregnancy weight until I was 7 months pregnant.
My feet swelled and went up one full size. My hands and fingers got so big my wedding ring didn’t fit anymore. One of the old myths says that when you’re having a boy your butt swells up, but I think even my thighs and legs joined in.
What took the cake was my sciatica. Sciatic nerve pain goes down your lower back, into your butt, and down your legs into your feet. I would cry like a baby when it flared up. I had to try a few different natural remedies for that as well, considering people who suffer from sciatica sometimes have to go to the ER for morphine and that clearly wasn’t an option at 6 months pregnant. My tips for body aches and pregnancy pains include:
- Visiting a chiropractor that understands prenatal care (I recommend Apex in Addison) I walked out of there feeling like a new woman! They have a cut out in the bed for your bump, so don’t worry about not being able to lie down.
- Acupuncture (I recommend Modern Acupuncture in Addison)
- Epsom salt baths, which also help with swelling and muscle aches of all kinds and smell great if you add essential oils
- Yoga! There are plenty of free yoga videos on YouTube (this one was my favorite) and also prenatal yoga classes. I was always amazed by how much better I felt after a short yoga session, and they are very simple.
- Avoid sitting down for very long and walk often. I walked my dogs 3x a day which added up to at least 30 minutes. I know it’s hard to avoid sitting when pregnant since everyone yells at you for being on your feet. I had to convince people I was better off standing!
Try imagining having back pain so bad you’re crying while also having to bend over a toilet to throw up and the only thing you can take is a Tylenol… I was forced to learn a lot about the different ways to help!
My immune system, like most moms, was very low functioning during pregnancy. I got allergies for the first time ever, and I got sick often. I was ridiculously sick in my third trimester, and I still had a cough throughout my labor. The worst of it was being 1 week postpartum and still coughing so hard that it would bring tears to my eyes! I drank tea to help since most cough medicines aren’t pregnancy safe. What was even more scary than the cough was a severe allergic reaction I had to a spider bite at 39 weeks. I felt the bite happen while taking a morning walk, and within thirty minutes I had broken out in hives all over. My armpits, chest, and neck were the worst, but it did spread to my face and stomach within the hour.
I was crazy itchy and I looked like a lizard, but the most terrifying part was that even my breathing was slightly affected. I called my midwife who recommended a few doses of Benadryl that cleared it up in a few hours. The things that can happen to you while pregnant that wouldn’t usually affect you are wild.
Lastly, and more seriously, I suffered from anxiety my entire pregnancy. My blood pressure and pulse would race at each appointment because I would talk myself into a frenzy about all the things that could go wrong. I’ve mentioned before how scared I was of being transferred to a hospital by my midwife so I was constantly monitoring myself for symptoms of complications. I was convinced my nausea was from something more serious, that my baby was breech, or that my mucus plug had come out too early. I checked every hour for my gestational diabetes results or my Group B strep test to come back negative. I was so nervous for the anatomy scan that I was shaking and convinced I was about to receive bad news. I wasted so much energy worried over things I could not control, and to make things worse I felt like such a horrible mom for letting my baby feel that anxiety and negativity so early on.
One of my biggest tips for moms-to-be is to relax, pray for your baby and let the universe handle the rest, and make sure you take care of you.
Now remember, pregnancy isn’t all bad!
My hair and skin were great. Not only did my hair grow a bunch, but it thickened up like crazy. I took plenty of pictures because I’m not sure I’ll ever have hair as nice as I did throughout this pregnancy, and I’m going to miss it when it falls out! My nails were so strong and grew so long I could just paint them at home and look like I had gone to a salon for acrylics, but they turned brittle and fell off at about one week postpartum. This didn’t bother me much since claws and diaper changing don’t mix well anyway.
I typically also suffer from migraines so bad I can’t drive. Even though pregnancy hormones can cause certain people to start having migraines they actually solved mine! I’m 3 weeks postpartum and still haven’t had a headache.
My husband, Daniel, and I grew closer through my pregnancy as well. We were a little over a year into our marriage and still learning how to be be a husband and wife. Throughout the last nine months we have slowly begun working through our bad habits and learning to communicate more effectively. It isn’t about just us anymore. Our relationship and our happiness would also benefit another human being so we weren’t allowed to be lazy or selfish anymore when it came to our relationship.
My pregnancy came as a surprise, but a family was something Daniel had wanted for a long time and he did his best to step up to reassure me that we were all going to be okay. We’re not perfect by any means and we’re still working on improving ourselves as individuals and as a team, but growing from a wife and husband to a mommy and daddy has made us better people. I’m proud of the responsibility Daniel has taken on and the support system he has been creating for me.
To top it all off, of course, is the amazing feeling of knowing your baby is safe inside your belly. I never fully understood how overjoyed I could be to feel a little kick in my rib or on my side, to hear that tiny heartbeat at each appointment, or feel little hiccups coming from my baby boy. Knowing there’s a little life inside of you makes all the nausea and back pain seem so trivial.
“I always loved flowers, so I became a garden.”
Creating life is an experience so wonderful and painful and awesome all at the same time. This doesn’t mean that you’re wrong to feel exhausted, cranky, or even bitter during the rough parts of your pregnancy. I felt like a horrible person for complaining about my symptoms because I felt as though I was taking away from my relationship with my baby boy, but that is such an unfair feeling to put on a mom-to-be! People shy away from talking about how hard it is to be pregnant, but you’re allowed to be annoyed and tired because you’re putting all the effort your body has into creating a healthy little person. Meeting that tiny miracle for the first time is the most overwhelming feeling of happiness you will ever know. Those 9 months of bonding and everything that they entail really made me feel like I already knew baby so well long before he made his big debut, and I’m ready to spend another lifetime learning all there is to know about him.