Pregnancy is interesting... I had about 30 books on the topic within the first week of finding out and not one has truly prepared me for the experience.
It seems there are about 500 symptoms (all unpleasant) that may occur in one's body over the next 9 (10) months. To name a few of my favorites... nausea, headaches, exhaustion, acne, cravings, constipation, dizziness, hemorrhoids, nose bleeds, gas, heartburn, leg cramps, insomnia, shortness of breath, back pain, fluid retention, varicose veins and my personal favorite- stretch marks....
Sounds like a whole lot of fun doesn't it! Actually surprisingly enough it has been. I have been lucky and only experienced many of these symptoms briefly at various stages and none of them very severe.
Some of the things that I have been most surprised at...
"Fatigue"- Yes I know what this word means, so I expected to be tired... anyone who has been there however knows that this is not accurate. A new word needs to be created for the exact degree of tired this is. It surpasses exhaustion and is like nothing I had ever experienced before. I would lay down for the entire day with my eyes half open, not moving and barely breathing for the sheer effort of simply existing was too much at that point. In a couple weeks of course I was back on my feet with more energy then I'd ever had, but I was certainly not prepared for those first few weeks.
"Gas"- I am not- for a lack of a better term- a "gassy" person. This is not anything I have ever had to deal with before and so when I was suddenly awakened in the dead of night by this loud and obvious release of gas, it was surely something only a large man could produce. I glared at J... "that's gross!" " He lay silent in the dark for a moment... uh- that... wasn't me..."
"pregnancy brain" - I'm not sure this is the official medical term but it is defined as the time the baby begins stealing the mothers brain cells in the later months of pregnancy. I was at one time a very organized, punctual and successful multitasker. I can now barely get myself breakfast in the morning (since I put the milk in the cupboard the night before and can't find it now...only to write "milk" on a grocery list that I will later forget to take to the store). I tried to drive away in a vehicle that was not mine (I drive a silver Dodge...this was a beige Honda so I'm not sure what I was thinking at all- probably about where the milk went...). I have taken to wandering around during the day, wondering what I had just gone up the stairs for since it was long forgotten by the third step. I stop talking mid conversation because my train of thought is constantly derailing. This is proving to be one of the more annoying surprise symptoms!
"cravings"- I have not for the most part craved specific things during this pregnancy as much as I have just craved anything and everything edible all day long... to the tune of almost 60 Ibs...at least ten of these pounds though do not count since they were the "I'm dying anyway I might as well eat guilt free- Christmas pounds... (re the longest nine...ten months).
I have been eating mostly fruit and ice cream... those have been the tried and true standards from the beginning with some other phases in between. The only really strange craving worth mentioning was the cheesies. This was so intense I felt what a drug addict must at the though of getting my hands on these. I could not think of anything else! As soon as I left work I drove right to the grocery store. It was not the Cheetos brand that was appealing but the No Name 79 cent bag of processed cheese covered Styrofoam! I got them to the car and tore open the bag but they weren't quite right. Disappointed, I discarded them on the counter when I got home only to try them again a few hours later. Perfect! It wasn't just styrofoam cheese that I wanted it was STALE Styrofoam cheese... I read later that there is a condition where woman can begin to have intense cravings for non food items like paint or chalk- this may have fallen very close to that!
"Oompa Loompa syndrome"- This is when you lose all your abdominal muscles and can't sit, roll or stand up on your own. I have mastered the roll and throw which is how I get off the couch these days. It is self explanatory I roll a little until I build enough momentum to hurl myself onto the floor...or I yell for J.
" Expert magnatism"- Around the time I became visibly pregnant everyone around me became a childbirth/baby expert...People at the grocery store tell me what brand of diapers are best, the benefits of breast feeding (or formula feeding depending...) and of course this is a lead in to the story of their own very exciting and fear envoking childbirth story. They always begin their conversation with me, funny enough by saying "now everyone will have lots of advice for you, you just pay no attention" and then proceed to do just that...
So where was the "fun" part I was talking about?
- When people gaze at my huge obviously pregnant mid section and ask "how long" you can stare at them stone faced and say "for what?!" and watch them stutter and turn red.
- People let you go in front of them in line (but then proceed to tell you about thier horrific 18 hour labour that ended in an emergency C-section).
- You can wear bright bold prints and colours that people normally of your girth could not get away with.
- People like to feed you!
-Everyone smiles knowingly at you as though thanking you for continuing our human race for the next generation.
And of course...
The first time we saw B's tiny heartbeat was more "fun" then anything I could ever imagine- to feel him kick and know that I am everything he needs right now.
It has been wonderful to watch J transform into a father. I love to see his reaction when he pokes my stomach and his son pokes back. It has changed him as much as it has me- we see the world differently now. It is amazing to experience the connection that can come of being literally connected to this tiny person. I never get tired of thinking about him and imagining the kind of boy and man he will become one day. This has been the most amazing experience of my life and as much as I can't wait to see him and touch him I don't want this time to end either- bring on the kankles, leg cramps and the heartburn! I'm not done yet.