I’ve been pretty open about how much I haven’t enjoyed being pregnant. I’ll be 37 weeks on Thursday and it has been a long 37 weeks.
FYI, I’m about to talk about stuff you may not want to read about (like boobs and bowel movements), so feel free to skip this post if that’s not your cup of tea.
Before I knew I was pregnant, I was so exhausted I felt like I could fall asleep anytime. Honestly, I nearly fell asleep in the middle of a baseball game, so we left in the 5th inning.
Sure, this was probably partially the first trimester fatigue most people experience, but mine was likely worsened by my undiagnosed hypothyroidism. I was tired all. the. time.
After we found out we were pregnant, that’s when things got even more fun. I will say, getting pregnant was probably a good thing, because my OB immediately put me on thyroid medicine and by the time I reached the second trimester, I had more energy than I’d probably had in the last year.
Back to the first trimester. The nausea was pretty much constant, but I only ever vomited twice (both times after eating a peach of all things). I basically lived off of chicken nuggets and mac ‘n cheese during this time. Not only was it easier on my stomach, but because I was so exhausted, that was about all I could manage to cook most days.
Another fun thing I experienced during the first trimester? Horrendous breast pain. You know how your breasts feel tender before you start your period? It was like that but about a hundred times worse and it lasted forever.
These were, apparently, growing pains. At least in my case. I went up three cup sizes over the course of my first trimester. I’m already “blessed” with big boobs, and they’ve been a source of frustration for me for years. So the fact that they were rapidly getting bigger was difficult for me (and my wallet).
Eventually, my clothes stopped fitting well enough to hide the weight gain, so I had to buy some new non-maternity clothes because I was still keeping things under wraps at work. Seriously, everyone talks about how expensive it is to have/raise a baby, but no one tells you about how much you’ll spend buying new bras, underwear (yes, those stop fitting/being comfortable, too), and clothes. It’s a lot. Oh, and I needed new shoes eventually, too.
Before we move on to second trimester fun, let’s talk about another fun pregnancy symptom I’ve had pretty much since the beginning: diarrhea. All the pregnancy websites and apps talk about how to relieve constipation because apparently that’s a pretty common symptom. Oh how I’ve longed to be constipated.
I’ve talked to my doctor about it and we can’t figure out what’s causing it. I tried going a few days without my prenatal vitamin to see if that was the culprit. No dice. I tried taking a fiber supplement. That worked for about a day. Then it was back to business as usual.
It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, how much or little I exercise, or anything else. It’s possible it’s just pregnancy hormones. Or it could be a side effect of my thyroid medicine. I’ve also been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in the past, which I think is just a catch-all diagnosis for when doctors can’t figure out what is actually wrong, but that’s just my opinion. So it could be my IBS rearing its ugly head due to all the hormones and stress.
Basically, I’ll have no idea until I’m not pregnant anymore and all the hormones are out of my system. I’m hoping things get back to normal, though. It has caused me to chafe horribly (on vacation, no less) and I’ve had to rush into public restrooms on more than one occasion. Not to mention, I’ve had to deal with all this while at work, too.
A lot of my symptoms started early and just continued (like the diarrhea). The fatigue fortunately subsided and so did the breast tenderness. With my second trimester came awful pelvic pain. It came and went and didn’t seem to matter if I was sitting down or standing up or even laying down.
I also seemed to gain quite a bit of weight in the first half of my pregnancy. People were kind enough to make comments like “are you sure it’s not twins?!” Let me tell you, nothing makes a woman feel better about her rapidly changing body than comments like that.
On top of all that, after we had our first ultrasound to find out the baby’s sex (it’s a boy! and holy hell those ultrasounds are expensive), we also found out the placenta was low. This meant I was at risk for placenta previa, which is a condition where the placenta is delivered before the baby, which puts him at risk. The solution is to have a c-section rather than deliver vaginally, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t try come early on his own.
We had to have two (maybe three?) more ultrasounds to keep checking the placenta’s location and see if it moved far enough out of the way that I’d be able to have a vaginal delivery. Fortunately, it moved and the baby has been healthy. (Seriously, though, no one talks about how expensive those damn ultrasounds are!)
So I was dealing with daily diarrhea, periodic pelvic pain, and the stress of worrying about whether the placenta would move or not and what that would mean for my delivery.
Because of the placenta’s location, it also meant that while other people I knew who were pregnant were already feeling their baby kick, I felt nothing. Of course, he wiggled around on the ultrasound like he was in a dance competition, so we knew he was fine, but for the longest time, I couldn’t feel him.
Honestly, feeling another human move inside of you is weird (even weirder when you can actually start to see it), so I don’t hate that it took longer for me to feel this. I did hate when people would ask if he was kicking and I had to say I wasn’t feeling anything yet.
