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10 Unexpected Side Effects of Being Knocked Up

1. I still haven’t suffered pregnancy acne. My skin is clearer than it’s been since before puberty and the awful bacne I had in the first trimester is totally gone! It’s a pregnancy miracle.

2. I only have to wash my hair twice a week. Pregnancy-related dry skin? It reminds me of when I was taking accutane in college (just discovered this drug is no longer available in the U.S. You’re about to find out one reason why…) and my skin was so dry I couldn’t shower more than once a week and every time I pooped my butt would split open and bleed. My skin isn’t that dry, but my hair looks fantastic after three-unwashed days which (except that brief stint in college) has never been true. I LOVE IT.

3. The Itching stopped at 17 weeks when I started using Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Oil, recommended by my cousin Stephanie, bless her heart. That stuff has been my saving grace and I totally recommend it to any pregnant mama, it’s worth the price tag, I promise. Also, so far, no stretch marks. Woot!

4. I can’t see my feet anymore. Or my crotch. I’m supposed to bring a cup of urine to every prenatal appointment and it’s supposed to be the first urine of the morning (that’s a great band name, btw: First Urine of the Morning). It’s a cruel joke because, here pregnant lady! Take this tiny cup and pee in it first thing in the morning, when you have to pee REALLYBADLY, and you’re still half asleep, and you haven’t seen your crotch in ages. Because what every woman wants is to pee all over her hand first thing in the morning. Seriously. (Also, I hope no one at the office finds out I keep a small cup of pee in the fridge next to everyone’s lunches. Super awkward.)

4.a. The other day I had to pee (again) and I was wearing these tie-front pajama pants and when I pulled the drawstring to untie them they tangled into a knot and I couldn’t see past my giant belly to untie it and I had to pee so badly that I started crying because I was trapped in my pants and I was never going to get them off and I was going to die of needing to pee. Then I finally got the knot undone and oh lord the RELIEF.

5. I haven’t been able to bend over in weeks, but my thighs are getting super strong from squatting down all the time. Also, I totally hurt my back taking a bag of garbage out of a garbage can because I’m 90 now.

6. Everyone says, “Sleep now because as soon as that baby is born you’ll never sleep again!” which is a horrible thing to say because you know who else doesn’t sleep besides new parents? Huge pregnant ladies. Every time I have to move my enormous body, I wake up. I wake up to pee. I wake up when she kicks. I wake up because I’ve sweated a pool into the bed despite the running the AC at 68 degrees. And once I wake up, I can’t fall back asleep. Two weeks ago Mike bought me a body pillow because all my thrashing around to get comfortable was keeping him awake, and the pillow has helped tremendously, but now I wake up every time I knock it to the floor. And lately I keep waking up on my back which is weird because I’ve never ever been a back sleeper and I’m super paranoid about it because doctors are like DON’T LAY ON YOUR BACK. Not awesome.

7. My boobs are the size of small countries. The D-cup bras I bought at around 18 weeks feel like tiny torture chambers now. I’ve given up on wearing anything besides stretchy sleep bras and tube bras. They look stupid under my clothes and they are not flattering, but they’re comfortable.

8. Also about boobs: they are still awfully sore. Sometimes I get shooting pains in my nipples for no apparent reason. Super fun times!

9. Haven’t really had any cravings besides beer, tequila, wine, excessive amounts of coffee, unpasteurized cheese, raw fish, under-cooked meat, nitrates, and runny eggs. All the things I’m forbidden from consuming. I want sweets constantly, but that’s true even when I’m not pregnant. There was a week when all I wanted to eat was goat cheese, and another week when I neeeeeeeded lemonade, but that’s it.

10. And just for fun, here’s some stupid things people* have said that people should never ever say to a pregnant lady:

  • At 20 weeks: “Ugh. I hope you’re pregnant.”
  • At 22 weeks: “Are you pregnant or are you just getting fat?”
  • At 26 weeks: “You must be due any minute!” and “Every time I see you, you’re eating.”
  • At 27 weeks: “You want some tips on how to get your body back after you push that kid out?”

