So I guess the title is pretty self explanatory really, as to why I’ve started this blog. Throughout my pregnancy, I would share facts and stories with my friends and family via amusing anecdotes on Facebook or over a coffee and was repeatedly told I should write them down – not only for my benefit (or theirs, as they seem to find it hilarious) but for the embarrassment of my future child, which appears to be one of the top reasons why people become parents. Obvs. And since maternity leave is perhaps not quite as exciting as I would have originally thought (read: maternity leave is a total bore. I never thought I’d miss being verbally abused by teenagers all day, but there you have it), I have plenty of time available to mentally peruse the last nine months and tell you guys all the best and worst bits of being pregnant for the first time.
My husband and I found out we were expecting just after our first wedding anniversary. Naturally we were stoked, we both wanted kids and it sort of happened at that “perfect” time when he wasn’t being sent off to fight any wars and I had been at my job long enough to secure a generous maternity leave package. I’m sorry to rub it in ladies but physically at least, I cruised through the first trimester. I fully expected to have that Hollywood, toilet-hugging, everything-makes-me-barf experience that so many women have. Instead, I developed a knack for falling asleep mid-sentence and managed an average of 12 hours a night. #winning
Only I wasn’t #winning because what they don’t tell you about the first trimester is that YOU FEEL EVERYTHING. I had all the feels. Physically, I could feel my body preparing for the baby, stretching, cramping, all my organs chatting to each other about the recent addition to my abdomen. Maybe I was naive, but I totally did not expect to feel anything other than nauseous for the first 12 weeks. Feeling your uterus stretch is bloody weird, plain and simple. And exhausting, I lost like 4kgs, my body worked so hard. Emotionally, I was a clusterfuck of crazy. Any twinge, pain or cramp I felt, immediately created a cause for concern. I was convinced I was going to miscarry. I sobbed and sobbed to my husband Mick, my friends, my boss and the checkout chick at Woolies, who struck up a conversation about the number of pregnancy tests I had in my shopping basket (about 6 different brands, because who can be sure of their reliability? That lady doesn’t work there anymore… I’m sure it’s not a direct correlation.) Mick was amazing, my friends and sister were extremely supportive, but honestly what I needed was someone to tell me to snap out of it and to stop perpetuating a cycle of hormonal hysteria. Which is exactly what my boss did. She reminded me that I am not normally a crazy person and that histrionic ramblings about potential miscarriage and motherhood just wasn’t me. I was an intelligent and rational human being who needed to take a week off work to sort myself out and come back refreshed. Which is exactly what I did. All hail straight talking mental health nurses.
Anyway, we reached the second trimester and we finally got to tell everyone – shit got real. I didn’t feel so tired anymore and any flickers of nausea I had in the beginning had completely disappeared. My initial anxiety of miscarriage had shifted once we got into the “safe zone” and instead I got to start freaking out about the fact that we were ACTUALLY HAVING A BABY. I went from having a flat tummy at 12 weeks to having a mini bump and “flutters” by 14 weeks. It was like BAM! JEN’S PREGNANT, EVERYONE! I clearly remember the first time I rolled over onto my back after sleeping on my right side and my “bump” didn’t come with me. IT STAYED ON MY RIGHT SIDE LIKE A GIANT MISSHAPEN EGG. It was hard and tense and after I screamed for Mick to come in and check that the baby wasn’t trying to crawl out the side of my body, we both stared at it wide-eyed as it slowly manoeuvred its back to its correct placement. Naturally, I frantically emailed/texted/rang every nurse and midwife I knew (which is quite a lot as it turns out) all reassuring me that this was normal. BUT WHY DOES NOBODY WARN YOU?! I feel like I could have handled that like a pro, if only someone had said “Hey Jen, sometimes your uterus goes weird and hard, but don’t freak out it’s cool.” Anyway after that little blip, I literally started showing overnight. It was the best and most surreal feeling in the world. #demfeels
Only #demfeels include getting kicked. Everywhere. And I mean everywhere. As we steadily progressed, little pops and taps turned into more thunderous kicks… kind of like what you’d expect to feel if a ninja was inside your uterus. Or a tap dancer who likes to stomp on your vagina. THAT’S RIGHT THEY KICK YOU IN THE VAGINA! Nobody ever warned me that was a symptom of carrying a mini Michael Flatley in your abdomen. And of course as you start to grow and share your “comical” pregnancy symptoms with friends and colleagues, the theories start to come out:
- “You’re carrying all in the front, it must be a boy.”
- “You’re carrying all in the front, it must be a girl.”
- “Only girls stomp you in the vagina.”
- “Are you craving more sweet or savoury foods? Because one over the other means it’s a boy… I can’t remember which one though.”
- “I had a dream it was a boy and I’m always right.”
- “I had a dream it was a girl and I’m always right.”
- “Hold your hands out in front of you… Yeah see that, palms facing up? That means it’s a girl… wait, no a boy.”
And everyone goes on about that “pregnancy glow” and you’re like, “Um no actually, that’s a sheen of sweat covering my body and never goes away because I am LITERALLY BAKING A HUMAN.” They don’t call it a bun in the oven for nothing. Also you know what else sucks? Constipation, heart burn, leg cramps, not being able to button up your shorts anymore and you have a mini heart attack when you realise that there was FUCKING BRIE ON THAT SANDWICH I ATE YESTERDAY AND I’M PROBABLY GOING TO GET LISTERIA AND KILL MY UNBORN CHILD. Or something to that effect. Turns out the pregnancy paranoia doesn’t go away, it just manifests differently. But do you know what is great? That the kicks become big enough that your husband can finally feel them and realise that you’re not making it up, you really are pregnant with a kung-fu protege. And you get to talk about what it will be like having children and being parents and choosing names and guessing what their little personality will be like. It’s the best.
Which brings me to the final trimester, the one we’re currently sitting in and have been for eleventy million years. It is LOOOONNNNNGGGGG. And since we expertly chose to give birth in February, which in Tropical North Queensland = feckin’ hot and humid, it’s an added discomfort to an already mighty uncomfortable physical state (clothes are currently optional in our house.) I have the pregnant lady waddle down pat. I am back to experiencing pure exhaustion, only 12 hour naps are out of the question because my child feels it necessary to begin disco dancing at 3am. EVERY. DAMN. NIGHT. (Obviously he/she takes after its father.) And don’t even get me started on the day my midwife milked me – BECAUSE NOBODY WARNED ME THAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. I am still recovering from said experience, but don’t worry people, I will share it. (And if anyone feels like it might be TMI for you, go away. People need to know this shit so they don’t have a mini-freak out about their boobs being treated like udders.)
We’re now at almost 38 weeks and exploring all avenues to bring on labour, because this Momma is OVER IT. It’s hot, I can’t get off the couch without assistance and my dog is acting weird around me. Plus I have 1 solitary stretch mark, (which is easily hidden by underwear/bikini bottoms but remains an unacceptable side effect to bringing life into this world in any case), despite my religious application of cocoa butter, vitamin E cream and bio-oil to prevent this very travesty and I don’t want any more! I could give detailed exploits of what strategies have been suggested to induce labour, both traditional old wives tales (e.g. spicy food) and somewhat non-traditional methods (e.g. insertion of evening primrose oil capsules in your hoo-ha… what?), however as this is currently still a work in progress, I feel this is something that requires further research before declaring a clear winner. But of course the most important reason I want this pregnancy finito, is that I am absolutely dying to meet this little person we have created, that’ll be half me and half the person I love the most in the world. I can’t wait. The countdown is on…