I also ended up with a cold not once, but twice, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was miserable and–bonus!–you can’t take cold medicine when you’re pregnant. You just have to suffer through it.
When it came time for my glucose test for gestational diabetes, I failed the first test. That meant I had to go back for the three-hour test. The three-hour test was horrible.
Because of my thyroid problem, they draw my blood more often than they do for others. The same nurse always does it and we had never had any issues. Until the day of my three-hour test.
She had a hard time finding my veins that day and my blood was coming out in a trickle. It was painful and frustrating (and totally not her fault!). Not to mention, all the sugar made the baby twitchy and that was just uncomfortable.
Later I found out I “barely failed” the first test, so my doctor wasn’t surprised I passed the three-hour test. Yet another thing I was stressing over that I probably didn’t need to.
During my third trimester, things have just gotten more and more uncomfortable. My back hurts, my feet and ankles swell up. The pelvic pain continues and is now accompanied by a burning sensation, which my doctor described to me as the ligaments in my groin pulling apart. So that’s fun.
I’m not as tired as I was in the first trimester (despite not sleeping well), so I think I definitely have my thyroid medicine to thank for that.
I have to pee all. the. time. which is super annoying. Basically, at this point, I just can’t wait to have my body back.
And by that, I don’t mean “I can’t wait to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight” (I have no idea how much weight I’ve gained total, and I don’t care–whatever I gained is exactly what my baby needed, so it’s fine). What I mean is I can’t wait for my body to be mine again.
I can’t wait to not deal with swollen fingers and feet/ankles. I miss wearing my wedding rings and I miss wearing my favorite shoes.
I can’t wait to not have to pee every 15 minutes (or more!). I can’t wait to (hopefully) know what it feels like to have a normal bowel movement again.
The third trimester has been what I expected in that I’m constantly uncomfortable. Thanks to the global pandemic, it’s also nothing like what I expected. And my labor and delivery won’t be either.
That’s been the hardest part of my third trimester: grappling with the increased anxiety and worry, well beyond what most women experience. There’s been a lot of disappointment and grieving for all the things I’ll be missing out on.
I’ve had friends and family give me tips that no longer apply because we won’t have visitors and the goal is to spend as little time in the hospital as possible. We won’t have the newborn pictures in the hospital (or even when we get home from the hospital–not professional ones, at least).
Our parents won’t be able to hold their grandson in the hospital and probably not for some time after we get home. We won’t have the support I thought we’d have.
Our son won’t get to meet his cousins or all his aunts and uncles (both biological and our best friends). No one will stop by with food or to hold him while I take a shower or a nap.
For months I’ve dreamed of taking him for walks in his stroller every day. Now, I’m not even sure if we’ll do that.
I never expected to enjoy being pregnant (and I haven’t) and I feel like my expectations for labor and delivery were pretty low (I never had a “birth plan”). But I feel like I’m missing out on all these experiences that most other women have gotten to have, and that’s heartbreaking.
I feel like I’m constantly oscillating between being excited to meet our baby and bring him home and being terrified of all that can go wrong. I’m no longer worried about being induced or needing an emergency c-section (you know, all the horrible things they show on TV).
Instead, now I worry about what will happen if I get the virus and/or my baby gets it. I worry about being separated from him, both of us put in isolation for who knows how long. I worry about not being able to hold him and breastfeed him and bond with him.
I’m so grateful I had friends and family who were kind enough to tell me what labor and delivery is really like rather than sugar-coating it. Despite those stories, nothing could have prepared me for this.
I’m doing my best to prepare however I can. Making sure my hospital bag is packed. Making sure the baby’s clothes, blankets, etc. are all washed and put away. Cleaning my house for the millionth time. Occasionally, though, the thought crosses my mind that certain things just don’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if I have multiple outfits for the hospital because we won’t be there that long. It doesn’t matter if my house is clean enough for visitors because we won’t be having any. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have something I thought was essential for getting out and about because we won’t be going anywhere once we come home.
Fortunately, I usually snap out of it. I packed my bag with one pair of pants and two nursing tops. I keep cleaning my house because I know it will make me feel better to come home to a clean (ish) house. I ordered items we still needed so that when the time comes and we can leave the house, we’ll be ready.
Overall, my pregnancy has been uncomfortable (even painful at times), weird, scary, disappointing. Maybe if I’d had a better outlook, I would have enjoyed it more. Then again, I might have been setting myself up for even more disappointment.
Regardless of how I’ve felt about being pregnant, I’m glad it’s almost over and that we’ll be meeting our baby soon (about 3 weeks to go).