*By people I mean men and I hate to point that out because I think men don’t get enough credit or encouragement in our society for being sensitive and gentle and I don’t want to generalize, but come on. Plenty of men have said lovely, complimentary things, yes, but only men have said rude and thoughtless things. Ladies have, on the whole, been supportive and kind. Why?

The last 11 weeks

You guys. My period is 107 days late. Do you think it could have something to do with this?

PREGNANT!

Surprise!!! I’ve known since May 23, 2013, otherwise known as Most Epic Day Of My Life So Far. I just haven’t said anything because, you know, science. Or something. But now I’m 16 weeks along and confident this fetus is going to stick around for the long haul so Mike and I are ready to shout it out to the rooftops, INTERNET GUESS WHAT??? WE’VE SPAWNED!!! (Is that the correct usage of that word? I have no idea.)

16 Weeks (4 Months)
16 Weeks

Niblet, as I’ve affectionately nicknamed the fetus, is due on January 27, 2014 — three days after my birthday. Best birthday gift I’ll ever get ever, I tell you what.

Pregnancy so far has been pretty easy. I know, I want to punch me in the face too. Around 8 weeks I started feeling really nauseous all day every day. I never threw up (thank goodness because I am a total idiot when vomit is involved, I do not handle it well) and while I’m still nauseous all day every day, it’s much much better than it was.

Even before I knew I was knocked up I was exhausted, but convinced I wasn’t pregnant (long story involving a 2 1/2 week late period, and a false negative test, so of course, you know, I was convinced I was going through early menopause or dying of cancer) so drinking LOADS and LOADS of coffee to keep myself going. Of course as soon as I knew about Niblet I gladly gave that up and resorted to naps. Lots and lots of heavenly, wonderful naps and very early bedtimes.

The only other real symptom I’ve had has been the UNCONTROLLABLE INSANE MONSTER LIKE STARVATION. When I’m not nauseous I am STARVING TO DEATH SOMEONE FEED ME A SANDWICH NOW OR THERE WILL BE BLOOD AND IT WON’T BE MINE FEED ME SEYMOUR FEEEEEEEEED MEEEEEEEEE. Lord I’ve never been so hungry in my life. I’m eating a meal every 90 minutes, for reals. For the first 3 1/2 months I joked that I was living the life of a new baby: Sleep, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, repeat.

9 Weeks
9 Weeks and feeling awful

Oh, and there’s my boobs. My girls felt like open chest wounds of miserable pain up until about a week ago. Putting on or taking off a bra brought tears and whimpers, no joke. Now they’re just enormous. Mike keeps asking how I manage to stay upright but I can’t answer that question. Magic, maybe?

Lovin my little 12 week fetus.
12 Weeks and Hello Knockers!

Last week The Itching began. I’d heard about The Itching (it begins when your skin starts to stretch out to make room for the growing fetus), but I was not prepared for the Itchiness of The Itching. My lower back, sides, and belly itch like there are a billion microscopic itchy fleas eating me alive. Despite constantly slathering coconut oil all over myself, my skin feels dry, tight, and ITCHY. SO ITCHY.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining – I’m not complaining! I am so, so, so happy. I’d take this itching, starving, nauseous, sleepy mess that is my body right now over anything else in the world, just to make that clear. I’m giddy with joy and have been for the past 11 weeks. I feel like the luckiest (itchiest) girl alive.

Here are some pleasant surprises about my pregnancy so far:

1) My skin is literally glowing. I was convinced I’d have the acne I had at 16, but Lord has Spared me that. (Except on my back. Ugh, bacne. No cute backless summer dresses for me.)

2) My confidence level. I was positive I’d be a neurotic mess while pregnant. Worried and obsessing over every little thing. Instead I’m just stupid happy and confident that Niblet is growing strong and healthy.

