The past week has been the most physically challenging of my pregnancy thus far.
It’s the first time I’ve felt uncomfortable in my body, like I’m being pushed out, stretched somehow (and yes, I am aware that somewhere, a chorus of 38-week pregnant women is laughing - CACKLING - about my meagre complaints and yes, when I too get there, these small discomforts will seem like nothing. But in the meantime, it’s all relative. And I’m here, relatively achey and stretchy and just, full).
My belly has gotten bigger, and pre-pregnancy I thought that this just sort of happened, like your hair grows or your heart pumps, I imagined those gorgeous round pregnant bellies somewhat like balloons, filling slowly and steadily. Calmly. With weightless air.
What I didn’t realize is that the balloon is inside of me. And instead of growing slowly it goes in fits and starts. One day my pants button, the next they don’t. One day I can lay on my stomach for cobra pose, the next I feel like I’m being squashed- like I’m squashing something, someone else. And instead of filling with air, my balloon-belly is being filled with…fetus. Baby. Placenta. Various fluids. Stuff. I am beginning to feel heavy and cumbersome, obtrusive.
Obviously this is only going to become more extreme, and I’m fine with that, it’s part of the deal, you know? But right now, at the beginning, it’s strange. And more than a little uncomfortable.
(Also uncomfortable? (LOOK AWAY MALE RELATIVES): Watching liquid come out of your goddamn nipples when you are doing your nightly oil massage. That may be the strangest sentence I have ever typed.
I cringe at the thought of people reading this, but damn ladies, NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS. I knew all about colostrum and breastfeeding and I had wrapped my mind around that happening. IN FIVE MONTHS. No one told me it could happen this early. I started crying and freaked out and Adam stood there shocked and assumed the baffled/terrified/bemused facial expression that is quickly becoming his go-to method of dealing with all of the weird and wonderful changes happening to my body, inside and out. And I mean I got over it and it’s fine and everything, but I am writing this to help you out, future pregnant ladies.
Let it be known: CLEAR LIQUID MAY COME OUT OF YOUR NIPPLES WHEN YOU ARE ONLY 14 WEEKS PREGNANT. And then, in the spirit of transparency you will be forced to disclose this terrible knowledge on your internet blog and have to live forevermore with the awareness that your brother-in-law (and your brother! Oh god Liam…Mea culpa) has now read the word “nipples” three times, in reference to YOUR nipples (four times). Where were those smug 38-week pregnant ladies warning me about THIS, hmmm?
Also uncomfortable: my relationship with food. First trimester, food was my enemy. Towards the end of the 12th week I smugly announced that morning! sickness! was! over! and the pregnancy gods smote me dreadfully for my impudence and I threw up again all this week, couldn’t keep any of my medication down, my electrolyte levels plummeted along with my weight as I lost the 2 measly pounds I’d managed to gain (which still puts me at 5lbs less than my pre-pregnancy weight) and then just for good measure I got a cold. With sore throat, stuffy nose, and a cough so vicious I would cough until I vomited. Because, hey? Why not?
On the whole my relationship with food has completely changed. In the past I found that since I ate pretty cleanly (no meat, little caffeine, zero sweet tooth, no junk food, only organic foods etc etc) I could just trust my body’s natural cravings and eat accordingly. Craving potatoes? Maybe I needed more potassium. Craving cheese? More protein.
This worked really well, but it’s all been thrown into the wind now because my appetite has developed multiple personalities and all I hear is: “We want white refined carbs, ” and I know that shit isn’t good for you and I try and resist but everything else just gets vomited and just when I’ve resigned myself to a bagel every morning “Oops! Carbs are disgusting we don’t want carbs we just want apples. Nothing but crisp, juicy Pink Lady apples but EW no apples! Gross! Macaroni and cheese would be AWESOME though- oh wait no, no that’s sick, stop talking about it! Maybe some lemonade! Ohhhh god lemonade is EXACTLY what we need right now. HAHAHA, oh man you should have seen the look on your face when you puked that lemonade! Priceless!”
Do you see? It’s horrendous. I stand in front of the refrigerator bewildered for much of the day, taking small bites of things here and there, hoping something will catch on enough to fill my belly with it so I can take some medication and not throw up and hopefully gain some goddamn weight! I’m trying, I’m trying really hard and I have acupuncture lined up and some homeopathic morning sickness remedies that I am going to take and I just really hope that sometime in the next few weeks I can sit down to my usual bowl of giant spinach salad and want to eat it. That is my fondest desire.
So. As I said, physically, week 14 was sort of rough.
Emotionally however, (aside from the general woe-is-me ness that comes along with being sick) I feel like Adam and I have been reset into some foggy honeymoon phase, where we spend hours dreamily looking into each others eyes and cuddling and inventing futures for this child of ours as well as doing all sorts of other terribly sappy things that would embarrass any other human being to see.
Needless to say, I love it. I am unabashedly embracing the cheese. I wish I could bottle and preserve it for those inevitable sleep-deprived moments to come where we want nothing more than to tear each other limb from limb and devour the pieces (but quietly! QUIETLY! The baby is sleeping!)
This morning we drove down to the city for an appointment with an OB/GYN that our midwife referred us to, to get a second opinion about my kidney issues and how it relates to pregnancy.
We have been spoiled I tell you, with our midwives. No wait times, hot herbal tea served in the waiting room, a comfy couch and dim lighting in the office, hour long appointments. I thought everyone had it like this. I was wrong.
In the OB/GYN’s office we sat in a cramped waiting room on hard plastic chairs with over a dozen other women in various stages of pregnancy for over an hour past our appointment time, to see the doctor for ten minutes in which she said (like every doctor says) that she’s never heard of my condition but would try and refer me to someone else.
She was lovely though (the doctor) and kind enough to make sympathetic noises when she said I would not be the ideal candidate for a home birth, and then she let us hear the heartbeat again which, really, was all I needed to wipe the last week from my memory.
Is this the strange bargain of motherhood? Just when you are stretched (literally) to your limit, wondering what it’s all for, if it’s worth it, if you can even do it at all- you get that one little poke of reassurance, one brief glimpse of the life you’re creating and BAM! You would gladly do it all again- twice!- just to hear this sound.
(Skip to 0:23 for the action)