Pregnancy is the most beautiful and incredible thing our bodies will ever go through. Each pregnancy and full-term baby is a blessing - but that doesn't mean it's easy, it doesn't mean we have to enjoy it. Unfortunately, I think deep down we all want to enjoy it and feel guilty when we have finally reached the point where we utter the words, "I'm done!" "I don't want to be pregnant anymore." I definitely felt guilty saying those words to my husband - knowing so many other women would kill to be in this position, but pregnancy is just not an easy thing.There were many days when I thought that this pregnancy thing was easy, but then there were the days of full meltdowns. I couldn't stand the sight of my legs. My face was getting chubbier and chubbier. I felt so EXHAUSTED and just wanted to feel like myself again. I thought I knew what to expect with my pregnancy. Nope, try again!
1. Holy Boobs!
Not sure if you are movie fans or Wedding Crasher fans, but when I was typing the title to this I couldn't help but think of " Holy Shirts & Pants." :) That movie has been on several times in our house over the past couple weeks, if you couldn't tell. To preface this section, just because this is my story, does not mean it is yours - But, HOLY BOOBS. I found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks 6 days. It suddenly made sense when I saw that "pregnant" pop up on the pregnancy test. I had met my sister for happy hour the night before and remember thinking that my boobs were struggling to fit into this cute new dress I had bought. I was sure it was because it was almost that time of the month, but I was very wrong. Fast forward to 6 weeks pregnant and my Husband and I were in Oregon celebrating our 2 year anniversary. I vividly remember getting dressed and feeling his gaze - he followed up by saying, "Dear, you need a new bra." At 6 weeks? How could this be? Well, by 8 weeks there was no denying it. I found myself at Victorias Secret purchasing a new bra - 3 sizes bigger than my old bras & they have only gotten bigger with breast feeding. Positive side: A whole new wardrobe - at least from the waist up.
2. The First Trimester
On top of the boobs exploding and the inability to contain them; I really struggled to tackle life the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. As I mentioned, my husband and I went to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary in Oregon. We flew to Redmond/Bend, spent time with my grandma, and drove to Newport Beach, Oregon. This all happened right around 6/7 weeks of my pregnancy. At first, I was tired. The kind of tired that needs a nap each afternoon - but by the end of our trip to Newport, it was pure exhaustion. Now, I don't know if you can relate, but I have a husband who enjoys walking EVERYWHERE. No matter the distance. God love him! So, while we were in Newport, we walked to the aquarium, to the breweries (Oh, so fun for me!), and to the beach. I think to the aquarium was 2 miles ONE WAY. I have never felt the exhaustion I began to feel that 7th week of pregnancy - and the guilt because I wanted to walk everywhere and wanted to be excited to be away on vacation with my husband. I learned quickly,the first trimester is about survival. Period. If I could muster up enough energy to get out of bed three times a day to eat - Oh! that was success! Now, that's just the exhaustion - add sickness of top of it. I may have done one load of laundry & dishes each week. I felt useless.
3. Accept Help
I have never been the type to ask for help. Unfortunately, I am actually quite the opposite and end up more stressed out because I am too stubborn to ask for help. I believe I can conquer it all. AND you're right, I probably could, but not while maintaining a healthy mind & body. I have a loving husband who WANTS to help, but as he says, "you have to tell/ask me for what you need, I can't read minds." He's right. People want to help, but can't if I don't ask for it. Get in the habit of letting others help out. 1.)They really want to. 2.) You can use it. Soon enough you will have a beautiful child that needs your full attention. You will have a body in need of healing. You will have a mind in need of healing. Your attention will be elsewhere. Let others help you - it is best for you in the end.
Everything I read during pregnancy mentioned this thing called, nesting! I am not sure that I ever really went through this phase or if all "symptoms" are part of my normal demenor. My sister, brother in-law, and fur nephew moved in with my husband and I for 6 weeks, towards the end of my pregnancy. Now, mind you we also have 2 large dogs. Oh, and she was pregnant too! So, you have 3 dogs, two pregnant ladies, and a partridge in a pear tree - under one roof! So, maybe nesting, maybe Type-A personality - I spent 6 weeks obsessing over the house. I cleaned and cleaned and organized and cleaned some more. I had to make sure everyone's "stuff" was where if belonged. The moment everyone moved out the urge to clean was gone.
