Let’s Talk About Pregnancy

Swollen ankles. Stretch marks. Sore boobs. Sore back. Insomnia. The karate kid inside your womb. the constant need to pee. Weight gain. Hanger. And I could barely see my feet, let alone my. . .you know what, never mind.

There are some women, and some of you may be reading this blog right now, who do glow and radiate joy during pregnancy. You are the lucky ones. I’ve even heard someone go as far as to say that they were happier when pregnant. Again, kudos to you. Enjoy it. Relish in it.

For the rest of us never get to experience this glowing sensation.

Sure, there were a few people who said I radiated while pregnant. . .aggravation. I radiated aggravation. There is no part of the pregnancy process that I enjoy. Especially the part when people look at me in doubt and repeat: “Are you SURE you’re not having twins?”

All that aside, there is one part of pregnancy that I enjoy: knowing that in less than a year (a lot less in my case) I would get to meet my child, and yes, for those of you who are wondering, it does make it all worth it.

But let’s get back to the pregnant part.

I would like to take you back to that glorious day in 2012 when I realized I was pregnant. I can tell you the exact date, were you to ask, because it was exactly two weeks before my wedding. Due to some hormone issues, I’d been on birth control for over ten years. Add to that a history of doctors telling me that I’d need fertility treatments in order to get pregnant, and it’s safe to say that the fear of getting pregnant never once crossed my mind.

But there I was, Friday morning, with no period.

And this had never happened before. Never. Not once.

So I knew, even before I ever peed on that little stick, which was the next morning. And I kept it to myself, besides the coworker who happened to walk by at the exact moment that it clicked within my mind that I was pregnant.

My husband-to-be had to work that evening and I knew he needed to concentrate, so I didn’t tell him. Not until I snuck out of bed the next morning and peed on that little stick, and watched as it immediately turned bright pink.

Seriously ladies. Immediately. I don’t know what all of this “Wait three minutes” business is about because my stick was IMMEDIATELY PINK. Like a beacon.

My reaction?

I was excited. I’d been so convinced that I’d have trouble conceiving that my fiance and I had actually already discussed adoption. We’d even discussed it with our parents! We got married a little later in life, so we knew we wanted to have kids fairly quickly.

But not this quickly.

My fiancee had a similar reaction as I did. It took a few moments to set in, as I woke him up with the news. But, honestly, it changed nothing in our plans. We were still getting married in two weeks. We were still going on our 15 hour road trip honeymoon (WORST IDEA EVER in retrospect), and we were still going to start a family — just a little earlier than we anticipated.

So we were excited.

And then it occurred to me: THIS CHILD IS GOING TO EVENTUALLY COME OUT OF ME. And while I know that natural birth is ideal and has a quicker recovery time, etc., part of me started desperately praying for a C-section.

Then, I forgot about it because I got sick: and I don’t mean morning sickness sick. I mean, I was nauseous unless I was stuffing my face. Potatoes. Hamburgers. Tacos. French Fries. Bread. Pastries. Donuts. Honestly, there wasn’t anything I didn’t want, except salad.

And despite my hunger and weight gain, I maintained a fairly healthy pregnancy. My baby’s heart beat was strong. My blood work was good. All indications pointed towards a normal healthy pregnancy.

And then I started having contractions at 32 ½ weeks. They lasted all night. Again, my husband had to work that evening, so I didn’t tell him. (He was/is a DJ ladies, so when I say work, I mean, he DJ-ed a St. Patrick’s Day Party for his friends and came home fairly intoxicated).

So when he woke up at 3:30am and asked me what I was doing and I responded that I was timing contractions. . .once again I left him speechless.

We called my hospital and they told me to come in but that it was too soon for me to have my baby, so most likely they were Braxton Hicks contractions and I’d be going home shortly thereafter.

Except that they weren’t Braxton Hicks. And I was already dilated. A short ambulance ride later (to a Level 3 NICU) and a few hours later and I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Albeit a 3 lb 13 oz one.

Three weeks later we took our whopping 4 lb baby boy home and our crazy adventure together as a family began.

I consulted with multiple doctors and all of them had the same thing to say when asked the question: “Why did I deliver preterm?” They all said “Dunno. But it probably won’t happen again, as long as you wait over a year to get pregnant again.”

So we waited almost three years before we started trying. And I got pregnant again a few months after going off of birth control.

