I’ve been waffling a bit in a should-I-shouldn’t-I kinda way about making a post about this whole pregnancy thing, and the baby thing, and all those things. Usually, I try to stay away from anything *too* personal, I mean this is a personal blog, so everything in it is personal by definition… But it’s also public and the public doesn’t need to really know about every time I clip my toenails.
But pregnancy makes people chatty (or maybe it’s just me; I’m not too social, twitter notwithstanding, so I’m not on any of the “mommy-boards” or anything like that) and it’s come up tangentially in a few conversations, so I figure what the hell.
This may be TMI, it may be boring, it may be something y’all want to skip because hey, way more of me than you want. And that’s totally cool, I don’t blame you a bit.
Shit people don’t tell you about before you get pregnant
1. Everyone knows about morning sickness. I think most people probably think that morning sickness is the way people first discover they’re pregnant. And for some, that may be true– but there’s a whole load of other potential symptoms that they don’t mention. First, morning sickness is a misnomer. It’s not some magical thing where you wake up with a hangover every morning, and are fine by lunchtime. It hits everyone different and doesn’t hit everyone at all. Just as likely are the “post meal sickness” the “wake up in the middle of the night sickness” and “the all day sickness” And joy of joys, you can shuffle through all the above during the first trimester! Second, you know your old buddy PMS? Sore breasts, crampy belly, irritability? Yeah, those are symptoms too. So are exhaustion, and weird taste changes. Related:
2. It’s not just cravings for pickles and icecream. I mean, you may be craving that combination, I don’t know. Supposedly, icecream is the #1 craving among pregnant women (I don’t know how they figure that, Ben and Jerry were two of my best buds before I got pregnant.) The part the don’t mention is your sense of taste actually changes. Foods you used to love taste like shit (grilled asparagus turned to burnt peat moss to me, not that I know how that tastes, but it tastes like burning peat smells) and foods you used to dislike suddenly are the best things ever (I could write epic poetry to my current love of red bell pepper.) You can also taste things stronger; I’ve become hyper aware of the amount of salt and sugar in foods, too much and it’s completely overpowering, also my love of spicy foods has been thwarted by my super-sensitive mouth and lips. Little bit of heat, and boy do I feel it.
3. Keeping with the food theme, you’re not always going to be more-hungry. You’ve got a baby in there, stuff is being rearranged. The amount you can actually eat in any given meal shrinks dramatically as the pregnancy progresses. All those jokes about pregnant ladies eating four servings of everything? I call shenanigans. My average portion size has shrunk (though portion control was always a problem for me to begin with.) What I do notice is I’m hungry more often. If we’re in the middle of something and whatever meal is late, I know it. My stomach reminds me constantly, to the point where all I can think about is food and how hungry I am.
4. Speaking of shuffling, your insides shuffle. Specifically, everything in your abdomen gets pushed UP by baby. Your belly starts feeling like it’s getting big way before you’d expect it to. Like, month 2-3, you’ll start getting bigger between the belly button and the ribs. Baby goes up before baby goes out.
5. Your boobs don’t stop growing, like, ever. Don’t be dumb like me and try to put off buying bras until they’ve stabilized. They don’t. Go to the store, go up the cup size, grow into them. (Or, if you live in Charlottesville, get talked into the balconette bra, cause if you’re gonna be overflowing anyway, you might as well overflow up with shelf/wench boobs and killer cleavage and take advantage of it while it lasts.) Seriously, you’re going to gain ~1 lb. in each.
6. Also, you can start producing in the second trimester. Yes, 4-6 months before anyone’s gonna be turning to your boobs as a source of nourishment, you can start needing to worry about the big wet spots on the front of your shirts. (Related– Dear boobs, I hate you so much. You suck. No love, me.)
7. Stretch marks itch. And you’re going to get them. Your belly button is going to itch. And it’s not ever ever ever going to stop. (More specifically, it’s not gonna stop until you stop growing.)
8. Every part of your body is going to be working overtime. Your nails will grow like crazy, and get super-stronger. Your hair will do the same. This is awesome if you want to grow your hair out, less good if you like getting manicures (well, less good for the pocket book as you’ll constantly need retouches). Also, all your mucus membranes are going CRAZY doing dress rehearsals to… er… grease the way. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t recognize the difference between the mucus membranes that NEED the extra greasing and the ones that don’t… Like… your sinuses. It’s like the worst nasal congestion/allergies of your life, and like everything else, it doesn’t stop until baby comes.
9. You know that feeling when your eyelid starts twitching like crazy, and it’s aggravating and completely in-your-focus noticeable but you can’t do anything with it? That’s what your belly feels like once the baby starts really moving. My mom and mother-in-law talked about flutterings and butterflies and bubbles… maybe that’s what they got, I got elbows and kung fu.
10. Baby shit’s expensive. No, no, no, I know that’s obvious, but hear me out… Baby needs shit you wouldn’t normally even think of, especially cause you need such a variety of it. Find a guide. Check out consumer reports and factory/governmental recalls, and buy everything used that you can. Babies grow so fast, you can usually count on SOMEONE you or a close family member knows (or hell, a close family member) that you can inherit clothes from.
11. You need to make a lot of decisions early. Who’s your pediatrician going to be? Set up a pre-birth appointment so you can meet each other, and they’ll have your expected delivery date so they won’t be surprised going “who’s this” when the hospital calls them and says they have a patient once you’ve given birth. Are you going to learn the gender? Are you going to circumsize? Are you going to breast- or bottle-feed? What are you going to do about schooling? Church? Sports? The arts?
12. Baby likes to sit on your hips. And when baby sits on your hips, baby sits on the veins and nerve bundles going to your hip and leg. And when baby sits on those veins and nerve bundles, you lose all control of your hip and some control of your leg, meaning you can very easily end up on the ground. You’ve got a LOT of blood in your body, it’s not the “get up too fast and fall because all the blood rushed out of my head” it’s “get up too fast and fall because my leg doesn’t work” It’s about as fun as it sounds.
13. I would think of a 13 but I’m hungry and distracted.