Shortly after I learned we were having a baby, I began asking my mom, “When you were pregnant…?” questions. To which she replied, “I don’t know, I haven’t had a baby in 30 years. Plus, you kind of forget all the discomfort once the baby arrives.”
It was at that point I started writing throughout my pregnancy. Practically, I wanted a timeline of my experiences for any future pregnancies or to share with friends. But also, some of this is just silly, and I’ve gut laughed reading back through it now that I’m on the other side of it. There is definitely camaraderie in motherhood, so I hope you enjoy my honest and candid journey regardless of what phase of life you’re in.
Pre-Pregnancy and the First Trimester:
In preparing to get pregnant, I did seed cycling when I went off the pill. I’m not sure if it actually contributed, but it can’t hurt to help normalize your hormones.
Both times I’ve been pregnant, I knew I was before I even took the test. It was mostly because I’d started peeing during the night, which was not my normal routine.
We decided not to wait for the “safe zone” of making it through the first trimester to announce. We didn’t have a safe zone the first time. And I’m glad we didn’t wait the second time. However, if you share early, everyone will think you’re farther along than you actually are for your entire pregnancy.
No one tells you that all of the ultrasounds until the 20 week gender reveal is a wand that goes up your vagina and is waved around as if conducting an orchestra. That was a terrifying surprise. (In retrospect, definitely not a big deal once you’ve birthed a child.)
Body Changes: I felt crampy early on during pregnancy when my uterus was growing for the first time. My boobs felt as heavy as bricks. My sense of smell became that of a blood hound. I’m thankful I didn’t have much nausea or morning sickness. For the few days that I did, cinnamon disks gave me some relief. Fatigue is no joke. I slept at 7-8pm many week nights. And sometimes at work, I closed my office door and laid down for 15 minutes to get through the day.
The Second Trimester
Maternity clothes are worth the money. (Full disclosure, I still regularly wear my maternity leggings because they’re just that comfortable.) I needed maternity bras at 12 weeks, and I started wearing maternity clothes around 18-19 weeks. Also, get the maternity underpants.
Do your research before you create a baby registry. I Facebook polled folks about their can’t-live-without items. And then I picked friends who I trust to give me more specifics. You can also research the current year’s top selections on big items such as car seats, cribs, etc. I did my registries at 23 weeks.
When you physically go to do the registry, plan a sit down/lunch break in between. It’s exhausting and overwhelming. I didn’t, and I ended up sitting in an aisle floor almost in tears because my feet hurt so bad. Also, take your best gal pals. My mama and sister were lifesavers.
We chose not to publicly announce our baby’s name until she was born. People have way too many opinions, and I’m way too feisty for my own good if they insult me.
Body Changes: My ankles started swelling, mostly my left one. It would go down after I elevated it at or above my heart. However, when I switched to decaf coffee, it stopped for a while. My lady parts got SO heavy and uncomfortable, and that just got worse until labor. I could physically feel my belly muscles stretching as the baby grew each week. I became much, much hungrier. My back regularly hurt but nothing that a heating pad or rice pack couldn’t fix.
The Third Trimester
Be sure to have firm, comfy furniture. We only had old kitchen chairs and a well used couch that I sank into.
By week 30, I carried around a body pillow and an oscillating fan wherever I went in the house. I usually ended up in my skivvies by the end of the night with a fan directly on me while Seth was in full winter wear.
Poll your friends about their pregnancy cravings— it’s fascinating. I didn’t have too many intense cravings. I mostly wanted sandwiches from Jimmy Johns, McAllisters, or Panera which was odd because generally speaking, I don’t care for lunch meat. I also regularly wanted Chickfila Original Iced Coffee; don’t worry, I only drank it occasionally.
I hate the outdoors; I truly have no desire to ever be outside. But the fresh air felt SO good in the second and third trimester during winter and spring.
Body Changes: At week 27/28, we finally felt her kick (on the outside of my belly). Around weeks 29/30, my belly button popped out and was a little sore. Difficulty breathing became pretty normal. My ribs and lungs started to get squished. Eating wasn’t as enjoyable. I got full faster because there wasn’t much space and then the heartburn sets in, the kind that lingers at the top of my throat and physically burns. I suggest drinking small cups of soda to help you burp. Sparkling water just isn’t the same.
It’s really difficult to sleep. Every position is uncomfortable, and you gotta pee all the time. I *think* I started sporadically have Braxton Hicks around week 30. At 33 weeks, the swelling returned and stayed. I was high risk for preeclampsia and ended up on bed rest (while selling and buying a new home). There was a late night trip to the OB ER because of it. And finally at my 39 week appointment, they decided to keep me and induce me.
Here I am now four months post partum with my girl. I am still a new mom, but I wouldn’t have remembered half of this journey had I not written it down. I’m not one of those women who miss being pregnant, but I am thankful for the memories of growing my baby girl.