Unfortunately, that pregnancy was not meant to be. For whatever reason, I miscarried at only eight or nine weeks. That was a difficult time, but I found that there is a lot of support for women going through miscarriages. I will write a longer blog post about that at a later date, and will include the resources that I came across. The best thing to remind yourself during that time is that you’re not alone. And you shouldn’t go through it alone.

We waited until my doc gave me the go ahead to start trying again, which she loosely phrased as one to two period cycles.

And boom. I was pregnant again. My husband convinced me to get a pregnancy test, although I was sure that it was too soon for me to be pregnant. But, that little stick turned bright pink once again.

We were overly cautious this time, my doctors included. Instead of waiting until the six to ten week mark, they immediately brought me in for a sonogram and blood work.

And they were optimistic.

While they continued to test me, I learned what the term morning sickness truly meant. I actually lost weight during my first trimester of my second pregnancy. And while I didn’t have the same issues that I had during my first pregnancy, I had all the others. Heartburn (and yes, my daughter came out hairy), morning sickness throughout the pregnancy, immediate insomnia, wild mood swings, etc.

Part of this may be a result of the progesterone shots I was forced to take to try to keep me from delivering pre-term.

Speaking of which, if any of you have been asked to use those shots, what are your opinions? They’re super expensive (literally liquid gold) and they left me sore and itchy. (Seriously, they call for the largest syringe available — and it goes right in your bottom!)

And, after it was all said and done, they did very little to help me.

My water broke at 34 weeks.

So. . .I guess we paid all that money for an extra week and a half.

My daughter was bigger, but she had a few extra issues that required a few extra consultations. She ended up being in the hospital just half a week less than my son had been due to these issues. Fortunately, her own body resolved the issues on its own and she’s now 100% healthy and steadily growing.

Here’s the silver lining for those of you who are currently pregnant and are now positively freaking out over the scenarios that I just outlined.

Once you give birth, the relief is IMMEDIATE.

At least, it was for me! I returned to my normal self overnight and despite having a baby in the hospital, my mood improved and I was able to laugh over the series of events and cherish the fact that my babies were healthy, although small. It was easy to see the silver lining and we got some excellent care and advice from the nurses around us.

And most of you can rest easy: a very small percentage of women deliver preterm. And even if you do, the technology available to NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) is amazing. I always preferred my baby’s nurses to my nurses, and I made friends with quite a number of them. Never once did I hear “if your baby is okay.” Even at 32 ½ weeks, they were 100% confident that I was walking out of that hospital with a healthy and happy baby. The advancements they’ve made in that field are nothing short of miraculous. (More blog posts on that later too)

So that’s my story. I now have a 4 year old and an almost 7 month old and I’m just taking life a day at a time. Because that’s really all you can do as a mom. If you try to continue with the exact same life you had prior to having kids, you’ll quickly go insane. Learn to be flexible (mentally and physically). Learn to adjust. Learn to have several back up plans. Because, more often than not, your Plan A is going to hit a few bumps or hiccups.

And, if you’re still pregnant, go ahead and write up that birth plan, but prepare yourself to let it go if plans change. So what if you don’t get to play that Emancipator playlist? I didn’t. At the end of the day as long as that baby winds up in your arms, looking up at you with adoring eyes, it doesn’t matter if you followed your birth plan or not. It just matters that you’re both healthy and safe.

So let me say right now: if you’re one of those pregnant women or moms who believes that there is an absolute right or wrong way to everything — be it breastfeeding versus formula, bottle feeding versus nipple confusion, hospital birth versus home birth, etc — this probably isn’t the website/blog for you.

I’m here to promote laughter, encouragement, and understanding. Because pregnancy and mother are TOUGH ENOUGH. And we all need a little extra love and understanding in our lives.

So what can you expect from my future blogs and brain ramblings?

  • Pregnancy Talk
  • Labor and Delivery Talk
  • Premature Delivery Talk
  • Life with Preemies Talk
  • Miscarriage Resource Talk
  • Living with Miscarriage Talk
  • Living with Babies Talk
  • Living with Toddlers

And whatever else I decide to talk about, really. I love talking about my experiences, I’m not afraid of sharing too much information, and I love to listen to others’ experiences.

So use the comment section to tell me about your experience with pregnancy and kiddos! But remember to be kind to others. Nothing frustrates me more than listening to pregnant women and moms belittling other pregnant women and moms. We’re all in this together ladies — let’s offer support and encouragement!

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