5. The Second & Third Trimesters
Praise the LORD for the second trimester! I felt human again and not just human, but like a superhero! I felt so good, finally! I am not sure if it was because I had felt so bad for 14 weeks or if the second trimester was that good! I worked out three days a week, or more. I made dinner every night. I even interviewed for a job at 6 months pregnant. I thought, "I could totally go back to work now!" I looked pregnant enough that people didn't mistake my bump for just chubbiness. I remember thinking, "I could absolutely be pregnant 3 or 4 more times!" Ha Then the third trimester hits! AND - honestly for the majority of it, I felt great! I continued to work out 3 days a week. I had energy to keep up with all the necessities around the house. "I could be pregnant 2 or 3 more times! " Around week 36 weeks, I was done! I officially could not flip over in bed without almost throwing my back out. I was up EVERY hour to pee. I had acid re-flux so bad I would vomit in my sleep. This was miserable. At this point, "I could be pregnant MAYBE 1 more time!" I truly believe you have to get to that point of being 100% over it, to mentally prepare yourself for labor and be "okay" with it.
6. Gaining Weight
I am sure at some point you have heard, "well, you're eating for two!" I loved the idea of being able to consume more food than I usually would. Before pregnancy I was not quite a health nut, but led a balanced lifestyle with food & exercise. To splurge a little on food, for once, sounded great. But, in all reality, your body only needs 200-300 more calories per day, while you are pregnant. I knew this, but didn't live by it. I remember going to my 28 week check-up and realized I had gained 10 lbs in 4 weeks! In case you're curious. THAT'S TOO MUCH, for me! I was eating too many carbs and not balancing it out. Immediately after that appointment I revamped my diet. Did I cut out that occasional doughnut that I craved everyday? No - but had them less often. Did I eat smaller portions? Yes - but didn't starve myself. I learned quickly, it was all about balance.
7. Exercise While Pregnant
I am not a doctor and don't pretend to be. I am sharing what worked/works for me & my body! Plenty of research assured me that working out while pregnant was not only okay, but also very beneficial to my pregnancy and my growing child. I am healthy and was very active before becoming pregnant & therefore could continue activities my body was already conditioned to do. I enjoy cardio. I know - I am weird. I LOVE cycling and the stair master. Really, my passion is in running, but a recent herniated disc has left me unable to run. I maintained my normal workout routine up until 24/25 weeks. It became much more difficult to maintain a healthy heart rate (160/170, for me) while doing any cardio towards the end of the second trimester. Breathing was becoming difficult, and therefore the concern for less oxygen reaching my baby, left me to change up my routine. I went from one long cardio session, to several shorter cardio sessions mixed in with strengthening exercises. By the end of my pregnancy, and I did work out until week 39, I was only doing 20 minutes of cardio, in two 10 minute sessions. I continued to do plenty of strengthening exercises that would keep me strong for labor and for the six weeks of recovery. The best advice I was given and did live by, was, listen to your body. It will tell you what exercises are best!
Take Naps. I will tell you how guilty I felt to take naps almost everyday during my pregnancy. My husband was out working and making a living for us and I was sleeping. It took months to accept that I was creating the most beautiful human inside of me and she depended on me for good health - which meant I needed to be healthy. My body was telling me to rest - to slow down! I'm sure it will come as no shock to you, but slowing down wasn't ever in my vocabulary. It was hard to implement down time into my routine, but my body was aching for it (literally!). Also, the closer you get to D-day, the more rest your body needs to endure this marathon - like activity. Sleep while you can - naps will never be the same!
9. You'll Miss It All
As I write this post, I am reminded of all the hard times during pregnancy - but there were so many good times. I will miss the conversations between my husband & I about what she will look like - will she have your nose or mine? I will miss the early mornings when she would toss & turn in my belly - waking me up from a dead sleep. I miss the feeling of confidence in my body. I felt so sexy with my pregnancy bump. I loved knowing I was creating such wonder, right there, in my belly. Selfishly I miss being the only person that knew her. Enjoy it all - even through the tough times.
10. Maternity Clothes
Don't overthink it. If your regular clothes don't fit or aren't comfortable - don't wear them. I think there is such a stigma if you "have" to wear maternity clothes before a certain number of weeks - which I am not actually sure what week that is. I started buying maternity clothes at 14 weeks, but started wearing them all the time around 17 weeks! I remember wearing my jeans for the last time at 13 weeks. We had gone to a Diamondbacks game and I had just finished lunch at the ballpark - I was so uncomfortable. I wore as many dresses after that point until "giving in" to maternity clothes. I felt so much for confident in clothes that fit me. I feel like they showed off my cute belly even more - making me feel so much prettier!
All of these things are things no one told me - things no one really talks about. These are my experiences and my story - maybe not yours, but I hope its all helpful. We are all on this journey together.
Until next time, much love,