3) My hormone levels. Sure I have the occasional outburst of hysterical sobbing, but my hormones were about a thousand times worse during PMS than they have been so far in pregnancy. The only thing really different is that the teeensiest thing (sad or happy) makes me well up. But I can usually take a deep breath, blink, and stop the downpour before it begins.

4) (This one wasn’t pleasant but now is? Still totally surprised me.) Up until today, I did NOT like watching my waistline expand. I thought I would love it, but no sir, no thank you. I’ve just felt fat and unattractive for the last 11 weeks, but today I felt pregnant and beautiful and I’m hoping that keeps up. (Hello Vanity. You are a nasty little twat.)

5) Love and romance. I feel closer to and more in love with Mike than ever before. He’s been an absolute champ – coming to every prenatal appointment, rubbing my feet, helping out with chores, listening to me blather on about nursery decor, assuring me I’m beautiful when I feel like a blubber butt, scratchin’ my itches, and lovin’ on the fetus every day. I really am the luckiest girl alive.

I’ve got a Flickr set of belly photos for those of you who are so inclined. (Once you’re in there, click on the photos for captions.) I’m so happy to finally be able to share this news with you and I so appreciate your reading.

13 Weeks
Ultrasound at 13 Weeks and healthy as can be.

(PS. How badly to you want to eat that little face?)

xoxo

me.

Kind of a big deal, The End

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Did you know that for the first week of Baby’s life you have to feed it every hour?  You might have a baby who’ll sleep longer stretches and maybe you’ll only have to feed it every two or three hours, but you must feed it at the very least every three hours.

From your boobs.  (Or from a bottle, but still.)

Did you know that babies start learning the minute they make their appearance and that they require stimulation and attention and you have to play with them and focus on them and teach them stuff and they rely on you for everything?  EVERYTHING.

The more I read about the first year of baby’s life, the more nervous I got.  I had this idea that bringing a new baby home would be like a Johnson & Johnson commercial.  I envisioned myself in a filmy white nightgown, sunlight filtering through breezy open windows, Michael across the room at his easel, the dogs curled calmly on either side of me as I suckle the babe at my breast.  But according to this book a more likely scenario is a house that hasn’t been cleaned since before the baby showed up, unwashed hair and stained pajama’s, weeks and weeks and weeks without sleep, the dogs hysterically chewing bald spots into their coats because their lives have been ruined by the screaming alien we brought home from the hospital.  And also?  Every three hours?  From my boobs?

It’s not that I want a baby any less than I did that first day my switch flipped.  It’s just that now I’m absolutely terrified.  For the first time in our marriage, we are genuinely happy with our life.  We are happy and working towards goals we believe in and building a life we’re excited about.  That’s a big deal.  It’s why we thought now might be a good time to add to our family.  I read up to what to expect in Baby’s second month before I shut the book, stuffed it behind a row of trashy novels and told Mike that maybe now would be a good time to savor our life a little bit.  Maybe now is the time to be enjoying these happy, blissful, quiet moments alone together, I said.  He stared at me for a moment and then he demanded I tell him what I’d done with his wife.  But he agreed.  So we are treasuring nights spent curled on the couch in front of the TV with nothing between us but air.  We will delight in late Saturday mornings and whispering over pillows well past bedtime.  We will relish sleeping for ten hours at a stretch, candlelit dinners alone just because, and dogs who have full coats of fur.  It’s not that we aren’t eager to start a family, because we are.  We just want a little more time to appreciate the adventure we’re on before we jump into the next one.

Fin.

Kind of a big deal, Part 2

Click here for part 1

Considering that I was in New York and my eleven pregnant friends and family members were splashed across the United States, I was forced to live vicariously through Facebook, Flickr, personal blogs, whatever I could get my hands on.  I coveted their swollen bellies, bouts of nausea, silvery stretch marks.  I felt guilty as I tracked their progress and studied their photos.  I wasn’t allowed to want a baby because my life was too messy, so I watched them want theirs.  It was my dirty little secret.

It wasn’t very long before what I could find on the various network sites wasn’t enough.  I wanted more.  I needed it.  I couldn’t think about anything else.  I couldn’t sleep.  I started reading Mommy Blogs.  I watched birthing videos on YouTube.  I mentally shopped for baby bottles and strollers and slings.  I started buying clothes that were loose fitting in the midsection because they were things I’d be able to wear when I got pregnant.  I came this close to subscribing to the website where you get a weekly email that tells you what size and shape your fetus is that week, whether it can hear or has eyeballs yet, but then at the last minute I decided that was a little too creepy, even for me.

At the end of nights spent devouring pregnancy websites I deleted the history on my computer.  I kept my baby-mania a secret.  I became depressed and moody.  I started fights.  I didn’t want to listen to Michael’s concerns about children and so I couldn’t talk about mine.  I became resentful and angry.  Michael sensed something was wrong but what could he do when I refused to admit it?  His hands were tied.  We stopped talking about anything beyond the laundry list, “How was your day?” “Fine, how was yours?” “Fine.”  Before I knew it we were actively avoiding one another, an incredible feat considering our apartment was so small we couldn’t shut the bathroom door while pooping.

To be continued….

Kind of a big deal

Depending on whether or not you’ve read my About page, what I’m going to say may come as a surprise.

I am completely baby-crazy.  I can’t remember when it started.  I do remember a specific evening in April of 2008 when my brother asked me whether or not my hormones had kicked in and my response was to scrunch up my face, stick out my tongue and say, “Blegh.  No way.”
“Really?  Because all my chick friends are going crazy over babies right now.”
“I am so not ready.  The idea of having kids right now makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little.”

That month I received what was to be the first of many emails announcing someone’s pregnancy.  I was horrified.  I wrung my hands nervously and wondered, what ever would she do?  The poor girl was going to have to give up her entire life!  What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was projecting.  My friend wasn’t going to have to give up her entire life, I was.  Except I wasn’t because I wasn’t the pregnant one.  But you know what I mean.

After the fifth email from my fifth expecting friend I started feeling wistful.  I wanted it to be me.  Except if I got pregnant I wouldn’t be able to send out an announcement saying, “we’re over the moon” or “we’re so excited to be starting a family together” or “we feel like we’ve been blessed with a miracle”.  My announcement would read: “Whoops! Looks like we slipped up somewhere because surprise!  We’re pregnant!  We’re totally freaked out and we don’t know what we’re going to do, we’re pretty sure this means we’ll be broke and miserable for the rest of our lives, but we’re gonna give it a go.  Pray for us, keep your fingers crossed, and try not to gossip about us.”

A few months later I realized I had eleven pregnant friends and family members and that must have been when it happened.  A hormone switch flipped.  I don’t know how to explain it any other way.  Maybe it was herd syndrome.  Like when you’re trying to get out of the subway at rush hour and you walk to the turnstile with the longest line instead of walking to the turnstile no one’s using.  I do that all the time.  Three turnstiles crammed with people, one person, one at a time, click, click, click.  At the end of the platform a fourth turnstile, empty, sad, alone, invisible to the herd.  I always stay in the long line because it feels like too much effort to walk over to the empty one, but maybe that’s a different issue I need to be dealing with.  Either way, it happened over night.  One day I was perfectly happy living alone with Mike and four animals and the next morning I woke up and I wanted a baby so badly I thought I was going to die.

Thanks to my Moon Cycle Chart I have learned that these feelings are greatly exacerbated between the fourteenth and thirty-fourth days of my cycle.  Between days one and ten I’m baby-crazy but not to the point where I believe my ovaries are berating me for the eggs I’m wasting.  On the eleventh day I begin rationalizing why this month might be a good time to start trying and by day fourteen I’m kind of like a cat in heat which sounds funny in a literary sense but is actually really awkward.  I recently made Mike promise that he would not agree to start trying for a baby unless we were making the decision between the first through tenth day of my cycle because  it’s a decision I’d like to make with my brain instead of my hormones.

To be continued…